I am presently (and as far I am concerned permanently) involved in a mixed relationship; I am an atheist (and rather open about it) and she is a Christian who absolutely believes in the coming Rapture. We talk about religion often and our discussions have always been civil, respectful, and honest in intent; to better understand each other, our thinking, our personalities, etc. When the time is right, we will get married, we both know that and we are both aching for that day. But why bring this up?

Oftentimes when speaking/debating those of faith, one of the challenges put to the atheist surrounds the need and existence of love in an atheistic world view. I am sure many of us have run into this line of argument and know the logical fallacies that those of faith apply when trying to typify atheists. However, no matter the world view the definition of love is highly subjective. Which brings me to the point. 

My girlfriend and I were discussing the Rapture and she was explaining the process of how those of true faith and acceptance of God/Jesus would be taken directly to heaven and that those who were not taken would endure seven years of toils, etc. Of course, she believes she would be among those "taken". It is obvious that I am not well versed in the Rapture and my intent is not to get into a debate about it in anyway. What is important is that she believes that she would be among those taken and her worry is that I would not (again, for obvious reasons.) So I asked her this question: if given the choice of being taken or staying to be with me, enduring whatever was to come and sharing my fate would she stay? She said yes, that she would choose to stay with me. 

She truly believes that this will eventually happen (though not necessarily in our lifetimes.) I cannot help but feel confident in her love for me; in accordance with her beliefs, she would be choosing me over an eternity in paradise. For her, I cannot conceive of a greater sacrifice. To me, that is the ultimate statement of love, affection, caring, and selflessness. To me it was all the proof I needed that she loved me.

I am wondering about those of you who are in similar situations, if there were any points in your relationships when you knew that despite your disparate views on religion you knew that they were the one? That they would forgo something so sacred to them simply for you? Perhaps this is a non-starter for most, perhaps it comes off as off-putting, but I'd like to think that perhaps this little story can act as a beacon of hope for those who find symmetry with my situation. 

Josh

Tags: love, rapture, relationships

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We both have our own kids from previous relationships. No more kids - no problem. Thankfully she is not the sort who condemns normal/natural functions - she's not a fundie. I think she is very much like me but with external attributions for things that I chalk up to chance.

She is great and I am very thankful for having her in my life.

Thanks!
Interesting question, as there is no comparison in atheism. However, it wouldn't be possible anyways. If I were to be a crypto-atheist and pretend to believe and her beliefs turned out to be true, I wouldn't be taken and she would know I had lied to her - so I wouldn't do that. Imagine the agony of believing that your loved one was going to be with you forever only to have them ripped away from you at the very end because they lied to you. Nope, not going to do it.

As far as her loving me more than I love her. I don't think that is possible.
Yes, I have asked those questions of myself about her and the attributes you look for reflect mine. I do agree that the proposed situation is hypothetical and largely irrelevant to everyday life and that yes, were it to come to fruition, the answer may be different.

But I guess I look at it this way; everyday life is repetitive and it is important that those everyday things are harmonious. But what makes life worth living are those moments when you gain insight, when you have an experience that is wholly out of the ordinary. What made this defining was due to the fact that to her the Rapture is a real thing, justified or not - her answer was not the answer I was expecting. It may be pragmatically irrelevant, but considerably defining.
"I cannot help but feel confident in her love for me; in accordance with her beliefs, she would be choosing me over an eternity in paradise."

By marrying you she believes she is condemning herself to hell? Am I misunderstanding you here? I don't know what specific religion that might be but if that is the case then it seems like you have a real opportunity to encourage her to read some atheistic books (I recommend 'Why I became an Atheist' by John W. Loftus) which would free her from her guilt.
Well, my understanding is limited, but I believe that it's not that she would be giving up heaven for hell, but delaying going there and dealing with the misery (with me) that is supposed to occur after she would have been taken. It could be that by doing that choosing not to be taken would count against her later on; I just don't know... it was the sentiment that got me, as opposed to the technicalities.
I cant help but be pessimistic about situations like this, but I think your going the right way about it. my situation was a little different I married someone who was very sure of their faith when we started on the other hand I was not so sure and kinda of kept it to myself thinking that it was something that would work itself out. We then started to have political and parenting disagreements where this kind of thinking was coloring my thought. I felt I was being flexible. I even as strange as it may seem to actually like going to church I even made friends there. I think the dishonesty however was the real culprit that brought down are relationship. It got to the point where she would say something that I felt was really narrow minded and she would say something like "well of course you would say something like that'. when conversations would ended like this I knew things were going down hill.

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