THE QUESTION (first date)
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17-11-2013, 01:57 PM
Sad THE QUESTION (first date)
It happened again...First date and I'm asked straight up, "Do you believe in God".

I don't mind dating a religious person. How many choices do I really have in that regard anyway? But I always know it's over if they ask "Do you believe in God" on the first date, because if it matters enough for them to ask on a first date, it matters enough to them to not date you if you say "no".

I hate this question on a first date. I realize it's ultimately a relevant and important question...but why on the first date? I don't know how most of you handle it, if you are still in the dating world, or how you used to when you still were, but for me I try to let religion hang outside of the conversation, at least long enough to actually get to know each other without putting a filter over everything one says or does. I prefer the "do you believe in God" question to be a conversation and discussion over a period of time, so that you really understand my point of view, not just assume you know what that means about me. If you simply say "No" they add whatever preconceived notions of who you are prior to getting to know you. I've dated very religious girls, hand have been told, if they know on the first date that I was an atheist they never would have dated me. But know that they know me, they would have been so mad if they had choose not to get to know me for that reason alone, and they look at unbelief completely differently now than they ever did, even if they themselves are still religious.

How do you guys handle these questions. Do you just straight up say "no", do what I do and try to make sure they get to know you first before having these conversations, or just never bring it up, and just see what happens?

The actual date from last night is a long story, so I'll post it in the first reply down below...

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17-11-2013, 01:58 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
Last night, she asked the question. I never said "no", but asked her what she meant by "God" she thought this was obvious, I explained why it was not, which she understood, then she explained herself. She doesn't seem to hold to a particular "God" (i.e., Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, etc...) but does believe all religions have only one main "god" at the top no matter how many they have, so they all agree on that. I said that's not true of all religions, some have many "gods" and there may, or may not be a hierarchical structure present within that belief system. She disagreed...she is wrong about this, but I let it go because it's a first date, I don't need to argue, and regardless she made her point. She believes in one main "God" that all religions share, regardless of their religious beliefs, or concepts of other "gods". So a sort of Deism I suppose. Never got out of her if this is a active personal "god" like an actual being, or just an "essence", for lack of a better word, in the universe. I'm assuming I couldn't clarify this with her, because I don't get the feeling she ever bothered to think about the distinction, but seemed to move between the two concepts as it fit her narrative.

So, she wanted to know if I believe in that, whatever that is. I still don't think this is a clear definition, but it's a first date not a debate, and people like her don't get that there is a difference between that distinction and would just think you're being difficult by seeking clarity, so I moved on. I (still not saying "no") explained that I accept things for which I have reason to accept, thing that I can experience, perceive, and/or have some sort of knowledge of. If I've had no experienced of a particular thing, or in this case, what you might call the supernatural, then I'd have no reason to believe in that thing, because I've had no experience of it. And if I did experience it, then it is something that has actually happened and is real, and if it's real then it's part of reality, which makes it no longer supernatural.

I asked her why she felt she had reason to believe. Here I expected her to say some internal fluffy feelings like a wonder for nature or awe in the beauty of things. And that's exactly where she started. But I explain I to do have all those feelings, and she felt that was "God". Basically that same conversation Oprah just had. At least on the side of what she said. I handled my point of view far better than the woman Oprah was talking to. I made my point that my knowledge of the world, of science, and how it works has not diminished the beauty of the world, but enhance it, that I don't simply see the awe and wonder of the world when I'm out in nature, but I can see and feel it right here in this car (I was driving at the time) because everything becomes so much more amazing when you really learn about it.

This seemed to have impressed her, because see seemed to have made the assumption that without a belief in "God" (which at this point I still haven't said) or the supernatural, I must have no wonder or awe in me, but she felt the way I spoke about things, and the passion for which I expressed them, and I feel she felt I had even more wonder and awe for the world than she did. I think she liked that but I think it seemed to confuse her, because she seemed to not understand why I didn't fit in the box I should have fit in. From her follow up questions, she seem to keep trying to figure out how I did actually still fit inside my box she gave me, but kept failing.

She gave up on that, and from there it all seemed to go. She seemed satisfied with my response, but still just had this nagging feeling that I need to have the supernatural in there, because that matters for some reason. But because of the questions she kept asking trying to figure out why I dismissed the supernatural, and considering the reason she gave for believing the supernatural, the awe and wonder of the world, and that I was able to eclipse her feelings of wonderment and awe with only science and reality, without resulting to supernatural, I asked here again, what makes you believe the supernatural specifically? Why do you believe in things that you can't and don't experience? To this she became very excited and stated that she has experienced it, lots of things, lots of times. One example that she said that stood out in my mind was this...

She said back when she was still married, her husband sat straight up in bed, without waking up, but was talking in a "real" language that was not earthly, and was possessed by a demon. She knows it was a demon because of the "real" language that he was speaking, which he does not know, and because he was very scary and his eyes were solid black, whites, irises and everything. She did not give much more detail on that, but did say the next day she asked him about it, and he said he thought it must have been a demon, and he remembered saying a name, so they looked up the name, and it was a specific demon. So they knew it must have been real. ...now to be fair, at this point I was done with her... She said some other things too. Now, I can deal with someone having a belief and still dating them, but it's another thing for them to say they've seen and talked to demons. That's outside of my scope.

I just said, "Yeah, so I've never experienced something like that, so having never experienced such a thing, I can't personally have a reason to believe it"? Everything outside of that in the date went really well, but ultimately she said she has to put "God" first, which I was okay with because I don't need to be dating someone who says she literally sees and talks to demons.

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17-11-2013, 02:00 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
You should be glad this came up on the first date.

Imagine if you were together a while and this all came up? That would suck.
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17-11-2013, 02:06 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
This really should be strategically handled, but not on the first date. Maybe a first month type of thing. My strategy is to put myself out there as an atheist so that the person I date doesn't go in with questions like this. I've had religion screw things up before, so I prefer to just do a pre-emptive strike.
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17-11-2013, 02:07 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
(17-11-2013 02:00 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  You should be glad this came up on the first date.

Imagine if you were together a while and this all came up? That would suck.

I agree, in this particular case, I agree. But in other cases, where the girl was great, and we were great together, and there beliefs, and my lack of belief never effected the relationship, they themselves said if they knew on the first date that I was an atheist it would have been over right then and there, and we would never even have at least had the relationship that we did.

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17-11-2013, 02:11 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
(17-11-2013 02:06 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  This really should be strategically handled, but not on the first date. Maybe a first month type of thing. My strategy is to put myself out there as an atheist so that the person I date doesn't go in with questions like this. I've had religion screw things up before, so I prefer to just do a pre-emptive strike.

I go between the two approaches, usually after I've kind of got a feel for what might work best. But I diffidently definitely don't let it linger more than a month. Besides which, if it matters to them enough, it will never make it as far as a month.

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17-11-2013, 02:18 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
(17-11-2013 02:07 PM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  
(17-11-2013 02:00 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  You should be glad this came up on the first date.

Imagine if you were together a while and this all came up? That would suck.

I agree, in this particular case, I agree. But in other cases, where the girl was great, and we were great together, and there beliefs, and my lack of belief never effected the relationship, they themselves said if they knew on the first date that I was an atheist it would have been over right then and there, and we would never even have at least had the relationship that we did.


But you two aren't together anymore? Religious reasons later?
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17-11-2013, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 17-11-2013 02:41 PM by Raptor Jesus.)
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
(17-11-2013 02:18 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  
(17-11-2013 02:07 PM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  I agree, in this particular case, I agree. But in other cases, where the girl was great, and we were great together, and there beliefs, and my lack of belief never effected the relationship, they themselves said if they knew on the first date that I was an atheist it would have been over right then and there, and we would never even have at least had the relationship that we did.


But you two aren't together anymore? Religious reasons later?

Not religious reasons, no. Just life reasons.

There were definitely, in some cases some tough conversations, but generally not that rough, and pretty positive over all. We both just carved out our own space on what we both believe, and as long as there was understanding, it was find. But religion did not play a big role in it.

But it definitely has in other ones. I remember dating one girl, for probably right around a month, and religion came up. There was a lot of yelling an door slamming after that, on her side of it, not mine. I never yell or slam doors over religion. I was never insulting or rude, but for some people the simple existence of a nonbeliever they take as an attack on them personally.

I get it in the sense that if I say I don't believe in "God", and you say that you do, I don't feel like my non-belief is being attacked. But if you say you do believe in "God" and I say I don't, you might feel attacked, because there is an aspect of saying that I don't believe in "God" that they take as "there for you are wrong". And to be fair, I do think they are wrong, so just expressing your own personal view, to them feels like you are attacking their view, even when you are just explaining your own. In other words, explaining to them your own reasons why you don't believe in "God" is also kind of explaining to them why their belief in "God" is wrong, even if that's not your intention in expressing yourself.

It just depends on the individual how they take it, and I don't think you can figure that out in one question with one answer. ....unless of course, if they see and talk to demons..... then that's all I really need to know.

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17-11-2013, 02:49 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
Ive never had luck dating religious people. It always becomes an issue, inevitably.
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17-11-2013, 03:13 PM
RE: THE QUESTION (first date)
I just don't feel I really have too much of a choice. It's not super hyper religious where I live, and certainly there surly are other atheist, and really I don't need them to claim atheism, just as long as they don't really care about religion. But those types are few enough and far enough between that holding to that as a standard means removing a massive dating pool.

Plus, in the same way that I would not want someone to judge me in a relationship or dating situation because I'm an atheist, I wouldn't what to do that to them either. I have a more laissez faire approach to it at the start, and just see where it goes.

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