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Hi Tracy,

Having been married for 39 years, I think 'religion' is very important in selecting a spouse. The second-most important decision a person makes. As an evangelical Christian I know the decision about Jesus Christ is the most important decision, having received Jesus into my life for sure at age 51. My suggestion is for people to read the book of John in the new testament in a modern English translation or a Gideon Bible translation of your own language. Biblical Christians are admonished not to be yoked together with unbelievers. (2 Cor 6:14) My wife so far is an unbeliever in Jesus Christ. It is not easy in our marriage as it could be because we have different worldviews. She does 'religion.' With me it is a personal, daily 'relationship' with Jesus.
This is an interesting forum.

I have no religious beliefs at all, do not believe in God, Jesus or any form of after-life. My boyfriend of 2 years is an evangelical Christian.

This has certainly made our relationship interesting and has caused a few disagreements but it has not mattered to us overall and our relationship is still developing and getting serious.
We always have something to talk about and we have learned that religion is an interesting thing for us to discuss provided we respect each others views. When we discuss something on 'religion' we are not trying to change each others minds, we are just trying to understand the others viewpoint better.

Knowing him has certainly made me review some of my opinions on 'Christians' and their beliefs and practices, although I doubt I will ever develop a 'faith' myself. I'm know he worries about me going to hell and hopes I'll change one day.
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I'm surprised an evangelical Christian would be seriously going with a non-believer. Don't know about your boyfriend, but many Christians are so in name only. The flesh is weak. Self-identified evangelicals should have a testimony of how they were before being saved from sin's penalty, how they were spiritually regenerated, and how their life is different after receiving Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. Biblical Christianity is not really a religion but a relationship as said before. A love relationship, daily with Jesus Christ. Your boyfriend may be thinking he can gently lead you to want Jesus. All of us were skeptics at one time. It is the most important decision you can make. Everyone has put their faith in something. Just depends on what; what you worship. For many it is 'self.' Best regards, Onesimus
Yes, I'm know he has hope that I will come to believe in God and so on, but like I said, I think it is unlikely and I have been careful to spell that out to him right from the beginning. I was raised in a non-religious family, I have never been to church apart from attending the occassional wedding, it all just seems like superstition to me. I have raised my son the same way.

However, I was raised with what you might call 'Christian values' in that I try to live a good life and help other people, work hard to support myself and raise money for charity, and to respect other people. So our differences are just one of ideology rather than how we live our day to day lives. Also, he thinks for himself rather than just blindly following the teaching of his church (although he goes every Sunday, and other times, and pays a tithe to them etc so he is a serious churchgoer) and he takes what he believes directly from the bible rather than someone else's interpretation of it.

this can cause a few arguments though, for example, I am very tolerant of different ways of living and thing homosexuality is fine. He is very anti-homosexuality and even hates me watching TV shows with gay characters! I find this rather ridiculous.

I must admit I worry though that one day he will just give up on our relationship because, as you say, believers are not supposed to be with unbelievers. I can't be a hypocrite and pretend something I just don't agree with though.

No offense intended to anyone, but although I know that individuals who are religious can be good, I actually think religion as a whole is a force of great evil in the world, causing more wars, disputes, troubles, oppression etc than anything else.
For me, i don't put much importance in religion when selecting my spouse. In my opinion, the most important thing when selecting a spouse is whether both can express their self freely and comfortably when together without afraid of being judged by each other. One's character is more important than one's religion.

I've seen some cases where religion has became a hindrance rather than a good factor in selecting spouse. Some people would rather give up some one whom they find so compatible with in many aspects just because that someone is not in the same religion. Sad fact but it happens.

Anyway Onesimus, could you define what is self worship, it sounds very selfish. If one is following his heart and the principles to do good thing is it also "self worship"? one good deed is better than a thousand pray, no matter one is believer or non-believer in certain religion, no?
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Hi guest. Real Christians would never keep away from unbelievers. Bigots might. People who choose to misinterpret their faith cause wars.
Thank you for your repy. According to the gospel (good news) of the Bible, salvation from sin's penalty is the work of the Holy Spirit. With me being brought up in a nominal Christian home, I'd been taught from the gospels at an early age but rebelled when I went off to college. The underlying problem is sin. our inherent sin nature. God is holy and we are not. He will not populate heaven with unrepentant sinners. I still sin in both thought and deed but it is no longer my lifestyle. The Holy Spirit is more in control of my thoughts and moment-by-moment living. The issue according to the Bible (New Testament), is who do you trust? Hopefully not religion which centers on trying to do better in one's own strength to somehow please God. Working at 'being good' or doing good deeds does not make one acceptable because we are born with a sinful nature. God who is Holy will not be in the presence of sin throughout eternity. Plus it would be unfair as rich people can give more to charities, etc., and 'get a leg up' on the poor people who are also trying to become acceptable to God. Biblical Christianity argues that Jesus has become our sin for us so we can go free. That He paid the full penalty. (Rom 6:23) Like a judge who has pronounced a death penalty but then is willing to be executed himself for the murderer's crime. This is the unique paradox of Christianity--called 'grace.' God incarnates as a man and dies for His creation so that whoever chooses Jesus can go free. Biblical Christianity teaches Jesus has conquered sin and death forever. Those who trust Him only for salvation will have eternal life through Him alone according to the teaching of the New Testament gospels.

Best regards, Onesimus
Don't have all the answers here but to me, self worship is putting personal pleasure selfishly above what is better for one's marriage, family and the common public good. For example, prostitution is not a victimless crime as some might argue. Prostitution hurts marriages, children and the person who engages in it (see O.T. Psalms). Not that God doesn't want us to have good lives. Yet if no 'fruit is borne' in an evangelical Christian's life, one could suspect they are not having their lives controlled by the Holy Spirit. One way to tell, I think, is to examine how a person spends their money. Is it primarily to satisfy their own desires? If so, they may be caught up in self gratification, making themselves 'a god' and engaging their lives primarily in self worship in that regard.
I think "religionists" cause the wars. Biblical Christians would likely be martyrs. The average now is one Christian martyr now every three minutes somewhere in the world, an average of 20 per hour according to www.persecution.com Over 175,000 in 2004 if Jesus does not return as He promises to do someday.
If a person is really serious about their beliefs, then I think it is important to marry someone who is on the same page spiritually. You owe it to your children as well as to God to plan ahead to avoid unneeded tension in your future marriage. The Bible teaches the man and woman are to become as one flesh. So I think it is good to eliminate the schizm of contradictory spiritual beliefs if possible.

Love to all, Onesimus
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Hi its me the guest with the evangelical boyfriend again!

Thanks Onesimus, you have been very clear in your explanations of your beliefs and I found it interesting.

To return to the original question, does it matter in marriage?

I think this depends on the two individuals and the strength of their beliefs and tolerance for each others beliefs. Your point about children is a good one, however I do know couples with opposing faiths who manage to raise theirs without too many disagreements. also, not all couples wish to have children.
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