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Old 08-08-2011, 02:23 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Default Interfaith couples and tangles

So yeah. I'm born-again Christian.

Phew. So now I've said. Neither one of my partners share my convictions. Needless to say, there is some confusion at times. My female partner and I had a long talk about how she feels there's this huge thing she doesn't get at all that has a huge effect on my life, one that she will always be a little wary of.

I can't lie to her, and don't want to. My faith is the most important thing in my life. Close relationships come second, but I can't pretend that if she suddenly got militant atheism and made me choose between my faith and her, as much as it would hurt me, I would choose my beliefs.

Her beef with my spirituality is mostly that she can't begin to fathom how it affects my daily life in concrete ways. I think she's scared that one day I wake up and decide that since the Bible doesn't say anything about cars, we won't be driving one, or that God decides one day to talk to me and forbid me from eating carrots or some such.

She's explained that since to her, religion has always been about anxiety and guilt and rules and punishments and restrictions and narrow-mindedness, she can't really imagine what it might mean to be partnered to someone who's gotten religion big time. I know of one other born-again gay poly person, and I think I'll have to strike up conversation on whether their partner gets them.

She was worried that one day I might get a really strong religious calling and decide to go on a mission to a really really far away place. I tried to explain that to my mind, it would not be very different to her falling in love with someone who lives in another country and wanting to move in with them. And just like it's possible to give up the either-or mindset when it comes to poly and start looking into opportunities of living in two countries or moving to a third country of choice or establishing a long-term LDR either way, also a mission calling can actually be lived through in many different ways in your home town, too.

I just feel that poly and religious life have in common the attitude of accepting that there are no guarantees. Although most people intellectually know nothing in life is permanent and certain and immutable, most like to pretend that at least some parts of their life should be that way, if they only try hard enough.

Are there any other folks here who are religious (of any persuasion) but whose partner(s) are not?
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:02 PM
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Hmmm. Beloved is Christian (although I don't believe she identifies as born-again) and I am pagan-ish, although I have a strong Christian Protestant background. (Growing up, I got to see the best of Christians and Christianity between my grandmother and the teachers at my Lutheran elementary and middle/high schools. I learned much of my ethics and how to be an authentic, truthful, loving person from them and I am so grateful. I did not move away from Christianity out of lack of great examples.)

I used to worry quite a bit about our lack of a shared faith. Beloved's Christianity is very important to her. And while I have no idea where my own wandering road of spirituality will lead, I am quite certain that there is no one way. If there was one true way, I believe an all-powerful, loving deity would have definitely informed us of this fact rather than leave us floundering about with various prophets, sacred texts and so on. That is absolutely opposite to most Christian teachings, and especially to the born-again or fundamentalist Christianity I've come into contact with. (I do realize that born-again and fundamentalist are not necessarily the same.)

Anyway, I worried that Beloved would leave me to find someone more religiously compatible, and I really could not fault her for this. However, she has stated that she would not do this and has faith that our spiritual paths will work out the way they need to work out. Maybe I will become Christian, or she will become something else, or we will just agree that we have different paths that march alongside the other. I think the later is the likeliest option to date. She does not try to convert me (never has actually) and I do not try to swing her to my beliefs. It has worked for us for over 11 years, but it is not always comfortable (which is ok - life is not comfortable).

Our ethics, morals are very similar which helps a lot. Do you and Vanilla have similar ethics? Do you view moral problems in similar ways?

I'm not sure how helpful my response is but I'm looking forward to other responses!

P.S. And let me preface - forgive me if this comes across as condescending, that is not my intent - but it's really nice to chat with someone who is born-again and not batshit crazy.

I miss the loving, reasonable Christians I grew up with. They knew their faith, lived it and believed in it but never gave the impression that they knew everything at all times for everyone. These type of Christians seem to have been overrun, at least in the U.S., by a hateful, arrogant version who damn anyone the least bit different. It's profoundly sad to me.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:31 PM
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That is absolutely opposite to most Christian teachings, and especially to the born-again or fundamentalist Christianity I've come into contact with. (I do realize that born-again and fundamentalist are not necessarily the same.)
Yeah, I understand the word "born-again" carries a whole different baggage in the States as it does here. I use it to describe a specific spiritual experience instead of a culture of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.

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Maybe I will become Christian, or she will become something else, or we will just agree that we have different paths that march alongside the other. I think the later is the likeliest option to date. She does not try to convert me (never has actually) and I do not try to swing her to my beliefs. It has worked for us for over 11 years, but it is not always comfortable (which is ok - life is not comfortable).
Vanilla currently to my understanding is agnostic, although some New Age and Christian teachings appeal to her on an emotional level. The only real issue would be if she became militant atheist bent on destroying organized religion alltogether. I have one of those as a friend and although I enjoy the discussions we have, it would be exhausting to debate constantly with a life partner.

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Our ethics, morals are very similar which helps a lot. Do you and Vanilla have similar ethics? Do you view moral problems in similar ways?
I think so. Those she does not (to my knowledge) share like non-violence, loving your enemies and loving-kindness towards all beings, she accepts in me.

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These type of Christians seem to have been overrun, at least in the U.S., by a hateful, arrogant version who damn anyone the least bit different. It's profoundly sad to me.
I see gay lib, women's lib and general secularization of culture (or more like the spread of new secular religions like nationalism, capitalism, environmentalism, and human rights) as the reasons why so many Christians have gone batshit crazy. They are trying to fight for a worldview and culture that are no longer sustainable. It's a bit like the fight over slavery, with similar splits among moderate churches back in the 19th century over whether someone who is a Christian can also be a slave-owner. The Bible is of course pretty clear on that point - sure! However, this is not how we understand the Christian message as it applies today.

I think the weirdest thing about neo-fundamentalists is how they criticize using other sources alongside the Bible for ethical deliberation - harm reduction, reason, conscience, science, observation, majority opinion, utilitarianism or any other secular ethical philosophy - but at the same time are very keen on using all of the above-mentioned in trying to prove how Bible must be understood exactly the way they understand it (Think of what would happen if everyone went gay? There would be no babies and the human race would go extinct. God wants humans to multiply, hence God hates fags!!).

Ah, but enough about them. Back to topic.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:40 PM
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I see gay lib, women's lib and general secularization of culture (or more like the spread of new secular religions like nationalism, capitalism, environmentalism, and human rights) as the reasons why so many Christians have gone batshit crazy. They are trying to fight for a worldview and culture that are no longer sustainable. It's a bit like the fight over slavery, with similar splits among moderate churches back in the 19th century over whether someone who is a Christian can also be a slave-owner. The Bible is of course pretty clear on that point - sure! However, this is not how we understand the Christian message as it applies today.
Intriguing BU. I will have to think more about this. It does seem to be a continuing reaction by many, maybe most Christians (some become more liberal in how they perceive the Bible and some don't) against modernity. In the US, this hit public consciousness in the 1920s with fights about evolution. Gay and women's lib add more aspects to a powerful reaction against modernity.

I will ask Beloved this question and see if she has further thoughts from her perspective.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:54 PM
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In one of my earlier relationships, my girlfriend wanted to be spiritual or Christian while I identified as atheist. It was an issue in the sense that I worried she was going to get "weird." I didn't really have anything against religion then except that it seemed people did weird stuff for no reason other than dogma.

Since we talked about having an open relationship, I was very worried about if she accepted Christianity or got more into it, that she would suddenly decide that polyamory was immoral. Or decide premarital sex was bad. (Her sister became a born again Christian and started speaking in tongues, seeing demons and believed in faith healing.)

I don't think she felt comfortable becoming more Christian around me because I would poke holes in the dogma. She felt that she would be in a constant state of defense of her religion. So we kind of agreed not to talk about it. But it turned into a wedge issue. In the end, she said that God told her that she should be with another man in a monogamous relationship.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:25 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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In some ways, I am in an interfaith poly tangle. I grew up as a Christian, accepted Jesus as my personal savior at the tender age of 7 in the back seat of my grandmother's mini van. I did this of my own accord and later told my grandmother, so it wasn't something that was ever forced on me. I went to a non-denominational Christian school through 7th grade before I chose to be thrust into the public school district, because my parents couldn't afford to pay the tuition for my younger siblings and I was on a scholarship because I had been living with my grandmother when I was enrolled. I thought I was showing solidarity with my siblings by choosing to leave the school with them.

Right around that time, I was exposed to what some refer to as the Toronto movement; and had a profound spiritual experience with what I perceive as God. When I met Runic Wolf, I was attending church 2-3 times a week and introduced him to it.

Runic Wolf did not attend church growing up for one reason or another and found that he could achieve a greater connection with what he perceived as God outside of a church service.

It wasn't until he left for the ARMY and I left for college, that my beliefs really started evolving. For starters, we lived in one of the most haunted places in the states; Fort Riley even had it's own ghost tour. I have always been empathic and a sensitive; though i was raised that those are gifts of the Holy Spirit. So seeing ghosts was not alarming to me. But the nature of midwest churches was and I started exploring alternate ways to connect with God; blending pagan practices with my own Christian beliefs.

Currently, Runic Wolf and I still have our faith in God and Jesus Christ, but we practice in very different ways. I lean towards a more celtic tradition and he leans more norse. I am looking forward to becoming involved in the Universalist Unitarian Church, when my car is back up and running because I miss actual church services, but he doesn't need them.

Wendigo is agnostic, he was raised either methodist or lutheren, I can't remember. I do remember that he went to church with his mother as a child and sat in the back row along with a couple of transexuals. His pastor was very accepting and I think that he was the reason Wendigo kept attending as a teen. I am pretty sure Pretty Lady is an athiest and I know that their son is. Pretty Lady's experience with the church was it's bigorty towards her father, who was accidentally outed as gay by his children when they were teens.

Wendigo, Runic Wolf, and I enjoy having discussions with our friend JAM about religion and politics because while all of our views vary, we can have discourse w/o it leading to an argument or worrying that we'll piss someone off and ruin things. I'm very lucky that way.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:23 PM
OpenandCountry OpenandCountry is offline
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My husband is very much atheist, he believes in science, and my my boyfriend is Catholic (although he doesn't attend church regularly). I was raised in a staunch, Southern Baptist household, but I now consider myself agnostic. I don't believe that there isn't a god, I just don't think I'm capable of defining him/her/it.

We haven't had any major disagreements, except in the beginning of my relationship with my husband I was still christian (but unsure about it) and he used to say some hurtful things until we talked about it. We're more respectful of each other's beliefs now.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:30 AM
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As an Atheist living with a staunch christian, who has felt the wrath of the church, I can maybe let you know how it feels to be on the other side. I'm going to come across very stern here because Ive had a huge fallout with my wife's charismatic church, and I feel a vehement disgust for them, and actually almost any religion now.

So you've said your faith is the most important thing? This really hurts when you're on the other side. The church has first say on everything, and I feel they have absolutely no interest in furthering our goals as a family - they dont care about our home situation one bit. No wonder your partners feel threatened. I'm in a constant turmoil about this and my wife and I havent spoken about it much. There is some history with the church and I'm too angry about it to speak calmly about them. ( We went to counselling to try and have that chat, but that was disaster - another long story which I wont go into here ).





Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
So yeah. I'm born-again Christian.

Phew. So now I've said. Neither one of my partners share my convictions. Needless to say, there is some confusion at times.
umm, yep, I'm confused most of the time - how can my wife believe any of that supernatural stuff without any evidence?. And shes a scientist !


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My female partner and I had a long talk about how she feels there's this huge thing she doesn't get at all that has a huge effect on my life, one that she will always be a little wary of.
Yes, because, whatever the church says (without a single scrap of scientifically verifiable evidence), my wife will be sprouting what shes been told, judgmental over others, and on a mission to try and get the whole world to run their lives according to what the church said last week. If she hears something at church and I disagree with it, I have just about zero hope of being able to state my point of view. It seems she thinks "The pastor said x, therefore x is true". Example - she says "anyone who has sex before marriage is immoral" - I tried once to say "if its between 2 consenting adults, theres no harm" - and she retorted "Those people are damaging themselves". I kept quiet, but I was thinking "they are causing damage. They are damaging the church's ability to run our lives for us! Good for them".

Ive been to church with her many times and she'll sit there nodding in agreement while I'm thinking "what a load of garbage !". They seem to have somehow installed a logic override button in her brain :-(
[/QUOTE]


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My faith is the most important thing in my life.
OUCH !!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Close relationships come second,
OUCH !!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
but I can't pretend that if she suddenly got militant atheism and made me choose between my faith and her, as much as it would hurt me, I would choose my beliefs.
OUCH !!!

You and my wife would get along really well. As I read your words above, its a knife twisting in my heart, I'm put in my place, and I'm reminded of where my son and I stand in the heirarchy, - nowhere compared to the church :-(


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Her beef with my spirituality is mostly that she can't begin to fathom how it affects my daily life in concrete ways.
Yep - the church's logic override button operates in most circumstances. For example - my wife (and her church friends) is quite happy to believe that my son and I are condemned !! For what??? Just for being born???? Yes, she'll believe that , without thinking "hang on, what has my little boy, 7 done, to deserve eternal damnation?? And anyway, do we have any evidence?" Nope, the Pastor said so, so it IS so - case closed in her mind. Excuse me, but W.T.F. ?????????????????


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I think she's scared that one day I wake up and decide that since the Bible doesn't say anything about cars, we won't be driving one, or that God decides one day to talk to me and forbid me from eating carrots or some such.
EXACTLY! See my example above.

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She's explained that since to her, religion has always been about anxiety and guilt and rules and punishments and restrictions and narrow-mindedness, she can't really imagine what it might mean to be partnered to someone who's gotten religion big time.
THIS !!!! I am struggling to get my wife to even talk about people having sex before marriage (or outside their marriage), without her adding in "Those people shouldnt be doing that!" . I really FEEL your partner's pain, big time.


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I know of one other born-again gay poly person, and I think I'll have to strike up conversation on whether their partner gets them.
Would love you to meet up with people from the church here, and hear their judgemental views on same-sex and bi-sexual relationships - you might be on my side on this one !

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She was worried that one day I might get a really strong religious calling .
We dont get this at all - what, god phoned you up or something? * No, to us it seems that you look for signs here and there, and if there is a hint in your imagination that something has a remote , (imagined) connection to your imagined "calling", then hey, suddenly its true, and then your imagination builds it more and more until its a "calling". Thats what it looks like to me, and I dont get it?




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and decide to go on a mission to a really really far away place.
and do whatever else the pastor told you, too.

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I tried to explain that to my mind, it would not be very different to her falling in love with someone who lives in another country and wanting to move in with them.
I dont think this analogy would work for her, the threats are nowhere near the same level.

Is she:
1) Going to a meeting every week where people tell her over and over, that lovers who live in other countries are more important to her than you?
2) Taking their advice on sex, religion, and finance, that is detrimental to you and your childrens goals as a family?
3) Taking their word on nigh-impossible happinings as being true? (if those friends told her one of them died, and then came alive 3 days later, and flew up into the sky, would you think these were good friends , and not a threat to her well-being? of course not, you'd think they were barmy and need locking up!)

4) ... etc, etc.

Shall I continue with the list????? I think you get the point that its hardly the same threat as the church.





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And just like it's possible to give up the either-or mindset when it comes to poly and start looking into opportunities of living in two countries or moving to a third country of choice or establishing a long-term LDR either way, also a mission calling can actually be lived through in many different ways in your home town, too.

I just feel that poly and religious life have in common the attitude of accepting that there are no guarantees.
Wait - I'm not guranteed to burn in hell without giving my life to jesus?

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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Although most people intellectually know nothing in life is permanent and certain and immutable, most like to pretend that at least some parts of their life should be that way, if they only try hard enough.

Are there any other folks here who are religious (of any persuasion) but whose partner(s) are not?

I've probably offended a good few peple on here now. You may think I've belittled something thats really important to you, too. But to us on the outside of religion, it all just seems a load of superstitious nonsense, sorry.
(and Ive had a bit of a vent now, too, thanks for that !)

* I had a chat with a guy from the church when they were over at our house the other night, and I asked him "what is this god spoke to me nonsense? He phoned you up or what?" and then he said "god loves you! There - god just spoke to you!". Well, I nearly fell off my chair laughing ! so HE is god now? What an arrogant twat! Then I felt sad and thought "Oh dear, the pastor has got these people, my wife included, really nicely wrapped around his little finger. How can they beleive this nonsense? Oh wait, they believe that book without any evidence, so its probably not much of a stretch for the pastor to get them to beleive anything at all !" And then I was filled with fear, and still am - these people have a hold on my wifes mind, and its NOT good for our home life, and I'm up against a very very formidable enemy, indeed. (Basically, I'm f*cked, - church wins, end of)
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Last edited by bassman; 12-28-2011 at 08:36 AM. Reason: fixed spelling errors
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:34 AM
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Bassman: I am REALLY sorry for your experiences. For a long time I shared them and it's easy to forget that not all religious people are like that.

In our family, DH and I have different names. "church people" versus christians. Church People being those that go once a week and assume it somehow wipes away all they've done and how they treat people and they are superior because of it.

The religious versus the spiritual. Religious are just bent on making sure you've 'heard the word' and tell you all about it and get you converted, and make you understand that they LOVE you and that's why you are going to hell and they are trying to help! Spiritual follow the inherent beliefs and are quieter about their faith. They live it, not preach it.

My OSO, it's a rather new relationship, is incredibly strong in his faith and at first, yeah thought that could be a problem. I'm a married bi poly woman! That is SO not what religious people like! so we talked. A lot, about all kinds of things but about how we feel about what we believe and we listened to each other. His faith actually became a very attractive attribute. He doesn't just do what the church says, he thinks for himself. His faith is stronger and simpler than that. He believes in his church, his family, his god. He believes he serves them best by being someone they can count on, look up to, and someone that makes good decisions and honors people. He doesn't have to agree with people or their lifestyle or their beliefs, but he doesn't degrade them, or argue with them. If someone points out that the bible says he should hate gay people, he simply says, "Not my job to judge, it's god's. My job is to love, and honor."

Religious differences CAN be a problem, but they don't have to be. My OSO says he's stubborn in his faith, I say he's strong in it, because he doesn't make it about someone else or something else thinking for him, making judgements, making decisions. He believes in the bible and his god he just believes that he was put here to figure out life on his own.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:35 AM
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Thanks Vixtoria

I am really struggling with this. The main thing that hurts me is the money diverted away from my boy's future, to the church. I didnt want to hijack this thread too much, Ive posted part of my story here:

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...751#post117751
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