Me - Atheist, Wife - Getting Back with the Church

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  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    @chupamiubre considering that ceres has already outright stated this isn't a religion debate thread, you probably want to drop it

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  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    A thing I picked up on in the O.P., your wife was abused at a very young age, now you have a daughter approaching the same age? Could she be struggling with anything? Perhaps she ought to see a counsellor?

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  • LankyseanLankysean Registered User regular
    This post may not contain any useful advice but it's how me and my wife handle our differing religions.
    So my wife is catholic and my religious views are basically the same as my views on gay marrage: it's good for some people, not for me so I ignore it while respecting people that want it. Now we don't have any kids and she was raised in a bi-religious home (catholic and jewish) so she's pretty open about religion which means right now our differing views don't really clash much. My wife goes off and does her churchy things and I stay home and do stuff I like to do... not a big deal. We don't discuss religious things mostly because I don't care and she know that, the same way I know she doesn't care about my computer or car parts so I just don't bring them up. We've discussed what would happen if a kid popped up and we basically think we'll present both sides of the story and let the kid decide while leaving out the whole hell thing. Respect and understanding are the key when it comes to dealing with any religion. Talk it out and try to come to an understanding before things progress too far that's the best thing for the 3 of you. I know it's not a lot of help but that's how it works for me.

  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    If you haven't already, you may want to consider having a talk about how you and your wife are going to handle religion re: your daughter.

    Ideally you would have an agreement in place before it becomes an issue.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    My wife is a Wiccan, I am an agnostic, my sister and her wife are atheists, my in-laws are Southern Baptist, my parents are Presbyterian, and my step father is Catholic. As all are fairly set in their ways, over the last 10 years I've gone to numerous services of various kinds with each, some fairly aggressive (the Baptist), some long (my parents Presbyterian church runs two and a half hour sermons on Sundays).

    The thing that makes us all work as family is respecting eachother's beliefs and finding common ground. Regardless of the mythos, tenants, and dogma of each religion there are a lot of things that bind them all together. Treating each other reasonably, respecting nature and family, doing good works to the needy. Not everyone who attends services is a good person, and not every sermon or religious leader is responsible with their message. But the vast majority of people who follow religious teachings do so as a net positive, with a few vocal assholes making the rest look bad.

    It's easy to get overwhelmed with anti-religious blanket warrants on the internet. A lot of people, especially folks in our subculture, have faced bad situations. That doesn't mean religion is a bad thing and can't be used as a positive for your wife or your family as a whole with the appropriate compromises. If your wife respects your beliefs, and you have said she does, then it shouldn't be unreasonable for you to respect hers when it comes to her own faith and when it comes to your child. That doesn't mean she gets a free pass to taking your kid to snake-handlers, but it does mean that if she feels strongly that it is something she wants in your child's life she should be able to expose her to that in a responsible way. You also have the right to countermand that in another responsible way (I.E. explaining why you are an atheist in a way that your child will understand that isn't judgmental of your wife).

    Religion is an important part of a lot of people's lives. Understand why, and understand what you can use from it to foster a positive message to your kids, and you and your wife should be able to find some middle ground.

    Final thoughts: I'm gonna second the Unitarian idea. Many churches that do the laying on of hands thing typically prove hazardous in the long run without very, very careful religious leaders keeping their worshipers grounded in reality. Finding a service that respects both of your beliefs in a moderate way would be an excellent place to start if you are going to work this out.

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  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    edited May 2013
    So big update.

    We sat down and had a long calm conversation last night. And it stayed calm. We went over a lot of the things people brought up here - I told her my concerns. I read the new church's beliefs on their web site and told her how some of them I don't agree with (The whole 'bible is 100% perfect and true, unsaved burn in the lake of fire). And she acknowledged that she doesn't really believe in all that stuff and likes it because - she doesn't feel judged when shes there (there isn't a problem with me judging her, I don't, but it goes back to her falling out with her old church) and she has a co-worker that goes there.

    Me being raised catholic it shocks me, for lack of a better word, to be exposed to Pentecostal type services. But I forget that she was going to those for yeeeears before we even met. So it's what she's used to. If I saw people talking in tounges and flopping on the floor I'd probably scream - but to her it was just a normal Wednesday.

    I told her I trusted her that if people would start pressuring her about our daughter or me, or if things would get awkward she would remove herself from the situation. And she said it wasn't even a question. And we were on the same page about forcing religion on our daughter - she might go to church with my wife, she might stay home with me, and when she's old enough to make the decision on what she wants to do she can make it without any influence from either of us. And I agreed to attend a service with her, sometime in the future - when I'm comfortable.

    So whether or not this will last with her renewed spirituality - I haven't a clue. It could be a brand new lease on her life, it could be something that lasts for a couple months/years until she gets what she needs to and slips away again. But for now, and the foreseeable future I think we're going to be alright.

    In other news. While my wife is at church tonight our daughter is going to grandma's house and I am going to play D&D. :)

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  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Hey that's great news MagicPrime! Awesome, and congrats on amicable settling a big situation like this. Enjoy the D&D!

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    What a wonderful example of intelligent compromise in a relationship!

    Personally I attend church and my husband does not, but he just regards it as an opportunity to get some "me time" and watch TV I don't like. There's no need to spend every waking moment together. In fact it is healthy to have interests the other person does not share, so that your social circles are not completely entangled.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    good to know things worked out

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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Certainly a reassuring development.

    I was raised in a mixed observant RC/ unobservant COE family in an irreligious area and it seemed to work out well enough, with my siblings and I all growing up into atheist. It really depends on the people in this circumstance, if there are no wider community pressures that you need to worry about then it is all about what you two do about it.

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  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    What a wonderful example of intelligent compromise in a relationship!

    Personally I attend church and my husband does not, but he just regards it as an opportunity to get some "me time" and watch TV I don't like. There's no need to spend every waking moment together. In fact it is healthy to have interests the other person does not share, so that your social circles are not completely entangled.

    Bolded for emphasis. In fact I'd go further than "healthy" and say "strongly advised and very important". Even apart from the "A little absence makes the heart grow fonder" factor, maintining your individuality in a relationship keeps you interesting to your partner. Love can survive loss, hardship, disaster or distance, but boredom is like relationship Roundup.

    Creagan
  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    IcyLiquid wrote: »
    @Infidel One interesting thing to consider is that your mother accepted your father. Technically according to the bible she was sinning by being married to a non-christian. So yes, your father "somehow" got along with your mother, but she was also being flexible. Your point about both partners being tolerant is the crux of it.

    @MagicPrime So I guess it bears mentioning that if she seems willing to work on things, and reach a common ground, realize that she is already making a compromise, in terms of her religion, and take heart in that.

    This is not quite accurate. It is, in fact, not considered a sin to remain married to an unbeliever*.
    Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

    Marrying an unbeliever in the first place is a different issue, but that doesn't matter for this case.

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    I couldn't imagine being with a theist, especially a Christian. I would never date someone who wasn't an agnostic or atheist.

    Personally, I was raised in a Southern Baptist church but became an agnostic with atheist leanings. My dad and grandmother have been pressuring me about my lack of faith, with my grandmother going so far as to direct the phrase "she's going to go walk with Jesus on the streets of gold, right?" to me while the two of us were sitting with my great-grandmother on her death bed, and I'm pretty sure she told the preachers at the funeral about me because they stated multiple times that only those who believed in Jesus could see my great-grandmother again and that atheists had no hope.

    I can buy that an atheist/Christian couple could somehow work, but I'd think a person serious about their religion would begin to indoctrinate their children and worry that their beloved spouse's soul is in danger of burning for eternity everlasting in the fires of Hell.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    I can buy that an atheist/Christian couple could somehow work, but I'd think a person serious about their religion would begin to indoctrinate their children and worry that their beloved spouse's soul is in danger of burning for eternity everlasting in the fires of Hell.

    Not every Christian is a Southern Baptist. "The fires of Hell" are not a big thing in most churches I have been to. (as in, not ever mentioned in church, maybe discussed in bible study groups but usually not examined as literal mediaeval hellfire but a state of separation from God)

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