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It seems that far too often, when we are entrenched in these battles of ideology, we lose sight of what really matters. I dated a Lutheran girl for over two years, while I was still Mormon, and the religion was eventually the cause of our downfall. In the end, we were not able to see past all the differences to see the love we shared. AJ is apparently completely blind to the beauty of the story. If there truly is an all-knowing and benevolent father figure somewhere out there, I cannot help but think that he would be in strong favor of love and acceptance, especially in the face of such turmoil caused by well-meaning but destructive people.
The Christ I was taught about as a boy spent most of his time with the worst of the sinners, and through his example and love, inspired them. His overwhelming love was enough. If the common Christian god does exist, he works through love, and time. Judge ye not, or you are no better than the Pharisees. It seems like they would be a good couple to appera on the talk show circuit. Best of luck to both Kate and Eric. It seems to have worked really well. I hope things work out for you. I would like to hear how Erik is handling his relationship with his parents lately.
The only detail I read was that at one time he stopped talking to them. Does he have to directly defy them? Does he conceal his relationship from them? Are his age or economic dependency factors in how much pressure they can bring to bear on him? This part of the story sounds like it has at least as much potential for pain for him as what Kate has gone through. Please listen to the gentle words of Michael. For you to start your first comment with a sarcastic crack suggests there may be a good reason that she has not come to you to talk about this.
Kate is your sister. Soon enough she may be the only family you have left. Treat her with respect, love and empathy regardless of her views. I am a new poster on this site and this is a difficult topic. I will try and make my comments as sensitive as possible. How does Erik reconcile the fact that the Christian Bible specifically says that Christians should not join themselves with unbelievers Second Corinthians 6: A Christian is defined as someone who follows the teachings of Christ.
The Bible is generally considered the authority on the teachings of Christ. I ask because it addresses what I see as the fundamental problem between atheist and Christian relationships. How does the Christian party reconcile their belief without becoming hypocritical? Please understand that I do not mean to be unkind.
I simply have a very difficult time imagining how this scenario could be successful. Discussion might help me out here. Changing my mind would certainly broaden my miniscule dating pool.
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Hemant, thank you for this wonderful story. When I want people to see the essence of what you are trying to do, I will refer them to this post. While the story as a whole was a nice example of people overcoming prejudices, this part disturbed me. Kate and Erik, you are both very lucky to have found each other, as I am sure you already know….
Kate, best of luck and a world of happiness to you and Erik. My Christian husband and I have been together for 15 years now, married for 12, and have two children together. It can be done, and done happily! I agree with Richard; I am curious what the current relationship is between Erik and his parents. I am not sure I understand why this is a terrible question. There would be times it would be rude to ask, I suppose, but if someone expresses to me that they think certain Biblical events are literal retellings of actual events, I would ask if they truely believed that.
Come on, now, how could anyone believe that the some of the stuff in there is real? There are educated Christians, yes, and many of them know plenty about their religion, but I have never heard a sane, rational person think that the Bible is a literal retelling of only literal, true events. I have never heard a sane, rational person think that the Bible is a literal retelling of only literal, true events.
Furthermore, the person who thinks that is an educated, intelligent woman and a good friend, whose common sense and good judgement I value in every area outside that of religion. No matter how much what they believe stuns you, shocks you, disgusts you, or pisses you off, count to 10, and give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a reason they believe what they do. Think about your own beliefs; why are you an atheist? How sound is your own philosophical foundation? Even though atheism inherently makes sense, imagine if you were brought up differently. Even if you were brought up in a Christian household, maybe your understanding of Christianity is just plain wrong.
How does this promote harmony? All that matters is that the respect is present and mutual, and that views are changed not for a person, but for the merit of the views. It is your responsibility to learn all you can about religion; you might even find a branch of Christianity more acceptable to you than the one they currently follow ie- convert your Evangelical to Catholicism. I do believe it is possible for an atheist to legitimately become a Christian, as it is for a Christian to legitimately become an atheist. No one loves a nut job. Some Mormons fit this exception as well. You be the judge, date at your discretion, and at your own risk.
But if you do, think about what you really want in the long term. As atheists, we would largely be ashamed to raise religious kids.
An Atheist and a Christian: A Love Story
Do you look forward to marrying a sane! Or will you regret it? Will you miss the Christian when he or she leaves your life? Are they truly one of a kind? But the truest sort of love imaginable. If this is the case, well, weigh that against their religion. We seem to weigh, today, truth more than happiness. This is one of the most defining characteristics of atheists today: Which matters to you?
Are they necessarily contradicting? We are often materialists, often determinists. We are freethinkers, and often arrived at atheism by following the natural course of our own minds, despite the religious ideas floating around us. You must question them. But it is up to you to at least get the most out of the experience; challenge their ideas, but also, challenge your own.
No matter how much what they believe stuns you, shocks you, disgusts you, or pisses you off, count to 10, take a breath, and give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a reason they believe what they do. We seem to weigh, frequently, truth more than happiness. Of truth and happiness, which matters to you? Are they necessarily conflicting? Which can you realistically attain? We atheists are often materialists, often determinists.
Just very quickly, Richard, I promise you that my brother and I are very close. He has a constant wit that makes us all groan and roll our eyes. But I appreciate your words! Kate and Erik, good luck with your relationship. Religiously mixed relationships can work. I have been married to a Christian for about 13 years now and we have two kids 10 and 5. They were satisfied that I sufficiently respected religious and conservative principles even though I was a liberal atheist.
We have kind of learned not to argue about religion or politics. I have found it very interesting and participate in some ministries and meet for a weekly Christian small group. I view it as simply a fascinating mind-set. He probably missed the formative years of religious indoctrination. He basically dropped his Santa Clause and what-ever god belief he might have picked up about a year ago.
Our younger child is more susceptible for the religious indoctrination and we will have to wait and see how he turns out.
Probably all a child needs, though, is one parent to be non-religious to enable the child to be able to have an open mind. I say go for it. A mixed relationship can be a very interesting enjoyable experience where both people learn from each other… You will be living what the world at large needs to do. Find creative ways to make it work. I promise you that my brother and I are very close. Kate, thank goodness you cleared that up.
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We lived together before we got married, which was another hurdle that was difficult for my parents to digest, but I think that inevetably, it was the fear of the unknown. We have been married for a year now and it has been a very rewarding and challenging experience, one I have learned immensely from. Your story was an encouragement. These two really seemed like a couple of jerks to start with. Are we supposed to celebrate that they merely learned to become decent human beings and not insult other beliefs?
My closest friends in college were devout Christians. Of course, I choose not to associate with those type of assholes as in your post, regardless of what they believe. How about all the people that accept others from the start? Most folks have to go through a growing up process to get to such a state. Maybe they believe marrying an atheist is a sin that will make their son go to hell.
Given unjustified beliefs, people can believe terrible things with good intentions. I suppose you miss out on a lot of great people if you limit the dating pool to those who share your belief system. It demonstrates how pervasive religion is. I would hesitate to tell an atheist to leave a relationship like this, because the truth is the chance of finding someone compatible who happens to be an atheist is probably low.
Lucky me, I did it. But love is always great, if it works, so more power to you both. If so, how does that figure into your relationship? Do you believe in an afterlife? After reading this post, I decided to do a little experiment and asked my husband if he would still love me if I suddenly became an atheist. Would you still love him if his views changed?
I wonder where this took place. Both parties did change, just not the way you might expect. Loving you and being comfortable living with you may be separate things for some people. Well, after a long day on the frigid ski slopes, I will attempt to answer the two basic questions it seems people have for me. I know they really like Kate, but struggle with how to express what they believe the Bible says about evangelizing. I try to make the best of every situation that comes up with my family, but ultimately I will decide what is best for me based on my own criteria and not theirs. Hemant, thanks for the the work you put in to listening to our story and writing this article.
The bit about being a more spiritual atheist is comical. I personally think this whole thing is made up. Someone who wants everyone to get along put this little story together. Talk about desperate, The reality is if they were reasonable they would stop believing in Sky-God tm. And we can vote! Oh the horror of freedom and liberty!!! Thanks for answering him with lightness and grace, it expresses well, I think, why you get along so well with your gal. Sorry your parents are kind of jerks about this. Actually, sorry society is kind of jerkish about this stuff.
You seem to have the right makeup to get past that… good for you! Erik-I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I was just wondering what your thoughts are on 2 Corinthians 6: This was like reading my life story. I am an atheist and my girlfriend is christian. The way the parents acted was very simaler to my situation. Glad to see that others are on the same path. AnneMarie — When I first read that passage, I burst into tears. As in, a public university. Which made it all the more shameful for the banner to be hung.
It actually got approval!!! A high school project inspired him to explore various faiths. He even did the entire month of Ramadan.
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He really liked the Quakers and still attends meetings in Boston. Linda — the question you asked your husband is an interesting one. And if they do…well, what happens then?! Would the other person still love the one who changed? Bart — do I believe in an afterlife? Jeff — thanks for the encouragement!
I am a Christian and I am very happy for you guys! I dated a guy when I was in highschool that was a very serious atheist and it was hard and we did not make it to marriage sadly even though we were engaged. I want to commend the two of you because it takes so much dedication and backing from both sides and I remember people treating me differently when they learned that my fiance was an atheist and how people just acted like it was horrible.
How many people would ostracize the guy that I loved because he was not their ideal and I still love him very much and always will. May you both be richly blessed! Thanks for reminding me of the love of my life! Would anyone know of any website links of some kind that might have similar stories athiest and christian relationships — I, and at a guess a good few other people out there would love to know about it — if anything like that exists on the web…..?
Well…This story was extremely inspiring. I wish I would have read this entry a long time ago. My name is Anthony and I am an atheist however my girlfriend Amanda is christian. I would like to leave a slight story of my own but it will be shorter then the one that was written. If anyone cares to read please feel free to ask me any question or offer any opinions and send to my email.
I was raised in a fairly non-religious home. My mother and father do believe in the existence of god, and have always said thing that have referred to the existence of heaven or god. As I got older the answer to those questions became more and more complex and vague. I became very interested in things like science, biology and the reason for life.
The quest of proof had lead me down a path of atheism. The only comfort that I had on the subject was my best friend Mike. He never bashed Christianity or any other religion or belief for that matter. So I became very comfortable and confident in what I believed. Around 15 years old I was faced with my first challenge. I was presented with the gift of being my nieces god father by my older sister. For days it racked my brain on how that would work being atheist.
I even went to the little practice run that you do before the actual baptism.
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Many things crossed my mind. Was I lying to myself accepting this gift under the eyes of god with no faith? Was I lying to my sister? The night before the baptism I sat in my room crying fearing what I should do. I gathered all the courage I could and gathered my family in the kitchen. After that, the family was very accepting, understanding and even curious about it.
I found myself telling people that I was atheist right away so they could go ahead and decide whether or not they were going to talk to me. July 19th of I met Amanda. I had actually met her in a chat room. I showed her that I was interested and she expressed the same. The moment that I realized she was interested, I blurted out that I was atheist. She continued her interest in me. Soon after, we began dating each other. We have had our hours of religion conversations almost trying to contradict every thing each other has said. But I can say it always came down to one thing in the end… I love her and she loves me.
Well today religion came into conversation, and we started discussing how it would work if we decided to get married. That is how I came across this wonderful story. Something that we can both relate to, but will still not stray too far from either of our beliefs.
Help! I raised an Atheist
So please, any Ideas please feel free to contact me. I already forgive you. I loved this…I have been married to my Atheist for almost years. We have two children and we love each other fiercly. The first atheist I met grew up in the church. His father abandoned the family for another woman. He plainly stated, if God were real, that would not have happened. This same argument convinces many who have experienced pain and dissappointment.
The argument itself is not valid, but it carries emotional weight. Like most of our opinions, it feels right so we believe it. Some people choose unbelief because of intellectual pressure. Christians in academics feel terribly lonely. History books tell the story of atrocities carried out by the church. Science books talk about evolution and leave no place for God.
Because so few of our kids hear serious discussion of philosophy or religion, they easily think only uneducated people could possibly be Christian. Many others are convinced by a silent moral argument. One man told me he grew up in the church, but was also exposed to pornography early. He knew he could not believe in Jesus, and satisfy his sexual desires. So unconciously he chose to continue his immorality. To satisfy his conscience, he called himself an atheist and chose to believe those arguments.
Finally, some kids in the church simply adopt the true religion of their parents. We all know that many parents go to church, but their lives do not display any true belief in God. We may fool ourselves, but we will not fool our children. Teenagers hate false pretenses. If a teenager has grown up seeing his parents wear the false mask of religion, he will very likely reject the church all together.
In the coming days, I will write about how to address each of these issues. For now I want to give you believing parents a spark of good news. In light of all the things lined up against our kids, why does anyone believe?
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Because God actually does exist. He is there, and he actually cares about us humans. Not only that, but he loves your children. His plan for your sons and daughters may involve a short or long visit to the far country of unbelief. Let him know that you are his loving mother who cares about him deeply and believes in his strengths and abilities.
Give him strength, hope, and lead by example. Thank you for sending us your question. I am sorry to read about this difficult challenge that you are facing. I ask Allah to help you and your son cultivate a strong and healthy relationship based on mutual respect and empathy. After reading your message, the first question that came to my mind is what does your son believe in and how does he identify himself?
Is he Muslim or not? Is he questioning his faith? Is he trying to find what he believes in? The answer to these questions is the core of your problem. Why did he start dating this girl you describe above in the first place? Why does he want you to meet her family? What does he see in them that pleases him?