I’m no longer interested in Church at all

A few months ago I made a decision that I was not interested in attending church any longer and that included being involved in activities there.

Its not all long ago that I was happy to attend and happy to help out. I’m not entirely sure what sparked the change in attitude. I suspect it was no individual thing that drove this decision; rather it was a gradual adjustment of perspective.

The final straw came when my wife volunteered us both to help out in the weekly youth club. I didn’t particularly respond positively and the result was the accusation of me putting on a face like I’d been told to do something I didn’t want to do. The back story here is that some members have become unhappy with the church and withdrawn. This included some who had been involved in the youth club. Being in dire need of assistance, my wife did the honourable thing and offered help from a couple with past experience of youth club.

I went along for a couple of weeks and did my best, but frankly my heart wasn’t in it and it showed. Its hard to pretend to be an enthusiastic youth leader when you really aren’t engaging with the bigger picture. I had fun in the games but found the story time and biblical elements even more uncomfortable than when I sit in church.

The result was I had to admit that I was being turned off church and was at a point where I really didn’t want to be there at all. My wife has been very gracious in this and I suggested that I stop altogether because the last thing she wanted was a husband who resented church because it was forced to be there for the sake of appearances.

I didn’t see this coming

The honest truth here is that this has taken me by surprise. I never expected to be in a place where I was stopped church altogether and would seriously wonder if I was heading along a path towards being ‘anti church’. I’m not there now, but I do wonder if one day I will become disillusioned with people of faith to the point that I become anti organised religion to the point of some of the vocal atheists I know.

I’m not there yet, so let’s not get too carried away just yet.

I think there are two main reasons for my change in stance. One is that I am not at all comfortable being in a church service environment any more. Everything is so familiar, and yet so strangely alien. I know most of the hymns and song off by heart, I have heard most sermons and children’s talks. However, its not a world view I identify with anymore and the arguments I hear all get disassembled in my mind. I simply can’t engage on either a spiritual or intellectual level.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to articulate how and why I made this transformation of attitude. For the moment I can’t, I only know its happened. Maybe it was inevitable and I was just being naive or denialist in thinking I could continue to be supportive of church; probably both.

 

Conspiracy Against Creationism and Ken Ham’s Intollerance

The BBC have been running a series called Conspiracy Files. The basic premise is that half dozen people who subscribe to a conspiracy idea are taken on a bus trip across America to visit various experts who can counter the conspiracy claim. At the end of the programme each person gets a piece to camera to see if they have changed their views.

Its not an especially great programme to be honest, you can tell that there is an element of manufactured conflict in that the people picked to the bus trip often have conflicting views themselves.

I watch it because I have in interest in conspiracies, not because I believe them, quite the opposite. Its because I don’t believe them, but I am interested in the arguments that conspiracists use so that I can better understand the argument and how to counter it. Classic conspiracies like 9/11 and UFOs have been covered.

Creationism as a Conspiracy

I very intrigued when I saw there was to be a programme on Creationism. Not just because I wanted to see what the people believed and who would be rolled out against them, but because I wanted to see what came up as compared with my previously held version of Christianity and Creationism. I was also puzzled by the inclusion of Creationism in the series; I don’t especially object to its inclusion but I’m not actually convinced that Creationism is a conspiracy theory in the way that 9/11 and the existence of crashed alien craft are.

A conspiracy theory requires agents actively working against the idea in an effort to hide the truth. I don’t think this is really the case. I certainly never believed that people were trying to hide the truth of a literal Creation from the wider public. I believed that evolutionary theory was a misreading of the evidence. Surely if scientists knew of a literal creation they’d become Christians and there would be no need to hide the fact of creation from the rest of the world.

The idea of the government and scientists actively trying to teach evolution and hide the truth of a literal creation just doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t think I’ve ever read of anyone claiming this to be the case.

On to the Trip

Conspiracy or not, the programme rolled out a handful of folks from Ol’ Blighty. One hardened Christian Creationist, one hardened Muslim Creationist and some other people who, as far as I could tell, were a bit more ‘woolly’ in their faith, one I suspected was more spiritual than religious. Their creationist credentials did seem more suspect, though if they had filled the bus with identical Christian Creationists its wouldn’t have been a very interesting programme because the same arguments would have rotated round everyone so I can see why diversity was desired.

Predictably, the Christian Creationist sounded very much like I must have in my early argumentative years. It was interesting see those arguments come out in the way that I would likely have put them. Hearing them made me laugh. They sounded weak, and when countered with the detail of the science from the relevant expert in the field, the creationist arguments really had no foundation. It was clear as day.

Towards the end of the programme, one of the girls did appear to show a softening towards evolution and I did have hope that she would continue that journey.

The biggest giggle came from the ending comments from the two hardened creationists. The Christian claiming that his beliefs were shown to have held up and that the Muslim was shown to be false. The Muslim claimed the reverse. It was a classic case of preconceived bias leading one to interpret an experience to their own advantage, ignoring what actually occurred. Despite it providing me entertainment, I did genuinely feel sadness for them both as they were clearly unable to see beyond their beliefs.

Ken Ham’s Intollerance

I see that Ken Ham has made a comment on the programme (http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2012/10/22/more-intolerance/).  He headlines it as intolerance against creationism, which is frankly baloney. There was no intolerance shown, simply evidence and argument. If evolutionists are intolerant because they attempt to explain to Creationists why they are wrong, then Ken Ham’s comments are equally intolerant for declaring evolutionists wrong.

That aside, Ken Ham makes a basic Creationist error, one that I have seen made many times.

 

His determination to deal only with “natural forces” eliminates God automatically. In other words, he started with the assumption that God and His Word have nothing to do with explaining reality. He started with a bias against anything to do with the God of the Bible. He did not start by looking objectively at the evidence.

 

This is a basic understanding failure. The fact that its made by a leading Creationist apologetic is damning and pathetic. He really should know better. Scientists who claim there is no god do so because of the evidence they see. Its this evidence that has lead them to the conclusion of evolution and its this evidence that falsifies the Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve and The Flood. Its not then unreasonable to conclude there is no god. Science looks at natural processes because that is all that we can see and gather evidence from. That evidence is explained by those natural processes only and therefore its an easy conclusion to make that no god was involved. There is no predetermining the non-existence of any god and then building a theory which excludes it, as Ken Ham would have people believe.

Scientists reach their conclusions from the evidence and if the evidence does not fit a hypothesis, then its abandoned and a new one is formed. The evidence always dictates the conclusion, not the other way round. It is the Creationist who starts from the end result and looks for the evidence that matches the result or comes up with a hypothesis for fitting the evidence into the end result. Ken Ham wrongly asserts that because his idea of science is all arse over tits, so must the scientists’.

 

The Christian (Theist) Challenge

 

To follow on from the atheist challenge (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/10-questions-for-atheists/), thebiblereader (http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-atheist-challenge/) has created 10 questions for Christians.

The 10 questions can be found here: http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-christian-theist-challenge/ and rather than repe4at the questions I’ll let you pop over there to read them and I’ll provide the answers below that I think my former Christian self would have replied. This will be an interesting challenge for me as it will provide me with an opportunity to attempt to think as I once did about God and salvation and examine those thoughts through my new eyes.

 

1)      Religion is a man made concept and as such there will be elements of religiosity that do conflict with God and the Bible. Those conflicts would be entirely the fault of the people involved and not at all to do with God. God and His word, however, do not conflict.

2)      A lot depends on the context of this, I can recall certain situations where immediate danger to my family could have resulted in this sort of interpretation out of a desire for retribution. However, in the cold light of day in my western life in glorious England, I really can’t see how that might happen. Even with absolute certainty that it was an instruction from God I can’t see myself going ahead with it.

3)      God always was and since he created the laws of physics when he created the universe, there is no violation as he is outside of those laws.

4)      Yes, of course its inerrant. Perceived errancy is down to misunderstanding the context of the situation.

5)      Its not right or justifiable by today’s standards. Life in those times were different and the rules of war and engagement. God wasn’t ordering killing for killings sake. Nasty killings were going to happen anyway, wars of that nature in those times would have been very brutal. God’s instruction on dispatching the enemy did not make the end result any worse than it would have been anyway. This was a kill or be killed scenario and utter oblivion of the enemy reduces the chance of a repeat performance later on.

6)      God did not make a mistake. He intentionally gave us the option of following him or not. The choice had to be ours to make. Having a creation of adorable puppies that mindlessly stick to his heals and wishing to please at every one of his whims is not what he intended to create. Through a free will choice, comes imperfection as a consequence of those choices, when they are made truly and freely. Would a creation of those puppy-like followers be perfect? I would say not.

7)      Yes he will hear. God might help that person get find the way again, or he might know that they will manage it anyway and so not intervene. The Christian might never know which.

8)      I never considered that this could even be an option. I can’t imagine what I would do.

9)      Being a creationist. The proof would have been that creation was wrong and evolution right after all because the unpacking of that would mean so much of the bible simply can’t be true and that kills the foundation of the gospels dead. (As it turns out, this is precisely what happened)

10)   I had always been happy to admit to indoctrination. I was happy with that because I was secure in my faith. Other Gods were not compatible and so they could not be believed in. Other religions were violent, cultish or a bit New Age and fluffy. None of which were attractive.

Sailing in a Sea of Negativity

There are times when I feel that there are elements of the atheist and sceptic community who are only happy when they are knocking someone else down, or more specifically, mocking and laughing at someone else’s irrational beliefs because they consider them stupid and idiotic. Its not just the atheists and sceptics of course, there is this type of person everywhere, however lately I’ve begun to wonder if there are those who take their position of being non-religious to such an extreme that their sole purpose seems to be to tell everyone about how bad and awful religion is.

It came to a head for me when I listened to several episodes of an atheist podcast and in the guise of proclaiming how wonderful it was to have a purpose without religion it majored on the delusion of the believer. Proclaiming the wonders of having a life of purpose without religion is not the same as telling the (un)converted how misguided the religious are. I actually got very annoyed with hearing the same anti-religious rhetoric rather than good quality reasoned argument.

I’m not going to name and shame here, it would distract from my point and the list of offenders would be too long to be practical. Some generally decent blogs and podcasts have also fallen for the same ‘lets bitch about religious because its trendy’ bandwagon; plus I should also get it out there now, yes I’m guilty of those same accusations in this blog as well. I hope that I’m fair and balanced in my posts, but I do have to acknowledge that in telling my story there are some things I have said (and maybe will say) that are not especially nice about religion. There is also much good religion has done in my life and I hope I am balanced and fair, giving credit and blame where each is deserved.

Choosing sources

In my reading on science and religion there have been a variety of podcasts and blogs I have perused. Some I still subscribe to and some I have chosen to leave alone or avoid. Finding some which appear to exist for the sole purpose of telling the world how bad and wicked religion is disappoints me; not because I think religion needs me to defend it, but because I consider an overtly negative and derisive tone unhealthy. How can you spend so much time focussing on the negatives of something you disagree with and not be affected by it? I can’t think of a better way to foster extremism than to focus so much energy of the negative aspects of a specific subject!

Even in the blogs and podcasts that I have chosen to stay subscribed to, for reasons of my own scientific education and learning, I find posts and episodes which are so negative I end up moving on and waiting for the next instalment.

Language should be appropriate

I’m not saying that religion is blame free; far from it. More specifically, there are some religious people who have done some horrid things and there are some people who have done some horrid things in the name of religion. Those acts and the perpetrators deserve scorn that’s appropriate to their actions.

What I find much more bothersome is the attitude which is basically the religious are stupid and that fact alone makes them deserving of ridicule and scorn. As someone who was brought up to have respect for others, regardless of creed, I find this conflicting attitude contemptible and hard to stomach. I’m not for a second implying its all one way, its not, and that’s not my point anyway. What I am finding is that there are so many un-called for digs in the direction of religion or the religious that normally mild mannered me is getting sick of it.

Get excited about life not about others lives

There is so much pleasure in being curious about science and living life to its fullest and enjoying the best of what nature and man has to offer. When I read a science blog or listen to a sceptic podcast I want to learn about science and understand the specifics of why certain ideas are false. Inappropriate attacks on others just because of what they believe bugs me silly and I really don’t want any part of it. One specific laughable example is the person who gets all hot and bothered about those who they consider are guilty of pushing religion onto others and then go and do exactly the same with their own anti-religious beliefs!

No, I don’t like the negativity that floats about the fringes of religion and I don’t buy the argument that its all religions fault. As the adage goes, it takes two to tango and those who spout their overtly anti-religious rhetoric are guilty of spreading negativity and I do get concerned about where that could lead.

Would you like to Operate the Projector?

Oh dear. I’ve been wondering when this question would come, and unfortunately it has come much sooner than I would have liked.

First Some Background

Like many churches in the UK, our current church and our last church have joined the revolution and now project the words to songs on a screen using a computer and digital projector. This has a distinct advantage over using acetate in that presentations, images and videos can also be projected using the same equipment.

In our last church I was one of the regular projector operators and being computer literate I had an advantage over the other people on the OHP rota in that the technology didn’t intimidate me and I knew exactly what I was doing and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) mess things up by guessing or doing random stuff for the sake of it. It also helped that my wife leads worship occasionally and so I have an understanding of the needs of the worship leader and what the projector operator should or shouldn’t do to make the worship leader’s life easier.

So with these two advantages, it is safe to say that I was pretty much the favoured projector operator in our last church. It wasn’t unusual for the pastor to beam widely when he saw that it was me on duty.

Back to the Present

I dropped off the rota several months before we moved because I didn’t want to do it anymore. With our move I am very happy not having the responsibility and still don’t want it. With our new church duly informed (by our last church as part of membership transfer) that my wife and I make a good worship leading and projector operating combo; I knew that the inevitable question would be asked. I just hoped it would not be this soon.

The reasons for me being asked are legitimate, two people have dropped off the rota in the last week. One because he turned 80 and had always said he would stop at that age, another due to a much more conservative stance and simply not liking some of the worship changes. Apparently a hymn should be sung as it is written and thou shalt not change it about. Who said that a hymn had the same importance as the biblical word? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post, so best not get distracted.

How can I say No?

I don’t think I can really. The church has a need and I am very much one of the best qualified people to do it. Its my gift if you like. The pastor knows my faith position (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/the-coming-out-begins/) and so he obviously has no issue with me doing the job, so he asked me if I would consider it.

I did tell him that in all honesty I was hoping not to have to get involved, but that I would think about it.

In discussing it with my wife later she suggested that I might like doing it because it would mean I could legitimately hide away from the rest of the congregation (the operator sits alone up in the balcony at the back of the church) and not have to worry about pretending anything or being uncomfortable. That was a genuinely thoughtful suggestion and I hadn’t considered it, however I didn’t really like that as a motive for doing it. It feels false an insincere to use that as a motive for operating the projector.

However, given my state of faith, how could any motive be pure and Christian? That’s probably a question best left alone I think.

So I think I’m going to have to do it.

I don’t see any way round it, the church has a need, and I am a very good fit. My doing it will have a positive impact on the worship in the church and since my wife is now getting involved in worship leading I will be directly helping her. Atheist objections aside, I just don’t see how I can refuse and saying “I really don’t want to” seems to be somehow weak and petty, even though I know I won’t be viewed negatively for not doing it.

Would the world be better off without religion?

This is a reasonable debate on the subject in question (http://www.npr.org/2011/11/21/142470957/would-the-world-be-better-off-without-religion?ft=3&f=111787346&sc=nl&cc=es-20111127). Rather than me repeat the detail, it would be far easier for you to hop over to the page, read the synopsis and spend 50 minutes listening to the debate.

Personally I don’t fall either way on the debate, but if forced into a decision I am more likely to sway towards no, the world would not be better off without religion.

However, I am not entirely happy with the question or attempts to answer it because the world has we know it has developed alongside religion. Religion is part of our social history and there is nothing that can be done about it. Arguing that the world would be better without religion, means having to predict how history would have turned out without religion and I don’t think that is possible to do with any accuracy at all.

Predictably much of the debate focused around goodness, good deeds and a little bit on morality. I think this is a very narrow way to argue the point, but I am not surprised that this became a focus because no matter where you go, religions detractors will tend to focus on these parts.

There are some good points made on both sides, and I think it’s a debate worth listening too. However, there are also a couple of logical fallacies too.

Personally I don’t think the balance of world crimes are any worse because of religion. Yes there are some personal hurts caused to people as a result of religion, I have been a victim of that. However, religion is not the sole cause of hurt that I have been on the receiving end of. Also, the question posed here has a greater scope than individual hurt. The scope is the world as a whole, if erasing religion makes my personal hurt less, it does not mean that it has also made the world as a whole better.

So, to summarise, I think it’s a good thought experiment and debate to participate in, but I think the question has limited value because we can’t rewind time and rerun history without religion. Religion has had its impact and it can’t be undone, arguing about the crimes of the past and religions role in it doesn’t help the future very much. Far better, in my view, to try not to let mistakes of the past be repeated and to progress society in a better, less ‘bad’ way. Religion does not necessarily have to be subscribed to in order to make a future world better. Since it’s here currently, we may as well work with it for the improvement of all.

Emergency! This Samosa is Too Christian

Chamuças de Goa. Chamuças (samosas) from Goa.

Image via Wikipedia

I genuinely burst out laughing reading a free paper on the train into work this morning. Muslims in Samalia have apparently decreed Samosas as too Christian and banned them.

Quite how a food can be deemed religious is beyond me, but it seems that’s the case and soSomaliawill now have to do without.

The ludicrousness of a deity loving foodstuff aside, if one was to associate Samosas with any religion its not going to be Christianity. Samosas are a triangular snack of meat or vegetable wrapped in pastry and fried. They are generally very tasty and I have no problem enjoying them. I believe they originate fromIndia, which is not the source of Christianity. If one was to associate them with any religion, my guess would be Hinduism.

However, sinceIndiahosts numerous religions I am not sure it is even credible to associate Samosas with any specific religion at all. Its a cultural snack which has migrated around the world and arguably transcends all cultures and therefore all religions.

Since the story comes from Somalia, its one that is worth looking into a little more because Somalia is currently a lawless hotbed of fighting factions and it would not at all surprise me if there are several ultra extremist organisations there fighting for some sort of control and my guess is that this is a decree by one such organisation in an attempt to flex some muscle and create headlines for itself.

A quick check reveals the following stories on the subject, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/somalias-islamist-group-bans-samosas-calling-it-too-western/823140/, http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/somalia-islamic-supremacists-ban-samosas-for-resembling-christian-trinity.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018858/Islamist-group-Somalia-bans-samosas-deciding-theyre-Western.html?ito=feeds-newsxml where it seems that pretty much everyone in the world feels the same way about it as I do.

Extremism is Dangerous

 

This kind of exclusion is divisive and after the laughter has subsided there is a very serious issue to consider. People are likely going to suffer and possibly even be killed over this.

In a country that has many other issues to face, namely the feeding of its people, this grasping for power can have no positive effect at all.

Where is the line between religion and cult?

The BBC recently broadcast a programme called My Brother The Islamist (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12900460). I found the content fascinating and when I compare it to my own experience of fundamental Christianity I can’t help but stop and ponder, how close is the extreme end of religion to a cult?

In the BBC programme, a man tries to answer the question of what happened to his step brother to turn him into an extreme Muslim. One quote in particular jumps out at me.

“You see all this filth, all this munkar, it will all be gone when the Sharia comes in,” he remarked, scanning disdainfully around him.

By “munkar” he meant sin, evil. He was disgusted by what surrounded him

This strikes a chord with me as its how I remember feeling at times. I would look around and be offended at all the perceived sin around me and see it as evidence of the devil at work in this wonderful Christian land that was so obviously turning its back on God.

Now I know that the brother featured here and my own brush with fundamentalism are both small representations of the religious spectrum. I know too that the vast majority of those who practice religion are more moderate.

This is why the difference between a cult and an extreme religious sect intrigues me. Cults are normally identified by their forceful encouragement of members to cut all ties with friends and family outside of the cult. Its this aspect of a cult that rang a warning bell for me with the story of the Islamist brother and had me wondering how much further down the extreme spectrum does a religion have to go in order to be a cult.

When pondering this subject I was reminded of The Nine O’Clock Service (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_O’Clock_Service). This was a specific service that was part of an Anglican church here in the UK and eventually grew into something potentially more dangerous. I am fairly sure that when the news broke, that the word cult was used by some to describe it. Mind you there are many who would happily call anything religious a cult so that in and of itself does not make it a cult.

The thing with The Nine O’clock Service is that it started innocuous itself and then, without the right accountability, grew into something dangerous. This was my concern with the BBC story of the brothers, does something start looking like its becoming a cult and what can be done about it?

I don’t have answers to either but I hope that moderate religious people being aware of the dangers are able to spot the act early. Certainly for those in the centre of it, its very hard to spot what is going on.

 

Islam and Evolution

In recent weeks there has been a bit of a buzz in the press (National, Scientific, Sceptic and Religious) about an Islamic Imam by the name of Dr Usama Hasan.

In summary, Dr Usama Hasan recently gave a talk at the Mosque he holds a his position at about Evolution. During the talk some of what he said was objected to and discussion got a little heated. In the argument and counter-argument that followed the Dr has cancelled a further appearance and a retraction has been published on his behalf.

For The Independent’s take on the story see here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/scientist-imam-threatened-over-darwinist-views-2232952.html.

Now I have just spent an hour or so reading some of what is being said on the subject.

The national press are reporting that deaths threats were made against Dr Usama Hasan and the retraction and subsequent cancellation are in response to those death threats. The finger of blame is pointed at Saudi Muslims.

One thing that occurred to me when reading this is that whenever we get stories of Muslims being unreasonable in the UK press, there is always a reminder that Saudi Muslims practice a stricter version of Islam than that which we see on our fair shores. So the Saudi link is not surprising, but equally I feel concerned that its also not proven. It also feels a little bit like we are being intentionally fed information that leads us to distrust anything that is Muslim, especially that which is associated with Saudi Arabia and its neighbours. However, since my knowledge is limited further speculation from me on that would be ill advised, especially as I am not one to pander to conspiracy theories, its far more likely to be sloppy journalism, of which there are many examples.

The scientific and sceptic press and commentary takes a predictable line. They praise the Imam for his open stance to scientific evidence and hold him up as an example of enlightened religiosity. This praise is quickly followed by disgust at the closed minded individuals who shouted down this poor man who was only telling the truth and has suffered death threats and infamy as a result.

Religious comment is the most interesting. Christian comments are mainly along the lines of support for the moderate Imam.

It’s the comments from and among Muslims that are the most polarised and in some way bothered me about the whole affair. A brief run down of the type of comment I have read is as follows:

  • There were no death threats, its been blown out of proportion to create a stir
  • The biggest trouble actually came from white British Muslim converts
  • The fact the Christians support him proves his is a problem
  • Evolution is a lie and Dr Usama Hasan should be removed from his post
  • Dr Usama Hasan actually started the fracas by insulting his audience

The most striking thing for me on reading some Muslim blogs was the assertion of the creation of Adam from clay. Being from a Christian background and having never paid any attention to Islam, when I read things on Islamic forums that echo my Christian knowledge it makes me stop and ponder on just how much is shared between the two.

On the flip side, it is also concerning that Muslims share the same distrust of Christians that I did of Muslims as a Christian. I guess that should not surprise me, but its still concerning. There is probably much more common ground between the two religions that they are each prepared to admit.

What was the more enlightening was just how many Muslim blogs and comments there were expounding the notion that Evolution is a lie and that any Imam who teaches it should be removed form his post. The accusations aimed at him regarding his Muslim faith were much fiercer than I have ever seen aimed at a Christian church leader.

While its foolish to assume that the blog comment proportions accurately reflect the Muslim populace, there were still far more Muslim comments refuting evolution than there were defending it. In fact the defence was a very small minority, which is the opposite of my experience of Christians and evolution in this country.

I’m not sure what to make of these events but it does seem that the Muslim community in this country is going through a bit of a challenge and I only hope that those who espouse the truth of evolution win over and that those who do promote it are allowed to have their say and do not face death threats, real or imagined.

I am reminded of the Salman Rusdie and The Satanic Verses episode, lets hope it doesn’t go that far.

When and How to Come Clean on Atheism

Right now I know I’ve given up on my Christianity, the reasons are many and varied, which will become more clear as I continue this blog. The question that’s bothering me most at the moment is when (and how) to come clean on the matter.

This is really only relevant to one person in my life, and that’s my wife, the person I love the most and whom I least want to hurt and upset. Telling my wife that I have turned my back on the Christian faith that we have shared so many years will be very hurtful to her and its just not something I am ready to do to her.

I know the day will come when we have the conversion where I admit that I’ve made the decision to abandon Christianity and adopted the atheistic conclusion that there is no God. I want to be able to tell her, rather than have her find out, but the right time is always tomorrow and never today. My biggest fear is she’ll work it out and challenge me, which will likely be worse than manning up and telling her.

So for the moment I am in a self induced limbo, knowing the truth about my state of disbelief and going through the actions of Christian every Sunday.

I know there will be many friends who will be very upset as well, our closest friends are all part of the church. Their reaction is far less important to me than my wife’s. Do I tell her at home on a normal day or do I wait until we are alone and away from home? Either way will be emotional and will likely be unpleasant for both of us. What is of more importance to me is how we deal with the after effects.

There is just one person who knows, my brother. I told him very soon after I made the decision, because I knew he had already done the same. He confided in me several years ago and it really wasn’t a surprise for me at all. However, I’ve always been the devout and sensible older brother, coming from me, this news was more surprising.

My brother’s main concern was also for my wife, did she know? Why not? When did I plan to tell her? And critically, don’t leave it too long. I love my brother dearly and his advice is usually very good. He understands my reticence, but cautions strongly against doing nothing.

So I’m doing nothing. One day we’ll have the discussion but I don’t feel capable of having it just yet.

So the pretence continues…..