Tag Archives: love

Would you marry a Theist?

I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris.

“The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t. Either Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation (John 14:6), or he does not. We agree that to be a true Christian is to believe that all other faiths are mistaken, and profoundly so. If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell. Worse still, I have persuaded others, and many close to me, to reject the very idea of God. They too will languish in ‘eternal fire’ (Matthew 25:41). If the basic doctrine of Christianity is correct, I have misused my life in the worst conceivable way. I admit this without a single caveat. The fact that my continuous and public rejection of Christianity does not worry me in the least should suggest to you just how inadequate I think your reasons for being a Christian are.” -Sam Harris

Sam Harris succinctly states his position (and my own as well) right on the first page. I am sufficiently unconvinced of Christian doctrine to not lose any sleep with angst over eternal damnation. Moreover, my skepticism directly influenced my younger sister’s Christian deconversion years ago (she is now an Atheist) as well as that of a former significant other who is now a pantheist. My current offline friends whom also attended Catholic schools right up until their High School graduation, are now Atheists as well.

“If I were to turn into a deeply religious believer, my wife has threatened to leave me.” -Richard Dawkins

Hearing him say the above, gave me a chuckle.

He brings up an interesting point. How important is it for an Atheist that their romantic partner be Atheist/Agnostic?

My first significant other was a Mormon who had done missionary work in Africa. The missionary work had the opposite effect on their Faith. When we met, I was calling myself Agnostic and they confided that they had been having serious doubts about their Faith for several years since. We had many discussions about Religion and by the time our friendship turned to romance, they were defining themselves as Agnostic as well.

The sheer terror they felt at confessing their Agnosticism to their parents–much less that they were dating an Agnostic–greatly disturbed me. The fear was justified. I feared for their life as well. In the end, that former significant other died without the family knowing of their Agnosticism–or my existence for that matter. I could not even attend the funeral.

It is baffling that in many parts of the world, one can fear for one’s life for simply refusing to believe in absurdities. That people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali must live under armed guard for the crime of reason, is disgraceful.

In my case, I cannot respect and therefore accept an individual as a potential romantic partner if they see enough justification for belief in a personal God. That level of cognitive dissonance greatly diminishes their desirability. Even with the ex that was a Catholic, by the time we began dating, Christianity was out the window.

So, for Atheists, how important is lack of religious cognitive dissonance in a mate? Would you date a Theist? Would you marry a Theist? If the answers to the last two questions differ, why so? In the mate selection process, does extent of religiosity make a difference? Does the type of Religion make a difference? Let us exclude Buddhism from the list as it resembles a philosophy more than a Religion.

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Attitude Profile

I tend to stay away from personality/relationship tests because when loosely scrutinized, the holes are incredibly obvious. The only personality test that I have ever been impressed with is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter which I believe has a more objective approach than the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

There is plenty of talk about Valentine’s Day (February 14th) in the blogosphere. I am indifferent at best to the holiday, preferring instead Halloween–which as far as holidays are concerned epitomizes romance the most. Regardless, the blogger Nessa has an entry with her responses to this Valentine’s Day relationship survey.

Now, the link above takes you to a page that asks you for your Age, Sex, Relationship status, and Length of that relationship. I can see how age can play a factor in the responses from a teenager versus someone in their 20s or 50s. I took the test once as either gender and both the questions and my results were the same. The ‘sex’ drop down box is only relevant then for the purpose of determining which gender is taking the test the most. Unfortunately, I do not believe the average person is going to look at that sex option and view it that way.

The questions are generally gender neutral. The only two questions I had problems with were 7 and 14. Number 7 asks what you consider to be the perfect ‘date’ movie and number 14 asks you which of the available songs you would play in a ‘romantic situation.’ The choices are incredibly stereotypical.

They illustrate in their simplicity society’s penchant for dividing ‘normal’ time with ‘romantic’ time and one of the major reasons many relationships fail. With the exception of pornography, there is no valid reason for making a distinction between movies to see solely with friends and movies to see solely with significant others. It implies that your significant other is not someone you can be ‘buddies’ with.

There is also the fact that romance is seen as an ’emotion’ and not a state or awareness. Since emotions vary throughout the day then, if romance is an emotion, it must be generated anew by ‘setting the mood’ causing unnecessary work and stress on participants. This is a backward approach, with an extended emphasis on the effect instead of the cause. The most romantic experiences I have ever had were intellectually and creatively rich foremost. When the effects on the mind are so visceral, deep emotions are a natural progression.

At any rate, the purpose of the questions is to calibrate your ‘relationship style.’ I have bolded blue what does not apply to me. However, the results are for the most part quite accurate. Here they are:

Results of Relationship Style test.

You have a Consumate relationship style

You have a “total relationship” with your partner that comprises all aspects of love. Your relationship is very passionate and romantic, you have a great deal of intimacy and are able to share every feeling and idea with your partner, and, what’s more, you are genuinely committed to this relationship in the long run. This is the kind of relationship that most people would only dream of having. You must be very happy… Congratulations!

AND YOUR BIG 5 PERSONALITY TRAITS ARE

You are very calm, relaxed, and confident. It really takes a lot to stress you out and you rarely act on the basis of negative emotions (e.g. , hate, disgust, or anger). You enjoy working under pressure and find that, compared to you, most people worry about pointless things and are not capable of handling pressure that well. You are not very moody or easily upset.

You are introverted, quiet and reserved. You enjoy being on your own and prefer to avoid loud and crowded parties. You don’t really like meeting new people much and have few but good friends who you prefer seeing because you feel more comfortable. You are an evening rather morning type and are rarely bored and generally happy on your own. You are not necessarily shy though some think you are.

You are intellectual, curious, creative and cultured. You probably enjoy art in all its forms and have a preference for non-conventional things. You are open-minded and enjoy trying new things. You tend to be tolerant and to have liberal attitudes. You have a “hungry mind” and enjoy reading to find out about the world, which you see as a fascinating and complex place. You have a vivid imagination and day-dream easily. Sometimes you find it hard to keep your feet on the ground. You have a creative personality.

You are tough-minded, straight-talking, and can be somewhat unfriendly. You are certainly quite confrontational and have no trouble disagreeing with people. You enjoy discussion and like winning arguments. You tend to be competitive. You are also not easily moved by other’s problems unless they are very close to you. Diplomacy is not your thing: If you don’t like something or someone, it is hard for you to pretend otherwise. You believe in saying exactly how you see things.

You are proactive, responsible, and self-motivated. People know you are reliable and dependable. You strive for excellence and are driven by status, goals and target. You are generally focused on your goals and willing to work hard to attain them. You are well-organized and work efficiently. You are methodical and prefer to always plan ahead. You don’t like leaving things till the last minute and are self-critical if you do not achieve your goals. You prefer to avoid risks. You have a reputation both for your work ethic and for being conscientious.