Ye of No Faith

The topic of this post can be a touchy subject. Dear Abby says not to talk about it on first dates and we were advised not to bring it up at sorority recruitments. Religion.

I was not baptized, I did not do communion, and I didn’t go to church. Religion and god were not topics we discussed around the dinner table. Yes, I’ve been to church a handful of times; I even went to Vacation Bible School for a few summers. I toyed with the idea of being agnostic for most of my life. When the topic came up, I’d tell the same spiel: I didn’t go to church growing up, so it’s not something I know much about.

It wasn’t until recently that I could utter the word atheist. Atheists were always depicted as hedonists – immoral and damned. The idea of saying that I was an atheist made me fear that in the event that there was a god, I’d be burning in hell in the afterlife. It was always easier to say agnostic, because it meant that you had the chance to redeem yourself. It meant that you could change your mind or that this potential god would accept you because of ignorance.

But, I know now what I really believe…and that is in logic. I do not believe in god or in the teachings of religious texts. My parents raised me to be a moral and kind person who helps others, cares about the world, and values family and friends – I am all of these things, and I am atheist.

You might ask why I bring up this topic on my rather simple-minded blog on dating and travel. And, as you might’ve predicted, this does have to do with a guy. I’ve been on a few dates recently with a real nice fella who has mentioned god on multiple occasions. He is Latino, which typically means a strong Catholic faith streaming through the family. So when and how do I bring up the fact that I’m atheist? We’ve been on a handful of dates and we’re not serious, but I’m afraid that if we get too far, start to have feelings and then I don’t tell him that I’m atheist, it might get sticky. Is it better to get it out now just in case it’s important him?

I’ve dated people from multiple faiths and am accepting of others. I have friends who are religious; my roommate’s dad is a pastor. It doesn’t bother me that they have faith and I hope that it doesn’t bother them that I don’t. But when feelings and a hypothetical family get involved, it has the potential to mean something to others. If this guy is staunchly Catholic and can’t accept that I’m not, then it’s probably better to find that out now before either of us starts to have feelings. One of my best girlfriends is married to an agnostic, while she’s of a strong faith. They make it work beautifully, so I know that it can be done. But, I’m still scared of broaching the topic. What if he thinks I’m a heathen? Even though I am moral and kind and good, he might still think I’m not worth it.

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