People have all sorts of deal breakers when it comes to the people they date, and they tend to be highly subjective. Some people have no interests in nerds (an idea which has caused more than one internet kerfuffle), while I consider nerdiness a requirement. I don’t give a damn what type of music you listen to, but that can be important to someone who loves the music scene. Some people find complementary political ideas are necessary, and others thing lively debate spices up a relationship.

Bigotry is my number one deal breaker. Homophobic? Going to crack jokes about me getting in the kitchen? Think random racist comments are funny? Yeah, not attractive in any way.

My number two deal breaker? Religion.

When I’ve said that before, some people say it’s hypocritical – that discriminating against a potential romantic interest based on religion is itself a form of bigotry. But no one would consider discriminating against meat eaters or Republicans a type of bigotry. And really, religion is no different, despite the way many people in society want to treat it. It’s an idea and philosophy, and one that makes me want to bash my head in. It doesn’t exactly put me in the mood.

And I know from experience. My dating record has gone something like:

Apathetic Agnostic
Wiccan (who later turned atheist, I think because of me)
Hard core Rush Limbaugh loving Lutheran (more on that anomaly in a bit)
Atheist
Atheist
Atheist

And if I had to put money on it, the next boyfriend will probably be an atheist too. Why? Because I’m done with dating religious people. My relationship with the Lutheran, while lasting 9 months, was one of my most stressful and unhappy relationships precisely because of the religion issue. Like most high school relationships, we only superficially got along – we were both nerds with similar tastes in movies. But I knew he didn’t agree with my religious views – that it made him feel guilty and even embarrassed for dating me – and in return it made me feel like crap. And when religion came up, we’d get in the stupidest, most unproductive fights. And this is a prime example of why there are now sites tailored specifically to religions and matching people to dates who share the same religious beliefs, passions, morals, and life goals. Take a look at this Muslim online dating site for an example. There are many sites like this for each religion, and especially for Muslims who on the whole, desire to be with someone of the same religion. This is a good thing, it’s helpful for all parties involved. But personally, I feel as though I will specify my requirements and preferences next time I do the online dating scene. All this previous experience doesn’t bode well with me today. but again that is just me.

And that was back when I considered myself agnostic! Now that I’m a full-fledged atheist activist, I don’t know how it could work. Even if they loved the debate and their kink was being constantly told how wrong they are…no thanks. I deal enough with debunking religious ridiculousness as is – I don’t want to spend my relaxing time doing that too.

I’ve had people quip that I’m narrowing my dating pool. What if Mr. Perfect happened to be religious? I would never know if I didn’t try!

Well, I don’t believe in Mr. Perfect, so scratch that argument. And if you want to know why, ask Tim Minchin:

How about you? I know not all of you are as rabid atheists as I am. Is religion a deal breaker?