6.03.2008

Religious Affiliation

My last poll was on quite an interesting topic I think. It is one that my girlfriends and I have long debated. It is one my parents would think there is no such debate about. Would you date someone of a different faith/belief? How important is that? Sure you could go along for a while – but then push comes to shove and I think it becomes pretty important.

When some of my girlfriends and I signed up for eHarmony we were asked what religious affiliations we were open to being matched with. This is what first started the conversation. I think I checked Christian, Buddhist, Spiritual but Not Affiliated, Agnostic, and Atheist. [We wanted to make sure we got LOTS of matches!] But once we started to get into conversations with these various boys we discovered a fundamental tension – there was just something different in their priorities and perspectives on life.

There was one boy in particular that one of my girlfriends went out with. He was perfect on paper, they had great conversations on the phone and he was goOoOd-looking. His profile had him marked as spiritual but not affiliated. After only their first date the discussion about God came up and they had to hash it out a bit. She came home from the date feeling a tension. They had respected what each other thought, but there didn’t seem to be a sort of reconciliation of the two in site – at least the sort of reconciliation that would be needed for a relationship to grow. She realized from that date that they didn’t just have different beliefs; he had not really invested time in developing his own beliefs and defining who he was. He had not even really read up on his Catholic upbringing, or read into Buddhism, or picked up a Bible, or dove into any sort of religious discovery. He seemed rather apathetic about it all. Religion is so meaningful to her that it was difficult to identify with someone who cared so little for the place religion played in his life. Maybe some religion is better then nothing at all.

And the same was true for my date with the bouncer – our first time out we ended up having an hour-long conversation about spirituality. He had significant obstacles from his past that kept him from feeling like he could trust Christianity or the Church ever again. And my first time out with d* from match.com [marked down as agnostic] involved quite a lengthy conversation about his love of baseball over God and how I should never try to change him or get him to go to church. So…where do I go from there?

I am not one for being exclusive – and I think what bothers me most is the label Christian and having to actually put that on an eHarmoney profile [wait! I’m one of the good ones!], but this might be one area where we have to be a little more picky. This is the most significant part of me – it defines me – it is the reason behind my passions and aspirations. That’s a hard thing to settle on.

4 comments:

CLJ said...

And not even just the putting "Christian" on a date application, but there is a huge differences within this label. After spending some time getting an education in this religious stuff it would be hard to date someone that thinks that God wrote the Bible and gave it to Moses on the scroll. There are differences in how Jesus interacts with the world that would at the very least take a personal conversation, but also are central to faith. And what kind of church expectations are they bringing to a relationship. In my own case I have a curse of being a pastor, so not only is this stuff important, but I also have a hard time really being very open to change. (I would not change my denomination, and church shopping as a pastor is a little different.)

Summer said...

Would you date someone of a different faith/belief? I have.

How important is that? The most important thing.

I didn't always think that way necessarily, but nearly four years into a marriage that has survived (and thrived) by the grace of God alone, with all of its problems and frustrations, the struggles would be multiplied many times over without the unity we have in our faith. It's even difficult now when it seems we agree on so few things having to do with Jesus and His example. I can't imagine the agony of going it alone in a relationship when it comes to faith. It is SO SAD to me to see the many females in our church on Sunday mornings without their spouses. Can you even imagine?

That my two cents.

Barry said...

you mean eHarmony isn't about people getting together to make garage bands.

in that case maybe I'll try it out.

3 most important issues for me other than religious affiliation.
1. she's a woman
2. she likes watching movies
3. she will be ok with me not combing my hair.

it's also nice when she smells good.

it's also nice if she has a few good jokes to deliver straight from her stand up routine.

lizzo said...

mmmm, i agree. this is the one part of my joshua-harris-following days that i can't let go of -- probably b/c of the one time i tried dating someone with a different belief system, it crashed. and burned. rough times, rough times.

because you're right -- in the end, when it's such a part of who you are... you can't really compromise that.