Maybe someone can help with this one? I've been an atheist for about a year now and the past 6 months or so is when I really started to begin my outreach to other nontheists (finding podcasts, keeping up with different sites, etc.). My boyfriend is agnostic, but recently he's been somewhat put off by my activity in the nontheist world. I thought we were on a similar page, so I'm just wondering why all of a sudden he's acting differently? I don't mean to do so, but he says I can be condescending when I talk about certain things (and reminds me that if/when I talk to theists about being a "none" that I don't have to dumb it down for them). I don't know if he personally is having doubts about being agnostic (his stepfather was a minister and his mother is religious so I suppose he'll change his mind sometimes, it happens), but when I said something about not having a "sky daddy," he didn't care for it. Normally he would have laughed :( Has anyone else had this sort of thing happen with a S/O, friend, or family member? Any thoughts, ideas, insights, advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Atheism is a life philosophy. If that's what you believe, go with it. It isn't critical to agree about everything; It can actually be beneficial if it leads to thoughtful discussions. My wife accepts my atheism but is a little condescending to me about it. She doesn't have a strong faith in a particular religion but that's OK by me. I'm interested in this for me. Atheists are not really known for proselytizing so I'd say that as long as it isn't causing a problem in your relationship, it's OK. If it is a problem, then talk to your boyfriend about it.
Thanks Mike, I appreciate your comment! Atheism truly is a life philosophy, I agree with you on that one. Besides the atheism issues, everything else is great for us! I will definitely talk with him some more on the issue.

Thanks again! :)
*warning - long answer*
I know a lot of people who are all gung-ho about nontheism untill the "A" word comes into the conversation. There has been so much negative stigma on the word in recent history that coming out and saying it can leave people thinking of the archetypal atheist, middle aged professors with slightly unkempt hair and an air arrogance about them.
People have been convinced that atheists are missing something, that life without superstition is life without hope or meaning. Which is very far from the truth. I think the most important thing for you to do is point out that he is probably thinking about a stereotype of the word atheist.
If he was raised by a minister than he has most likely been brought up with idea that openly refuting god is the same as killing baby jesus and cooking him on a spit, so while he is ok with saying he doesn't know about god, saying "there is no god" is probably going to make him squirm on principle.
I bet if he did start talking about a "god" he would refer to it as the driving force behind reality instead of some dude in the sky. I may just be projecting because that is what my husband trumps to.
Every few months we go around and around on the subject because he is "spiritual" at times and I'm pretty consistently rational .
When we go through this he does the same "atheists are boring and lack hope and imagination" and I gently remind him that the world is marvelous and far bigger and grander than any supersition he could read from a book. The universe is infinately more amazing, mysterious, magical, and wonderous than any puppetmaster someone could come up with. Any child can imagine an imaginary sky daddy, it takes true creativity to unravel the marvels of gravity and evolution.
There is nothing boring about cell theory or natural selection, it just takes a little thought to be exciting.
Sorry that was so long winded, I hope it helps in one way or another.
Thank you Brookelynne (you have a pretty name btw), I appreciate the insight. I have a feeling we'll have the same sort of go around and around scenario you and your husband have sometimes. I think my boyfriend would refer to "god" as a driving force behind reality as well. I'm sure we'll be able to find a happy medium between us.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
I know what you're talking about. I hate those fuckers. They are atheists, but don't have the balls to say it.
Some people see confidence as as sign of being arrogant or wrong, without actually checking out the arguments. He may think it's close minded to mock religion, for example. (See QualiaSoup's youtube video on open-mindedness for a rebuttal) You need to talk to him about it if it's bothering you, and figure out exactly what his deal is.

Has he seen the movie Religulous? How about Jesus Camp? Would he be willing to read the God Delusion? Or does the topic make him uncomfortable period, and why? It's okay if your s.o. does not agree with everything you do, but they should be able to understand what you do and why. Maybe because of his mom he is struggling over the matter. It is hard to deny your parents.

Maybe he's just scared you'll offend his mom with a joke and embarrass him, and reassuring him that you will be civil could help.
Thanks for responding Josiah! I do agree with you on the confidence factor, I think he's starting to think that me being extremely vocal about my convictions somehow means that I'm not going to need him anymore. Maybe he thinks that since we don't agree on things that I'll decide we shouldn't date anymore. Not true! We have so many other things in common that this one disagreement shouldn't rule everything.

We have both seen Religulous, we watched it with his brother (who is NOT a fan of religion). I think he may be struggling over the matter, as long as I've known him he's been agnostic, but I'm sure everyone (theist or not) has second thoughts sometimes. Even as religious as his mom is, she still has trouble sometimes with the fact that there have been so many Jesus-like figures with similar stories throughout history.

I'll definitely reassure him that I can be civil about things, I'm not going to intentionally say something mean spirited about religion in front of his mom. Just as I would hope she wouldn't say anything I would consider to be a shot at me and my "noneness". I don't think she knows I'm an atheist, but I think she has some idea that I'm not religious. Come to think of it, I don't even know if she knows that my boyfriend is agnostic...hmm. Thanks again for the comment, I'll definitely check out the youtube video you suggested!
Hi Pastafarian,
My own SO is a theist, but more as a default belief because of his upbringing than anything else I think. Anyway, he really doesn't like to discuss religion with me, and gets uncomfortable when I bring it up, so I don't make a big deal out of it with him.
I do get the feeling that he doesn't want to discuss it because he is intimidated by my having put a LOT of thought into the issue, and his own religious beliefs are something that he hasn't and doesn't examine deeply. Not everyone wants to examine their beliefs in depth for many reasons, and that's OK. It may be that your SO is the feeling same way, although his agnosticism probably required some thought; as the child of a minister it's probably not his default belief.

He may feel that you are challenging his beliefs by proxy when you are so gung ho about atheism.
Perhaps he feels like you think that anyone who doesn't share your beliefs is an idiot, because you are so 'into' this whole new belief system. I know what it's like to have found some new idea that you are totally into, and that you find it exciting, but he may not share your excitement, and may be happy with his own personal status quo.

My own MO would be to have a not-too-serious talk with him and express to him that you aren't trying to attack his beliefs. Then listen to him talk about why he believes what he believes. People love to hear themselves talk, and this will make him feel like you hear what he is saying. Then you can agree to disagree, and leave it alone for a while.

Hope this helps:)
Thanks for the advice Bio Ninja (awesome name btw!). I too have put a ton of thought (and time!) into the issue as well, but I never considered that maybe he hasn't examined his issues with religion as much as I have. His stepdad was a Unitarian minister, I'm not sure how long ago he passed away, but I would say at least 10 years ago (if not more) since I've known my boyfriend for 7 years and I never got to meet his stepdad. Maybe that feeds into things?

I think you're right about the excitement thing, he's supportive of me, but I can tell he doesn't share my excitement level. He still makes an effort to understand why I'm so excited about things and I appreciate that a lot!

Thanks again for your response!
Very true Vince, thanks for the insight. I know I'm still not comfortable enough to tell family or friends about my atheism. My boyfriend is one of three people who know. It's unfortunate that there is such a social stigma attached to us.

Also, my boyfriend's first experience talking with an atheist was not a positive one. This person had a very malicious, hateful, and just downright angry attitude toward religion and those who believe. I think maybe my boyfriend fears I'll start to be like that guy, but I don't plan on it! I'd rather promote a positive image of atheism seeing as we do have a large amount of people who already don't like us for various reasons.

Thanks again!
I agree John, I have this need to keep up with what's going on and he doesn't seem to need to do that. Probably cause I'll tell him if something major is going on anyway, I guess that makes me my own little 24 hour news channel lol. Well, here's to continuing to post our "obsessions" on here so our S/Os can stay sane! :) Thanks for the reply!
I'm going through the same thing atm with my husband. Thanks for posting and I'm I've enjoyed reading all the posts.


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