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Married and Faithless

By Melissa ~

I grew up in a pretty Christian home. I went to church every Sunday and all relevant holidays. I even attended youth group when I got into middle school. The world made sense and my fellow Christians had all the answers. Growing up I knew that my father was way more fundamental than my mother and it didn't seem to matter that much until I got to high school and they divorced. The divorce itself was not an issue, it was a relief. I noticed however that my mother's faith seemed to be dying. I tried not to think about it that much, just prayed every now and again that her faith would become stronger. I followed what my father wanted and went to Boise Bible College where I obtained an AS in Bible Studies.

Ironically that is what started my own loss of faith. I had several horrible experiences that showed me just how much the christian faith tears people down rather than build them up. Contrary to what they preached, I had never experienced such a lack of grace and love from "God's Church." Rather than making me feel loved and made in God's image, it made me feel like a dirty sinner. It caused me to break up with mu fiance at the time because we were having troubles being "pure." After a while we did end up getting back together and I started noticing that every other couple on campus was having the same problem. Even though we all were asking for self control repeatedly and urgently, it seemed that there was no reply and I was just yelling to the sky. This was my first hint that maybe there was no one listening. And if everyone had that same problem, maybe it wasn't a problem.

I married my now husband, probably too young, in part so that we could stop being sinners. I had not completed my decent from faith and I was still desperately trying to hang on. However, the more time I spent in the real world, and the more research I did on my own, the more it was revealed to me that all of my education at BBC was based on outdated, cherry picked, and misrepresented information, in essence straw men. Many of the assertions made about biblical texts are simply not true and the way the education was structured it left students with little to back up their faith with other than, "my professor told me so."

I also started to seriously consider my mothers point of view on things as it seemed my prayers about her faith had not been answered. I also realized that my father is a crazy fundamentalist and chauvinist, though not necessarily towards me or my sister, which is why I didn't notice sooner.

I just know that in the end I need to be true to myself if I am to have any hope of being happy.Now I am married to the youth pastor of a christian church having lost my faith and I am a poor faker, never having the ability to deny my true self. I am a great liar though, which I wouldn't say is a good quality, but it allows me to get by when my lack of christian-ness is inevitably noticed. I am going back to school to become a forestry engineer because my true passion is saving the world from Climate Change and my husband is fully supportive. I don't have to be in ministry if I don't want to, and he has hinted that he would not leave me were I to lose my faith. Though I am still uncertain if I should tell him or not. Well, I know I should, because hiding something is never a good idea in a marriage. But it's still very scary, especially because we live in such a faith saturated community, I don't know what would happen if word got out that the youth pastors wife is an atheist. Most people here are older and stuck in their ways.

I don't know even if I want to stay in this marriage. I love my husband very much, but there are things like a meaningful career that I want to pursue even more, and I don't know if I can do this in the place that we live, and I don't think my husband is willing to leave. I can't really ask him to because I would be asking him to give up his dream career for mine and that is totally not fair. We have talked about what my future career will look like because he also realizes that he can't ask me to give up my aspirations either. I just started school so there is no telling what opportunities I might have in the future, maybe it will all work out and maybe it won't. Maybe it was just a mistake to move to where we are to take this opportunity, because it didn't leave a lot of room for adaption, but it was also better than staying where we were, where there was even less room for for either of our aspirations.

I just know that in the end I need to be true to myself if I am to have any hope of being happy. I hate the idea of feeling like I wasted my life and contributed nothing to the betterment of the human race/world. I am not willing to be a bystander to history.

Luckily on a recent family trip one of my brothers who has reacted intensely against my father and fundamental religions of all kinds (he just got a tattoo of a goats head with a satanic cross on his leg) has planted some doubts in my husband. I'm not sure how well they have taken hold, it seems like my husband just decided that he didn't need to answer those question as soon as we got back home where it is so faith saturated. I hope that maybe I can take him down with me, maybe that is horrible I don't know. Then I could reveal all and we could leave this place and have a happy marriage closer to family and good schools and opportunity, and I wouldn't have to worry about my future kids going through religion like I did.

My mom has recommended a book called "Misquoting Jesus" that I hope will be informative and helpful to my cause. If I am to take my husbands faith down it needs to be quick and thorough because he is not going to sit through all the documentaries I've watched and read all the same books and articles. He's not as interested in information the same way I am, and probably never researched anything that wasn't sex related or homework. I will have to do it in a series of conversations. He generally doesn't accept new information until the second or third conversation when he has gotten used to it. I have been able to convince him that science and religion are not in opposition, and that evolution may really be a thing, though he of course does not accept that it was the mechanism to life's creation. I know that if I can't explain how evolution is what happened he will insist on not accepting it so I have to come at it from a different direction so that then it is the only option.

Sorry this was so long and Thank you so much for reading to the end. Any advice or just observation is appreciated.


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