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Discussion 1 to Ask the Patriarch 9
Marriage between Agnostic and Religious Individuals - The Pitfalls

The Reverend Matt Pritchard

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Re: Ask the Patriarch 9 - Should I fake my religion?

As a newly Ordained Minister I would like to share with the church my experience of marriage to a Christian wife.

To set the scene, I have always been of the opinion I am now that the existence of God or Gods cannot be proved either way and that I don't much care. I also never claimed otherwise and both myself and my spouse were fully aware of my opinions of religion.

My wife was / is a New Life Christian and a firm believer in Jesus etc. Her Mother was even more into the religion. I did not feel this was a problem as long as we both understood that we had different beliefs and respected each others choices.

Despite this I often felt that I was being preached to especially in my In-laws home. They would often tell me I would not get to heaven and that I had to accept Jesus as my saviour.

My response, when I felt it was warranted was that I would gladly offer my soul to God or Jesus if they would come and persuade me convincingly in person that it was the best thing to do.

Of course, if the subject of religion came up I would discuss it. Giving whatever my thoughts at the time were, as an Agnostic I feel I am free to change my stance on the various subjects of religion and I often did so. My wife found this annoying as she wanted to know what I believed. I think she had difficulty accepting the agnostic position.

I think the Marriage declined when we moved back to my wife's hometown and she was amongst her family and church again. I mention this because if anyone else is in a similar situation you may not realize your social environment can change a person.

I could go on, but my reason for relating my experience is that I am now Divorced. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the situation and I hope my Ex-wife is happy in her life now too. But a relationship between two people who hold strong opinions about this kind of subject should perhaps be given much more careful consideration.

I would strongly encourage anyone in a potential marriage situation to be as open about their beliefs and opinions as possible, and if they cause friction. Explore the possible and probable effects of that friction before you tether yourself legally to another person.