My gf and I had this pretty spirited debate over dinner two nights ago about my atheism. She seems to be increasingly concerned with me (she's catholic) as our relationship grows. I worry that my atheism will grow between us. Or to say, her problem with my atheism.
She brings up atheism more than me and gets increasingly angry as we discuss, while I stay level-headed. The subject of this discussion was "Why are Atheists so noisy?"
I tried to compare our out campaigns with gay right, black rights, women's right all of those things, which to me are pretty comparable, but she's black and got kind of offended when I compared our trials and tribulations with that of african american struggles. I changed it up and only compared it to homosexualtiy and women's rights.
She then countered that we don't need to come out because we can't change anything, there's too few of us. I told her that we are trying to get a wider following, trying to encourage freethinkers to come out.
She then asked something that kind of hurt, she said "Why do you need to come out? Just live your lives like everyone else and be happy with it. You don't need to be so loud about your atheism and cause problems for yourself."
I was at a loss for words. I wanted to express that it's not fair to need to hide, it's important to live our lives but she honestly doens't see a point to our cause.
I'm wondering what you guys might have said in my shoes, or why you personally think our cause is a noble one? I still believe it is but I am curious about what we are hoping to accomplish. I wish I was much more active in the atheist movement. all I seem to do is retweet and come on this website. How could I get more involved?
I would ask her how we would ever have a chance of having the pope arrested for conspiracy and collusion in a giant sex scandal and coverup if we just keep quiet. I might also ask her if she is just that ok with religious mutilations of young male infants and pubescent girls. Perhaps another question about sundry gods being good with slavery. Follow that up with some choice probing on the catholic church's embrace of misogyny.
She might also like to explain to you why all churches, like junkyards and stuff, couldn't be hidden behind big fences so that the rest of us don't have to know about them.
You might also point out to her that her religion prohibits premarital sex, birth control, abortion and divorce.
Actually, maybe you should ask her why you should hang out with someone who implicitly condones child molestation and rape and find the door.
Wow, I was going for a slightly more "Softly, softly" approach to the viability of the relationship as a whole but from others points here I suppose I'll throw my hat in too. For me the occasional debate is great but constant arguments about why Atheists need to be noisy or that there are not enough of us to make a difference is pretty insulting and basically a deal breaker. But like I said, that's just me.
I agree with Dave at some level that you should be pleasant, viz. his suggestion of a soft approach. As you said, you've been calm and she is the one getting upset. I've been there too with religious people and it's really... telling I suppose.
But regardless of how you come across, remember that on one hand you can be pleasant, and on the other assertive for what you feel is important. Be elegant, but at the same time, don't pander to her projection of what you should be at this level.
Accommodation happens at least on a small scale in any relationship as people work together. But at this level, she's suggesting you betray yourself fundamentally to suit her projection. This is sheer disrespect. If she can't respect you at this level, it doesn't matter. You have to respect yourself. If she goes along, great.
If not. You are you. Find a relationship that works better mutually. I'm telling you, if you let her do this to you simply because you care about what she thinks, you won't see the last of it, and you will be miserable because neither of you will respect you. I hope this makes sense. I don't want to drone even further with stories, so.
avoid a argument, people are hard wired to try to win, even if they don't share the ideals their arguing.
you need to get mean, and show all the misconceptions and problems religion does.
"Problems for yourself"? Sounds like its a problem for her or maybe her religious friends.
Frankly I'm sick and tired of treading lightly around the religious folk, although I don't go out of my way to cause problems, I don't hesitate to speak my mind, after all I'm not the one believing in a magic invisible man in the sky, if anyone should stay in the closet it's NOT you.
This could be a problem for you and your GF depending on how open minded she is.
Does she ever read the messages here? Maybe you can get her mind to expand a bit?
Good luck brother!
I was once in your predicament. Right from the beginning, though, I made it clear that if we were to get married we would either have no children or they would be raised to decide for themselves - no church! She, a Buddhist, and I , an atheist got along just fine by not attacking each other's beliefs; and by not having any children. It did not offend me that she put Buddhist symbols all over the house; and it did not offend her that I did not revere or pray to them.
My brother and his wife had the same solution. She, a Catholic, and he, someone who doesn't care to think about religion, have been married for 50 happy years. She never misses Sunday mass and he never attends. She doesn't try to convert him, and he shows respect for her beliefs and practices.
Your situation isn't necessarily the same as mine, but I would strongly advise that you not marry the girl if the issue will forever sadden or anger either of you.
Incidentally, your cause is noble simply because it is TRUTH.
Is she even aware that she wouldn't be catholic if it wasn't because of slavery? I don't think is fair that she censors you because you're an Atheist. Would she if you were a protestant and wouldn't agree 100% with her dogma?. What about if you said that African Americans shouldn't be so loud about racism because slavery was abolished long time ago and they should shut up about it already and live their lives?
If this is the type of things she says now that she is only your girlfriend I don't want to imagine what would be when she is your wife and you have kids.
By the way I don't think that by being open about being an Atheist you are crucifying anyone or trying to change the world in a violent immoral way. Would she say the same about a muslim woman wearing one of those head scarfs? Or some missionary knocking on doors trying to gain converts?
This is like telling a vegan, pretend to like meat. Telling a homosexual pretend to like the opposite sex. Pretend you are "NORMAL" and people will like you.
That being said I think relationships are about trust, respect and acceptance. Someone who wants to censor you, just because they don't agree, is someone who you can't trust and who doesn't respect you, and ultimately is someone who doesn't accept you.
Being an Atheist is not a flaw. I don't think you will get her or yourself in some deep troubles just for not believing in her god.
We are in the 21st century, is fine that we won't meet someone who agrees with us 100% of times, but at least we can find someone who doesn't agree but is still open to allow us be who we are.
There are how many black people in the country percentage wise? I know it isn't as few as Atheist, but it is not a majority and that is exactly the point. The fact is the majority is taking advantage of and rights away from the minority and that is the problem. Thomas Jefferson, YO! lol it doesn't matter how few, it matters what is right, moral, just or fair. Whether she agrees with you or not doesn't mean you shouldn't have rights.
According to the 2010 census 12.6% of Americans are African-American
Also, a recent Pew Forum survey showed that 16.1% of Americans are unaffiliated on the topic of religion. Of those 16.1% the breakdown looked as such:
6.3% Secular unaffiliated
5.8% Religious unaffiliated
0.8% also answered 'don't know/refused'.
So I think it would be safe the say that 10.3% to 11.1% are at the very least Atheistic in some sense. So 12.6% black vs 16.1% unaffiliated or 10.3% 'Atheistic' isn't really that big of a difference really.
Sadly, it sounds like your relationship may be doomed if she refuses to accept to for who you are. But why come out? And to claim we can't change anything? Ridiculous! By coming out we can hope to increase the general acceptance of Atheists and Atheism. We can fight injustices such as laws (although they are unenforceable) that bar Atheists from public office in some states, we can try and keep politicians from creating laws that discriminate on religious stance, we can promote rational thinking in general that will promote scientific understanding and progress, as well as dispelling irrational and potentially harmful thinking and opinions. There is plenty that can be changed by promoting Atheism and coming out as Atheist.