WHAT DOES THE BIBLE AND
CHURCH SAY ABOUT INTER-RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE?
Father Francisco Cervantes
is said that love conquers all, but that thought is not in the
bible anywhere. But in I Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verse 13,
Saint Paul does write this:
"So, faith, hope,
love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
Love then is the energy of the universe, the
love can be the reflection of this creative energy of
God, the very essence of God Himself. But human love is also
flawed and weakened by sin. With that in mind, the only love I
truly trust without limit is God's eternal and truly
unconditional love. So, in regards to inter-religious marriages
(marriages between a man and woman with different religious
beliefs, such as Christian and Non-Christian, for example), the
Catholic Church, and most Christians for that matter, discourage
is the experience of the Church that inter-religious marriages
have inherent obstacles that destroy marriages, such as what
religious community to go to worship, what religion should the
children be brought up in, and the conflict of different family
traditions that are based on religious observances. These are
just some of the obstacles and conflicts that can destroy a
am going to say something that many don't want
to hear: human love cannot overcome everything. The dictum, love
conquers all, is not true because human love is flawed. Only
God's love conquers all, not human love which at times can be
blinded by a person's self-centered desires interpreted as love.
That's why true love can only thrive when both man and woman
share a common religious belief. Christians thrive with
Christians, and other religious faith people thrive with their
own faith traditions.
ask about biblical verses AGAINST inter-religious marriages.
There is a danger of "proof-texting" (taking the bible out of
context) to prove one's opinions even if those opinions are
wrong. Even the devil himself used scripture against Jesus in
the desert during Jesus' temptations (see Matthew, Chapter 4).
are the verses you seek to
bolster our concerns about the danger of entering into
inter-religious marriages. So, get your bible out, and because
of the lack of space, I am only going to give you the verses and
a little commentary about it so that you see what I am thinking
about when I read that particular verse: In the Old Testament
(the Hebrew Scriptures), the prohibition against inter-religious
marriages is strong because the Hebrew people of that time (and
some even now) see that inter-religious marriages endangers the
Jewish faith of the one who is in such a relationship:
God forbids inter-religious marriages because He didn't want
and daughters to be tempted to follow another
worships false gods. God knew that sometimes,
party in the marriage would be tempted to go
to the false
religion to maintain marital unity, thereby
God is concerned about bringing other false religions
in this prohibition against inter-religious
All inter-religious marriages were dissolved in this interesting
situation. For the nation of Israel, religious unity
important to Israel.
The prophet Nehemiah talks about the destruction that
marriages had done to Israel and the
faith in one true God.
The prophet Malachi uses the image of inter-religious
marriages to describe the faithlessness of the people of Israel.
the New Testament (the Christian Scriptures), Saint Paul writes
clearly about his dislike of inter-religious marriages in
regards to belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
I CORINTHIANS 7:39
If a man or woman loses a spouse in death, they
again but only in the Lord.
2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-15
Saint Paul advising his congregants to marry only
Christians. But even though Saint Paul
strongly advises against
at the same time, in I CORINTHIANS
he does not condone divorce of inter-religious
marriages because as Saint Paul says it, "For
unbelieving husband has
his wife, and the unbelieving wife
through her believing husband.
children would be unclean, but
as it is, they are holy."
know that these biblical quotes MAY NOT make a Non-Christian
comfortable or peaceful about an inter-religious relationship.
But the challenges to inter-religious marriages are great. As a
non-believer, there will be many obstacles to a happy marital
union. Yes, these obstacles can be overcome through compromise
and through the absolute respect of each other's religious
faith. The male unbeliever may find that he will thrive with a
woman who shares his religious faith, his religious values, and
his religious traditions, which includes common family
activities. But let me say something that is the expectation of
the Church: We are praying that the non-Christian spouse will
one day convert to Christianity. Though not necessary for a
Christian marriage, conversion of the non-Christian party is
something that the Church and Christian family hopes for.
you are considering an inter-religious marriage, please,
think seriously and deeply about the above. Please ask your
family, even your local prayer leader, about this. And ask your
Christian partner what his/her family thinks about this. You
will then see the differences and obstacles that could destroy
your marital bliss and dreams. May the Lord guide you in all
your decisions, especially the decisions that affect your
destiny and the destinies of others.
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