Need Advice

So I am trying to decide how to tell my wife, that I no longer believe in Christianity.  That I no longer believe in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible.

Let me give a little contextual background on my Wife and Me.

With certainty I can tell you, we are not casual Christians and we are not cultural Christians.  The Bible is not just some book or hobby to us.  It has authority over our lives.  God is not just something to do, on a Sunday Morning.  Our faith, Our God, and Our Bible is a fundamental cornerstone for our marriage and our relationship and we how we plan to raise our children.

If I was to ask My wife, what was the one quality you loved about me the most; she would respond my relationship with Christ and God.  (And I would give the same answer likewise if she asked it.)

So, in the last several months, I have tried to drop hints to my wife about my doubt just to gauge her reaction.  And I can tell you, it has NOT been a positive retort.

I remember back in February I brought up the topic, of the possibility of the pre-adamite theory and the possibly of their being two creation stories.  I can tell you it did not go over well.  She adamantly and feverishly asserted, that Adam and Eve were the first two people and that there is no two creation theory.  The argument got so intense, we had to discontinue it.

Here are a few things just to show how ingrained our faith is in our life:  We have gone door-to-door in our neighborhood trying to witness to our neighbors; My Wife has actually gone on-line and ordered christian tracts to pass out to stranger;  All of our friends are Christian in fact one of our close friends is a Pastor of a church (Which we do not attend.);  and lastly this Weekend coming up, we are hosting a college reunion potluck for our old college friends from the ministry we were in.

I once asked her in a scenario question, which would bother/upset her more:

  • Me being Gay or
  • Me Cheating and having a full-blown out affair or
  • Me becoming an atheist or

Her answer and response were not reassuring of me expressing my doubts.  However the good thing is, when I asked her again with an expanded selection of options, this time atheist did not come out worst….Child Molester did.

In perspective, our faith is simply not just a religion to us; it’s really the basis of all our decisions.

I want to tell her next week, but I’m still trying to decide which the best way to go about this:

  • My sister says to just sit down with her, let her know how much I love her, and then let the rest flow.
  • I’ve seen some people write a letter or an e-mail
  • Nate from the Finding Truth Blog, wrote like a 40-50 page thesis on the flaws of the Bible and Christianity
  • I’ve considered writing her a letter on the blog, and just directing her to the blog, so she could see what been on my mind over the last few months.
  • A Video that outlines everything
  • Or maybe some combination of the options
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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in atheist, emotions, god, life, reason, unbelief and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Need Advice

  1. limey says:

    Touch choices. I think you’ll get differing opinions depending on the biases of others :-).

    My opinion is I think face to face is better, maybe somewhere other than home, go for a walk somewhere.

    On my journey, I delayed telling my wife for 3 years and even then only did so when faced with a situation where I had to. I’m not convinced that is the right tactic, but for me it worked and I discovered that my wife already suspected.

    Reading about your situaion though, I think you and your wife are in deeper than my wife and I were/are, which can only make it harder.

    is there a way you can break it down into chunks rather than give it all in one go. Like with this Youth Pastor role, maybe take the line that you don’t think its apropriate for you now? Hmmm, that sounds a little like deception through omission.

  2. Jack says:

    If she’s as committed to her faith as you say she is, she’s gonna be hurt and disappointed, but she’s also going to continue to love you. IMHO, if she truly loves the relationship she has to her Lord, her church, and he Bible, she’s going to be open to discussion. She’s going to want to hear of your hurts and your struggles. She’s going to be patient, and compassionate.

    And if she’s not, then it’s my opinion that her relationship with “Him” is not as much a part of her inner-self, her heart, her soul, as you both thinks. If your confession to her makes her anything less than what her faith and her study of the Bible would have it, then perhaps she’s need to re-evaluate the true depth of her Christianity.

    But I feel, you have every reason to believe(based on your words about her faith), that she’ll react just like her Lord would, with kindness and understanding. Maybe I’m talking way out of turn, and if so, please forgive me.

    I hope nothing but the best for you!

  3. D'Ma says:

    I voted for face to face because that’s how I would do this. But no one can really tell you what is best for your situation. There are nuances to every relationship and we are not privy to those.

    You have my empathy in your situation. But as the previous commenter suggested, even if she is angry and an argument ensues at first, at some point she will surely realize that she is still your partner in life and you hers. I recognize that you’ve agreed on some pretty fundamental ideologies about raising your children and what kind of marriage you would have. Everything you have done to this point has been based on your faith.

    Some of the topics you’ve raised have probably tipped her off and her reaction has probably been based, in part, in fear. I wish you the best and that love wins the day.

  4. Brenda says:

    I would say face-to-face. You may want to write a letter explaining some of your journey and struggles and reasons – and have that to give her after the face-to-face as more of a follow-up. Sometimes we can express ourselves better in writing and it’s not done in the heat of the moment. In the heat of the moment people can get very defensive and reactionary, whereas with a letter you could calmly explain your journey. But I think initially she should hear it from you face-to-face.

    Now that I’ve left Christianity I realize how much we were taught to judge people based on the beliefs they hold. It takes a bit of a mind shift to realize that people are just people, regardless of their views about religion. Once you’ve ‘come out’ to her, when appropriate, I would gently insert into conversations that you are the same person, you still love her, and you are still a moral person. Remind her that even though your beliefs about religion have changed – the essence of who you are has not.

    I know how shocking my journey was for me – and I was the one going through it! I can feel for the spouses who have to come to terms with such a huge change in their partner. Not easy stuff for sure!

  5. Reading this all I could think of is how I would go about breaking this news to my wife and her potential responses…and honestly, we are very similar as are our wives. My heart goes out to you because I have a feeling she will not take it very well. But that doesn’t change the fact that you need to let her know; I’m just not sure if you need to drop the bomb all at once are not. Have you considered dropping the youth ministry position for “personal reasons” and then little by little becoming less active? I have no idea if that would work either, to be honest, I tend to be passive aggressive and an introvert, so the less friction I can come up with the better.

  6. unkleE says:

    Dear BR

    I don\’t feel comfortable with giving advice, but I will make a comment. Even here, I feel very wary, because these are very personal matters. But since you asked ….

    I wonder whether you are ready for this yet. All along, your thought processes seem to have been that your christian faith depends on the inerrancy of the Bible. In this post you link the two again: \”I no longer believe in Christianity. That I no longer believe in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible.\” Effectively, your logic seems to be this:

    1. If christianity was true, the Bible would be inerrant.
    2. The Bible isn\’t inerrant.
    3. Therefore christianity isn\’t true.

    I have argued all along that #1 isn\’t necessarily the case, that millions, perhaps billions, of christians don\’t think that. And I don\’t think that you have properly considered all the other evidence for christianity.

    You have eloquently showed in this post how heart-rending this decision is, and how much you will lose by going public to your wife, friends and church with your unbelief. So I find it difficult to understand, with so much at stake, why you don\’t consider further the possibility that christianity doesn\’t depend on inerrancy, and that all the other reasons to belief are true. You might then be able to maintain the basis of your marriage and life and be true to your conviction that the Bible is not inerrant. At the very least you could honestly discuss your dilemma with your wife and friends in stages: (1) loss of belief in inerrancy, and then (2) any conclusions you draw about christian faith generally.

    I guess I\’m wondering if I have understood your reasons well enough. Perhaps you are willing to give up so much because inerrancy isn\’t the only problem for you? Perhaps deep down, you have decided you don\’t believe any more regardless of reasons? (I don\’t mean to be rude here, just exploring.)

    If you do decide to go ahead now, may I suggest you seek professional counselling advice. These people have dealt with many difficult situations like this, and their help may ease the way far better than anything any of us can offer.

    Best wishes.

  7. Wow. I wish you all the best.

    I get the impression you and your wife are very close, which would make me think telling her face to face would be the right thing.

    What I would think about is whether she will hear you out without interrupting, and whether there’s any risk that you won’t be able to keep your thoughts clear in that intense situation. If that’s possible, I would write it down to make sure you say exactly what you feel. You don’t want a situation later of “Oh, if only I’d said *that*!”

    Of course, whatever you do, it won’t be your last communication on the subject.

  8. Ryan says:

    I agree with jonnyscaramanga.

  9. Reading this brings back the memories of when my husband told me he no longer believed. I admit I did not handle it well at first. I felt devestated and worried about an unequally yoked marriage. That went on for months.

    I will be thinking about you as you make this big step. It’s a hard one but it feels good not to hide it anymore. Best of luck. 🙂

  10. Vanessa says:

    I empathize with your dilemma, and will respond to this from the perspective of a woman. I voted for the “Simply, sit her down and let her know” option because that will feel a lot more sincere and honest than an e-mail or a link to your blog. As a woman, I would appreciate being told really important (i.e.life-changing decisions) in person so I will understand how deeply my partner feels about this. If the news is broken to me via a (public) blog that showcases my partner’s views, I would feel betrayed that others knew about this before I did, especially because it is something so close to both our hearts.

    I agree with questionablefaith that maybe you don’t need to drop the bomb all at once. Maybe just explain to her that you have many questions about Christianity that cast reasonable doubt on your faith first, and print out some of your blog posts for her to read? And slowly lead her to your blog so she can gain a better understanding. Also agree with Johnnyscaramanga that you should probably write down your thoughts in a clear, linear way so you won’t get confused or overwhelmed by the strong emotions that will surely be raging during a talk like that.

    Good luck and I hope things go well.

  11. Thanks everybody for you comments and advice, sorry I haven’t been able to get back to everyone each individual comments, but I’ll try to get to it later on during the week.

  12. I can’t speak from any kind of experience here, as I have no wife and haven’t told anyone in my family about my unbelief. But, I do know that this is the kind of thing that is better done in person. Anything else would, quite probably, come off as insincere or uncaring. The advice to follow it up with a pre-written letter is good. In the heat of the moment you are likely to fumble for answers or to leave something out. A well thought-out letter written beforehand is a good tool to counter that.

    I hope all goes well. I know that some unbelievers haven’t come out well from such encounters and others have come out surprisingly well. I’m just glad that I don’t have to make such a decision.

  13. It goes down tonight…..

  14. Robert Moores says:

    Well, you’ve already got a lot of good advice going on here, and I’m just another voice. But face-to-face is how pretty much any conversation with your wife should go, unless it’s something like, “Could you take the chicken out of the freezer?”

    I can’t imagine being in a situation where I so feared my wife’s reaction to my religious choices that I didn’t know how to tell her. In my marriage I was the first to vocalize disbelief in God, and my wife thought about her own beliefs as a result. She didn’t seem to have any trouble with it. Now she’s an atheist as well. But all in all, religion was not a very big part of our marriage, and our love for each other came well before anything else. I hope somewhere in your own marriage, there is that same thread of connection that will hold you together. I don’t understand putting any kind of spiritual relationship above human relationships.

    I suppose that means I’m not qualified to advise you, but all I’m really saying is, “Good luck.”

  15. I don’t envy your road ahead. Interestingly enough, this past weekend I got to sit down with an old friend of mine from college. Back in our college days I was the vocal atheist (and still am) and he was a fundamentalist Christian. Since that time, he has gone to a deeply conservative seminary, then switched to Yale Seminary. He graduated from them and just recently de-converted. He have maintained our friendship for over a decade. While he is not married and no in your situation, he is struggling with the loss of his faith and I was really worried that he might kill himself. He’s isolated. He doesn’t have many friends and most don’t know that he lost his faith. You seem isolated too. It might help you transition if you started going to some atheist meetups or freethought group meetings in your area. One idea might me to take your wife to a lecture held by one of these groups under the guise of witnessing. Stress being respectful. Hopefully that will help prime her for your announcement. A good way to find local meetings is through UnitedCoR.org.

    • Jack says:

      to StaksRosch…I’m worried about your friend. That you worried he might kill himself, makes me really hurt for him!
      to Biblereader…it’s the evening of the 3rd here, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all went/goes well. Take it easy on yourself!

  16. Been thinking about you a well.

  17. Looks like I’m late to the advice party…but I really hope it all goes well.
    My only advice would be to let your wife know that she is the most important person in your life, and that you couldn’t bear to be dishonest with her.

    Again, I really hope things go well for you.

  18. I Just wanted to say Thank You Everyone for your advice….I probably won’t be doing an official post on the status of my marriage. Because its still too soon and since my wife does know about the blog, it would be somewhat inappropriate to put the most internal feelings and doubts up her and our marriage. I wouldn’t want something like that being more of a hindrance than a burden.

    Status Update;
    We are still together, and she did consider leaving because she does feel like it could work out between us in the long run if I’m no longer a christian. She feels nothing could convince her that god and jesus doesn’t exist. She did try to witness to me. And do the prayer of salvation. And she said I was never a true believer, (Also my pastor said that too.)

    For the sake of our marriage and kids, I did agree to continue going to church, but allow our children to be raised in christian. But if they have any questions, I will be answering them.

    I agreed to this last part for two reason, 1)To preserve and save our family and marriage. 2) Out of fairness and respect to her, She married a Christian Man, expected a Christian Family, Christian Kids, and a Christian lifestyle.

    • ... Zoe ~ says:

      I’ve come to your blog late in the journey here. I find myself quite emotional as I read through your posts. I’m further along in this journey and my coming-out so to speak took place slowly and at the time we were out-of-the-church Christians for a few years before I knew I could no longer call myself a Christian. Over about two years I’d slowly mention things here and there and finally as I approached my 50th birthday I decided to tell him and his response was totally accepting and loving. Our faith enveloped us wholly and at one time we were both in youth lay ministry with plans on being youth missionaries when my husband retired. If I had changed my beliefs while still in ministry and shared them with my husband while our children were young, I just don’t know how it would go. My heart always aches in these situations because it just seems so sad that it causes such pain. Though I understand why that is so. Salvation is complicated and so is it’s undoing. 😦

      • No, you haven’t come late, you have come right when things get interesting. Atleast from my end. Because like I said before, this process has been generally very pain free, because its been all over a blog. But once I had to start people, thats when it has become interesting at least from my point of view.

  19. unkleE says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m sure everyone here wishes you the best in your ongoing journey.

  20. Nate says:

    Well, I’m really late to this (sorry!), but I just wanted to say that I think you did the right thing in agreeing to go to church with her and allowing your kids to grow up in the Christian faith. I would have agreed to that too, if my wife hadn’t begun having doubts of her own. Anyway, I wish nothing but the best for you both, and I’ll continue catching up on everything I’ve missed over the last month or two.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      don’t feel bad, but I did want to let you know the 50 page pdf you sent me did come in handy, and I did use it at as a reference point in some areas. And your blog in general, I used alot as great source of information. THANKS

      • Nate says:

        That’s awesome! I’m really glad to hear that it was useful. I know how tough it is to be the black sheep during this process, but things will definitely get better. Good luck to you and your wife. 🙂

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