Marriage to a believer
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07-03-2013, 11:58 PM
Marriage to a believer
I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this thread, or if it's already been posted before (if so I apologize in advance).

I've been in a relationship with my girlfriend for about 2 years now. Everything has been great for the most part. We often like to discuss things early on before they erupt later when we're married. When we first got together I was an agnostic, then converted to Islam (which she was very happy about). My girlfriend is Jewish, but isn't very strict in practice. She prays every night, goes to temple whenever she can, and prays before eating. That's about the extent of it. After about a year of being Muslim I decided it was all a load of crap and became atheist (that story is much longer, but I don't want to get off topic). She was very upset at this initially, but after I explained my reasoning she seemed to accept it.

The only issue that comes up for me is CHILDREN. I want to marry this woman, but I'm very afraid of raising religious kids. She's VERY insistent on the children being raised under Judaism. I was raised Christian, and I know it differs a bit from Reformed Judaism, but I know how much pressure a child can have when introduced to a religious life. I really do not want my kids going through this. Just to end the argument I decided to let her win and allow the kids to be raised Jewish, but deep down inside it still bothers me. What should I do? I don't want to break up with her over some silly superstition, but shes not going to see it done any other way.

(Also, her mother always wanted to raise her more religiously, so that's why she feels the need to raise our kids that way.)
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08-03-2013, 01:04 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
(07-03-2013 11:58 PM)JonDoeTheThird Wrote:  I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this thread, or if it's already been posted before (if so I apologize in advance).

I've been in a relationship with my girlfriend for about 2 years now. Everything has been great for the most part. We often like to discuss things early on before they erupt later when we're married. When we first got together I was an agnostic, then converted to Islam (which she was very happy about). My girlfriend is Jewish, but isn't very strict in practice. She prays every night, goes to temple whenever she can, and prays before eating. That's about the extent of it. After about a year of being Muslim I decided it was all a load of crap and became atheist (that story is much longer, but I don't want to get off topic). She was very upset at this initially, but after I explained my reasoning she seemed to accept it.

The only issue that comes up for me is CHILDREN. I want to marry this woman, but I'm very afraid of raising religious kids. She's VERY insistent on the children being raised under Judaism. I was raised Christian, and I know it differs a bit from Reformed Judaism, but I know how much pressure a child can have when introduced to a religious life. I really do not want my kids going through this. Just to end the argument I decided to let her win and allow the kids to be raised Jewish, but deep down inside it still bothers me. What should I do? I don't want to break up with her over some silly superstition, but shes not going to see it done any other way.

(Also, her mother always wanted to raise her more religiously, so that's why she feels the need to raise our kids that way.)
If you get married and have kids....its going to be a trainwreck.

KingsChosen is a lying douchebag
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08-03-2013, 01:17 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
Lemme put it this way.

Imagine your first kid is a boy.

Imagine watching the mohel do his thing.

If you're fine with this mental image, you can swallow most everything else.

Otherwise, better have some more talking now rather than later.

Warning Labels: Long-winded. Twisted sense of humor (including puns, literalisms, absurdisms, all complicated by sarcasm and deadpan delivery). Contrarian. Do not combine with high quantities of sugar, acid (corrosive or hallucinogenic), or people who take themselves too seriously.
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08-03-2013, 03:26 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
The problem is not really about religion as much as traditions. If she is willing to marry a non-Jew and permit what Jewish Orthodoxy calls avodah zerah in the home (anything representing the Christian faith), then she is really being selective concerning what she thinks her dogma requires. Often it is more about being part of the club for the reform participants, since the Tanach itself is not considered Divine or binding. In Reform shuls the non-Jewish spouses and (often) non-Jewish children (if the female was non-Jewish) are considered part of the collective.

The problem would occur, really, as often does for some later in life when one spouse decided to be Orthodox in his or her faith. At the point, the relationship will have sever stress. Yes, it is important to agree ahead of time what faith the children will follow, but what if you want to baptise and she wants brit milah? What happens when Easter and Pesach happen at the same time? And worse, what happens if she becomes religious and therefore chooses to sleep in a seperate bed part of every month, cannot permit you to open a bottle of wine, nor let you make anything in the kitchen unsupervised?

So the problem isn't so much today, but it is the future that you need to consider. If her lack of acceptance will continue unchanged, or will only diminish, that would be good for you. But what if you become more Orthodox? Can you choose to walk 2 paths at some point where they will diverge? And what would you do if your children came home from Hebrew day school and you heard them mocking the Christian faith in the areas that are incompatible, or saying "Yemach Shemo" after saying Jesus ("May his name be erased"), could you just smile and bear it?

The point is, marriage is not just enjoying an intimacy, but having a partnership with your steps on the path are not so far apart. It is about seeing a future and reaching for that, but together. And since you are already thinking of beginning by straddling two paths, the uncertainty of when one will choose one or the other, or the children which are already being planned to walk a different one than you, will certainly cause you to feel isolated unless you convert to her faith, or she converts to yours. And because of what you already wrote, that is not an option.
You need to choose your life and your future, and to include that someone who will walk with you, not apart from you.

Been there. Done that. And was remarried 10 years ago because of that.

“I've done everything the Bible says — even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!"— Ned Flanders
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08-03-2013, 04:15 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
This atheist married a good Catholic schoolgirl going on some 27 years ago now. I had to promise the Church not to interfere with any children's Catholic upbringing in order to be married in a Church in front of a priest. I kept my promise. All 4 of our now adult children turned out to be fine young atheists anyway. I say there's nothing more effective than a religious upbringing to turn one atheist. ... I know quite a few Reformed Jews who are atheists and I've looked into it before myself for their sense of community and tradition. If my wife was a Reformed Jew I might even considering converting.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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08-03-2013, 06:52 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
(08-03-2013 04:15 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  This atheist married a good Catholic schoolgirl going on some 27 years ago now. I had to promise the Church not to interfere with any children's Catholic upbringing in order to be married in a Church in front of a priest. I kept my promise. All 4 of our now adult children turned out to be fine young atheists anyway. I say there's nothing more effective than a religious upbringing to turn one atheist. ... I know quite a few Reformed Jews who are atheists and I've looked into it before myself for their sense of community and tradition. If my wife was a Reformed Jew I might even considering converting.

^What he said.

Sure let the kids learn religion, but don't lie to them. If they ask hard questions, don't give them bullshit answers. There is plenty of traditional and community value to be found in religion, but that doesn't mean that you need lie to your children about the nature of reality.


Look here for a comic about 'How to Suck at Your Religion', and thus, a good list of things to avoid.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/religion


This question also reminded me of a Philhellens video that I think is applicable here. To quote [from 6:50 to 8:50]...


If you follow time all the way back, if you go looking for truth through the only objective, unbiased eyes we know; the hypersensitive cameras, sensors, and detectors inside out scientific instruments. There is a very good chance you will end up here, the moment just after the beginning of the universe. Some can't even bare to look at it, some can't look away. Some see it and just shrug, even though its surely as staggering as any thought can be. If anything can ever honestly be described as 'wonderful', this is it; for it contains all the wonder of which we know. Of course you can pray. I understand, we're only apes after all and it is staggering. All we have to do is not lie.
Don't say you know it's name.
Don't say it told you to tell people what to do with their lives.
Don't say that those who believe otherwise must be punished.
Don't say it sends earthquakes and tsunamis.
Don't say it EVER hurts ANYONE for ANY reason, because that is SICK.
But most of all, don't give away our dignity.
That love you feel inside, those pure selfless feelings. Your sense of duty and beauty. Your willingness to help, to do what's right and fair; honest and kind. We call such things 'divine', but they evolved within and come from the heart of an ape. And that part, of the nature of this beast, may be our species one saving grace. The only way we'll ever have to look at ourselves honestly and see more than an insect, an ape, or a puppet. Don't give it away.
Don't give it away.





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08-03-2013, 07:03 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
Personally, I don't think that raising the child religious is a problem, but not being honest with your position if they ask you is. Regardless if you raise them in a religion, if you give them the tools to think critically and logically, the natural position would be that they would question the religion.

I think what you should do is while your wife is raising them to be religious, you raise them to be a skeptic and a critical thinker, not an atheist.

Atheism will come to them when they apply the logic and skills you taught them to religion.

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
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08-03-2013, 07:04 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
"I don't want to break up with her over some silly superstition,"

You wouldn't be. You'd be breaking up with her over the fact that she wants to inflict lies on helpless, innocent children.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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08-03-2013, 07:42 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
Or, in the end, she may break up with you.

“I've done everything the Bible says — even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!"— Ned Flanders
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08-03-2013, 07:50 AM
RE: Marriage to a believer
The toughest thing in my experience will be the pressure on the kids. Mom says there is a God and Dad says there isn't a God... this gets to be very traumatic at times for the children... Judaism is a lot more in touch with God though, then Islam, why not give it a whirl?
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