The Great Courses


Nov 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Was just informed by a religious associate that my marriage to Natalie is without merit because I'm an atheist, that my rejection of God is mere arrogance, and that my public unbelief is disrespectful to a highly religious family.

Here's my take, which was given directly at the time but warrants mention here:

Arrogance is asserting that you have a bigger seat at the table because you believe in spirits. Arrogance is deciding that a supposedly omnipotent God needs you to defend him. Arrogance is asserting that my marital union isn't valid because I didn't stand before a preacher or under a spirit. Arrogance is declaring that an atheist can't enjoy the Christmas season, and that the holidays belong to Christians alone. Arrogance is the declaration that you already have the Answer, so there's no need to keep asking the questions. Arrogance is expecting others to defer to your religion just because you hold it, and that you're insulated from having to defend your own claims.

Your assertion of invalidity and arrogance is a prime example of the crossing of boundaries, the expectation of agreement, an attempt to emotionally blackmail another into rejecting his personal convictions. true disrespect.

My marriage to Natalie is just as valid as a marriage done in a church or synagogue, perhaps more so because it's a commitment we made to each other and not to an invisible Eye in the Sky. My holidays are just as meaningful as those which involve Christmas pageants and Jesus prayers, perhaps more so because I focus on spending real time with real people in the real world. And my life is mine to live, no matter how badly it ruffles the sensitive branches of the family tree.

I'm my own person, and I think I have valid reasons for not being satisfied with an inherited worldview. My life doesn't belong to others. It belongs to me. If that makes someone uncomfortable, it's not my problem.

-Seth Andrews

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