Skip to main content

A response to “ My Dilemma”

By Carl S --

The author of My Dilemma, The Truth Seeker, poses a question to the readers of this site. In essence, he asks how can he cope with a Catholic spouse in a community of anti- agnostics/atheists, while being a non-believer himself, a result of realizing “that everything I knew about Christianity was false and I had been fooling myself for years.” He goes on to say, “Nevertheless, I’m glad I finally found the truth and feel very much relieved because of it.”

He’s hit on something there: he has searched for the truth to begin with, and those around him are indifferent to the truth. I’m sure many of us have had the same experience. Understand that they are where he once was himself, unquestioning.

I’m 72 yrs. old and do understand, so maybe I can offer - not so much advice - but what has worked for me. First though, a little entertaining background. When I initially placed my short description in the “Singles Seeking” section of the local newspaper (1995), I said I was a non-smoker/non-drinker, hearing-impaired man who was tired of Platonic friendships. One woman who read this was struck by the fact that here was someone NOT well-built, professional, handsome, and seeking a younger, athletic, slender woman. Such honesty made an impression on her. Ironically, this same honesty has been the cause of serious disagreements between us, but only in regards to religion. Because our original phone call included her mentioning she was a Christian woman, I brought this up on our first date as a possible division in our future relationship. As I left for home, she reassured me, “Don’t worry about it.” We were married three months later.

I would attend church services with her, though I cannot forget my first impression when attending the first one, “These people act as if they actually believe these things!” To be honest, being hearing-impaired helped, because I couldn’t completely understand what was being said, and enjoyed the music, though it was canned.

We moved, including a change of churches. She’s been a member of one for some years now - with live musicians. I used to go with her to church because she enjoyed it, and there might have been an element of hope that her “spiritual experiences” might transfer to the bedroom.

In the past few years, as I continued with my interests in science, nature, and comparing religions and their histories, I started writing poetry about my experiences and observations in the services, and taking notes, watching the congregants, hearing aids turned off. Every pew had a bible in front of each person, so I started reading the gospels, noting the contradictions, the judgmental attitudes of Jesus, and his intolerance for any differences from what he claimed. One time, I went through these gospels several times during a service, and went right into the Epistles, where I found writings utterly divorced from what came before. This made me think, “What’s going on here? They’re entirely different worlds.”

Truthfully, I was as indifferent to the claims of religion as I was to the believers around me. The catalyst, that one drop of water which made the full glass overflow, was that one day in church when I became physically ill, not puking ill, but a nausea you might call psychological vomiting. I couldn’t take it any longer. (Can silence, under the circumstances, be toxic?)

I had to face up to telling my wife that I would no longer go to church with her. Although I think she had already been expecting this, she was hurt, and yes, I was prepared to explain that the only reason I did go for all those years was because I love her. She has been true to “Don’t worry about it.”

This personal testimony may help some of those in the same quandary, or those who may someday find themselves in it. Suffice it to say I feel I’m loved for myself, believer or not. To me, that describes real love. How others handle the problems religions create must differ, but I’d like to give a few insights which I think might be useful, though not necessarily in order of importance.

1. Don’t talk about what’s true. Believers aren’t interested in the “truth” of their dogmas, claims, or their religion’s history. To question or merely comment is interpreted as attacking not only the beliefs, but the believer. Although beliefs are portrayed as rock solid, they are very flimsy and can’t stand up to these simple things.

2. Respect. No marriage can be successful without it. Here is where we encounter the difference between believer and belief. One can have an utter abhorrence and contempt for irrational beliefs, and still respect the person who believes. Is this not the basis of the First Amendment; freedom to have differences of opinions, which, after all, means freedom to choose even superstition?

3. With the author of “My Dilemma,” I too have heard those words, “You are not the man I married.” My answer was, “No, I am a BETTER man now than the one you married,” and I give examples (more caring, thoughtful, loving, etc.).

4. Find mutual moral points, for such concerns are important to both of you. She isn’t aware of how the convoluted and often immoral teachings she was indoctrinated with have affected her, become part of her life. With ease and time, she may. For instance, my wife, when confronted with the child rape coverups by the Catholic Church, proclaimed she would, if a member, immediately leave it. She astonished me in flatly stating that she has been aware for many years now that not all clergy really believe what they preach.

5. I have a thing going with letter writing with friends and family: I’ve written, now it’s your turn, and vice versa. I’ve expressed a few opinions, now it’s her turn. Like letters, it may be a long time before I hear back.

6. Don’t just be honest, but emphasize your respect for truth. This may come in handy when and if she realizes that the clergy she TRUSTS are lying to her.

7. Very casually state that being an atheist is NOT a matter of choice, but an acceptance of reality, after facing all of the information before you. You might add that it makes no sense to pretend to believe something which makes no sense to you.

8. Take a good look at the person you love. Don’t ALLOW religion to poison your relationship. Be gentle.

9. Live life as fully as possible. Enjoy. Laugh at the silly things people are willing to believe, even if it’s only with yourself. (Sometimes my wife gets peeved at me, because she knows what my “secret” chuckling is about.)

10. Because I am an overt atheist, some of those around me may not understand my thinking, but those who are true friends tolerate it. My very presence asks questions of the beliefs they have accepted. All I can say is that it isn’t bad being the “elephant in the room.” My age might have something to do with this. Yet, dismissing me as some kind of eccentric, or a nut, does not compute with those who know me. Maybe you can apply this to your own situation and play around with the possibilities.

11. As long as you’re “in the closet,” people can say any degrading things about atheists/agnostics right in front of you; they can lie up the ass about us and call us immoral and deserving of contempt. This worked for decades to deny rights to Afro-Americans, Irish-Americans, homosexuals, etc. But, being an open non-believer AND decent person points out the prejudice and lies of those who claim to be virtuous. Again, assess your situation. You may find yourself lonely in your freedom, but, on the other hand, your thirst for justice and equality might be irresistible. And you might be amazed at how many of us there are who are part of this family

12. I told my wife that I understand where she is, because I myself was there once. I understand the beliefs, how they came to be and why. Was she ever willing, as I was, to die for Jesus? In all fairness, I do remember her saying years ago, that she was not certain she would die for her faith. (Was my hidden message that I am not only NOT the same person she married, but have become a better person without religion, and so she might also?)

13. I’ve pointed out to my spouse that I did not want her to find out, as some spouses have, that her mate had been living a double life, but that this is what she is demanding of me by asking me to be silent about grave injustices and lies supported by religions. Some may question whether I should have said this. She, I feel, is like one of those wives who knows, yet looks the other way, about her husband’s affairs as something she cannot change. She respects my need for a life apart from hers; a life of writing outlets and other communications of a nature she cares (dares?) NOT enter. Mine is the freedom I so desire she partake of. My door is wide and wide open. My secret life is no secret, just misunderstood. Did not Darwin live such a life of love and misunderstanding? Ah, I can’t have it all, but this is the closest to it I have experienced so far. And life itself is much bigger than a single relationship, must vaster and more mind boggling than all the dogmas and superstitions put together. Ask Darwin.

Oh hell, before I get too preachy, let’s leave it at that. I hope these personal comments might help some others in the “loving predicament” they find themselves in, as well as in their broader environments. (By the way - isn’t it about time the believers learned to ADAPT to US?)


Popular posts from this blog

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

I can fix ignorance; I can't fix stupid!

By Bob O ~ I 'm an atheist and a 52-year veteran of public education. I need not tell anyone the problems associated with having to "duck" the "Which church do you belong to?" with my students and their parents. Once told by a parent that they would rather have a queer for their sons' teacher than an atheist! Spent HOURS going to the restroom right when prayers were performed: before assemblies, sports banquets, "Christmas Programs", awards assemblies, etc... Told everyone that I had a bladder problem. And "yes" it was a copout to many of you, but the old adage (yes, it's religious) accept what you can't change, change that which you can and accept the strength to know the difference! No need arguing that which you will never change. Enough of that. What I'd like to impart is my simple family chemistry. My wife is a Baptist - raised in a Baptist Orphanage (whole stories there) and is a believer. She did not know my religi