Any atheists here in a relationship with someone who's religious?

So I'm an atheist and my boyfriend is a Catholic. We agree to disagree on the issue, although the cognitive dissonance really gets to me sometimes. Let's put it this way, I know the Bible, other religious practices, and history far better than him (which seems so be a trend amongst atheists since we're genuinely interested in the matter).My question is really about the future. What are some challenges and solutions you may have come across when it comes to raising children?

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My fiance is Greek Orthodox, although I should point out up front that she is very laissez-faire about it. She hasn't been to a church service other than our children's christenings since I've been with her. The christenings were one point of contention. Only because it was obvious that I didn't see the point of it. However, to her it was more than the religious aspect of it. It's very cultural for the Greeks. You get christened, simple as that. In the end I wasn't too fussed about it. It's not going to do them any harm and it's important to her.

The wedding is another sticking point though. I would obviously prefer a civil ceremony, although to be fair I don't really care where it is. It is the marriage that is important to me, not the wedding day. However she has said she can't get away from this niggling feeling that if we had a civil ceremony it wouldn't be a "proper" marriage in the eyes of God. For me, I don't know why getting married in a particular building by a man chanting wearing particular clothes means it is endorsed by God but there you go. If God existed and wished to bless the union surely he could do so regardless of the specifics of the wedding day.

Because I am not christened the Greeks will not allow a Greek Orthodox ceremony so we're still deciding what to do.

With regards to children, how devout is your boyfriend? Is he going to drip feed God into every conversation? God barely gets a mention in our house so I suppose I'm lucky. When the children start questioning more (they're 4 and 2) then maybe it will get trickier but my approach is to simply to say things like "Some people believe there is a God... Etc etc". I want them to decide for themselves.

I grew up Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox before leaving the religion. He's a Roman Catholic but doesn't go to church. From what I can see, he's more in the religion because of indoctrination and because of social pressures that devout faith. We're middle eastern, so it's a culture of shaming. I told him we can do the baptism and keep Holidays, but that if we're teaching the kids about one religion, that we're going to teach them about the others as well, and that I wouldn't hide my atheism. I also told him we absolutely would not put them in a Christian school unless they choose to go as adults (I'm currently in a Christian school because of pricing deals). My idea was more to teach them how to critically think rather than push a faith into them, and if also the one who'd be spending the bulk of time together because of work schedules. I have been very open about my unwillingness to brainwash our kids and that I was concerned about the relationship because of that. He said he just wanted to be with me and it's fine, but I'm just concerned about how that may change when the time actually comes.

You say you are concerned how it may change over time. Yeah there is the possibility of him becoming a serious dogmatic Christian. Sadly my mother seems to be on this trend. She will always be open to the pop culture of the 60s since it was a part of her childhood, extension of that like James Bond and whatever else her classmates/friends are into, say line dancing. But other than that she is becoming more serious and stricter. She grew up Catholic, then Baptists, then a "non denominational ", and now 7th Day Adventist. There has always been a serious side to her, something austere in her character. She has a few times apologized to me but not really sure what she apologized about, it was always vague. She never really was sorry about shoving her religion down my throat and she still does it. I think some religious people might seem tolerant when they don't have as much hold on the person but when they have some control and someone is dependent or just even just a bit dependent on them then their true color shows, and sadly this, the latter is my situation.

Perhaps your boyfriend is different if he isn't so serious. Do you think he ever entertains the idea that he could be wrong? That could be a good sign if he does. It might be a bad sign if he can't stand people who say goddamn (and I mean people, not just tv which my mother has no problem but she does with real life) or charges people of blaspheme and heresy. I myself don't like cussing and tend to avoid people who do it a little too much but even the devout Catholic, conservative writer William F Buckley Jr. has no problem saying goddamn.

Goodluck to you and your future family.

I was 8 yrs with a catholic. Early on we agreed to disregard our differences. But inevitably it came up from time to time. But no kids. And honestly i would not have agreed to have children with a woman who insisted on indoctrinating.

Hell, i would not agree to a religious wedding either.

My advice is to be direct and have an open and honest discussion with the guy. But first think about the parameters of your tolerance for intolerance.

I come from a Catholic family, but when I met my future wife I was already an atheist. Her family belongs to Seicho-no-ie, a Japanese religion that mixes Buddhism with some Christian and Shintoist elements. She was very devout at the time, and I decided to keep my atheism to myself. In view of the different religious backgrounds we opted for a civil ceremony instead of a religious wedding. The children would be raised in her religion. I agreed with that because, although devout, she was very open and liberal. I regarded the situation as better than if I had married a strict Catholic. Already married, we went through very difficult times, and sometimes we were not sure we could find a way out of our situation. She was always waiting for some divine guidance that never arrived. She also noticed that all the religious teachings were useless to handle the difficulties we experienced. One day she turned to me and said: "There is no God, is there?". I answered: "No, there isn't". Now we are a happy atheist family with three kids.
I believe that if I had showed my atheism before, or if I had tried to show her the nonsense of religion, she would not have reached her own conclusions. By avoiding conflict I succeeded in helping her out of her religious "bubble".
I don't mean this is the answer in all situations, or even in most ones. For us it worked wonderfully. For other people to stay silent and to pretend to be a theist may not be an option, especially if confronted with more radical forms of religion.

You can't agree to disagree with your boyfriend and then consider raising children.  That's a very self-centered position. No insult intended, just pointing out the fact that you are making a decision that will affect the persons your off-spring turn out to be and the psychological trauma they will have to go thru during their developing years.  Will you allow the Catholic Church to proscribe to you how you will raise you children?  I think the worst type of parenting is raising a child under the false position that a supernatural deity is real.  My Ex-Wife and I were both raised Catholic our children turned out 1 Catholic and 2 Free-thinkers.

We had spoken about what would happen if we have children, and of course he wants the Baptism and Holidays. I don't see that as hurtful, but what I told him is that if we teach our children one faith, then we're going to teach them about all faiths. This is where I plan to show them how to think critically, not necessarily to persuade them into atheism, but to allow them to understand what's out there and what things play into it. Also, he knows that I won't hide my atheism on his account, but that we will allow the kids to decide based on knowledge rather than indoctrination. I plan to teach them about the history of all the holidays and how they've changed over time, and so on. Luckily for me, he's not hardcore. He doesn't go to church outside of special occasions. We're middle eastern though, so for him it's more of trying to escape the image of shame within the family rather than devout faith. Yea I agree about being raised into a faith that uses a fear tactic on children, it's horrible. I grew up the same.

You marry a family and you could become a wedge between him and his. In my case she saw the light and wanted to minister in our living room. I went from a guy who was too busy to worry about nonsense to a defender of rationalism. Anyway, she was a good housekeeper. She kept the house.

Mona, my short reply.
I went to Catholic schools and don't trust practicing Catholics to value happiness in this world. The nuns' remedy for unhappiness was "Offer it up to Jesus."

My long reply is more nuanced: Catholicism teaches that death remedies all problems.

I was non practicing Christian when I married my wife, who was raised in the same religious tradition as me. There was never a discussion about faith or religion or how to raise children. I slowly shed my faith and this has caused serious problems in the home. I have learned through trial and error, how to approach the topics when they arise. I have learned that there is no way to reason with theism. My wife and I have found areas where we can agree. My children, however, have adopted theism and my wife naturally, sides with and promotes their approach. The two approaches to thinking are wholly incompatible. I wouldn't recommend a marriage with opposing views of this size.

My wife says, "Oh God, oh God, oh God!" a lot when we make love, does that count?


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