Author Topic: An atheist is advised to end a relationship with his religious partner.  (Read 424 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:

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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:

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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 appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - 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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Online 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...

Offline 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.

Online 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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"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."
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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 revel in their own imaginary enslavement to an abusive, supernatural sky daddy; those are two very big sticking points.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 03:13:32 PM by John Albert »

Offline 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.

 

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