2 Religions, 1 Relationship
A beyond controversial question was recently bought to my attention: How do you feel about couples that have different religions? Is it possible for them to succeed?
Here’s the deal when it comes to relationships and religions – if not handled properly, it can seriously and permanently cause damage to your life and the person you love’s life. The key factor in examining different religions fitting into one relationship, is first asking yourself one question: Do I care more about my beliefs or more about my values?
“A lot of times we mix up the words ‘values’ and ‘beliefs.’ Beliefs are what you think is true about the universe. Is there a God? Where do we go when we die? But values are what you believe are important and good.” (McGowan)
In my eyes, the difference between values and beliefs is the same as the difference between a religion and a relationship. Values address what you apply to your life and beliefs are basically how you define the world you live in. A religion is a category determined by your beliefs, but a relationship is what you do every day in order to serve and respect what you believe. A relationship puts those values into practice.
Let’s take a Christian for example. You can call yourself a Christian all day long. You can wear the cross, keep the Bible in your dresser drawer, and go to church every Sunday. But if you aren’t praying to God everyday, studying the Bible everyday and talking about God everyday, can you really say you have a relationship with God, or are you just following the guidelines of a religion?
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NKJ)
It’s funny how people will argue religion to the ground, but they don’t follow ALL the guidelines of that religion. They will judge you and scream that you are misguided if you don’t believe what they believe; yet they don’t even practice their religions daily. They are quick to call themselves Christian but don’t even act like Christ.
Christ loved EVERYONE and made it clear that no sin is greater than the other and no believer is greater than another believer. ALL that acknowledge and serve Christ are blessed, yet we are ALL still sinners.
So, if you are in a relationship with someone of a different religion, make sure that you are being loving and supporting, yet are a good example of the religion that you follow. Do not be judgmental and be very patient. This is especially true if you are a Christian, because this is how Christ is.
Once you’ve identified what you value out of your relationship with God, apply that directly to the person that you are dating. Specifically if you value patience, kindness, submission to one another, love, joy and appreciation, these are values that you should show to your partner through your beliefs.
Steer clear of things that can’t be explained. Why do innocent children die every year? What happens in the end? Why do people that hate God have so much money and power? You can’t answer these questions. But, you can answer how powerful love is and how great God’s love is. You can explain how you learned how to love through God’s love and that is why you love your partner the way you do.
It’s that simple.
Now, there is one particular scripture that I’d like to address regarding having a relationship with a non-believer. This is because this is the number one scripture that is used to answer the “Can I have a relationship with a non-believer?” question.
“(14) Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (15) What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Now, this scripture is pretty self-explanatory. Do not be yoked, meaning attached to or coupled with, an unbeliever.
So, if you are a follower of the Bible and believe in the Bible, then you shouldn’t be attached to an unbeliever.
In theory, following that scripture, it would be wrong for any believer to be married to any unbeliever.
Now, here’s where it gets controversial. The scripture identifies a “believer in God,” but there are several religions that believe in God: Protestants, Baptists, Catholics, Muslims and Christians, just to name a few.
So in this aspect, a Christian and a Catholic could be married, as well as a Baptist and Muslim, for example.
What people tend to argue with is whether specific beliefs in God constitute being “equally yoked.” If one religion identifies with believing in God through Jesus Christ, and the other religion identities with believing in God through acknowledging the Virgin Mary, then it’s possible that their beliefs won’t be the same.
Here’s the deal. It’s not really fair to take this specific scripture out of its context. If the scripture says “believer in God,” then why can’t believer in God mean just that. Arguing about how you believe in God, and the appropriate vernacular to believe in God just causes an even greater division.
With all this being said, couples succeed through love, growth and acceptance of one another’s values. They understand that they may not agree on every single religious aspect and they stay devoted to one another by loving each other regardless.
If you choose to be in a believer/non-believer relationship, that is your choice and only God will be the judge of whether that decision was beneficial or not. Same goes for a relationship that incorporates two religions that love God differently.
It’s important to understand that we make our own choices in life and God is the final decision-maker when everything is said and done. Do not let anyone EVER force you or manipulate you to deny the love you have for someone. You can’t help who you love, nor should you feel ashamed of who you love.
Love your relationship with God, love yourself and be confident enough that God will see you through your decisions. Make sure that you are lead by God to make serious decisions about your relationship and remember that nobody’s opinion matters besides God’s.
If you would like to hear more about this topic or even disagree with us, feel free to comment below. We are always down for a healthy debate.