17

He’s Just Not That Into God

Religion and I have a strange relationship.

I believe in God and consider myself a Christian. My church attendance is sporadic based on the state of mind I’m in at the moment. And I pray far less than I should as a believer.

I have a lot of unanswered questions. Furthermore, there are facts about Christianity and the Bible that make me question the religion as I would question anything else.  It is fact the Bible contradicts itself, was written by man, translated multiple times, is rooted in sexism, is a newer religion in comparison to others and it has been used to justify horrendous atrocities on the planet.

With that said, it is hard for me to imagine my life devoid of God. Oftentimes I feel guilty for questioning the validity of the Bible and God. It’s a constant battle between my psyche that tends to question everything and my belief in a higher being.

In thinking about religion I think about relationships with people who have different beliefs.

This year  I had my first experience with a close friend who claimed he loved me, but would not date me because of his Islamic faith. As a Muslim from Kuwait who was a virgin, it was his belief that he should only date someone he is going to marry. Since I was an American Christian we had no chance because his family would disown him. See “What He Taught me About Liberation” for the full story.

Now I find myself wondering if I would be able to date a man who is of a different religion,  agnostic, a freethinker or who believes in God but is not necessarily religious.

As I’ve already stated I have my misgivings about the Bible and I don’t interpret everything in it literally. A pet peeve of mine are people who blindly follow religious teachings or apply the Bible to certain areas of their lives and not others. However, as someone who grew up in a Christian household it is not easy to disregard those teachings. Christians have been repeatedly told:

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

2 Corinthians 6:14 (New International Version)

Over the years black pastors have referenced this passage in their sermons about finding a spouse. Many people have interpreted the scripture to mean many things, but the general idea is the same.

I have found recently the men who I share the same interests with, converse with on an array of topics and who stimulate my mind are not Christians. I’m ok with that.

But what happens when it gets to a point where men with different beliefs are the guys you are most compatible with? According to the Bible I am not to have anything to do with them. Yet I don’t necessarily agree.

Just like I don’t agree non-believers are going to hell. I actually find this to be quite foolish. It’s unrealistic to think Hindus or Buddhists, for example, who grew up knowing absolutely nothing about Christianity due to their geographical location are all going to hell. But I do believe there are consequences for Christians who choose to disobey God’s Word.

In a perfect world the solution would be to just find a good ol’ Christian boy and keep it moving. Or date whomever I want and deal with the consequences later. It’s not that simple.

Sometimes you build a friendship with someone and their beliefs aren’t important because they don’t affect you. Moreover, initially no one is really thinking about anything long-term. But once feelings are caught and the friendship evolves into a relationship one must make some decisions.

For Christians, does it come down to having to make a choice between doing what the Bible says (even though you question it) or else deal with the wrath of God? Or do you figure out what you can and can’t deal with and do what makes you happy? Can two people co-exist in a relationship together that don’t have the same belief system?

I tend to believe it will eventually cause a strain in the relationship, especially with two polar opposites like a believer and an atheist. But the verdict is still out on what I think about two people who both believe in God, but have different philosophies. I’m also not sure if I think an agnostic and a Christian would work either.

What do you the people say?

  • I so needed to read this. As I read I felt as if I could finish the sentences myself because the views are so synonymous to my own. I was raised in a Christian household and as an Black woman, most of us are. But I feel that many of us are compulsory Christians, just as many of us are compulsory heterosexuals & compulsory Democrats. We do things because thats the way things have always been done without researching or truly studying. Like you I have doubts about organized religion but I do believe in God. I feel that whatever anyone believes that leads them to do good in their life is cool with me. And as long as the man believes and lives by the spiritual laws (Love & respect oneself, Love & respect others, Love & respect the earth & its inhabitants) I am fine with that. I dont care who he prays to or if he prays at all. Thank you so much for your honesty & insight

    • WrittenbyBene

      Thank you for reading & commenting. I’m so glad you can relate. Your comment hits the nail on the head. You said: “I feel that whatever anyone believes that leads them to do good in their life is cool with me.” YES! My sentiments exactly. I won’t lie and say I don’t sometimes think this might be wrong to feel this way, but it’s how I feel. Who’s to say the man of my dreams is not a Muslim or is more spiritual than religious. Thank you too for including the spiritual laws. I didn’t even think of that!

      And you’re very welcome. Thank you for reading.

  • Hello Bene! I hope you don’t mind if I chime in…

    “It’s a constant battle between my psyche that tends to question everything and my belief in a higher being.”

    The answers to the questions/concerns you have posed are available for you to find, IF you want to. I would strongly encourage you to take the time and research it out and then decide exactly what you believe. I think it would be a very wise move for you to make now before you make some of the decisions you’re contemplating.

    just a thought…Jeff

    • WrittenbyBene

      Of course I don’t mind if you chime in! Outside of reading several books that have been written on the topic what are your suggestions? I definitely will continue to research and learn more and hopefully find some answers.

  • This is something I definitely needed this morning, an excellent read and thought provoking. It is difficult for devout christians to maintain relationships with those whose faith or practice does not match theirs because of what they are taught from the Bible. I’ve always believed that happiness was happiness…but I’ve been wrong before.

  • Pingback: He’s Just Not That Into God — theFreshXpress.com — The PULSE of Young Black America()

  • You might try gotquestions.org, there’s a lot of straightforward bible based answers to your questions there.

  • Oh ye of little faith… kinda. I have been to most of the places you are right now. Especially when thinking about relationships. I have, in fact, turned down a few great relationships because we just weren’t in the same place spiritually. Although initially we had great times and good chemistry, thinking about the long-term — types of weddings, raising kids, and lifelong purpose — I realized that we just were not compatible. And honestly, that sucked; it was hard to break off those relationships.

    In the world or relationships we all have things are are non-negotiable and things that we could “settle” for. Personally, the person’s belief system and faith are something that I, knowing where God has me to go and what he has for me to do, could not settle for. However, many people are not called to do what I am, and each calling has different requirements. But I believe that the scripture still holds true — what fellowship can light have with darkness?

    The other day I heard someone use the term “Burger King Christianity” to describe the situation you find yourself in. The use of “Burger King” denotes the idea that you can “have it your way.” For example: I’ll take the loving and serving others part, but I don’t want others to go to Hell, and I’d like to have sex whenever I want even though I’m not married.

    But Christianity isn’t about rules or religion; I think a lot of people misunderstand that. It’s about a relationship with a living God — Jesus Christ. And if you love someone, you want to do what pleases them, right? Your spouse or parent, for example. If you love your spouse, you don’t want to do anything that you know would intentionally hurt them, would you? If you did, I’d wonder whether or not you really love them. The same is true for God — if we love Him, we should want to do that which pleases him.

    And one of the biggest things we can do to show our love for him is to obey him. We’re not peers, us and God; He’s in charge. Understanding that, and not trying to act like God has, for me, alleviated a lot of pain and drama. You know what else I’ve learned? Just as with our parents when we were little, we don’t have to understand or even agree in order to obey what they ask of us.

    Certainly there are things that we don’t understand or agree with concerning the Bible and Christianity. There are things that I can’t quite figure out, but I know that God sees and comprehends far more than I do, so I have to defer to his judgement in telling me what’s best for my life. After all, if I could figure it all out myself, I wouldn’t need him; and if it all made sense, I wouldn’t need faith.

    As much as you may not want to hear Scripture, Proverbs 14:12 seems appropriate here: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Our view of something being “right” or “wrong” sometimes has little to do with the reality with which God sees it. All the more reason for me to trust his guidance. Enter Proverbs 3:5: “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”

    (PS: I really tried not to write such a long reply… but I couldn’t help it.)

    • WrittenbyBene

      I appreciate your response because I knew you would put it into a Christian perspective.

      In terms of the scripture in regards to equally yoking, this is what I have troubles with. If I don’t interpret every scripture literally how do I then tell myself to live accordingly?

      You write: “But Christianity isn’t about rules or religion; I think a lot of people misunderstand that. It’s about a relationship with a living God — Jesus Christ. And if you love someone, you want to do what pleases them, right?” I agree that it is about a relationship with God, but that relationship is very much based on His doctrine-the Bible. So then you are back at square one with “rules” or models for how you should live your life.

      You have given me something to think about Stu as always. I appreciate you for that. 🙂

  • I can relate to everything you’ve posted here, Bene. My solution is to study and discover what rings true to you in all areas of your personal spirituality and life’s walk. Then decide as Stu stated above, what’s non-negotiable (Actually Stu made many very excellent points). Everything is all fine and well with “unequally yoked” (and you must decide what that means for yourself) couples until you are trying to build and commit to a shared lifelong (or at least long-term) vision. The key here is to KNOW yourself. Understand your own core values and how you purpose to live your life. Understand that every love in our life is not meant to build a foundation on. Live your life honestly. You will connect with a harmonious partner 🙂

  • Thrill

    I enjoyed this article. I guess for me it depends what you define as equally yoked. All of the antics aside the real question is how will we raise our children. Can we agree on how we want them raised because otherwise two people can co-exist with different religious and/or spiritual beliefs and not have issues with the other. The real issue to me in this situation comes when we are talking about what will the children learn. I’ve been in this situation before with an extremely devout Christian woman. Her compromise was for us to not have children if we married which in the end I could not live with.

    I have a lot of issues with the need for a savior as the two major organized religions have. This does not sit well obviously when you’re dealing with someone of the two major religious beliefs. So for me the question is not whether we could be together but how would we raise kids together?

  • Jared

    Hey Bene,

    I am new to your blog. I came across your blog through your article concerning Jada Pinkett-Smith. In terms of this article I think you have some great points and great questions. The fact that you think as a Christian in terms of how certain scriptures relate to your life beyond a superficial is great. Many times we will just blindly believe what is passed down to us without understanding a context and be willing to apply that to everything. Many also fail to realize the evils that have been committed in the name of God (Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, the Middle Passage etc…).
    The reality is that on a certain level there is an array of contradictions. In 1 Corinthians it talks about the danger of being united with a harlot, but in Hosea God tells him to marry a Harlot and in Hebrews Rahab (a Harlot) is called righteous. So what are we to say about the harlot???
    The reality is that we all (if we take our faith seriously) need to learn to read the scriptures on multiple levels. There are four levels in reading scripture and until we are able to master those (literal, allegorical, searching and mystical) it will appear that they are contradicting. I am going through a similar process. I wish I could give you a clean cut answer but I cannot. There are something’s I agree with while there other that I do not (Black and white vs. gray areas). However, the journey of Faith is a lifelong process and in the end we will all come to the Truth.

    • WrittenbyBene

      Yay a new reader! I hope you come back. “There are four levels in reading scripture and until we are able to master those (literal, allegorical, searching and mystical) it will appear that they are contradicting.” Deep. Thank you for your insight. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the comments today.

  • Omniverse

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I used to be catholic. My philosophical outlook on life used to be similar to yours. Now I don’t follow any religion and i’m not agnostic and not atheist either. A few months ago was talking to a beautiful sista, she was christian. We clicked at first, there was physical attraction, smiles and laughter throughout our dates,same taste in music, love for our people and community and so on.After a few wonderful dates we got into an argument one day about our two different ‘philosophies’ and we stopped talking because of that. See this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5KH3b9ebsc

    I don’t want you to think that I’m talking to u in a mean or condescending way or anything like that. With that being said I used to have hard questions like you have that weren’t answered so i began to do a lot of research and found a lot of interesting things. I found that manmade religion divides people, it has been used to control massees of people, used to justify horrendous atrocities(like slavery), and even has the great potential to destroy relationships between people who are compatible. Before slavery most of us didnt practice Christianity or any of the other mainstream religions. Religion was forced upon us during slavery and post-slavery.

    If you still have questions and are interested in doing research or listening to different points of view when it comes to the topic of religion you can e-mail me and I’ll send you some links to a couple videos and articles.
    Peace and Blessings

    • WrittenbyBene

      I listened to your video on YouTube and you make some valid points. It’s 3:19 a.m. so excuse me if I don’t have more to say. Read today’s post and you might understand why. I definitely wouldn’t mind you sending me links and articles. My email address is posted on the front page of the blog.

      Thank you for reading.

  • Mickey Woods

    Hi Bene,
    This is wonderful. I actually struggle with a lot of the same questions. The sentence in the intro about the psyche of your mind with the desires of your heart struck very close to home. As Christians, we are often told this is called “spiritual warfare.” But, what do we do if such warfare leads us to the mate of our dreams. Does God not want us to be happy, even if it is with a non-believer or a Christian with opposing views?

    God does want us to be happy, but if we are to follow the Word, where is the line drawn on the potential happiness we could share with a mate, in regards to faith and beliefs?

  • On behalf of the atheists out there, I have this to say:

    COME TO THE DARK SIDE!!!!

    Kidding. 🙂 (Well, mostly.)

    The key, I think, is figuring out what you believe. And then figuring out what is most important to you. If your religion is making you ask questions, then you should study it. Read the Bible cover to cover. Read material from both Christian, non-Christian and even anti-Christian sources. (May I suggest Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”.)

    Maybe you’ll come out of that research an even stronger Christian. Maybe you’ll come out of it with a different religion all together. And maybe, like me, you’ll come out of it as an atheist.

    However you come out of it, I imagine you’ll be more confident and happier.