Should inter-religious marriages happen?
The obvious expected answer is YES. In fact, I took time out (yes, I did) to carry out a survey of people’s general answer to this question. Given the Yes/No option to this question, NINE out of ten people said ‘Yes’, leaving just one person with the ‘No’ answer. When asked to give a reason to back up the answers, I got a few ‘why-not’s?’ and the usual ‘If they are in love…’. I was more interested in why the guy who said No said it. His reason was that ‘It’s not practical’. Very abstract, but thinking about it open mindedly, I saw what the other nine people failed to see. He was right. It is not practical.
What is religion? Joke. We aren’t in a Religious Studies class. I would however like to point out some things in religious belief that would aid our understanding of the issue at hand.
Religions are different. I see you rolling your eyes in the ‘no shit Sherlock’ way but give me a chance ay? Religions are different. As much as most religions are similar in their basic belief in the existence of a supernatural HIGHER being, they differ in their perception of this higher being and how HE should be worshipped.
Basic example, although it has been concluded that Allah is just the Arabic translation of the word God, Christians believe that God made man in his own image, and he has a son (Jesus), while Muslims strongly disagree with this.
I will continue using the Christianity/Islam comparison to help my explanation. Not that I do not acknowledge other religions out there, they are simply the most popular ones and thus a lot of people will find it easier to relate to them.
I remember reading on a calendar somewhere a verse from the bible, I think it was quoted as John 14:6 ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life. NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER (God), BUT BY ME’.
I will translate this to simply mean that you cannot get to heaven except through Jesus. Jesus himself is reported to have said this. Not your pastor, not your father, not your mother. Jesus himself. In essence, Christians believe that if you do not believe in Jesus as your saviour (the core of Christianity), you will not get to the father.
In the Qur’an, to get into heaven, you have to believe in the oneness of God, the day of judgment, good deeds, and in all the messengers of God INCLUDING Prophet Muhammad as the FINAL prophet of God.
Do I need to point out the obvious flaws?
Muslims don’t think of Jesus as their saviour. They see him as just another prophet of God, hence if we look at it in the most basic of Christian beliefs, they shouldn’t hold their breath for heaven.
Christians on the other hand believe in one God and his messengers EXCEPT Prophet Muhammad. So although they pass other criteria, they fail in a major requirement of heaven according to Islamic belief. They are even known as the ‘Kafir’ i.e. Unbelievers in the Qur’an and everyone knows the Kafir are not promised heaven.
Can you see it yet?
If you are a good Christian and you truly believe in your religion, although you can ‘hope’ and ‘pray’ for the awesome person you know that is a Muslim, your religion tells you that the person isn’t going to make heaven, and vice versa for Muslims. So where is the love? How do you love someone so much that you spend the REST of your life with them and allow them to nurture your kids with you, BUT you aren’t sure of their admission into heaven? Is it not your concern? Of course you aren’t sure of ANYONE’s admission to heaven, not even yours. But view it as an exam. You don’t know exactly what you’ll get, but you assume that if you read and practice everyday, you’ll pass, so you read anyway. While there’s another person that concentrates more on his Play Station 3, has ever been to class, and you know he’s bound to fail.
Do you really love that person? Or have you simply not thought about the afterlife? Or you have thought about it, but you care not for the after life? Each to his own then?
Lets think about the kids. If your kids practiced your spouse’s religion (i.e. opposing yours), can you live with the fact your kids may not make heaven? Just because?
And if they did practice your own religion and you took them with you to all the Christian/Islamic events there are to go; if they ever got to the point where they understood all of this, how would you explain that their father/mother might not make heaven? And that you are cool with it?
It is something to think about.
A lot of people avoid this thought and would rather think of extremely shallow things that may or may not have a basis. You hope that somehow, God will sort it out for you. But it is like this. There is a well behind your house and you don’t know how deep it is. There is a sign to the left telling you specifically not to jump in, but you jump in, in the hope that your father will come home early enough to find that you’re missing and get you out of the well. Ludicrous? Yes.
Of course all of this is not a problem if you are not a firm believer of your religion. You wouldn’t even think this deep if you weren’t. Or perhaps you believe that things would be specially waved for you. But they probably won’t. You know how atheists call religion a rigid means of controlling human behaviour? They are almost correct. Religion is precise. You are either in or out. You can’t take some bits of it and then expect the rest to sort itself out. It would most likely not happen. Think about it.
For an inter-religious marriage to work, one of you must be wobbly in your religious belief. I am yet to see a perfectly happy inter-religious marriage where both parties are FIRM believers of their religion.
Please prove me wrong.