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Should religion really matter in a relationship?
Dating / 5:57 PM - Wednesday April 14, 2010

Should religion really matter in a relationship?

I personally don't think that religion should get in the way of a relationship. But my boyfriend doesn't think so. He is a very religious Christian, whereas I'm not a serious Christian, I'm leaning towards being an atheist. I just personally believe that evolution makes more sense to me than god(s). Is this a major problem in our relationship? Is there a way that we can accept our individual beliefs? I don't want to end our relationship just because of our religion.

Update: April 14, 2010.
Thanks for all your responses. It's interesting to hear both sides. But I think people got the wrong message. I am really more agnostic than an athiest. In the last 3 years, I've mostly just been not interested in going to church anymore. And I think its more of just a fling than a really serious relationship, in other words, I feel too young to start thinking about marriage yet.

- Asked by A Thinker, Female, 22-25, Student

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I'm a Roman Catholic Christian and my g/f is an agnostic. We are definitely not on the same page, but I don't ask her to go to church with me, and she doesn't ask me not to go. She has gone on the rare occasion.

I don't know what church he goes to, but I see no contradiction between the Bible and evolution. As the late agnostic paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said, the Genesis story and evolution, i.e., religion and science, are non-competing magisteria. The theory of evolution tells "how," while Genesis tells "who" was behind the whole process. In other words, God could have directed evolution. The previous Pope, John Paul II, said that evolution is a "fact," and only theories which rule out God are to be shunned (I might point out that Darwin was at least a nominal Christian). Only the most rigid fundamentalist believes that Genesis is literally true in every detail...for example, some folks have used the genealogies to conclude that the world is only 6000 years old, which is preposterous.




- Response by tomtomcat, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, New York, Teaching

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Religion matters more than you think. If the relationship gets very serious, will you get married in a church, how are the children going to be raised, etc.

Having diff tastes in music or food preferences is one thing, even political differences could work, but religious differences are very hard to overcome, it can be done but not often.

- Response by donuthate, A Creative, Male, 18-21, Phoenix, Who Cares?

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Well it's up to him then. But do you really want to be with someone who thinks snakes could talk?

- Response by llafsroh, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Boston, Science / Engineering

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If he is that into his religion, then it matters to him. Talk about it.

- Response by roaminginsomniac, An Alternative Girl, Female, 46-55, Law Enforcement

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I think you can accept your own beliefs, but... if you look down the road, he will probably want a Christian wedding, to have children go to church, etc. So, it can create serious issues. I would definitely say to talk about it now and see if you are going to be able to come to terms with it. If it is going to be a problem for him, it will end up being a problem for you, too.

- Response by undecidedfuture1, A Creative, Female, 36-45

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I believe as you do.

In my personal experience, I have learned to NEVER date ANY guy who is actively participating in ANY organized religion.

In my personal experience, yes -- it becomes a deal breaker when you won't join their religion.

Do not waste your time and emotions dating guys whom you are not compatible.

For me this meant not dating guys who 'religion' was an important part of their lives.

- Response by utahmom, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Managerial

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If he is a true follower of Christ, he will consider God's word that says "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers"

- Response by mistyjean, A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Self-Employed

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It usually doesn't work, because one person will try to "convert" the other person. While he can suggest you go to Church with him, I don't think it is right to get mad if you or anyone were to say no and I'm afraid that is what would happen down the line, say if you were married. I have friends that are atheists and they are good friends and I will miss them in Heaven!!

- Response by kmf1, A Life of the Party, Female, 46-55, Minneapolis, Who Cares?

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I am in this same situation almost, except it's in reverse. I'm a Christian and my bf is basically agnostic. We broke up over it finally last Easter (I got angry b/c he wouldn't go to church with me), but then ended up getting back together. Since then I found out that when he was younger, his father would spout off bible versus to him every time he "did something wrong", and he was just rubbed the wrong way about organized religion because his father was so obsessed with it. We are doing just fine now. He has agreed that if we get married and have kids that the kids will be raised as Christians and that he will go to church with us as a family. That being said, I do think it's possible for religion not to be a huge factor in your relationship, but it takes compromise.

- Response by A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Science / Engineering

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I forgot to mention, my g/f is sterile, so the kid thing is not an issue, but yes, in most relationships that are either believer/non-believer, or two people of different faiths, there is a huge potential conflict over how the kids will be raised.

- Response by tomtomcat, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, New York, Teaching

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I agree with you to a point but what you really need to take into consideration is whether the relationship will work because of your religious differences...will he be able to overlook your not going to church when he does; will you be okay with him 'practicing' more than you; if you marry, where will you get married; what religion will you convert to if you do marry; will he expect you to convert to his religion or accept you as an agnostic; and how will his parents/your parents react to either one of you converting to the other religion...just some questions for the long-term because although it might not seem important right now, you have to realize that as the relationship grows and develops, these are going to become concerns for one or both of you and it can/will become something that 'matters'...but since you're not considering marriage and its just a 'fling', maybe this could be a very good relationship for both of you, as long as you don't get too serious or change your mind over the course of your relationship...:D

- Response by fastball, A Cool Mom, Female, 36-45, Edmonton, Self-Employed

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Religion shouldnt be that much of a factor in a relationship. If the two of you care for each other, than what you two believe in shouldn't be something that will put your relationship in jeopardy. It is possible to believe in a god and evolution. Everyone has their own personal beliefs and in order for someone to respect your beliefs, you must respect theirs. Religion and god and all of it is different for each person, dont be afraid to think differently about it than others. Don't push your point of view on him but don't feel the need to believe his beliefs as well.

- Response by careyprice31, A Sportif, Female, 22-25

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Although I've already answered this question (twice actually), I am answering publically to joybird, and to many others who weighed in....

With all due respect, you are really woefully ill informed if you think the behavior of the people shown in Jesus Camp represent the beliefs and actions of the average Christian in the mainline churches. I find it as embarrassing as you find it ridiculous. Unfortunately, many give us a bad name, but what is ALSO unfortunate, is that the average person who is part of the large group of people that Friedrich Schleirmacher, the great German theologian, once referred to as the "cultured despisers of religion," does not know one wit about Christian theology, or what the Bible really says, or the difference between a mainline Protestant, a Catholic, and an evangelical. Yet many of these same people are able to spout their hate-filled rhetoric, based on the scanty knowledge they really have, and assume they speak for the forces of enlightenment and freethinking.






- Response by tomtomcat, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, New York, Teaching

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Yes it is because if you have different belief systems (or no beliefs) what would you teach your some day children? Not only that the bible specifically tells its believers to marry someone who is "evenly yoked". But even Jews and Christians would have issues because either you believe Jesus was is Christ or you don't.

If both are agnostic or not THAT into religion than it wouldn't matter.

- Response by newnumbersguy32, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Financial / Banking

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Whether it "should" or not is a philosophical question. The fact is that religion does matter to most people.

- Response by greenwind, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, Construction

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If something matters to either person of the couple it matters in the relationship. This goes for religion, and other things. It may not come up all the time but will come up especially when/if children happen.

- Response by jjcabin, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Washington, DC, Technical

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Although not required, I feel like both man and woman should be on the same page when it comes to religion. Same with politics; one less thing to argue about.

- Response by hearmenow, A Guy Critical, Male, 56-65, Other Profession

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Sounds like you want to change him and he wants to change you! Not going to happen. You think the disagreements are bad now, do you really want to marry this guy and have daily arguments about how the kids are going to be raised, how often you'll both be going to church, etc.

- Response by lmarks, A Life of the Party, Male, 29-35, Los Angeles, Who Cares?

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AChristian dating a non-Christian is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. There is, of course, nothing wrong with dating a non-Christian, just keep in mind that you marry who you date. I this when two people have different beliefs then one person would more then likely end up compromising their standards and beliefs in order to stay appealing to that person. This is not staying true to oneself. For me I couldn't date and/or marry a non-believer. I think this would cause too much conflict in our relationship and dating shouldn't be this hard.

I highly doubt your boyfriend would marry you knowing that you are an atheist (or thinking of becoming one)! If he is as highly religious as you make him out to be then he understands where the bible teaches him not to marry a non-believer.


- Response by kdtxchic30, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Who Cares?

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As I tell our sons....marriage and relationships are difficult enough...why add a different religion to the chaos??

- Response by scooper, A Sportif, Female, 46-55, Dallas, Who Cares?

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