This week I was going to vent my annoyance about the recycling campaign currently going on at my job, but then yesterday I came across this article subtitled I used to think creationists were monsters, until I married one, and I couldn’t resist.
The article is about a girl who was raised Roman Catholic, left the church at age 16, and converted to liberal quakerism. I can respect that – she questioned the religion in which she was raised, conducted research, and chose something that suited her own personal beliefs.
Then she met Rob. Rob told her that his parents were fundamentalist Christians, but kept mum about his own beliefs. Evidently she didn’t ask (which I find odd for someone so serious about their own spirituality) because his belief in creationism (God created the world in seven literal days creationism, evolution is a bunch of BS creationism) came out over a conversation about noses.
Well, after they dated for a year it was time for her to meet his parents. She was nervous that they wouldn’t be able to accept her and/or that she wouldn’t like them. A dinner, some engaging conversation, and a few rounds of dominoes later she was able to “forget that they all believed that the entire universe was created in only seven days.” Her image of creationists as unintelligent people who lived in either the midwest or the bible belt and did nothing but stand on soapboxes and pass judgement on non-believers was shattered. These were really nice people and she liked them. In the end she concluded that, before she met Rob’s parents, she had been the one passing judgment on creationists instead of the other way around.
The truth is that people (even people we don’t understand or agree with) aren’t as one dimensional as they seem before we get to know them, or worse, like them. I’m sure there are lots and lots of loving, kind, and likable creationists. That’s why it’s important to separate passing judgment on people from passing judgments on beliefs.
But while I think tolerance and acceptance is great among friends, co-workers, and even family, I couldn’t help but ask myself…could I marry a creationist? I really don’t think I could. This is someone I’d have to do more than make small talk over dinner and dominoes with. While I don’t expect someone to have the exact same beliefs as I do (a little variation makes for lively conversation), I don’t want my marriage to have the tone of a Shermer/Gish debate.
When choosing a partner, how important is it that you share similar spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof)?