Atheist daughter and Christian boyfriend?

Leigha - posted on 09/17/2011 ( 63 moms have responded )

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First of all, I am not looking for anyone to save my daughters soul thankyouverymuch! What I am wondering is how to help her navigate this issue. We are atheists (which isn't going to change no matter how hard people pray for us. This is a decision we came to with MUCH thought and consideration and not just because we are too lazy to care or go to church. We have all spent plenty of time in many churches and are not ignorant of the "word of god".) but my daughter has fallen in "love" with a wonderful young man who takes his faith very seriously but also loves her rediculously much. They get along perfectly and have no issues but this one, which isn't even an issue.....yet. My daughter would never try and turn him away from his faith but part of me is worried that he will try to convert her, fail, and dump her like she is some sort of failed project. I understand the whole "unequally yolked" thing that Christian believe and I see that he loves her so much that he worries about her "going to hell" and is trying to get her to go to church because he cares about her. I know this will probably lead to their undoing but how do I, as a mom, help my daughter reconcile this situation? Is it possible that they can agree to disagree?
I know they are young and chances are they won't last anyway, simply because they ARE young but I imagine this is an issue she will face in her future as well.

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Ashley - posted on 09/19/2011

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I don't advise interfaith relationships/marriages at all if one or both partners are practicing their religion. If neither partner cares much about the religion, it might work out fine. Athiests and religious people are especially condescending of each other. They may be in love now, but that feeling will wear off and there won't be much left in common after the initial infatuation subsides. As a mom, just stay off her case for now unless you see the relationship turning serious - like marriage or pregnancy. I believe most kids are raised to be balanced individuals when the relationships of their parents is good, no matter what their culture or religion is.

Sara - posted on 09/17/2011

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To be honest, if his faith is that important to him I don't see how it will work long term. It's just one of those ideological things that you have to see somewhat eye to eye with your SO on, IMO. I mean, it may not seem like a big deal now, but when you think about how they would be married (in a church? in a civil ceremony?) or how they'd raise their children, it will become an issue. I think as a mother, you just need to be there for her, but let her navigate this on her own. Be a kind ear and a shoulder to cry on, I think that's about all you can do. :)

Brittany - posted on 09/19/2011

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Marina,

I usually do not engage with internet trolls but,

"Oh yes, I remember....this is the boy that is not allowed to come home from college per his parents, the ones that you want to go behind their backs and have over your house without their knowledge or consent...right? Is he allowed to visit with his parents approval?"

This sounds like a personal attack to me. I think Leigha is worried that her daughter may feel that she will be forced to be part of something she does not believe in OR that they boyfriend will be forced (or feel like it anyway) to give up his Faith to be with her.

She wants both of the kids to be happy. Him not telling his parents was HIS choice not Leigha's. It is not her responsibility to inform his parents of his social life. Maybe he choose to not tell his Mom because, he was trying to find the right words or time to do so. Perhaps his family was having some issues and he thought that maybe that would be too much on his God loving Mom to handle.

The point is the kids are happy, both moms know and no once gives a rat's tutu.

Rosie - posted on 09/17/2011

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it's very possible :) i was a christian when i married my atheist husband. we had one MAJOR talk about religion, and his views and mine. that was it. i respected him and his values enough to know that he thought what he thought, and it isn't in me to try to convert people, so i let be what was.
they just have to find the perfect balance of how to respect each others wishes. if he NEEDS to have his children go to church and baptised and all that, well then, she needs to leave, like NOW. if he was like me and didn't believe that church or bapitsm was necessary for a relationship with god, then i think it can work wonderfully.

i am now an atheist. no my husband didn't "convert" me, i just learned more stuff and realized i couldn't believe in all the inconsistancies anymore.

Sally - posted on 09/07/2013

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Leave them alone. This will be an excellent lesson in interpersonal communication and relationships for both of them. If he dumps her over this, he's not the right one for her. Likewise, if she dumps him. Some interfaith couples find ways to compromise and do very well, others don't. The only way to see if they will "work it out" is to leave them alone to figure it out.
Also, just because you are a devout atheist doesn't necessarily make that the right faith walk for your child. She might end up any (or no faith) with or without an agreeing boyfriend and you getting fussy about every relationship only makes it more likely for teenage rebellion to convince her to do something stupid with one (or more) of them. It can't hurt to tell her your concerns politely, but then let them figure it out. It can be hard to see kids learn from experience, but he's her boyfriend, not yours.

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Mother - posted on 11/14/2013

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How old is your daughter?? This shouldn't be an issue MOM should be getting involved with. If there isn't a problem....don't go looking for one. I know lots of different denominations that make their marriages work because they respect and love each other. People need to learn not to judge....

Karen - posted on 09/16/2013

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I am a Catholic married to an atheist, raising our daughter Catholic and sending her to Catholic school. The only requirement was that I, as the Catholic, promise to be responsible for raising any children Catholic. As a wise Priest once told us, you can't make anyone believe anything that they don't choose to believe. However, much of religion really comes down to values, right from wrong, and that Church is one of the few places where it is OK to teach doing the right thing which may or may not be what society values at this point in time. He asked DH what harm would it cause him were he to sit in Church (not participating, just sitting) as an example of respecting each other's values. In fact, a lot of the congregation may not believe everything or anything of the doctrine and dogma) but are there because they wish to pass the core values on to their children - doing the right thing, treating others as you wish to be treated, helping those less fortunate - and there are, sadly, not many places where it is OK to discuss those things. I am free to ask DH to go with them (and he does, on occasion) but I cannot compel him to do so, he did not make the promise, I did. The real thing to consider in this situation is what are the core values and are they shared, not what each labels themselves. Labels don't matter, actions do, and actions are what a relationship is really what is built upon. If they are old enough to consider a serious relationship then they are old enough to respect each other and look behind the labels to whether they have the same values. A true Christian will respect the other person and not try to change them (it also won't work, anyway). However, just because he asks her to go to church with him means nothing other than he wants to share a part of his life with her. She doesn't have to go, but asking does not mean anything other than asking. Badgering, however, is another story. You, as the parent, need to trust that you've explained your position as regards to the label that you place on yourself. However, you also need to respect both her and him and whatever they choose to (or don't choose to) label themselves. You have given her the knowledge and tools to navigate the world and she now gets to use those tools. And, no matter what she and he and they decide is their business. If she chooses to practice a religion that is her decision and deserves the same respect that you ask for your life choices.

Minna - posted on 09/14/2013

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Many "atheists" think more about God than some Christians do.I'm a Christian who has no idea who I'll meet up with in heaven. If there doesn't seem to be a problem-why project.People go to church for many reasons, spiritual and otherwise. If she hates it she shouldn't go. She may not., Hell,some of my best friends and favorite family members are "heathens'

Melissa - posted on 09/12/2013

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Your daughter's faith, or beliefs are hers and she will make decisions about it, the bigger question is why is it so important to you that she continue with your beliefs, she may or may not change her mind at some point. Remember people grow and change throughout their lives. Be there for her, support, love and respect her choices. You may want to remind her though that most relationships that continue into marriage will most likely eventually bring children into the mix, different beliefs make child rearing even more challenging.

Deborah Ridgely - posted on 09/11/2013

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My question is, why would a young man who is serious about his faith want to date an atheist? If he is really a strong believer, he wouldn't consider someone outside the faith. There are two different kinds of faith - one is true saving faith in which God's word is obeyed in love, and the other is "cheap grace" which gives some a false idea that they are a Christian. I don't mean to be harsh, but the bible does point to that there is a difference. I have more concern for the boyfriend and his parents who may feel he is being rebellious or manipulated by your daughter into leaving his faith. For their sake try to make sure that is not what is happening, because if they marry they would be in-laws. You may want to tell your daughter that she won't want that problem hanging over her head if they do tie the knot. Good relations with in laws are important!
As a parent, you do need to let them sort ot out because their beliefs are growing and changing. They obviously both think the other has some qualities they need in their own lives. I cannot say if it will work out or not, but perhaps it will just be a learning experience for both of them. Painful learning experiences always are remembered the most. Or it could blossom into something very beautiful! But it is up to them.

Leigha - posted on 09/25/2011

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Corey, I have already said that I would be totally fine with her if she were to convert. I don't care if she is an Atheist or a Muslim or a Wiccan or whatever... She is a smart girl that can certainly decide for herself. That isn't the problem. I am not butting into her choice of religion, I am being a mom who doesn't want to see Steele (or her bf) get hurt because they come to realize that there is a fundamental difference that may not be overcome (I suspect neither are going to change their beliefs). My hope is that they can see past there differences and accept each other anyway but I just worry they won't. That's all. As a mother it is my job to help support, encourage and advise my kids when they face difficult issues. I don't consider that butting in. I consider that parenting. I agree that religion can help people. Sometimes I wish I believed... It would make some things easier :/

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 09/25/2011

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Well I'm Catholic and had an Atheist boyfriend. I ended up marrying him and we have a daughter together. I'm not worried for his soul or trying to save him. People have free will.



Don't be so negative about the relationship and instead think of the positive aspects. Your daughter will get to learn about someone else's beliefs and her boyfriend will get to do the same.

Laura - posted on 09/22/2011

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I am the opposite,Leigha lol I am the Christian and my boyfriend was more...agnostic than athiest.
I let him know after a few months of dating that we would be able to date casually, but I wouldn't feel right about becoming more committed since we aren't on the same page, religion wise. Being a Christian is a huge part of my daily life, and it's really hard to be in a serious relationship with someone who doesn't feel the same way.
My ex-husband is catholic, but did not practice or follow a Christian lifestyle. It caused a lot of resentment on both of our parts.
I know now that it's really important to me to have a spouse to attend church with, to pray with, and to be an example for my children.
You're right, the boyfriend pushing your daughter to come to church when she doesn't want to will probably be their undoing! I'm not sure there's a hard and fast way to help her reconcile the situation, just be there to catch her when she falls like you always do :)

America3437 - posted on 09/20/2011

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They were placed togeather for a reason and they can both benefit from the other so hope for peace in yourself to accept the relationship.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/20/2011

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Leigh, I would prefer you not sending me further PMs calling me names. Thank you. Keep it on the thread. If you cannot say it in here because of THUMPS policy, please refrain from thinking you can send me e mails with it. I am not that invested.

Leigha - posted on 09/20/2011

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Thanks for all of your input everyone, you have given me much to think about! I appreciate your support and encouragement. It's nice to know there is a place to come where other intelligent mothers offer valuable insight and truly have a desire to be helpful. :)

April - posted on 09/20/2011

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i dated several religious men and it never worked out for me. i was attracted to them for their kind hearts and for how happy they always were. unfortunately, sooner or later, the fear of Hell would catch up with them. it's a bit nerve wracking to be with a guy that's constantly being afraid for you. while it is a nice gesture, it always made me uncomfortable. it was like he/they weren't truly happy to be with me because of who i was. my first boyfriend worried so much that he gave me his precious pocket bible and told me i needed it more than him. that was the end for me, i couldn't be with someone who was sick over my non-religious views. see, your daughter and boyfriend can be happy together with the outside stuff...going to ball games and to the movies, and kissing. all of that stuff doesn't require Jesus. it doesn't sound like they've reached that point in their relationship where they've been faced with something that does include Jesus for the boyfriend.

Leigha - posted on 09/20/2011

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Thanks Ashley. I know, I tend to live just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have a bad habit of borrowing trouble :/ I guess it's just trying to help my kids navigate around trouble before it happens but I realize that part of growing is learning through adversity and I don't want to take those lessons away. I'm working on that. I do think I see it as a bigger problem than they do, at the moment. I sound a lot more involved in the relationship than I actually am. I just vent my fears here because I feel safe to do so. I try to keep a reasonable head about things and I usually do...on the outside! haha.

[deleted account]

First of all have a little faith in there realationship.Stay positive on less you have cause to be any other way lol.

There will be no problem if they don't mind the fact there both different in that area.
If the do mind it won't last your right on that.If the don't mind but others do.
Either they will grow stronger or break up due to outside interference.

Leigha - posted on 09/20/2011

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Marina, I will gladly work on thickening my skin while you work on your tact. :)

[deleted account]

Speaking as someone who is a hard-atheist and married an orthodox Christian, it's not so much the beliefs between them that may cause the issue. It's future children that could really be the problem.

But if he is making a concerted effort to convert her now, then yes that' a problem but only if she thinks it's a problem. She may be having a crisis of faith as it were and may want to join his faith. I would be scared poopless if that happened to my son simply because the newly converted are often the most fanatical and have a tendency to drop their atheist parents.

What she needs to do is really examine her own beliefs and her own values and make sure they are what she really does believe and that they mean more to her than a boy.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/20/2011

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First of all Leigha, you can talk directly to me :) Secondly, I usually DO indeed read all posts. Once again, major computer issues. Thirdly, it was a genuinly curious coment. I wanted to know how that was all resolved. It was a big issue, and I was asking if this was the same guy. Take it however you want, but I suggest perhaps getting thicker skin. You can look at it from any angle you wish, but since I did clarify another earlier post, and you have not responded to that, it shows you really don't care about clarifications.

Leigha - posted on 09/20/2011

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I took it as a personal attack because her "statement" sounded like a judgement to me. She intentionally used something from another post, placed it here (out of context) for the purpose of making a point, I would assume, but only managed to make me look like a sneaky, poor example of a mother....Or so it seemed. Can you understand that? Seriously. It was totally unnecessary, unhelpful, unkind and not supportive at all. I am always open to other opinions and have never had an issue with any other responses. I also think that if you are going to offer your opinion it might be a good idea to read ALL the posts in order to fully understand the nuances of the issue that might not have been clear in the original post. Otherwise it just comes across as liking to listen to yourself talk.

Charlie - posted on 09/19/2011

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Leigha you seem like a smart woman, I assume you have raised a smart daughter who will make the right choices for her whether that is to continue as an atheist or to take interest in her partners religion.

A smart girl wont be pressured but will willingly choose her own path sometimes it wont be what we would choose but it will be right for her.

I do however think that many couples have been known to have different beliefs and remain in a happy relationship.

[deleted account]

It can work if they both respect each other, I am Christian and my hubby is agnostic leaning towards atheism, we have been friends for over 13 years, have dated for around 7 years and are co ing up to our 5th wedding anniversary (in October). We discuss our beliefs or lack thereof but respect our different positions.

With marriage and kids we have compromised, it was important for me to marry in a church my hubby wasn't bothered so we married in a church; I do not take my children to church regularly and we choose to have a none religious naming ceremony because we feel religion is individual and our children should decide their own faith (I should say I don't believe not believing automatically stops you earning a place in heaven, I feel it is your actions that do that - good people are accepted into heaven regardless of religious beliefs or lack. Thereof.

Brittany, Marina isn't a troll although sometimes she can be like a momma bear with a sore head, her statement wasn't a personal attack, I wish people would learn to tell the difference in a statement and a personal attack.

Jaime - posted on 09/19/2011

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I think that there are no guarantees in life. Your daughter was raised an atheist, but in her heart perhaps she's wanting something different. It may be that she doesn't have a clear, unbiased outlook on religion and it's entirely possible that she could enjoy her boyfriend's faith and want to convert. If that's not the case then they will figure that out eventually...hopefully sooner than later. As her mother, all you can do is encourage her to stay true to herself and support whatever she decides with regard to religion and atheism. The bottom line is that she is young and her mind will change a thousand times about a thousand different things, but at the end of it all she'll know who she is and what she wants. At least that's the idea.

Charlie - posted on 09/19/2011

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Hmm Marina is an active member of the debate community and has been for some time ... not a troll , opnionated ? yes , harsh ? In leigha's opinion yes but I hardly think questioning motive is a personal attack perhaps a brush up on those definitions may help.

Opposition doesnt automatically mean personal attack, just sayin.

Its hard to debate a personal topic but your words and presented choices have been placed up here for debate.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2011

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BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! you think I am a troll??????? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is all I got for you.

Stifler's - posted on 09/19/2011

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Just tell her if he really loves her he will respect her beliefs or non beliefs, whatever.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2011

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Listen, you are hyper sensative about my words. I was strictly responding to your OP. Nope. Did not have time to read all the posts...because my comp keeps randomly shutting down on me. I did not personally attack you in any way shape or form. And for your information, my husband is super wicked Catholic. I was raised Catholic and lost my religion many many years ago. Jump forward to our big decision to move in together, and he had issues cause I was the same way you are speaking about your daughter. So I let him know all the wonderful things that I did that did not include prayer. Quite frankly it was more than he has ever done....making him realize that religion does not make the person. See where I am going with this???? YOU were the one with the quick set of judgments. Yup. YOU! >,

Candice - posted on 09/19/2011

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If he is really Christian he shouldn't judge her. Alas, the hypocrisy that comes with oraganized religion will get in the way of being a decent human being.

Leigha - posted on 09/19/2011

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Wow Marina, you are rather harsh. Did you actually read the part about how I would be just fine with her going to church and even becoming Christian if she so chooses? The part about her WANTING her children to have a religious education? The part where I said he was a "wonderful young man"...Of course he has made her a better person! What part of what I said implied we are not open minded and so "set in our ways" that we would not listen to his views? I actually said quite the opposite if you had actually read my posts. And yes, he is now able to visit with consent because HE worked it out with his mother, and I already said the last time you chastised me that I would not intentionally "sneak around" behind their backs, I simply said he was an adult and should make adult decisions and it is HIS responsibility to communications with his mother, NOT MINE. That is not my job. I parent MY CHILD. It was rather rude of you to interject that into this post. Somewhat of an inappropriate, irrelevant and personal attack, don't you think?
She does not have to convince him that she is a good person because her character, deeds and strong moral compass says it all. I would say the same about him. They are both absolutely wonderful kids who might be young and somewhat naive, but their love is pure. I see it every day.

JuLeah - posted on 09/19/2011

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They can agree to disagree. She might later dump him, he might break up with her and it might not have a thing to do with religion.



I think these are her lessons to learn, and if you attempt to 'predict' the outcome, save her pain, or in any other way interfere, you are setting them both up for a hard time.



Let it unfold as it will. Trust them, trust the process.



What will actually happen might not be anything you would even predict now, might not be anything you can see coming, but might be the very thing that needs to happen, so don't get in its way



He can learn from her, she can learn from him .... maybe there is a middle ground.



I know Christians who don't need to save everyone’s soul. I know a minister who believes as long as you are following your heart; it is the correct path for you.



He doesn't for a second think he has all the answers, but knows that collectively, we do. Each voice has value and each opinion counts - for each, 'the truth' looks different.



So, maybe this kid thinks like that.... or will come to

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2011

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"They care for each other a lot and he has even told me that she has made him a better person"

Has he helped make HER a better person? It is a two way street.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2011

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Oh yes, I remember....this is the boy that is not allowed to come home from college per his parents, the ones that you want to go behind their backs and have over your house without their knowledge or consent...right? Is he allowed to visit with his parents approval?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2011

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She can talk to him about how she is a good person. However she succeed with being a well rounded individual, giving to the needy, helping homeless, being a good strong friend, being "faithful" in a relationship (I know, bad choice of words, how about monogamous).

It kinda bothers me that you feel he will try to convert her. Is your family so set in their ways that an outsider from a different religious upbringing cannot teach her anything? It may not be in terms of converting, but it certainly can be him explaining why he has religion. They can have descussions about their differences without "converting" one another. If you expect him to never talk about his religion to her, then she should never be able to discuss why she HAS no religion.

Leigha - posted on 09/19/2011

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Thank you Brittany, that was very nice. See....We can all get along and agree to disagree :) He is already away at college [Messiah College about 45 min away. How's that for a Christian boy! ;) ] and she is a sophomore. Age difference is only 2 years 3 months but yeah, 3 years of school. They had a bit of adjustment this first month but it seems they have made it over that hump. She spends time at the college on some weekends and he comes home the others. This all came up on Friday when he wanted her to go to church with him yesterday but she clearly wasn't ready for that. She was very upset. She ended up spending the day with him after church and he didn't even mention it so maybe I am not giving him enough credit. They care for each other a lot and he has even told me that she has made him a better person. Again, I just hope he can continue to accept her.

Brittany - posted on 09/19/2011

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It seems to me that she has found a good guy. Christians are supposed to preach the word of Jesus Chrsit and show people his love. NOT beat them over the head and cram their beliefs down the throat of others.

If you came to my door and tried to get me to attend a meeting at The Chruch of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, I would entertain the thought for sure. Sounds interesting and when I get home, after class, I will look it up.

If she is willing to allow her future husband to take thier future kids to church then, that is called a compromise. No one is saying their children have to be Christian and who knows one might be and one might not be. My relationship with Jesus is not the same as anyone elses. This is the way it is meant to be. We are supposed to question everything. Anyone who tells you different is a lunatic.

Seeing as how he is 18 I would assume he is getting ready to go off to college and your daughter is a sophmore or a junior in high school. This will have a great bearing, even more than the religion issue, seeing as how he is going to be stepping into a different life style. I am sure his parents know, especially if she is vocal about it. Even if he has not said something to them, they have found out from his friends or through the community. If his parents are any kind of decent Christian, they will not judge her or try to tear them apart.

Christ does know what is in your heart and it is ok to not believe. No one says you have to. Christ will not present himself to everyone in the same fashion. He wants you to question him, he wants people to wonder, this is how we become educated. I am just fine with Atheism until, people start to be down right offensive and hateful towards Christianity. I do not say bad things about others people's beliefs, or lack of, and I would expect the same in return.

To make it clear, no you have not offened me or said anything offensie Leigha I was just sharing a view point.

I do, however, wish them the best of luck. It seems as if they are happy and well, we all know that does not come around often. I would like to see them succed to show everyone that yes, two polar opposites can live together in harmony and peace. They can provide love and support and raise a good family. This is how we all should be. Live together as one. I will pray for them to be able to over come any hump they fiind in the road but, not for anyone's soul.

Leigha - posted on 09/19/2011

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Brittany, I would support my daughter 100% if she chose to become a Christian. We don't believe in judging anyone's beliefs. We each find our own way through this world. She isn't going to try and change him, nor would she want to. She accepts and loves him for exactly who he is. My fear is what might come from him and his family. I don't think they know that she isn't a believer. By nature, a Christian is meant to witness and help others see "the light", correct? I want my daughter to feel as accepted for her beliefs as he does.

Here is the thing about accepting Christ. We (meaning me and my family) can SAY we believe, we might even WANT to believe (not saying we do) but if Christ truly knows what is in our hearts, then he is going to know that deep down inside that we don't buy any of it. I don't understand how someone can simply choose to believe. If I told you I was a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (look it up, I'm not joking. It's satire but makes a point) and I asked you to buy what I was selling, would you? I know that this isn't a debate about the existence of a god but my point is just I really don't believe that we have a choice at this point and to be honest, she is pretty set in her beliefs and almost as vocal about it as her brother. To us, it simply does not make sense. Again, if she changed her beliefs, we would love her exactly the same. And I know she already WANTS her kids to spend some time in a church because it would be an EDUCATION. In order to form an intelligent decision, opinion, or belief one should be well informed about all possibilities. She would want her kids to know as much about as many different things as possible so that they can come to their own conclusion. I highly doubt they are going to make it that long (they are only 16 and 18) simply because they are young but it's an interesting situation. However, he did just tell her last night that he KNOWS they are going to be married someday. :/ ahhh....kids.

Brittany - posted on 09/19/2011

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I am seeing some good questions and issues raised here and I think we all have the same question...
Leigha, how prepared are you for your daughter to come home and say she wants to go to Church and be a Christian?

In all honesty here, God is a loving God (and no I do not want to aruge the Old Testament with anyone). Regardless of who you are or what you are he loves you because, according to the Bible he made you. If the boyfriend really loves her and is a good Christain he will see this and will not worry about her soul.

Jesus said "If you deny me I will deny you in front of my father." (This may not be a perfect quote but, close enough.) He did not say when or how you can accept him. Someone, who has been a non-believer his or her whole life, could be on their death bed moments away from dying and proclaim Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior and enter Heaven. There are not timestamps people.

They are young and blissful, let them enjoy it. When, or if, they ever have children and have managed to stay together long enough to have children I am sure they have managed to come to some kind of agreement.

P.S. someone said something about going to church making you a Christian. I don't go to church, often. It is not about going to church it is about the relationship you have.

Suzie - posted on 09/18/2011

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I was rasied in an athiest home and yes i did convert but it was in the finding of my own way and yes it was through a christian man that i feel in love with. to this day my parents do not want me our my children now so as a mom i would ask you to tell your daughter to follow whats in her heart and let go of her so that she can find her own way wheather thats the path shes on now or a diffrent one and be excepting of her and her choice i know that is hard. But if you dont then she will be like me 1200 miles away with no relationship as i will not have my children called thing an it just because I am a beliver in Jesus Christ and rasing my family to be belivers

Sherri - posted on 09/18/2011

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I will say this before they ever decide to get married they better figure out how they will raise their children.

Where they would get married because if he is as religious as you say he would never dream of not getting married in a church.

They are going to have to figure out a lot of things before they even consider a marriage.

Becky - posted on 09/18/2011

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As someone who has been the other party in such a relationship - the Christian dating an agnostic - it's hard. Very, very hard. The thing is, no matter how much he loves and respects her, if he is truly sincere and serious about his faith and if he believes in heaven and hell and that belief in God is the only way into heaven, then he is never going to stop being concerned about her soul while they are together. He is never going to stop praying for her, never stop inviting her to church, never stop trying - no matter how subtle he is - to make her change her mind. Is she prepared to accept that for the rest of her life? Is she prepared for arguments over how they raise their children and what they teach them? For pressure from his family (if they share his beliefs) to participate in any of their religious rituals? Those decisions may be a long way off, but they are things she will want to think about before getting too deep into a relationship with this young man. As for your role, I agree, there is probably not much you can say. I didn't appreciate it when people tried to tell me I was taking chances of getting hurt. In the end, we didn't break up because of our faith differences but because I wanted to get married and have kids and he didn't, ever, and that's not really something you can compromise on! But the faith differences didn't help either.

Brittany - posted on 09/18/2011

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Well Leigha the truth is simple, let them deal with it. If he loves her he will understand her decision, if she loves him she will understand his Faith.

As far as when she is an adult or if she marries the current boyfriend they will have to come to some kind of agreement. I believe it is important for children to choose their own Faith and explore different Religions and Beliefs. If nothing else this makes them less ignorant. It is also a possibility that, if she marries a Christian man or said boyfriend, she may decide to be a Christian. In which case you love and support her.

One thing is for sure, whomever she marries, they will have to compromise especially if they are not of the same Religion.

As for now, as long as she is happy and her boyfriend is happy and no one is trying to pressure the other side, bah...let them be. They will figure it out. I wish them both the best of luck and hope they be will be happy (hopefully, together).

Your friendly Catholic neighbor, Brittany :)

Leigha - posted on 09/18/2011

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I see. No, I have just had people assume that we don't go because we don't want to bother with religion. Like we didn't give it any thought at all or that we didn't even "try" to believe. I realize not all church goers believe the same things...There are so many different nuances and interpretations but at the end of the day we don't believe in any god so why would we go to church at all?

Cara - posted on 09/18/2011

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"This is a decision we came to with MUCH thought and consideration and not just because we are too lazy to care or go to church." I'm not saying she should or shouldn't go tho I will say that I personally have attended churches I didn't agree with and believe the same as. They didn't change who I was or how I felt about what I believe. I was just making a point that where you go doesn't necessarily make who you are.

Leigha - posted on 09/18/2011

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No Cara, I don't think any such thing. What did I say that made you think that's what I believe? Are you implying that she should go to church anyway or that he is going and isn't a "true" christian?

Cara - posted on 09/18/2011

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I can for see this becoming a problem later on in their life if they get married or have children. There could be many disagreements on things due to it. I do have one question: You think going to church is what makes you a christian and what makes you believe in God? someone saying they are a christian just because they go to church is like someone saying they are a car because they are standing in a garage. I hope neither of them get hurt over the situation and they both respect each other.

Karla - posted on 09/17/2011

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I have avoided talking about my own beliefs on Debating Mums! because I just don’t like to put my own beliefs out there. On the other hand, I love to talk about religion and atheism… a lot. So I tend to talk in terms of history, and literature, not my personal beliefs.



That was my preface…LOL



Leigha, I am much like you, and a lot like Dyan. My spiritual life has ebbed and flowed.

I almost could have written this OP. My daughter in HS is atheist and is dating a Christian Boy. At about 3 months in she did run into that wall where he told her that he was worried that she would end up in Hell. He was insistent about his concern for her. She came to me for advice. First I had to clarify where she was in the relationship – is it time to break-up or do you want to continue; she wanted to continue. So we talked a lot about mutual respect. We talked about how she could word things to demonstrate to him that her beliefs are just as valid and important and well thought-out to her as his are to him.



It’s funny though, because we also live in a predominately Christian community, and most people think my kids are Christian because of how they conduct themselves. I did raise them using some Bible teachings such as “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Recently my kids had the conversation with one another asking how often they have been told that they are going to Hell. (that's after the cat is out of the bag.) Sad, but each of them have been either told that, or been told they were being prayed for because their friend didn’t want them to go to Hell. Sigh.



Religion did help me through some tough times as a teenager, and I share that with my kids to demonstrate that that feeling of being cared for by a loving spirit is very helpful, reassuring and important to many people and it can help them through life. For our family though, we have read so much and no longer see the validity of God as defined by most religions.

Jane - posted on 09/17/2011

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How old is your daughter? If she's over 18 or close to it then let it be. Let her make her choice on how she wants her relationship to grow. My husband and I agree to disagree and have for many years. He is atheist...I am what I call spiritual. I believe in a higher being but absolutely do not believe in organized religion. We've been together for 15 years now with no issues. If she's an adult, you need to let her go from your beliefs and let her make her own decisions and choices.

Iris - posted on 09/17/2011

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No, this is not something you can agree to disagree on if one of you is atheist and one is that serious in his faith.

What bothers me is that he is worried about her "going to hell". If he is that religious he probably wont stop the "pressure", because it's his faith and he believes he's helping her.

Bottom line: Be there when she needs you, that is the only thing you can do as a parent in this situation.

Lady Heather - posted on 09/17/2011

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People of different religions do have successful relationships but it definitely doesn't make it easy and there's much more to negotiate. I can't imagine how hard it's going to be when I have to help my kids through their first breakups. But I guess we have to remember that we've all been there and we all survived.

I know one of my cousins who is also an atheist was dating a Muslim girl who wouldn't even tell her family about him because she knew they wouldn't approve. Well, obviously that's not going to work out. Ha. As soon as he told me about it I had this urge to be like "Dude, break it off now!", but that probably would have just pissed him off. They went out for some months and then he got frustrated with the secrecy and that was that. Lesson learned I suppose. Next time a girl says "sure we can date but we can't tell anyone" his answer will be no.

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