Jan 7, 2009

Christ and dating

I was reading a post on Starting Over at 24 entitled He Said/She Said Vol 2: Dating an Atheist. In it he chronicles his views about dating Christians while he himself is without faith. On the flip side I read a response to his musings by the author of Harmful if Swallowed called Companion Posting: Atheism vs. Christianity in the Dating World. An interesting take by a believer about romantic involvement with those who don't share her religious views.

Both I would recommend reading whether you find yourself in the dating world, a believer or non, or none of the above. Still I would like to broadcast another view on the topic of finding romance and that is from someone who's completely on the fence regarding his spiritual life. As a warning this post will be long and personal (i.e. boring) so if you have little interest in the ramblings of a mildly narcissistic jackass I highly recommend resuming your normal celebrity gossip reads.

To give a brief history of my upbringing my parents consider themselves devout Roman Catholics and I was raised going to church every Sunday. I even went to the parish's school for a number of years. I was baptized in the faith as an infant and was confirmed in high school.

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." - Revelation 3:16

Now I never was what one would call a good Christian, nor citizen for that matter. I was always a rebellious child for reasons I can't really explain. That being said every time I went to church I would feel somewhat in the presence of what I felt the divine. Maybe such feelings were force by myself, cause in my naivety I couldn't accept that all in attendance were fools. Still I wanted to believe in something bigger than myself. In my one hour of attending mass each week the universe and human behavior had purpose, meaning, and this bizarre and often times twisted planet suddenly made sense.

My faith waned at best. I would disregard the teachings of my priests to fulfill my desires for drunken and carnal activity. I would make all sorts of excuses for my primal behavior, most of which were admittedly lame.

Finally as a teenager I decided that since I was confirmed in the Catholic church I might as well do what most devout Christians and atheists have never done. I was going to read the Bible cover to cover. It was a far more daunting task than I realized. Most of the Old Testament was simply a lineage story and a list of laws given by God. The New Testament was far more interesting, but the language was beyond my simple comprehension skills. It took me months to get through it.

My goal was to have a better understanding of the faith of my fathers and I guess I was hoping said reading would bring me closer to what I considered God. The opposite was true. I felt more disconnected, confused, and I struggled with accepting the whole concept. I continued my quest in committing each of the seven deadly sins and while my personal walk with the Lord was shaky I never fully let go of it.

My high school sweetheart considered herself an atheist. Her family never attended church and she had no interest in religion. She was a sweet girl though and never condescended my family's conservative nature even though she may have secretly disapproved of it all. We actually discussed marriage often. The issue of children and how to raise them became a wedge between us. Even though I was a less than stellar Christian she did not want to see her offspring associated with what she probably felt were idiot simpletons. I can understand that and looking back I doubt she had much respect for my intelligence. I mean here I was attending church with my family to only go out and engage in activities that would've probably got me excommunicated had the Pope been made aware. What person would look at me and not think I was a complete fool?

In my late teens I started dating a girl, we'll call her Jodi, who was a devout Christian and daughter of a preacher. I was intrigued by her conviction and quite honestly it made her that much more attractive. I couldn't help but notice her frustration at my lack of faith. That and the fact that I was a terrible boyfriend made it easy for her to walk away from me and I can't say I blame her. Jodi, for all her faults, was incredibly good to me and I feel deserved better. I pictured her with someone who actually could have the courage and conviction to actually live the life of a believer and not just talk a good game. I simply wasn't that strong.

Not long after I met a girl, we'll call her Angela. Having never been to church nor with any education in religion she proudly proclaimed to me her complete lack of interest in anything religious. Still I was drawn to her for reasons sometimes I can't explain. We were together for years and she was what most would call a great girlfriend. Angela was very sweet and loving and I don't regret a single day with her.

Looking back; however, I can see where Angela was frustrated that I had any interest in attending church. Although I didn't go often when I mentioned it to her she would suddenly get silent. She had no issues with me attending a strip club and having a naked woman give me a lap dance, but whenever I brought up mass I could easily sense her disapproval. The relationship fizzled not solely because of religion, but it did play it's part.

Next up we have my next girlfriend who we'll call Carrie. She is part of the devout. When we met I explained to her my crisis of faith, but she still continued to date me, a fact she probably regrets. Still as we grew closer I became attracted to the idea of becoming a part of the book of life. I attended church with her, prayed with her, and professed my interests in being part of her spiritual as well as physical life. I started reading the good book again and was enjoying it.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1

Then my walk with Christ took a turn for the worst. Carrie had asked me one thing regarding my life with God and that was to love him more than I loved her. An interesting request, but I understood it. I started doing more research on the teachings of the savior buying books and watching documentaries. However, in searching for evidence of the lord I found myself doubting that Jesus even existed as an historical figure much less a religious one. My faith became tattered.

When I confronted her with this revelation Carrie did not take it well and promptly ended the relationship for a spell. We started dating again soon after, but she then realized there was a laundry list of things she hated about me and walked out of my life forever.

Now that I'm back on the dating scene the subject of faith comes up with each new girl I meet. When someone professes to be an athesist I honestly laugh to myself. At the risk of sounding extremley condescending I believe 95% of self proclaimed athesists that I've met aren't smart enough to call themselves that. Most people I know who condmen religion have little understanding of the Bible, Koran, ancient paganism, or even posses an elementary understading of evolution. If any of them spoke with any amount of honesty they would admit they haven't even done the simple act of reading any text from any of the world's faiths, nor have they even skimmed through "Orgin of the Species".

Sadly their athesim can be best described as how they went to church as a child and didn't like it and suddenly the whole concept of a higher power is absurd. I guess I give them props for having confidence in their evaluations regarding complex issues as a nine year old. I mean we can't ask them to read books. That would require taking time from watching television or blogging.

Then there's the ones who profess themselves to be Christian, but never go to church, or worse attend mass and not tithe. I don't understand going to someplace, enjoying their services, and not give anything back to them for it. None of them have read the Bible. Sure there's been a couple of girls who claimed they have, but after some quizzing it was made clear they never got past Genesis.

Oh and don't get me started on the 'I'm spiritual, but not religious' group. None of them can seem to give a simple explanation of what that even means. I guess they want some sort of faith, but don't want to give it any effort. Or they may just be intrigued by mysticism and what not and don't want to sound like a cynic.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" - 2 Corinthians 6:14

The above quote is great advice for anyone believer or not; however it leaves me with a lump in my throat. Given my lack of conviction I feel alienated from those who consider themselves athesists or Christian. At my age where a lot of females seem interested in the whole settling down and having children it can be a red flag to most.

"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." - Matthew 12:31

"But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." - Mark 3:29

All manners of Christians will tell you that Jesus will forgive you for any sin whether it be swearing at your computer for it's lack of performance, throwing vats of urine at clergy, genocide, or even listening to Yani. This is a lie and feel free to tell them this.

You can deny the God and his son and still be saved, but if you deny the third part in the trinity, the Holy Spirit, you're doomed. No amount of Christ's sacrifice on the cross will save you. If you take the Blasphemy Challenge your chance at heaven is nill and you will fall into the lake of fire.

Even though I struggle with the concept of Christianity I simply lack the moral courage to even consider commiting this sin. Given that I can't expect any female to respect my views on faith.

While I can't say that religion is the sole reason for all my failed attempts at love it has played a part. I don't hold my Catholic upbringing against my parents as they want me to go to heaven and all. They're good people and believe they're doing the right thing. I have no one else but myself to blame for my lack of conviction and if I do happen to find 'the one' I best make a more concerted effort to choose one side of the fence or risk going to sleep cold and alone forever.

I may need prayer, more education, or both to come to grips with how I feel about Christianity alone never mind all the thousands of other faiths and fairy tales. Sometimes though I feel ignorance may be bliss. I wish I could unlearn a lot of things.

"Dating is sorta like pissing on a forest fire. It is slow, dangerous work but at its core serves the purpose of extinguishing flame and… the more you drink the more effective the process ;0)" - Anonymous


Anonymous said...

When the right woman comes along, she'll love you regardless of your views and how they differ or equate to her own. And you'll love her the same.

Miss A said...

Very thought provoking...I fall somewhere between Christian and Spiritualist (you are right...I loathe cynicism), and I am no where near being an Atheist.

You have given me some food for thought, and maybe a kick in the ass to do a little more research so I can finally pick which side of the fence I belong on.

The right woman is out there...just have a little faith ;-)

Mattbear said...

First let me get the unpleasant comment out of the way: I'm slightly offended by your comment about most athiests not being "intelligent enough" to call themselves that. I knew I was an athiest before I even got through reading Genesis. I was 8. No Christian can explain to me why they believe in god in any more intelligent terms than I can explain why I don't. Most have no idea what the phrase "The Problem of Evil" means, let alone thought about it. It comes down to what you believe, and that has little to do with intelligence.

OK...onward. Most people let religion play far too important a role in who they date/marry/whathaveyou. Part of being together is being a unit and having things in common, and part of being together is being different enough and individual enough to still be yourselves.

My wife is a Christian who prays every night before going to sleep and knows more about the Bible than some clergy that I have met. I'm an ardent athiest with a healthy contempt for all things religious. But we've been together over half our lives now, and have a stronger relationship than most any other couple I know.

My policy on raising our son is: if she wants to teach him about her religion, or take him to church, that's fine. When he gets savvy enough to ask me what I believe (or why I don't go to church), I'm going to tell him. Ultimately, he is going to be the one to decide what he believes anyway; my opinion is that parents who try to force their children into their religion are delusional - athiests included.

So, for what little it's worth, I would say that any woman who makes religion an issue in your relationship isn't worth trying to stay with anyway. Of course, on the other hand, you can't either, or it becomes an issue.

Scott said...

Really interesting post. I can honestly say that Religion has never come up in any relationship that I have been in. I am agnostic, I don't know what is going on 'up there' but I am up for believing that there is some kind of higher party though I am not a fan of any 'book.' I just don't think that anybody's faith can be summarized so simply.

Miss Ash said...

I really dislike when people pick and choose which parts of their religion they want to use (IE is convenient for them) and then ignore the rest of their faith.

Kelli said...

I am not an atheist or a Christian ... I'm one of those people who describes themselves as "spiritual" ... yep, the one's you dislike. I do not go to church, but believe in God and have studied religion enough (I've read the entire Bible too) to hold an intelligent conversation about it. Since I don't follow the path 100% (I don't break any big commandments-- that was meant to be a joke), I'm not going to be a hypocrite and call myself a Christian.

That being said, I agree with Mattbear ... I almost made the mistake of not marrying my husband because of his religious beliefs (or lack thereof). But, I thought better of it. It's ridiculous to withhold your love because of opposing opinions--- how Christian would that be? Judge not lest they be judged, right?

To reiterate the message of the evening ... when you find the right girl, it won't matter.

WV: envymon--- one of the Jamaican 7 deadly sins ... he he he

JLee said...

This is definitely a can o' worms post (especially for me) I know the Bible inside and out, yet don't go to church. I had huge conflicts with my daughter's dad over religion and it was partly responsible for our breakup. I like that scripture in Revelation about being lukewarm, but I find myself one of those "spiritual but not religious" people because it's just so hard to do everything 100% right and I'm happier to not try and be perfect. I think most
atheists are really agnostic.

wv: slyphs

Pablo G said...

So you're too much of a nice guy for "Sarah" but not religiously devoted enough for "Carrie"... This makes the Perfect Theorem of why men can't understand women.