Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
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09-01-2011, 10:57 AM
 
Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
Thou I wasn't brought up as an Atheist, I didn't have religion crammed down my throat either. As a child when we would go and see my grandparents occasionally we would go to church, but that was about as far as my indoctrination went. My parents never really spoke about religion much (maybe the occasional conversation about problems with Muslim/Middle East) nor do they go to church. But as someone who likes answers, I still held a belief in god until my agnostic teens/20s (I have only come to call myself an Atheist in the past year after fully understanding it is simply "not believing" and not a dogmatic belief system in itself!). So i don't really talk deeply about religion with my folks, but I can take comfort knowing that they will not criticize what I may believe in either.

My wife of 3 years (dated for 6yrs before that) I would say is an on-the-fence agnostic. She still believes in God and Jesus (in their existence anyways) but the whole supernatural heaven/hell/souls stuff she seems to have a bit of a different attitude towards at times, almost like she could adopt something of a Buddist, with the possibility of nature and your energy returning to the earth etc. I have never said to her "I'M AN ATHEIST" but she knows I think very freely about religion and the cosmos. If I don't believe in a Christian god, I don't feel that it is necessary to go advertising when it may offend some people. My wife's family (and especially extended family) are devout Christians and I simply don't speak of anything religious to them, because I don't want to be shunned (and I don't have the religious knowledge and power of debate like Harris, Dawkins or Hitchens!)

I also do a bit of wedding photography on the side, I do not feel at all "offended" by the religious side of it. In fact if I were to get married all over again I would still have a typical wedding in a church because it's fun even if the stuff they pray about is make belief. I would like to do more research on Athiests views of weddings/marriage but that is a whole other issue for discussion. Smile

So I'd like to know- what are the beliefs of your "better half"? Are there conflicts with your non-believing?
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09-01-2011, 11:19 AM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
My family was catholic. I was raised in the church, but did not attend Catholic school like my parents did because my dad did not like the experience. He was more of a free thinker. I think he could have become atheist some day, but he never let go of being Catholic for some reason. My mother was disappointed when I (and later my brothers) announced that we are atheist, but she doesn't fret it.

I was married twice. Both times to women of faith, and both times in church. I could get married in the Vatican or on a ship or in front of a JP and feel no less and no more married either way. My current better half is a nominal Mormon, but I talk to her about my atheism all the time, and she listens then has her say and I listen. Neither of us is trying to convince the other. Rather, we are learning more about each other's philosophy when we share our thoughts on the matter.

As best I can glean, she believes in a higher power and likes the good things about Jesus, but doesn't care if he actually was or was not God-in-human-form. She does not believe the Bible or the Book of Mormon is anything other than something some men wrote as a vessel for getting the good word out. She wants there to be an afterlife. She doesn't want there to be a hell. She wants her prayers to matter. She knows evolution happened and trusts that the universe is billions of years old.
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09-01-2011, 11:53 AM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
I'm Jewish and I was raised as what I'll call a "cultural Jew". My parents took me to temple on the high holidays (and when I was really young we went on Friday nights but that was as much a social thing as anything). I went to Hebrew School, had a Bar Mitzvah, but my parents never really pushed the religious aspect of it on me at all.

As I've gotten older, my parents, and especially my mother, is having an issue that I'm not even really a cultural Jew anymore. It is not a big source of angst between us, but mostly because I cave in. Whenever there is a holiday that generally requires family to get together, I not only show up but I act as expected to act. If it's Yom Kipur (the Jewish day of atonement when we fast), I don't eat. If it's passover, I follow the dietary restrictions. I don't do this once I'm out of eyesight, but I do it when I'm with my family out of courtesy and respect to them.

I'm also sending my kids to Hebrew school and will have my sons Bar Mitzvahed as well. I am doing this solely to make my mother happy (I don't know if my dad would care either way. We've never discussed it and even if it bothered him he'd never say anything about it). My mom is aware that this is the reason and she is ok with that. It's just important to her that my kids learn about who they are and where they came from. What else I teach them about God and religion is not something she involves herself in.

I could, of course, take a stand on even the small things I do and say it is contrary to my beliefs. However, it really is not all that big a deal to me, it makes my parents - or at least my mom - happy, and considering all the things my parents have done for me and continue to do for me to pick a fight over something so trivial is simply not worth it to me. It is far more important to me that my parents are happy and have as little anxiety in their lives as possible. My folks are both reasonably young (my dad will be 72 in Feb and my mom 67 in March) and are both in great health but the fact is I won't have them with me forever. So, why pick a fight?

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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09-01-2011, 04:39 PM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
My parents didn't indoctrinate me. They sent me to Sunday school, after church. That is where most of the indoctrination attempts happened. It wasn't hard-core like the bible camp videos. Those are brutal. But being a person who values knowledge and wants to understand, I spent a long time searching for provable answers, which lead me to atheism.

There is was no religious pressure at home. We had gone to museums and dinosaur parks and neither parent contradicted anything that said. I only recently found out that my mother doesn't believe that there is any way to accurately judge the ages of fossils etc.

There was the saying grace before x-mas and easter dinners, but that is not much.

My common-law girlfriend believes in god, but she isn't a YEC and she does not contradict anything scientific. She doesn't talk about her beliefs unless she is asked and she has never, in my experience, tried to convince anyone that her ideas are right. She is just over the border between atheist and theist.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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09-01-2011, 09:58 PM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
I suppose my parents were christians when I was growing up, but we never attended church regularly. All of the bible stories were treated more as fables than truth, and we were never "taught" about christianity, onlt "told" about it. My wife is also an atheist, and we had a non-religous wedding that even my grandparents (devout christians) though was great.

My brother and I were the first in our family to be open about our atheism. A couple years ago, my mom told us that after talking about religion with us both (many times over several years) she had come to the conclusion that she could no longer believe in the myths of christianity. She held on to her belief in god for a while, but has recently started to identify herself as an atheist as well. My dad still hates the word atheist, because of all the terrible things he's had drilled into his head about atheism, but doesn't believe in god any more either.

My daughter, who is 14, is also an atheist. My wife and I, as well as my daughters mom, have always given her any information she wanted, and let her arrive at her own conclusion. Just recently we talked about it, and she told me "of course I'm an atheist. I know the difference between fairy tales and reality dad. Duh!" In fact I was quite proud of her for making the connection between Santa Claus and god at a very young age. She had asked what religion Santa was. When I asked what she meant, she said that he was just like god. Saw you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake. Knows if you've been bad or good....and all that jazz. She said he must be SOMEONES god, right? Smart kid I must say.

So really, I don't have many people in my life that are religous, and most are atheist. (At least the ones that count). Those that are, know where I stand, and that if they want to discuss religion I will, but I don't tip-toe around. I do my best to be kid, but I don't play the "well, you have your beliefs, I have mine" game. If you don't want me to blow holes in your religion, don't start a conversation about it.

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09-01-2011, 10:39 PM
 
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
My family of origin is CRAZY religious. I grew up a zealot and stayed that way until I was about 26.

My husband was never as religious as I was, although we went to church as a family for a long time. I would say he believes in a higher power, but he's not into church anymore. Our kids are just plain confused, but that's another post.
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10-01-2011, 10:26 AM
 
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
I grew up Catholic. It was odd though because we never missed mass, never. In fact we went to most if not all holy day masses too, but yet religion wasn't really a part of life outside of church. We never prayed, or talked about God, and my parent swore like most. The church was almost like a social community and you just "did" it, but you didn't "live" it. These people were are friends, and associates. I was an alter boy and my family volunteered for various church events, I went to catechism, and was confirmed, etc... I continued to go to church in college because the school I went to had a Catholic priest. It was again very laid back and most of my friends went too. So I was religous lite, there was never any substance to it. When I went to Grad school I attended mass at the Newman center, I was now in a MUCH bigger city, and to be honest these people seemed really serious about this shit! It kind of freaked me out that they were all religousy all the time, and I had no one to attend with now so I just stopped going, and started my journey all be it very slowly. At first I was just a lasped Catholic, and I still went to mass when I was in my home town. Then I was just completely turned off by the Catholic thing and active looking for a religion to belong to. I never found it, and eventually worked my way to atheism. My Mom is passed on or else my kids would probably be baptized, but alas they are not. My sister and dad aren't happy with my choice, but we don't talk about it much as again we never did before.

As far as my wife goes I don't think I would have been attracted to a "real religous" girl, but sort of a Religion lite type like me was OK. As it turns out she didn't go to church nor did her mom, but her dad was methodist. Although I think he was so involved in church due to his job as a Finacial planner because most of his clients were church members. We were married in a church and that was cool by me, and I wasn't completely atheist then anyway (my mom had died only 5 month prior). Right now my wife believes in some kind of personal God, and afterlife. She doesn't read the bible though and we don't attend church. We lost our third child when he was 3.5 months old and these beliefs comfort her, and that is absolutely fine by me! My mother-in-law has recently started going to church, but more for some social companionship since my father in law suddenly died. She has taken my youngest child a couple of times and he's enjoyed the experience, and has some questions. He is 7 though and its pretty basic innocent stuff which I don't mind answering. Oh well that's my story.
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10-01-2011, 07:20 PM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
My husband is an atheist as I am, so that makes things easy. Wink

My parents were religious and sent me to Sunday school. My dad was protestant and my mother was raised Catholic (Eastern Orthodox?) but she converted at some point when she married him. I went to Sunday school for many years, and when it came time to be confirmed into the church, I just didn't want to. They were fine with it. I didn't really have all of my ideas shaped at that time, and long story short, my dad died long before I would have called myself atheist. I don't think he would have minded. My mother has since gone back to Catholicism, sort of, but she doesn't attend church regularly or anything. I know she believes in God though. I've never discussed my feelings with her, just because it doesn't seem necessary. She's not devoutly crazy religious or anything so it doesn't really come up. I think she would be ok with it too.

My coworkers are all Evangelicals to a high degree and I have to hide from them. I just avoid all conversation about religion. It's hard on me. Not that I feel like I need to talk about religion, but because I hate having to walk on eggshells all the time and censor myself. Will be glad to move away from here.

My reason for being is to serve as a cat cushion. That is good enough for me. Wink
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10-01-2011, 09:44 PM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
My whole family, with the exception of my father and his sister, believe that the world was created in 4000BC. They also believe that tea and coffee are evil, that technology was invented so that they could spread the word of god and all other applications are bastardizations of the original purpose. They also believe that black people and asians are being punished for being evil before they were born (despite also believing that people are all born innocent, which suggests they don't think that non-whites are people) and that the Native American culture, until around 500 years ago, was made up of white men with brass armour and steel swords.

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11-01-2011, 07:35 AM
RE: Your spouse and family- their beliefs?
(10-01-2011 09:44 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  My whole family, with the exception of my father and his sister, believe that the world was created in 4000BC. They also believe that tea and coffee are evil, that technology was invented so that they could spread the word of god and all other applications are bastardizations of the original purpose. They also believe that black people and asians are being punished for being evil before they were born (despite also believing that people are all born innocent, which suggests they don't think that non-whites are people) and that the Native American culture, until around 500 years ago, was made up of white men with brass armour and steel swords.

That is seriously fucked up.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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