So I am 22 years old, about to graduate college, and I have run into a problem with my girlfriend. She is a passionate Christian and very strong in her faith. I, on the other hand, would classify myself as an atheist - having grown up Catholic and realizing that that was not who I am. What concerns my girlfriend is that because I am a non-believer, I will be going to hell - no matter how moral and ethical I act in this life. This is the most important thing in the world to her and my respect alone for her faith and decisions is not enough.
So, she told me that she can never be with a non-believer. I understand why she says that, but I feel as though I'm being held to an unfair standard. We care very much about each other, and we make each other so happy, I am willing to try anything to help our relationship - why isn't that enough?
I've gone to Church with her, prayed with her, and tried to support her in her faith. But, it's not enough. I'm not saying that I'm not willing to try to build my own personal relationship with a God, but I don't know if it will ever be the same as hers, or if it will ever be up to her standards. I would appreciate any and all advice, commentary, or criticism. Thank you.
meh... I've dated religious gals and never really had a problem... maybe because they knew they would never marry me? As long as I treated their religion with respect I never got no guff. Parents were the bigger problem...
So I say feel it out... if it is still a pain in the dick let'er on loose and get yourself a heathen.
Okay she is with you as your girlfriend then she is not holding her own standards because she is currently "with you". If she really wants someone who has the same beliefs she should not have dated you.
It is fairly simple. You will end up in divorce or trapped mouthing words you don't agree with.
My wife and I have similar faiths but not the same. We respect each other and each other's faith. Trust me things will get interesting when you have kids. Do you really want your little one telling you you are going to hell?
I've recently found a website that may help you rediscover your faith. take a look at http://www.catholicscomehome.org/former-catholic.php and see if it helps you.
I'm an atheist, a former Catholic myself. I nearly dated a semi-religious Catholic girl who really wouldn't have cared about my religion, but it would have ran into difficulties down the road.
My last girlfriend was a secular Jew, had things worked out, we would have had similar issues but based on more of a cultural thing than a religious thing.
Think about it - are you an atheist because you've had the big long think about everything and realize that there probably is no omnipotent being that rules the universe which happens to be the one your parents believed in? Or for less erudite reasons?
If you're the former, then you can't force yourself to bypass the logic circuits in your brain and just star believing. It'd be fake and it'd be dishonest to yourself and to your partner, which is dishonorable. Would you be able to sleep at night telling your children that there is this omnipotent being which you don't believe in? Another dishonesty.
I mean when I have kids I plan on using that stuff as an exercise in critical thinking.
I think in the long term it is a far better thing to separate and find someone of a more similar outlook rather than live a dishonesty.
...but I feel as though I'm being held to an unfair standard.
I don't get how you come to this conclusion as the standards are hers to define, not yours. Just from this one line, I'd be concerned for the long-term staying power of the relationship. It sounds very much like you are putting yourself first before her, which is generally the bell tolling doom.
Kudos to you man. For all you've done even so far.
I'm an atheist, dated a number of religious women. Never had quite the ultimatum you have though (her stating she can NEVER be with a non-believer). While I've told these women who were religious essentially "great for you, I'm happy your belief makes you happy but i will NOT go to church with you or pray with you etc." and they were fine with it you know? They have their beliefs I have mine. No harm no foul.
hmm I would say I don't know if it'd work for you in your case only because you've went far beyond simply 'respecting her beliefs' and are actively taking a role in it with her and that's STILL not enough???
All I can say think long and hard if you want to deal with this constantly in the future and good luck to you my friend.
Boy this ones a doozie.
without getting into the details, ill throw in my personal experience.
my lady grew up christian, and i did not. i am very open minded and spiritual, and seek to foster a relationship with whatever may be going on here, but simply cannot adhere to any religious institution.
We talked a lot about it over time and she ended up throwing out her affiliation, to much disapproval of her parents. though, they are true followers, and still love us and respect us. i theorize that someday my girlfriend might return, things like that since birth are so deeply imbedded.
anyways.. a difference in faith is huge.. and your relationship will simply not last without cohesion in this area. She seems especially independent in her views.. and if you lack the tools to handle it, it'll self destruct.
i wouldnt sweat it too much man.. and i would perhaps even consider withdrawing my heart a little bit and pulling it back into the cavity. you dont wanna be hurt in this way if you are very interested in maintaining your relationship with this girl. Just always be respectful around her family and her about it all, and it should put you in a better place than if you werent. but also dont be soft about it.. if you know where you stand, stand there.
It's a hard place to be, and no fun, but I would say it is best to let this one go. I was raised Catholic, and am an atheist now. I have dated women who were of various faiths, and ones who were atheists, and rarely did this issue come up. When it did happen, it was a deal-breaker.
After I had to deal with this I have been very upfront early in my relationships: I'm an atheist. I have an open mind, I'll listen to anything, but I believe X and I am not about to change. (I find any form of Calvinism to be a deal-breaker. Won't even think of dating a girl who is from an offshoot of that form of Christianity). I'll go to church, if it's not a loony-bin. (I actually enjoy the Catholic Mass, and the ritual of it. I find it a great place to meditate.) I won't try to convert you to atheism and you should not try to convert me. If you think I'm going to hell because of my lack of faith, then that is fine, but we aren't compatible. (personally, I find it very sweet that Christians care so much they want to save my soul--no matter how misguided I think it is--and I have a missionary as a close friend. We just could never be lovers.
Basically, in the future you may not want to date anyone who is Christian and serious about it. You won't be compatible. That said, there are tons of women out there who say they are Christian and aren't serious. Shouldn't be a problem there.
If you love each other, you will approach this matter with great prudence. The reality is that while some people can make it work, many don't. To participate or not participate in the same faith is a huge deal. Whether you generally arrive at the same ethical conclusions or not, for example, you conclusions come from fundamentally different sources. Sooner or later, this becomes a massive obstacle when running a household, especially if married with kids. It's just generally best of be of the same faith (or lack thereof). There's nothing stopping you continuing to love each other, but remaining romantically linked is not necessarily prudent.
All of this said, I don't think the "Catholic is not who I am" statement is true. In the realest sense we are all Catholic. The matter comes down whether or not we desire and will to be, but our wills are not synonymous with who we truly are. On the other hand, if your girlfriend thinks you will go to Hell for not having faith in Christ, then she is incorrect and would be better being gently educated as to the validity of good works and God's forgiveness of men's 'ignorance'--Not that I'm saying you're ignorant. I doubt you are.