I have now posted 100 essays on this blog: essays on interfaith identity, interfaith community, interfaith parenting, interfaith marriage. And yes, these are essays, not just “blogposts.” For 25 years, I wrote for Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, New Scientist…and now I write for this blog. So I defend my online work as writing, while also claiming the blogger title.
Early on, I decided to buck the conventional wisdom that blog-readers do not want to read more than a paragraph or two. As much as I like to “drive traffic” to my blog, my primary goal here is to create a body of reflections on interfaith life, and to provide hope and encouragement to interfaith couples who continue to wrestle with distressed relatives, with misinformed or disapproving clergy, with the constant refrain of “you have to choose one.” To explain our complex and controversial approach to “doing both,” to provide detail and humor and depth, requires a longer essay format. So thank you for staying with me, and not clicking away after 200 words. The community connected through this blog continues to grow, and to spread geographically, so I do not think I overestimated your attention span.
While writing these hundred essays, I have witnessed a sort of coming-of-age for the idea of a more fluid and flexible interfaith identity. The election of our biracial President, a man raised in multiple cultures in two countries, exposed to multiple religions, brought widespread public attention to the idea of our shared hybrid future. The high-profile interfaith marriage of Chelsea Cinton marked another great “coming out” moment for interfaith couples. Meanwhile, surveys have been uncovering what many of us in interfaith families have known all along: that people will define their own spirituality, choose the rituals that still have meaning for them, and switch religious affiliations as adults. And, finally, prominent rabbis have begun to speak out about the need to accept the fact that some interfaith families are going to choose to educate their children about both religions, and they have even begun to imply that this might not be the end of the world, or even the end of the Jews.
The idea of a “half-Jewish” identity is now so de rigeur in the Jewish community that even those who are not half-Jewish are trying to ride the wave: I was amazed and amused recently to read the title of a one-man show currently touring Jewish community centers and theater festivals: “Elon Gold: Half Jewish, Half Very Jewish.” Gold was raised Orthodox, went to Jewish day school, keeps Kosher and doesn’t perform on the Sabbath. This comedian is 100% Jewish, almost any way you want to define it. But he’s riffing on the fact that it’s a half-Jewish zeitgeist out there right now. And he’s probably trying to appeal to all the Jews with interfaith marriages in their families, which is just about all of them, as Jewish intermarriage has reached 80% in some cities.
Meanwhile, Krista Tippett, the host of the most influential religion show on public radio, is changing the name of her program from “Speaking of Faith” to “On Being.” I like to think she’s been reading this blog. But the truth is that both of us have been charting the shift away from religious doctrines and institutions, and toward independent spiritual practices and communities. Tippett’s canvas is broad, all-encompassing, wide-ranging, while I continue to try to chart the untold story of one category of star-crossed interfaith lovers, lovers often forced to defy their families, their institutions, their tribal rules.
So far, publishers have had trouble understanding how to market a book on “being both.” They fret, “It doesn’t fit into any of our categories.” The irony, of course, is that not fitting into those little boxes is precisely the topic at hand. At some point, publishers will understand who we are, understand “being both.” Whether or not you are in an interfaith family yourself, all of you who follow this blog understand that if we venture out of our boxes to dance and converse and study together, the world will be a better place.
Religious Differences In Inter Faith Marriages Essay
World religions distinguish fundamentally on elements of both faith and ritual. So when the sun shines across the interfaith divide, rain is not needed to bring about an interreligious strife (Andre, Can Interfaith Relationships Work?). What do you do if you or your partner take your religion more seriously? said Stephen Prothero (Prothero, Take Religious Differences Seriously). Inter-faith marriages are those between individuals from diverse religious beliefs. A few spouses have very limited association with their religion; to others, religion forms the center of their lifetime. A few spouses see the value in other religions aside from their own. Whereas in some occasions, they may see another religion as a type of Satanism. "Everybody comes from a different perspective than their partner. If you aren't brother and sister, it's a mixed marriage" said Nora Rubel (Rubel, How to Make Interfaith Relationships Work). A partner may make many changes and alterations to their life in order to like harmoniously in an inter-faith relationship.
Communication is the solution to any relationship. Therefore, a couple either worships separately or together. By any means they might stop visiting their holy place to prevent religious disputes within their marriage. This has the benefit of reducing conflict over differences in religious culture. Although it may not be worthwhile. On the contrary, there are ways to merge traditions by making time to learn about one another's faith traditions (Dadlani, Interfaith Marriages: Celebrating Diversity). Membership within a faith group may be such a necessary piece of one or both spouses' religiosity that they cannot be withdrawn for long. Often one or both mates will want to become religiously
more determined, following in time - perhaps after childbirth. Withdrawing from each other's holy places is only a temporary fix (Flynn, The Consequences of Interfaith Marriage).
Never force anyone. Do not try to convert your spouse to your beliefs. One mate should only convert to the religion of another by choice. There should be no rush to conversion for marriage (InterfaithFamily, Conversion in Interfaith Relationships and Families). Conversion works if the person taking on a new religion truly believes in this other faith and is willing to give up the beliefs that he or she had growing up. This has the benefit of withdrawing conflict due to religious disputes, nevertheless only if the conversion is valid and believed without problem (Harley, Conflicts of Faith (Part 2)). This must be considered carefully, and the final decision must come from the person who will be converting. For these reasons, conversion cannot be done by force as the spouse will feel they are betraying their original holy belief for their significant other (Ipgrave, Reflections on Conversion in Inter-Faith Contexts).
It is good to be flexible and patient. Time is required to make things work. For that reason, each spouse may consider to pursue their...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%