Friday, February 14, 2014

Ranting About My Jesus-ized Newsfeed On Facebook

I have been on facebook from some time but recently I have actually been accepting friend request from all the people I went to highschool with and a few others scattered about from my past. Honestly, I have no idea why I started reconnecting, perhaps boredom. For years I only had family members on my facebook but I started to get a little annoyed with all the "thank you Jesus!" post and pictures. Now, I was born and raised in the south where there is quiet literally nearly a church on every street corner, so the fact that my family is very religious isn't really surprising. What did surprise me was how many people I grew up and went to school with had remained religious or even became more religious since high school.

My facebook page now has most of my graduating class, some college buddies, family members of old classmates and even a healthy sprinkling of past teachers. Unfortunately my facebook page now also includes tons of pages of news feeds from these people with "Click Like If You Love Jesus!" type post and several pictures of scriptures artfully displayed with some sort of computer graphics hoovering the background. At least a handful of times a day, someone is posting something great that happened to them and are thanking God or are telling about unfortunately circumstance they are in and asking for prayers. It is times like this that I wish Facebook would bring back the "dislike" button and maybe even add a new one to show you really really really dislike something, see image above.

I put up with it because I believe in free speech but I often wonder how my "friends" on facebook would react if I posted something like "Click Like If You Think The Bible Is Full Of Shit!".....or maybe posted some of my favorite George Carlin or Richard Dawkins quotes. My guess would be half would unfriend me immediately, a large portion would out right attack me and several would try to "save" me, making me a special project.

The post has no point, just me ranting really. Being a "closet atheist" is hard because I can't really post the things I truly feel and believe. It makes me thinking I should start another facebook page under my blogs name or something just so I can have the freedom to post whatever I want. But of course there is the big issue of the fact that everyone I know is religious sooooo who the hell would read it anyway.

Ok I am done ranting....for it out of my system...for

Monday, February 3, 2014

My 2nd Coming Out Attempt

My second attempt at coming out of my atheist closet was years later after I got married. Like the first time it was an epic fail as well and it nearly ruined my marriage.

After high school I married my high school sweetheart, a hard working Baptist boy with strong morals and down home values. During our marriage we switched through a few different churches trying to find the one that worked best for us. Eventually we ended up joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or more commonly known as "the mormon church" or LDS Church. How we got from a simple Baptist church to becoming Mormons and then ex-mormons is a story in itself, which I will share with you all another time.

So there we were, happily married and living as temple worthy mormons with church callings and the whole shabang. Once we decided to leave the LDS church my conscience started up once again urging me to admit to my family that I was actually an atheist. I just felt like I was lying to them by not telling them. My husband knew I was researching religious history "stuff" for a book I was planning on writing but I don't think he ever realized just how all my research had solidified my atheism in my heart. I would give him little hints here and there, carefully judging his reception to each idea I threw out there and for the most part it was all positive. I thought he was ready, I even thought he would embrace the notion of being atheist himself. I was sorely mistaken.

It was Christmas eve and my husband and I were eating at a local steak house since we now live too far away to celebrate with our extended family. We were talking about some friends of ours who had been in a minor car accident the week before. I mentioned to my husband that the wife of this couple had told me that she felt they had the wreck because God was punishing them for not going to temple that week. My husband rolled his eyes and said "Oh sure God has his hand in everything and causes all things but it was not punish them for not going to temple, hahahaha!" I guess it was the look in my eyes that gave me away because then he looked across the table at me and said "What? You believe God causes all things right?" I guess I felt this was the opportunity I had been looking for so I took a deep breath and staring down at my plate replied
"Um, well actually, I am not so sure about that.....I am not so sure....."
My husbands eyes got huge and I could see fear fill his face and he replied back "Well you do believe in God don't you!?" All I could do was shrug my shoulders but that was pretty much all I needed to say and he knew my secret.

The rest of our meal was quiet and my husband could barely look at me. I could feel the rage eminnating off of him like steam and it made me sweat and squirm in my seat. We paid for our dinner and on our way out to the truck my husband walked right past me, climbed in and slammed the door. I got in and off we went, no words coming between us. After several blocks I managed to squeeze out through scared lips "Do you hate me?" His reply still stings when I remember it. He flatly answered "I don't know."

My world shattered and tumbled into a heap at my feet. The man I loved just said he didn't know if hated me or not, how could this be!? The drive home was terrifying as well as my husband sped and slipped around on the icey roads driving with fury. I became frightened and asked him to please slow down and he yelled "Why!?, are you scared to die!? Because without God it doesn't matter don't you know!?"
I sat in fear and silence the rest of the drive home. Once we pulled up to the house my husband leaped from the truck and stormed inside the house. I had barely gathered my coat and purse from the truck when I looked up and saw my him coming back out of the house, face enraged and carrying a pistol!

I was frozen, unable to move, time and space stopped completely...I have never been so gripped with fear in my life. My husband gave me one hard, long, hate filled look and turned and headed into the backyard where he began firing rounds of ammo into the air one after another. I ran inside unsure what to do but shortly he joined me and we were face to face. Even to this day I can see his expression and it causes tears to spring to my eyes. All his expression held was pure hate where only hours before love and adoration shone bright. Truthfully I think feeling and seeing the hate for me in eyes somewhat traumatized me, its hard to explain. This man whom I loved dearly and whom I thought loved me, despised me. My entire world shifted, I became desperate, unable to deal with feeling this sudden loss of love. It was like being by a warm fire for years and then suddenly being thrust into cold and icy darkness. It was just too much.

My head began to feel dizzy as my husband began calling me names like Devil Worshiper and yelling at me about believing in evolution and just too much that really I can't even recall it all. The gist of it however was that I was the lowest of the low, not worthy of love or compassion, a terrible person and no wife to him at all any longer. My heart broke over and over during his speil. It was like dying a thousands deaths and I became desperate and once again I retracted my hint at being an atheist. I started telling him he must have misunderstood what I meant and that of course I believe in God and for him to please stop. After a while he calmed down a bit and told me "Look, I may have jumped the gun and assumed you meant that you didn't believe in God, but know this, if you ever don't believe in God I can't be with you, I will never be married to an atheist!"

And so I retreated back to my closet once more.

That was two years ago roughly, and we are once more a happily married couple and have never spoken of that day that nearly ended it all. Our marriage for now is safe within the dark walls of my closet, where I hid all my true feelings about God and life in general. I greatly desire to bring this part of me out, into the light but I fear my marriage won't survive if I do. The overwhelmly fear of being alone and not having the man I love keeps it hidden. The memory of the hate filled eyes haunts me daily. The truth and sad realization that my husband's love for me is quiet conditional, is always in the back of my head. I was stupid enough to think that a mans love for his wife was unconditional.

So there you have it, my 2nd Coming Out Attempt....epic fail. So will there be a third attempt? Only time will tell. I know for now I will remain the closet atheist, safe from judgement and being the target of so much hate within my own home. I am not strong enough to come out yet.....but I am hoping that one day I will be.

You can read about my first coming attempt here.

My First Coming Out

I will never forget my first experience "coming out" about my beliefs. My mother's tears were enough to send me running back into the closet, slamming the door and hanging a "Shhhh Prayer in Progress" sign on the door knob. My friends no longer wanted to be my friends, teachers no longer took me seriously and next thing I knew I was an outcast in my own hometown where I had once been the popular, good student from a respected family. Nobody trusted me even though I had done nothing to lose their trust, when something bad happened all fingers pointed at me and even my parents seemed to not be able to look me straight in the face for a long time.

 I remember working extremely hard on my science fair project that year in high school. The teachers set it up so that we got graded in english and science class for the one project since it encompassed exercises in both subjects. I carefully followed the research guidelines and criteria given to me by my english teacher, my notes and outlines were perfect and always turned in on time. I got an A plus in English for my research and writing skills. In science class I followed the scientific method just as we were suppose to and my biology research was solid and very applicable to my project. I spent hours pouring over science books determined to find the proper evidence for my report, which I did. I got an A plus in science class for my science fair research too. The kicker came when it was judging time. The judges were comprised of members of the community, teachers, coaches and a few professors from the local college. From all of the judges that knew me personally and knew of my coming out of the closet and saying I was atheist, they gave the lowest score possible. Apparently my "Are We Alone In Our Universe" science fair research that explored the possibility of life on other planets, offended their religious beliefs about creationism. Most of these judges admitted to not even reading my report paper because they knew I was the author and they no longer took me serious. The few judges that did not know about my lack of religion, gave my project high scores and several nice compliments. Overall however, the judges scores were combined and average for a total score which left me places near the last of all entries. Projects were arranged by place and scores in the gym for the final evening of display for everyone to see. My project with his scientific based evidence, mounds of research, flashy and well thought display, well thought out research paper and hours and hours of hard work put in to it, was placed with the projects of kids that barely made an effort. I remember on my left was a crappy volcano  that had a mere paragraph posing as the students research paper. On my other side a project that was not even complete, all that was on the display was the titles of the scientific method and  few notes scribbled in pencil below each one. To say I was pissed would be an understatement. I confronted the judges and they admitted they simply couldn't take me seriously due to my lack of faith and therefor simply didn't even look at my work. I took the issue to my science teacher who was also outraged by the outcome, he felt for sure I would win the science fair and like myself was shocked at my low scores. Unfortunately he could do nothing about it and even worse the teachers were to take the final score handed down by the judges and average it with scores given my the individual teachers to comprise a final grade in those subjects. I lost my A honor roll in english and science class because of my being open about my atheistism.

I would say heart broken was a good way to describe how I felt but that term infers only one part of myself being broken and in truth I felt my entire being was shattered, not just my heart. Within a few weeks I retracted my announcement of being an atheist and like magic my world went back to how it once was. I had my friends back, my teachers once again took me seriously, the pride in my parents eyes returned and my community accepted me. Deep inside I knew I was not being honest but I reasoned keeping the secret was better than having to go through all that again. This was my first attempt at being truthful about my beliefs or lack of, and it failed.

I will write a separate post about my second attempt of coming out of the closet as an atheist so stay tuned.

You can read about my 2nd coming out attempt here

A bit about me and the reason for this blog

Welcome to my closet! In here I will share with you all those things I can not share with those around me in my everyday life and those things that I desperately want to share with someone. One day perhaps I will gain the courage to be honest with the people in my life but for now this is my outlet. You may wonder why I am in this closet to begin with, so here is a little background about myself to answer that question.....

I was raised in a small Texas town by a very religious family in a very religious community. I never quiet felt that I got the whole religion thing. While growing up my friends would be yelling "I believe!" and "Thank you Jesus!" and in the meantime I would look at them and wish I could feel that inner tug to proclaim such things. But in truth I was the one that sat at the back of the church confused as to why things were the way that they are and asking and inquiring about the whole notion of God, Jesus, the validity of the Bible and just being a truth seeker and skeptic in general. I just never could take someone else's word for granted, I wanted proof. Naturally I kept these feelings inside.....until one day I decided to just be honest with my family and friends, and that was huge mistake.

You can read about that experience here.

My 2nd attempt coming out can be read here