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.
You're not going to change his beliefs. You can point things out to him but once you've done that you need to let him make his own mind up about things.
Understand that a lot of people want to be "culturally Christian" so as to fit in, and the pressure to do that in a Bible Belt environment is particularly strong. Again, he's going to do and say things that are comfortable for him and you need to respect his comfort zone (and you have a right that he respect yours, too).
Don't let your disagreement about things become confrontational. You have a relationship with this man which has nothing to do with religion and that's a valuable thing to work towards. In other words, don't pick a fight with him about religion. That's what door-to-door missionaries are for.
In order to really keep ths discussion open you HAVE to divest yourselves from the emotional investment in it. The mind is meant to think and reason out the answers. If you find your voice getting sqweeky stop and take time out - for days even. You can't think in a reasonable manner when you're all worked up.
To me bei
ng agnostic does not mean leaving the door open for a sentient God with a kingdom in Heaven. It means leaving the door open for some power or agency, non sentient that impacts our existence or is beyond are ability to comprehend at this time. I feel it would be arrogant not to acknowledge limits in are abilities and understanding.
why do you have to go there at all - I mean the place where you both choose to knock your heads on the same old, same old .I'd make a pact not to talk about religion or lack of it and make a relationship based on all the things that you have in common and strengthen that. if oyu love him stay with him if you dont, leave. But it sounds like you're making a relationship based completely on a negative . If any of my friends believes in a sky god I let them, and pass myself it isn't my business. I have many religious friends and as long as we don't have boring conversations about our positions - what odds.
Well, Your BF doesn't seem like even a real agnostic. I consider myself an agnostic atheist. That is 2 totally different things. Atheism states that, usually for reasons of lack of proof, that one doesn't believe in a god or gods (& quite often the supernatural in general). Agnostic states that one has no knowledge about a particular stance or belief. One is a belief, the other is "knowledge". It can be a fine line, I realize, but there is a difference. I have no knowledge regarding a god & therefore have no belief. Many theists may be agnostic theists, & just believe, some believe they are gnostic theists, which is dubious, at best. & there are even gnostic atheists, & I think that is a bit of a stretch also, because I don't see how the "god" question has a knowledge basis on one side or the other. I think it is far more likely that no god exists, but I cannot state unequivocally that such is the case. I have no proof, just a lot of observations that make me lean to un-belief!
I don’t know if this gets to the nature of the issue at hand. But I have a family member who once bought me an audio bible on CD disk. I still couldn’t get through the entire thing. But it makes it a lot more digestible when you can just drop in every time you have to go the the post office or on the way to work.
My first question for you is, do you feel respected by your boyfriend? If you continue to be an an atheist, will he respect your decision to the extent that the two of you can agree to disagree? If not, and without mutual respect, you are engaging in a relationship that will be prone to failure and to repetitive cycles of unproductive conflict.
You just have to avoid talking about anything to do with religion. You can have fun together, have sex (protected) and go out on dates. But a long-term serious relationship is going to be very difficult. I am 64, a dedicated atheist for 5 years and was disabled in a car accident 30 years ago. My "boy" friend is 70 and became a not so dedicated Mormon about 20 years ago shortly after he became disabled. We have a ton of friends in the disabled community but NEVER talk about religion. I guess being as young as you are and serious about your relationship it will be impossible to avoid talking about religion. Good luck in working things out.
Why not celebrate your differences? It would be truly boring if we were all the same. The only thing you seem to be in disagreement over is the possibility that a god or gods exist.
There's a lot of religion that's provably ridiculous. The Garden of Eden. The ark story. Young Earth Creationism. But surely the point of whether some external influence created the universe and the first spark of life within it is pretty much moot this far down the line.
I don't see how you can make this a rift in a relationship any more than a preference for strawberry jam over marmalade.
I see plenty of evidence that there is no benevolent God supervising this world at this point, and nothing to support the notion that there is one. But to deny the origin of the universe, when all that exists are theories to explain it? That's a big leap for me. I think it's perfectly reasonable for different people to have different ideas.
Since you love this guy then I would avoid the subject. He knows how you feel and that is now with him to think about. For some of us it takes time to come around (decades in my case). Since he is not a bible basher, then why don't you just enjoy yourselves in all of the wonders that you have before you - friends, music, nature etc. etc. (it's a long list!). Unless his religious beliefs are a real impediment to your relationship, then I would just get on with living.
Religious conversation are often challenging at the best of times, being agnostic, it's conversations I prefer too avoid.
I understand why he defends it so, all though he really doesn't understand it. it's his blue print, his values. our values are handed down to us by our parents and grand parents, society plays a smaller role. we all defend our values sometimes literally to the death. We rarely ever sit down and examine these values and ask ourselves do they still make sense to me. We don't write out our values the values that make sense to us today. get him to do this with you it will be an eye opener for both of you.
Any relationship where the two people don't agree on basic principles of life would be less satisfying than being on the same page with someone. Hopefully he is a good cook, good in bed, a funny guy, or treats you nice. Otherwise, it is a tough road to walk down alone.
Compromise is Essential for a lasting relationship, whether religion, politics, or theories of child-raising, to name just a few. Some things you can successfully "agree to disagree" and then leave it alone. I believe politics & religion, or lack of it, or the form it takes, should be best served by giving the other person's views' respect. Pick your battles!
At first I just looked at your "top" question and was going to say don't argue, your differences aren't substantive, they're epistemological.
However, as other commenters are saying, your guy seems intellectually unqualified or attitudinally unwilling to actually own, articulate and defend agnosticism--which simply says, we can't really know, so I'm not committing one way or the other. It SHOULD also imply skepticism about the existence of a god, but that depends on to what degree one takes "creation" as evidence for a "Creator."
You should have him read Hume's definitive dialogues, especially the one demolishing the analogy relating "God" to being a master watchmaker.
As you point out, your bf shrugs off the infinite regress argument against the idea that a God of some sort is necessary as "cause" of the universe. But even my son, at age 8, considered the idea of such a necessity specious and unwarranted. Almost all kids, as far as I can tell, initially say "Then who created God?"--then later they succumb to societal pressure in many cases.
Alrighty. Well honestly your boyfriend sounds pretty similar to myself. I grew up Jehovah's Witness and my father was initially Catholic but converted(then went back to Catholicism after my parents divorced. Lolz!).
Anyways, for me finally taking the past steps from agnostic theist to agnostic atheist didn't come from speaking to atheists. Giving up your faith in favor of logic when faith is such a huge part of your life is difficult. I fought tooth and jail to keep my faith. What put me over the edge was after studying the topic for a while I started talking to other theists as a skeptic. I kept my belief out of the conversations and simply asked questions from a neutral point of view. Listening to their answers, mind you many of which I gave to atheists asking the same questions, I began to realize just how utterly ridiculous they sounded. When I have those answers I rationalized it and did mental backflips in my head for them to make sense. Hearing it outloud from someone else I found it was a lot harder to rationalize those claims.