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How should atheists relate to theist partners?

What are the atheist views on being in a relationship where the other person is a pretty regular church goer?

I have just begun such a relationship and hope that things keep going smoothly. She knows I’m not a believer and so far things are well, but I’d like to know what i can do, in this case, to keep them like this.

Posted: September 7th 2008

Eric_PK

Two really important questions for you to answer:

1) Can you respect the person despite their beliefs? Are you okay how those beliefs intrude into your life? For example, can you never do things Sunday morning because of church.

2) Are you thinking of ever having kids?

Couple’s can be tolerant of each other’s beliefs, but there’s no way to compromise with children. They are either baptized or not. They go to Sunday school, or not. Religious school, or not.

There’s no middle ground, and this is a big issues between couples of different religious beliefs. Note that many theists who are kindof lukewarm in their beliefs become much more religious when kids come along (especially women), so don’t assume that things will be the way they are now.

For my money, it’s a good thing to avoid, but it depends on the couple.

Posted: September 18th 2008

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Dave Hitt www

The Bible says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, KJV).

My interpretation of this is different from most Christians. Light is reason and science, darkness is religion and superstition. And based on the religious beliefs among prisoners, it’s easy to conclude that Atheists are more moral than religious people.

You can have plenty of differences and still get along, but it depends on how intensely she feels about things. For instance, if you despise rap, and she likes it, it’s not going to be a big problem. She can listen to it when you’re not around. But if she loves it, and wants to play it all the time, it’s going to be a huge problem for the two of you. Especially if she is intent on convincing you it’s great music, despite the complete lack of evidence for that belief.

It comes down to a matter of degree. If religion is part of her life, and there’s no indication it will be come the center of it, you’re probably safe. But if she’s very religious, or headed in that direction, you could be in for a world of heartbreak.

Posted: September 18th 2008

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SmartLX www

Mutual respect (for each other, specifically) and tolerance, that’s all.

I’m in the same boat, though my girlfriend’s a bit less religious than yours sounds. She’s still a Christian at heart.

We talk about it occasionally, not to argue the point but simply to learn the subtleties of each other’s position. We know neither of us is out to convert the other (she trusts me on this point despite knowing that I write for this site and others, and I honour that trust) but if one of us were to have a change of heart in future and agree with the other, that would be just swell.

My advice to you is to get everything out in the open as early as possible. Ask her what she believes, and answer any questions you get back. Your relationship obviously isn’t built on faith, so it will likely withstand an honest difference of opinion.

It’s worth finding out how religious her family is. Some of them might have more of a problem with her dating an atheist than she does. That’s not a problem in my case, as her family has its own atheists to deal with, including her father.

Relax, you’ll be fine.

Posted: September 15th 2008

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