This article about an interfaith couple in Brooklyn was published today in my local paper. It was already published three weeks ago here. I wonder, do you agree that the religion of your unborn, unconceived children must be determined before you get married if you are to have a successful interfaith marriage?
The article makes me uncomfortable. Actually, it makes my blood boil. It presumes that there must be an argument where I hope for dialogue. It asserts that one religion must dominate the marriage and negates the individuality of the partners.
Sharing our differences can make our own beliefs more robust or it can change them altogether. Engaging in the conversation allows us to be vulnerable as it highlights our weakest arguments. But in that vulnerability, we have the opportunity to become more honest with ourselves. I have found it immensely rewarding to question my own assumptions. I thought I had to say "Our Father" instead of "Our Creator" until I attended a United Church of Christ service. I assumed that Jesus was entirely novel, but through learning about my husband's heritage, I have learned his teachings are firmly grounded in Judaism. I assumed most recently that being worm food is enough when I die, then I spoke with a evangelical friend who got me thinking it isn't using the example of the Holocaust. I used to believe there was a reason for everything, then my Wesleyan campus minister said Jesus didn't have to die, he chose to die and it changed my entire worldview. If Jesus didn't have to die, then my friend's mom didn't have to get cancer. The same minister told me that I could be mad at God and read me psalm after psalm of bitter complaints about injustice, which got me through teaching in an inner city school. Often, I find my arguments were weak because I never had to question them. When we are forced to justify our convictions, we look at them critically. This leads to compassion because we see the world through larger lenses. We start to understand our neighbor's point of view and become tolerant, then accepting, then embracing. Why can't we do the same in our marriages?