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talking to myself
a fictitious conversation with my fictitious future boyfriend
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)
6.19.11
general

Dating as an non-theist woman has unique challenges, which sucks since I have enough dating challenges to overcome as it is.

I was recently thinking about this person I have a bit of crush of on, who it is rumored is quite fond of that Jesus fella. Now this the kind of news that generally turns me off of a guy, but this guy is just such a catch in all other respects (he's UBER geeky and adorable), that it makes me still pine a bit. It got me thinking; could I live with someone who was genuinely one of the 'faithful'?

But while I was considering the question, I realized it was far more complicated than that. Even if I could conceptualize a future with an active church-goer, what are the odds they could accept my requirements? Not very likely. So I decided to play the conversation out in my head, and see what happened:

ME: What about kids?

FFB (Fictitious Future Boyfriend): What about kids?

ME: Well, if you want to marry me we not only have to agree that we want kids or not, and how many, and when, but also how we're going to raise them.

FFB: What do you mean raise them?

ME: Well, you'll probably want them to go to church right?

FFB: Of course.

ME: Right, see, that's a problem.

FFB: Why?

ME: Because the only way I would consent to expose a child to any religion would be if we exposed them to all religion.

FFB: Seriously? I guess that hadn't occurred to me.

ME: So, can you do it? Can you raise your children not to believe God IS, but to believe God MAY BE? Can you teach them not only the bible, but the Koran, and the Talmud, the Tao-te-ching and the Upanishads? Can you raise your children to question all beliefs, including your own? Will you be able to deal with your kid learning ancient Greek mythology and being taught it's as likely true as anything in the bible?

FFB: Wait, what? You can't seriously believe that? That's a bit demeaning in fact. Christianity is different than...

ME: No, it's not different, and I'm not demeaning anything. In fact, you saying that is demeaning to me. Think about this from the other side, from the perspective of someone who does not believe, who didn't grow up with religion, but eventually taught herself about the different faiths and finally determined that they are all just tales conceived by man to help us understand a universe prior to science's existence. I don't even blame Christians too much for this instinct that everyone - even non-believers - should at least treat Christianity with deference as the most plausible (based entirely on it's headcount) of all religions. They genuinely convince themselves that non-believers intentionally ignore or dismiss "God" in their lives, but deep down they know he's real.

But imagine how it feels, to spend your entire life defending that you don't believe in a magical man in the sky that controls the entire universe? Seriously, imagine it. How do you think it feels, to spend your life defending that you don't believe in virgin-births, in people being born sinners, in a fiery hell where you'll go if you misbehave, in evil snakes and a God who tells his children that a craving for knowledge, understanding and intellect are sins! How would that make you feel?

You are a person of reason, a man of intelligence. Obviously, because I wouldn't be with you if you weren't. So how would you imagine it feels to be told that there's something wrong with YOU because not only would you have eaten the apple, but you'd have thrown the core in gods face and said, "You've got some nerve bucko. Screw ashamed. Do you know my body is deteriorating more rapidly than it should because I'm not covering it to protect it from the elements? Do you know what sun damage alone can do. Jeez, all you had to do was tell us to make some blankets or something. I don't suppose any plant in this nifty garden has aloe in it?"

Look, I do try to respect what you choose to believe, but that doesn't mean I can pretend your god is more likely to exist than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That's not being snide, it's being honest. And it's really frustrating to be put in a position to defend not believing in something that is designed to have no proof. I mean, it requires faith to be one of the faithful. And faith, at least in this context, is believing in something with no proof it is/was/will be. According to the bible, your god expects you to ignore reason and simply have faith that he exists. It is absolutely inconceivable to me that I'd be treated as the weird one for not being capable of ignoring reason.


From there it just devolved into a lot of sobbing and begging. I told him we could still be friends and that "of course he'd find love again." Poor guy still hasn't quite recovered.

So I admit, sometimes I don't even consider a religious man as a potential date and/or mate. It's just too much work. But then I'm limited to the men somewhere between "spiritual but not religious" and "anyone who's ever believed anything supernatural is a sheeple". An atheist friend said recently, "atheist doesn't equal cynic." And of course he's right. But any woman who's dated in the non-theist world knows; from skepticism it's a pretty straight shot to cynical. Now this is strictly anecdotal, but I've not only spoken to a lot of guys on dating sites, I've also looked at a lot of profiles just to indulge my personal game of, "What MBTI type are they?"

Atheist men are more likely to dismiss marriage as a viable life-choice.
Atheist men are more likely to not want children.
Atheist men are more likely to prefer open relationships to monogamy.
Atheist men are less likely to be into commitment in general, much less the idea of a life partner.
Atheist men on OKCupid almost unanimously pick "someone to go out with" over "someone to go home to."

Atheist men also seem more inclined to use phrases like, "What does 'love' even mean?", "Why do we have to define our relationship?" and "You just think you want to be in love because the media tells you that you do." You know, douchey things like that. Because a woman with an IQ of 134 can't possibly know what she wants out of life without Vogue (do people still read that) telling her, right?

Now all that is great if you're a woman who also sees the world through no-colored glasses. And there are women like that out there, and I hope they all find the men I've tried dating (seriously, I'll hook you up). But for a single-mother RomCom writer, who's tired of dating and just wants to find someone to share a life with...

Let's just say it's a frustrating situation. I'd love for OKCupid to do some Trends charts on how many non-theist women are not big on marriage, kids, etc. I imagine I'm not remotely alone in my frustration, but since I don't spend much time looking at women's profiles, it's hard to say.


ABOUT KATHERINE L (AKA CLEVERTITANIA)

When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

more about katherine l (aka clevertitania)

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