Your God, Not Mine

There are a lot of reasons why I don’t share my name, face, or location here on my blog. In addition to the glaringly obvious, that I’m a closet atheist so no one should know who I am because that would defeat the “closet” part, it’s also because this blog has a lot of raw, personal stories. One of these stories is unfolding right now, and as terrible, personal, and depressing as it is, I decided to share it with 400 strangers who follow my blog. Hooray! (Disclaimer: I know that a lot of people have it worse than me, but that doesn’t mean that my situation doesn’t still completely suck and deserve to be written about.)

I’ll get straight to it: my boyfriend and I have been together for over four years. We’ve been sleeping together for a little over half that time. Normal, right?

WRONG.

If you haven’t already gathered from the general story I’ve shared on this blog, I’m pretty good at hiding things from my family. If I don’t want someone to know something, they won’t know it. If you ask me to keep a secret, I’ll keep it.

My older sisters, however, are not as good at keeping secrets as I am, which is the problem. As it happens, we were all out together two weeks ago and they basically grilled me into coughing up my scandalous secret. I was worried, of course, but I figured that my sisters knowing wouldn’t be as bad as my mother knowing, so I just begged and hoped that they would keep what was meant to be private, private.

You can probably see by now where this is inevitably headed. My sister told my mom, and my mom had a “talk” with me. Keep in mind that my boyfriend has graduated college, I’m about to graduate college, and we’ve been together since high school. We’re not exactly children. That didn’t stop my mother, though. The “talk” ensued.

Both he and I had planned out what we intended to say to her as she tried to reprimand us. We aren’t sorry, we’re adults, we love each other, we plan to get married, and most importantly, we are always safe. It’s none of her business. Right?

Wrong. Again.

Her big speech started with three words: “Where was God?” In my head, I thought, …what? She seemed to expect an answer, so being the snarky daughter that I am, I said, “…everywhere?” She said, “oh really?” “I mean, yeah, he’s supposed to be omnipresent.” She didn’t appreciate that.

I don’t know why I honestly didn’t expect a lecture about how I’d disobeyed God’s law. I knew she would be mad, but it was just because she’s a mom and her innocent little daughter (who’s 21) wasn’t a virgin. But if you know anything about my mom from my other posts, God is a big deal to her. Here are a few things that she said while reprimanding me:

– Do you know what the Bible says about premarital sex???
– Every time you do that, you’re slapping God in the face.
– Every time you do that, it’s because Satan is whispering temptations into your ears.
– How can you possibly do that and still take communion?
– How dare he take advantage of a young Christian girl like that? (note: I’m not young or Christian, nor have I been taken advantage of)
– You ought to get down on your knees and thank God that you haven’t gotten pregnant. (note: it’s not thanks to God, it’s thanks to Trojan)
– Even if you wanted to, he should have said no, because men are supposed to protect women.
– It is a SIN. It is WRONG.
– You told me three years ago that you would always “leave room for Jesus.”
– What kind of a good Christian man would do that?
– Sex was intended by God to be for a married man and woman.
– The thing I’m most concerned about is your eternal damnation.

This was one of the few times that I’ve ever been compelled to come out and say, “Mom, well, I’m an atheist. That’s why I don’t obey God’s law. I don’t believe that he exists. Even if he did, I don’t think the bible is too great of a moral guide book. Okay? Okay.” It could have helped in that she would understand why my boyfriend and I are so immoral (because atheists have no morals, right?), but my atheism is so completely a whole other conversation for another day. I don’t think that adding an even bigger problem (atheism) to the original problem (premarital sex) will make anything any better.

The final thing, and probably the only thing that actually made me feel guilty, was how upset she was that I’d been lying to her for so long. Of course, I had my reasons (it was none of her business and this conversation was so awkward and unnecessary) for not telling her what I’d been doing. I usually avoid topics rather than outright lying about them unless I’m directly asked. For example, I wouldn’t tell someone I’m a Christian for no reason, but if you were to ask me if I’m a Christian, I would say yes. Right now, it’s a lot safer than saying “Well, I’m glad you asked, Mom! I’m actually an atheist. Cool, right?” (See Why I Can’t Come Out to find out why)

Out of curiosity, I dared to ask her, “But wouldn’t you rather be lied to about something than find out and have it cause tension between us?” and she said “No. I always want to know.” We were talking about completely different topics at that point. Even with guilt washing over me, I still knew it wasn’t my time yet to come out.

I promise, my mother isn’t usually this crazy. Most of the time she’s actually a normal person who just loves God a lot and wants her kids to, too. But trying to use a book that I don’t believe in to punish me for sinning, which I don’t believe in, because it determines whether I’ll end up in heaven or hell, which I don’t believe in, isn’t actually that effective.


Read next:

I Am an Atheist (21)

45 Replies to “Your God, Not Mine”

  1. You don’t say in your post whether you made it clear to your mother that you don’t agree with her assessment, or that you consider what you and you boyfriend do when you’re together to be your own business. Difficult, I know, because I’m sure she considers absolutely everything to be god’s business (that god character is the mother of all busy-bodies!) You could say that you don’t agree with her assessment of ‘god’s will’, but really, you’re in an impossible situation until you can come clean and say you don’t believe there is a god. Your mother will be sad, say that she’s going to pray for you (and probably use every opportunity to try and challenge your beliefs) but do you really think she would throw you out?

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  2. We already know from previous comments we differ on our stance on issues of the Bible, but I do have to say I’m sorry that your mom spoke to you that way and your sisters betrayed your trust. None of that attitude is Biblical, and I hope they were being well meaning instead of giving in to anger and fear (which makes us all do crazy stuff). I hope you can get it sorted it out with your mom. I know the struggle of having those kinds of Christians in your family; I definitely grew up with the disliking Christians even though I have always loved God.
    Anyway, not a lecture on our differing beliefs since we both know where each other stands, but I do appreciate another well written post. It makes me want to be more careful and loving if I am discussing “sins” with Christians or non-Christians. Again, hope it all works out! And sorry my comments are always rambles 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you’re able to stand up for yourself. I think once you have moved away from home it will be much easier for you to tell her upfront what you think, but till then…
    At the moment I have been seeing this girl and we both really like each other, but all my Christian friends are worried because she’s not Christian, sending me links containing ‘advice’ on marrying non-Christians. It’s getting kinda awkward, lol if only they knew…

    As a side note, many of the things your mum is saying sound very un-Christian also.
    “The thing I’m most concerned about is your eternal damnation” – um OK so is it possible to ‘outsin’ God’s grace then?
    “Where was God?” – lol yeah I think your response to that was best.
    “You ought to get down on your knees and thank God..” – lol a South Park episode comes to mind which I found pretty funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn, what a story. There is nothing “normal” in what your mother said to you.
    Your mother’s word are disrespectful, lunatic, and way off base. Why do people have children if they are going to say such harmful, disgusting things to their progeny? Sex between consenting adults is every person’s right, no matter where they live.
    You have every right to remain in the closet, and hold your head up high.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can so relate to this. I too, was a hostage to Christianity. I know you’re planning on marrying. Why? I would ditch that idea too.

    BTW. I would tell her about your atheism and stop being controlled with the games

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      1. Because it is a religious ceremony, and things always get worse with a contract. My wife and I never had issues until we were married. It is a green light to be your worst. Unless you are very conscious of this it is the way it is. I wish I’d never been married because of family pressures. Life is better without it

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  6. I’m not writing under my real name either for similar reasons.

    I’m sorry your mom didn’t take it well. Fundamentalist Christianity, I’m afraid, teaches otherwise decent people to violate boundaries in order to control the people around them. Many of them may not even realize that’s what their doing and really think they are acting for the best.

    That, of course, doesn’t make it right. I’m afraid it’s up to you to enforce appropriate boundaries with your mother, as an adult in charge of your own life. I know it’s easier said than done, especially with a mother who is otherwise decent (and may not be possible in full if you are still dependent, so keeping your head down as you’re doing may be best).

    I dated my now-husband for 6 years and we waited (more or less) until marriage. Holy cheesecake on a cracker, do I not recommend that course of action.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you understand.

      Out of curiosity, if I may ask, why was waiting until marriage bad for you? We originally were going to, until we realized that a) not being restricted by religion, we had no reason to, and b) once we both finished college, it would have been 5 or 6 years that we would have been dating, and waiting that long would have been nearly impossible.

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      1. First of all, we didn’t wait because we really wanted to. We waited because we were steeped up to our eyeballs in purity culture and thought premaritial sex was BAD SIN BAD and would ruin us. We were also horny teenagers. It was 6 years of struggling not to go “too far” and feeling guilt over any tiny thing we did do. It’s not the kind of thing that promotes a healthy relationship with your own sexuality.

        Plus, after we did get married, we didn’t just have to figure out how to be a household (and I moved to his city, so I was in a new place with a new job as well). We had to figure out how sex worked at the same time. All the learning curves hit you at once. For the first year we were married I was having pretty regular middle-of-the-night meltdowns.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m curious about your next post and why you choose the word “can’t” as opposed to “won’t”. By saying you “can’t” you are ceding your choice. But keep in mind that this will have to be addressed eventually. If you get married, you will need to make a choice of who performs the ceremony. If you have kids, the question of baptism will surely arise. This is difficult to come out as an atheist to hyper-religious parents, but you aren’t alone. Atheism is growing and maybe it’s time your parents put a face on it. If their love for you is contingent on faith, then that should make you more confident in your skepticism. At some point, maybe not now, you will have to surround yourself with people who love you for what you are, not what they believe you to be. Take your time and find your moment. Look up secular and humanist organizations that have resources on how to handle this situation. There are many people that have gone through the exact same thing and have lived to tell the tale. And, I disagree with 21stCenturyCatholic. You are your own person and only you own your mind. How your lack of belief affects your family is their choice, not yours. They need to own that, not you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. And I don’t know if you’ve read that post or not, but I guess a more appropriate title would be “Why I Can’t Come Out Now, and I’m Afraid to Come Out At All, But It’ll Be Worse If I Don’t”. As for the wedding ceremony and baptisms you mentioned, my brother-in-law who is a pastor will probably do those, at least the first one. I hope to come out after getting married (so that I’ll have my independence and my own place) but before kids (so that it’s not a huge mess including, as you said, baptisms).

      I do have to remind myself often that when I come out, how my family reacts is their problem. If I become some sort of long lost black sheep (“that sister we don’t talk about…..she’s an atheist”), it’ll be because they decide to cut me off, not the other way around. How they react to the truth will be their problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. For what it’s worth – probably not much – the Bible doesn’t really provide a “no sex before marriage” rule anyway. Fundamentalism is all about taking good bits of advice (like “be careful with sex and alcohol, because it’s easy to do something stupid and get hurt”) and pressing them into moral absolutes. Ironically, this does the kind of harm that the original good advice was intended to protect against. I’m sorry you’re in this situation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. much of our concept (at least in european and american cultures) about marriage is not bible based but greed based. The bride gets the shaggy end of the wedding stick, since her family has to provide the dowry, the wedding, and the feast– for centuries a girl had little or no say over who her husband would be, and love only entered into the bargain by chance.
      It was a financial, legal matter, and the exchange often, in rural areas, involved livestock, land, and a bride. In effect, she rode alongside the herd of cattle.
      It didnt matter if her new husband was old, fat, ugly, and/or beat her senseless once a day. In that regard you can be sure mr. old fat and ugly would insist that his new young bride be ‘untouched’.

      Even into the early 20th century many rural areas traded daughters for land, but called it love. As someone put it, it’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor one.

      Where the church got involved was by making it not only legal but blessed by god, and the vows were unbreakable except in death or a failure on the wife’s part to “deliver’ and i don’t mean babies.

      If sex before marriage had been a huge moral deal you would think the bible would have had yards of rules and laws about it. All there really is, are those vague admonitions about how a wife should behave toward her husband.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “It’s not her business.”

    Since your mother is responsible for your livelihood — since you’re living at home — anything that could effect your livelihood — like sex, which carries with it the possibility of getting pregnant because Trojan isn’t perfect — is her business, since it will effect her too: It will effect how she provides your livelihood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know where you’re coming from. And my mother, at least, would agree with you, although she would add that it’s also her business because I’m sinning against God, which concerns her.

      On the other hand, I see this situation as if I’m 16. If I was in high school right now, then this would be more her problem because we wouldn’t be adults and pregnancy could really monopolize things like my education. But the only argument that she used that affected me, as an atheist, was what would happen if I were to get pregnant. She would be upset because I couldn’t (easily) complete my last year of college, but even that should be up to me: whether I wanted to go to college in the first place, or if I, for example, wanted to graduate high school, get married, and start having kids right away. It just seems that there is one right way to do things around here, and anyone who doesn’t follow that gets penalized.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “It just seems that there is one right way to do things around here, and anyone who doesn’t follow that gets penalized.”

        Your mom just wants what’s best for you. She doesn’t want you to do something that you could eventually end up regretting.

        Why knows? There could come a day where you hate the fact that you didn’t have sex until after you were married.

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            1. Catholic guilt in trying to make her regret a healthy sex life by commenting that she may one day regret having sex outside of marriage. You’re not converting or re-converting anyone here.

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            2. “Catholic guilt in trying to make her regret a healthy sex life…”

              Nope.

              Just pointing out the reality that her actions could have unexpected consequences.

              “You’re not converting or re-converting anyone here.”

              I’m not trying to.

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  10. I agree with everyone. You are certainly of an age where you are entitled to make your own decisions about sex and about religious belief. I also empathize with your feelings regarding your mother. The sister who ratted, on the other hand, deserve a good reprimand. I think you need your own place, your own room so to speak. Once you gain that distance, I believe it might be easier to explain your mindset to your mother, or maybe not. Sigh. You’re a brave girl. Bravery isn’t always charging forward. Sometimes it means falling back and waiting.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you! My mom begged me not to be upset with my sister or let this get between us. She emphasized what a difficult position my sister had been put in (after she coerced me into telling her about my private sex life) and how it was making her so upset that she had to tell my mom. I think she told because she doesn’t want me to go to hell, which I suppose is thoughtful, but I think, like my sexuality, whether I go to heaven or hell (or neither) is only my business as well.

      It’s interesting, though, if she couldn’t keep a secret of someone else’s sex life because it was too great an emotional burden, I wonder how she would cope in my shoes…

      I do hope to tell once I gain some distance, like my own place that I could return to and be secure when our relationship becomes damaged and will inevitably need time to be fixed.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah I thought the sister was pretty disrespectful doing that, regardless of ones thoughts on sex. But that’s the problem with Christianity, people will do things that would otherwise be inappropriate because religion gives them a reason to justify it. People can shove their beliefs down others throats as it gets cloaked in concern for the persons eternal well being. Whether or not the person doing the ‘shoving’ has good intentions, the end result can be the same.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. During my relationship with the Fundamentalist I experienced something of what you’re talking about. She had three children, the oldest being a fifteen year old daughter. The daughter spied on me constantly and reported accordingly my “unChristian” behavior to her mother. For instance, one morning I took out the trash, in a plastic bag and when I returned I didn’t immediately wash my hands. Oh, it wasn’t because I handled a trash bag…it was because I had touched the door knob.

        I caught hell for that one. So far as my “love Interest” was concerned it reflected a depraved soul. I could have spread some disease from touching the door knob!

        Nevertheless, in your situation, it’s even more problematic because it’s family and it has to do with intimacy at the most personal level, which is terribly ironic.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Like you and others have said, you’re an adult and it’s none of your mother’s business. You are being responsible and careful and your sex life is nobody else’s business but your own.

    You should be proud of yourself for having the self-control to not blow up and make the situation worse by coming out when the situation was already so heated. I know there are plenty of people who would not have handled that as well as you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. As terrible as it is, I actually almost couldn’t help but laugh when she was saying the things about me sinning and being punished, and asking how I could have betrayed God and things like that. I had to bite my tongue so that it didn’t look like I was smiling and nearly laughing.

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  12. CA, I’m surprised she didn’t say “every time you do that you’re putting Jesus back on the cross!”

    Honestly, I’m proud of you for being a sexually active atheist at your age. As I’ve mentioned before, I studied for my theology degree at CFNI Dallas. That was where my doubts about Jesus began. I questioned, studied, fasted and cried for another 20 years before deconverting at 39 in 2012.

    I had months, even years at a time, when I didn’t date. My husband and I were virgins when we married at 31. I would NEVER reccomened anyone to do that. That sick Jesus ideology and my parents held my sexuality hostage. I was an anxious, sick mess due to all of the control. My morality and purity were often questioned and held hostage by my former belief and my parents. Being the oldest of seven daughters put the pressure on even more. I was to be this wholesome example for my younger sisters. However, as in most families, two of my sisters got pregnant out of wedlock. One of them married right away and the other one married someone other than the father years later. Both of them were college age.

    You’re living your life and that’s exactly what you need to be doing. Soon you will be able to live your life in even more fullness and a little less secrecy. That’ll all make it better.

    All the best to you and your partner.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. You finally understand conservative Christianity.

    Forget all of that stuff about salvation. Forget all of that stuff about “love your neighbor”. The central core of conservative Christianity is about controlling the sexuality of other people. That’s why conservative Christians see gay marriage and abortion as such a huge issue.

    Liked by 8 people

  14. From what I’ve been reading on your blog I think you’re one completely sane 21 year old. You’ve really got your head together. Mom should be proud. Very proud. Rock on. You’re doing great.
    On the Atheist subject. I’ve recently been addicted to Jordan Peterson and started watching his Biblical Series. The guys blowing my mind and I find myself questioning my non-religious beliefs. He comes at religion in a way I’ve never heard before. Interesting talks.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. You stated it yourself. You’re a grownup, and legally an adult. There will probably be lots of things you do that upset your mother, your family (and may your sisters roast in their own stew for spilling the beans), and even yourself.

    And you being 21, I suggest, very strongly, that you get your own brand of birth control from a doctor’s prescription. Trojan ain’t perfect, trust me. At 21 you don’t need your mother’s permission or even knowledge to protect yourselves.

    And yes, she did let the big hammer fall, didnt she.

    Don’t feel bad about not posting photos or where you live, at anytime on the net. No one, truly, needs to know. Nor should they. The world is full of crazies and some days I think they all own computers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Before the talk (but when I knew that she had found out and the impending talk was looming over me), I thought that one positive thing from this was now that she knows, I could finally get pills or even start seeing an OB/GYN. But then she told me about how big a sin it is, and made me repent for my sins, take communion, and stop. So now, once again, she thinks I’m not.

      I hadn’t considered getting pills on my own, which I probably should, it just makes me nervous, being another thing to have to keep hidden.

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      1. let’s put it this way. What you do with your body is totally your business. The only way she will know is if someone tells her, and the doctor surely won’t. At 21 you really need to start taking charge of what you’re doing.
        Trojans are not the safest device in the world, no matter what the label says.
        and if you think birthcontrol pills are hard to hide, think about how hard it would be to hide a pregnancy.

        You do not need permission for this from anyone except yourself. really.

        Liked by 2 people

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