During my last year of graduate school, my wife miscarried our unborn child. We were heartbroken and traumatized and nothing seemed to make the pain any better. After the miscarriage, well-meaning people would come up to us and say things like—“God wanted another angel in heaven,”—and I’d nod and say “thank you” but silently, I was livid. The idea that there could exist a deity that, out of its own ego, would take someone’s unborn child from them was abhorrent. The miscarriage was the catalyzing event that led to my atheism. My atheism, in large part, was also to blame for my divorce.
The trauma of the miscarriage cemented my wife’s faith in God. She was raised in the Assembly of God church. Not many people know what that is—for reference, you might have come across some footage online of people speaking in tongues or collapsing after being healed of their diseases—that’s Assembly of God. My wife and I met while we were both away at school, and I knew about her faith but she was never so religious that I thought, “wow, you’re weird.” I think that religion was mostly social for her. For me, a lapsed Catholic, her faith was never an issue, and she never communicated to me that my religious ambivalence was a problem for her.
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