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starhorse
Mar. 31, 2013, 04:37 PM
Has anyone done it? From what to what? How'd it go?

Has anyone done it from no religious background to "finding god"/becoming religious?

Any good books to read?

Thanks for sharing!

pony baloney
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:12 PM
Nowhere's near marriage here, but I dated a guy I was crazy about (and still am) a few years ago who is a devout Christian. I have no religion but was raised Catholic. I endured his attempts at converting me, even read the entire New Testament, thinking maybe I was missing something. It's just not me. He ended it because of our different world views.

My feeling is that I am who I am and if he really liked me, he'd accept me as I am, just as I accepted him as he was. I'm a good person, with morals and respect for other people. Apparently that's not good enough.

Unless you would be converting because you want to and totally believe in all the teachings, I'd reconsider. Not saying that you'd be unhappy if you did convert, but question why you'd be doing it.

pheasantknoll
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:53 PM
Well, you haven't gotten a lot of replies . . . So I will have a go.

From personal experience, I can tell you that having a common faith makes raising children much easier. I promise you that things you never considered important take on new meaning when children enter the scene.

Most churches have programs that do not require commitments. You can explore the faith offered by the church and decide if it is right for you, while you are discerning whether marriage to this person is for you!

I am a convert, but not for marriage reasons. Perhaps God is offering you this opportunity to meet him.

Feel free to pm me if you have questions.

Frances

lilitiger2
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:12 PM
Totally agree about the importance of a common faith in raising kids, or at least that it makes it easier - and easier in general. Didn't necessarily "convert" to husband's faith (Native), but totally support (which is a lot). If he had a partner who did not, it would not work. When I was in my twenties I dated a guy, adored him, who was of a different faith and very committed. While I didn't necessariliy disagree with anything he believed, really, I was not going to convert. We parted, largely over that, and he wound up marrying a woman of that faith and raising their kids accordingly. I imagine he is MUCH happier than he would have been with me, because he would have been torn. I cannot imagine marrying anyone who did not respect my faith.Same for the partner. Iwill say that one very cool thing about being married to Mr. LT is that we pray together. I had not had that before and I really, really like it.

paw
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:25 PM
To my mind (ex-Catholic, now areligious), it's not going to work if you have to fake it. It may depend on what faith you're considering of thinking of converting to, and whether you have any leaning towards religion or not - if you seriously don't care and your partner' religion is fairly mainstream, you may be able to work it out, but if you're jumping in to some fundementalist sect, be very careful.

Don't lie to yourself, either - marriages where either party is expected to redefine something substantial about themselves generally don't work. Are you being asked to convert, or is it your own idea?

Good luck.

CarolinaGirl
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:36 PM
Hubby and I are both non-religious, but know someone who went from being Catholic (self admits that he wasn't a great Catholic lol) to Muslim so he could marry his now wife. She is Egyptian and pretty much he had to convert for her family ( who are still in Egypt) to let her marry him. They're happy.. I don't think they are necessarily crazy religious, but they do follow the no alcohol/etc type things.

starhorse
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:06 PM
I'm not religious, and have always been agnostic. It's just never been a priority to me.

Boyfriend of 5 years (living with for 2) is Greek Orthodox, and wants a wife on the same page religiously. He does not want it to be a "just for formality" thing... he wants me to believe so that our potential future kids/family have similar ideas and values.

I am very open to all of it, and I understand how important it is to him and his identity, but I am struggling to really "find" god. Not sure where to go from here, but we love each other a lot and I'd hate for it to end over this.

Alagirl
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:08 PM
converting for marriage has nothing to do with finding god. :lol:

I am sorry, but the last few services I attended I felt really strongly like walking out (but couldn't, for various reasons)

Well, if it's no skin of your nose which religion you don't practice, go for it. I think my best friend's mother had converted, my friend was raised catholic.
My MIL converted, but thy really didn't practice religion (until she found church and is not a different denomination yet all together)

DH thinks you can't just strip your believes.
I have seen too many fakers to even want to go there.

But if you think and feel it's important to you to be one or the other, stick to it.

FWIW DH and I do not see eye to eye in political matters either, we solved that by not talking politics. I stick to it better than he does but we manage (20 years now and counting)

starhorse
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:14 PM
I mean, if it was just about signing some paper/doing some routines/reading a book I would be down in a second! He's a great guy and I respect him and his choices and his needs when it comes to religion. But he actually needs the genuine buy-in, which is a whole 'nother story when it comes to my incredibly logical and stubborn brain.

Still hoping for success stories or more words of wisdom!

Alagirl
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:17 PM
On the other hand, I don't think I ever heard anyone ask 'hey, he/she wants me to drop my religion'

oye vey....


The buy in?

:) Sorry, Honey, I love you, but THAT won't happen.:)

You respect him, what about the other way around?

Yes, this is the anti organized religion, spiritual cynic asking, who would be me.

starhorse
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:26 PM
I totally feel you, and my knee-jerk reaction was the same. "I can respect you, why can't you respect me? I'm not asking you to change, why are you asking me to change?" But, I'm not from a religious background, so I don't want to pretend the playing fields are equal, so to speak. This is a huge part of his identity and culture, and it matters a lot to his family, too.

And the kicker is, I am trying to be open minded and get on board with all of this. I'm not against his request or his beliefs. I just can't wrap my head around it!

You, I think, would get along with my dad. Anytime I mention it to him, he laughs and tells me I better work on my poker face :-) Still love him!

Frizzle
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:34 PM
My grandmother is a devout Catholic and my grandfather was...oh, dear, I can't even remember. Protestant or Lutheran or something like that. Neither one converted and they were very happily married for over 60 years.

Really, I think most people who convert for marriage don't necessarily believe in the religion but are just doing it to appease the spouse/family.

RedMare01
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:46 PM
I think there's nothing wrong with giving it an honest try, but if you genuinely don't see yourself believing...you both should understand that and be okay with it before the relationship goes any further. He needs to be okay with the fact that you have your own beliefs and not expect something different. Otherwise, you're just setting the relationship up for disaster. Especially if kids come into the picture.

lilitiger2
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:59 PM
Op, I dunno, I think you are being open minded but are being asked to really change your world view on things, and that is not likely to happen without compromising who you are. Some partners are okay with that and some are not.

I was raised Protestant and my husband practices traditional Native practices for his tribe. There would be no way I could completely convert because, in my core, I just don't see things quite that way. But, I am willing to have people over, whenever, trooping through the house for sweats, or ceremonies. I am very honest about what I can and can't do (a lot of fasts, for example) and will always support him. And there are parts of his faith I love, really love, and we do agree on a great deal. I am delighted that he has not asked that I take some kind of vow, or convert or something because that is not who I am and I couldn't.

I think that if one person considers it a requirement that another has the same faith, it can be a very hard road if that person doesn't. There will be events and rituals and so on that you don't subscribe to, and you can bet your kids will ask you why not. Again, some people really don't care but others care a lot (my former partner). It just depends on how firmly people see things. I know a couple who is half Jewish (him) and half Catholic (her). She takes the kids to Mass and they have interesting religious/spiritual discussions. He had to be willing to let her raise the kids Catholic, though.

Spiritual practice is a big thing, a really core thing about how we see the world. I could not see converting if it was not truly in my heart, for real.

starhorse
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:09 AM
I would definitely not do it if it's not in my heart. I wouldn't betray him like that, and I know I wouldn't be able to lie to myself. I guess I'm just hopeful that some people really DO find the same beliefs, even if they weren't born and raised with them.

I wish it was enough to be open to his practices and accepting of them, but it seems that's not enough. It's important for him to be married in his church, which I guess requires faith on both sides of the marriage. I wish it was like science or history -- you read about it, you learn it, and even if you question it, it still just is. I wish I could feel that way about god. That it just is.

Darn him for being such a good guy. It'd be easier to call him closed-minded and walk off in a huff.

Alagirl
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:09 AM
Op, I dunno, I think you are being open minded but are being asked to really change your world view on things, and that is not likely to happen without compromising who you are. Some partners are okay with that and some are not.

I was raised Protestant and my husband practices traditional Native practices for his tribe. There would be no way I could completely convert because, in my core, I just don't see things quite that way. But, I am willing to have people over, whenever, trooping through the house for sweats, or ceremonies. I am very honest about what I can and can't do (a lot of fasts, for example) and will always support him. And there are parts of his faith I love, really love, and we do agree on a great deal. I am delighted that he has not asked that I take some kind of vow, or convert or something because that is not who I am and I couldn't.

I think that if one person considers it a requirement that another has the same faith, it can be a very hard road if that person doesn't. There will be events and rituals and so on that you don't subscribe to, and you can bet your kids will ask you why not. Again, some people really don't care but others care a lot (my former partner). It just depends on how firmly people see things. I know a couple who is half Jewish (him) and half Catholic (her). She takes the kids to Mass and they have interesting religious/spiritual discussions. He had to be willing to let her raise the kids Catholic, though.

Spiritual practice is a big thing, a really core thing about how we see the world. I could not see converting if it was not truly in my heart, for real.

that about sums it up!
:yes:

starhorse
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:12 AM
Also, I must say, before OT potentially closes for the day... I am very grateful for the honest, kind, and respectful feedback. It could easily have turned into a heated debate with some choice words about me and/or my boyfriend, so, thanks for being so gracious, all :)

And they say COTHers are judgmental... ;)

cnvh
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:29 AM
It sounds to me like you're asking if you could/might end up having a conversion experience, or spiritual awakening, or whatever it's called when a person basically just "gets it." I think that's kind of like promising that a woman will get pregnant... You can try all you want, but there's no guarantee it's gonna happen.

I would ask him this question: "I will try. But if I am not ever able to really and fully 'get on board,' what then? Could you still love me as-is?" If his answer is anything but "yes, I'd still love you and we could still be together," then he's not the one for you.

Mara
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:30 AM
If you've been with him for 5 years, you are probably already aware that being Greek Orthodox is very much like being Jewish. (I was in the same boat at one time). It is a very tight-knit, connected community; I always felt welcomed but never really part of things. And SO was not at all religious.

A co-worker is currently getting a raft of grief; she's not Greek herself but her DH is. They just had their first child and named him. . . .Connor. You'd have thought they'd named him Satan, the way his family reacted. (Greek children are always given names of Greek Orthodox saints).

Far_North_Equestrian
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:50 AM
For me, if you don't feel it you shouldn't convert. And I wouldn't want an SO to convert if he wasn't into it.

For those reasons, I choose to date within my church without exception. We believe that our religion is a matter of doing rather then a matter of faith or simple attending a service every so often - and the values just match if I date within my church.

I had a great-uncle who converted to catholocisim (from protestant) for his wife. She was devout, and he was there because he was hopelessly devoted to HER. I admire the heck out of them, they were married untill he passed away (well over 50 years), so they must have done something right!

IMO - there's a difference between converting from say, one christian faith to another (same bible - different church) then lets say converting from Catholic to Buddhist, or even to judaisim.

King's Ransom
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:02 AM
If you want a ray of hope, here's a tiny one. I did study Catholocism because my then-boyfriend was Catholic. Like you, I would not fake convert. I took instruction by mail, from the Knights of Columbus, because I wanted the privacy and freedom to make my own decisions. It was like a revelation to me -- so many things that had confused me before made sense. I converted and am still Catholic some 30+ years later.

Now the bad news. The guy turned out to be a controlling, raging, abusive husband. No, I did not see that coming. We divorced after 25 years of marriage and two kids. He got an annulment, which makes a mockery of the whole business.

I have "issues" with the Catholic Church now, but still fundamentally believe ... Which sorta leaves me a woman without a country .. er, church.

This may or may not be a helpful story ...

fooler
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:47 AM
Food for thought.
During marriage counseling for my first (now in my second) marriage, ,the preacher asked us about our views on life. What he was trying to determine was if we had similar views and attitudes. In other words were we similarly "yoked", as one would pair oxen or horses to pull a cart. If the animals are unable to work together, the cart does not move. Obviously xDH and I were not similarly yoked when the going got tough.
When it gets tough, for whatever reason, that is when the differences or similarities are exaggerated. Can you find a common ground to build and grow your marriage or will you tear down the foundation?
You have been together long enough to know how you life together will be. So ask yourself are you and your darling similarly yoked now? Would your conversion be a step toward something you welcome or would it be you giving up a piece of yourself?
Not meaning to be flippant or crass, it is late here.

starhorse
Apr. 1, 2013, 11:15 AM
King's Ransom - thank you for that story. While it did not have the perfect ending, the religious part seems to be a good ending for you.


I would welcome warmly believing in god, for sure. I'd love to believe that there's a plan for me, and someone loves me so much to send their son to die for me, and all that. I think Christian values (though they don't always play out this way in certain churches/groups) are pretty spot on -- treat others nicely, help the poor, be a positive player in your community. It sounds great, and I'd love to be a part of it. I don't feel like I'd be losing a part of me, really. My skeptical self is not necessarily a part of me I really want to keep, anyways.

But it comes down to if it's even possible. Sometimes I feel like I really could open my mind that much, and sometimes I feel like I can't. The Bible does not strike me as the most realistic story I've read...

I really feel like otherwise we're a pretty solid match. We've done long distance for a few years, we lived together for a few years, we've been through graduate school and career changes and all that jazz. I've never felt unevenly yoked. Sometimes we take turns getting the cart moving, I'd say, when things are really tough for one person, but overall, pretty even.

TBRedHead
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:09 PM
What a tough decision! Religion is a huge choice not to be taken lightly.

I converted from Catholicism when I was 14, I knew what I believed and never looked back. With that said, it shapes my whole being, it's my whole life, it determines everything. Before dh I was into a guy, and we worked perfectly- except religion. He was orthodox catholic, and it shaped his whole way of being too and it just wasn't going to work out, we had too different views and weren't able to meet anywhere.

Then I met dh, who is Mormon. Again, someone who's religion shaped their whole being, but we were able to meet in the middle (I grew up with a Mormon best friend, I'm very familiar with their church.) He's a lot more conservative then I am, it can drive me up a wall sometimes (no, if I'm wearing a bathing suit coverup and I stop by the barn to see my horse really fast, where I'm the only boarder, I don't need pants!!) But we talked about values beforehand, how we wanted to raise kids, and we are on the same page.

Btw, as a religious studies major, I have always loved how my Jewish professors presented the bible, and I find this in line with reformed Jews. It's presented as a story, and explained WHY they practice what they do, and why they don't others. It's not presented as cold, hard fact.

ccoronios
Apr. 1, 2013, 12:52 PM
OP, you & BF have dated for 5 years, lived together...and only NOW, as he's considering marrying you, he informs you that commiting to HIS beliefs is a deal-breaker? I'm thinking I'd rather have known that from the start.

Intellectually, I understand what you mean when you say you'd like the feeling of belonging, 'doing good', and 'being kind' that you see espoused in church settings. But you can 'do good' and be kind and find a compatible group without buying into the whole organized religious experience.

Several people here have differentiated among "Christian", "Catholic", "Protestant", "Lutheran"... I don't understand this at all. Christians are people who believe in Christ. Catholics and Protestants (of which Lutheran is just one breakout group) are ALL Christian. ALL profess to believe in One God (as do Jews & Muslims). However, each tiny breakout group seems to believe in One God - just as long as it's the one THEY believe in. Does that leave the one everyone ELSE believes in a false god?

TB's Jewish professor was right on. Of COURSE the bible is a collection of stories - many in the Old Testament are handed down from WAY before writing and reading - and all (Old & New) were passed along from generation to generation in story-telling. Then you have to consider the number of languages and dialects that they went through. Then someone wrote them down - as HE remembered/heard them. And then many others translated them into many different languages. Have you ever tried translating a story - getting not only the words right, but giving them the right connotations?

Oy - organized religion. I find that those who espouse it with the most vehemance are the most intolerant.

I'm sure your guy is a nice man, and that his family is good and kind. But if they are not willing to respect YOU, then I would think long and hard about trying to become someone you're not comfortable with in order to be part of that family.

Good luck to you.

Carol

Alagirl
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:57 PM
OP, you & BF have dated for 5 years, lived together...and only NOW, as he's considering marrying you, he informs you that commiting to HIS beliefs is a deal-breaker? I'm thinking I'd rather have known that from the start.

Intellectually, I understand what you mean when you say you'd like the feeling of belonging, 'doing good', and 'being kind' that you see espoused in church settings. But you can 'do good' and be kind and find a compatible group without buying into the whole organized religious experience.

Several people here have differentiated among "Christian", "Catholic", "Protestant", "Lutheran"... I don't understand this at all. Christians are people who believe in Christ. Catholics and Protestants (of which Lutheran is just one breakout group) are ALL Christian. ALL profess to believe in One God (as do Jews & Muslims). However, each tiny breakout group seems to believe in One God - just as long as it's the one THEY believe in. Does that leave the one everyone ELSE believes in a false god?

TB's Jewish professor was right on. Of COURSE the bible is a collection of stories - many in the Old Testament are handed down from WAY before writing and reading - and all (Old & New) were passed along from generation to generation in story-telling. Then you have to consider the number of languages and dialects that they went through. Then someone wrote them down - as HE remembered/heard them. And then many others translated them into many different languages. Have you ever tried translating a story - getting not only the words right, but giving them the right connotations?

Oy - organized religion. I find that those who espouse it with the most vehemance are the most intolerant.

I'm sure your guy is a nice man, and that his family is good and kind. But if they are not willing to respect YOU, then I would think long and hard about trying to become someone you're not comfortable with in order to be part of that family.

Good luck to you.

Carol

If 'being Christian' was all there was to it, you would be close to the truth.

Alas, the denominations are not the same, never have been, or we'd all be some form of Orthodox Catholics, or Jewish...and not have a boat load of protestant cngregations alone in town.

I agree, the vehemence usually does not leave much room for those with less ardor.

I think it boils down to how much of a compromise can be had:
The seeker not being forced to 'believe' and the believer making for allowance for the other person.

I know I can stomach organized religion only in small doses. I do not attend services if I can at all avoid it. (I thought I'd be ok in the catholic service held for my stepmom, old church, with organ, and the whole bunch singing, the way I actually like it, but from opening curtain on I wanted to bolt!)
I don't mind if somebody tell my kid about religion. We have talked about it in the past, we will again if need be, but he has to find his own path.

I don't belittle people who do believe - as long as they leave me be. I can be diplomatic when they burst with joy over their faith. I burst with joy when I see a wonderful sunset, or a view from a vista high above, or the perfect flower along the way.


I think the OP has to figure out with her BF where the compromise is located: She signs the papers and gives it an honest try, he lets her find her own way without pushing.

ccoronios
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:00 PM
Alagirl, as I re-read, I realize I was not quite clear. I understand that the various denominations and sects are QUITE different in many cases. My point (that I did not make clearly) was that Catholics, Protestants, and Lutherans are all "Christian." But - as an example of what I was saying on the 'one god' topic - those who label themselves "Christian" are not doing so in the umbrella meaning, but segregating themselves into a separate group, and by doing so, imply that all others are 'non-Christian' because they don't believe the exact same things/worship slightly - or vastly - differently.

Alagirl
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:14 PM
Alagirl, as I re-read, I realize I was not quite clear. I understand that the various denominations and sects are QUITE different in many cases. My point (that I did not make clearly) was that Catholics, Protestants, and Lutherans are all "Christian." But - as an example of what I was saying on the 'one god' topic - those who label themselves "Christian" are not doing so in the umbrella meaning, but segregating themselves into a separate group, and by doing so, imply that all others are 'non-Christian' because they don't believe the exact same things/worship slightly - or vastly - differently.

Again, to a - how to say it politely - not so religious person, you are 100% right.
To those who strongly believe there are universes between either of them.

it should not matter, but it does.

cnvh
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:52 PM
OP, for what it's worth, one of my dear friends (who actually served as DH and my wedding officiant) is a practicing Wiccan, married very happily for 30+ years to a VERY devout Catholic. :eek:

If THOSE two faiths can happily cohabitate, then just about ANYTHING is possible!!

lilitiger2
Apr. 1, 2013, 07:19 PM
OP, for what it's worth, one of my dear friends (who actually served as DH and my wedding officiant) is a practicing Wiccan, married very happily for 30+ years to a VERY devout Catholic. :eek:

If THOSE two faiths can happily cohabitate, then just about ANYTHING is possible!!

But obviously those two were both willing and able to be tolerant and flexible. And he obviously is not all that traditional. But it would NOT work if he was traditional at all about it, i.e., made all strenuous efforts to raise the children Catholic and his wife disagreed, or undermined it. It really depends on how each side sees it. In my case, I could not convert and my former partner I think is really happy that he and his now wife see things the same way! OTOH, my husband now does not require me to do anything, and I can accept or not as I choose (as long as I support the activities and lifestyle).

charismaryllis
Apr. 2, 2013, 04:55 PM
speaking of which:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/marrying-out-of-the-faith/?hp

starhorse
Apr. 2, 2013, 05:33 PM
Wow. I am totally going to look into that book. The thing is, I don't WANT to keep my own religion (well, frankly, I don't have one. But you know what I mean). I'm interested in and desire for the kind of culture, tradition, family-oriented things BF and his church do. I'm just really having a hard time getting myself to believe.

Ugh. Adulthood is really complicated.

microbovine
Apr. 2, 2013, 06:21 PM
I was baptized at 24 after no religion growing (I should mention that it was in a church that does more child baptisms, LOL!). I felt "behind", and still do because I didn't know the bible stories. But it didn't matter. Faith is between you and God and during your classes, that will become more clear. Religion is between you and the chosen church. Churches are essentially a community group that is supposed to help other people and guide those with common beliefs (the same could be said for a mosque or a temple). You get all kinds of people at a church, just like there are all kinds of people in your community.

Baptism, which is what you would do to convert, is not the end. It's the beginning. You don't need to be an expert. You don't need to study on your own, unless you want to (they sell study bibles that you can buy-just ask your particular denomination which version they use so you can bring it to your conversion classes). Just go with the flow, let them explain their beliefs to you and see what you think. It certainly won't hurt you. :lol:

With this new pope, I think Catholicism looks a lot better than it used to. Heck, we're sending our son to Catholic school next year with no reservations.

AbbieS
Apr. 2, 2013, 06:57 PM
OP, I'm only 18 so I don't know much about the marriage experience, but even though I've been a Christian all my life, I found myself questioning some of it's factuality and accuracy too. It is absolutely good that you do, because you don't want to believe something blindly. I'm here to tell you that the Bible is scientifically accurate and in fact is one of the most historically supported and accurate books ever created.


But it comes down to if it's even possible. Sometimes I feel like I really could open my mind that much, and sometimes I feel like I can't. The Bible does not strike me as the most realistic story I've read...

Check these sites to get started, and there is lots more research sites like these:
http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/science.shtml
http://www.icr.org/biblical-record/
Also check out Ken Ham if you're looking for more origin-related stuff, here's one of his quotes:

Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same. The difference is in the way we all interpret the facts. And why do we interpret facts differently? Because we start with different presuppositions; these are things that are assumed to be true without being able to prove them. These then become the basis for other conclusions. All reasoning is based on presuppositions (also called axioms). This becomes especially relevant when dealing with past events
As a tip when researching, avoid sites with a bias toward one denomination of Christianity (ie Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic etc.)

ccoronios is rght, this stuff is confusing, and I'll explain it in short terms

Several people here have differentiated among "Christian", "Catholic", "Protestant", "Lutheran"... I don't understand this at all. Christians are people who believe in Christ. Catholics and Protestants (of which Lutheran is just one breakout group) are ALL Christian. ALL profess to believe in One God (as do Jews & Muslims). However, each tiny breakout group seems to believe in One God - just as long as it's the one THEY believe in. Does that leave the one everyone ELSE believes in a false god?

TB's Jewish professor was right on. Of COURSE the bible is a collection of stories - many in the Old Testament are handed down from WAY before writing and reading - and all (Old & New) were passed along from generation to generation in story-telling. Then you have to consider the number of languages and dialects that they went through. Then someone wrote them down - as HE remembered/heard them. And then many others translated them into many different languages. Have you ever tried translating a story - getting not only the words right, but giving them the right connotations?

Oy - organized religion. I find that those who espouse it with the most vehemance are the most intolerant.

I'm sure your guy is a nice man, and that his family is good and kind. But if they are not willing to respect YOU, then I would think long and hard about trying to become someone you're not comfortable with in order to be part of that family.

Denominations are primarily seperate because of doctrinal differences, and it is in my opinion one of the saddest things in Christian History. The differences are very small like infant baptism or not, predestination vs free will, old earth vs young earth, small nuances. They acknowledge that Christians in all denominations though, will go to heaven if they profess that Jesus is our savior and believe it in their heart. That is all that God tells us we need in the Bible. Denominations are like horses, some types work better for eventing, others for endurance, others for driving, etc, but they are all horses!

Bible continuity and recording through ages and languages is explained as something called divine revelation, which is not really believable unless you believe in God and his power but it goes like this: there were about 40 authors of the Bible and it was written in 3 languages over about 1500 years, but every author was God-inspired, meaning the Holy Spirit was upon them and used them to write the Bible.

I was raised Catholic, and attend the Catholic church just cuz I'm used to it, but I consider myself an independent Christian, or non-denominational. Trust me, I question stuff all the time, I love science, if you want to bounce any questions off me, PM me and I'll do my best to help you out. Transitioning into Christianity can be very hard and it's very important to get a strong foundation and find people you can talk to.

Wellspotted
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:23 PM
Doesn't Judaism teach that the religion of the children comes from the mother? So if a gentile woman married a Jewish man, according to his religion would the children be Jewish if she did not convert?

I had a good friend in grade school-high school whose parents had a "mixed marriage"--the father and both sons went to a Catholic church, the mother and both daughters went to an Episcopal church. They seemed to me like a happy family and I figured it was working for them.

St Paul wrote about not being yoked together with nonbelievers, so that might conceivably mean a Christian might not want to be married to a non-Christian, but St Paul is not God ...

starhorse
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:28 PM
AbbieS, thanks so much for all of those links and all the info! I really appreciate you taking the time to share.




St Paul wrote about not being yoked together with nonbelievers, so that might conceivably mean a Christian might not want to be married to a non-Christian, but St Paul is not God ...

I think BF's reasoning is that, in his church, for the marriage to be recognized as a sacrament and recognized in the eyes of god, both parties must be Christian. He also wants his family raised as he was, in his church, with two parents who are believers. It's also definitely cultural - it's very important to his traditional Greek family.

Wellspotted
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:29 PM
[QUOTE=ccoronios;6915447]OP, you & BF have dated for 5 years, lived together...and only NOW, as he's considering marrying you, he informs you that commiting to HIS beliefs is a deal-breaker? I'm thinking I'd rather have known that from the start./QUOTE]

Having read the above paragraph, now I'm really wondering about OP's BF. What religion teaches that it's OK for a man and woman to live together outside of marriage? None that I know of. So I would question the sincerity of his beliefs if he is only now bringing all this up to you.

None of my business, but OP did ask ...

yellowbritches
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:35 PM
Interesting thread. Makes you step back and think a little bit, and my thoughts have changed as I've read.

I don't think I could ever even end up in your shoes, OP. I don't mean this in any sort of mean spirited way. I was raised as a born again Protestant Christian. So, I KNOW what faith, "religion", and the culture of one's faith is all about. I also have believed, questioned, and (some would say) turned away and now live as, shall we say, spiritual but not (at all) religious. I don't think I could, honestly, seriously date anyone who was devout, in any religion (I couldn't be wrong, but I just don't see my world view and my temperament making that work very well!). And I absolutely would not convert or even be willing to try. I believe and think the way I do for many reasons. This is who I am. Love me or leave me.

Now, when I first started reading this thread I thought maybe I would be willing to go through the formalities in order to keep peace with a future family in law (as long as the fictional SO and I were on the same page an he understood that this was not a "Come to Jesus" kind of conversion, and he was cool with it). But, then I realized that I could not do that because, while not at all religious and sometimes driven insane by the religious, I would feel like I would be mocking someone else's faith. I could not get baptized or take communion without truly believing. I think it is a hold over from my early days.

OP, I would urge you to A) follow your heart. If you are compelled to study, learn, and search to find what you are looking for, then keep on doing it. And B) seriously talk with the SO and find out what he thinks if you can't accept it.

Good luck! Faith and religion can be beautiful things.

starhorse
Apr. 2, 2013, 07:39 PM
[QUOTE=ccoronios;6915447]OP, you & BF have dated for 5 years, lived together...and only NOW, as he's considering marrying you, he informs you that commiting to HIS beliefs is a deal-breaker? I'm thinking I'd rather have known that from the start./QUOTE]

Having read the above paragraph, now I'm really wondering about OP's BF. What religion teaches that it's OK for a man and woman to live together outside of marriage? None that I know of. So I would question the sincerity of his beliefs if he is only now bringing all this up to you.

None of my business, but OP did ask ...


No worries, I asked that question, too. Here's my best shot at answering.

As some background, I've known from very early on the religion thing would be a deal-breaker if I didn't convert. I guess I just wasn't 100% sure we'd ever get to the point where it mattered, and saw it as a "cross that bridge when you get to it". So, here we are, at the bridge.

We both moved out of state (about a thousand miles from our home) for professional commitments in the same city. Decided to live together, and while I agree that it probably isn't in the church tradition, his family members and other church members seem... modern? enough to understand the situation and even think that it's wise to live together before marriage.

BF does not follow the Bible word for word, not even close. He lives in a really "reform" Christian way, I'd say, stressing things like community action, being a good neighbor, volunteering, etc.

So, I did ask the question: why is THIS okay, but marriage isn't? To which he responded that he wants to be married in his church, in the eyes of god.

Not making excuses for him. I still grapple with the "exceptions here, but not here" mentality, but I don't think that the living together thing is an issue for his church or family.

Does that help at all?

AbbieS
Apr. 2, 2013, 08:02 PM
The whole "being unequally yoked thing" is a warning to prevent deviance. You see, humans, by nature like things to be as easy and enjoyable as possible. Christianity calls us to go against this nature and do hard, less enjoyable things like choose God over a friend if they are a bad influence, sacrifice time/money to help other people out etc. By marrying or creating a strong bond with someone who doesn't follow this philosophy, you are setting yourself up for temptation away from what you should be doing: putting God first.

I'm not saying the OP would tempt him away, certainly not on purpose, but it could happen.

lilitiger2
Apr. 2, 2013, 08:10 PM
I think BF's reasoning is that, in his church, for the marriage to be recognized as a sacrament and recognized in the eyes of god, both parties must be Christian. He also wants his family raised as he was, in his church, with two parents who are believers. It's also definitely cultural - it's very important to his traditional Greek family.

OP, this is a really hard thing, but honestly,he is asking you do be something you are not. As Canaqua (I think!) said, you can find fellow/female ship and support and community both in and out of an organized religion. And religions differ widely in their approaches. And within THAT variation individuals differ widely in how they see things. Even in this threat - some Cathlics are okay marrying outside the faith and apparently having their children raised Jewish! I can tell you that is NOT official doctrine!

You are who you are, and believe what you believe.Over time, perhaps those beliefs will evolve but they should not do that for anyone else. As was written above,you don't want to marry, and adopt a faith, and then mock it or undermine it (Im sure you would not but you might feel resentful). My husband and I had long talks about this, where I told him that I could see certain elements of his faith with which I disagreed. And there are things I am not going to do. If he felt those things were requirements for beign his partner, I would not be a good one for him, sadly. There are many manywomen could can and do do those activities. He assured me, and it has been true, that he didn't care what I did regarding that faith, as long as I was willing to support him in those activities. Which I am. I do not expect him to do my stuff (although I did drag him to Handel's Messiah one year).

You are not a "believer" in his faith or this likely would not be an issue. SUre you can go through the motions, but you will feel resentful and left out of his family,who will notice. Pursue the spiritual aspect first and see if its a fit for you.

spurgirl
Apr. 2, 2013, 08:17 PM
Greek Orthodox folks are very entrenched in their family, religion and beliefs. I have worked for a wonderful Greek family for 25+ years. The son, who I have known from the day he was born, has been dating his GF since 11th grade-they are now 23, she is taking classes and converting to be able to marry in the Greek church.

You will need to be sincere in your quest to convert, or you will probably have an unhappy union, the family unit is VERY tight in their community, and all the Greeks I know are very sharp minded, and astute. They will see insincerity from a mile away...

starhorse
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:11 PM
Greek Orthodox folks are very entrenched in their family, religion and beliefs. I have worked for a wonderful Greek family for 25+ years. The son, who I have known from the day he was born, has been dating his GF since 11th grade-they are now 23, she is taking classes and converting to be able to marry in the Greek church.

You will need to be sincere in your quest to convert, or you will probably have an unhappy union, the family unit is VERY tight in their community, and all the Greeks I know are very sharp minded, and astute. They will see insincerity from a mile away...

I absolutely would never, ever be looking into god/spirituality just for him. I was looking for god before him, but not in the Greek Orthodox church for obvious reasons (not Greek, don't speak the language -- was checking out good old "American" churches!). Maybe I should be seeking this outside of his church first?

And I do really understand that if I can't do this, then we won't do this. That'll really suck. I hope that doesn't happen. Hence, coming to COTH for words of wisdom from those who may have converted or become believers.

Thanks you guys, for everything. I really appreciate all of the wise words.

nlk
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:02 AM
My Grandmother ( Mom's side) was German and Irish and a Catholic. My Grandfather was...Southern... and a Baptist. They decided to not push religion in their house. While I wish I could say they were happily married for 60 years their marriage problems had nothing to do with religion.

My Dads family I know little about in the ways of religion. My Grandfather is Greek but I can assure you the Greek church has been lost long ago. My Nanny was Finnish mostly maybe English too. Again have no idea of religious views I'm guessing Protestant.

The result is that I was not brought up religious. My oldest son's father was Catholic. My son is baptized Catholic. It was his Dad's choice and one I didn't really care about. My ex fiance after was Catholic and I agreed to get married in a full Catholic ceremony. To me it was always a matter of, if it was that important I could be humble and convert/live in that church. It had little bearing on me.

My husband is Presbyterian. However his time at war has turned him off to the thought of organized religion. I think he found his faith else where and I am ok with that.

My point being if you were simply not raised religious it will not hurt you to sacrifice a part of your self you probably have little attachment to. If you made a conscious choice as an adult to live an atheist or agnostic lifestyle because it is what you believe, don't sacrifice that. It's not fair to you.

One of my favorite sayings ( and recent tattoos ;) ) is "That which yields is not always weak." While there are many meanings behind it I have used it lately to remind myself that being immoveable doesn't make you strong just stubborn. Like wise giving a little doesn't make you weak just compassionate, flexible, or in love enough to realize that there are some battles that just aren't important in the grand scheme of things.

Alagirl
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:16 AM
I absolutely would never, ever be looking into god/spirituality just for him. I was looking for god before him, but not in the Greek Orthodox church for obvious reasons (not Greek, don't speak the language -- was checking out good old "American" churches!). Maybe I should be seeking this outside of his church first?

And I do really understand that if I can't do this, then we won't do this. That'll really suck. I hope that doesn't happen. Hence, coming to COTH for words of wisdom from those who may have converted or become believers.

Thanks you guys, for everything. I really appreciate all of the wise words.


Why look someplace else first?
Got another hot guy in the closet, in case the Greek does not work out? :winkgrin:

Why don't you look at the Greek thing.

maybe you can come to the understanding that he gets his wedding in church but as return for his hypocrisy you get to ease yourself into the gig...he's orthodox when it suits his needs...smack him! :yes: modern when it's more convenient.

I don't really think that you can just flip that switch and 'believe'
Unless you have an epileptic episode on the road to Damascus....


But as I said, I am a cynic. I'd do the wedding/easter/christmas spiel. but the rest he can do himself. but seems like that is not all that important to him either...just the wedding... hmmmm

fordtraktor
Apr. 3, 2013, 09:38 AM
OP, I haven't read all the responses but IMO, it is worth exploring with classes, etc. but if you don't believe, it's something you can't fake.

My DH is a devout Catholic and I am a Protestant of mixed denominations (raised half Methodist, half Free Will Baptist and took my favorite parts of both). I was open to the concept of converting and investigated it, but can't do it because I disagree with some basic tenets of Catholic doctrine and I don't think it is appropriate to "fake it."

One of the important issues is whether, if you have kids, you are willing to raise them in his religion -- especially if religion is an important part of who your partner is. I did agree to this and it works for us. In fact, I think it is good for our son to understand that people can have different beliefs but still respect and love each other.

I attend mass occasionally, DH and the kid go every week. That is often my time to feed the horses after Sunday breakfast, and commune with God the way I like best -- outside in the fresh air with my ponies. ;)

If he *needs* for you to *believe,* that's a tall order. You can't make yourself believe, it's just impossible. What happens if five years down the road you decide you just can't believe any more, is he going to divorce you? I would talk it through, maybe with the help of a priest. They might help your SO see that belief is not something you can just decide to do.

Jazzy Lady
Apr. 3, 2013, 09:52 AM
OP, I would explore. Ask someone for good books that are based on the parts that you have trouble with. Ask lots of questions, read, watch videos and take your time. Pray about it and see what happens. In my experience, it doesn't really matter how hard someone looks for God and thinks they might want him, until they are truly ready for a relationship with Him, He's not going to find you. When and IF you are ready to actually become in relationship with God, then you'll find while you still have questions, things aren't so hard to believe and have faith in.

Good luck in your search. I agree with doing this for you, not for him.

lilitiger2
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:24 AM
If he *needs* for you to *believe,* that's a tall order. You can't make yourself believe, it's just impossible. What happens if five years down the road you decide you just can't believe any more, is he going to divorce you? I would talk it through, maybe with the help of a priest. They might help your SO see that belief is not something you can just decide to do.

Yes. I think its a TON easier to ask for behaviors - "I would like you to ride with me a few times a month" is MUCH more realistic than asking for value change "I would like you to love my horses as much as I do!" - "I would like you to pick up the magazines and crap on the coffee table" vs "I want housekeeping to be as important to you as it is to me" -

So, if it is truly important that my partner really and truly love my horses as much as I do, and not just ride/do the activities with me even though I know he'd prefer to do something else, I need to find someone that truly loves that. Just as others have said, the BEHAVIORS are possible - I agree the children can be raised Catholic (or whatever), I agree that I will not badmouth your faith or prevent you from practicing. I agree that I will attend Christmas/Easter/whatever services.those are things I can DO and I think marriages of mixed faiths that work have agreements along those lines.

But in terms of what, in my heart, I believe? Thats something else. I don't think its wrong to want that, but I don't think you can expect someone to adopt a belief system, particularly one so important.

I will say, I AM NOT OBJECTIVE here :) so bear that in mind! I only know what I was and was not capaable of!

fordtraktor
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:43 AM
Great post, lilitiger2. I agree about the behaviors v. belief 100%.

microbovine
Apr. 3, 2013, 11:13 AM
I'm sorry. I thought your SO was Catholic. The Greek Orthodox church is a different take on the same premise. I was just reading about it, actually. They have some beautiful traditions. It's the same God but different packaging. Do you like his family? You will be embraced as one of their own by going through this. It might click for you. You never know until you try. I enjoy different cultures and religions immensely. I got a chance to travel to over 15 different countries while in the military and it was a wonderful experience to see the different world views. We are more comfortable with our own western civilization, but the Orthodox church is the Way for many countries, such as Greece and Russia. I would go with an open heart and mind and see what happens. :)

I read recently that the Orthodox Patriarch attended Pope Francis' official ceremonies. That's the first sign of unity between the two ancient branches of Christianity in 1,000 years.

starhorse
Apr. 3, 2013, 12:27 PM
His family is super wonderful. They bring me to all of their religious celebrations, and his mom translates for me when he's off with the other relatives. His uncle is from South America (converted to be Greek Orthodox to marry his wife), and he is so excited to have another non-Greek "in the family" (who can also speak some Spanish). I feel like if I was ready to convert, they'd jump all over it and fight over who would get to buy me my first icon :)

We've had the behaviors vs. belief talk. I am fine with the behaviors. In favor of them, even.

Alagirl, you had me laughing at the thought of a back-up guy in the closet. I just meant explore outside his church because it might feel more culturally relevant, rather than the not-my-language/incense-y stuff going on now.

But I have always had a thing for tall dark and handsome, so even if I had another in the closet, he'd probably be Greek or Italian anyways ;)

Wellspotted
Apr. 4, 2013, 08:40 PM
Alagirl's most recent(?) post started me wondering if maybe the guy is open to exploring other churches himself (maybe he doesn't even know it yet).

Just an idea ...

Or maybe he is, as I think some others have said, being a hypocrite.

Where is the "shrug, I really don't know" smiley? :confused:

Starhorse, I just read the end of your last post and I gotta say--

tall dark and handsome guys abound outside the Greek/Italian world! Think Celtic (Irish, Scottish). Think Englishmen. Dark hair, big brown eyes, maybe tall into the bargain ...

Guys don't have to be Mediterranean to be TD&H!

Jaideux
Apr. 4, 2013, 11:44 PM
You can't force it to happen... but it's also not going to happen if you don't try. I don't know much about the Greek Church but I imagine that as long as you enjoy the ceremonial aspect and you're also enjoying the process of being exposed to faith, whether or not you "find" God is not going to matter as much.

It's kind of like achieving... it... during... "grown up activities" behind closed doors ;) Stressing about it won't get you there, and "getting there" isn't the be-all, end-all of the experience (though certainly if you find it, woohoo!).

I'm converting to Judaism for the completely opposite reasons as you (my Jewish boyfriend wants nothing to do with religion, and it's just a happy coincidence I want to convert and he is already Jewish). And I'm not sure I've found God. And certainly I only understand a little of the services because I don't speak Hebrew. But I love the ceremony, I love the cadence, and I like that it is bringing spirituality into my life in a way non-religion wasn't. And that's enough for me right now.

Frizzle
Apr. 5, 2013, 02:30 AM
I'm here to tell you that the Bible is scientifically accurate and in fact is one of the most historically supported and accurate books ever created.


:confused::eek:

microbovine
Apr. 5, 2013, 07:29 AM
I forgot. My mother (divorced my Catholic father) dated a Greek man with a warm, loving family as well. I enjoyed attending their holidays so much. I loved the little traditions and the food. I was a little freaked out by the whole lamb being roasted on a spit in their backyard (I was a vegetarian at the time) but other things were neat, such as the game you play with hard boiled eggs and homemade olives. We even stayed with them after our house was damaged after the big SF earthquake.

My mom dated "S" over 20 years ago, yet, we are still friends of his and his family. I was good friends with his daughter, (she and went riding together as kids because we both boarded at the same barn). She went through a phase, after a visit to Greece, where she considered joining a Greek convent. She ended not doing that and went on to college instead. I haven't talked to her for a long time but S sends our son gifts.

Have you seen the movie "My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding"? I laughed pretty hard because some of it reminded me of S's family.