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An Agnostic's Guide To Marriage


MerryG
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http://www.nytimes.c...o-marriage.html

 

 

 

WHEN my husband, Fred, and I planned our wedding, he had two strong opinions: 1) brisket should be served, along with the fried chicken; and 2) we would recite the Lord’s Prayer in the ceremony.

 

This came as something of a shock to me (the prayer, not the brisket), as the two of us had attended church together only with my family on holidays, and my quick editor’s hand had been busily crosshatching out all references to “God” and “Jesus” from the wedding vows sent to us by the liberal preacher we had chosen.

 

“Is the Lord’s Prayer really necessary?” I asked Fred.

 

“Yeah,” he said, in his quiet way. “It’s important to me.”

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That was a very good piece, thanks for posting it. A lot of comments really resonated with me. Here was probably my favorite:

 

“Do you believe Jesus was the son of God?” they asked on the drive home from services one Sunday.

The initial thought in my 7-year-old mind: “I have a choice?” But my second thought was more startling: “No.”

 

The main thing that annoys me though is the author's fear to use or misunderstanding of the word atheist. I even see it pervasively throughout this site. Atheism is one answer to one question. The question is "Do you believe in god?" The answer is "No." It is not an assertion that god or gods do not exist. The author is an atheist but won't use the word.

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I'd say she's more of a spiritualist. She seems quite superstitious, just doesn't believe in a "one true god". These two may call themselves agnostic, but they still fall into the fallacy of thinking there's a good reason for church. There isn't. Taking their son there can do no good if they don't believe.

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That was a good article, thank you for sharing it. These points resonated with me, still being married to a believer:

 

But I did realize I liked the comfort of other people believing, especially my other half. It made me feel safe. Not believing in something, or not being steadfast in what you’re told to believe, can be frightening. It makes those pesky existential questions in life more difficult to answer, particularly when you wake up at 4 a.m., short of breath from contemplating the finality of death.

 

Even though I didn’t believe, I wanted him to. I realized I had reveled in my husband’s conviction, his willingness to look past tangible evidence and just have faith in something I couldn’t buy into. I was awed by the innocence and the naïveté. And I had to mourn the loss of it.

Now he was just as cynical as I was.

 

A part of me wants my husband to deconvert, another part is scared of him going through this.

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This writer seems like a bit of a nitwit.

 

But I did realize I liked the comfort of other people believing, especially my other half. It made me feel safe. Not believing in something, or not being steadfast in what you’re told to believe, can be frightening. It makes those pesky existential questions in life more difficult to answer, particularly when you wake up at 4 a.m., short of breath from contemplating the finality of death.

 

It made her feel good that people around her faced reality like naive children?

 

 

Fred’s faith was my safety net, just in case this whole God thing really was the way. With him, there was always the chance that when I got to the bouncer at Heaven’s door and my name wasn’t on the list, I could say, “Hey! I know someone inside.”

 

Clearly this is a person who is truly agnostic in the colloquial sense of the word. She seems to be playing a bit of Pascal's wager with herself just in case.

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Clearly this is a person who is truly agnostic in the colloquial sense of the word. She seems to be playing a bit of Pascal's wager with herself just in case.

 

Good point, I didn't notice that.

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I know so many people who hold a belief in "some sort of spirituality" or "some sort of god" or "some sort of afterlife" or "some sort of Christianity" simply because they think they're supposed to. Strangely, these people will strongly defend their unfounded and rather amorphous beliefs just as if they had studied the subject and then came to a rational conclusion about it. Atheists and agnostics, on the other hand, are constantly bombarded with claims of the supernatural and their response is to examine the evidence and arrive at a conclusion that can be defended.

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