Church, atheism, bisexual, and sociopathy.

I’m an Atheist.
I’m bisexual.
I work in a church.
An no one knows the first two.
I began working at the church years ago. It’s been more than a job; it’s been a goal. I wanted to see the church be what was best about it while becoming something more; a community center for the sake of community rather than just self serving religious fervor. In that time I’ve been successful as it’s become central for the whole city community as a beacon of openness and real, authentic, caring without the disgusting tinge of “we’ll be nice to you because we think it might get you to join us”.

During that time though I changed. I slowly stopped believing in God as I ceased being able to reconcile the idea of a christian god with everything I’ve come to know of the world, and even on a logical basis I’ve found the most amorphous understandings of a christian god inconsistent and lacking. At the same time I’ve come to realize that I was ignoring my attraction to men; writing it off in numerous ways. Mostly because my attraction to women has never changed. So I’ve come to accept that I’m bisexual.

Neither of these characteristics have been made known in my work, social, or family environment.

I’ve kept them hidden not because I’m afraid of reaction, but more just not wanting to deal with the reaction. I’m not the pastor (though I’ll refrain from what position) so I don’t have to deal with theological matters directly, but still, pronouncing your an atheist needless to say would make my work more difficult.

Letting out I’m bisexual is less an issue really. I don’t think there’s anyone that would cause me problems over it, whose opinion I care about at least. Yet I know an have seen what people think of bisexuals because, really, that’s what culture has taught them an I’m just disinterested in dealing with all the questions and commentary.

So while the church became more open, I became less open. Hiding a good portion of myself from everyone. I think it might be doing something to me on a subconscious level though.

You see I used to be very empathetic with everyone. Able to almost feel another persons pain when they were sad or troubled. In the last few years though I’ve felt myself become more jaded to others. It’s to the point now that when someone next to me is sad or mourning I have to almost restrain myself from sighing out loud. There’s even been times where I’ll analyze the situation and give a blunt answer to it without even realizing it would make the other person angry (not everyone wants honesty in such situations). An then it takes a moment for me to even understand why they would be angry.

I used to be more intuitive to another persons emotions. An it has not escaped my notice that this turn from empathy to traits of a sociopath has corresponded in timing to my revelations of Atheism and bisexuality and the increased hiding thereof.

Could it be that hiding so much of myself from everyone has caused me to shut down parts of my personality, namely empathy, towards others to better protect my “secrets”? I would be curious what others’ take would be on this?

8 thoughts on “Church, atheism, bisexual, and sociopathy.

  1. I’m truly sad for you and the way you experience life. I’m also sad for those who care for you because they are in a no win situation. Maybe they just read your post and recognized the whole-shebang one of their relationships.

    1. Thank you? People who care for me can largely live with much of it though. The ones who don’t that I still have to deal with are the ones I’m concerned about. My family’s opinion I could care less; I don’t have a good relationship with them anyway for other reasons. My friends I think would largely be accepting. My work the atheism matter is the biggest concern.

      Maybe it’s time I started being openly bisexual there though.

  2. You might be right about shutting down sides of yourself friend. From what you’ve posted, you have a very good understanding of your challenges. Do you think that getting a new job in a non religious setting would encourage you to be more open about important aspects of your life? Should you continue there, will you continue to progress on the same level as if you were to leave? Take care now.

    1. It’s a consideration whether to leave. I know I can’t do the job forever; it’s more about seeing my goals through. I’m not foolish either though; I know these two things could be problematic if I go to another job, the difference being I wouldn’t necessarily have the influence to navigate the politics of it. Churches aren’t the only places being an bisexual atheist is troublesome. That world I know though. I know how to navigate it. I’m concerned that it wouldn’t be as easy elsewhere.

  3. Simplistically, if you cannot be empathetic with yourself, the you can’t give it to anyone else. Hiding your true self becomes judging yourself over time. This judgment is bound to seep through in your interactions with others. You cannot minister to someone if you don’t believe what you are ministering, either. I know this all sounds obvious. Many years ago I became involved with someone like you, through church. (I am also an atheist, but went because of family pressure. I had young children then, too.) I fell very hard for a young woman who was in training to be a minister. The feelings were mutual. On the advice of our minister (a closted gay man himself!) she broke it off, and would have no contact with me at all. I still had to continue going to church, and being served communion, etc. by her. It was torture, and eventually it got out and ruined a lot of my reputation. I’m still bitter about that woman. She now has 3 children, a very successful career in the church and working with the homeless in our city, and I am one of the only ones who know what a liar she is.
    I guess this doesn’t really answer any question, but is just an observation on the damage that can be done by hiding, especially in the church. You are in a position where your actions effect a great number of people, and it would be wise to consider that carefully. I don’t think in any way that you are a sociopath, or else you wouldn’t be questioning! You sound like you are just numb from the self enforced hiding of your true self, and that’s no way to live.

    1. I’m the original poster.
      To be clear: I’m not a minister and have no wish to nor am I on track to be one. I’m more of an administrative body, but i hold a lot of influence on its politics an know how to wield that influence. I’m sorry that happened to you, it’s sad when churches make that part of the culture in it.

      But that’s a large part of what I’ve striven for where I work; creating a culture the opposite of what you just described, where people are accepted for who they are an they are able to make their own choices. While I’m not religious anymore I still understand the power of it; the art of it, the psychology of it all, the possibility. An my goal there had been encouragement and sustainability of that sort of religious community so that it might spread and help change the general culture of religion away from this holier than thou selfishness that’s perpetuated within it.

      Therein lies my personal conundrum. Because though that’s been my goal, an I’ve largely achieved it, I also need to make sure it is sustainable so that everything hadn’t been for nought.

      In order to do that I have to carefully manage perceptions of me. These two things will change those perceptions in an unforeseeable way (at least, the atheism thing could hinder matters…).

      Others have asked me why is it my burden; to put it simply because I make it my burden. I’m just afraid of what it does to me in the process. But then I guess it’s never been about me.

  4. As a fellow atheist I can suggest that it might do you good to explore these parts of you that you have repressed out of necessity. There are such things as atheist churches, maybe your future lies there? Atheists value community too and we tend to be pretty accepting of many sexual orientations and identities. If you have to hide things from your friends and family then they aren’t really your people are they? Would you marry somebody who you knew his things from you? Would you want somebody to marry you knowing you were always going to have to lie to them? Test the waters of a new world and decide what is best for you.

    1. Appreciate the comment. It might be that a change is needed before long, though what form that takes I don’t know. To be clear though; if I’m dating someone they’ll know these things. I’m not going to lie to someone I intend to be with. Not lying is usually what ends the relationship; might be why I’m hesitant otherwise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.