I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
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24-02-2013, 03:08 AM
I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
For most of my life (admittedly not a great length of time seeing as I'm quite young--semantics) I've been a gung-ho atheist. 'The God Delusion' is my make-shift bible (make of that what you will) and I'm not one to compromise my beliefs...or lack thereof. Honestly, it's gotten to the point where I find it rather difficult to keep religious friends. It's not that I'm not open to it, but we don't generally mesh well. There's just something about the religious mindset I find rather off-putting, and I'm sure most religious people feel the same way about me. Then I met my current girlfriend.
Sigh.
We're both huge geeks--we met at a Sherlock Holmes convention if that gives you any indication--and have a ridiculous amount in common. We share all the same favorite TV shows (this has made for excellent Doctor Who marathon dates), like the same genre of books, have a similar sense of humor (Fry and Laurie marathons have also taken place), and hey...we even have a lot of the same kinks. The problem arose when I found out her mom is a priest...okay, so that I could deal with. It's just her mom, anyway. Her family is all pretty queer-friendly (I should hope so, given that we're both both fairly gender-fluid and 'technically' are lesbians. If you look at it that way. Anyway, that's neither here nor there...) but it took her four months into our relationship to actually come out to her mother and admit she was in a 'lesbian' relationship. I didn't say anything, but it honestly rather bothered me.

Today I finally confronted her about her beliefs and asked what exactly she does believe. Her exact words were: "Obviously part of it is that my mom's a priest. I mean, I do believe in most of the stuff, though I obviously have issues with certain things. I'm content with church. It doesn't bother me." (seeing as this conversation took place over skype, I was able to copy it word-for-word.) We went on to chat about it, and she was quite clear that she believes in a god, though she'd never try to push it onto anyone. Okay, so, not exactly a militant stance on her part. I probably shouldn't be so upset by this. But...the idea that she even believes in god drives me nuts. I've always viewed the theistic belief as proof of flawed logic, denial, or low intelligence. I don't want to admit it, but...well, I'm seeing my girlfriend in a new light.

TL;DR...what should I do? I don't necessarily see this as a dealbreaker. We have plenty in common and she's not a fundie. Honestly, this is just my problem. She has no issue with me being an atheist, so I feel like a bit of an arse for having such a problem with her belief. Am I just out of line? Should I just suck it up? Or is this, in your opinion/experience, a really big deal? I might just be blowing it out of proportion.
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24-02-2013, 03:37 AM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2013 03:42 AM by Luminon.)
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
Hey, I think she's wonderful! See, she talks about it but not unless you ask. She is aware that part of it is her upbringing and she has doubts about some things (find out which ones). I think, as Christian girlfriends go, this is one of the best deals you can get. I definitely think you're blowing it out of proportion. Consider, she is tolerant enough to hang out with an antitheist Smile

Belief in god is not about logic or intelligence. It is about the subjective, emotional logic of attachment. When there's attachment, you can't have a bet for beer if it's real and then go look it up on Wikipedia. You have to go on a "journey" and come to a certain conclusion through learning, growth and experience. We really let these things alone, if they are just a small part of our world and don't bother us, they're not worth of journeying for. God often occupies a corner of mind, much shielded from the sunlight of attention, wind of change, rain of experience and stray atheists prowling around.

If you can't get her to go on a god journey (and you can't, because in her worldview god is not such a big deal to begin with) you can do another thing. Take it easy. Watch things about the cosmos that might be interesting to your girlfriend. Watch also something about the sub-atomic world. Something about the nature and evolution - and the brain.

If her god is god of the gaps, fill the gaps with science and one day she'll let go of the god. She'll outgrow him and it won't be a big deal.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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24-02-2013, 03:46 AM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
(24-02-2013 03:37 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Hey, I think she's wonderful! See, she talks about it but not unless you ask. She is aware that part of it is her upbringing and she has doubts about some things (find out which ones). I think, as Christian girlfriends go, this is one of the best deals you can get.

Belief in god is not about logic. It is about the subjective, emotional logic of attachment. When there's attachment, you can't have a bet for beer if it's real and then go look it up on Wikipedia. You have to go on a "journey" and come to a certain conclusion through learning, growth and experience. We really let these things alone, if they are just a small part of our world and don't bother us, they're not worth of journeying for.

If you can't get her to go on a god journey (and you can't, because in her worldview god is not such a big deal to begin with) you can do another thing. Take it easy. Watch things about the cosmos that might be interesting to your girlfriend. Watch also something about the sub-atomic world. Something about the nature and evolution - and the brain.

If her god is god of the gaps, fill the gaps with science and one day she'll let go of the god. She'll outgrow him and it won't be a big deal.
I cannot tell you how comforting your words are. I know I have it pretty good, especially seeing as her mother is a priest...there's all sorts of levels of crazy she could have been. I think the initial shock of finding out she believes in god (and honestly, this shouldn't have been suck a shock for me...for as much as I go on about religious people being deluded, I sure did a decent job of deluding myself!) is what really set me off. I really couldn't help but panic. If I can't even bear to have religious friends, what am I supposed to do about loving someone from a religious background with religious beliefs? Albeit mild, rather sane ones...but beliefs I strongly disagree with nonetheless.

Still, I think you're probably right. I really ought to just let out a breath and not allow this to claim me. Hey, she's no fundie...I ought to be able to make this work.

If you don't mind me asking, do you think it would be beneficial for us to discuss our beliefs with one another, or to just leave it alone?
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24-02-2013, 04:57 AM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
Hey dude, or girl, or whatever Tongue

I have had a similar situation with an ex of mine. Actually, it was my most recent ex. She was a Christian and I was the atheist in the relationship. While we( the ex and I) got along very well romantically, we were diametrically opposed in the religious scope. She was an anti-science fundie Christian while I was the pro-science scientific Atheist. The relationship itself was amazing, one of the best I ever had. It was good because I had the mindset that religion was ONLY ONE of the many things about her. She loved many things that I did, and some of them were for the same reason. A relationship works when you focus on the person as a whole, not on one aspect( in my case three)

Now, let me give you a warning, from one young person(15) to another. If you plan on trying to change her faith, you have to tread carefully. I don't recommend it at all, or even if I do, I recommend the "Give her the tools and the method, and let her figure it out herself" method. Even with that, I would tread carefully. A relationship is like skating on ice. A relationship with religion involved is like skating on thin ice.

Start with science, and then go with the methodology of it. If you can (carefully) have her understand that the only way to test the truth claim of anything is to doubt and put it to the test.

If you plan on trying to DECONVERT her, it'll be hard. It might not even be worth it.

Science is the key, but it can only work with a mind willing to learn.

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24-02-2013, 01:39 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
Don't attempt conversion. Let her find her own way. If she asks answer honestly what you believe. It'll be rough. Didn't work for me. The non-conversion part is especially important though - not only 'cos (well in my opinion) it's kinda the right thing to do, but because theists - Christians in particular - are programmed to go ape-shit at any perceived attempt to 'lead them astray'... If she's sensible though she'll figure out that she's onto a good thing with you and not let it bother her, so other than letting her know your position and that you're willing to discuss it if it bothers her, don't make a big deal out of it. Another mistake I made in a separate relationship... Weeping
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24-02-2013, 06:59 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
(24-02-2013 03:46 AM)SquidgyTwiddles Wrote:  If you don't mind me asking, do you think it would be beneficial for us to discuss our beliefs with one another, or to just leave it alone?
Hey, I love discussion. But recent experiences on the forum taught me, that you have to know what is the point, what kind of talk you're having. There's a difference between a discussion that can change one's mind and a talk that that can't convince her, but you get to know each other better. I think the latter is the case, her god is deep inside her mind where neither you, nor evidence can reach him. And that is all right, this god is also probably too deep to have much real effect on her life or you.

You can learn about what is her god like. Is he kind, loving, personal, watchful and so on? Is there anything he disapproves of? You can ask her about why does she believe, what the god does for her or what does she do for him.

That will be obviously not very informative. But you'll get to know your girlfriend better. You'll have a chance to appear as a tolerant, non-judgemental person to whom she can open her intimate beliefs without danger of being mocked or rejected. You might get closer to each other. If you manage that, she might later be open to some careful criticism from your side, that she wouldn't take from anyone else, she'd think it's some kind of attack.

Now, your turn might be... If your girlfriend asks you about what do you think... Describe your experiences with believers, how do they make you feel. How you're afraid of people with god in their head because they sometimes do bad and nonsensical things. You should however stick to your feelings and things you have experienced, don't try to confront her with the bad deeds of fundies on the net.


You might watch the movie The Ledge together. It would really help her to understand your fear of religion. But first listen to this podcast, you'll hear how The Ledge even affected a fundie woman IIRC, it showed her a mirror of how does she must look like to other people in her zeal.

I hope it's a unnecessary remark, but you don't have to follow this immediately all the way. Try to feel the situation, this is some deep stuff, try to be as personal as possible. Don't say "this is" or "that is", but "that seems to me" and "that makes me feel like".
Finally, sorry if I'm too specific and you don't need such details. But I'm not good at generalizing and improvisation and this is the kind of specific advice I'd need for myself.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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06-06-2013, 10:00 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
Keep in mind, as you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you.
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19-06-2013, 08:12 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
(24-02-2013 03:46 AM)SquidgyTwiddles Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 03:37 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Hey, I think she's wonderful! See, she talks about it but not unless you ask. She is aware that part of it is her upbringing and she has doubts about some things (find out which ones). I think, as Christian girlfriends go, this is one of the best deals you can get.

Belief in god is not about logic. It is about the subjective, emotional logic of attachment. When there's attachment, you can't have a bet for beer if it's real and then go look it up on Wikipedia. You have to go on a "journey" and come to a certain conclusion through learning, growth and experience. We really let these things alone, if they are just a small part of our world and don't bother us, they're not worth of journeying for.

If you can't get her to go on a god journey (and you can't, because in her worldview god is not such a big deal to begin with) you can do another thing. Take it easy. Watch things about the cosmos that might be interesting to your girlfriend. Watch also something about the sub-atomic world. Something about the nature and evolution - and the brain.

If her god is god of the gaps, fill the gaps with science and one day she'll let go of the god. She'll outgrow him and it won't be a big deal.
I cannot tell you how comforting your words are. I know I have it pretty good, especially seeing as her mother is a priest...there's all sorts of levels of crazy she could have been. I think the initial shock of finding out she believes in god (and honestly, this shouldn't have been suck a shock for me...for as much as I go on about religious people being deluded, I sure did a decent job of deluding myself!) is what really set me off. I really couldn't help but panic. If I can't even bear to have religious friends, what am I supposed to do about loving someone from a religious background with religious beliefs? Albeit mild, rather sane ones...but beliefs I strongly disagree with nonetheless.

Still, I think you're probably right. I really ought to just let out a breath and not allow this to claim me. Hey, she's no fundie...I ought to be able to make this work.

If you don't mind me asking, do you think it would be beneficial for us to discuss our beliefs with one another, or to just leave it alone?
the more you piont her to science the more she will believe!!! something had to put it all together. Cant take a rock and make the rock talk back to each other?? i know i havent see that one yet!
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19-06-2013, 08:23 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
I wouldn't make a big deal out of something that really doesn't bother her.

I'm married to a believer- he lives his life his way- I live my life my way- He doesn't push me and I don't push him. Our lives are full with so many other activities and other concerns that it doesn't matter much. I know his heart is in the right place--meaning-- if I need him-he will be there-in an instant.

For me it isn't any different than asking what is your favorite flavor of ice cream.


my husband doesn't attend church, and his whacked out fundie parents live far, far away, so its not like the subject comes up often.

I wouldn't try to push her as others have stated above. When a topic comes up on its own-discuss it then. Its all about having respect for someone else and giving them the same freedom to choose their own thoughts like you choose for yourself.


Be excellent to each other and party on, Dudes!
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19-06-2013, 09:21 PM
RE: I'm an atheist and my girlfriend is Christian...
Bows is right. It's about the other things you have in common to keep you together. I date a Christian, and we don't try to do convert each other. He is not active in church, which helps. But we share hobbies and friends and listen to each other's bitching about work or whatever.

She may come to atheism on her own. Check out last night's podcast, I Live with a Believer. It's available on this site and YouTube.

Just try to remember what you love about each other. If that's no longer there, you have a problem. If it is still there, it can work. You won't find anyone you agree on everything with. Good luck.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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