I saw this sign on my ride home from the gym and decided to publicly discuss a current situation I've been grappling over with my beloveds. This isn't about debating someone's beliefs or making them wrong in any way (to each his/her own), it's a sincere desire to know where others stand on the idea of dating (or marrying for that matter) someone who has opposing religious views.
Before I tell you my little story, I just want to make a few things clear so that the story will have a bit of context.
I have an honours degree in Religious Studies despite having no religious affiliation myself. I find systems of belief fascinating which is why I wanted to learn about oodles of them, and I respect each person's choice to believe whatever they do, even if I don't share a similar view.
I choose my beloveds based on the size of their heart and their acceptance of others; not the details of their beliefs.
Most people don't see the world through my particular lense anyways and I'm ok with that. I'm not trying to get people to think like me. "Those who are convinced themselves, seek not to convince." I just live my personal truth and do my best to support others in doing the same. My best friend is honestly the only person in my life who shares my worldview, and I don't need or require others to. I'm just grateful I have even one person "like me" in my life.
If I had to label myself, I'd be an Atheist. But I never refer to myself as that. I don't see myself as fitting in to any particular construct. Humans created those. We'd be just as fine without the labels. Although I do like the "awesome" label.
Despite not being religious, I feel in touch with the divine daily, even hourly, yet I don't believe in "God". I "pray" endlessly, but not to "Him".
I have many Christian friends. I sometimes join them at their church and for their holidays because I love them and want to spend time with them and I honour what makes their hearts tick. My beliefs are not in line with much of what is being expressed while I'm there, but that's not a problem for me. I'm there for my beloveds supporting them in what feels right and true to who they are. My awesome friends do the same for me.
But if they were a potential partner, my feelings would be much different, as I'm currently learning.
Here's the story: last night while connecting with a delicious new fella, he sent me his Instagram account. On his IG the first thing I noticed was that his description consisted only of a bible reference. So then of course I asked if he was Christian. He said yes, proudly.
I asked him what that meant for him and how he experiences God in his life, because I wanted to get a sense of where he was at on the religious scale I suppose. There is such a wide, W I D E range of beliefs within this particular religion especially, and I wanted to know what he adheres to.
Well, we conversed for hours on the topic and we have 100% opposing views. Parts got heated. Not a bad thing. But a thing. We respected one another's views despite not sharing them - not even a little bit. I won't bother to express what those might be because I don't think it's relevant to this post and I imagine many of my wonderful friends share his views so I don't want them to feel like I'm judging them for their beliefs, because I'm not.
But what I am noticing is that the more I learned about what he believes, the less I wanted to date him. We talked about that as well. He's as upfront, communicative and strong-willed as I am (which I love), so I knew I could tell him the truth. That I can't imagine actually dating someone who perceives the world, himself and others through that particular lense. I figured there'd be nothing but fights when you have a fundamentally different worldview from someone you're intimate with (which we are not yet, by the way).
He said if I'm not trying to convert him and he's not trying to convert me (which is true - I don't need him to believe what I do and I sure as hell will never get on board with his beliefs), then why would it become a problem (which I get) and he made the point that this is probably only one of the many ways our ideas would clash given who we are (which I also agree with).
But I still don't like the idea of moving forward with someone when there is such a large gap in the beliefs that shape our worldview. And for the record, our type of dynamic so far is not one that could be reduced to something superficial. There's a depth and substance and connection between us from day one which is why I'm even contemplating this instead of jumping to end it like I first wanted to.
So this is why I asked my friends to chime in on Facebook. I included this post and asked, "Could you date/marry or are you dating/married to someone with opposing religious views? Or is it a deal breaker for you?" I got plenty of feedback with various opinions. It was a great and expansive conversation.
I know that religion, politics, and even eating habits (vegan vs meat-eaters), can really get us revved up and be the source of division, both online and in real life. And I know that no two people can agree on everything and that we get to decide what we'll accept and what we won't accept in our lives or in a friend or in a potential partner. So that is what I was trying to sort out through this post and with the insight from those around me.
Ultimately I did not move forward with this fellow for reasons beyond our opposing world views, but I think in the future I will make it a priority to make sure from the start that I'm lining up with someone's core values. I don't think I could date them otherwise. Of course shared values don't automatically equal the right fit, but it's a pretty great start.
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