The day I told my husband

In case you didn’t read my first post about my journey into atheism, here is the gist. I had taken advantage of the time away from physical church during COVID to fully research religion and the Bible--the good, the bad, and the ugly. I came out the other side of it as an atheist. I hadn’t told anyone yet, not even my husband. But things were getting dicey at home. I was pulling away from him and lashing out. I loved him, of course, but I felt like he didn’t even know who I really was. If he found out, would he still love me? Would he want a divorce?

One Sunday morning, he was watching virtual church and folding clothes. I told him I was going for a walk. As I made my way around the neighborhood, I listened to a podcast about the shaky evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. With each step I became more and more convinced that I had to tell my husband that day. I texted him, “When I get back, let’s talk.” When I returned, we went out on the deck to talk without the kids present. I still remember almost exactly what I said.
“I may have misrepresented myself when we got married. I can’t remember a time when I actually believed in God.”
He was silent, just processing what I had said. As he sat there in shock, I told him all the doubts I had growing up and how my questions were never answered. I read him a list of some of the objections I had to Christianity as a child, and that I had added many more to my list in the past few months of my studies. I told him that I didn’t believe in the Christian God at all. I said I didn’t want to ever go to church again, except for family functions like weddings, funerals, and baptisms. I also told him that I wasn’t going to tell him what to believe, but that this is where I was, and it was non-negotiable. I also told him that I had never felt so free in all my life.

He reacted well! He said that he himself has always felt more agnostic about the existence of God, but he always pushed his doubts away and buried them. He often laid awake at night worried about going to hell for not believing (sound familiar from my last post?) And he felt guilty for not being a stronger Christian leader for the family.

I was completely floored. We had both been experiencing the same doubts but could not bring ourselves to vocalize our feelings. Questioning God was unforgiveable, after all. Once my husband gave himself permission to look “on the other side”, he was fully deconverted within a week.

For him, a sticking point was the word “atheist”. It was dirty, and atheists were much maligned in my family and in church circles. We talked a lot about whether there could be some kind of non-theistic deity out there. I love our conversations and how in sync we are, even when we don’t agree on every point. Our relationship has improved so much since we became atheists (or agnostic atheists).

However, it was still only us on our lonely atheist island, and nobody else even knew we were there. Until...


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