Author Topic: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.  (Read 2764 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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From a question that was sent in to The Humanist: The Humanist Dilemma: Does 1 Committed Christian + 1 Staunch Atheist = 1 Happy Couple?

The question starts:

Quote
My girlfriend and I have very different religious views. I’m humanist and she’s Christian. We are also very firm in our respective beliefs. I haven’t brought up Unitarian Universalism yet, but I doubt she’d feel comfortable with it. Our religious differences don’t present a problem for 99 percent of our interactions, but there are a few spots where it causes friction.

The first conflict that came up was infant baptism. I’m about 60 percent certain I don’t want that for any future children, while she definitely wants it. I don’t know what to think about that one. It isn’t an issue now, but it will need to be addressed because it will likely be an issue within the next decade. What are some perspectives I should look at to help me choose how big of a deal it is or isn’t for me?

The answer includes:

Quote
Although I usually try not to be negative, I predict going forward you’ll find your overwhelmingly happy percentages slipping as the unhappy fractions grow in significance. When people are already married, and particularly when they have children, my advice leans heavily toward finding ways to work things out together. But when that isn’t the case yet, I’m inclined to suggest a pivot toward the exit.

Now is the time to find relationships that truly work for each of you, even if that isn’t one that works for both of you together. You’re both facing compromises on things you hold dear, and setting up win/lose scenarios. This will only intensify with children who will/won’t be baptized—and then how will they be raised?

(Click the link for the full question and answer.)

In short, because of the religious differences between the questioner and his girlfriend, him being an atheist/humanist, she being a Christian, he is being advised to end the relationship, because the minor tensions the couple experiences now are likely to get significantly worse in the future.

Do you think this is proper? Are religious differences a potential doom for relationships, or can differences be worked out? I guess it depends on how religious the religious person is.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline daniel1948

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It's actually fairly common (nowhere near a majority, but common enough) in Mexico for couples to be mixed Catholic/atheist. I think such couples can have a successful marriage if they respect each other. Of course, the thing about baptism is that the partner who does not want the kids baptized is at a big disadvantage because the other partner can take them with nobody the wiser. I'd have advised the atheist: Your spouse is going to get the kids baptised. All you can do is teach them critical thinking and that religion is all bullshit. They need to have a full and open and honest discussion before the marriage.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
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Offline Ron Obvious

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Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Now circumcision on the other hand...

Online 2397

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It's all pretty disgusting, if it's taken seriously. Infants being treated as if they're going to be tortured forever if the parents don't brainwash them properly, and then the parents along with other adults sing praises for this entity.

God made you wrong, and it's your fault.

Offline Ron Obvious

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It's all pretty disgusting, if it's taken seriously. Infants being treated as if they're going to be tortured forever if the parents don't brainwash them properly, and then the parents along with other adults sing praises for this entity.

God made you wrong, and it's your fault.

True, but that - in my experience - is more of an American thing. Mainstream European Christians, and many in the US, don't talk or think like that. Hell, if it exists at all, is only where extremely evil people go is more like it.

If the Christian in question is of the extremist type, I would advise the atheist to run and certainly not procreate with this person.

Offline daniel1948

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Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Yeah, but that "holy water" has been found often to be filthy with disease-causing microbes of all sorts, from people sticking their dirty fingers in it all day long.  ::)
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

Offline Ah.hell

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Seems sad. Who cares about Baptism? It's just a ritual with some water spilled about.  Seems like an easy compromise to make to me.

Yeah, but that "holy water" has been found often to be filthy with disease-causing microbes of all sorts, from people sticking their dirty fingers in it all day long.  ::)
What's the actual risk?   I'd say they shouldn't get married primarily because the atheist seems to an uncompromising jerk.  I think the advice was pretty sound.  If babtism is problem, that's a sign of many things to come and they should probably reconsider their plans.

Evidence strongly shows that for long term success, how to raise children and how to handle money are at the top of the list of things you need to agree on. 

Online John Albert

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I'd say they shouldn't get married primarily because the atheist seems to an uncompromising jerk.

Doesn't seem to me like the atheist boyfriend is the "uncompromising" one in this case. He says he's "about 60 percent certain" he doesn't want his kids baptized into religion, but the Christian girlfriend is determined to have them baptized. He's clearly more flexible on that issue. Then there's the story about how she tried to guilt him with "lonely" feelings because he wasn't sufficiently moved by her religious music. Sounds to me like a religious freak being a total buzzkill about somebody not sharing her enthusiasm for Jesus.

Having a religious partner is not necessarily a dealbreaker per se, but when they're dragging you to Christian music concerts and expecting you to act all transcendent about it... we all have our limits.


I think the advice was pretty sound.  If babtism is problem, that's a sign of many things to come and they should probably reconsider their plans.

I generally find these relationship advice columns a bit too heavyhanded about giving advice to total strangers after only hearing one side of the story, but in this case I totally agree. These two should definitely not have children together.


Evidence strongly shows that for long term success, how to raise children and how to handle money are at the top of the list of things you need to agree on.

Whether it's wise to squander the family funds on weekly tithes to a scam organization, and whether the children are raised to subjugate themselves to imaginary enslavement under an abusive, supernatural sky daddy; those are two very big sticking points.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 09:32:28 AM by John Albert »

Online 2397

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I agree that for the sake of future children, it would be better to split than to make them a part of your disagreements. Another option is to not have children. Although differences in how important it is to have children is also a good reason to split.

If baptizing a child is a compromise, what's the other side of that compromise? If it's between indoctrinating and not indoctrinating a child into a religion.

Offline SnarlPatrick

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This answer doesn't show much confidence in the ability of the couple to live and let live or agree to disagree.

I agree that for the sake of future children, it would be better to split than to make them a part of your disagreements. Another option is to not have children. Although differences in how important it is to have children is also a good reason to split.

If baptizing a child is a compromise, what's the other side of that compromise? If it's between indoctrinating and not indoctrinating a child into a religion.

The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.
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Online John Albert

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The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.

Offline daniel1948

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The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.

Some Christian denominations (the Anabaptist groups) do exactly that. Babies are not baptized. They are, of course, indoctrinated, and then when they reach a certain age they decide for themselves whether to be baptized or not. If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated. Instead, see to it that the child is taught about all the major world religions, and any minor religions the child expresses an interest in.

I am of the opinion that if every child were taught about all religions at a very young age (and no one religion before all the others) we would greatly reduce the prevalence of religious fanaticism and stupidity.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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The Baptism does not necessarily bring indoctrination into it. They could baptize the child and then not send them to Sunday school... or allow the child to decide at an appropriate age.

A reasonable compromise would be to hold off on baptism until the kid is old enough to decide whether they want to be baptized.

Some Christian denominations (the Anabaptist groups) do exactly that. Babies are not baptized. They are, of course, indoctrinated, and then when they reach a certain age they decide for themselves whether to be baptized or not. If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated. Instead, see to it that the child is taught about all the major world religions, and any minor religions the child expresses an interest in.

I am of the opinion that if every child were taught about all religions at a very young age (and no one religion before all the others) we would greatly reduce the prevalence of religious fanaticism and stupidity.

You should also teach them about skepticism, critical thinking, science, history, and society.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Online John Albert

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If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated.

If you have no interest in indoctrinating the kid into Christianity, why baptize at all?

Offline daniel1948

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You should also teach them about skepticism, critical thinking, science, history, and society.

Agreed 100%.

If I was young enough to marry a woman of child-bearing age, and if we were to have kids and she was religious, I'd prefer the opposite course: have the baby baptized (in clean water, not in the disease-infested font water) but not indoctrinated.

If you have no interest in indoctrinating the kid into Christianity, why baptize at all?

The premise is that I've married a woman who is religious, and some compromise is needed. Better to sprinkle the kid with water than indoctrinate them into irrational beliefs. My compromise to my hypothetical wife is: You can have the kid sprinkled with water and teach the kid what you believe, and I'll bring in people to teach the kid the beliefs of as many different religions as I can find teachers for as well as science teachers to present what science knows and how science thinks and operates.

To my way of thinking, baptism is a meaningless ritual that doesn't hurt the kid as long as you use clean water rather than filthy font water. When I paddle in a canoe, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'm going to get splashed by the person behind me hitting the water with the paddle on the return swing. IMO that's no different from being baptized except that they're not saying words they regard as magical.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

 

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