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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Is it okay to date a non-believer / someone of a different religion - Always put God first!

Is it okay to date a non-believer? Is it alright to marry a non-believer? What does the Bible say about dating / marrying a non-believer? Is God okay with me dating / marrying someone of a different religion? 
Dating a non-believer
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Dating and marriage are among the most complex things in life. If you're casually dating or having a fling, that can basically be okay with anything - but what happens when you fall in love with that person you're casually dating? Or that fling becomes something more? That's when things such as sharing the same faith or the same religion might play a bigger role in the situation then you first thought.
What is a non-believer?

A non-believer is basically someone who doesn't share a similar faith or belief with you
  • He / she doesn't believe in Jesus Christ
  • He / she doesn't believe in God
  • He / she is not born again or saved
  • He or she is not a Christian
What are some of the negatives or complications faced with dating or marrying a non-believer or someone who follows a different religion?
Alone at Church
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  • He / she may not support or respect your way of life (rules within your religion or belief) or traditions.
  • You may argue or debate about what is right or wrong
  • He / she may make statements that you find offensive to your religion or belief
  • You may have conflicting ideas on raising your children if you have any or plan on having any
  • You may have conflicting ideas on the right way of doing things 
  • You may have conflicting ideas on marriage or how to go about getting married
  • He / she may not understand or support major decisions or choices you might make such as following abstinence or anything similar.
What does the Bible say about dating or marrying a non-believer?

It's quite hard to understand exactly where the Bible and God stand with regards to dating or marrying a non-believer. With regards to dating, the Bible doesn't mention much on dating per se but focuses more on marriage. It's common knowledge though that in modern terms in order to marry someone you'd need to date him / her first. The Bible does focus quite a bit on marriage and what is expected of believers within it and prior to it.
The Holy Bible
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With regards to marrying a non-believer (which is likely to also apply to dating one) I can't find a passage where Jesus addresses the topic. There are verses in the old and New Testament, however that address the topic - not from Jesus perspective but from that of the Apostle Paul.
  • Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:15 

The Bible also says though:

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.1 Corinthians 7:12 - 15

Hold onto your Faith
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What does this mean for us?

I think the most important thing is to take the word of God to heart. Engrave it in your heart and use every reference and every piece of advice you can get from every appropriate and related verse (like the ones above).

As Christians, our main aim should be to put God first - always. Jesus is our priority and pleasing God is our goal. God put us on this earth to '
have life and have it abundantly' (John 10:10) - God wants us to be happy and live life happily. He wants us to love our neighbours and form lasting relationships with people. He wants us to be with one partner forever and be blessed in our marriages (without divorcing unnecessarily or committing adultery).

Being in a relationship or being married on its own is a big job. It is not easy as you are two separate and different individuals coming together and trying to make a relationship work and function as one whole. Being in a relationship where differences are exasperated by the fact that you now follow different religions or your partner is a non-believer is likely to be ten times harder. It seems that God would want things to be easier for us so that we're not forced into divorce due to complications or unmanageable circumstances.

Why is it better to date or marry a believer or someone who shares your religion?

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As has been mentioned above there are many reasons why it wouldn't be advisable to enter into a commitment with a non-believer.

The biggest issue may be visible when the relationship affects your faith, moral standards or relationship with Christ. Trying to keep your spouse or partner happy by lowering your standards (breaking your abstinence before marriage belief to keep him or her happy for example) or compromising your values should definitely not be part of the plan and if it seems like that's where you're headed, where you are or what your partner expects of you then you're in the wrong kind of relationship. Your relationship with God should come first, Christ should be your priority and this is easier to achieve when in a relationship where you and your partner share a religion and belief system.

If you share the same beliefs, you can work together at strengthening your relationship and marriage through Christ, Pray together and build personal relationships with God together. As the saying goes - a family that Prays together; stays together.

What Should We Do?

Jesus - The reason we live
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We should do what will make God happy. God will be happy with us maintaining our relationship with him, prioritizing it and not compromising it for anything. Jesus should always come first. If we can reach and maintain our Spiritual goals while being in a relationship with a non-believer then that's okay. Jesus never discriminated against anyone (Jesus was Jewish and yet he did not discriminate against the Samaritan woman at the well - read here for more) and our goal is to be more and more like Jesus. We know that we can never match His perfection but we'd like to follow him as closely as we possibly could.

If it is too hard for us to manage a relationship with a non-believer while upholding our relationship with God and avoiding compromising our morals, standards and beliefs then we should avoid such relationships altogether. 

Pray to God to help you make the right decisions and choices. He will always guide you and lead you in the right direction. Put God at the bases of every decision you make and you can never go wrong.
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