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Post Reply Opinions on being friends with/romantically involved with people of other religions?
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Posted 2/3/15 , edited 2/3/15
After wasting an hour typing up a really long explanation... here's a short one instead. Whatever you put into your "God-hole" be it Yaweh, Allah, Love, Peace, Science, Pleasure, etc., your "religion" is how you relate to and interact with it. A lot of people will claim the mantle of a particular faith, but for all intents and purpose their real religion is something far different.

With that in mind, friendship often seems to come in levels; its not just what you will do but what the other(s) will do as well, so you might be a better friend to someone than that person is to you. I believe I should be friendly to everyone, at least as much as the situation warrants. Actual friendship doesn't work too well because the more I care about that person, the more pain I'll be in because (as far as I am concerned) they are on the wrong path, doomed to get their wish of having nothing to do with the God I worship for all eternity, regardless of my (and more importantly my God's) attempts at reaching them. Understandably, this is also quite off putting for the person that "knows" he's ultimately nothing more than a step in the the changes undergone by matter and energy as they experience the passage of time and the results of chance, and that I just can't accept that reality. Even a "live and let live" relationship doesn't work out to well; one belief operates under the notion that it needs to be spread so that everyone can get more and more chances of avoiding the terrible fate ultimately of their own choosing and frankly, you're kind of being negligent as a friend if your friend is operating under some sort of delusion and you don't at least periodically try to shake them out of it. Well as much as you can be "wrong" in a purely relativistic setting.

So something beyond a casual friendship isn't something I avoid, its something I don't think can exist, and trying to force it just leads to hurt. Doesn't mean everyone I deal with believes the same way I do, but it means that the relationship is different than that which we'd have if we did both share the same core beliefs (let alone more specific ones). Now how asinine would it be to try to build the most intimate of friendships (in all sense of the word), a marriage, on such a foundation? I've seen people claim they made it work, but upon closer inspection they either had improperly labeled themselves, the relationship wasn't working or both were sadly true.

Now for perhaps my most controversial statement; while everyone deserves at least a minimal show of respect, all religions are definitely not equal; this is another factor that needs to be considered. Even if all the ones you can think of are ultimately wrong, they still aren't likely all equally wrong unless we are going into full on relativism in which case they are all also equally right.

Also yes, this is the "short" version.
Rohzek 
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Posted 2/3/15 , edited 2/3/15
Religion tends to be serious business. I grew up in a multireligious (multidenominational) household. It was contentious for me as a child. And it led to some pretty frustrating moments for myself. Yet, something positive came from the experience, as it compelled me to learn more about many branches of the Christian faith.

Similar things can be said of entering into intimate relationships with someone of a completely different religion (such as Christian and Muslim). It can work out, I would think. Many of the earliest Christians during the second through the fourth centuries were women who married pagan men. And most of the pagan men during that period did not convert to their wives' religion. Then again, marriage meant a different thing back then. But from what we can tell, multireligious marriages seemed no different from the contemporary pagan-only or Christian-only marriages. Augustine of Hippo's parents are a good example of this.

As I've alluded to above, the biggest issue would be how you as a couple would raise your child(ren). I'm not saying either one of you has to cave to the other in whose religion to raise the child in. It's an important factor though. Rather, more importantly, you have to ask yourselves if it is an argument that you can have that won't ruin your spousal relationship, under the specific circumstances that neither of you reach a clear resolution. In other words, can you argue for 18 years with your spouse as to what religion to raise your child into adulthood without ruining your marriage? If you think you can endure under such a worse case scenario, then by all means go for it.
Sogno- 
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Posted 2/3/15

robfjohnson wrote:

The thing about religion is, religion isn't just a superficial label like skin color or hairstyle. [...]

It is a tenet of my own religion (as yet unnamed, and called a "religion" half-jokingly) that if you profess a belief and yet that belief doesn't somehow affect every aspect of your life, it's not your real belief. Religious beliefs generally say something about the fundamental nature of reality, the universe, and human existence, so if you profess a belief in a certain religion and it doesn't make you uncomfortable having an intimate relationship with someone who professes a fundamentally different belief, then at least one of you doesn't really believe it.


this guy gets it
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Posted 2/3/15

Ctonhunter wrote:


You do bring up a very good point, but having a relationship like that with someone who is not of the Christian faith may be a good thing. It is possible that the Christ-like example and love for God by one spouse may cause the other to be more accepting. Though I know and understand why some people would be against it, but that's just how I see it.
Also I see you love Philosophy as well*Internet Highfive* I'm taking Philosophy this semester and I love it.


(italics mine) From your perspective as the Christian (assuming my impression that you are is correct), the possibility exists, but I wouldn't count on it. In particular, I'd draw the line at saying it's OK to date someone in the hopes that you'll convince them, but never marry them until you succeed. (I'm not sure if you you're talking about actually converting the spouse to Christianity, or just causing them to act more like a Christian in the ways that don't explicitly care about Yahweh's existence.) There's a vibe I got from some (not all) of my Christian friends that annoyed me - it felt like they subconsciously assumed that given enough time/exposure I would definitely convert. In general, whenever you feel like something "might happen" like this, it's also true that it might not happen. So I don't think there's anything wrong with hoping to change someone, as long as you don't implicitly assume you will, which means not marrying them until they've already changed; and I really wish that the friends of mine in question had been less certain that I would eventually convert. (Another tenet of my "religion": there is an objective truth, so if two people disagree, at least one of them is wrong. And if you're at all intelligent you have a lot of reasons to believe you're correct, but by symmetry, if the other person is at all intelligent, so do they. If after hearing their reasons, you conclude that yours are better, then maybe you were right after all; but if they've also heard your reasons and haven't changed their mind, then they're clearly thinking the same thing, so there's still the symmetry. And if you believe they are equally intelligent to you, that is, they're equally good at processing information and coming to the truth despite their biases, then the fact that they still disagree with you should make you a lot less certain about your position. So the more certain you still are, the more you're saying that they are not as good at coming to the right conclusion as you, the more you're saying they're less intelligent than you. So when someone hears that I disagree with them and a priori assumes I must be wrong and will eventually be convinced, they're completely neglecting the symmetry of the situation, and either (a) assuming I'm much less intelligent than them, or (b) not thinking of me as a person with my own more-or-less-rational beliefs just like them. Either way is a pretty big insult. So thanks for providing a platform for me to get this rant off my chest.)

As for Philosophy, I was interested, but in the few classes I took, I would often get too annoyed at even the best philosophers' logical errors to really continue. (I was taking mathematics classes at the same time, and apparently undergraduate math classes have higher standards for logical rigor than published classic philosophy books.) For example, my knowledge of Kant comes basically from a class I took which focused entirely on his Groundwork on the Metaphysics of Morals, and in either the preface or the first chapter (I forget which), he makes what any biologist (despite the math classes I mentioned, I was majoring in biology) would recognize as an elementary misunderstanding of evolution. (Kant states something along the line of "man has reason; because man has reason, man must have reason for a purpose; reason is less efficient for achieving happiness than instinct; therefore man has reason in order to be moral". In fact, reason/sentience/higher thought/learning/whatever you call it is an exponentially more efficient way of reacting to diverse situations than instinct - instinct would have to hardcode an instinct for "run away from tigers", "run away from lions", "eat non-poisonous mushrooms" (with a separate instinct for each mushroom), "don't eat poisonous mushrooms" (again, separate for each one), "hunt <insert animal here>" (again, separate for each one), while with reason and learning, we can derive all of those through a combination of trial and error and passing knowledge down through generations. Again, thanks for providing a platform for me to get this rant off my chest.)
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