Christianity the way to go?

“Everyone needs to recognise that belief or non-belief is not a choice as such, and people all have their own ideas about God or other gods.”

Question from Omar:
I’ve considered myself an atheist all my life. I don’t believe a god exists, I believe there’s a greater force beyond our understanding, a force that has made evolution possible, that has made things fit into place but do not be mistaken I speak of a force, don’t quite know how to put it, let’s say a great coincidence that everything is the way it is, something perinormal like James Randi says. Well it doesn’t matter much since it’s got nothing to do with my question.

I’m from Mexico, I live on the border with the USA. I’ve been with my girlfriend for the past 2 years and she’s christian. I’ve been going to church with her ever since just because she asks me to. While living with her and spending time with her family I’ve seen that they firmly believe that being christian is the way of life that will bring them salvation(salvation from what?).

Before they were christian they were catholic and when the subject of religion arises(which is often) they say how wrong other poeple’s beliefs are and stuff like that, they sound really extremist?. My family is catholic and honestly i’ve never heard them or any other catholic friend speak like that of people(christian specifically) that do not share their beliefs. I do not know how well informed you are of how religion is seen in my country since from what i’ve read christianity seems different from what I have seen here(Mexico)and seen in other places and that 90% of the population in my country is catholic.

Now all these situations(my disbelief and lack of faith and catholic family) cause a lot of problems in our relationship if you could give me some advice on how to manage the situation. i’ve considered converting into christianity just so that the issues are solved but haven’t because i still believe that i can speak sense into her(but haven’t really tried to be honest it scares me)

Answer:
Catholics are Christians too, you know. It’s still all about Christ. Your girlfriend and her family obviously belong to another denomination, or to a group of evangelicals that considers itself beyond denominations. If they have some special vitriol for Catholicism, it’s probably at least based on Protestantism.

While you’re free to go along with her family’s religion to some extent (and have no God of your own to offend by doing so), there’s nothing you can do about your Catholic family short of converting them all as well. Unless your whole family caves in completely, religion will probably always be a source of conflict between the two families as long as you and your girlfriend are together. It probably won’t help much if you yourself convert outwardly.

That doesn’t mean the relationship is not worth pursuing. Since you and your girlfriend are together despite faith and not because of it, your relationship must be supported by other things you share. It just means that you’ll probably always be caught between two conflicting faiths.

The key in the end will be tolerance. Everyone needs to recognise that belief or non-belief is not a choice as such, and people all have their own ideas about God or other gods. Taking you to church won’t convert you after a set period; something actually has to convince you. Your family sees no reason to switch denominations, any more than her family does. And you mustn’t expect anyone else’s belief to evaporate in a day, without some life-changing experience.

The crucial thing, for me, is that religion is a part of our daily lives only as much as we want it to be. If religion is interfering with your family life, it’s because you two and your families are making it an issue. You’re in love right now, and you’ve got plenty of time to sort this stuff out. When people understand that, you may have less trouble.

Your situation is close to my own experience, but our religious troubles are within both my family and my wife’s, so we’re not caught in the crossfire. I have it much easier, I think.

I hope those you care about can learn to live with each other, Omar. Keep us posted if you like, via comments. If anyone else has advice, speak up.

SmartLX

5 thoughts on “Christianity the way to go?”

  1. Well here I am again, just to tell you that iI talked to my girlfirend about the issue and we came to the an agreement, I am goingo to go to churcho with her no strings atached (which i am not sure is entirely true) and she is going to seek other points of view. I think it is better than gaining nothing and losing a lot. My parents aren’t going to be an issue anymore since I talked to them and told them how I felt and thankfully they understood and well I’ll see how things work out for now. With your advice I saw that the issue itself was a relationship based on faith, I know she is not with me becase she wants me to convert to christianity but she fervently belives that we can’t be together if I am not christian and thats when we got to our agreement, for now she would settle with me going to church. I tried speaking sense into her that we could be together despite our beliefs but had no positive results. I haven’t been able to think on a way to solve this issue and more advice is very welcome.

    Now I have some other questions. I haven’t read all of the posts on the website and I read on the introduction question that you say that you were asked some hard questions. If it’s not to personal would you share those questions ot are they on an older post?
    Sorry again for not reading all the post and asking questions that have been already asked(if that’s the case) but have you though about a scientific aproach to the bible? let say like the supposedly miracles and other stuff are metaphors to things that can or have been proven, for example Jacob’s ladder (genesis 28:12) is our spinal cord and heaven is our mind? I hope you see my point.

    Now I was reading the “jesus and some other stuff” post and i didn’t see some arguments I find compelling like on conspiracy alternatives when this rob guy seems to have a counter-argument
    based on the bible for everything like the bible holds every answer (and who knows maybe it does but no one has revealed its true message..) but I’ve come to think that people, any kind of people have had opportunity to change the bible so it fits every possible argument that wants to put its veracity to the test to me it’s like religion(all of them) are enginereed to hold the truth against every argument that any mind can come up with, it’s like a casino, it’s rigged so that at the end every outsider loses.
    If you could redirect me to a forum or the like that discusses matters like these I’ll be very thankful.

    Again sorry for taking so much of your time and thanks in advance.

    -Omar

  2. Hi Omar. I’m glad you and your girlfriend have found a way forward for the moment. It might help if you told us exactly why she thinks the two of you can’t ultimately make it work unless you convert. My wife’s Christian, and we’re fine so far.

    The hardest question I was asked as a kid about my faith was the classic Problem of Evil: why do bad things happen if God is all-powerful and all-loving? Of course there are many answers to this, but the fact that different answers were coming from the same church told me that nobody really knows, and in the absence of real reasons believers have to settle for rationalisations. That wasn’t good enough for me, so I kept thinking, wondering and doubting in the back of my mind. Over a very long period of time it brought me to agnosticism and finally atheism.

    When presented with my various alternative scenarios to a genuine Resurrection, Rob did his darnedest to paint them as relatively unlikely, given the circumstances and so on. That’s the general counter to any such hypothesis. The problem is, how much more unlikely than Scenario A does Scenario B have to be before it’s still more unlikely than Scenario A and divine intervention? Anyway, the texts haven’t changed that much recently, but there have been 2000 years for believers to plug apparent holes in the Bible with additional apologetics.

    Try the Nontheism and Theism sections of the Rational Skepticism forum, which is where everyone from the RichardDawkins.net forum went after it was shut down.

    And don’t worry about taking up my time, this is what I’m here for.

  3. Thanks again

    I’ve been reading different threads on different subjects on the Rational Skepticism page and doing my own research on different subjects and found posotive results. Now I’m going to look for the books listed on the welcome pack thread, they seem interesting literature, have you read some? If so, which do you recommend?

    As to my case, well she believes that life apart from jesus and god is no life, she told me she rather have a serial killer christian husband that a good honest atheist. I think this is because she doesn’t know life apart from religion (she was catholic before converting to her current christian branch, which still I haven’t been able to define) That was pretty much it.

    Greetings,
    Omar

  4. Out of that lot I’ve just read The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth, both by Richard Dawkins and both of which I recommend. I’ve read parts of the books by Harris, Hitchens and Dennett as excerpts, and no complaints yet.

    At least your girlfriend acknowledges that there is such a thing as a “good honest atheist”. What she said is also an acknowledgement that God doesn’t have her best interests at heart. She would choose a Christian husband out of necessity even if he were a worse human being than an atheist alternative, but I doubt she believes she’d be happier with such a man.

    It used to be thought of as a philosophical dilemma: does God command that which is good, or is something only good because God commands it? The current crop of evangelicals appears to have thrown the implications of both options to the wind and declared certain things to be good because God commands them, no matter the consequences. I think that’s dangerous, because they may no longer feel the need to justify their actions in secular terms as well as theological and, for instance, marry a bad man with the “right” faith.

  5. I am in a similar situation. The girl I deeply love is Christian. I believe she loves me too. However, she says her relationship with God prevents her from marrying me and that it causes her pain when we are together because she’s being “drawn away from God”

    I have been scouring the internet and the bible for answers. I realized that ultimately it is up to the person (Her in the case) and her interpretation of the text. Since she is a pretty traditional Christian she takes the verses quite literally, not to date “unyoked” and “non-believers” and this has caused her to distance herself from me.

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