Author Topic: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.  (Read 1667 times)

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Offline John Albert

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I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.

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I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.

For some people, they might not have such divergent values to begin with, or be aware that they do, because of how religion has been imposed on them. One of them could lose their faith after getting married, or only become confident in their non-belief after spending some time unraveling what they've been conditioned into.

Offline daniel1948

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I would never marry somebody whose values diverged so sharply from mine in the first place.

In this case, I  believe the advice to end the romance was probably correct.

I've known religious people whose values overall were closer to my own than many atheists I've known. I've known liberation-theology Catholics with whom I disagreed only on the question of whether or not there's a magic man in the sky. And my smoke-free, teetotal lifestyle is closer to some Christians than it is to most of the atheists I know. So, yeah, it ain't gonna happen now, at my age, but I could have seen marrying a liberal, humanist Christian woman who didn't smoke or drink and who opposed war and racism and homophobia, but who wanted her kids baptized to please her imaginary friend in the sky.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online The Latinist

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It is my understanding, Daniel, that the rite of baptism of infants involves a commitment on the part of the parents to instruct the child in the practices of the faith.you may not feel that the baptism would have any spiritual affect upon the child, but would you be comfortable making such a commitment with no intention of keeping it?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline John Albert

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Even despite giving lip service to a vow to indoctrinate my newborn into the tenets of the faith, I'd consider it fundamentally dishonest to baptize my child into a religion in which I do not believe.

Offline daniel1948

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It is my understanding, Daniel, that the rite of baptism of infants involves a commitment on the part of the parents to instruct the child in the practices of the faith.you may not feel that the baptism would have any spiritual affect upon the child, but would you be comfortable making such a commitment with no intention of keeping it?

I would not lie to my hypothetical wife about my intentions, but I'd happily lie to a priest or preacher. I know of a case of a woman who pretended to convert to Catholicism so that her mother-in-law would not fear that her son would go to hell for marrying a non-Catholic. (Even though the son was an atheist and a Communist.) This woman flat-out lied to the Priest. I think she did right because she assuaged the fears of her mother-in-law.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck


Online The Latinist

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I do not consider a vow to be something I do to other people, but something I take upon my self.  I would not make such a vow without the intent to fulfill it.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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"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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I do not consider a vow to be something I do to other people, but something I take upon my self.  I would not make such a vow without the intent to fulfill it.

I take my promises seriously. But there are situations when I would break a promise and feel no regret:

When an unreasonable demand is made under duress, I would not regard the promise to be binding. If a woman I loved wanted us to be married in a church and the priest or minister would not perform it unless I made a promise to lie to my children, I would make the promise and not consider myself bound. I would tell my future wife beforehand that I had no intention of keeping the promise.

Here's an example: Your friend or loved one is dying and asks you to make an unreasonable promise. Do you:

1. Make the promise to ease the suffering of your friend or loved one and then consider yourself released from it when they die?

2. Refuse to make the promise because it is unreasonable, even though it will cause them distress in their final hours of life? Or

3. Make the promise and then keep it, to no purpose, and possibly to the detriment of yourself and others?

I would do (1) and feel I had done the right thing.

A vow is something I take by and for myself in private. A promise is something I make to another person. I do break promises lightly but if it turns out that keeping the promise will cause harm to others I will not blindly keep it. And if someone pressures me under duress to make a promise, I do not consider it binding.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online The Latinist

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As I have already said, I would not make a promise I had no intention of keeping.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline daniel1948

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As I have already said, I would not make a promise I had no intention of keeping.

Even if it was a promise that would be impossible or harmful to keep, but making it would ease the suffering of a loved one?
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline AllanGuldager

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Well, I do not like that the coloumnist advises on breaking up - instead the answer should be pros and cons with nothing definitive.

Religous practice is more relaxed in Denmark, I think, and lots of people have their kid baptized and are married in a church without being religious, just because it's tradition. The same goes for burials, confirmation and christmas service. Even non-believers uses the church for these events. Well, Denmark is mostly an evangelical lutheran country though, and it is a very non-preachy and relaxed denomination. I know several atheist/religous couples and it works just fine. So if an atheist agrees to have their kids baptized, it is usually tolerable because it's tradition. I think it is that way, because the priest usually is very relaxed about all the religious stuff.

As for the original question, I think they should have a long talk about what they can accept and cannot accept. I know a couple who made a deal: they got married in church, but their kids shouldn't be baptized. If they can find some compromises like that, it is a good sign. But the bigger problem is, that she wants to share the religious experience, and if that's important to her, I can not see how the couple can go on.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Religious practice is really laid-back and a private matter in Scandinavian countries. It is unfortunately not so in many other countries.

I get the impression though that Denmark (and Norway) is more religious, or at least more traditionalist, than Sweden. But globally speaking, it would still be considered a very secularized society.

The following book by Phil Zuckerman on the subject can be recommended:

Quote
Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment

Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were “getting religion”—praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don’t worship any god at all, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the “happiness index” and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer.

Zuckerman formally interviewed nearly 150 Danes and Swedes of all ages and educational backgrounds over the course of fourteen months. He was particularly interested in the worldviews of people who live their lives without religious orientation. How do they think about and cope with death? Are they worried about an afterlife? What he found is that nearly all of his interviewees live their lives without much fear of the Grim Reaper or worries about the hereafter. This led him to wonder how and why it is that certain societies are non-religious in a world that seems to be marked by increasing religiosity. Drawing on prominent sociological theories and his own extensive research, Zuckerman ventures some interesting answers.

This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that “society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.”

Sometimes an outsider's perspective makes it easier to appreciate what you have. From the book:

Quote from: Phil Zuckerman
In clean and green Scandinavia, few people speak of God, few people spend much time thinking about theological matters, and although their media in recent years has done an unusually large amount of reporting on religion, even this is offered as some sort of attempt to grapple with and make sense of this strange foreign phenomenon out there in the wider world that refuses to disappear, a phenomenon that takes on such dire significance for everyone—except, well, for Danes and Swedes. If there is an earthly heaven for secular folk, contemporary Denmark and Sweden may very well be it: quaint towns, inviting cities, beautiful forests, lonely beaches, healthy democracies, among the lowest violent crime rates in the world, the lowest levels of corruption in the world, excellent educational systems, innovative architecture, strong economies, well-supported arts, successful entrepreneurship, clean hospitals, delicious beer, free health care, maverick filmmaking, egalitarian social policies, sleek design, comfortable bike paths—and not much faith in God.
"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 AllanGuldager

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I get the impression though that Denmark (and Norway) is more religious, or at least more traditionalist, than Sweden. But globally speaking, it would still be considered a very secularized society.
Norway is definetly more religous than Danmark. But it is kinda hard evaluate the extend of religious beliefs in Denmark. In january 2019 74.7% of the population is a member of the Church of Denmark, but there are many non-religious people amongst those. The high membership rate is more because of tradition than religion. When you're baptized, you automatically become a member, and most people uses the church for that, even though they're not religious, but because it's tradition. About 25% (according to the latest poll in 2015) are non-religious, and if you add up the members of the Church of Denmark, the non-religious and other religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other christian denomation, you get more than 100% - so lots of non-religious people are member of the Church of Denmark, because of tradition.

The following is a quote from wiki:
According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010, 28% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 47% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God, and 18% believe he is the saviour of the world. A gallup report in 2009 found that only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.

 

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