I just joined this group today. I have been looking for a "safe" place to discuss/share my skeptizism (sp?) in god.Specifically, how to deal with my family who are either evangelical christians (my wife and two children-one adult one teenager), or church-going catholics (my sibilings, mother, cousins). I am finding it increasingly difficult to attend service on Sundays (to appease my wife)-and suffer the endless praising,singing, and ridiculous sermons. It is getting more and more difficult to sit through-and "communion day" is the worst, as you sit there alone singled out as the only one not partaking in this ritual (I dread Sundays, to be honest). I hope you all can give me some guidance, or at least some sympathy! Thanks

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Hey, Mark!  You're not alone in your situation.  I don't have any personal advice, I'm pretty fortunate that my wife does not give me a difficult time about my atheism.  I would like to suggest you check out an organization called Recovering From Religion, www.recoveringfromreligion.org/.  It's a bunch of folks just like yourself.  Good luck!

Hi Ted,

yeah, I have heard of that group, although I am not really recovering-I "got over" it several years back (and to tell the truth, I was never a real strong believer to begins with, so there was not that void in my life of "OK, now what?") But it is good to find others who think like me without worrying about what they will think (I mentioned to one of my sisters that I was an atheist awhile back, just to test the waters, and she looked at me with alarm and exclaimed "don't say that!")

Hi, Mark.  I'm not exactly recovering either, though I have questions.  I haven't had much interaction with the group yet, having just signed up recently, but I think it's a group that I can relate better with.  Folks who did not spend a long time wrapped up in christianity and/or who were not raised in the religion are not quite able sometimes to grasp what it's like for us who have and who find ourselves stuck among relatives/friends who remain believers.  No offense to the ones who have always been atheist, it's just a different situation.

Mark, does your family know about your Atheism?  if so, stop going to church.  if not, you've got some tough decisions to make.  for your sake, i hope your family is understanding and will choose to love you anyway.  if they are, you will find AN a very good outlet.

They know I don't really believe, but they still hold out hope that I will "see the light".The few discussions we have had have ended badly with my wife getting pretty upset with me-(she hates it when I ask her how long modern humans have lived on the planet-I point out that the Bible says about 6000 years, but all the evidence proves it is at least 200,000-now she just refuses to address the question) -and you are right, I have some tough decisions to make. Thanks for the kind words.

The question you need to ask yourself is how important is Atheism in your life. Many Christians have their beliefs and keep them personal. Same for many Atheists. If this is something you simply can't bottle up, try getting involved here and see if that's enough. If you find it isn't, then you really may stir up the hornet's nest on the homefront. Test the waters if you will, but too much atheism talk at home may cause significant problems. My wife (separated) hates my Atheism, and she's Agnostic!

Hey Matthew,

Sorry for the tardy response-It is a funny question, that.Just how important is my non-belief? i suppose if we were talking about Santa Claus, the answer would be "not very", but then again, if I were forced to go to a service every Sunday and sing Santa songs, and pray to him, then I may want to become a bit more vocal in my "(non) beliefs".-I have worked out a compromise with myself where I am only going to church service no more than every-other week (and never on communion days). For now, I am content to have an outlet like this to vent my frustrations. We will have to wait to see what the future holds for the likes of a pagan like me.

When I used to be christian I went to churches but hated it. When I became a atheist no one knew and I went to church for a few more months before telling my mom. Even though she is christian she respects my beliefs. This is your life. Don't let others control you, tell your wife you don't wanna go. If she rants at you and starts hating on you then obviously you guys were not made for each other.

Vincent, love and marriage can be a little more complicated than that. My wife finds comfort, hope and strength in her beliefs, and that is OK for her, and maybe she needs her belief system to cope.I still love her, in spite of our vast differences on the religion thing. i suppose if she really hated me for my beliefs, than you have a point, but I don't think that would ever be the case. i am just trying to work out something we both can live with. Thanks for the concern, tho.

Vincent, I agree with Mark.  I've been married for almost 35 years to the one and only woman I've ever loved.  She is my sun and moon.  I am very fortunate that we each have our space and she puts up with my bad habits and screwy ideas because I do not know how I would live without her.  And, of course, my kids are the other two parts of my heart so I could not live without them either.  I can't imagine how I'd deal if my wife made demands about religion.

There's something else, too, and that is how many are as I am, alone in a sea of religious people.  To take a strong stand as an atheist not only threatens family but it is almost a guarantee of near total isolation.  The three people who are my family are my one and only connections to flesh and blood human race.  It has been that way for years.  And it rather sucks.

Ted, right on- "alone in a sea of religious people" -then again, aren't all of us, for the most part? I am, like you, very fortunate to have such a loving devoted wife who puts up with all of my shortcomings. Yes, she has some crazy deluded beliefs, but just as she holds hope that I will "come to Jesus", I also hold out hope that she will see the illusion that she lives in. That is why I try to stick to points in complete contradiction to reality when she wants to discuss the bible (see my comment above about the age of mankind) I hope those things will eventually plant some seeds of doubt in her mind.Hey, if you can convert my wife, you can convert anyone (with the possible exception of Fred Phelps- as an aside, can you imagine spending eternity in heaven with that nut bar?) -and you are right about taking a strong stand on atheism.and it is not just isolation, but condemnation, distrust, etc. the good people up at the pulpits every Sunday do a pretty bang-up job of throwing all atheists under the bus. I think surveys show us somewhere just below child-molester on the morality scale. So all we can do is pick our battles when and where we can without drawing too much suspicion. At least that is what i try to do. Hang in there-you ain't alone!

Hey, Mark!  My wife has a very slow changing curve so maybe some day she'll hit that spot.  She has never been one to discuss anything at all so there's no problem in bible discussions.  Time will tell, I suppose.

You're right about how church as an organization condemns atheists.  It's all about control,  you know.  I'm going to do a blog about that when I get a chance.  If a person believes in SOME kind of god then they can be manipulated into the right channel but to reject the supernatural entirely means a person is entirely uncontrollable.  There are many sincere--and sincerely wrong--middling and low level preachers/etc., but from the top it is and always has been about the money.  Sad.  So atheists are the ultimate "evil" because they will never be a source of income and that source of pauper tithes keeps the manipulators at the top of the pile living fat and happy.  Not exactly on  topic but something on my mind this morning.

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