I've run into this disagreement with my boyfriend several times throughout the four years that we've been together. So here goes:

For all intents and purposes, he is an atheist.  To me, all this means is that when asked if he believes in a god or higher power, he answers, "no."  That aside, he regularly debunks christian thinking, listens to podcasts for skeptics and atheists, reads literature by prominent atheists and more.  I didn't learn until recently that before we started dating, he didn't think much about theism or skepticism.  Back then, he didn't go to mass or talk about god, so I think I just assumed.  He says that he didn't really share the faith of the catholic church, but that he saw more good than bad in the institution of it.  He says that dating me challenged him to look into the topic more and that now there's no way that he can go back.  Despite all of this, he adamantly refuses to call himself an atheist.  I tend to continue to bring this topic up with him for a number of reasons.  Some of these reasons are: 1) I find that this only gives the misunderstandings of atheists more power (the more we avoid the label the more we are saying that it is a bad thing that we won't touch with a 10 foot stick), 2) In our conversations, I see him acting out of fear for perceived consequences that may or may not be real, and 3) I will admit that, even though it might be silly, I feel a little hurt that he treats a label that I embrace with such passionate mistrust.

So the question is, do I continue to broach the topic or do I let it be?

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Absolutely good insight and great advice.  Thank you!  Ultimately he and I communicate well, it just sometimes takes us a bit of time to get to the core of the issue.  We revisited the topic today, and he admitted that the decision is most likely out of fear and that he doesn't like it but he's just not where I'm at yet - and that I can completely accept and respect.

Great video, thanks!  He makes some very cogent arguments (which I of course loved), but I don't know that he did a good enough job addressing the issue of fear.  Someone who is fearful of how others will react to the label may just turn a deaf ear to the "you're making us look small" argument.


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