Post # 1
Ok, I’m not looking for an argument here, and I know prefacing anything with that will probably start one…However, not just on this site, but in life in general, I have noticed something…
Whenever two people have different beliefs, it seems to me that people ask “well is he/she willing to compromise on..”. And almost always I find the compromise is that the person who is NOT of a faith be ok with either converting or having their children raised of that faith.
Has no one ever considered that the compromise be the other way around?
If someone who is atheist or agnostic marries someone who is Christian, Catholic or Muslim etc, why is it always assumed that the one without said faith is the one to compromise? What about, well you believe but I don’t, so therefore let’s agree to disagree, have the children decide when they are old enough to know the difference, or “heaven” forbid what if YOU had some compromising in what I DON’T believe.
You never hear someone who is without faith, asking someone to half believe because they don’t at all, and I”m curious as to why it seems ok for someone who does believe in something to assume someone who doesn’t should ‘compromise’.
Post # 3
I really don’t think there should be any compromising at all, tbh.
I am agnostic, borderline athiest.. fi is athiest – however, we will be not be raising our children as either. We plan to teach our children a little bit about each religion [or lack thereof], and let them decide what they choose to believe on their own.
I think it’s totally wrong to push your beliefs on others.. including your children.
Post # 4
@lia22: I don’t have this problem. Fi and I were both raised Christian, but religion isn’t a huge part of our lives.
But this is a very interesting question. I guess if a persons belief is THAT big of a deal to them, then it would be a deal breaker, either way. I feel like the people you are talking about who enter into a relatioship with someone of faith are kind of like me.. take it or leave it. I have a feeling that if someone was a very passionate aethiest or agnostic, then they probably wouldn’t enter into a relationship with someone of strong faith.
Now that I’m reading this, I’m happy it’s not an issue in my relationship.
Post # 5
@lia22: It’s a good question, but I think it boils down to what children lose (in the eyes of the person of faith) if they’re not raised with religion. It’s very difficult for people who aren’t raised with a religion to pick it up, even if they want to, whereas dropping your religion doesn’t take much effort at all. It’s easier by far to raise your child with religion and then give them the option to quit when they hit a certain age, than to raise your child with no religion and then try to help them join when they’re older. Most religions tend to have ages where you can opt out easily, too, but there aren’t exactly ideal ages to opt in.
Post # 6
@lia22: My SO was raised Catholic, and I went to church a bit as a child, but don’t anymore and am definitely agnostic, and not spiritual enough to practice anywhere. We have talked about it and will not be raising our children Catholic. They may attend mass once or twice as events with his family but it will not be a common thing, and religion will not be pushed on them. Luckily this was never even an issue for us.
Post # 7
@lcutter711: My husband was raised Catholic, but identifies more as agnostic. I”m an atheist mostly, though I guess some part of me thinks if there is ‘something’ out there they’ll understand I couldn’t believe in something I can’t see. Does that make any sense?
My ex is Christian, but we decide before our daughter was born it would be her choice. While I”m all for anyone believing whatever they want, I don’t agree with pushing something at birth only to let them decide later, because quite frankly if someone is taught something at a young age, they are not likely to ‘decide’ for themselves later on. I have never pushed anything with her, have always told her that different people believe different things and it’s ok to believe whatever you want.
I just find it very interesting that people tend to side with the person who believes in a God, and not the one who doesn’t. Just because I don’t believe does not mean that I don’t feel strongly about not believing. It doesn’t make my opinion or beliefs less credible. I have NEVER, heard of someone saying well, she doesn’t believe so you should believe less to make sure there’s a compromise.
Post # 8
@Nostawyn: I see your point, but what if someone believes the child will lose something because they believe? As I mentioned above, is it really a choice if you’ve been told all your life something is certain, and you then get told ‘pick what you believe’? Just some food for thought.
Post # 9
I don’t believe anyone should make someone believe in what they don’t. It’s just not right. There may be other ways to compromise.
Post # 10
@Rubbs: I believe there are, in a one on one relationship. THe difference between my thoughts and my ex are not what led to a divorce. However, I do think it’s different when children come in to play. Should the atheist/agnostic have to give in to having their child exposed to the belief because the other spouse believes? That may be more what I’m asking about here, though there is always the “where do we get married” part as well.
Post # 11
@lia22: I don’t think it something for anyone other than the couple to agree or not agree to. It is such a very personal dynamic that varies from couple to couple. I think that most of the time if you have someone who is zealous in their faith and someone who is indifferent, the indifferent one doesn’t care enough to protest. I think it is rare that you have two zealous people of different faiths deciding to mary.
I did know a woman whose daughter was Christian and married a Jewish man. They couldn’t decide how to celebrate the holidays, so they spent every holiday working in a soup kitchen, and they took their child as well. They decided that regardless of where their beliefs differed, this was the best way for both of them to please God together. I thought that was a really beautiful sentiment.
Post # 12
@lia22: If you believe very strongly in what you believe and don’t want to compromise, then you probably shouldn’t marry someone with different beliefs. As someone who would have been cool marrying someone of pretty much any faith, I would have taken an every-other-week approach with my children (and may yet, since FI is into contemporary services, which just… no).
I think there’s a big difference in being raised in a faith and being force-fed it. The types of people who are going to force-feed their children religion (as in demand that their nine year old child be ‘saved’ or that force their eight year old into a confessional once a week) are not the types of people to marry people of different faiths (several of my friends have ended otherwise happy relationships over religious differences).
Being raised in a faith doesn’t necessarily mean that your parents are hammering it in your skulls. My family is “Catholic” but out of 13 grandchildren, there are exactly 2 Catholics. 4ish Baptists, 5 agnostics/atheists, a Jewish person, and an Episcopalian (me). It is DEFINITELY a choice, if your parents make it one. Here’s how the conversation went for me. Parents: “So, have you thought about Confirmation classes?” Teenage Me: “Not happening. You know what’s cool? Hinduism.” Parents: “You should tell your job you can work Sundays, then. You’ll get more hours that way.” Many of my friends had similar experiences.
My FILs? They’re a lot more Jesus-y than my family is, and are constantly asking when FI and I are going to find a church. My extremely devout Catholic grandma thinks it would be funny if I had Elvis impersonator wedding… It’s all about the attitude that the family takes toward it.
Post # 13
@lia22: Well I’m christian, dh is agnostic. He wont go to a church due to previous bad experiences (Thanks crazy ex with an even more crazy pastor!). Since moving, I havent found a church I’m comfortable in, I don’t drink alcohol and want to take communion, struggling to find a church here which does grape juice. Yet my dh is encouraging me to try find one. It’s been 2 years since I was a member at a church and dh has said he will support me in finding out because he knows that it has a positive impact on me. That being said, he won’t come with me. He won’t have issues with me taking our future children to church with me as he was raised christian. I grew up with one parent roman catholic and the other anglican, only one parent went to church regularly, the other only on special occasions and guess what, they have no less faith than the other parent.
I was raised to belive that being a christian wasn’t something you did in church on a Sunday but how you lived your life. So while to people on the outside it may look like my dh is compromising, he isn’t. He is supporting what makes me happy and he wants our future children to understand why faith is important to me. We didn’t have a sermon attached to our wedding or any of that, because it makes him uncomfortable, do I feel like we are any less married in the eyes of God, no. I don’t think that anyone necessarily has to be compromised.
EDIT: Just wanted to add, I was raised christian but walked away from religion for about 4 years. Was completely atheist. So I do believe that just because a child goes to church every sunday growing up, does not mean they can’t choose. Oh and my parents never went off at me about not wanting to go to church, was always totally my decision. Neither of them attends church regularly now.
Post # 14
@lia22: My ExH is agnostic but, to me, mostly atheist. He was raised with some religion and dropped it himself. I’m a lapsed Catholic who is interested in bringing up any future children either Catholic or maybe Episcopalian (different topic altogether). >We discussed it, and I think what made it work in theory between us is that he is indifferent about the issue while I was open to him talking to the hypothetical kids about his non belief.
Like someone said earlier, I think in general it’s harder to get into believing out of the blue than to drop an existing belief set and lifestyle. I also agree that there are levels of relgiosity in families. My parents took us to church once a week, and we completed the “usual” sacraments. However we didn’t sit and discuss the Bible every night or pray over everything together. Finally, I also agree with the fact that people who are zealous in one direction or the other will probably not be able to make it work with someone on the opposite side. Some can but not most.
Post # 15
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Yeah, I think it comes down to agnostic / atheist / no opinion people not caring about the issue too much, whereas religious people as a rule tend to really care about bringing their kids up in the church.
I’m an atheist and while I can’t really imagine marrying a religious person, if I did, I’d be ok with our kids going to church as long as they were told “This is one of many religions in the world and you can decide which makes the most sense to you.
I’d probably also be like, “pssst, mommy doesn’t believe that God exists. Let me tell you about how EVIDENCE is necessary to believe in something!”
Post # 16
@lia22: Good question! I was raised a catholic and went to catholic schools. I still feel, I guess you would say, spiritual, but not associated with any church or religion. For me personally, it was good to grow up with that education and knowledge in religion, even if I distance myself from it now. SO is not religious, although he thinks he was baptised.
I have a couple of friends who are JW’s, and they said you can’t become one until about early teens – when they were old enough to decide they did really want to become JW’s. I think that is a really good idea. No one is forcing them, it’s a choice.
I would hope that a couple with differing feelings on the matter would discuss it before babies arrive, but it can’t really be helped if one of the couple decide to convert from being atheist/agnostic to very religious (Or vice versa).
It would be such a tough thing. A religious person is well entitled to their beliefs, but so too is an atheist. It’s not like one is right and the other is wrong. There really is no middle ground with this issue though – you’re right, it usually is the atheist/agnostic that has to compromise, which really isn’t a compromise at all.