I deleted the other blog posts because I soon realized that I had gone off on a massive tangent. So I'll explain how I got to where I am as briefly as possible to give context to my conundrum. I had to leave home at a young age and had my high school diploma mailed to a P.O. box. I headed out to California and from there, moved to Japan. I lived and worked in a restaurant owned by an abusive man with a family held financially prisoner to the restaurant and thus him. I also started fighting in an underground ring and that sort of reinforced a couple Taoist beliefs that I was developing. On her mother's request I escorted the young daughter of the abusive restaurant owner to her relatives in Okinawa in order to escape the horrible life she faced in Otsu. Over the course of endless train rides and a ferry we developed a sort of brother/sister bond. But in Okinawa we fell in love. We are now living in San Francisco and plan to get married next year. With that out of the way I can pursue my true purpose here.

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Comment by Cato (Kaito) Rigas on October 20, 2014 at 9:41pm

Oh and my email is catorigas@gmail.com

Comment by Ed on October 22, 2014 at 8:09am

What is the "conundrum" you are facing?

Comment by Cato (Kaito) Rigas on October 23, 2014 at 12:54am

Posted here: http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/the-shinto-flower-among-th...

To summarize, I'm an atheist, my fiancee is Shinto and I don't know how to respond to inquisitions about, or that could lead to religion. Shinto is an atypical religion and for her, I think the net impact is positive. I know I'd rather know truth than be happy but I don't really have the right to make that decision for her.

Comment by Ed on October 24, 2014 at 8:07am

"I know I'd rather know truth than be happy..."

I don't see why that has to be mutually exclusive. Abrahamic theists seem to be happy ignoring truth.

Comment by Davis Goodman on October 24, 2014 at 9:53am

Sounds like great material for a Hollywood movie  :)

Comment by Cato (Kaito) Rigas on October 25, 2014 at 2:40am

Well what I meant was, I'd never want to be blissfully ignorant. If ever there was an extremely unpleasant truth which would ruin any chance of enjoying life, I'd still want to know it, as a mater of principle.

And yes, the condensed version does sound something like a movie plot. But lots of stories are like that, which is why a many of the best movies are based on real events. But if I broke it down you'd see that the average month of my life is trying to hold down a crappy job so I can afford my crappy apartment. And I suppose I tend to romanticize the events. Another way to tell it would be: I left home because I can't handle responsibility. I worked for a guy who was an asshole but his wife was cool. Her daughter needed someone to hold her hand on the train because kids getting molested on trains is a big problem in Japan.

Or I could exaggerate some of the details, cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt as myself, and go for an Oscar

Comment by Davis Goodman on October 25, 2014 at 9:39am

Oh...I didn't mean to imply having a story similar to a Hollywood movie plot is a bad thing. Just the opposite!!!

Comment by Cato (Kaito) Rigas on October 26, 2014 at 2:11am

Well then, thanks I guess. It never really felt like a movie plot while it was happening. I suppose I met some interesting people and have better stories than most people my age. But that's more of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time as opposed to doing something productive or creative

Comment by Pope Beanie on October 26, 2014 at 3:15pm

I agree with Davis that your particular life circumstances make you interesting, and in fact may be script-worthy. In any case, regarding your current dilemma, I think your back-story helps inform me of your bigger picture.

As far as responding to your question specifically, I'm not sure I can, but I still have new ideas around it. First of all, I'm guessing that your wife has benefited so much from your involvement in her life that she may even be depending on you too much, and could use a bit more independence (if not confidence) in her own way of thinking. That also means trusting her more as an adult thinker, even if it seems she might have a child-like belief or dependence on you. (I know that's possibly a far-fetched analysis! I know I could be wrong.)

My Japanese ex-wife grew up in a Shinto/Buddhist family, but went to a western church and felt close to its pastor. Funny me, western atheist and her, eastern Christian. I also felt (and still feel somewhat) more savvy than her regarding philosophy, issues of life's "truths", and other unnaturally cerebral stuff. (We didn't evolve to behave optimally in a rational, logically thinking manner, which is why I call it unnatural. It's not a value judgment.) In any case, I'm stuck with the cerebral Spock syndromes, and consider it a personal strength. But I'm not good at (nor significantly interested in) changing other friends and family's world views. All I can do is guesstimate what kind of input I can provide to help make their lives more enjoyable, and adjust myself as necessary to the reality as they have to live it. I try to learn from her about human nature, and its flaws. (I actually learn from more from my own flaws, but still... empathy is key to understanding human nature.)

I'm not sure if I'm close to helping, but I'm thinking that how you help your fiancee may also depend on her other influences, especially her closest friends and family. I'm just wildly guessing that what she may need the most is self-confidence and an attitude that she can (and should) take more control of her own destiny. Perhaps one could start by hedging and talk about the variety of other beliefs in the world besides one's own, and speculate about why people believe in so many different things that are, when taken together, incompatible with reality.

Comment by Cato (Kaito) Rigas on October 27, 2014 at 4:58am

Well I did "save her" so to speak but I really think that she saved me. Before her I had no purpose in life. Between the fighting and the drinking, I didn't really care what happened to me or to anyone else. Life was just a cruel, bitter pill that you had to swallow if you didn't want to choke. And then all of a sudden there was this teenager that needed my help. At first I wasn't thrilled about it. It was more of a "I guess I owe it to her mother" sort of thing. But after awhile I realized that I actually had a friend. Something actually mattered. So she saved me from a cold and meaningless life. And as far as self-confidence and attitude, she's actually really tough and optimistic. I mean, sure she always had her family or her relatives before, but now that she's grown up she could take care of herself. But as of right now, I'm the only one in her life and vice versa. She's still in contact with her aunt in uncle (2nd cousins technically) but it's been a while since she talked to her mom (where she gets her beliefs). I don't know her friends well but she works part time at a pet store so she knows some people. 

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