July 3rd, 2003


Why it would be hard for me to date/marry a religious woman...

kitiara's recent post regarding what she's looking for in a mate got me to thinking about whether I could date a religious person.

So many things that drive me are related to my lack of religious belief. I think religious beliefs may have provided a net benefit in our evolutionary past (by reducing crippling anxiety about death), but I think they're now, on net, harmful.

If you're religious, and believe in an afterlife, you will likely feel much less urgency about life extension or cryonics. (After all, if you live on after you die, what's the big deal?)

In addition, religious beliefs are driving a lot of the opposition to stem cell research, cloning, genetic modification, and other technologies that I think are vital to saving my life and those I love.

Most religious people are exposed to their religious systems when they're young, and their mental immune systems are immature. Once implanted, many religions have built-in self-defense mechanisms that undercut the mental tools that we use to root out false beliefs. (For example, making a virtue of belief without evidence.)

Since I believe that disabling someone's mental defences is harmful, and since religious beliefs are hindering scientific progress vital to keeping me and my loved one's alive, I would find it difficult not to proselytize.

Unfortunately, religious beliefs would not have survived millenia had they been easy to change/remove, so my efforts to change the religious beliefs in others have ended mostly in dismal failure and rancor. Likewise, religious people often have a strong drive to proselytize for their beliefs because they believe that your immortal soul will be lost if you don't believe as they do. So they feel similarly frustrated.

"Rancor" and "frustration" are not generally words used to describe healthy relationships.

But who knows? I won't automatically exclude anyone--so much depends on who the person is, how they behave, and what their expectations are. But I suspect that whoever I find will not likely be particularly religious.