Downton Abbey Portrays Reality of Interfaith RelationshipsBy Gerri Miller
Go inside Season 5 Episode 9 where the story line of Atticus and Rose's interfaith relationship comes to a head.Go To Pop Culture
I’m always fascinated by the approach of other religions and cultures to interfaith and intercultural marriage. A few have similar concerns to the Jewish community; Zoroastrians, for example, share the same sense of anxiety over dwindling numbers. Others, however, have radically different perspectives on interdating.
Take Evangelicals, for example. Unlike Jews, a shrinking or static population is not a concern. Also unlike Jews, culture has nothing to do with their connection to each other. Belief–in God, in Jesus, in the need to embrace Jesus to go to heaven–is everything.
In a near reversal of typical Jewish behavior, however, it is not parents who disapprove of such relationships as often as it is Evangelical friends:
Interfaith dating among Evangelicals has another twist totally foreign to Jews: the concept of “missionary dating.” If an Evangelical loves another person, then their faith obligates them to proselytize to the person. If you don’t save your closest relations from eternal damnation in Hell, who will you save?
But there is little sociological evidence that “conjugal evangelism” works. Says Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, “Evangelicals who marry nonevangelicals are typically less likely to remain as or become as devout as those who marry within the fold.”
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