Hello Everyone. I've been in a relatioship with my boyfriend for just over 5 months now.

We both want to get married eventually and have a child. This is where the problem is arising.

He thinks marriage is 'spiritual' and can only be meaningful if done by a pastor in a christian setting. He cannot or refuses to understand that marriage does not have to be religious, that the church didn't create that institution.

He refuses to even try to see things objectively.

Coming from a religious background myself, I can understand how he feels in being afraid of thinking outside the box. The greatest problem I have is that he doesn't intend to have children with me if they are going to learn about atheism. Stating that if I leave the choice up to the kids, they'll never believe, which is totally true. How can he not connect the dots and see that this is because religion is totally illogical?

Before I totally give up on the relationship, what suggestions do you have for us? We've spoken on the issue a few times, apart from religion he is a great friend, but he is willing to give up on us over something that isn't even proven to be true. Beliefs are not important to me, I think this whole thing is trivial, but he is making it such a big problem I cannot ignore it.

What would you say to him to persuade him to at least not give up our future over something that may not be true?

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I don't think it's necessarily too soon to be considering the idea of a long term relationship and marriage. 3 months into my relationship at only 21 years old I was sure that my boyfriend and I would be together for a long time (hopefully our entire lives) and started talking about the idea of marriage and children. We have now been together (we aren't married but live and are committed to each other like a married couple)for 4 very enjoyable years and are looking forward to many more to come.

It is a very good thing you spotted your problems early on that way you can hopefully work through them and enjoy a lasting, loving, mutually respectful relationship. I really do wish you well and I hope your boyfriend will come around to some sort of a compromise that works for the both of you.
I was in a 5 year relationship starting at 19. Four of those years we lived together, almost as if we were married and marriage was the plan at some point. I am glad that we didn't rush into that, though. Turns out we were really heading in different directions and I wouldn't have met my wonderful wife, whom I dated for 7 years before getting we married.

My philosophy on marriage is if you really think that the relationship will stand the test of time, then there should be no hurry to marry. Especially for anyone under the age of 30!
There are two people in every relationship, none more important than the other. His refusal to discuss or budge on this issue speaks a great deal about his dedication to you, and your relationship vs his dedication to his religion which is ultimately his dedication to himself. Forget children with someone this selfish, I would go to work formulating a conversation in which you make clear that you will not be bullied into his wishes. While there is no middle ground between Christianity and Atheism, someone must give for the relationship to move forward. What is more important to him, his life with you, or his assumed afterlife with God.

The answer to that question will be the answer that seals the fate of the relationship. My question to you is why you would even get involved with a religious fanatic without taking this exact scenario into consideration from day one?
I don't see anything wrong with getting married within his church, if it's important to him; however, even if you do, I can't imagine this issue just going away. Religion will keep getting thrown in your face as long as he remains a devote christian and you a devote non.
@Kris Potter I have a coworker who I told that I'm atheist. She is anglican but respects my choice but couldn't fathom my not wanting to baptize my kids.

That said, most of the people here don't follow the christian lifestyle. My bf doesn't go to church, he watches porn, he plays video games that are full of violence etc. I just never thought he would have such a fundamentalist mindset. Unfortunately here, when it comes to talking, christians are very vocal about their beliefs, but they usually don't live up to them through their actions and everyday life choices/activities. Most just force kids to go to church while they themselves don't, enforcing the 'do as I say, not as I do' mentality. Which is wrongn even from a christian perspective. Because he was raised that way and the church gave him good values he feels this is the way it should be passed on.

You really can't ask every guy on a first date what their perspectives on these things are, after a while your reputation here will be ruined. And you probably won't get a serious and truthful answer if they are not serious about finding a life partner just yet. Plus you have to get to know someone before you decide to come out, lest you receive an unwarranted preaching ceremony, argument, and suggestions/numbers of priests that can 'help'
Jen, can you clarify if the problem is:
1) With his desire not to have you teach your child about atheism - I can understand this.
or
2) His desire to teach about Christianity.

Or 3) Both?
@ThoughtfulTheist if it were up to me alone, my kids would not be taught christianity.

Knowing the society in which I live, I understand that it would perhaps be unfair to create atheist children in a christian society. For their own good I'd like them to learn about christianity objectively, as well as other religions so that they understand why they can be discredited and make an informed decision later about what they choose to believe.

I don't want to raise close-minded kids that refuse to see the possibility that no one has the correct answer, I want my children to be able to analyse things for themselves without being persecuted or constantly living in denial. I want them to understand and respect christianity (for their own good in this society at least.)

I can't afford for someone to be teaching a child that humans could not possibly come from monkeys just because that fact angers them.

I want them to understand the difference between believing and knowing, and that believing somwthing doesn't mean that its true. Whether its a situation where someone ate your last slice of pizza or you should give up your best friend because he doesn't believe in god.
If you believe that sam took it but you have no proof you cannot punish him in the same way that if you believe god exists but you have no proof you shouldn't judge the friend or throw the frienddship away.

Practical, objective thinking is what I envision, but he wants them to deny facts and logic just to secure a belief. He refuses to see that religion cannot be exempted from compromise.
OK, I'm speaking as a Christian here:

Personally from what I think theologically, this situation isn't preferrable. People with two different worldviews are going to have to provide an upbringing for their children that neither are particularly pleased with entirely. For example, you have to compromise your view that your children should be brought up with no religion, and your boyfriend has to compromise his view that his children should be brought up with Christianity.

BUT, I think you have it right. He should let your children hear about atheism at the very least. Likewise you should let your children hear about Christianity. Then all you can do is let them make up their own mind. You never know they might surprise you!

As for evolution. Personally, I don't think evolution and Christianity are incompatible. For example, the BioLogos Foundation in the US, do a lot of really good work at explaining how Christianity and modern science are compatible, and they have been promoting awareness about evolution. There is a middle ground.
That is, IMO, the best approach. We plan to use that with our daughter.
So yes, I have a great problem with him not wanting any offspring to learn about atheism
I know you're asking for advice on how to make it work, so please understand that by not doing so, I only mean well. Beleifes DO matter, becuase they affect the life decisions we make. You're already encountering this with him. Imagine how much more complicated it would be with a child.

I hope I don't upset you, as I know you wish for it to work, but I hope you've thought this through thoroughly.

Best wishes.
M.
What would you say to him to persuade him to at least not give up our future over something that may not be true?

After 5 months of dating, I would not assume that you have a future with this person. If you are a young person, you should date around. You'll be surprised at how the "one" turns out to be just one of many.

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