In the previous article, Tradition v. The Heart v. Expectation Paula (@livingsanctuary) and I agreed to both play the devil’s advocate, to a point. I suppose there is some clarification required in order that people don’t see either of us as uncompromising individuals.
Raised in a Christian, though tumultuous, home, it has never bothered me to befriend, date, or marry someone not of the same religion as I. Has this raised problems? Absolutely. I married a Roman Catholic girl who’s mom was a former nun. I never found out why she left Holy Orders to marry and have kids. It was none of my business. She was a great lady whom I love to this day. What made me crazy was the fact that my wife was not at all hung up on her RC religious upbringing, but everything had to look on the up and up to her mother. She was so afraid of what her mother might think, we had to eat fish on Friday even though her mother lived in another town. I HATE FISH! I think this is what led to our downfall. It wasn’t her beliefs, as hers didn’t differ a lot from mine. It was more the fact that we always had to keep up appearances for the sake of her mother.
Throughout my 46 years I have dated women from many cultures, religious backgrounds and belief systems. I have dated a Moslem lady, two Jewish ladies, and several from the various Christian denominations. The one thing all had in common was an overwhelming desire to keep up appearances for their parents’ sake. Why? Are we not all individuals? Do we not have minds of our own? If a woman tells me she will not eat pork it had better be because it is HER decision, not one made out of a desire to impress, placate, or pander to her parents’ beliefs. As best man at a Jewish wedding it fell to me to warm up the car so the groomsmen could escape for a quick cheeseburger after supper. Yes, the bride knew where we were going as, I assume, everyone else did.
My father, an Anglican Priest has his belief system. For years I tried to be just what he expected of me. It didn’t work. This desire to please the parents led to some of the worst rebellion I can think of. When, about 11 years ago, I decided it was time to live my life, with my values, my beliefs, and my understanding of traditions, things started to take a turn for the better. Do I worry about what my father or my mother thinks about my decisions? Not at all. They can deal with it like they deal with anything else. The bottom line is they are my parents and I love them. This does not mean I have to be anyone other than me. If they love me they will accept that. As a parent it is not my job to tell a child what to be, what to believe, or how to live their own life. It is my duty to ensure they are provided with the tools to make their own decisions based upon certain fundamental rights and wrongs. I don’t care if my kid becomes a Jew a Moslem, a Buddhist or whatever, so long as they are true to themselves and happy with their choices. Even then, it is my job to stick around and pick up the pieces should it all go south.
I firmly believe in multicultural or interfaith marriages. I have faith in the human animal’s ability to come to terms with another’s differences and quirks, be they religious, traditional or simply personal in nature. No mountain is insurmountable if two people are in love and thereby have the needs and desires of the other at heart. Would I insist on eating pork in the house, were I with a Jewish or Muslim girl? Absolutely not. While the new testament removes the dietary standards of Judaism it also states, in 1 Corinthians 8:13
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. KJV
On the otherhand, I wouldn’t necessarily stop eating pork? No, that question is wrong, I would NOT stop eating pork. I would enjoy my double-bacon cheeseburgers, filet mignon, et al at restaurants. This is the nature of compromise. Paula hit the nail on the head when she stated, “Could eating bacon (be) the Jewish equivalent of premarital sex?” Ummm, yeah, but the premarital sex issue ends at marriage . While I would make this sacrifice, I would also require certain sacrifices or compromises which have nothing to do with religion, but more to do with simple OCD and likes and dislikes. Without these compromises every marriage, interfaith or multicultural, or traditional is bound to fail.
Do I enjoy playing the Devil’s Advocate? Of course I do. Do I believe everything I wrote in the previous article? Yes and no. It may be right for some. It may not be right for others. Is it 100% right for me? Today yes, but who knows what the future holds, or where the heart may lead to changes.