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Author Topic:   faith and relationships
wating for password
Unregistered


Message 1 of 15 (80769)
01-26-2004 12:56 AM


Hi, my name is Tom, I am 25, I have been married for just over 4 years with no kids (more my choice), and this is my first post here. Let me start by saying I "think" I am considered an Agnostic. My wife and her parents are Christians. She/they have very strong beleifs, where as I don't know what to believe one way or the other. I lean to the Atheistic view mostly, but see some truth in the Christian ways. Or maybe some of my morals coincide with the Christain ways, which may be from my Catholic upbringing. See my dilemma.

My reason for joining this forum is to find some truth about myself and my marriage. For me I got married because I love my wife. Looking back I am suprised she actaully married me, becasue I wasn't a Christian (and she knew this). I have stayed away from the religous topic with her parents to avoid controversy. Throughout most of our marriage religion hasn't really been an issue. We love each other and that is good enough (for me anyway), but lately religion has been more of an issue. She has now told me that her family has concerns about my "soul", since I am not Christian. She is worried too. Personally I don't think my "soul" is anything to be worried about.

To satisfy her I have started to look for a firm place to stand, when it comes to religion. My problem is that I am afraid of what the outcome may be. LOOSING MY WIFE! I don't think my views will be Christian like when all is said and done. And I don't think she will continue our relationship if I stand on the opposite side of her religion. I am too young to live the rest my life lying about my what I believe for her sake. That wouldn't be fair to either of us.

I have started my quest with this question "If any, which religion is the right one?" The hardest part about that question is that I don't think I will ever find out without studying every single religion out there. So basically for the sake of our marriage I have to find out if I believe in the Christian religion on not. Currently I don't or don't know. After doing a search I found this site and I read the entire topic "why is your religion the 'right' one?" in the FAITH AND BELIEF main topic forum.

So this is my start. I am waiting to get my password. Once I do I will post more in other forums to learn "something" about myself and what to believe. Until then if you have any questions for me or comments about my situation please respond.

Thanks
notsosure


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Asgara, posted 01-26-2004 1:07 AM You have not yet responded
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 01-26-2004 1:11 AM You have not yet responded
 Message 5 by Abshalom, posted 01-26-2004 2:02 AM You have not yet responded
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 01-26-2004 2:07 AM You have not yet responded

  
Asgara
Member (Idle past 532 days)
Posts: 1783
From: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 05-10-2003


Message 2 of 15 (80773)
01-26-2004 1:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wating for password
01-26-2004 12:56 AM


Welcome Tom,

What a dilema. Does your wife understand what this is putting you through? Is it possible that your wife would read some of this forum?

I "think" if you just declare your agnostisism, that you just don't know...allow her to pray for you and leave it at that.

This probably isn't any help, but it's late here and I get slap happy when I'm tired

Your password shouldn't take very long to arrive. You might have it already.


Asgara
"An unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates via Plato
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by wating for password, posted 01-26-2004 12:56 AM wating for password has not yet responded

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8858
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 3 of 15 (80774)
01-26-2004 1:11 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wating for password
01-26-2004 12:56 AM


Ouch, the toughest
Welcome!

But wow what a but! This is the toughest question anyone has asked here. My brother is not a believer and his wife is and they do fine together and have for years.

I guess part of it is going to depend on your wife's views. Is she simply worried about your soul? If so, in spite of what some of the so-called Christians here say, it doesn't appear to be sure that anyone knows for sure that God will not admint a good person to heaven in spite of unbelief.

If your wife truely believes in the new testament God of love and forgiveness then she may be able to find a way to see that you can be on the same track as her but without the firm belief in a God.

In fact, anyone with a reasonable theology will understand that no one can claim to know anything about God at all. He really is not something that has to be truely comprehensible to us. He really does, as many are fond of saying, "work in mysterious ways". For most of use "agnositic" is all we can really be. We may choose to believe one thing or another but that is not the same as knowing.

As long as your character is one that isn't opposed to the values and morals that she holds to be important then she must trust this God of hers to accept you for that.

There are a lot of different kinds of "Christians" it seems. I hope she is a kind that can be compatible with your world view as long as your values are compatible. I was very happily married for 20 years. I wish the same for you.


Common sense isn't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by wating for password, posted 01-26-2004 12:56 AM wating for password has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Yaro, posted 01-26-2004 1:43 AM NosyNed has not yet responded

Yaro
Member (Idle past 4725 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 4 of 15 (80781)
01-26-2004 1:43 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
01-26-2004 1:11 AM


Though my predicament was not as dire as yours, perhapse I could offer some advice.

A good friend of mine is an Evangelical Christian. At one point he brought up similar concerns about my spiritual fate. In fact, it was this very same discussion that brought me here to this site.

The fact is, your not going to change her mind, and that should never be your attitude. Be receptive, and listen to everything she has to say, and remember that she has a genuine concern. You may not belive the same thing, but remember she is very sincere in her belifs, don't ever dismiss them or belittle them.

I made this mistake of attacking my friends belifes and pushing him into a logical corner. Just made us not talk for a week

Only way we resolved the thing was by reconciling our mutual views. We basically discussed things on Biblical terms. That is taking Jesus's philosopy as is, and acknowledging that neither of us knew for sure what God would judge.

On that note, we concluded that a truely loving god would judge us on our hearts, and not our actions, or the names we ascribed to him.

That seem to iron things out. The main point is, don't let it get to a point of argument. Remember to respect her belifes, and acknowledge that her fears are real to her.

Im sorry you would have to go thrugh something like this with someone so dear to you. Please let us know how it works out.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 01-26-2004 1:11 AM NosyNed has not yet responded

Abshalom
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 15 (80788)
01-26-2004 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wating for password
01-26-2004 12:56 AM


Don't Push or Be Pushed
Dear Waiting:

I was still agnostic when I married. That was 30 years ago.

Fortunately, neither my wife nor her parents are evangelical, although my wife, at least, is occasionally vocal regarding her faith.

In our 30 years of marriage, the only times my "atheism" has posed a problem for us is"

1) When some very significant life event happens that I cannot explain in scientific or physical terms to my wife or our two children, they try my lack of non-metaphysical explanation.

2) I have had some problems struggling with spiritual questions posed by my two children.

What I have found helpful is not to push my positions onto my wife or our children, and not to let anyone push anything on me. Arguments usually lead to taking firm stands, so I avoid them even though that may seem like a weakness to others who take a firmer stance in their atheism or anti-theism.

I also find it helpful to point out that my personal philosophy is based in iconoclasm rather than in trying to draw others away from their belief structure.

Good luck, and may you and your wife enjoy a long and happy marriage.

Peace.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by wating for password, posted 01-26-2004 12:56 AM wating for password has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 15 (80791)
01-26-2004 2:07 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by wating for password
01-26-2004 12:56 AM


I'd be more worried about having kids. Your wife may, with time, accept that your religious beliefs differ from hers, but she's almost certainly going to want the children to follow her way, as you'll probably want them to follow yours.

I'm an atheist myself but I'm not yet convinced that's a good way to raise children. it may very well be that my wife and I (both atheists) choose to attend a church with our children. (Atheist parents are welcome to offer suggestions but there's no rush, children are a long way off for us.)

I realize that you love your wife (as I love mine) but it's possible this is an insurmountable obstacle. It really depends on how she feels about unbelievers, and what her church teaches about them. But children will definately be an issue here, if you plan to have them.

[This message has been edited by crashfrog, 01-26-2004]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by wating for password, posted 01-26-2004 12:56 AM wating for password has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Mammuthus, posted 01-26-2004 4:20 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4704 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 7 of 15 (80806)
01-26-2004 4:20 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
01-26-2004 2:07 AM


Hi Crash,
That is interesting that you intend to attend church with your children though you and your wife are atheists. It could reflect a difference in culture between the far more religious US and the more secular countries of Europe where this would be seen as less of an issue. I don't have kids either but my wife and I have no plans of going anywhere near a church with our kids. However, they will definitely have to learn about religion as it is part of the school curriculum in Germany. I had to study religion in Spain for a year as well when I lived there. I have no problem with my kids learning the historical basis and consequences of religions and encourage it. However, I don't see that if I do not believe, why I should fake it for my kids? If they decide on their own to be believers, I won't prevent them and won't even discourage them. But I am not going to actively promote something I do not myself believe. However, it could be that in the parts of the US (I grew up in upstate New York and nobody gave a crap) that not demonstrating religious belief would be a social hinderance to ones children and then being an underground atheist may spare the kids some problems...at least when they are very young.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 01-26-2004 2:07 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

wating for password
Unregistered


Message 8 of 15 (80820)
01-26-2004 8:23 AM


Thanks for the replys thus far. I wish I could type more, but I have to go to work now. I got my password now. Should I/we continue this topic here or take it to another main forum.

Thanks
Tom (notsosure)


Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Angeldust, posted 01-27-2004 9:07 AM You have not yet responded

  
Angeldust
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 15 (81064)
01-27-2004 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by wating for password
01-26-2004 8:23 AM


I commend you search for information on this, but if your doing it only to please your wife, chances are that your conclusions won't be satisfactory to either of you. If you want, search for your own set of beleifs in your own time, but don't do it simply to please someone else. I've seen this happen and I'm convinced it never works.

On a side note, if your wife is truly a beleiving Christian she won't leave you over this. I know that the divorce rates for Christians are high right now, but there is no getting around that the Bible says God hates divorce.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by wating for password, posted 01-26-2004 8:23 AM wating for password has not yet responded

notsosure
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 15 (81310)
01-28-2004 8:22 AM


wating for password speaking
I thank everyone for their thoughts and opinions about my prerdicament. I am suprised it didn't take long for me to come to a conclusion about my situation.

I am happy with myself as I am. Personally I don't feel any reason to know the "truth" about religion or lack of, it just isn't important to me. This way of thinking may also be better for me marriage as well. I would rather sit on the fence about religion, then be to curious and want to go to the other side of her. As stated, religion isn't important to me so why push the issue and possibly make things worse.

Last night we had the big talk. It wasn't easy. I laid everything out in the open. I can tell she wasn't happy. She also still feels sorry for me, but that is ok. It is beter for me that know she knows exactly how I feel. Whether our marriage is doomed, only time will tell.

Thanks Again
Tom
notsosure


Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by crashfrog, posted 01-28-2004 8:37 AM notsosure has not yet responded
 Message 12 by truthlover, posted 01-28-2004 3:34 PM notsosure has not yet responded
 Message 13 by Stephen ben Yeshua, posted 01-29-2004 11:35 AM notsosure has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 15 (81314)
01-28-2004 8:37 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by notsosure
01-28-2004 8:22 AM


Whether our marriage is doomed, only time will tell.

Good luck. At least your issue isn't about money - apparently that's what really wrecks a marriage.

[This message has been edited by crashfrog, 01-28-2004]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by notsosure, posted 01-28-2004 8:22 AM notsosure has not yet responded

truthlover
Member (Idle past 2289 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 12 of 15 (81363)
01-28-2004 3:34 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by notsosure
01-28-2004 8:22 AM


Re: wating for password speaking
1 Peter 3:1:

quote:
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, so that if they do not obey the Word they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.

From a biblical perspective it wasn't a good idea for her to marry an unbeliever, but it's not a good idea to divorce the unbeliever, either. 1 Corinthians 7 says something similar, that if the unbeliever is content to dwell with the believing spouse, you should net send him/her away.

So, while it's awesome you want to look into things, it ought not to put your marriage at stake. Those verses allow her (command her?) to live with you with a good conscience.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by notsosure, posted 01-28-2004 8:22 AM notsosure has not yet responded

Stephen ben Yeshua
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 15 (81477)
01-29-2004 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by notsosure
01-28-2004 8:22 AM


Re: wating for password speaking
Tom,

You ought to be aware that there are agnostic prayers, such as:

"Christian God of truth and love, if you are out there, please forgive my ignorance of You, and make my wife and I love each other more and more each day. Keep us together peacefully for the rest of our lives. Amen."

There is a lot of data showing that religious practise in general, and praying together in particular, makes marriages better, especially sexier. ("Couples that pray together, stay together." was actually confirmed, I think, back in the early 70's.) Might make your wife feel better, since her religion makes her suspicious that you might "hate" God, who she loves, putting her under pressure. And, in my experience, when I was agnostic and prayed these sorts of prayers, things got better. Marital things.

Stephen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by notsosure, posted 01-28-2004 8:22 AM notsosure has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Dr Jack, posted 01-29-2004 11:43 AM Stephen ben Yeshua has responded

Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 334 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 14 of 15 (81478)
01-29-2004 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Stephen ben Yeshua
01-29-2004 11:35 AM


Re: wating for password speaking
Actually Christian marriages last less well than Atheist marriages: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm - this research was carried out by a Christian organisation, incidently.

"The family that prays together stays together" is a myth of the Christian right.

[This message has been edited by Mr Jack, 01-29-2004]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Stephen ben Yeshua, posted 01-29-2004 11:35 AM Stephen ben Yeshua has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Stephen ben Yeshua, posted 01-29-2004 2:28 PM Dr Jack has not yet responded

Stephen ben Yeshua
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 15 (81506)
01-29-2004 2:28 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Dr Jack
01-29-2004 11:43 AM


Re: wating for password speaking
Mr. Jack,

That's a very interesting web-site, updating my information from the 70's. Thank you.

As I (dimly) recall the magazine article with the previous study, they made the point that, it was actually praying together that generated the longer "staying together." The Christian group that did the study noted that, denomination wide, divorce rates were as high or higher than "normal." But, that within the denomination, those that prayed together had much lower rates. Sort of like the stats the site presents for pastors.

You may not be aware of my other posts on this matter, but in my own efforts to know who is telling the truth and who is lying, I find the worse hypocrisy in the Christian church. Hence my refusal to call myself a Christian, despite the box that others here want so badly to place me in. This is actually, it turns out, stated in the Bible, where "those who build with straw" have their works burned up, while they themselves are saved. That is, pastors who fill their churches with hypocrites may themselves be saved, even though all their church members "burn up." And what does it mean to be "of straw." The passage is in the midst of a discussion that condemns any believer calling themselves "of Christ" or Christian. (1 Corinth 1:12-4:6)

The survey you sent us to, of course, doesn't distinquish between those who became a believer because of a divorce, those who got divorced because they were married to an evil partner, whom God got rid up when they converted (See Eccl 7:26), and those who married in the church, as two born-again believers. But, I really would predict that anyone calling themselves a Christian, especially fundamentalist Christian, has several strikes against them for a happy, prosperous life. These strikes may be partly overcome by exercising certain religious practises, reading the Bible, prayer, and attending services being the most important.

But it's hypocrisy that ruins our lives, more than anything, in my opinion.

Stephen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Dr Jack, posted 01-29-2004 11:43 AM Dr Jack has not yet responded

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