Interviews of 45 interfaith couples
A leap of Faith: Interreligious marriage in America- by Berkley University center for religion, peace and world affairs.
For this survey, 45 in-depth interesting interviews with couples from a wide range of background (Jain, Hindu, Christian, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist) are summarized. One of major issue interfaith couple had was a concern for how children will be raised.
A central focus of Christianity is the salvation granted to humanity by Jesus Christ. Exclusivism holds that salvation exists only through faith in Jesus Christ. A more moderate inclusivism posits that non-Christians can be saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The most recent philosophy is pluralism, which suggests that each person is saved by his or her own religion, independent of Christ. Currently, no major Christian church holds this pluralist theology or liberal concept of salvation.
For Islam, the conversion ceremony, known as Shahadah, consist of the soon-to be-convert saying "I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger" in front of witnesses. Many of interviewers in this survey who consider themselves coverts to Islam, however, did not experience the Shahadah ceremony, either for personal, logistical or other reasons. Further, majority of respondents decided to raise their children without any particular religion, but also planned on educating them so that they might make their own decisions.
Hindu engagements and weddings have a strong tradition of parental involvement, will issues involving parents and family arise more often in Christian-Hindu interreligious marriages?
Having seen his Hindu father excluded from taking Catholic communion for years, the son of one of Christian interviewers is now "anti-Christian" and constantly questions the exclusivity of Christianity.
A challenge has arisen for two couples in which the Hindu side is open and accommodating and the Christian spouse and family have not reciprocated. One Hindu woman explained the pressure she has felt from her in-laws to convert: "I think it's hard for Christians to feel like you're going to be okay if you're not Christian. It's like there's Judgment, like they're praying for you." Another Hindu interviewee was "bothered by the idea that if you are not Christian, you will go to hell." Four other Hindus interviewed characterized Christianity as exclusivist.
One interviewer felt "annoyed" that she had to "prove the legitimacy of her religion" to her husband, who found Hinduism "exotic and fantastical." This "annoyance" adds yet another dimension to some Hindu spouses' reluctance to embrace Christianity.
A Christian spouse did want her husband to convert to Christianity, but out of respect for him, she didn't vocalize this wish. Another Christian spouse was also reluctant to suggest conversion to her husband, although it is what she wanted. Read the report.