Remove the stigma of interfaith dating

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Written by Irene Soekiswo

In our society, there are many interracial and homosexual couples, but there are very few interfaith couples. Interfaith dating has been labeled taboo, mainly because of parents, as most want their sons and daughters to date and marry people of the same religion. However, it is difficult to find a person you not only like, but someone who also shares the same beliefs as you. The emphasis on dating someone of the same religion should not be so valued and esteemed as it is in our society today. Of course it is nice to have a significant other of the same religion, as parental approval would not be a problem, but in many cases, dating a person of another belief can be a meaningful learning experience. There are other major factors besides religion that can influence a relationship.

In many families, parents wish for their children to marry people of the same belief system, as it ensures that the beliefs of their ancestors and the family honor will be preserved through their children and grandchildren. This need has changed over time, as modern values have influenced original traditions.  But even with some evident changes, very few interfaith couples exist. People have developed a fear of dating someone of a different belief, or a person with no belief. Especially as teenagers, we should be able to experiment and see what it’s like to break out of these boundaries that society has imposed on us. Dating a person of a different belief system is one of the few things that confine our age, and it is something that does not necessarily have to cause harm in the future of a relationship.

Along with the belief that dating people of the same religion ensure that a parent’s belief is passed down unto his or her children, many believe religion creates a strong bond between two people. But religion, while useful in establishing compatibility in couples, isn’t the only unifying factor of a relationship. Intimacy, communication, and trust are all qualities of a healthy relationship. A strong bond is created through the actions, words, and emotions that each partner shares with the other.

Interfaith dating also has many positive results that cannot be found in couples of the same belief system.  For example, interfaith couples obtain new knowledge about different religions, and some may even take part in traditions that are new to them. Someone who is not religious may discover that he or she enjoys certain traditions or aspects of a belief system and choose to take part in it. Interfaith dating can be a way to broaden our horizons, reflect on our own values, and develop a respect for a certain religion of which we may have little knowledge. In this way, it is not necessarily a divisive issue; rather, it can give rise to the harmony and understanding we desperately need in a society broken by hate crimes and discrimination associated with religion.

Overall, love is love, and religion shouldn’t get in the way of it.  Especially now as students, we should be given the chance to explore, instead of being confined in our social lives. Breaking with tradition is always difficult, but perhaps it is just what we need in order to find true love and peace. Other types of relationships have gained acceptance, so why can’t interfaith couples?