My wife is a believer, I am not

Reason
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My wife is a believer, I am not

My wife is a believer and I am not. The problem that she has is mainly that i don't believe in the afterlife and she does, which basically means that we can't be together past our earthly lives.

So i gave her a scenario:

1) I die before she does

2) She finds another man afterwards and gets married again.

3) They both die.

 

My point is, if i believed in the afterlife i would be there with her and her new guy, implying we would have an eternal threesome, which cannot be in the interest of a christian god.

She didn't find that example too amusing, but i had to make my point clear.

Any ideas of a different example that convinces her that i did not want to ridicule her belief, but rather give her a logical answr of why i don't believe?

  


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Afterlife, God or both ?

Does you wife believe in the christian god or is it just some afterlife she hopes will be waiting after her death? I ask because god-belief, disbelief or lack of belief do not necessarily have a say in a supposed existence beyond life as we know it.

The most logical answer I would begin with, would depend primarily on exactly what state of mind she was in when approached and her level of intelligence and ability to comprehend concepts of logic, rationality, general science, biology, psychology and even her own theology as well as others. Does she, for example, have her own beliefs that are separate from any holy text (christian bible)? Or does she believe the bible literally, word for word and no parables? Or does she tend to believe only certain parts from one or both of the "Testaments". Level of education? etc

If you could frame her belief/intelligence for me just a little more, I can better answer your question. I must say I feel for you, I've been down your road before.

 


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I wonder

I wonder if the belief in the afterlife can be reconciled via a "planning horizon".  One of the side effects of afterlife means that effective there is a infinite (or eternal) planning horizon.  So decision made now has a larger impact.  (or course there is a discounting effect happening. I can't imagine that the standard afterlife model has a well thought out financial model and a realistic interest rate.  Anyway that is a massive digression for another day

My constructed argument would be there is a limit to how much benefit that you can get from living each day, (and this benefit can be discounted to the present). So after doing a little bit of maths and assuming a discount rate of  6 percent per year in 50 years time, I would have received 95% of the theoretical total benefit of being alive eternally.   So the counter to the argument is that the afterlife is eternal in benefit too.  I.e every day is better than the next so it makes no sense to discount it, or that there is no time in the afterlife and so on.

So it is a rather complicated way of saying, I'll live like I got a finite time left, you can live like you have eternal life in the afterlife.  In which case can I borrow some money, I'll pay ya back later.

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BTW God, I think your excemption expired


Reason
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@ wonko

Thanks for your answer.

 

My wife was brought up in a christian household, so i guess its safe to say that she believes in a christian god. However she does not read the bible and does not refer to it. She says that she believes in a higher power, a sort of energy, but refers to this power as if it is the christian god. 

 

maybe that makes things more clear.


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Reason wrote:Any ideas of a

Reason wrote:
Any ideas of a different example that convinces her that i did not want to ridicule her belief, but rather give her a logical answr of why i don't believe?  

OK well, sounds like your wife is not completely entrenched in her beliefs so I would suggest a three-pronged attack to begin with.

First, I would point out that many gods (including the christian yahweh) as well as followers/believers of various religions/sects have promoted themselves and their holy texts as if they represented some sort of perfect morality. The religulous idea is that any person who adopts god belief will suddenly receive this moral satin finish from above and a belief that there is no better sheen one can hope for.

When we take a close look at religions themselves and the gods at the centre of them, we do not see moral perfection. Instead, we read in the OT many instances where the christian god orders bloody killings, not just warriors, but ordering the slaughter of entire peoples. Then there's the Midianite story... where god instructs that only the Midianite female virgins are to be "kept alive" and I think the wording goes, "kill everyone there but save them (virgins) for yourselves". 

Secondly, and this is actually moving away from the bible, I would tell her there are simply too many characteristics of god that are contradictory. Many christians describe god as being all-powerful without considering how this attribute plays against another favored xian concept called free will. Also, how can believers claim that jesus is omni-benevolence (perfect goodness-kindness) defined?  It's obvious, if he existed at all, that he spoke of love and peace and helping your fellow man but he also repeatedly defended the Old Testament and all the atrocities ordered by god.

Lastly, I would bring up the problem of evil and why it exists. People still do evil things and do them regardless of their chosen belief system. To this day evil acts are also done by many theists in the name of their chosen god. There are additionally all the evil natural disasters, which are considered by many to be either the wrath of god or special gifts delivered from the bowels of hell by satan.

So if any gods, or all gods, really exist.... why aren't they eliminating evil in our world? Are they not powerful enough? Are they afraid that their actions will be seen? If we answer 'yes', we must ask why they are in hiding and... what's the mystery all about? If we answer 'no' they aren't afraid of being seen, then why aren't the gods putting a stop to all the evils, both natural and man-made.

"Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief

 

Again, these are just three beginning points you could start with. There are many, many others. Wait for some additional responses from the many knowledgeable RRS members as they will have different ideas than those I have proposed.

Be prepared for a wide range of answers to any questions you pose to your wife as she is likely to take offense regardless how gently you offer up these types of ideas. If she was raised to believe, there will be some degree of resistance to an Atheistic worldview. Let us know how things progress if you like and have the time.

 


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Quote:She didn't find that

Quote:

She didn't find that example too amusing, but i had to make my point clear.

Any ideas of a different example that convinces her that i did not want to ridicule her belief, but rather give her a logical answr of why i don't believe?

Quite a heavy task you have in front of you.  Her belief is ridiculous.  I'm not surprised that she didn't find your example amusing because it clearly demonstrates how illogical her belief is.  It was a great example.

I think the problem you're going to run into in any case is that whatever logical reason you give her for not believing will feel threatening, belittling, and ridiculing to her because her belief is threatened by logic, naive, and ridiculous.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad.  I just don't think sugar coating the real issue is going to do you any good.  You said the magic words at the altar knowing that you were marrying a Christian.  This is the part where you get the inevitable consequences of your action.  Those consequences are that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  You can either be honest with your wife about your beliefs, which will cause considerable tension in your marriage, or you can remain silent about your beliefs, which will cause considerable tension in your marriage.

What is your goal?

Is your goal to get your wife to give up her ridiculous and naive beliefs?  You make it sound as if she's confronting you about your lack of belief rather than the other way around, so maybe you can't just ignore her religion.  If she's pressing the issue, and you're determined to show her the error of her ways, here's what you do:  Get a good lawyer on retainer, pick the nicest sounding rebuttal of Christianity you can find, present it in the sweetest voice you can muster, and after another seventeen steps, you'll be answering the most horrible question of all:  "Honey, you don't respect me, do you?"  When she says that, you can lie and say that you respect her, just not her beliefs.  She'll see through that, although it may take a few months for her to fully come to grips with it.  During that time, you'll come to realize that you do think of her as not being as smart as you and that since the luster of infatuation has begun to fade, you've started becoming bitter about having to hold your tongue when she starts going all religious, and you really wish you could just be yourself without having to be so careful about her feelings when religion comes up.

Yeah, I know.  Your marriage is different.  You do respect her, and except for the afterlife thing, everything is going great.  Right.  Sorry to be harsh, but I find it highly unlikely that this is the only issue you have with her religion.   However, I have been wrong before.  Maybe it really is an issue of how to deal with this one question.  If I'm wrong about your feelings, and it really is just about the question of whether you'll be together in the afterlife, then you need to go with the next paragraph...

Is your goal getting your wife to accept your atheism?  Maybe this is the best course.  If this is mostly about her belief in the afterlife, and she doesn't go all crazy religious about too many other things, it might be simpler to let sleeping dogs lie.  Avoid any religious pretense in your life, be as happy as you can, and simply never discuss religion around her.  Ever.   When she presses you about your lack of belief, smile sweetly and say, "Honey, I accept you with all of your beliefs, and have never asked you to change.  Please be as kind to me and let me have my beliefs, ok?"   In ten or twenty years, she'll tell her friends that you've just never bothered with religion and it's never bothered you.

It's not a perfect solution because your lack of belief is a big part of who you are, and you're going to have to keep some distance to keep from confronting her beliefs.  Then again, getting into the mess of trying to talk her out of religion is far from a perfect solution.

One final note.  If you haven't had kids yet, please, please, please, please, PLEASE use really good birth control and don't accidentally get her pregnant.  Please, please, please, please PLEASE do not have children until you have come to a permanent resolution of the religion question, and have answered some very hard questions.  Are you ok with your children being indoctrinated into religion?  If not, is your wife ok with raising children as atheists?  What are you going to tell your children when they ask you why you never go with mommy to church?  What are you going to say when they get older and don't accept the pat answer you gave them when they were younger?

If you have already had kids, you still need to ask yourself what responsibility you have towards them if they are being indoctrinated into religion.  Are you really ok with that?  If you're not, do you owe it to them to do what you have to do with your wife so that they don't end up as another member of the flock?  Inaction is action where kids are concerned.  If you don't voice your opinion on religion, you're condoning it.  If they grow up to be theists, and you did nothing to express your views to them, you're a large part of the cause of them becoming theists.

I hope you don't hate me for sounding harsh or unsympathetic.  I do feel bad for you, and I know it's not an easy situation, but like I said, pretending that a situation is better than it is doesn't make it so.  The sooner you address this in all its ugly glory, the better.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit
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Quote:My wife was brought up

Quote:

My wife was brought up in a christian household, so i guess its safe to say that she believes in a christian god. However she does not read the bible and does not refer to it. She says that she believes in a higher power, a sort of energy, but refers to this power as if it is the christian god. 

 

maybe that makes things more clear.

Whoops.  Didn't see this the first time.  The real question is how much her beliefs impact her life and yours, and as I mentioned, if you have or are going to have kids, how it will affect them.

If her beliefs have little or no impact on your lives, then it's probably still better to let sleeping dogs lie and never, ever, ever discuss religion with her.  If you see any major hurdles, particularly with children, it's best to take this thing by the horns right now.  I'm not going to lie to you and tell you it's likely to work out well.  People don't like being married to people who think their beliefs are naive and ridiculous.  Be prepared for some serious emotional consequences from any attempt to talk her out of her beliefs.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Believing in a non-christian

Believing in a non-christian afterlife?

 

A woman whose husband died goes to a medium to get in contact with her man. After a while they find him and the woman can ask her man questions.

 

Wife: "How are you?"

Husband: "I'm well. In the morning after we wake up we first have sex, then we eat something - walk a bit around - have some more sex and so on until the evening. Then we go to sleep and repeat that the next day."

Wife: "So you are in heaven now?"

Husband: "No, I was reborn as a rabbit"

-----------------------------------------------------

Who asks me inappropiate questions also has to live with the answers I may give.


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Like I said, she is not very

Like I said, she is not very religious, she just believes in a higher being whatever you want call it.

I agree with all of your points regarding religious believers, however she does not justify her believe with Religion, even though she has been tainted by it. If that was the case I would have never been with her.

For now I just avoid talk to her about religious isuessYou pointed out a problem that I have given careful consideration - Kids - I told he that i would never have my kids go to church. So those plans are on hold.

 


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Quote:Like I said, she is

Quote:
Like I said, she is not very religious, she just believes in a higher being whatever you want call it.

That being the case, it sounds like there's no particular reason to try to talk her out of them.  Why stir up trouble when it doesn't impact your life significantly?

Quote:
For now I just avoid talk to her about religious isuessYou pointed out a problem that I have given careful consideration - Kids - I told he that i would never have my kids go to church. So those plans are on hold.

I'm really glad to hear that.  Would she be ok never having kids?  Or would she be willing to agree never to take them to church?  That sounds like the biggest potential issue.  Speaking of which, are you ok with not having kids?  Because if the religion thing never gets resolved, you're going to have to decide.  Do you want her, or kids, or what?

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I think one basic thing you

I think one basic thing you can adress with her is this: if she doesn't subscribe to any particular dogma, then what is it that makes her think you won't be there in the afterlife with her?

Why does she assume that since you don't believe you won't be granted entrance into heaven?

I mean, after all, it may be a part of Christian dogma, but if she believes in a loving God, and doesn't believe something about him just because some priests say so, then why does she assume that you won't go to heaven?

Indeed, I can only assume that she thinks you are a kind and loving and wise and gentle person, or at least something along those lines, and why would her God not want such a person in heaven with him, regardless of wether you have believed in him or not?

My ex-girlfriend was a new-ager and believed both in Jesus and reincarnation and heaven and alot of other weird stuff. When we would talk about this stuff, and I would point out that I didn't believe in any of it for a second (but I would still indulge her, since I found such conversations interesting, both as an emotional, and a philosophical exploration), she never assumed that I was going to be punished for my materialism, but would just say, it doesn't matter if you believe, what matters is that you are kind and wise, and open-minded.

Now I don't know if your wife is anything like my ex, but maybe you can make her aware that it is only because of Christian dogma that there is any reason to assume God doesn't like atheists. If your wife claims to find her God within herself, and not in the words of dogmatic preachers, then simply ask her: "what do you think? Do you think your God loves me, regardless of wether i believe in him? I mean, if you can love me in spite of that, don't you think he can too?"

 

That would be my poetic, romantic approach to it. That's how I am, and of course you can modify the argument if you aren't quite the hippie/softy/sensitive guy I am, but at least this is an open-minded, non-confrontational, and certainly not ridiculing way to adress her about the afterlife.

It's basically saying: "Do you love and trust me? Do you love and trust God? Well then what makes you think your God doesn't love and trust me enough to let me into heaven?"

And of course, that won't solve all your problems, because she will still want to understand why you don't believe, but these kinds of open-minded, loving exchanges helped me to get my ex to come to terms with my non-belief, so I think you can do the same.

P.S: The fact that she is my ex has nothing to do with our respective metaphysical leanings. Of that much I am sure. Indeed our mutual understanding of eachother on this important point, and the respect we had for eachother's beliefs was in fact, what kept us together for so long, in spite of the fact that we were terribly un-suited for eachother in about a thousand other areas.

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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Pick and choose?

Reason wrote:
However she does not read the bible and does not refer to it. She says that she believes in a higher power, a sort of energy, but refers to this power as if it is the christian god.

Does this mean that she doesn't really follow the beliefs outlined in the Bible? If not, where did she find her beliefs? Does she pick that ones that she likes? Belief in a higher power doesn't demand belief in some kind of afterlife.

Basically, she believes that you are not going to the afterlife because you don't believe in it? That seems strange. Is there another reason?

How will you feel if you go to heaven and discover that many people you know are being tortured in hell? Your best friend. Your husband or wife. Sister or brother. Son or daughter. Mom or dad. Wouldn't you care that while you are in eternal bliss, they are perpetually burning in lava and being stabbed by the claws of 10 foot tall demons? Does God make you forget them? Does God make you forget your feelings for them?

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Reason wrote:Like I said,

Reason wrote:

Like I said, she is not very religious, she just believes in a higher being whatever you want call it.

I agree with all of your points regarding religious believers, however she does not justify her believe with Religion, even though she has been tainted by it. If that was the case I would have never been with her.

For now I just avoid talk to her about religious isuessYou pointed out a problem that I have given careful consideration - Kids - I told he that i would never have my kids go to church. So those plans are on hold.

 

Don't stress it.

I, too, am married to a believer except mine was raised pentecostal, found me and 'backslid' for years, and finally confessed to me that she needed church in her life to feel better. So be it. I found a church for her and we went.

I've been with her for 14 years and despite the ludicrous number of ideological differences between us, we have still ignored it all in favor of each other.

She accompanied me to Huntsville when the Westboro Baptist Church freaks came and we stood side by side, united against those people that she admits freely could have been her had it not been for me.

Perhaps a bad or questionable analogy... It's like having a family member addicted to a substance and loving them so much that you would give them just enough of the drug so as to ease their suffering while surreptitiously guiding them to shrug off the addiction on their own. As if weaning them to feed on reality rather than false comfort. A tenuous line of struggle to follow no doubt. However, the converse serves no purpose other than to deprive you of her while driving her to seek more of the drug to replace you.

 

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Marraige

This is an interesting scenario except that there are passages in the bible that indicate that marraige is not an eternally binding commitment ( ie till death do us part). It is a partnership during your earthly life that is 'designed' for earthly purposes. I think the idea is that in death we all become family of some sort or another. I think Paul talks about it. I'm not totally clear on it all but you should check into it.