Leaving The "fold" Of ChristianityMy story is long & complicated, as I'm sure most are. So, I will try to keep it brief, yet informative.
I am a 31 year old SAHM of two children under the age of 5. I am married to my best friend, my husband of 7 years. He works in construction, attends school full time & will graduate in December with a Masters degree in Counseling. We live in Oklahoma, the "Buckle of the Bible-Belt".
My husband & I met when we were only 5 years old, when his parents came to pastor my family's Nazarene church. Over the years of childhood & adolescence, we remained close friends & in our early 20's fell in love & were married in the Nazarene church by my husband's father, an ordained Nazarene reverend.
Throughout most of our lives we called ourselves saved/born-again Christians. Through study & life-experience, we strayed from many of our family's & church's fundamental conservative beliefs & became more liberal in our beliefs, calling ourselves liberal Christians/Followers of Jesus/Religious Moderates.
Our family noticed the gradual changes & over the years, friendly theological debates have taken place. But, through it all we always managed to see past one another's different religious view-points & simply be satisfied that at least on the most crucial belief we could agree: the existence of the Trinity of Christianity (God as 3-in-1/God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son & the Holy Spirit).
Our family & extended family are all extremely close & bonded through the "sacred brotherly/sisterly love" of fellow Christians. We live close, dine together several times a week, celebrate birthdays & holidays together & support one another through sickness & hardship.
Our nuclear family (Husband, Myself, Son & Daughter) are closest to my husbands parents. They have always been there for us to support us financially & help us care for our children & general emotional/relational/loving support that most children desire from their parents.
However, recently things have changed.
For a couple years now my husband & I have been on a spiritual path towards agnosticism. Many factors & details have led us this direction, mainly researching the history & facts surrounding Christianity. But, we were able to see past some of the glaringly obvious contradictions of the faith & generally agree that it would be more harmful to publicly denounce our faith, causing unnecessary tension & disfunction in our family. After-all, what could be the harm in following the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Well, it turns out, it is harmful!
Through several visits to my 4 year old son's Sunday School class, I started to hear some things that really bothered me. Here are a few examples:
1.) If you have faith in God & pray, He will protect you from harm. (Daniel in the Lion's Den)
2.) If you have faith & pray, God can heal all your "boo-boos". (Lazarus)
3.) God loves you, even though you have been "bad". (Adam & Eve)
My husband & I discussed this over the course of a few weeks & several Sunday School "audits". We both agreed, we did not feel comfortable with the information our child was receiving. We felt it was setting him up with important core fundamental beliefs in God & the world we live in, that just are not true.
And looking back & examining our own experiences, we both heartily agreed that some of this indoctrination had been harmful in our own lives. Some of it even scarier than that which our son was hearing. For example, instilling the "Fear of God" & the terror of hell & eternal damnation.
So, we began to skip church all together, coming up with excuses for our absence & finding other enjoyable ways to spend the time together as a family. We felt the loss of our faith was something we should try to "take to the grave".
But, of course, the charade could not continue forever & soon an altercation ensued, in which we finally shared with my husband's parents our lack of belief in Christianity.
Needless to say, there were some strong reactions & many tears.
But, since that Sunday a couple weeks ago, it's as if the entire subject has been pushed under the rug, a bad nightmare no one wishes to revisit anytime soon.
Also, other things have changed. My husband & I noticed that his parents no longer tell us they love us, especially at the end of phone calls, something that seems trivial & habit. But, it is genuinely hurtful to think maybe your parents don't love you anymore. Or maybe they think since we aren't Christian, we are not capable of love?
Also, my 31st birthday went completely unnoticed by my in-laws. Usually, birthdays are a big deal, with a homemade dinner of choice, cake & presents. But maybe we're undeserving of this sort of attention? Or perhaps without Jesus, there is no reason to celebrate living another year?
For now, only my husband's parents know about our "fall from Grace". But it is only a matter of time before they spread the word to family & close friends with the purpose of: "Please pray for our children."
In the meantime, this journey my husband & I are on is very lonely. We are non-believers in the middle of a VERY Christian society. We would appreciate any & all support, advice or questions.
Thanks for reading my story!
photogness 31-35 8 Responses 3 Aug 31, 2010