A Priest and an Atheist…

…in love?

Bill is studying to be an Anglican priest. His ex-girlfriend is an atheist. She supported his faith when they were together, but obviously, this discrepancy was a heavy burden on the relationship.

They’re on a break, but they’re still in love. (“She joked that I was giving her up for Lent,” says Bill.)

Bill said in an email:

I won’t pretend our “faith gap” doesn’t complicate things, and at times it does bother me that she can’t personally share in many of the most sacred moments of my life. Still at times I wonder if my concerns are all in my head, perhaps as the result of my own vanity or pride.

There’s a fascinating discussion about this (with Bill taking part) at the Off the Map discussion board.

Bill does believe faith and science can be reconciled. He has also said to me:

I know there are a lot of narrow minded Christians out there who use their faith as a cudgel and who can’t reconcile science and reason with faith. I regret that, in part because I think it’s simply rude and in part because it is not the faith I know and live. I also know that a lot of atheists can be similarly narrow minded, unfriendly and rude.

And he’s right about that.

If you would like to respond to this situation, I’m sure your comments would be appreciated in the forum.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Anglican, priest, relationship, love, faith, religion, Off the Map, Christian, science[/tags]

  • Bill

    It just occurred to me that there are probably a lot of terribly clever jokes that could begin with “A priest and an atheist… walk into a bar”

  • Logos

    and later, they unholyed the holy water!

    Sorry, thats all I got.

  • Jennifer

    This preist comes off as… a bit of a jerk, really, though I think he would be a “nice” guy. But that “nice” guy thing is really a cover for “I think that the wonderfulness of the people in my parish will change my dumb little girlfriend’s mind,” and OF COURSE she will come back to the faith if I show her Christians can be NICE. I think he wants to convert her, because what I keep seeing him say is, “she has learned… she has participated… she has seen…” and then from his end “I MIGHT have learned to be more tolerant.” That is the most important part of their relationship unbalence right there.

    Run, Atheist girlfriend, run far away!

  • Bill


    I will admit that I have hoped at times that she might convert, though I don’t now. It felt like the easiest way to resolve the differences, but I do think that was a matter of me looking at things the wrong way and looking for an easy out. I don’t discount that it is possible, but what I see as critical now is that she support what I may end up doing and that she can accept the demands it would make on me and on her.

    I know that the difference in our faiths presents an additional hurdle, and what occupies me now is trying to find if there is a way for her to be a part of any ministry I may take up, regardless of what she believes. If I am to make a life of this, anyone I am with will have to be a part of it too in one way or another. I do believe that is a high price to pay. I don’t, however, believe that makes me a jerk.


  • Fastrfireballelm

    I am studying to be an Anglican priest in Canada. I woke up this morning and the minute I opened my eyes I said “why am I doing this or why do I need to do this” The funny thing about Anglican seminary is that they put you through all of these studies to prove than their is no God. Ever feel that way?