I have a question for any atheists or agnostics. Would you trade a life of wealth (not extreme, 100k/yr or so), great family and friends for your beliefs? (or unbeliefs)
This is the situation that I find myself in. I was raised in a very fundemental religious group that practices shunning. After a few years of research I now see how wrong my beliefs were. After reading The Greatest Show on Earth and Why Evolution is True my world was rocked. I still attend my religious meetings (about 10hrs a week) but it pains me to do so. I am still required to participate actively, so I can't just show up and be a bump on a log.
I have made no one aware of my new found beliefs except my wife, whom I barely mentioned it to before she broke down in tears. She cannot bear the burden (or the freedom) that this new knowledge imparts. If I speak of it to any of my friends, I risk being shunned. Since my entire network of friends and family belong to this particular religion, along with my employer, if I "come out" and discuss my new beliefs I WILL be disowned. There is no "if".
I have a good life except for the fact that if I continue live "as is", I have to pretend to be something i'm not for the rest of my life. I'm not ready to lose my child, wife, friends, and entire family, but at the same time it kills me not to talk about my beliefs and to actively participate in a religion I no longer believe in.
Hence my original question, is the price too high to pay? Can I be happy participating in a religion but not believing?