Hey, I need some insight on this from other nonbelievers. I recently started dating this guy here in California. Real great, amazingly sweet guy. Things went pretty fast for us. He believes in god, was raised California Baptist (way different from the Southern Baptists I'm used to). He sees God as really more of a cultural element and more of a force in the universe, more in the abstract. He doesn't agree with my views but he supports me and we have no problems whatsoever. What worries me is that his parents are VERY much Baptist. They seem to like me, they know I'm not Baptist, but that I was raised Catholic. They don't know I'm an atheist.
Now they're inviting me to family functions...before, during and after church. Should I just go and not partake in the church element or respectfully decline?

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That would be over in the Atheists Who Love Science group, I believe. But this could be a collision to produce the Higgs particle.
At some point your boyfriend will find himself having to chose between his feeling for you and this feelings for his family. This is a normal part of growing up, but I cannot predict which way he will jump or whether his direction will change over time. Be prepared for the consequences of either.
The question to ask yourself is also how fast and serious do you get involved in a relationship? what is the Point of this relationship? Do you want it to lead to marriage? or is this Just fun dating? If Marriage ask yourself would you being ok having to sit through grace at dinners when ever the inlaws are over? ( sorry to me this is fundy point not loosly religious thing)When your ready for kids will you feel ok about them learning about God and what god expects from them? UNless you make your stance on God firm and let him and his family know you do not believe nor is this something that he can change nor is this something you want your kids to beleive in, then you really dont know how serious you should be taking this. I know plenty of interfaith relationships that thought they were working great but 4 years of marriage was nothing compared to 1 year of trying to raise a child when your beliefs clash.
Faith or the lack there of is a very defining part of a person and tends to effect most everything else; however, it is surely not the only definition of you, the b/f, or his family.
I can only give my experience. My husband and I met when I lived in So. CA. His mother is Catholic and mine is Pentecostal. He was Agnostic when we met. 8 years later and we are both Atheists and our families are still religious, but we all get along fairly well.
I've never lied or even beat around the bush about it. My poor mother-in-law can not even say the word Atheist because the church has created such a poisoned image of us heathens. That said, we generally don't worry too much about it in regular interactions. If I disagree with something I say so, and respond when they have an argument against me, with respect for them, not necessarily their idea. I've also been very specific about what nonsense (not using that word) is not allowed to be foisted upon my child. It has really helped us all get along. They would not even consider asking me to go to mass or church at this point because I may invite them to some Freethinker meeting.
The reason I mention So. CA is because, as I'm sure you're aware, it is its own little world. My experience with the religious folks there has been that they are, in-fact, more of a distanced spiritual type of religious folks.
The two things I can see helping the most will be you feeling good about who you are, regardless of who the b/f, family, or anyone else in your life is, and his willingness to support you to his family. Everyone disagrees about some important issues, even in a two atheist household.
I'll end with Woody Allen "She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic, y'know. We didn't know which religion not to bring the children up in"
sees God as really more of a cultural element and more of a force in the universe

have you seen how many freethinking atheists are up in this!?
why bog down with myth? or social engineering for that matter?

from what I've noticed; the business minded pastors are picking up all the elder excathies that could not afford to fund the vatican's gold anymore; my relatives case in point; some of them.
never underestimate the baptists
they're all about lies; money; petroleum influence...
many bad things. Sorry Charlie.
Is your boyfriend a momma's boy? Why are they on your businesses so much?
You could tell them you're "too independent".
Well, give them a finger and they take a hand. What if you guys do miraculously work it out? Get married in the (distant) future? Have kids? She may be accepting of your views now, even her family may be.... but how accepting will they be later on when the big issues come up? We're just talking about coming to church, sitting through some boring crap, maybe meeting some people you may enjoy talking to... but what is the next step? I would be extremely honest about your views and definitely don't join them in the ceremony. It is best to start off strict and then later, once you know them better and they know you better, pour some water into that wine when you feel it is necessary.
I date a Christian woman and we get along wonderfully. Her parents however are impossible to get along with and it has nothing to do with our religious differences. They are just flat out insane. But hopefully they have some common sense about them and you all will hit it off wonderfully just as me and my GF has. I wouldnt fess up to being atheist right away unless they prod you for the answer. If they do, be truthful but if it comes up later in the relationship you can just say, "well you never asked". Its just as relevant as you not fessing up to not ever wearing Reeboks. How would you know that they would want to know. Let them fall in love with you to eliminate the thoughts that we are the devil, even though we dont believe in the devil. Good luck!
Atheism is more then a brand it is a way of life that excludes something that also defines their life for many so it is a big issue to be known early on. It's like worshipping sex to find out your partner practices celibacy.
Be honest. If he cannot accept you for what you are then he is not worth being with.
See, that's just the thing. The problem isn't with him. He doesn't have a problem (we've been dating 8 months now), it's his parents I'm more concerned about.
I wouldn't go to church with them. It might give them the idea that they are wearing you down. In their mind, they think that you haven't seen the light. Is he really that good looking? heh heh. It's very hard for me to relate, because i'd stay away from that kind of situation. I'd honestly be afraid of what would come out of my mouth if pushed by these nuts. Well, if i couldn't resist the girl, i wouldn't attend any religious activities. I'm probably not the one to give advice on this. I remember dating 2 girls who were religious, and i didn't click with the parents, AT ALL. I failed that test. Southern Baptists can turn on you. My mom remarried, and her husband has a son who married a baptist. This baptist lady is very rude to my mother and her husband, because she believes marriage should be for life.




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