Hey, I need some insight on this from other nonbelievers. I recently started dating this guy here in California. Real great, amazingly sweet guy. Things went pretty fast for us. He believes in god, was raised California Baptist (way different from the Southern Baptists I'm used to). He sees God as really more of a cultural element and more of a force in the universe, more in the abstract. He doesn't agree with my views but he supports me and we have no problems whatsoever. What worries me is that his parents are VERY much Baptist. They seem to like me, they know I'm not Baptist, but that I was raised Catholic. They don't know I'm an atheist.
Now they're inviting me to family functions...before, during and after church. Should I just go and not partake in the church element or respectfully decline?

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I second this but love/attraction is simply that and I don't think its worth folding your cards yet.

Just be prepared for disappointment and be pleasantly suprised if it works out ok.
Uh oh. :(

Never worked with me. I am done dating religious nuts. You cannot compete with a long time imaginary and resident mental friend.

Religion is garbage. There is just no middle ground in the long run.
I once dated a Catholic girl.It was the most horrible thing.She had pictures of Jesus all over the house.She put on the video "The Passion of Christ".I was raised Christian and wasn't a believer but I watched it to make her happy.She always talked about killing herself and she was very mentally unstable so I was scared to leave her.I didn't want her to harm herself or somebody else or even me.I was thankful that she finally did break up with me.
She told me she didn't want to be with someone that didn't believe in a god.I told her I was an atheist before we dated.She thought atheism was just a different religion.I have never dated an atheist woman.I think it would be so nice to find someone who doesn't believe in gods,devils,or horoscopes.I hope things work out with your boyfriends parents but I can't imagine religious people being thrilled about their son dating a non-believer.Personally I couldn't attend a church event.I see religion as a cult and the last thing I want to visit is a cult.
Just thinking about it makes me so happy to be an atheist.
As long as having different views isn't a problem between you and your boyfriend, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Just be up front with people and participate only in what you're comfortable doing. Both my in-laws and my dad/step-mom are very religious. It's never been a problem as far as getting along with either me or my husband goes--- they'd rather see their kid happy.
I can't speak for people of other Baptist churches, but back when I was forced to go parishioners always used to look down upon the "godless," despite quite a few of their own kids just playing pretend. I think you should go and see how he conducts himself: is he fully engaged, caught up in the moment, or is he just "there to be there?" Does he seem connected to the people he runs into after service? If so...back away slowly or at least prepare yourself for some trouble: they will have more sway over him than the persuasion of his parents alone.
It's a dilemma to be sure. The ideals or the guy?

I have an Atheist friend who became Catholic (or at least, he's doing a very good job at pretending to be) in order to be and marry the woman he fell in love with. The girl was worth more to him than following his own morals and ideals.

I fear that more often than not, the religious person will choose their religion over the love partner. Whatever you decide, be prepared for that.
Gosh, this is a tough one. My own dear sweet bf is religious, but in a very nebulous kind of way (he doesn't attend church and neither do his parents), and I really have no problems with either him or his family. I don't bring it up, and neither have they (yet, it's been almost a year).

It seems as if your guy is quite laid back. If I were you, I would let the parents know (in a very respectful way) that you are just not very religious, and then see how they take it. Then you can slowly let your concerns about religion be known IF they bring it up. Be careful with your heart though, religion is so powerful. If you and your boyfriend start having problems, it may become a point of contention.
He is really laid back. The only spat we've had so far is that he says I'm stressing too much over it. He says his parents are laid back, but frankly, every guy says that. I'm nervous about it. My last brush with very religious parents, I was dating another atheist...they were devout Hindu. He understands why I'm nervous but he says that I'm freaking out too much about it. As long as we accept each other and have no problems, he doesn't see one. He says he only goes to have time with his family.

He's told them that I'm not religious but that's a rather ambiguous phrase, isn't it? Frankly I'm pulling my hair out over it (not literally, but you get the idea) and he doesn't really get why. They really do seem to like me but I really just don't feel comfortable with it. I was over for dinner and felt very uncomfortable when they were saying grace. Unfortunately I'm not sure it's going to work. I went to church with them this morning and ended up going into the bathroom wondering "what the fuck am I doing here?"

So what do you guys think? Back away slowly or just stop stressing so much?
just tell him for the "he doesnt get why" that you don't have any reason to believe anything about god. If god exists it is very blasphemous and disrespectful to assume that you would know what he wants about anything in your life.

Tell him that you don't follow religion because it tells you how to live your life according to something that you can't possibly know. Short, simple, effective.

It is mild, completely true, and even some of the stronger theists will connect with the mentality.
I think personality plays a significant roll here. If you understand his personality and yours, then you can be better prepared for what to expect in the future.

Also, it depends on what you need out of the relationship.
I think you definitely need to stop going to church with them. You're right about the "not really religious" thing being much too nebulous, I think - parents can interpret this in a way that if they just give you a little "encouragement" they can get you back on the path. If the only time he can have time with his family is at church, then I would say maybe their lives revolve around their religious beliefs a little too much for them to be laid back about your atheism. The thing I found (my fiance's parents are fundamentalist xtian) is that sometimes they can see you atheism as an affront to their beliefs, even if you never speak of it to them.

Someone else on here said you should come clean in order to see how they will react. I think that if you want this relationship to go anywhere, you need to know how they will take it that you are a real non-believer (not just a slacker who hasn't bothered going to church for a couple of years!)

Good luck!
Atheist meets Baptist.


My first thought upon reading the title was:


"and vanishes in a shower of radiation."

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