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Ryan Madeline

One parent an atheist and the other parent a Christian

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Hey guys! I wanted to come on here today and see if anyone else on here can relate to what I've gone through. My parents are what the Bible would call "unequally yoked". My mom is a strong Christian and my dad is a strong athiest. It's a really long and complicated story of why the situation is like it is, but I'll try to give you the quick version.

My parents met at church. At the time when they got married, they were both committed Christians who prayed together and wanted to raise their kids in a Christian home. My dad was still a Christian when I was born. A few years after my birth, however, things started to change. My dad started to have questions about the Bible and if God really existed. He started to read books on evolution and other similar scientific topics and he began to lose his faith. He did tons and tons of research and came to the conclustion that there was no God. This was when I was about five and my brother was about three. My dad told my mom that he would no longer attend church and he told her that if she let my brother and I go to church, then he would talk to me and my brother about how he didn't believe in God and evolution. My mom couldn't bear the thought of me and my brother being confused like that at such a young age and so she decided that we just wouldn't go to church. Saying all of this, my dad is a great guy. He has morals and is a good person. He just isn't a Christian and my mom is and it's made my family a bit dysfunctional.

So, I went for years wihout ever being taught about God or faith or anything. Even though my mom was a Chrisitan, she couldn't talk to us about God because then my dad would talk to us about being an athiest and it would be confusing for us. I grew up not being allowed to read the Bible and not ever having anyone say a bedtime prayer with me. One of my cousins gave me a children's Bible for Christmas when I was in elementary school and I remember my dad taking it away from me. I remember going to my best friend's house as a little girl and playing a video game that had a Christian theme and having my friend's mom come up to me and say that I needed to stop playing the game because my dad wouldn't approve of it. My family NEVER talked about religion and after a while it got to the point where I was terrified of even saying the word God in my own house because I didn't want things to be uncomfortable. I wanted to be a Christian when I was little because the school I went to was a Christian school and so I knew about it from that exposure. But it had to be a secret desire because I wasn't allowed to be one.

When I was about 10 or 11, my dad was still a strong atheist but he decided that it would be okay if my mom started taking my brother and I to church. It was then that I was exposed to Christianity even more and I felt more comfortable with the idea that I was allowed to be a Christian. Of course, my dad didn't go with us but at least my mom was able to go now. My family still never talked about church or God. In my high school years I was mostly uncomfortable with talking to my mom about God too because it just seemed weird to me. I remember asking my mom to not pray for us at Thanksgiving one year before the meal just because it made me so uncomfortable with my dad around.

I've been going to church ever since then. I'm 19 now and I also go to a Christian university where I feel like I am growing in my faith a lot. My family still doesn't tallk about God and I've never talked about the situation with my dad before or hardly anyone else. I still feel a lot of pain from the situation with my dad. It bothers me that my mom is in a marriage with someone who isn't a Christian. She can't share her faith with her husband and she wasn't able to share it with her children as much as she would have liked. Don't get me wrong, my parents love each other and are committed to each other. They don't arugue often. But there is a distance between them and I feel that much of it has to do with this issue. My mom has told me that she loves my dad but that she had no idea that this situation was going to happen when she married him. She wanted to be with someone that she could share her faith with. Apparently my dad used to pray with her when he still believed. I can't even imagine that now AT ALL. It's difficult because I feel that because of my dad's atheism I can't be as close to him as I would like to be. I grieve that he has lost his faith because I know that he has to feel alone all the time. I wish that I could have had a Dad that told me how much God loved me and that I am God's princess. But I didn't and I know that it has made my rely on God more and has made me stronger as a person. I still wish with everything that I have that things could have been different for my family though. Now that both my brother and I are in college, I feel really bad for my mom going to church and sitting alone there.

I've heard that when one person in a marriage is a Christian and the other isn't that it is called being "spiritually single". I feel that this term definitely applies to my mom. I just still have trouble dealing with this and the pain that it has caused my family. I hope and pray that this doesn't happen to my future marriage. I am afraid that when I get married someday that my husband will start out being a knight in shining armor and then later change his personality and his whole belief system just like what my dad did to my mom. I also have trouble believing that men really can be strong Christians because I have lacked that influence in my life for many years.

My mom tells me that she hates how this situation is but that I shouldn't worry about it too much. But it's just that to me it is a huge deal because if you are a Christian then your whole life should be about God and when that lifestyle is repressed for so long it becomes difficult. I guess it bothers me because my mom wouldn't have married my dad if she had known this was going to happen.

Sorry this was so long. I just have been really curious to talk to anyone else who has gone through this or something similar to this???

Your sister in Christ,

R.M. <3

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Your mom shouldn't leave your dad just because he's an atheist, according to this passage

1 Corinthians 7:12-16 (New International Version)

12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

But if she feels led by God to do something, she probably should. You should talk to your dad. My dad is strongly Jewish, and seemed always throughout my childhood up until I was a teen to be 'offended' at Christianity. He has gotten much better lately, but my mom was told once by a Christian counselor that we oppose greatly what we fear. Your dad doesn't realize that evolution and Christianity are perfectly compatible. It sounds like you just have to trust the Holy Spirit will work in his life. see if he isn't willing to go to church with you at a church where he can understand the service. let him know that you accept him regardless. be there for your mom as well. it personally hurts for a parent not to be a believer, but God has a plan for each of us and don't hate on yourself if you can't convince your dad to believe.

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Thanks for the reply! I don't think that my mom has ever seriously considered leaving my dad because as a Christian she takes her vows very seriously. I have read that passage a few times before and it's interesting how it speaks directly to this situation. The Bible says that if the non believing spouse doesn't want to stay with the believing spouse then it is alright if they divorce. But if the unbelieving spouse is willing to stay then the couple should stay married. I am happy that my parents are together even though things are the way they are. I wish the cirumstances were different but I feel like they are doing the right thing by staying together even through difficult situations.

I really like when you said "...God has a plan for each of us and don't hate on yourself if you can't convince your dad to believe". I feel bad sometimes because I know that as a Christian I should witness to people who do not believe. I am extremely close to my atheist father but yet I still cannot convince him....It's very frustrating. Sometimes I'm like, "am I not enough to convince him? Was having a child not life changing enough to make him see that there is a God?" But I think that it's helpful to live by example....To have my dad know that I have decided to be a Christian and with that to try my best to always show being religious in the best light possible to him.

Hope to talk to you again soon. :)

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Hi Ryan,

wow my story is pretty similar to yours, although my dad is not an atheist. But there are many many parallels. I'm gonna write you a pm tmrw, am just too tired right now (it's 22:35 here ;)).

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I am not in a situation like that, but I'll pray for your family. I feel bad for your dad. That is indeed a sad story.

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Although im 6 years late to this post.. I know exactly what your feeling. My Grandma is pretty religious and since i can remember she would always have studies at her place with my cousins which as kids we hated. My mom on the other hand wasnt religious, she knew God and all but she wasnt religious the same goes with my dad. Ive always loved church when i was younger because of the activities so i would force my mom to take me. By the time i turned 13 i started hanging out with the wrong crowd and i lost faith. It wasnt until last year 2015 when a pentecostal knocked on the door and told my mom a huge earthquake was coming. She got scared and began studying with them and began going back to the church were she grew up in. One of the pentecostal leader didnt like the fact that the guy was giving my mom study when she had thoughts of staying with the 7thday adventist. So they quit the study, and she began forcing me and my siblings to church.. To make things shorter Jesus found and saved me and it has been amazing but unlike me and my mom who have baptized we still 4/6 in the house who havent recieved Jesus Christ. Although we been working with my siblings we also been working with my dad who is an atheist. My dad lets us go to church and all that but he just doesnt want anything to do with God. As the bible says he who doesnt have God in his life cant love because God is love. So yeah me and my dad are like strangers when we are alone its awkward because of the fact that he has hurt my mom has caused me to i guess not like him. Ive been working on getting close to him again but its been hard. My dad as well is a science guy but lately he has been reading the bible and watching videos although the videos talk bad of God i feel like the Holy Spirit is workinf in him 

 

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