Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Blog | 9 comments

by: Dan Hettmannsperger III
Should Atheists date Christians?  In a nation where more than 80% of the populace are theists who are overwhelmingly Christian this is a serious question for the man or woman who wants to seek someone that is equally reasonable. So let me tell you about my own experiences and let you draw your own conclusions. I’m forty-five years old so believe me I’ve had more than a few in this arena.

My first significant relationship was with a Christian I’ll call Laura. Laura was a woman of Southern background I met when I was only 18, and she was 20. We were attending different colleges and met through a mutual friend whom she was dating and ultimately, dumped her.  She, completely heart-broken at the time, contacted me because she “needed someone close to the situation she could talk too” which of course inevitably lead to dates, sex, love and her eventually becoming my first wife. So blinded was I by my love for Laura that it never even occurred to me to consider our religious and political differences. I was a young man and too eager to escape the control of my mother and circumstances to look more closely at what I was getting myself into.  The odd thing is that in hindsight Laura seemed rather Liberal. It’s not as if she demanded that we wait until our wedding night or that we even get married in a church.  It wasn’t until about a year into our marriage that hairline fractures began to appear in our bliss, not the least of which was my mother-in-law who was a Fundamentalist that made no secret of the fact that she hated me and my Liberal ways.  Her attitude towards me was always a source of tension. Our fighting became worse when Laura began siding with her mother against me on certain points like abortion and gun control.  By the time,  we were in our 18th month of marriage I’d come to the conclusion that the person I’d married had been kidnapped and replaced by a clone who increasingly sounded like a FOX “news” pundit when she spoke.  Every time we’d watch television and something of a religious nature was mentioned regardless of the context I could feel her eyes and her judgment.  When she finally left me after two years, I was secretly relieved.

Almost a decade later I would meet a lovely woman named Shirley at a poetry reading at Barnes & Noble which I was hosting as the guest speaker. We exchanged phone numbers and started dating fairly quickly.  I found her beautiful, funny and very stimulating and as with most people in the early stages of a relationship we avoided talk of religion and politics but focused on things like movies, music and books. It wasn’t long before we became intimate and shortly thereafter she told me she was not only a Baptist but a Bible study teacher at a local megachurch.  She insisted that I attend services with her, and I reluctantly agreed to avoid creating resentment.  I told her repeatedly I had no intention of ever ‘converting’ back to Christianity, and she always said things like “I understand; I just want to be close to you…”  Right.

So as you can imagine sitting in her Bible study class became a constant exercise in trying to ask difficult questions, but eventually my nature won out and I started directly challenging certain assertions in the Bible regarding Jesus and his “teachings”.  What’s odd is how often Shirley’s own students would agree with me certain points, something she grew to despise.  Pretty soon every Sunday descended into a tired routine of going to her class, pissing her and most of the people there off, going to the service with nothing but venom between us, and fighting in the car all the way home only to continue the fight for a good portion of the afternoon.  It wasn’t long before every conversation we had boiled down too: “How the fuck can you believe this bullshit when it’s obviously made up?”Her constant attempts to reshape me into what I had no desire to be drove me out of her arms and out of her life.  From that point on,  I determined No More Monotheists For Dan!

To all those of you who are single and characterize yourselves as Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers and Secular Humanists I humbly suggest that when dating you ask the hard questions first.  What a person feels about God and political issues you care about needs to be discussed on the very first date, because I guarantee that what doesn’t seem like a big deal over that first meal/drink will seem like the gash in the Titanic eventually.  Great conversation and equally great sex cannot change the fact that they see you as a Hell bound sinner, and you see them as a deluded fool.  If the person you’re with resents your views then that means they really resent you and there’s no cure for that in the long haul.

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