Last night I asked Faith (my wife) what her current thoughts are regarding her faith stance. She confessed that she didn't really know, but generally still considers herself a Christian even though she thinks Muslims and Jews and others will get into heaven apart from Jesus. I found this very interesting, as you might guess. I asked her how she could still call herself a christian while denying the exclusivity of Jesus as the way to heaven. She didn't know. After a few more equally puzzling answers to my questions, I asked her if she thought it would help our marriage if we were closer to being on the same page regarding some basic elements of reality. She agreed it would. I further questioned whether the benefit our marriage would receive from such a stance is motivation enough for her to consider the claims of humanism. She was very offended. Saying that I was pressuring her to give up her faith. I tried to repeat over and over again how I meant nothing but respect toward her when asking her for defenses for her faith. I never asked her to change her views just for me, but I did suggest that our marriage might be worth at least considering another point of view. I don't want her to claim views as her own just to please me. Did I step over the line? I really don't know what the next step would be in this conversation. How do you think you would approach such a hot button?

Please advise.

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Comment by Daniel on October 13, 2009 at 4:48am
Thanks, all, for your support and encouragement. Christians would have a harder time saying we're evil if they would see kindness like yours!
Comment by Sentient Biped on October 13, 2009 at 4:46am
Daniel,
Tough situation. I've been trying to think of an answer of some sort and words fail me. All I can say is hang in there. I always hope that people can agree to disagree but still know that they love each other and belong together. In the end what's important is that you have each other regardless of religious beleif.
Comment by Daniel on October 12, 2009 at 5:10pm
Scott,
Good suggestion, and the answer is yes. I was a devout Christian for practically all of my life. I was still a believer when we married and was even a lay preacher for our churches. She knows that I know christianity's claims very well.
Comment by Nate on October 12, 2009 at 5:01pm
I've been there.

Honestly until she feels she's ready to question her beliefs she won't, and I don't know her so I have no idea what could be the tipping point for her. There are too many good mental mechanisms to avoid such a thing.

So true. You have the best of motives for wanting her to examine things more closely. But until she can no longer tolerate the cognitive dissonance she's already experiencing(the tipping point Madeline mentions), it's unrealistic to expect her to shed her beliefs.

It's very frustrating, I know.

Best of success to you!
Comment by Madeline (Brigit) on October 12, 2009 at 4:35pm
Once upon a time I was like your wife. A Catholic (in my case) that was unknowingly more Deist than anything else, while my husband was atheist. I think that reinforcing the ethical beliefs you both share would help deal with the harder parts. Also never underestimate cognitive dissonance, because it feels very bad to be in what one can feel to be the loosing side of an argument when the argument revolves around your cherished beliefs- and it prods one to respond defensively.
Honestly until she feels she's ready to question her beliefs she won't, and I don't know her so I have no idea what could be the tipping point for her. There are too many good mental mechanisms to avoid such a thing. Good luck!

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