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Boyfriend is agnostic, I'm an atheist. How to cope with disagreements?

So lately, I have been discussing my views with my boyfriend because he's one of the very few I can open up to about being an atheist (due to living in the bible belt and having many religious friends). When it comes down to our difference in views, we begin to butt heads a little because he seems to lean towards the Christian view of a god being the cause of the universe and has no logic to support his argument. I will ask, then who created God or what could his origin possibly be? And he will say nothing, just that God was the beginning of everything. Then he will try to backpedal and say "only IF there is a god would this be the case" but it's obvious he believes it or really wants to. He grew up with a dad who was Jehova's witness and a Catholic mother so he was influenced probably a lot more than I was as a child by religion. I know it can be difficult to let those ideas go but what bothers me is that he defends the ideas with no logic. He even defends the bible as being a good guide to life, NEVER HAVING READ IT. I have, as I was forced to attend confirmation classes, and I suggested he do so before we discuss it. He says he won't. I love him but this is so frustrating. Obviously I feel it is easier to have a relationship with someone who is agnostic than a religious person, but does anyone have suggestions for how to have these conversations without letting the differences come between a couple? I really appreciate any advice.

TaliaElizabeth92 5 Oct 18

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238 comments (51 - 75)

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It is possible there is a master entity or a master plan....however, simple observation over many years has shown no provable "micromanagement" on our scale. We could just be an expected artifact of an experiment on a grand scale where we neither matter or are unknown the experimenters. Since scientists still argue with various theories about our origin or configuration OF our Universe; who am I speculate with my limited data?


Here's a tip, don't have the discussions. It's no different than hitting your head against the wall with religious people and having the same discussion over and over with no resolution. This is your BOYFRIEND. I hope you know how hard it is to find a good boyfriend. Enjoy your life together and pass on those discussions.

lerlo Level 8 July 24, 2018

Is it so important that he agree with you in conversation? I would say, don't argue about it. You may decide that you can't live with someone who thinks that way. Remember, belief is irrational (to you I assume). He isn't going to change his mind.

On the other hand maybe the only important thing is his behavior. Does he push it on you? Does he push it on others, or use it to make others or you unhappy?

Also ask yourself exactly why it is so important. How it affects you in daily life. Is it important that you share the same worldview 100%? is it important that he be 100% scientific?

On other dating sites I have not limited my pool to atheists and agnostics. I have considered those to whom religion is unimportant. If it never comes up, I am not real worried. For instance, I had a partner for about 6 years and it was in about year two that I was discussing something political and I stopped and asked if he believed in God. I just hadn't thought to ask. He didn't, and I was glad for that. Had he said yes, I would have respected that; obviously, nothing I had seen in his behavior or general worldview was inhibited by that if he did.


Your boyfriend is not agnostic. He is saying that so you will accept him. Which is pathetic.


How old is your boyfriend?


He doesn't sound very agnostic by my definition?

I guess but I don't think religion or lack thereof has to impact a relationship. I mean it is a personal choice. Now that may get tricky when kids are involved but as 2 consenting adults you can agree that what you believe is your choice and you won't try to persuade them and they won't persuade you.
I mean respect for your partners beliefs no matter what they are should be paramount. You are free to disagree of course but trying to persuade someone into your version is going to end badly...most of the time.


He doesn't seem to be really agnostic. Maybe he is a deist. He should be at least willing to read a book.


This boyfriend refuses to even consider your recommended action to address this conflict. That's more than just not a good sign, it is a BAD sign. If he won't cooperate with your harmless suggestion (because he's afraid of what it'll do to him / he's afraid where he'll be if he realizes his revered hidden beliefs are crap) can you really expect him to cooperate in resolving future conflicts ? This is really so obvious, as is your reluctance to break off from this wretch. As jesus didn't really say, "Heal yourselves".


Agree on religion before you have children together, or else find someone else.


So, I gather by agnostic he means he doesn't know if there is a god, but believes there is one. Because it could also be he doesn't know, but doesn't believe. Example, someone could tell me they own a dog. Based on that statement alone, I have no way of knowing if they do in fact own a dog, however I would probably believe them on their word because its not an extraordinary statement. However if they told me they own a talking dog, I don't know if that's true of not just from that statement, but I wouldn't believe them because that is an extraordinary claim.
This is why the term agnostic doesn't tell you anything about belief, just a claim of unknowing. So, saying you're agnostic doesn't tell you what they do or don't believe.
What I usually do, if someone wants to discuss their belief in god/s, is try to figure out what they mean. Warning, nobody has ever been able to do this without giving me multiple and conflicting definitions. So, the claim is "some god/s exist." First, what do they mean by god? Second, what do they mean by exist? I've never gotten a clear answer for what they mean by either term, and don't be frustrated if you can't even get past question one. Because if someone tells me they believe in the god of the bible, I'm not sure what that is, I've gotten hundred of different descriptions. The more important question then, is why do they believe that. Then you have grounds for a discussion.
If however, someone says they don't believe, or they don't know if there is a god, then they aren't believing, so by definition they aren't theist, they are just an atheist who just claims not to know versus an atheist who claims to know (the latter of which I'm not convinced is a defensible position, though I agree with it). In the case of this, why discuss what he doesn't believe to be true.
As for the "god always existed" statement. That is violation of Occam's Razor. Why can't you just say that the universe always existed in some form or another (infinite regression)? Why are you adding some competent agent, like god, into the equation. It's like trying to explain a mystery by creating a bigger mystery, that's why it's important to have some idea of what they think a god and its existence are beforehand. If the argument is everything has to have a beginning then...
a) how do you know that?
b) how come god is exempt from having a begining?
Its special pleading. I'm setting up the rule that "everything has to have a beginning," then I'm saying "oh, except the first cause, that always existed." The second statement negates the first. You might look up in Google, Perci Shelley's essay, "The Necessity of Atheism," he covers this argument really well.
Hope that is helpful.


We have wider question here and it doesn't just concern the lasses BF.
Agnostics sit on the fence so to speak. They're opportunists. If there was a god they may get 'forgiveness' where as if there was a god us poor athiests would just have to indulge in unending orgies in the fires of hell (stock up on the 50+ sunscreen lotion) just in case. Would definitely be more fun than floating around with sexless angels.


Your boyfriend isn't really an agnostic. It sounds like he is religious but wants it his way. People like him are why we have so damned many denominations of Christianity.
In my earlier life I wanted to know all things. Christians claim that they know. At least they "know the plan" and know how things are likely to turn out. As an atheist I cannot know. There is no possible way I can know and it is OK not to know. Without evidence I cannot know much of anything.


I do have a technique for this

"He even defends the bible as being a good guide to life, NEVER HAVING READ IT. I have, as I was forced to attend confirmation classes, and I suggested he do so before we discuss it. He says he won't."

Go to Iron Chariots or a similar page
OR Bible Gateway if your well versed

THEN grab some choice bits of which he is startlingly unaware of
PRINT those as verses
and leave them in the bathroom (in particular)
and anywhere they might find, read and contemplate them.

Story of jeptah (child burnt offering)

Judas Death

In Matthew he is despondent, repentant, throws the money at the priests and goes and hangs himself.
In Acts he is unrepentant, keeps the money, uses it to buy a field and god punishes his wickedness by having him fall down and explode.

Christian Apologetics says both happened
BUT you can't be both unrepentant and repentant, keep the money and buy a field and throw it away

ONE is wrong.

or you can watch this with him and see what happens


Fight it out in the bedroom naked


I deeply respect the fact that those of you surrounded by religious folk., steadfast in there belief must be such a shunned minority ( lepers are more accepted) I would be greatful my partner was at least agnostic. Even if agnostics are wishy washy , fence sitters, refusing to admit one way or another. They are at least part the way to denial of a deity. In your current climate I would just wait and allow your partner to come to the realisation. god is dog spelt backwards and let him validate proving a negative at his own pace.


For " Gods sake " ??? stop wasting your time on such trivial and ridiculous rubbish ! ....... give your mate a big hug and grow up, life is too short. How will you act in future when you have some real differences ? I hate to think........


Obviously, the power of your question and predicament has prompted many responses. I read several, but not all, of them. Arguing over this issue can be many things-- fun, engaging, frustrating, illuminating, etc.

If I were in your position, looking back over my 53 years on earth, I would ask myself "how would we raise our children" I'm not trying to make any sort of sexist statement that you need to have children, but I'll share that I have one (quite amazing BTW, freshman in college, independent, feminist, doesn't listen to anything I say-- all the things i drilled into her). It could end up being an important question, as parents can be more adamant about what their children are taught than what they believe themselves.

Best of luck to you!


I'm married to a believer. His reaction when I first told him I was an atheist was that he just couldn't wrap his head around it. He is not a churchgoer, however, nor does he act like most Christians. It rarely even comes up. I think he just likes the idea of a god and a heaven. He will say a short prayer at special meals, and sometimes I say it, only not to God, just a blessing or a hope for blessings. We worked it out by giving each other room to believe as we do. I don't think this would work at all if he was trying to get me to go to church or "get right with God" or whatever, but he has never tried to bend me to his way. If anything, I have tried to tell him why my way makes more sense. It's crazy. We just love each other, going on 40 years and it just doesn't come up that much. At one point I thought to ask him if he wanted last rites or a religious funeral when he dies. Just in case it's him that goes first. He said yes he probably wanted the last rites, but no he doesn't want a church funeral. And about 25 years ago he showed up with a small crèche to add to our Christmas decorations. Every year I get it out, along with all the fun, pagan stuff I enjoy, and find a spot for it. I think of it symbolically and don't get hung up on why I'd rater not have it. If you love each other and he isn't going to turn into a nutcase about it, you can certainly get past this difference. If he wakes up one day and decides to drag you to church, or gets angry with you for your atheism, those are deal breakers. But, you can let him have his doubts and his illusions as long as they don't do you harm. One thing I did was read the Bible and talk to him about the things I was reading as I read them. He listened and didn't try to defend, and I read and tried to pay as much attention to anything good as all the horrible stuff in there. It made for a good discussion, and he didn't have to slog through it. Good luck. It's hard to respect religion, but I have found that when it shows up in those I love, belief can be respected as long as it isn't used against me.

jmott Level 3 Dec 24, 2017

Among atheists, it's become accepted as gospel (pun intended) that matters of religion should be considered logically. But we don't think about everything logically, do we? We don't think about love logically. We don't think about family logically. So if your boyfriend is merely open to the possibility of God, if he doesn't affirmatively believe in it, then why is it so objectionable that he thinks about it in an illogical way? Why is it so important that his thoughts about religion be different from how any one of us thinks about the love we have for a spouse, or the loyalty we might have toward our family? Human beings aren't always logical, but as long as your boyfriend is a good person, what should it matter that he leads with his feelings or his right brain on matters of religion?


If you are arguing abut religion while you are only boyfriend and girlfriend, I would suggest finding a new boyfriend, If you ever have children together it can rip you apart.
Plus he sounds like a believer trying to lie to keep you as his girlfriend.


Why must we keep explaining and providing proof that our "beliefs" are the absolute truth? It's a never ending pissing contest and considering neither side has anymore factual data than the other, where are these "great debates" going anyways? I feel this is all very simple- keep working towards the truth and don't be afraid of how you have to get there. Be it by peering through space or some goddamn Divine Intervention in a bathroom stall, be open and willing to admit that you might have been wrong OR if evidence shows you might have been a little more right, be ready to support those whose worlds have just been flipped.
"Prove it, prove it, prove it". How can I prove to you why I believe classic country music is the absolute best and your KISS album is crap? It is my belief and it's none of my business what you think of me.
Don't get me wrong- I love sharing and exchanging ideas and stories but not if those things are later used to ridicule my intelligence (or lack of) on a social media site while I'm secretly praying in the bathtub because I'm too afraid of your judgement if you knew I kinda a little bit wondered if there was a god. Poor guy!
Here's the important stuff- is he kind? Does he have your best interests in mind? Does he have a job, is he worth a damn in the sack? And does he like KISS? Ugh.


The title says, "Boyfriend is agnostic". NOT. He is definitely religious. I have known people who stopped going to church and yet associate themselves with some denomination of christianity. Your boyfriend seems to fall into that category. You might need to start seeing him as a believer and not argument the existence of God/god. If this is the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, start by getting out of the fog.


Don't open this subject. If you can.Tell him to respect your view, and you will do the same. Don't try to change his opinion. If he want to talk about this, tell him to do it just if he can explain and sustain with evidence.
Otherwise, he can not try to.


don't worry, people of the same religious believes tend to disagree as well.

haslr Level 3 Dec 15, 2017

As an atheist, it should be irrelevant what he does or does not believe. Is it import to you that he share your view point? If you had children would this cause trouble? If so, maybe move on. If not, let him believe how ever he sees fit.

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