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  1. #11
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    I don't see how this could work... I'm not saying it won't, but it seems like quite the uphill battle.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    This.

    I remember years ago talking to this Dutch woman who told me how tolerant people in the Netherlands are, how people of different faiths just co-exist. When I met her friends who were following different religions I realised that they might give themselves different faith labels because of their upbringing etc but that in the end they were very similar, they called themselves Christian or Muslim or Buddhist but really all of them were liberal, educated, agnostic, their faith seemed more like a cultural label than anything else.

    I think it depends a lot on the depth of your convictions how well interfaith marriage works out (and maybe also on your specific religion, on how exclusive its truth claim is, I used to live with a landlady who was Sikh and her late husband was Hindu and that obviously worked)

    Realistically speaking I would only want to get married to a practising Christian, I remember a Muslim showing serious interest in me and when I thought about it I realised that I would only want to get married in a church and have the blessing of the Christian God over this union, there is just no way I would practise Muslim beliefs (and I would totally understand why a Muslim wouldn't want to marry me because of my faith, if I have no intention of converting to his). I am the only believer in a family of atheists and it is hard enough not being able to talk to them about my faith and how I come to certain decisions, because some of my ways of thinking are just so alien to their worldview. Having a husband that doesn't share the same worldview would be even harder, it could become a shallow relationship because I would feel like I have to lock a big part of myself away since some things just can't be reasoned out, you either believe them or not and if you have completely different worldviews you are just inevitably going to clash.
    I agree with this, you essentially have to have a certain underlying world view. I've spent a significant part of my adulthood around men who call themselves atheists, but what they were, actually, were agnostics because one had a strange fear of the supernatural, calling things "evil" and saying certain people had "lost their souls" but did not believe in a god and hated religion; another said he thought god was a ridiculous concept even as a child, but believes that there's something spiritual, even with no god.

    I call myself a Taoist because my essential belief is that there is an energy and an order to the universe, I've believed this since I was a teenager, I think this is what people call God, and I sense it in nature (and am therefore more compatible with atheists or agnostics who are environmentalists, or pagans who aren't too fruity, or perhaps Buddhists) ...but most importantly what I believe is that there is "energy" in the universe and in people and other living things, and that there is such a thing and right and wrong, and that spirituality is a very personal, individual thing. You alone have your relationship with whatever is in the great beyond.

    Or not.

    I'd never be compatible with someone who never questioned religion extensively. I might be able to have a relationship with someone from one of the Big Three monotheistic religions, but I doubt I'd be very compatible with a hardcore Jewish or Muslim person for strictly cultural reasons - at least Christianity I understand from a cultural perspective, and I've got liberal Christian friends who wouldn't push their own belief system on me. And that's wonderful with friends, and I can also observe holidays with them, I see no problem with bowing my head even when they pray as I do my own internal dialogue with the universe...but I'm not so sure I could have a spouse like that, I don't know. I'd assume they were always waiting to convert me, because evangelism is so important to their religion.

    And I don't like the uncomfortable feeling of either going through the motions of what I understand culturally from being raised Christian, or making another person feel threatened with my decision to not practice the faith that is so important to them.

    AWKWARD.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyli_ryan View Post
    My boyfriend (muslim) and I (christian) were talking about this subject today.

    I was just interested to see if anyone had any comments/suggestions about this topic and how to overcome the complications that could arise.

    Are any of you from interfaith households?

    If married to someone from another faith, do you each practice your own faiths? Have you talked about what you will do with your children? How is it working out?

    If you grew up in an interfaith household, what did your parents do? Do you think they should have used a different method?

    Just trying to gain some information
    You could adopt the clever concept of separation of state and church and turn it into a separation of life and religion: a child raised without religion. Not only would that help you prevent parental quarrels over religious matters, it would also give your child the advantage of a realistic world view.

  4. #14
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Well, my parents came from moderately strong religious backgrounds, my father Catholic and my mother Jewish. They had different experiences with their faiths, though. Both attended private religious schools as kids, where my Dad said he lost most faith in the institution of the church, but seems to have kept the basic monotheistic belief and the cultural foundation that it rests on. He recalls often days where his teachers, Brother Paul and Brother Francis or some such, would have to be dragged into class dead-drunk while the other made excuses to the children for him: "Oh kids, Brother Francis is just...he's sick today." On the other hand, my Mom followed most of her family's orthodox beliefs and customs through high school level and graduation. She believes in a style slightly more liberal than them, but there was no loss of trust in it on her part, so she grew up solidly Jewish. She didn't have many friends, but had great grades, and graduated one year early.

    They met when they went to the same university, where my Dad was struggling to pass, and my Mom was helping him in what ways she could. The two of them fell in love, and soon after graduation began thinking about marriage. Their families were quite opposed to the idea, thinking the other culture/upbringing too alien and closed-off in their ways. The families didn't trust each other. Legend has it that both my grandfathers hated each other (well, they are both very stubborn men), so when they met and shook hands at the wedding, it was as though the Earth had moved. Over the years and decades, my Dad's family accepted their differences gently, and respected my Dad's decision. My mother's family, however, never quite understood or forgave her for her "mistake," so every family can take this course differently.

    They were both disillusioned enough with their families that, once married and thinking about starting a family, they moved away from the city in which they grew up, and then after having kids, moving even further away. Not the only reason for moving, but a factor that made them "okay" with parting with their past, the city they had known for their whole lives. Making a new home about a thousand miles away, they visited their relatives once or twice every year. My Dad's parents visited us also about once or twice a year, whereas my Mom's parents only visited us once in my life, and not while staying at our house--they stayed at a hotel and had us go to town to visit them. That was also, supposedly, to settle a score with my Mom's sister so that they could claim they visit us more than she does (which is precisely "never").

    So how did they reconcile their beliefs? What my Mom has told me is that she married my Dad on the condition that their children be raised in Jewish ways, and he had to be okay with that. He was, since he had no strong attachment to his Catholic faith, and in his words, "It was more important to me that we raise kids who know right from wrong. As long as we have that, the rest falls into place." That seems to be the cornerstone of the religious part of their marriage. We indeed went to synagogue weekly and learned the prayers and customs, not practicing Christian ones, even after moving to and growing up in a social environment that was overwhelmingly Christian. My Dad went with us, even though he didn't know the words. It's strange, trying to remember it....something I wasn't paying keen attention to as a young child; I guess he mostly sat there and listened, and if a song was really catchy, he might pick up on how it goes, but not likely when it's in a foreign language. He would read along when we got to spoken English sections, though. He got involved in what small ways he could, for example, playing guitar at Sunday classes to help the Rabbi lead the kids in song. So he was invested in this, because it was part of how his kids were being raised, even if he wasn't accustomed to some things and had to follow along quietly rather than fully participate (due to lack of familiarity with how things go). Even when we didn't go to synagogue, my Mom led a small prayer and service for just us (Dad, Mom, my sisters and myself) in the kitchen at home. My Dad sang along with the English parts, and participated in "what's basically Communion, anyway," as he has said before.

    Not only was my Mom less Orthodox in belief and more flexible in her practices than most of her family, but because of the fact that they didn't live in an area that was largely Jewish (the way my Mom had when growing up), circumstances would have made it difficult to be Orthodox anyway, so our upbringing was more liberal than my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents were comfortable with. (For example, their belief that you're not supposed to drive on the Sabbath...and yet where we grew up, the closest synagogue was 20 miles away. Not to mention, a little more difficult to eat Kosher, but not impossible.)

    In short, my Dad supported my Mom's view, and my Mom led the way, in the religious side of our upbringing. Their marriage lasted 22 years, and as far as they've said, and from what I can tell, the divorce had nothing to do with differences of belief. It had to do with a growing emotional distance in their relationship, not spending as much time together, eventual communication breakdown, etc. Once my Dad started dating again, and now that's he remarried to a Christian (Baptist), I notice that he goes with her to church, and I don't know whether that's him reconnecting with the Christian faith of his past, or just moulding to his wife's (and local society's) way of life. Probably a little of both. My Mom, too, started dating and did not limit herself to Jewish men, but again, reserves the right for herself and us, her children, to practice our religion separately. Not that we live with her anymore, which makes part of that easier to maintain with a husband/fiance, but when we visit her for holidays and whatnot. She likes to share her religion with her fiance and his family and anyone who's interested, she loves to get people involved, and her "stepdaughter" is welcome by them to experience both sets of holidays. As am I and my sisters, when we go to my stepmom's, or my "stepfather's" family's Christmas/Easter/etc. parties.

    One strange thing I didn't realize until I started writing all this was that I've never really known what my Dad's true beliefs are. I've never asked him, as that's not the kind of thing we do in my family, being a naturally private bunch, and he's never stated any one clear whole system out loud, except for what I have written above. But how did he truly feel about the whole thing through his marriage with my Mom? It's not clear, since he's never much talked about it. I also have the feeling that maybe not even he is sure what he himself believes. And once again, I realize as I grow up and get older just how quiet and private my father is. Thoughts that never occurred to me in childhood and teen years.

    ------

    In your case, I could imagine a Muslim-Christian marriage working out if the definitions you give yourselves are flexible enough, which is perhaps easier in this day and age than it would have been in the past (to interpret religion loosely, that is). And I guess different customs would physically have to be performed separately (you could do both, though, of course, one after the other...the "separate" doesn't have to imply that you separate from each other in order to do these), but to me, I think that agreeing that what you two believe is essentially the same would probably be crucial. Common values. I wonder if that's what my Dad did...
    Last edited by Cimarron; 06-23-2012 at 06:34 AM. Reason: OP's situation
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  5. #15
    Senior Member kyli_ryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Well, my parents came from moderately strong religious backgrounds, my father Catholic and my mother Jewish. They had different experiences with their faiths, though. Both attended private religious schools as kids, where my Dad said he lost most faith in the institution of the church, but seems to have kept the basic monotheistic belief and the cultural foundation that it rests on. He recalls often days where his teachers, Brother Paul and Brother Francis or some such, would have to be dragged into class dead-drunk while the other made excuses to the children for him: "Oh kids, Brother Francis is just...he's sick today." On the other hand, my Mom followed most of her family's orthodox beliefs and customs through high school level and graduation. She believes in a style slightly more liberal than them, but there was no loss of trust in it on her part, so she grew up solidly Jewish. She didn't have many friends, but had great grades, and graduated one year early.

    They met when they went to the same university, where my Dad was struggling to pass, and my Mom was helping him in what ways she could. The two of them fell in love, and soon after graduation began thinking about marriage. Their families were quite opposed to the idea, thinking the other culture/upbringing too alien and closed-off in their ways. The families didn't trust each other. Legend has it that both my grandfathers hated each other (well, they are both very stubborn men), so when they met and shook hands at the wedding, it was as though the Earth had moved. Over the years and decades, my Dad's family accepted their differences gently, and respected my Dad's decision. My mother's family, however, never quite understood or forgave her for her "mistake," so every family can take this course differently.

    They were both disillusioned enough with their families that, once married and thinking about starting a family, they moved away from the city in which they grew up, and then after having kids, moving even further away. Not the only reason for moving, but a factor that made them "okay" with parting with their past, the city they had known for their whole lives. Making a new home about a thousand miles away, they visited their relatives once or twice every year. My Dad's parents visited us also about once or twice a year, whereas my Mom's parents only visited us once in my life, and not while staying at our house--they stayed at a hotel and had us go to town to visit them. That was also, supposedly, to settle a score with my Mom's sister so that they could claim they visit us more than she does (which is precisely "never").

    So how did they reconcile their beliefs? What my Mom has told me is that she married my Dad on the condition that their children be raised in Jewish ways, and he had to be okay with that. He was, since he had no strong attachment to his Catholic faith, and in his words, "It was more important to me that we raise kids who know right from wrong. As long as we have that, the rest falls into place." That seems to be the cornerstone of the religious part of their marriage. We indeed went to synagogue weekly and learned the prayers and customs, not practicing Christian ones, even after moving to and growing up in a social environment that was overwhelmingly Christian. My Dad went with us, even though he didn't know the words. It's strange, trying to remember it....something I wasn't paying keen attention to as a young child; I guess he mostly sat there and listened, and if a song was really catchy, he might pick up on how it goes, but not likely when it's in a foreign language. He would read along when we got to spoken English sections, though. He got involved in what small ways he could, for example, playing guitar at Sunday classes to help the Rabbi lead the kids in song. So he was invested in this, because it was part of how his kids were being raised, even if he wasn't accustomed to some things and had to follow along quietly rather than fully participate (due to lack of familiarity with how things go). Even when we didn't go to synagogue, my Mom led a small prayer and service for just us (Dad, Mom, my sisters and myself) in the kitchen at home. My Dad sang along with the English parts, and participated in "what's basically Communion, anyway," as he has said before.

    Not only was my Mom less Orthodox in belief and more flexible in her practices than most of her family, but because of the fact that they didn't live in an area that was largely Jewish (the way my Mom had when growing up), circumstances would have made it difficult to be Orthodox anyway, so our upbringing was more liberal than my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandparents were comfortable with. (For example, their belief that you're not supposed to drive on the Sabbath...and yet where we grew up, the closest synagogue was 20 miles away. Not to mention, a little more difficult to eat Kosher, but not impossible.)

    In short, my Dad supported my Mom's view, and my Mom led the way, in the religious side of our upbringing. Their marriage lasted 22 years, and as far as they've said, and from what I can tell, the divorce had nothing to do with differences of belief. It had to do with a growing emotional distance in their relationship, not spending as much time together, eventual communication breakdown, etc. Once my Dad started dating again, and now that's he remarried to a Christian (Baptist), I notice that he goes with her to church, and I don't know whether that's him reconnecting with the Christian faith of his past, or just moulding to his wife's (and local society's) way of life. Probably a little of both. My Mom, too, started dating and did not limit herself to Jewish men, but again, reserves the right for herself and us, her children, to practice our religion separately. Not that we live with her anymore, which makes part of that easier to maintain with a husband/fiance, but when we visit her for holidays and whatnot. She likes to share her religion with her fiance and his family and anyone who's interested, she loves to get people involved, and her "stepdaughter" is welcome by them to experience both sets of holidays. As am I and my sisters, when we go to my stepmom's, or my "stepfather's" family's Christmas/Easter/etc. parties.

    One strange thing I didn't realize until I started writing all this was that I've never really known what my Dad's true beliefs are. I've never asked him, as that's not the kind of thing we do in my family, being a naturally private bunch, and he's never stated any one clear whole system out loud, except for what I have written above. But how did he truly feel about the whole thing through his marriage with my Mom? It's not clear, since he's never much talked about it. I also have the feeling that maybe not even he is sure what he himself believes. And once again, I realize as I grow up and get older just how quiet and private my father is. Thoughts that never occurred to me in childhood and teen years.

    ------

    In your case, I could imagine a Muslim-Christian marriage working out if the definitions you give yourselves are flexible enough, which is perhaps easier in this day and age than it would have been in the past (to interpret religion loosely, that is). And I guess different customs would physically have to be performed separately (you could do both, though, of course, one after the other...the "separate" doesn't have to imply that you separate from each other in order to do these), but to me, I think that agreeing that what you two believe is essentially the same would probably be crucial. Common values. I wonder if that's what my Dad did...
    This was all very helpful @Cimarron, thanks I am glad that this maybe made you think about things in a different way than you did before. It's funny as I was reading, I was thinking about attending Shabbat dinner with my friends and learning the Motzi and Kiddish (in like... catchy phonetic fashion)! I feel like the type of person I am, being spiritual but interested in other faiths (as portrayed by my participation in friend's religious practices and my interest in researching/discussing my bf's faith...), it will be easy to be clear about what I believe and how it's compatible with other faiths' teachings.

    Thanks everyone for the input/comments

  6. #16
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyli_ryan View Post
    I was just interested to see if anyone had any comments/suggestions about this topic and how to overcome the complications that could arise.

    Are any of you from interfaith households?
    My SO and I follow different faiths, but as others have said, we agree on the big picture so essentiall it comes down to different names for the same thing, different customs and rituals, etc. Almost like couples that come from different cultural backgrounds.

    My gratuitous advice: share both of your faiths with any children you have. Take them to mosque and church. Have them study Bible and Quran. Also, expose them to other faiths out there, perhaps through neighbors and friends. Equip them (1) to be able to identify the right spiritual path for themselves when they grow up, and (2) not just to tolerate, but to appreciate and learn from other faiths, regardless of which they claim as their own. The only trouble you will get from this is if the people/clergy in your religious communities have a problem with you exposing your children to the "other" faith. But it is not their choice and not their family. You might find you are setting an example for those around you.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #17

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    Oooh, good topic.

    I've presently decided that I'm probably going to single for the rest of my days and on balance with a lot of the possibly unhappy alternatives I'm fine with that. Although there was a time when I thought about marriage and children as my life's trajectory and the most important thing to me. In that time there were two possible relationships which were majorly roadblocked by differences in faith, I know of a friend who told me they were pleased when their spouse did not wish to continue in an alternative protestant congregation to the one they had grown up in too.

    In my experience one of the relationships was a protestant-catholic one, there's more than the usual religious differences when it happens in northern ireland because there's culture and community, literally people have lived almost entirely different lives within a broadly similar setting. When I've known of protestants marrying into my RCC community they've either abandoned their faith and adopted RC beliefs or they've practiced their beliefs themselves but permitted the children to raised in the father's faith. I think perhaps something similar has happened in reverse as I remember some adult baptisms at Easter one year of people who had been raised in an interfaith setting but changed their minds about the faith they were raised in (this itself may have been related to further intermarriage).

    The second instance was someone who had no faith, none what so ever, in other respects I thought they were great but they had no faith and no ideological beliefs either. I found that really strange. No strong beliefs of any kind. It made me have really major doubts about them from very early on in the relationship and to be honest was the thing which broke us up. They were very adament about wishing to hold no views or have no opinions and I'm pretty sure would have wanted to raise any future children in the same way. This would have been a problem for me, a major problem, because I dont believe in much vaunted liberal neutrality, if you do attempt to raise children in that way you dont just deprive them of the benefits that you yourself have in your own upbringing, very possibly unacknowledged and unconscious by now, but you expose them to and permit the imprinting of another culture/ideology, that of the pop culture/ideology, which is itself largely unacknowledged and unconscious also for good or ill, and I mainly believe ill.

    Now, I know growing up that my family had a confluence of influences, over arching it all was Roman Catholicism but my dad is as critical as he is devote, something which has never been lost on me, he hasnt ever been a fan of clericism or hierarchy or exclusionary beliefs (catholic or protestant) and there has also been a strong influence from socialism, support of and then rejection of followed by a moderation of perhaps, and some more vague and undefined cultural conservatism which goes along with just knowing and rejecting as alienating a lot of modern trends, especially surrounding capitalism and liberalism.

    So I'm pretty sure its impossible to find that constellation of views out there in a prospective spouse, I've pretty much given up on that one.

  8. #18
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    I don't see how your post could help anyone
    Teaching people that religion is a made up fantasy for entertainment, identity, and sociological reasons is a good thing.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  9. #19
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Teaching people that religion is a made up fantasy for entertainment, identity, and sociological reasons is a good thing.
    You're being contradictory.

    Without religion there is no such thing as a "good thing."
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  10. #20
    Temporal Mechanic. Lexicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    Without religion there is no such thing as a "good thing."


    Not all of us can agree with that pereception of reality, friend. We are more than capable of developing a moral compass without stories of yore to tell us what is good or evil. It's called independent thought.

    *that isn't to say people who choose to follow a religion are incapable of independent thought, either, but at times, subscribing to one narrow unevolving perception of reality can lead to somewhat limited thinking/circular logic, and imposition of one's subjective truths onto others. And yes, this can occur with atheistic people, as well.
    03/23 06:06:58 EcK: lex
    03/23 06:06:59 EcK: lex
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    03/23 06:21:53 Nancynobullets: We summon yooouuu
    03/23 06:29:07 Lexicon: I was sleeping!



    04/25 04:20:35 Patches: Don't listen to lex. She wants to birth a litter of kittens. She doesnt get to decide whats creepy

    02/16 23:49:38 ygolo: Lex is afk
    02/16 23:49:45 Cimarron: she's doing drugs with Jack

    03/05 19:27:41 Time: You can't make chat morbid. Lex does it naturally.

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