Stairway to Taboo Conversations – pt. III
What do you believe?
We’ve talked a lot about how hard it is to find someone on the same page as you spiritually, but we haven’t really defined those pages.
In fact, one of the biggest issues my non-Christian friends have with me, is that they think my standards/parameters are way too “picky” in this department.
So – I want to clarify what it is that I believe, exactly, so that you all can help me find a man. Ha! No… (not that I’d complain, but that’s not the point).. I’m including this as part of our discussion on faith and dating… to demonstrate just how hard it is to find someone on the same page…or at least CLOSE!
What do I believe?
I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky.
I believe the children are the future… teach them well and let them lead the way.
Show them all the beauty they possess insii-ii-i-iiiiide…
Fine. Seriously. What do I believe.
…as well as WHY my line is, as one friend calls it, a “hard double yellow” line (one that can’t be crossed).
It’s not that my line is SO rigid. It’s that, unlike my atheist/agnostic friends who can respect any religion, I want to find someone who SHARES my beliefs.
Look…anyone can fall in love. I’m really good at that.
But, it’s not enough anymore for me to just fall in love… only to realize that there is a serious gap in compatibility…
It’s not enough to find someone who will go with me to church and nod along.
It’s not enough to find someone who “accepts” me for what I believe, but thinks that, for him, it would be a crazy pill to swallow.
I don’t just want to be tolerated – I want to be looking at the world through the same lens.
This isn’t like sushi and BBQ – two foods I hate. (I know, I know… insert a zillion lectures about how I “just haven’t had the right kind…” I know I’m a disgrace to the foodie name I claim…blah blah blah…). I also hate coffee. Yup – me and 14 other people on the planet. (I think I just literally HEARD my readership numbers dropping…)
But, I could gladly live my life with a man who ate sushi and BBQ all the time and who filled our home with the smell and stains of dark roasts.
But, faith is different from preferences.
Do this – even if you don’t AGREE with me – for one moment, for the sake of argument – assume that God really is real. Assume (for now) that he REALLY did send Jesus to the earth to rescue us. Assume that there really is life after death. IF you believed that (and I know it’s a huge “if”) – then, how could you be ok just being ‘appreciated?’ Wouldn’t you want someone else who was in that world, who would follow you even after death, in a life characterized by following the person you believe created the world?
OK – you can take off your “imagine with me” glasses.
Many of my non-Christian friends don’t understand what the difference is – or why this all matters – as long as the end result is the same: Do good, be kind, love people.
I agree that those are all wonderful things to do and I have been so blessed to know some of the most generous, thoughtful atheists/agnostics. But, my worldview is different from just a general moralism.
My friend Christyn put it like this,
A Christian perspective on life is actually radically different from “trying to be a good person.” People of all faiths – or no faith – believe in being a good person. But to be Christian is to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to live in radical obedience to him. That means you pray to him, ask for his guidance in life, listen to His Spirit within you, and generally seek to make earth more like his heavenly kingdom. That’s TOTALLY different from being a “good person” although almost always the fruit of a Christian faith looks like doing good in the world.
Interestingly, I don’t not date non-Christians because I think God will stop loving me or punish me. It’s never about that. It’s simply about priorities. With God as my number one priority, marrying someone who shares that priority only makes sense. -CS
I honestly don’t expect a lot of people to get this or agree.
I wish they did, but I’ve realized that unless you’re in my boat… it DOESN’T make sense why it should be such a big deal.
A sweet atheist friend of mine likened the issue of what you believe to political beliefs.
You know we have laws in this country that protect our privacy for who we voted for. If someone were to ask you where your vote went, and you said you’d like to keep that private, people won’t press the issue. If I were on a date and someone asked me who I voted for, I would keep that private at first. If the person were REALLY political they might feel the need to know, but that would make me realize another difference between us.
But if someone asks you your religious preference, it’s boastfully uttered! Its the societal norm it seems. But as an atheist I cannot wear that badge with pride. People in this country are overwhelmingly anti-atheist! So I never bring it up in the dating realm until it’s asked about. And in some cases the other person doesn’t care, in others it stops everything from moving on. –JP
I’d honestly never thought of it like this before, but he’s right… and his point, whether it bugs him or not, goes right to the idea that your spiritual beliefs MATTER on a different plane than all else.
For me, they do.
But – back to that being-on-the-same-page thing….
I think one of the biggest problems in wanting to find someone who believes similarly to me, is that there are MANY different understanding/iterations of every religion. It’s not enough to call myself a Christian. Because there are plenty of men out there who would call themselves Christians and believe wildly differently than I do.
That same friend who I just quoted, added,
“…if someone tells me they are a Christian, I have no idea what their stance is on homosexuality. Christians do not agree on this topic! Nor do they agree on abortion, the trinity, the pope, etc. Another example might be someone telling me they believe in karma. This is told to me very often! Even though karma originates from hinduism and buddhist religions, they are neither of those. I’ve even met people who believe Jesus Christ was the son of God, yet they are not Christian 0.o You start to wonder if people even understand their belief system properly.”
No, JP… many people do NOT understand their belief system properly. So – that muddies the waters even MORE!
I’d LOVE a dating site where there was a required spot for you to write out a few sentences saying what it is you believe. How cool would THAT be?
For my part, it would probably be something like this:
I believe there’s a God. I believe he created the world and everything in it. I believe that the world now is NOT the way it’s supposed to be and there is pain and brokenness all around us. I believe God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to live and love and to restore our broken relationship with God, and ultimately to redeem this world and make it right again. I try to follow him in my life. I mess up a lot. But, God is gracious and forgiving and as I struggle through this life, I enjoy his good gifts, and find comfort in him when there’s suffering. I also value the community of believers and worship.
It would be something like that. I believe a lot more than that, mind you… I have thought a LOT about what I believe, including some of the nitty-gritty less central pieces of Christianity…I dig that stuff. But, all of that stuff doesn’t have to line up 1-to-1 with a man for the relationship to be successful. I don’t need to find another theology nerd. But, I DO want to find someone who will not only enter into discussion about these things, but who is trying to honor God with HIS life and his relationships.
My brother-in-law and friend, Mike said this:
“…God has orchestrated the sacred union of marriage and the Biblical picture of that is two believers in union together with a mutual goal of glorifying God in their lives and in their relationship.”
I’ve thought several times about making the first sentence of my profile:
“I want a man who will throw me around the dance floor and kiss me passionately Saturday night, and then hold my hand in church Sunday morning.”
Is that too much to ask for?