Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan
Even though the details of my life and situation are different, I sure did relate to this lady’s story.
My eye brow did raise at one or two points of this essay, such as her claim that people at her church encouraged her to get an abortion when she became pregnant out of wedlock, and from the way she discusses her church, they sound pretty conservative and legalistic.
Perhaps she is telling the truth and that really did happen, it’s just that most conservative Christians are pro-life, not pro-choice, so I am having a hard time picturing any of them advising a pregnant woman to get an abortion.
With possibly a few wacko Protestant church exceptions, (Link): like this one, where the church’s preacher allegedly encouraged the women members to get abortions. But then, of course, there is information such as this: (Link): 2015 Poll: 70% of American Women Who Have Abortions Identify As Christian
By and large, though, most churches are pro-life, not pro-choice.
At one point in this essay, Sheehan says that although she and her male friend were not having sex, that due to being constantly suspected and accused of having sex by Christians at her church, is actually what in large measure drove her and her boyfriend to become sexually active with one another.
Major irony there. Or maybe not…
As I have said time and again at my blog, most Christians, just like secular culture, just blindly assumes that celibacy is impossible for anyone over the age of 25 or so, and that it is impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.
It is entirely possible for men and women to remain friends, and it is entirely possible for an adult to stay celibate for months or years at a time.
I have also explained before, in previous posts, that one reason there is so much fornication among Christian singles is precisely because most Christians have such low expectations: they expect that single adults will, or have, had sex outside of marriage. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy quite often.
The couple discussed in this post were expected, assumed to be, and suspected by their fellow congregants of sleeping together; this couple got tired of being falsely accused, so they figured, well, we might as well have sex, since everyone is already assuming we are and harassing us over it.
I also notice that one reason this woman’s husband, who was a Christian at one time, but is now an atheist or agnostic, began losing his faith over how miserably his grief (over the death of his father) was mishandled by Christians.
Oh yes, I relate: after my family member’s passing a few years ago, rather than receiving love, empathy, and encouragement from Christians in my family or churches I went to, I instead received judgment, criticism, platitudes, or indifference. This in turn is one of several things that caused me to partially leave the Christian faith.
One of a few things that caused Sheehan to leave the faith is over how one church she attended mishandled her abusive marriage – her priest told her to stay with the abusive husband.
This advice is also usually given in Baptist or Protestant situations. Christians often put keeping an (abusive) marriage before the welfare of the two persons who comprise the marriage.
Abused wives are usually instructed to stay with the abusive spouse and submit to the abuser more, or just pray about things. None of this resolves the situation but actually prolongs it.
I am not surprised in light of all the insensitive treatment that she and her husband endured at the hands of other believers, that they both developed major doubts about Christianity and walked away from it.
There were a few supportive comments to the woman who wrote this, in the comments area under the essay, but there were also a lot of hateful, judgmental, or naive posts left to her by Christians.
There were also a few annoying posts by atheists who were just there to say “all religion is idiotic, there is no God” to any of the well-meaning, yet naive Christians who were telling her to hold on to the faith, in spite of the Christians who had been mean to her at her prior churches.
Honestly, I wish those types of atheists would refrain from posting under articles like this one by Sheehan. I find their opportunistic, anti-theism drivel and rants to be about as bad as the nasty posts by the Christians who scolded Sheehan for leaving Christianity.
- Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan
My family has always been part of the Catholic Church, including being actively involved in fighting for those beliefs in Ireland and France through the centuries. It is all I knew and I never imagined a life without it. Even in today’s permissive society, divorce is still a huge don’t in the Catholic Church.
When my priest advised me to stay in an abusive marriage rather than lose access to the Catholic religion, I stayed — until my husband left me for one of the many women he had been seeing.
I went back to my priest for help but instead found myself without a church.
Confused and directionless, I ended up seeking help at a Word of Faith Christian Church in Texas.
Although the church and I both believed in Jesus, the similarities ended there. Everything was so different from what I had grown up with, it made the transition very difficult.
They kept trying to break down my identity by using scripture to suggest that everything about me, from Catholicism to my Irish culture, was evil and against God. It was like going through spiritual boot camp as they attempted to rebuild me into a person that could gain access to heaven.
During my time there, I met my current husband. He was also having a tough time as his father had died suddenly the year before, causing him to question the church he had been raised in and even the existence of God due to how they handled his grief.
We became really good friends who spent hours talking as we each struggled with our sheltered worlds collapsing around us, no matter how hard we tried to fight to keep the walls intact.
The damage in our lives, caused by blind devotion to a religion, forced us to question all the truths we had been raised to believe.
After months of a platonic friendship, we decided to see if something more could exist; but when a small group of church members found out, they began trying to break us apart.
Matriarchs in the church began spreading rumors that I was an Irish witch who had cast spells on him, forcing him to have sex with me.
We lost friends and even people we barely knew began treating us differently at church. Invitations to events began drying up, older adults showed up at his home to stage an intervention in order to help exorcise the demonic influence I had been accused of placing in his life.
The metaphorical stoning through psychological and emotional punishments were severe enough that we decided that if we’re going to be punished for having premarital sex, which we hadn’t at that time, then we should escalate our relationship to the next level and start having a sexual relationship.
The irony is that if they had left us alone, we would’ve returned to just being friends because we both had realized neither of us were healed from our respective wounds to be dating anyone.
Their obsessive need to control us, make an example of us to the younger generation and our peers, made us want to prove we were going to stay together no matter what.
- [She had sex with her male friend and became pregnant]
- We decided to go to people we thought were friends at the church for help, but that decision would end our association with Christianity. I was advised to get an abortion.
- And when I refused, he was told to leave me to fend for myself if he wanted to keep his life in the church. Having to choose between being a father and a Christian was the final hit; he hasn’t prayed or read a bible in the nearly seven years since that happened.
- The funny thing is that many of those people who judged us have since gotten divorced, affairs they had been having during their perfect Christian marriages have come out, their own children have dealt with unplanned pregnancies and they’ve left the church or various other crimes have come to light.
- My husband and I? Nearly ten years later we’re still married, in love and best friends. I got my fairytale dream of having a great family; I just had to leave the church to get it.
(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified
(Link): Ohio Preacher Asked Men if they Performed Oral Sex on Spouses, Asked Males if they Had Large Penises, Asked to Look at their Penises, Asked One Actor if He Shaved His Pubic Hair, Encouraged Women Congregants to Get Abortions, Males to Get Vasectomies / Another Blow to “Be Equally Yoked” Christian Teachings
(Link): The Unchurched
(Link): Secular, Left Wing Feminist Writer Marcotte on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity