Help – Letter to a Girl (Believer) from a Guy (Nonbeliever)

32


Discussion by: UncertaintyBlog
Strangers, colleagues - 

I’m in a bit of a crisis. This past year I fell in love with a girl who happened to be a devout Christian. I am myself an agnostic, but because of how much I cared about her, I pledged to look into it again with an open mind, hoping maybe I could find a way to believe. But I’m at the end of my search now, even more agnostic than I was at the beginning – and I am trying to find the best way to tell her. 

I’ve written an essay chronicling what I’ve gone through, and my reasons for disbelief. I may give it to her, I may not. But I was hoping a few of you with some free time might be willing to help a complete stranger by reading my essay and pointing out any perceived flaws or inaccuracies (I tried to do my research, but I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes). 

You can access the doc at the following link and leave comments. Naturally, please do not distribute: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15D7OaOmMtolz-K18WUvzDUpmvWcclO5pb0pH_relgJ8/edit  

In your debt,
D.

32 COMMENTS

  1. STOP STOP STOP!

    OK I didn’t read more than a few lines of your paper (complete with sources and footnotes.) You have put so much energy into writing this paper and sharing it with strangers, yet you seem to lack the courage of dropping all your notes and facing this woman to tell her who you are. I’m sure you fear rejection or looking like a fool, but you’ve written a PAPER with sources. Does this really come from the heart? (NO) What is coming from the heart is that you are stumbling to find the a way to approach her. Your actions speak louder than words, yet you haven’t shared one bit of this with her. She knows nothing about your FEELINGS.
    Tough to get a handle on those buggers, FEELINGS. You can’t footnote and source them.

    You are asking for conflicting information. Read my paper. Tell me what to do about my Christian girlfriend. There is an emotional disconnect here. I hope you see it.

    Here is what I think you should do. Keep you skeptic hobby to yourself. If anyone wants to point out facts or inconsistency in your paper OK. Go buy your girlfriend some flowers and sit down with her and have a talk. Tell her what she means to you. Then tell her that something has really been bothering you lately and it has been eating you up inside to the point writing research papers. Tell her you just need to put it out there and you hope she will understand and accept you for who you are. Tell her your an atheist. (Yep, I didn’t read your paper and although you say your agnostic, I think your really an atheist teetering on the edge.) If you sincerely do not think you are an atheist, tell her that you have been questioning the world, life and reality and it has been leading you to believe that this is the only life we live and life will end upon death. The more you look into this matter, you have been coming to the view that God is unlikely and may possibly not exist at all. If she then starts to argue or dispute what you have said, DO NOT FALL FOR THIS ARGUMENT.
    Ask her if she feels that she can accept you for who you are and whether or not this poses a problem for her. If she doesn’t accept you, tell her you understand and will see how she feels about your relationship in a few days. After this, DROP IT and enjoy the evening. If she still cannot accept your views, you need to be willing to let her go. If her religion is more important than you, she may decide to end the relationship. If your atheism does not bother her, perhaps you can continue on being together. Just know that if you do decide on marrying her there will likely be problems with children and religion in the future.

  2. Ah, I should have been clarified – if I do show this to her, it will be AFTER I have talked to her in person about this (and we’re not dating – we were waiting until we worked out any inconsistencies in our beliefs). I wouldn’t think of just dropping something like this on another without speaking to them. I just wanted a record of my thoughts – I also might show it to a Bible-group leader I had met with a couple times during all this, hence the sources (I remember him being skeptical of carbon-dating, for instance).
    In reply to #1 by QuestioningKat:

    STOP STOP STOP!

    OK I didn’t read more than a few lines of your paper (complete with sources and footnotes.) You have put so much energy into writing this paper and sharing it with strangers, yet you seem to lack the courage of dropping all your notes and facing this woman to tell her who you are. I’m sure you fear rejection or looking like a fool, but you’ve written a PAPER with sources. Does this really come from the heart? (NO) What is coming from the heart is that you are stumbling to find the a way to approach her. Your actions speak louder than words, yet you haven’t shared one bit of this with her. She knows nothing about your FEELINGS.
    Tough to get a handle on those buggers, FEELINGS. You can’t footnote and source them.

    You are asking for conflicting information. Read my paper. Tell me what to do about my Christian girlfriend. There is an emotional disconnect here. I hope you see it.

    Here is what I think you should do. Keep you skeptic hobby to yourself. If anyone wants to point out facts or inconsistency in your paper OK. Go buy your girlfriend some flowers and sit down with her and have a talk. Tell her what she means to you. Then tell her that something has really been bothering you lately and it has been eating you up inside to the point writing research papers. Tell her you just need to put it out there and you hope she will understand and accept you for who you are. Tell her your an atheist. (Yep, I didn’t read your paper and although you say your agnostic, I think your really an atheist teetering on the edge.) If you sincerely do not think you are an atheist, tell her that you have been questioning the world, life and reality and it has been leading you to believe that this is the only life we live and life will end upon death. The more you look into this matter, you have been coming to the view that God is unlikely and may possibly not exist at all. If she then starts to argue or dispute what you have said, DO NOT FALL FOR THIS ARGUMENT.
    Ask her if she feels that she can accept you for who you are and whether or not this poses a problem for her. If she doesn’t accept you, tell her you understand and will see how she feels about your relationship in a few days. After this, DROP IT and enjoy the evening. If she still cannot accept your views, you need to be willing to let her go. If her religion is more important than you, she may decide o end the relationship.

  3. Ah, That made me exhale. If you would have shown that to her I would’ve personally given you a “geek of the year” award even though it is January.

    You say you are not dating, but you’re in love with her. It must be interesting to go through the trials and tribulations before you actually date. (Oh, the joys of youth!)

    Good luck with your talk.

  4. I think the only ‘mistakes’ you have made are the hours you have spent researching and writing up this worthy epistle to your beloved. My advice is – don’t look for meaning in rigid ancient texts written up by frightened desert people nor in musty scientific tomes since compiled! Go forward together and make your own meaning!

    Good Luck!

  5. Hi, and welcome to the site.

    I’m going to wander around here for a moment, hoping for your indulgence. As the other posters will tell you, I am a bit picky as to form. So first, to get this out of the way, you have written an absolutely wonderful essay–well organized and grammatically coherent. I would suggest that you consult a style manual such as MLA (Modern Languate Association). Most of the footnotes you include are not truly footnotes at all, but belong in the body of the paper. Footnoting substantive content interferes with the concentration of the reader. The items which should have been footnoted, such as biblical references, were contained in the prose. The other major style manual (which I prefer) is Chicago. Both, by the way, are accessible with MS Word. I don’t know where you picked up the word “print.” in your Works Cited.

    Ok. On to some more substantive issues.

    “The first Ecumenical Council convened in 325 CE, with the first bishop-approved biblical canon adopted during the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE.”

    You are referring to the Council of Nicaea, but whether it was the first Ecumenical Council is open to question. The first officially approved Bibles were commissioned by Constantine for Eusebius around 333 CE (beware: memory).

    “Part of my acceptance of Christianity for a time was this thought: “How could something untrue spread so quickly and ubiquitously across the world?”

    This is a myth created from whole cloth by the early church. At the turn of the fourth century, three hundred years after Christ, the highest estimate of the percentage of Christians within the Roman Empire is 15%. Some scholars, such as R.L. Fox, put it at 2%. At any rate, it was not galloping across western Europe, and probably would have vanished had Constantine not converted in 312 CE.

    “Copernicus.” To my recollection, Copernicus was not punished in any way by the Catholic Church.

    “At first, many of the greatest scientists were in fact deeply religious, from Kepler to Newton# to Darwin,”

    Not sure how you meant this, but Darwin spent most of his life as an agnostic, being pushed from his Christian belief not by evolution, but theodicy. More on this in a moment.

    “. . . or that Christ never existed at all (which, at least on the face of it, I find a silly hypothesis)”

    No, it’s not a silly hypothesis. I think Richard Carrier and Robert Price both hold the view that Christ was invented. I personally have no opinion on the issue as the existence of JC is of no relevance to the success of the religion which bears his name.

    Now to basics. There is no better example for your dilemma than the life of Charles Darwin. Even before he married Emma, he knew he had become an agnostic–and so did she. And yet the love he had for her allowed him to indulge her religious nature for a lifetime of happiness. It was, the letters show, a great pain for her that Charles could not become a practicing Christian, but he went to his grave an agnostic, but one hopelessly in love with his faithful Christian wife.

    It might be mentioned here that females are more likely to be religious, and more religious, than males.

    You will not succeed, I think, in converting your beloved to agnosticism. And if I were you I would not share your very well written article with her. You can, if you want it badly enough, to accept her as Darwin accepted Emma and vice versa, and live your lives together and happy.

    Best,

    JHJ

  6. Man, you don’t need to write her a letter. If your agnostic , why do you feel you need to justify yourself. Its obviously an integral part of yourself and you would be a fool to deny what’s in your core. I haven’t read your letter don’t feel I have to.

    Why not just talk to her? Also you shouldn’t let us critique whats in your heart , if you feel it, that’s good enough. Seems like this is all at the end anyway , just tell her what you feel, nothing to loose at this stage. And I’m still not reading your letter. Why would I?,none of my business.

    Hope things work out.

  7. In reply to #6 by Pauly01:

    Man, you don’t need to write her a letter.

    Well he feels he really does, so based on that point, replies should be constructive.

    If your agnostic , why do you feel you need to justify yourself.

    I’ll tell you why, because as we have seen on these pages, the religious are somewhat reluctant to pay attention to the evidence from non-believers as it is. This lad wants to address the young lady with the facts as he has found them, with the references. Just stringing a number of sentences of small talk together when one is young and besotted is hard enough without remembering facts and details. Perhaps something in the essay will click, maybe the effort he went to to write it might be recognised by his young lady. Isn’t it just worth a shot?

    Its obviously an integral part of yourself and you would be a fool to deny what’s in your core.

    The lad has not, nor is not, it appears, to be denying anything. Quite the contrary, he wants to be accurate to the point of opening up here and seeking advice from the experienced. Fair play to him for that.

    I haven’t read your letter don’t feel I have to.

    So not being in full receipt of all the information available, you feel you are in a position to offer advice. Pauly, that is not rational. Just saying.

    Why not just talk to her?

    You’ve not read the comments ahead of your own either…catches me out sometimes too.

    Also you shouldn’t let us critique whats in your heart , if you feel it, that’s good enough.

    That’s not what he was asking…if you read the OP.

    “I’ve written an essay chronicling what I’ve gone through, and my reasons for disbelief. I may give it to her, I may not. But I was hoping a few of you with some free time might be willing to help a complete stranger by reading my essay and pointing out any perceived flaws or inaccuracies (I tried to do my research, but I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes). “

    He was looking for some critical appraisal from a rational audience.

    Seems like this is all at the end anyway , just tell her what you feel, nothing to loose at this stage.

    There’s that misguided advice again, based on who knows what. You haven’t read the OP, the previous comments or the lads essay….excellent going there Pauly.

    And I’m still not reading your letter. Why would I?

    First, because we’ve been asked to read it…the point of the OP.

    …,none of my business.

    Yet withal, you felt the need to comment….strange.

  8. You need to ask yourself THE question of your (young) life. Is her belief a deal breaker??? Then you have to ask her the question of her (young) life. Is your non-belief a deal breaker for her?

    You already sem to know your answer but (and here is where “faith” actually matters) you have to trust her implicitly if she says she will accept you with ALL your warts (including your non-belief). And you have to be willing to be honest with her in return.

    BTW, there will be many many more big questions that you will face (in your life) with or without this young lady. Be honest to her and to yourself and you have the best probability of finding happiness.

    Good Luck.

  9. To the GentlemanX

    Many of the members of this site have found love with believers, so whether or not you give her your essay, a relationship is not impossible. JHJ referenced Darwin…Bill Gates is Agnostic, Melinda Gates is Catholic. It will depend upon the demands you place on each other as to the survival of any relationship.

    I’m with a partner who has come to my unbelieving position through my making the odd observation here and there on scripture, then telling her to look it up for herself if she didn’t believe me. Once she started, I couldn’t get her to stop. She decided it was time to read the Bible for herself and she couldn’t believe what she found. All the historical and science piffle came later.

    There is no formula that will work for all. My previous wife was Catholic converted from Methodist. The subject of religion was taboo in the house unless it was on her terms. It didn’t work out.

    I’d say softly, softly, gently, feely is the way forward, at least until you face a brick wall. The essay might be a bit too much all at once. Chipping away gently with a tiny rock hammer might be the way forward, it worked for Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption” if ya get my meaning. Sometimes time can be a great healer.

    Anyway, I hope you get what your looking for young sir.

  10. The definition given in para two, of page two of the essay, as you being a “Spiritual Agnostic” rather than a literal Atheist seems somewhat odd given the amount of research you appear to have carried out. Have you heard of, or considered the possibility, that you are Igtheist.

    Here’s an article you might be interested in reading…..

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/532242-igtheism-and-ig-belief

    Also, having read the comments on your essay page, I get the impression your girl is somewhat fundamental in her faith? That doesn’t bode too well I’m afraid….still, if a thing is worth fighting for, then best be ready for battle.

    Good luck.

    Edit: I’ve just finished reading a book you might also find very interesting given the content of your letter.

    “Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”

    http://www.amazon.com/Proving-History-Bayess-Theorem-Historical/dp/1616145595

  11. Oh dear! I suspect that she is going to respond that she has faith, and that faith is a gift (the out clause, if you start to question) . I think that you are going to have to completely overlook this huge difference in outlook if you want the relationship to continue. A couple of lovely friends of mine are true believers, and I simply have to put this thought at the back of my mind during any social interaction. I try to steer the conversation onto less contentious subjects if it comes up.
    Actually my husband is a believer deep down, though not a very committed one, thank heavens! In the long run, we just have to agree to disagree.
    Let’s hope that she can appreciate your scholarly nature.

  12. In reply to #2 by GentlemanX:

    (and we’re not dating – we were waiting until we worked out any inconsistencies in our beliefs).

    I suspected you weren’t dating while I reread the OP. Please see this link and remember that men are much more likely to attracted to woman friends then vic-versa.

    http://www.livescience.com/20119-men-women-sex-friendship.html

    I’ve been there. If you aren’t dating then you aren’t dating. It’s a waist of time to imagine otherwise. So my advice is to find out where you stand first. Next time you are alone together, try holding her hand or kissing her on the neck. Something physical. She should give some pretty clear indications of her feelings for you in no time at all. Her verbal communication may be mixed but her body language should be clear as a bell. It may or may not work out like you hope it will but either way at least you will know the truth about where you stand.

    I would also advice that you do this before you show her that letter. That was about the worst love letter ever written. No offense.

  13. Perfect – this is just the type of thing I was hoping for. I will certainly research and adjust the factual errors. Thank you sincerely for taking the time to read.

    In reply to #5 by JHJEFFERY:

    Hi, and welcome to the site.

    I’m going to wander around here for a moment, hoping for your indulgence. As the other posters will tell you, I am a bit picky as to form. So first, to get this out of the way, you have written an absolutely wonderful essay–well organized and grammatically coherent. I would suggest that you consult a style manual such as MLA (Modern Languate Association). Most of the footnotes you include are not truly footnotes at all, but belong in the body of the paper. Footnoting substantive content interferes with the concentration of the reader. The items which should have been footnoted, such as biblical references, were contained in the prose. The other major style manual (which I prefer) is Chicago. Both, by the way, are accessible with MS Word. I don’t know where you picked up the word “print.” in your Works Cited.

    Ok. On to some more substantive issues.

    “The first Ecumenical Council convened in 325 CE, with the first bishop-approved biblical canon adopted during the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE.”

    You are referring to the Council of Nicaea, but whether it was the first Ecumenical Council is open to question. The first officially approved Bibles were commissioned by Constantine for Eusebius around 333 CE (beware: memory).

    “Part of my acceptance of Christianity for a time was this thought: “How could something untrue spread so quickly and ubiquitously across the world?”

    This is a myth created from whole cloth by the early church. At the turn of the fourth century, three hundred years after Christ, the highest estimate of the percentage of Christians within the Roman Empire is 15%. Some scholars, such as R.L. Fox, put it at 2%. At any rate, it was not galloping across western Europe, and probably would have vanished had Constantine not converted in 312 CE.

    “Copernicus.” To my recollection, Copernicus was not punished in any way by the Catholic Church.

    “At first, many of the greatest scientists were in fact deeply religious, from Kepler to Newton# to Darwin,”

    Not sure how you meant this, but Darwin spent most of his life as an agnostic, being pushed from his Christian belief not by evolution, but theodicy. More on this in a moment.

    “. . . or that Christ never existed at all (which, at least on the face of it, I find a silly hypothesis)”

    No, it’s not a silly hypothesis. I think Richard Carrier and Robert Price both hold the view that Christ was invented. I personally have no opinion on the issue as the existence of JC is of no relevance to the success of the religion which bears his name.

    Now to basics. There is no better example for your dilemma than the life of Charles Darwin. Even before he married Emma, he knew he had become an agnostic–and so did she. And yet the love he had for her allowed him to indulge her religious nature for a lifetime of happiness. It was, the letters show, a great pain for her that Charles could not become a practicing Christian, but he went to his grave an agnostic, but one hopelessly in love with his faithful Christian wife.

    It might be mentioned here that females are more likely to be religious, and more religious, than males.

    You will not succeed, I think, in converting your beloved to agnosticism. And if I were you I would not share your very well written article with her. You can, if you want it badly enough, to accept her as Darwin accepted Emma and vice versa, and live your lives together and happy.

    Best,

    JHJ

  14. Ignorant Amos,

    I very much appreciate your comments and book suggestions – I just read the Igtheist article and enjoyed it, and will plan on reading “Proving History.”

    In reply to #10 by Ignorant Amos:

    The definition given in para two, of page two of the essay, as you being a “Spiritual Agnostic” rather than a literal Atheist seems somewhat odd given the amount of research you appear to have carried out. Have you heard of, or considered the possibility, that you are Igtheist.

    Here’s an article you might be interested in reading…..

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/532242-igtheism-and-ig-belief

    Also, having read the comments on your essay page, I get the impression your girl is somewhat fundamental in her faith? That doesn’t bode too well I’m afraid….still, if a thing is worth fighting for, then best be ready for battle.

    Good luck.

    Edit: I’ve just finished reading a book you might also find very interesting given the content of your letter.

    “Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”

    http://www.amazon.com/Proving-History-Bayess-Theorem-Historical/dp/1616145595

  15. Ha, ouch – well I would agree with you if it weren’t for the fact that this is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a love letter. I apologize if that wasn’t clear, but this was my personal write-up of reasons for doubt/disbelief. As I said in the original post, I may show it to her, I may not, it’s really just for me. It is quite possible, however, that at some point I will discuss these issues with her, which is why I wanted some community feedback on any errors or fallacies in the arguments. The relationship advice is appreciated, but probably not as helpful, as I’ve considered those implications quite heavily (just to answer your presumption – we do in fact feel the same for one another, I wouldn’t be wasting my time had we not established that already).

    If I don’t show it to her, I may at least show it to the Bible-group leader I alluded to. We’ve had a couple of great disagreements, so I’d actually love to argue with him further now that I’ve learned a bit more. And if I want to try to convert someone (not that I do…), he’d be the best target, as there wouldn’t be any personal consequences.

    Additionally, this is rather off topic, but you will all notice a particular evolution-denying pastor in the essay. This pastor is one of the most popular in the United States (after Joel Olsteen, likely), particularly among the younger crowd. If you’d like to do me another huge favor, please watch his video on YouTube where he distorts evolution, and dislike it or like it based on your preference. I really can’t stand it that it currently has 72 likes compared to 30 dislikes, and would like to change that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LIVT0zYmGc

    Finally, if I don’t have a chance to reply to everyone’s comment – just want you all to know how great I think it is that you’ve taken the time to ready some stranger’s essay!

    In reply to #12 by The Jersey Devil:

    In reply to #2 by GentlemanX:

    (and we’re not dating – we were waiting until we worked out any inconsistencies in our beliefs).

    I suspected you weren’t dating while I reread the OP. Please see this link and remember that men are much more likely to attracted to woman friends then vic-versa.

    http://www.livescience.com/20119-men-women-sex-friendship.html

    I’ve been there. If you aren’t dating then you aren’t dating. It’s a waist of time to imagine otherwise. So my advice is to find out where you stand first. Next time you are alone together, try holding her hand or kissing her on the neck. Something physical. She should give some pretty clear indications of her feelings for you in no time at all. Her verbal communication may be mixed but her body language should be clear as a bell. It may or may not work out like you hope it will but either way at least you will know the truth about where you stand.

    I would also advice that you do this before you show her that letter. That was about the worst love letter ever written. No offense.

  16. Wonderful. Only scanned it so far, but I love the motivation and adventure into Christendom. You’re not just analyzing, you’re exploring. Truly, there is something more noble here than securing the posterity of your DNA. This is a great document. From what I see so far, you really accepted the terms of the investigation. Quite brave of you to go at it like this. Many do not return.

    I did a similar investigation, forgoing the academic matters and focusing on Faith. I uttered the magic words, accepted “Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior”, was filled with The Spirit, felt the bliss of Redemption, and the terror that I should ever lose it. It wore off. It was quite difficult. I found this was a similar experience to feeling the presence of an Indian guru, a pop star, the inevitable revolution, or any other frenzy a person can whip themselves into. I would really like to see an MRI of the brain in this condition.

    It is a very compelling experience, and those unfamiliar with where it comes from can mistake it for evidence of the supernatural. It is a common feature of cult initiation. Scientologists induce hallucination through meditative strain and provide their interpretation. Immersing yourself in the texts could have resulted in a similar experience. Believing in such evidence is an error of mistaken agency or affirming the consequent. Of course, most believers do not have a grand mal vision, but feeling the presence is quite ordinary to the faithful. It can also be simulated by bombarding the frontal lobe with magnetic fields with a device referred to as the God Helmet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet

    My sympathies to your amorous situation, but I admire your response. Since you just jammed your head into Xianity with an open mind, I would like to remind you Jesus was a misanthrope. He is of sad moral character. He was evil and cruel. It is repeated over and over again that He preached kindness, but that is just propaganda. He was a wicked man, slightly more sane than His contemporaries, and no teacher to anyone living today. He most certainly did not exist, because Jesus was said to be able to fly, like Padre Pio (who also could not fly). The question of if you believe He existed, is if you believe in ridiculous notions like a flying man. He would also not be the first fictional, historical character, just the most famous. Such academic fraud was common in an era when few could read, just ask Prester John.

    Lastly, I want to comment on your epistemology section. If you were a strict empiricist you could not know that I am a human, but rather have to resign to the idea that your computer is generating this text. It is by reason you know a human typed this. As a Rationalist I would accept the existence of god(s) if there were a logical argument in support of it. Science moves beyond empiricism in predicting particles with maths. Empiricism is very safe but limited in its reach. The epistemic weakness of empiricism is often turned into a strawman argument by theists, claiming atheists are foolish and solipsistic because we only believe what we can see.

    best,

  17. After reading the comments on your piece , I was intrigued. I opened up your document and scan read it ( there was an amount there ). My original reply was knee jerk , in the world of facebook where people are publishing increasingly personal details for others to see , I was surprised that your essay was in fact very factual , devoid of personal revelation , an examination of the evidence and offering clinical objective rebuttal. Your smart and intelligent and have obviously spent some time coming to an assured, confident conclusion. It has being spoken of in the comments already but so broad is your long hard argument , that it maybe interpreted as an attempt to convert your friend to your world view. I don’t know how that would go down if you were to reveal it to her. I particularly liked this observation

    ‘Why are some people spared of their afflictions but not others, even when equally devout? Did they not pray the right way? Ascribing supernatural intervention is always easy when you’ve survived, but quite difficult to do when you didn’t.’

    Good luck

    In reply to #6 by Pauly01:

    Man, you don’t need to write her a letter. If your agnostic , why do you feel you need to justify yourself. Its obviously an integral part of yourself and you would be a fool to deny what’s in your core. I haven’t read your letter don’t feel I have to.Why not just talk to her? Also you shouldn’t let us critique whats in your heart , if you feel it, that’s good enough. Seems like this is all at the end anyway , just tell her what you feel, nothing to loose at this stage. And I’m still not reading your letter. Why would I?,none of my business.Hope things work out.

  18. In reply to #17 by CdnMacAtheist:

    Wow Amos, there’s 888 comments on that Post – things ain’t what they used to be….

    I’ll probably bring down the wrath of the Mods for drifting O/T, but no, “things ain’t what they used to be….”. The latest versions of the site don’t lend themselves to extended discussions due to the lack of a “LATEST COMMENTS” facility, as seen on the old site … http://old.richarddawkins.net/ … and which allowed folk returning after days, weeks or even months, to see threads that were currently active and being discussed, and who was saying what on them as they were commenting.

    Apparently there are plans afoot to get things back on track with a “LATEST COMMENTS” facility on this latest format. It can’t happen too soon IMO, some very good threads are not getting the proper attention they deserve.

    I expect to be barged and I apologise to GentlemanX for going O/T, but there being no other way to acknowledge your comment, I was in a bit of quandary. The art of Netiquette, which the learning of is currently part of my studies, states that going O/T, or not acknowledging a direct address from another user, or crossing the Moderators, is very bad form ….so what is a fella to do?

  19. I hate to say it but You should just walk away right now. If you two can’t accept each other as you are right now you have no future together that doesn’t end horrifically. If you have kids together that only multiplies the horror.

  20. I’m an atheist but I was in love with a woman who was a born again Christian. She defied all the stereotypes of such a person though, she was kind, compassionate, tolerant (two of her best friends were a flamboyant gay couple that lived in the condo above her) brilliant and talented. She was a piano teacher (how we met, sitting on those stools together can be kind of intimate) and also a concert pianist. She hadn’t broken into the top tier yet, not playing with major symphonies but she was close.

    The one difference was I never told her that I would re-evaluate anything. (I don’t mean that as a criticism) I told her that I was fine with her beliefs (which I was) and didn’t want to change her as long as she could do the same. And it worked for quite a while. But eventually we had a long talk and she said that she was waiting for essentially a miracle where I would see the light. I made it clear that wasn’t going to happen and I have to admit at that point I got a little angry. I felt I could respect her beliefs if she could respect mine but she couldn’t and at that point we both agreed to break up.

    I haven’t read your link yet and I will but I would say don’t hold out a lot of hope that you are going to change her mind with rational arguments. Your essay may be the greatest thing since The God Delusion but in my experience rational arguments alone seldom work on this topic. What ties people to religion isn’t reason, its a social network of family and friend and comfort when they feel hopeless.

    In spite of the eventual outcome, I don’t regret anything. We had an amazing relationship while it lasted and I still remember her fondly and would do it all again and if I could find another similar woman would gladly try another mixed beliefs relation. In my experience its hard enough to find someone to love without restricting it to people that agree with you on everything. I see no reason why people can’t disagree regarding religion and still love each other. Even though it didn’t work out in my example, I think its possible, but more importantly I don’t think any relation where one person wants to remake the other person has a chance.

  21. I pretty much agree with Red Dog and should have said as much in my earlier post. The reason, apparently, the Charles and Emma had such a long and loving relationship is that neither insisted on trying to change the other. There are two subgroups of toleration: 1) toleration while waiting for the other party to change, as Red Dog described, and 2) toleration without the hope of the other changing. If you must go the way of 1, I agree that the relationship is probably doomed. But if the two of you talk it out and agree to abide by 2, it just might work. But maybe I’m a hopeless romantic.

  22. dont tell her let it come out naturally. it will come out naturally as you move throguh different life circumnstances… remeber whos going to try to push whos beliefs on the other in the end.. shes going to end up trying to push christianity on you in the end or she will accept you for who you are so just be you and see if she accpets you I suppose if she ask you to go to bible study you will say no and she will say don’t say becasue im a atheist like your some gay person who wants the world to know just say why you don’t you may have something to do or jsut don’t want to study the bible or you may just want to go to the meeting and out wit everybody there for the pleasure of the intellect but dont label yourself and you will be king and when she tries to label you you will be king because her christian ego will have her not like you anymore but you havent changed becasue meaning you havent changed but she has changed feelings becasue of nothing and that is why its nothing to tell

  23. Hi GentlemanX,

    I read your essay, and I’m impressed by your clear, well researched thoughts. I recognize a bunch of your statements from my reading and watching those great thinkers. You put a lot of time into it, which will pay off when you find a partner who can really share your passionate, reasoned, evidence-based philosophy.

    You and the ‘devout christian’ lady have very different worldviews – not just as man vs woman, but as faith-indoctrinated vs faith-inoculated humans. This will inevitably create areas of tension as you both hope the other will change over time.

    Religion is declining towards a painful death, while non-theism is more openly coming to life, so the love-blinkered chasm between you will become difficult – especially when you live together, share families, and have children to raise and guide.

    A life-long non-theist Scot, I married a beautiful, classy, mildly CofE English lady with a degree here in Canada in 1982. Although she didn’t show her religion or attend any services, she (and her family) had the virus on a low simmer inside, and it showed up in her sexual attitudes, ways of thinking and discussing – plus we semi-secretly hoped for our partner to change …. D’ohhh.

    Our son was born in 1987, and we lasted until he was 12 before our love was fully extinguished and we separated …. D’ough.

    He is 26, and suffered in our troubled family, with issues that may never be resolved due to the wide semi-theist vs anti-theist canyon between his parents.

    You have a great future ahead of you, as your essay demonstrates, and there will be wonderful ladies along the way who will be more deeply compatible, and worthy of your love, care and clear thinking.

    There are challenges ahead for humanity, so a rational and thorough understanding of reality will be ever more necessary to tackle the changes – as a Team – and bring forth stable, well-raised and properly educated children.

    Sorry to be blunt, but you requested advice – and if I only knew then more of what I know now …. 8-)
    Good luck with your search for love and meaning in your life …. Mac.

  24. Hi Dear,
    Lot of respect for your Love and good luck as well.
    I am not an expert on Christianity and am not even bothered to read about it. It sounds plain stupid to me from the onset. I am a hardcore anti-theist and since you are an agnostic I won’t try to give you any ideas here :)
    But do ask her once, What kind of a man would she prefer to be with, one who’s acts nice because god wants him to, or the one who feels that’s the right thing to do.
    Sorry for not being able to help you with your paper. Good luck anyway.

    Regards,
    H.

  25. Wow Amos, there’s 888 comments on that Post – things ain’t what they used to be….

    “one million hits per month” are long gone. I was an eavesdropper secretly spying back then. A lot less 0′s these days.

    Hi QK. I first looked at this site in Oct 2010, so I missed the busy days even though I’ve read through some of the older Posts. As Amos says, usability isn’t the same, but I’m hoping that’ll improve as the Team work through the new Program. I certainly miss many of the better commentators, from whom I’ve learned a lot. Mac.

  26. Very nicely written article. As far as the girl, …..my guess is that you are probably going to have a lot of trouble and doubtful the relationship will get very deep. If she is a devout “believer” …….then, your different belief systems are definitely going to get in the way and she may not even truly “welcome” the relationship. Just my opinion from past experiences. Religion is a “deal-breaker.” I would “move-on” to someone else.

  27. so let me get this straight, you really like this girl, but the two of you can’t date because you dont agree? that is the dumbest thing ive ever heard. if she can’t deal with who you are then she isn’t worth your time. if you can’t deal with her faith, then why bother? if she actually requested you try to find her religion before she would talk to you then she isn’t a very good person… she will either like you for who you are or she wont.

  28. My advice to you would be to move on if she or her family cant accept you for who you are.

    A friend of mine from India who is Hindu is in the US currently and so far she’s dated two Christian guys. Its not ended well in either case.

    The first fellow was from Ukraine and about a year into the relationship he started talking to her about how she should convert from Hinduism to Christianity as that would make things easier for them in the future. Religion is not a very big deal to her, she thought about it for a bit but in the end felt that it was not a reasonable demand to make and said no. A few weeks later they broke up as he could not be with someone who did not ‘understand’ him.

    The second guy she dated was an American, they started out as friends, realized that there was good chemistry and started dating. A few months into the relationship the guy breaks up with her as his family, specifically his mom, thought that him dating someone who was not Christian did not have any future.

    Of course there are cases where things do work out well, a cousin of mine (Hindu) is married into a Christian family and one of my aunts is married into a Muslim family. Our family celebrates festivals from all 3 faiths; me, my cousins and my nieces respect all 3 faiths and my family does not make any issues about me being an Atheist, even though I am the only black sheep in the family so far. :)

    So while it is good to expand your horizons, do not invest too much unless you have some confidence in things working out. In the end this situation definitely falls under YMMV. Good luck mate!

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