A common Christian teaching is to neither date nor marry someone who is not part of the same religion or denomination as you. The state of being committed to someone of another belief set is usually called “being unequally yoked” (see 2 Cor. 6:14).

When I was a Christian, I dated an agnostic. Even that difference was too great for most of my community to accept. But I was determined to stay involved. Not only was I infatuated with this guy, but I held such a high opinion of myself as to think I could change him. My motives were completely wrong: I wanted him to know Jesus and become a Christian so we could be balanced and “equally yoked.” One could call this “missionary dating.” (Yes I use a lot of “air quotes” at “strange” times because I want you to “read” this post with amusing “inflection. Yuk yuk!)

Anyway, I thought his morality was below my own, and my family felt the same. They doubted his honesty, integrity as a man, and never thought it would last. they had bet against him before they even knew his name. I can now admit I felt much the same, although I thought my views were righteous and loving because I was a spirit-filled Christian! I wanted us to be the same, but never once did I consider becoming similar to him by changing who I was.

I’m ashamed of my ulterior motives now, and I am extremely wary of–and almost completely against–dating a committed, active religious person today. I would not be right for them, and they would probably not be a match for me. I can’t say “never,” but I doubt it would happen. Thankfully, I am currently with a non-theist who, although he does not share my vigor and passionate stance, it is comforting to know that neither of us has to change in order to fit the other.

This is what love should be: loving one another without requirements, without expectations for change, and without ulterior motives.

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6 thoughts on “Missionary Dating”

jesuspoet · April 14, 2009 at 4:34 am

So been there. I was in so deep I would NOT date anyone not a Christian at any time. Though, I actually was baptized about two weeks after getting together with a girl at the church I was attending at one point. Lately I've been wondering if my whole religious experience wasn't due to relationships I was in.

    godlessgirl · April 14, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I think it's all about relationships, in a broader sense. forgive me, as I wax on a bit.

    How many of us were Christian/Mormon/Buddhist/Muslim because of our community and our parents? what about the enticing prospect of new friends, a new spiritual father/family, an acceptance into a group? And how many people can say the same as you about a boyfriend or girlfriend taking them to church or introducing them to god? My brother, a preacher, has that story too.

    On the other hand, how many people have deconverted from a religion because of their interactions with communities, pastors/leaders, friends, or group drama? What about all those stories of others' hypocrisy making people turn away from their faith?

    Yep… I think it's all about relationships.

      jesuspoet · April 14, 2009 at 6:30 am

      You raise a good point. It's frustrating though. Knowing that so powerful a force in life is affected by emotion. It makes us so vulnerable.

jesuspoet · April 14, 2009 at 4:34 am

So been there. I was in so deep I would NOT date anyone not a Christian at any time. Though, I actually was baptized about two weeks after getting together with a girl at the church I was attending at one point. Lately I've been wondering if my whole religious experience wasn't due to relationships I was in.

    godlessgirl · April 14, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I think it's all about relationships, in a broader sense. forgive me, as I wax on a bit.

    How many of us were Christian/Mormon/Buddhist/Muslim because of our community and our parents? what about the enticing prospect of new friends, a new spiritual father/family, an acceptance into a group? And how many people can say the same as you about a boyfriend or girlfriend taking them to church or introducing them to god? My brother, a preacher, has that story too.

    On the other hand, how many people have deconverted from a religion because of their interactions with communities, pastors/leaders, friends, or group drama? What about all those stories of others' hypocrisy making people turn away from their faith?

    Yep… I think it's all about relationships.

      jesuspoet · April 14, 2009 at 6:30 am

      You raise a good point. It's frustrating though. Knowing that so powerful a force in life is affected by emotion. It makes us so vulnerable.

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