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  1. #21

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    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 ...



  2. #22
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    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.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim


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  3. #23
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    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.



  4. #24
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    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.


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  5. #25
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    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
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccoronios View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  7. #27
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    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.
    www.ayliprod.com
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccoronios View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  9. #29
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    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.

    If THOSE two faiths can happily cohabitate, then just about ANYTHING is possible!!
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnvh View Post
    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.

    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).



  11. #31
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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique



  12. #32
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    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.



  13. #33
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    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.

    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.



  14. #34
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    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.
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.



  15. #35
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    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 ...
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  16. #36
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    AbbieS, thanks so much for all of those links and all the info! I really appreciate you taking the time to share.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    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.



  17. #37
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    [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 ...
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  18. #38
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    [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 ...
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
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  19. #39
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    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.


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  20. #40
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    [QUOTE=Wellspotted;6919134]
    Quote Originally Posted by ccoronios View Post
    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?



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    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.
    Of the heart-aching, hard-working, hope-having, horse-loving and horse-less variety. We are a sad species indeed.



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