A non-profit organization to provide information and forum for discussion to young adults of ALL faiths
This isn’t so hard to figure out, is it? If you take it seriously, religion is not merely a good thing you do on Sunday morning (or Saturday, or Friday). It is a way of seeing reality that conditions your interpretation of nearly everything. I became a serious Christian when I was 25, and I knew that my dating life — which is to say, my search for a marriage partner — would have to change greatly because of that fact. I simply could not allow myself to get involved with someone who didn’t share my religion. Because I was religiously observant, it wasn’t that difficult; religion was so important to me that I couldn’t imagine falling for someone who didn’t share my faith. But there were times when I was really attracted to a woman who was either not religious, or not of my religion — and in those times, I made a clear decision not to pursue a relationship.
When I met Julie, she was a convinced Presbyterian, and I was a convinced Catholic. We both strongly believed that God had called us to be together, but we worried over how we were going to manage the Catholic-Protestant thing. As it turned out, Julie read herself into the Catholic Church, which solved that problem. But years later, as we were both struggling with our Catholic faith, we found ourselves in different places with it, and this became a bit of a problem — one thankfully resolved, though. Had one of us gone to Orthodoxy and the other remained Catholic, I suppose we could have managed, because the traditions are so close, but the lack of religious unity in our household would have been painful.
I don’t intend this as a criticism of interfaith couples, but I don’t see how they do it — or rather, I don’t see how they do it if religion is important to one or both of them. Intuitively, it only makes sense to me if religion is not especially important to either one, except perhaps as a cultural and communal thing whose doctrines mean nothing. A refusal to enter into an interfaith marriage is not an expression of disdain for other religions, but in fact a sign of respect. Anyway, the social science data provide empirical evidence that interfaith marriage is a bad idea.