Can I date someone from another religion

Question:

“what if you like someone whos not your religion what do you do?”

Answer:

The short answer is you are much better off leaving them alone. Some things depend on how committed both of you are and what you define as another religion. There are some issues that are minor an can be set aside allowing a godly relationship to blossom. Other issues are so major that you cannot under any circumstance pursue a relationship without a drastic change in beliefs. Since liking someone leads to love and marriage (and marriage is the whole point of liking and dating) I will answer this with a future marriage in view.

DIFFERENCES THAT CANNOT BE RECONCILED

The apostle Paul says that a believer isn’t to be “unequally yoked” with a nonbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14). A yoke was a wooden beam that was put in place between two oxen “yoking” them together that they would be able to pull a cart. In the case where a really fast oxen was “yoked” with a really slow oxen, the wooden beam would cause the slow one to pull back the other one. The whole point is that the two animals wouldn’t be able to work if they were unequal. In the same way a Christian family cannot exist and function if the husband and wife are unequally yoked. It seems like this marriage stuff is for way older people, however, what is the point of love and romance, if not to eventually lead to marriage? And what’s the best way to not marry the wrong person? Don’t date the wrong person. Here are some specific differences that should warn you to stay away and not pursue a relationship:

Primary Theology

If you and your love interest have opposing views when it comes to the most basic elements of faith, right off the bat, stop seeing them. As a Christian you cannot be married to someone who does not adhere to the core values and beliefs of the Christian faith. If they are from a whole completely different religion, such as Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Judaism, and you are a Christian, you cannot marry them, and so you cannot date them. If they claim to be a Christian but don’t believe in core fundamentals like God being a Holy Trinity, Jesus the Son of God, who died for our sins to secure our salvation, which is obtained by faith alone and grace alone, you can’t date them. If they don’t believe the bible is the inspired Word of God you can’t date them. Imagine a few years down the road, you have a problem and try to solve it, you would be building on the Bible and he/she on their own contradictory philosophy, and your life would fall apart.

Gender Roles

Another really important (religious) idea that needs to be decided before you even begin liking that person is their view on gender. One of the reasons marriages often fall apart is because the new spouses have very different expectations of their own and their spouses gender roles. This means that they anticipate they will be treated a certain way and be in charge of certain things in life. I would argue that the Christian faith is complementarian regarding gender roles, this means men and women have differing roles. While both are equal in Gods eyes, both are created for different functions (like a truck and a sports car may both cost the same but have different functions.) The man is created to lead and provide, the woman is created to follow and nurture. If your love interest comes from a background where he/she has a very different view of gender roles, it would be best to stay away and not commit unless/until they are willing to change.

DIFFERENCES THAT CAN BE RECONCILED

Generally speaking its best for a relationship that there are many things, ideas, views, perceptions and etc that you share in common. The reason you pick someone to be your friends is usually because of your shared similarities. Before my wife and I were romantically involved, she was one of my best friends and I shared so many things with her it almost scared me, we both embraced the same theology and loved the same kind of literature, music, and etc. Of course not everything has to be exactly the same and its normal to have some differences, here is a general idea of the types of religious differences that may not always break a relationship. These types of matters will only be a non-issue if both partners agree on everything that is essential and recognize that they are allowed to disagree on the minor, secondary concerns.

Secondary Theology

Things in theology, or the study of God, are often sorted into two categories, the essentials and the non-essentials. The first category, which was discussed above as “primary theology” needs to be the same, however, it’s possible to disagree on the non-essentials and still nurture a relationship. (Keep in mind that while it’s possible it is not always easy.) Things such as which worship style is better, which denominations you agree with, whether you are Baptist or Pentecostal, and other things not distinctly taught in the Bible need not separate two people in love. However, I think a relationship in such cases can only work if both understand that the issues that they disagree upon are secondary, non-essential, both are valid possible options and don’t need to be divided over. It’s of course possible that a couple can take such a stance about the essentials of the Christian faith, where one believes Jesus is the son of God, the other that he is merely a teacher, however, true Christians will not be able to give up the essentials as that would prove they don’t value the things which are core to Christianity.

Cultural views

This is closely tied in with non-essentials of theology. The impact that faith should have on our understanding of and participation of in culture, and the balance of what is culturally appropriate vs. sinful does not always have to divide a couple, and if both members understand tradition as a secondary, non-essential thing, it won’t. At the same time, more often than not, I think that many people place such a high value on their understanding of culture that it will divide a marriage. For example if the husband has a view that all unchristian literature leads to sin and questioning God, and is completely adamant about it, there is probably little hope for a successful relationship with a wife who loves to read Nora Roberts. Yet if the husband generally doesn’t like reading and thinks it’s often not useful, but understands that reading a minor, secondary issue, he can consent to live peacefully with a wife who loves to read. Often someone’s view of culture is formed by what they think the Bible teaches, and often they may think they are the only one right in this. In such a case it would be rather hard to build a life together.

 

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