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Being rational is lonely business

By Rachel ~

I posted a month or two ago a letter I wrote to my fundamentalist father, essentially "coming out" as an atheist after his pressing invitations to join him at church and bible study. Interestingly, and to my relief, the matter has been pressed no further by my family, and thankfully they have been just as loving as always. I know they are sad and I'm sure they are praying for my soul but at least they have been kind and respectful, as I assured them I always would be. This post isn't about that relationship, but with a new and difficult road ahead that I'm looking at.

I'm a young (ish, 36) divorced mom, I am attractive and confident. Even though I don't "party" I'm fun, and I'm involved in my community. I have a wonderfully intelligent 7 year old daughter, and a great career so security isn't really an issue for us. However, as a romantic, I keep the possibility open that I could re-marry one day. I live in a small town, and thankfully for the most part it is a liberal one. Religiosity as I avoid it is not a problem, but there is another problem of compatibility that springs from one of the same sources as religiosity- human gullibility, wish thinking, and to put it basically, a lack of critical or skeptical thinking. I have always been considered the "hippie" of the family, and have generally been attracted to "hippies" as far as they tend to be outdoorsy, liberal, and have other similar interests. However, taste in music, fashion, and liberal causes aside, I think a lot of the "new age" life style alternatives and belief systems are equally as irrational as traditional religion, and any benefits seem to only be from a type of placebo effect. For an example, my most recent boyfriend is a very loving and kind person. Except for difficulties with steady work, he is almost a perfect guy. He is handsome, caring, and thoughtful, and dedicated to clean and healthy living as I am. However, he believes, no questions asked, in conspiracy theories, aliens, government cover ups, spiritual energy healing, crystals, and almost every gimmick you can think of. He is one of those people who, like people of faith, are impervious to reason and logic, because his beliefs proudly lie outside these constraints, and to challenge these ideas only makes him dig in his heels, stick his fingers in his ears, and cry "conspiracy!" I could go on and on about the things he believes and his reasoning (or lack of) but I'm sure you get the point. It seems that a lot of people, even if it isn't Christianity per se, fall into the same traps of faith and beliefs that are difficult to deal with for someone who has had their consciousness raised. Now I know that term seems very condescending, but I don't know how else to put it when you feel your blinders come off and you finally see the world clearly. I do feel that my consciousness has indeed been raised, and I can only wonder and marvel at those who absolutely refuse to "raise their consciousness", preferring to remain slaves to faith. Anyway, I find that in this state, it is of course easy to love and befriend those who do not see eye to eye with me, but to be attracted to and respect a partner, well, I feel like that is only going to work with someone equally enlightened, who feels strongly that this is indeed an essential quality for a relationship. So, while I never regret "coming out" or embracing my freedom from religion, I find I have dramatically narrowed my options for a partner. I know that is OK, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I really did try to stay with my boyfriend despite constantly cringing whenever the subject of energy or aliens came up. He knew I wasn't into it and didn't press it all the time. However at times he made it clear that he was SO into it (for whatever reason that still is unclear to me) that my lack of interest could be a deal-breaker. Ultimately it was, but for me. I really hope that I can find a man who values reason and intelligence and can find as much meaning and beauty in life through it as others find through faith, religion, and other types of wish thinking.

The next time I write, I'd like to address the problem of how to make a difference in this world for our children, and steer this country back to the secular foundation it was truly founded on, even WITHOUT breeding armies of like minded robots, like this Quiverfull/ Christian soldiers phenomenon. Please give me feedback about your experience dating as a non-Christian- I truly enjoy and am encouraged by everyone's posts. Thanks for reading! Rachel