When I entered into my last relationship, my girlfriend was agnostic, and before her, I was ambivalent toward the religion of the people I dated. We had been together a few years, and in the end, things didn't work out. Just recently, I've decided to get back into the dating scene (ugh), and I realize that my Atheism is a bit of a liability in that respect. I know most people, when questioned about what they notice first in the opposite (or same where applicable) sex, folks usually say eyes or something. I however, go straight for the neck, searching for any signs of a cross, and to be quite honest, I'm sick of acting like a damn vampire, throat ogling, and fleeing in terror from the crucifix.
Thing is, I wouldn't be opposed to dating someone of faith, depending on how hung up they are on the subject. I also suppose I'm lucky to live in Massachusetts, where the whole ordeal is easier than in Kansas, or for that matter, Israel or Iran.

So my question is, how do/have you folks deal/dealt with it? Is the person you're dating/married to of faith? If so, are there compromises? I know there's been some mention in other threads about how children are raised in these circumstances.

I'm curious to hear everyone's take on the subject.

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well, to start with, my experiences are few and far between. I don't think i could do it (date a religious girl). I just don't see how the subject could be avoided. I would want to rid her of the nonsense, and i don't think i'd have much patience if she threw religion in my face. For me, i know it would lead to disappointment. I know how the girls are around here. Even though i see some nice ones, i keep my distance. One option is to become friends and then try to deconvert them, make them see the light. If i could do that, well, you never know.
That's kind of how I feel. I know that while I can compromise and overlook a certain amount of things, there would be some things I'd at least have to call into question, which could lead to problems.

Maybe I should just stick to the nonreligious, but when I find myself talking to a woman, and everything seems to be going in the right direction, I have that voice in the back of my mind that's saying, "You think she sent PZ a death threat? Talking snake; really?"
chip to be honest, i have never seriously dated a theist. i have gotten a lot of flack for it but i don't know how i could do it. i think it would bring up too many moral inconsistencies for me to have the person that i am intimate with thinking that i am ultimately hellbound.
i try to date atheists and make exceptions for pantheists, agnostics, and the likes.
The only girlfriend I've had in recent history wasn't sure of her religion herself, but I'd have to describe her a vaguely new-agey and paganish, with no really well defined beliefs. We didn't last, but religion had nothing to do with that.

For the most part, I think my atheism is seen as curiosity more than anything. I'm not overly vocal in everyday life, most people who know have just found out kinda coincidentally, and it surprises most people when they find out. Overall, I don't think it's a major detractor in the type of girl that I'm interested in dating. The other things I look for in a potential SO tend to be found in more open-minded people as a rule.
First of all, I don't believe in dating. You simply get too hung on miniscule factors which I personally don't find important. As you said, you actually want to know a person deeper, but I don't think personally dating is the way to go. It seems rather forced to me. I more believe in meeting a person randomly works out better. Well, that's how it pretty much works out in Sweden. You meet a person you thought was nice, you talk to each other and eventually you might realize you are in love. Not this "I am actively looking for someone or something".

Anyway, religion is a huge factor and I would have serious troubles being together with someone who is a Christian or Muslim. I don't think I could possibly fall in love in the first place. For some reason I tend to be drawn towards agnostics as far as I can tell, agnostics to be point being skeptics I should add.
If your goal is to be married or in a long term relationship, you have to be as honest and open as possible with the people you are dating but you also have to do the work of deciding if you can live with someone who does not share your belief structure.

If you can't live with someone who is faithed, it is best to vet them on the first date and rule them out right away. Just ask or offer up your belief. You can wear a FSM pin or something similar. You can look for women in atheist circles.

It is rare though that people cross beliefs and still workout. It is a constant struggle.
Good thread. I've been trying to write a post on this topic and keep getting stuck.

I was married for several years to a woman who was agnostic on good days and mildly Christian on bad ones. It was a frequent source of problems, but mostly because her parents were Christian enough that I was expected to hide my atheism around them. The marriage failed for many reasons, but that certainly did not help matters. Fortunately, no kids were involved.

I'd have to say that atheism is definitely a liability when it comes to dating. Of course, my views on the subject are colored by the fact that I've been living in Mississippi for the past several years. I know it is less of a big deal in other regions.
My wife was like that, but it eventually became a non-issue. She'd say that she worried about me, because I didn't believe in something larger than myself. My reply was, "Of course I do. I believe in people." Her mom were a bit harder to convince, but honestly she had trouble connecting with reality in all sorts of ways. I think at this point in her life she's agnostic, if not atheist.

Conversations with my wife's pastor (UCC) could be entertaining, but I think he accepted that I have a strong moral foundation without any religious decoration attached.
I've yet to have an issue with dating theist, but I don't know if that's because I'm atheist. Frankly, I think its because I know what I'm looking in a long term relationship and the women I meet... are not who I'm looking for.

I've recently realized that the girl I'm looking for probably won't be a theist. But that's because that person's characteristics probably don't align with the life of organized religion. Really now, how many girls do you know like complex conversations, computers/technology, and shear random, chaotic behavior, yet still follow some holy scripture? Even if that person had a holier than though mindset, I doubt I let her go. The subject of religion would just lead to interesting conversations in our home-made forts between bouts of foam sword fighting.

Where are you wild, random, sophisticated, laptop-toting cutey?!!! I'm right here! Find me!!!!! I'm the one who will help you fill our tiny apartment with fist-sized play pen balls!!!! I'm the one!!!!




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