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The following Featured Post comes from Under 25 Group 1, Thread 4.

1. religion
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 5:48 PM/EST

It's like the invisible wall.

If you watch talk shows, they always show relationships that struggle because the people are different races. But they never do shows on the struggles that occur between different religions. Its like you're walking around with this "secret" and you look like the perfect couple and you can walk into a church or a synagogue and they welcome you with open arms. But then as soon as they find out that your significant other is not the same religion as you, people are quick to disapprove. Some people will go so far as to say that you are destroying the religion. Its a tremendous challenge to undertake if you are in an interfaith relationship and most people don't realize how much of a toll it will put on you untill you are in one.

Some people say you have to make all the decisions on how to raise the child before you get married. But that solution doesn't take into account that people evolve, ideas change, different influences cross our path. People say you have to chose one religion so that your child won't be "lost". But I know plenty of young people from families that have one religion and they are some of the most unfocused unspiritual people I have ever met.

Has anyone else put thoughts into issues like this? Is anyone the offspring of an interfaith couple and can talk about their experience?

2. I can relate
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 6:21 PM/EST

My mother is catholic and my father was jewish. I was raised catholic although my last name was jewish and everyone knew it immediately. It was always assumed by those who did not know me that I was jewish. I was never taught about the jewish religion and began to loathe it because people assumed certain things about me. In high school I explored other religions, having questioned catholicism and disagreed with many of their beliefs for years, but my mother freaked out completely at the thought of me changing my religion, even though she is a once a year catholic herself. I have always been very open to other religions and my mother has not. Now that I am dating an African American Muslim, she won't even talk to me about him or religion. Although I would not convert to Islam, and he would not denounce it, I can not begin to imagine what my mother would do/say/think/feel if the issue of marriage ever came up.

3. religion
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 6:26 PM/EST

Rachel. My mother is Catholic and my father doesn't follow a religion. However, my uncle has taught me about our Mohawk traditions which is how I express my spirituality. I am spiritually focused despite my exposure to 3 ways of spirtuality. All three people (Catholic mother, non religious father, and Native Uncle) have influenced my beliefs, but the Mohawk traditions have been the strongest factor in my spirituality. I have been in 2 long term relationships, both with 2 white, Christian women.

The first woman and I had to break up for several reasons, one of them having to do with my beliefs. There was a cultural difference. Yet the woman from my second relationship was able to sacrifice some of our time together so I could acknowledge my beliefs. She was exceptional in her willingness to sacrifice. I was equally willing to understand and scrifice for her beliefs as well. So I think spirituality depends more on the person rather than the religion they practice. I've met Christian faith healers who think just like Native medicine people.

The bigger issue that I am facing has to do with my parents. They have allowed me space to bring back some of the Mohawk traditions, but they still don't totally understand them. The major hang up will happen when I choose to get married. They are expecting me to marry in a catholic church, however there is a good chance that I will marry a Native American woman. This means that we will marry according to other than Christian traditions. Sometimes it weighs on my mind about how it'll all pan out. I know it would crush my mother if I tried to marry in other than a catholic church. I try not to take it overly serious because that makes me miserable. This is one of the reasons I joined this discussion group. I would love to hear about how others are handling interfaith relationships.

4. why choose?
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 6:33 PM/EST

I was raised Methodist, both of my parents were long before they married so it was obvious how I was going to be raised. When I was about 10 my family stopped going to church and I was left to develop my own religious ideas (which I won't even get into). Just because you raise a child a certain way doesn't mean that they will ever embrace it like you do.

I wish I had been raised in an inter-faith family it would have opened my eyes to many more ideas that I hadn't even thought of. I don't see why many inter-faith families don't embrace both religions and teach their children about both. I realize that that it may be difficult to take then to a place of worship and know that they are going to be told of things that completely contradict the other religion they know at home...that is where it becomes important for parents to teach their children the differences. Then when the children can make an educated decision chances are they will choose the faith that is right for them...which is something that will probably happen anyway.

5. amazing
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 7:20 PM/EST

Thank you everyone for really responding to this issue. People's comments were so insightful. You know, when it comes to thinking out of the box about religion, people always say that kids won't understand any of that. But i say, if kids can logically believe in santa claus, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny, there's no telling what they are willing to comprehend. Take children who are adopted--if they are taught about love and family and responsibility from the beginning--chances are they wont feel lost and confused--and this is a child who their whole life has been given conflicting messages about who they are supposed to be.

I think its beautiful when a person begins discovering their own spirituality and faith--and it is such a shame when parents start inflicting righteous views over their child about what is right or not right to think. (eyestothesky--your message really made me think about that). What are people so afraid of? Why do people feel so threatened by someone feeling differently than they do? In the end, the goal is all the same: to be a complete, whole individual, to feel like we have a purpose and to be surrounded by love, and to give love. To know there is a god, or a being, or a plan, or a cycle to this all. If you try hard enough and let the universe direct your life, as opposed to your "elders"--we may all begin to discover life's secret blessings.

...Well--easier said than done. Keep posting.

6. Religion search
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 4:12 AM/EST

When it comes to religion, ask yourself, "if I were to die tonight ... what would happen to me?"

What do you believe in? I may be speaking in some ingnorance but I believe all religions point to some greater power. I believe the true greater power is God (Jehovah, the Trinity, etc.) I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and contains the truth that is self evident upon a complete study of it.

Having said the above, I'm sure I may have already prejudiced some readers to what I am about to say ... but I hope it hasn't.

Personally I think that maintaining an inter-Christian denominational marriage is kinda silly. If both are serious about learning the "truth", they should study ... extensive studying should bring about a unification of beliefs ... for there is only one "truth".

Many times I have found that different relgions in one household, is through a lack of willingness on the one side, both, or more sides to study and learn more together. Laziness or no strong interest in religion.

I think that raising a child in one religion is important to allowing the child to build a strong foundation. Then as the child is ready, they should expose themselves to other religions to challenge what they believe to be sure what they believe is correct.

One may think that early exposure to different religions will make a child more accepting of other religions ... but instead, that may cause the child to think that it really doesn't matter ... that religion doesn't matter.

7. I agree!
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 10:24 AM/EST

I agree with davidkim. I come from a Christian background. My mother is extremely religious and well my father is really not in the picture. However, with the divorce of my parents my mom's faith in God grew greater, understandably. I have always been spiritual. And I know I need God in my life, but I am trying to understand and reconcile the whole notion that as a "non-denominational/pentecostal" Christian (I really loathe labels!) I am to prostelytize everyone and make sure they believe what I believe.

One of my closest friend is in an interracial relationship, she is Muslim and he is Methodist. And I don't know if its its fair for one to have to give up their beliefs especially given that they have built their whole value system on this religion/beliefs, I would assume. But if there are two religions in the house I guess I would like they really don't know how to compromise. I don't know. My mother thinks it's important for me to marry another Christian, but most of the guys I have met and really are fond of are not religious or have no religious affiliation at all.
I don't know what to do but I suppose this is how and why we have to decide what is best for us. What's best for me? What/How do I feel about this?

I dunno.

8. finding the right people
Thu, Sep 16, 1999 - 1:23 PM/EST

I think because we are the "under 25 group" we can all relate to the idea that we are waiting to find ourselves, and discover who we really are and what our purpose is. Its almost like we expect to wake up one day and go, "OH! Now I know all the answers!" I think as young people, we are unique in that we are asking all these questions that not a lot of people our age ask, unfortunatly.

But i dont know if we ever discover all the answers, and as soon as we think we have, god undoubtably throws us a curve ball and makes us confront something we've never even thought of before. And there is no greater challenge than finding out that what you always thought would happen to you, wont. And what you always believed,or were raised to believe your life should be, doesnt necessarily fit in with what the world is presenting to you today. And if this wont ever end, if the unexpected is really the only thing we can rely on, how can we make the decision to marry someone? how can we know what religion to raise our kids? I'm curious as to how people in our age group get married when we seem to be at an age where we are so tender to change and new things. Im just really curious, how people in our age group make the jump to "adulthood"? It seems like the people i know who are happiest in their relationships are people who met when they were older...

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 4 from Under 25 Group 1.

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