Hi everyone, first post here for me so apologies about the depressing nature of it.

I joined Atheist Nexus recently with the intention of asking the community for some help with a relationship problem but tonight that issue unfortunately resolved itself. Long story short - met a wonderful American girl while teaching in Thailand a year and a half ago, fell very deeply in love and then found out she's a born again Christian. No problem, thought I could make it work. There were ups and downs but eventually we split as she couldn't handle the thought of her children being raised by someone who didn't believe the same thing she did.

We got back together in January but while I've been working in Taiwan there was a problem, namely reality versus creationism/ID. This time it was as much me as her - her refusal to accept reality saddened me too much and there's no way in hell I'll have anyone tell my kids that life appeared as-is on this planet. Tonight we ended it, once again on Skype which is a horrible, horrible way to do this if you're ever faced with it.

I think it was the right thing to do. I love her to pieces but there's just no way to reconcile such fundamentally opposed viewpoints. I asked her what it would take to alter anything about her faith i.e. accept evolution but still believe in God and she said it couldn't happen. Then, thinking she had trumped me, she asked what would make me change my mind and I reeled off a list of things which would make me reject evolution and other theories as well as consider belief in Gods. That's what put the nail in the coffin I realised. Her inability to change, the way it resembled brainwashing, was something I couldn't handle. It made me sad and angry in equal measure.

Anyone else been in this position before? Think I could have done anything different? I'll welcome any opinions.


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Yeah,you can't change someone like that,no use trying.
I'm trying to tell myself that but it doesn't ring true. There are plenty of accounts of people changing from a fundamentalist faith to a more moderate faith or none at all and I was only hoping for the former. I guess it comes down to whether either of us had it in us to face that struggle and our circumstances made that more or less impossible really.

Thanks though :)
That's the sad part - everything else was perfect, we were a match made in heaven (sorry). It's just that the one area where we differ is so fundamental and we come down so strongly on the opposite sides of the divide that it made it impossible. It's really the kid issue that dealt the killing blow - how can you raise children when each parent truly believes the other is telling them something totally and utterly wrong? There are other aspects too - how can she have a relationship with someone she believes is going to hell? How could I truly respect someone whose beliefs are so demonstrably false?

For the record I had no problem when I thought it was just a case of her believing in God. That I could handle. Believing that every word in the bible is true and the word of God? That's another story.

One is black, one is white, one is tall, one is wide, one screams like the heavens and one whispers beautiful verses that haunt your mind. Which is the best. Which one should we be?

Which one needs to be changed?

Shouldn't we take a step back and look at every person as a whole? Assess this woman in every way. If she believes you are going to hell, how is that bad? She obviously cares whether you do or not and to her it's a problem. What if she wanted you to go to the hell she believed in? That would be worse and uncompatible. I don't belive we should fight this war behind closed doors. Bring your weapons out into the world. Now... If she were to tell you she was embarrassed because of that, then I would say this was all a legitimate problem. If she let you believe as you will and fight and say as you will as well as accepting that you will also do the same for her then what is the problem. Just explain that you believe in love and that is seemingly intangible in itself so your not totally bereft of spirit.

I believe in love, although I don't believe that love is intangible and I don't believe in any kind of spirit. That doesn't mean I find the world any less beautiful though - for me science provides almost more wonder than I can bear. Is her believing I'm going to hell a bad thing? Yes, because it means she believes I am, at the final judgement a bad person, unworthy, and she's already prepared to live the rest of eternity without me, compared to which our actual time together is non-existent. And in any case it's not down to me letting go because of her beliefs - it's even more to do with her being unable to deal with my lack thereof. As I've said, I could handle a less fundamentalist faith in a partner but she said she can't see a future with anyone who doesn't believe as she does.

Religion limits our lives, closes doors, seals off our options. A sad fact but undeniably true.

I didn't expect this response. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the situation. (I can be insensitive at times, not intentionally)

It seems like you saw two words... intangible and spirit... and jumped on them. Do you realize you did that? I think you missed the word 'seemingly' which was meant to infer an actual chemical and scientific explanation that isn't really worth researching for our purpose and 'spirit' was used loosely. I don't believe that words like spirit, love or believe for that matter need to be struck from the english language because of how they are thrown around. They all still mean something that is 'seemingly' intangible.

I think I understand more of what is wrong though. It seems that you may be willing to work through any problems but it was her who couldn't budge on the issue. That is too bad. I hope you find another love that heals this 'feeling of senseless pain and loss' (broken heart)

Aah, I get what you meant now. No worries pal, I didn't think you were being insensitive at all. You nailed it with the last paragraph there.

So familiar. I broke up with a church-going christian last year. The guy I liked in virtually all other aspects.

And also, I thought if only he had been just a moderate believer, the one of the 'maybe theres a god up there' type, Id be fine with that. But that was not the case. There was no way for us to continue our relationships.

I think this is great that you are having these arguments now, much worse when people only starting to realize their fundamental differences after they've had kids.

There is much more to being a firm believer in a christian god. It's the voluntary denial of reason, it's being unable to think outside the box.

What could you have done differently? Perhaps you could have stayed with her hoping shed change one day. But that may or may not happen as shed also be waiting for you to 'step on the right path'.

This is life. Sh*t happens ((

this sucks but it accentuates the importance of associating with like minded people, with whom we can blend our minds.

i'm currently dating an atheist and we have so much in common, we share so many of the same concerns and values, and intellectually it's a very stimulating relationship. it may be difficult for you now but on perspective, you'll be glad you broke up as time goes by.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.  It is a real downer when one has to break a relationship, their choice or not.  Luckily there were no children involved.  And, you never know who you will meet down the road.  Don't waste too much time worrying about what could have been.  Use your time to live instead of just getting by.  You only have this one shoot at it.

"Don't waste too much time worrying about what could have been. Use your time to live instead of just getting by. You only have this one shoot at it."

Thanks man, good advice. One of my very good Thai friends always had just three words he'd offer in hard times - "Always look forward". Made an effort to get my ass out today and take some photos, that took my mind off things. Ended up being adopted by a group of Taiwanese photographers who didn't speak a word of English, was kinda fun :-) Onwards and upwards...

Paul, please accept this as intended, an educated opinion. People sometimes do become different from what they were. I'm one example. I was a devout Christian for about 30 years...I have been an equally "devout" atheist for over 20. I did NOT change my mind. I do not believe for a second that anyone EVER "changes their mind" about such a thing, and most certainly not the mind of another. Rather, our brains undergo a change...and inform us of it afterward. Then we realize we are different and think, "Oh, I changed my mind." Can't happen. I just read a note from an atheist acquaintance of several years who is now seeking a divorce lawyer. His wife is a nonbeliever, but one of the "don't rock the boat" variety, while he is an atheist/humanist activist. There is wisdom in the biblical addage, "Be ye not unequally yoked." I am quite convinced that "believe what you want" is absolutely impossible for any human.

As long as the atheist, freethought, humanist, view is important to you, there is no way you will ever have a completely satisfying relationship with someone who is a strong believer in any kind of gods, ghosts or religions. Goz is correct...you cannot change anyone else...you can not purposely change your OWN mind.




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