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What are the consequences of open Atheism in Saudi Arabia ? Would you be persecuted for your rationalism ?  If so, I would travel to Britain and claim asylum on the basis of a reasonable fear of persecution, such as torture and imprisonment, if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

It's something you would need to discuss with an English lawyer at length and there are plenty who specialise in advising, assisting and representing asylum seekers. Your application for asylum would enable you to stay for an initial period of years until a decision is made on your case and, if unfavourable, lead to years of appeals and reviews. Your representative lawyer's job is to keep you in the country and with good planning most are successful. The lawyers fee is usually paid by the government through Legal Aid schemes.

So it is possible to leave it all behind and start a new life in a freethinking culture. It's something you might look into more.

Khaled, I have no idea whether this will help or not.  I have faced some difficult decisions in my life, but never with the kind of hostile environment that you do, nor with the kind of harsh alternatives your situation presents you with.

I can tell you one thing that I have learned which may be of use and that is this:

The first rule in being successful, in being happy, in having a life which is meaningful is in being yourself and owning yourself, not lying to yourself or attempting to fool yourself or trick yourself into believing something you know isn't true, isn't right, isn't YOU.  Going along to get along is easy.  It can also be costly, in terms of your self-respect, your self-integrity, and how at home you feel with yourself.  Allowing yourself to be forced into actions which disrespect you, which violate who you are and what you wish to be take a heavy price.  It can cost not only in terms of respect, integrity, but in the currency of TIME.  Time is the one commodity which cannot be recovered.  We all have so much of it and no more.  The older I get, the more I recognize just how precious the value of time is, and how much of it I have squandered in my own foolishness.

I'm not telling you to make one choice or another.  You can stand and fight or you can leave and fight ... but it will likely be a fight either way.  If it isn't a fight for YOU FIRST, then there can be a problem ... because if you don't have YOU, if you don't own and fully possess YOU ... then what do you have to fight with?

It's clear you've thought about this, thought about actions and consequences and countless "what-ifs."  I can't tell you what to do and I wouldn't presume to.  All I can suggest is that you first own yourself, then own the choices you make.  That is property that can't be taken from you, not if you don't let it happen.

Think clearly, because clear thought is the prerequisite for clear action, and clear action for clear achievement.  Bias that thought first for you, for your self-maintenance, growth, and your goals.  As your strength grows, so will your ability to act not just on your own behalf but those near and important to you.  People who have eyes to see will recognize that and respect it, and it is damned respectable from where I sit.

As I said, going along to get along is easy.  It's also very seductive.  Problem is that YOU can get lost in all of that.  Whatever you do, whether you listen to what I've said here or not,

Don't lose YOU.

You aren't alone in feeling that way - in thinking about "the big leap" of going away - and being afraid - or knowing - that you won't be able to see your family again. 

Maybe you can go to another country and take your wife with you. 

A person can become frozen with anxiety in contemplating a "big leap" and all I  can suggest is, take baby steps if you can't make a "big leap".  Lots of little steps can get you out too!

Khaled,

When I woke up one day to discover that I was an atheist, I also realized that all the rest of the world was brainwashed. That meant all of my friends and family, everybody I ever knew. It meant I was isolated from everybody else. It appears that you have discovered this same thing and kept away from everyone by living with your parents.

You are talked into marriage because people do not understand your atheism or your desires of being alone and away from the brainwashed. By marrying you find that the closest person to you (and the one that knows the most about you) is also one of the brainwashed. This is hard to bare, but you do care about her because you do not want to cause her the pain of being an outcast because of divorce.

The questions are these. Is there a chance that she feels a lot like you and is only pretending to be one of the brainwashed? Maybe just going along with them because she knows not what else to do? If this is true then both of you need to find asylum in some way. You have to then escape the brainwashed together. If it is not true, then do what you must do and you must escape them alone.

I know things are much different in Saudi Arabia. In my case here, I am isolated because I am an atheist. Only a few of my friends know. I wake up every morning with the knowledge that my wife does not (and cannot) know.

That is awful, having to pretend with your wife!

I pretend or simply do not tell her because it would hurt her. Why would anyone think that a couple is of the same mind? How could they possibly be? When do two people living together make the same discovery at the same time? It simply does not happen. The other person does not have your thoughts and they are not "thinking what you are thinking." Believing otherwise is the big mistake here, and no, it is not awful!

Therefore, I cannot tell this woman that I am atheist. A time may come when I can tell her, but that time is not now. I will discover the time by discussions that we have together.

Your choice, but that's quite a major part of yourself to hide. 

I was expressing sympathy with your situation but apparently I struck a nerve.

Khaled,

It's a very difficult choice.  The hardest part is, what is best for you, might be bad for your wife.  

You good intentions show - you are so concerned about your wife, even though she lied to you a lot.

What would happen if you followed your opportunity, but took her with you?  

I would be tempted to go for new opportunities, but I would not do that if it meant harm would come to others.

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