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.
Your boyfriend sounds more like a questioning christian than an Agnostic and you can either help him with his questions or not. I was raised as a JW, they don't read the bible but they do study it selectively so it's a matter of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. I didn't read the bible cover to cover until after I left the JW's at the age of 13. It would probably help the process if you stopped referring to him as an Agnostic as it's just a crutch that keeps him from having to address the problem of his continuing belief in god. I appreciate that you are cut off from reason and common sense being stuck in the bible belt but don't sell yourself short by settling for less than you deserve. Good luck.
I'm reminded of the family guy episode with James Woods "oh, piece of candy. ? Oh piece of candy ? oh piece of candy ? oh piece of candy ?"
Leave little morsels of info in various ways. I'm a fan of comedy to convey the info. Stand ups, or YouTube videos playing in the background while he's busy with something else, might peek his curiosity.
You are trying to have a relationship with someone less educated, and (it seems) less intelligent then you. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you accept it from the outset. You can either allow this to be a point of contention between you, or just accept that he simply isnt very bright, and admire/love him for what ever else it is that he brings to the relationship.
Atheism is stronger in definition because it comes from the premise there is no logical explanation for the existence of a supreme being. Equatable to santa claus, the tooth fairy, leprechauns, sprites, demons etc. I don't need to look for proof or lack of of a substance that has no relevance to my life whatsoever. Logic not arrogance influences my thinking ?
Seems to me there are a couple of different themes going on in this thread, one being the difference between an agnostic and an athiest and one being about how differences come between being a couple. I would like to address the one I think you really hoped to get some insight on (that being how can you have a relationship if you believe different things) while eluding to the other.
First of all - you can have a relationship that works if both of you are determined to do it. It won't be easy. Differences tend to come between people. What I think you have to do is remember that some differences involve what people believe and some involve what they know. When we have evidence of something in gives us knowledge of it. Belief is a choice based on personal experience.
As an example, if you know your boyfriend is 25 years older than you - and you have evidence of that because of a birth certificate, driver's license, or lines on his face - then it is something you know and you can't change it. You have to accept it.
Then there is what you believe. Belief is not based on evidence. It is based on personal experience. You believe things because in your experience it makes sense to you. If you believe you can make a relationship work and he believes it too then it is because you have some shared experience leading you to believe you can do it. If you believe you can't overcome differences and he believes you can overcome them, then you have a different set of beliefs regarding your relationship. But you don't know for sure if your relationship will work out. There is no evidence (yet, anyway). So here is where you can use your beliefs to shape your reality - or the evidence of what will be when you are in the future looking back on it. Either it will work because you believe you can make it work and that motivates you to do it. Or - it won't work because you believe the differences will come between you. The key to overcoming differences is an understanding of what belief is.
Now as to what flat-earthers believe in the face of evidence - that's a whole other story
Agnosticism is of the essence of science, whether ancient or modern. It simply means that humans shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing to know or believe. Thomas Henry Huxley. With that said, your BF is not an agnostic.
I also live in the Bible belt and trust me; 99.9% of the population is Christian. What is thought-provoking is the fact that Christians come in several alliances with altered theories. There are even, GOOD Christians and all other. Disconcerting is the conception that ONLY their VIEWS and analysis of the Bible are accurate and precise. Perhaps what annoys me most is numerous Christians lie (e.g. TRUMP) and these individuals want your trust. Advertising expresses; hire this person because they are a GOOD Christian.
Regarding the BF, he may be a nice guy, handsome, a good lover, but all of this not enough. He was exposed to radical religious beliefs for childhood to adulthood. Radical in the sense that the most pious Christians are devoted to Catholicism and the likes of Jehovah witness. They will never change their religious convictions and should a disagreement occur during your association; you will be the one cast out, demeaned. or offended.
Both of you might look into theological noncognitivism or ignosticism, the disbelief that the row of alphabet letteds "God", "Allah", "Yahweh" have any conceptual meaning at all. You might discover that neither theists, atheists, nor agnostics have it right, because you and your boyfriend both realize that neither of you has any mental concept whatever of anything that "God" could refer to.
Having read the comments, most people are dealing with the relationship on a here and now basis. My piece of advice is to do with the future - what would you envisage telling your children ? That is the real deal breaker if you are going to have opposing views, think about what you would teach the next generation. Even if you never have them, it does help to show how closely allied your values are if you ask this question. Me and my other half have opposing political views, but are totally on the same sheet as regards morals, gods and religions. As a result, our children have had a secular up bringing that we both weighed in on.
Just another angle on how far you are willing to compromise.
Personally, he does not seem to use rational logic to examine his belief system......so what else would he swallow ?
It takes time
If you grew up indoctrinated, your BRAIN made neural pathways, over and over, your entire life.
YOU might have reasoned differently, but your damn brain is used to thinking the other way round and you have to catch your own self. Takes time.
There are many Atheists who still suffer unwarrented terror of hellfire.
Their brain is used to thinking that way.
Here, try this for help
I think you have shifted the burden of proof to you rather than him. Maybe engage with probing questions, watch the athiest experience on YouTube together or by yourself. Simply state how you feel, not how you think he should feel. Given his background the fear of being wrong can be hard to overcome.
That ain't agnostic. Well, not in my book. Let me put it this way - people often map love and hate as at opposite ends of a spectrum. This is false. Both love and hate require an investment of emotion; the opposite of the love/hate is disassociation. Distance and detachment.
And so to Belief and Athiesm; both embrace a strong view of what is and what isn't. Me, I'm a true agnostic. I don't know, and I really don't care until and unless someone can show me proof one way or the other. Your BF sounds like he has latent religious tendenacies.
How do you address that? Short answer - I don't know. Longer answer - if you think the ice is thick enough beneath your feet, then start pushing him on these issues. It's clearly something which is bothering you, which ergo makes it a real issue. He needs to wake up to that; even if it results in furious agreement to disagree. But based on your description, this guy is freighting some baggage he's not prepared to admit to. And this is not a good thing.
My wife and I are in a similar situation. Over the years, I have become more outspoken in my atheistic world-view and my wife was raised as a catholic and still has spiritual beliefs in a ‘higher power.’ As a couple, we can agree to disagree on this subject without needing to convince each other of our opinion. she understands my arguments, but she feels more comfortable in a world that ‘cares’ about her, whereas I live in a much more random world. I’m rational, she’s spiritual, and we have learned not to judge each other. She doesn’t proselytize me, and I accept that she needs her spirituality. We are alike in many respects, different in a few others, and we love and accept each other for who we are. Fortunately, we both cannot stomach The Dumpster, so we’re good.
I've met people afraid to really get in depth with the bible because they fear their faith being shaken. Some (can't say all, it's never all) who claim agnostic might still want that feeling of safety, that idea as long as they are holding on to the possibility of existence and just be a good person, treat others nicely and fairly, that maybe they still have that foothold to heaven if it turns out it really does exist. Is that a possibility too? I mean he seems to have access to the JW and the whole catholic guilt exposure to manage.
As to the differences between couples, it comes down to respecting each other and leaving each other room to learn and grow in our own time. We all have experiences that change us and how we think about some things. I think I'd advise just not letting religion and the lack of belief be a focus on the relationship. Focus more on what you actually love about each other and what you spend time doing together over what beliefs or lack there of you each might have.
How old is this boy ? We Atheists are open minded people examining evidence for alleged deities alleged miracles and concluding SO FAR zero reasons exist for belief. ....Our Agnostic pals are being evasive and yielding to McCarthyism against Atheists. ....if the boy is unfriendly to Atheist honesty what is the "arguing" really all about ?
If you want a real relationship you need to get to work on it and hammer out what you will cope with and what you won't - What are no go areas etc. If you just enjoy the hassle stop complaining and live with it till it sends you crazy and one of you leaves.
Tell your boyfriend that God is Mother Nature. That we were created by nature. The case is complicated but it all boils down to the actions of the stars and the planets of our solar system. Tell him that at one time long ago Earth was in orbit around a young dwarf star. That the sun was the big white dwarf that took the life of the stat before the sun, Ydra, and during the planet nova, the sun captured Mercury, the Venus/Kingu binary moons, Earth, and Mars from the young dwarf star. During the ordeal, Earth stole Kingu from Venus. That caused Earth to gain satellite-assisted axial rotation. Thus darkness were separated from light. Now, with Earth closer to the heat of the new sun, and her new ability to rotate, she melted her surface ice and warmed her waters thus giving the way for organic life to flourish. We came from there. But we are not alone. We had visitors from planet Heaven. They are the ones who came with the idea of personified supernatural gods. Follow me and you will get to your real origins!
I think in these sort of conversations what works for me is I reframe some of the terms. God to me can be replaced with "higher power". I can understand people feeling that there must be something greater than ones self, maybe that’s my thought as well, maybe it’s just the chaos theory.