Ok, here’s the part II to the post I did a few days ago about being raised in a two-faith household. It’s not so much a continuation of the story as it is a warning, or a fine-print. But here it goes.
Abez does not in any way endorse or support inter-faith marriages. Seeing as how Allah allowed it, I cannot order people not to do it, but I can say this- a child’s mother is the first and most important teacher in life, and if your religion is important to you, then you probably want your child being taught your religion. Which doesn’t exactly happen when your wife isn’t the same religion. (my wife though, is a different story. :p )
It is inevitable in an inter-faith household that arguments about faith should break out. Not out of anger or hate, but because sometimes talks about religion lead to arguments, and arguments lead to fights and at various points in the child’s life they will be told that the other parent is wrong. Which is pretty durn confusing for a child, because in your innocent eyes your parents are perfect and they’re supposed to know every about everything. (The realization that they aren’t perfect is better left for the teenage years, when they know nothing about anything and no one understands you anyway.)
*writes angstful poetry*
Another thing that a little kid will hear is, “Your Mom/Dad is going to hell, don’t you care?” This kind statement will come from relatives on both sides of the divide, who will try to pry an answer out of you, whether in the form of arguing about it or crying about it. (and when you rush out of the room with a tear-stained face, they whisper, “Poor thing, her parent is going to hell you know…”)
Can you imagine being six years old and being told that your parents are going to hell? And which parent is it anyway? Not having understanding of your own, you wonder which is correct, Islam or Christianity, and therefore, which parent do you have to frantically save before it’s too late? Never mind that Allah’s Paradise is far less exclusive than that, that’s an argument for theologians, not six year olds.
Life for a child in a practicing interfaith family is confusing at best and distressing/emotionally bewildering the rest of the time. (note: non-practicing interfaith family experience is not the same, because when neither parent practices any form of either religion, there isn’t that much to argue about.) Most people take the unquestioned childhood faith they have for granted. Before you get older and start to question, to have doubts that you can later resolve into a faith stronger than before, you have the warm, solid comfort of the religion of your parents that is as flawless as they are and just as real. That is, unless both of your parents tell you that the other’s religion in wrong, because in that case the unquestioned faith is a luxury you don’t have.
I’m not saying that all inter-faith marriages turn out badly for the children, but I am saying that it’s an unnecessary evil. I love my family, and I thank God for my loving parents and the stable home I was raised in, but at the same time, I can see the other mixed-faith households that I grew up with and realize that very few of the children came out religiously straight, and very few of those people are still married. Raising a good family is hard enough in this day and age, why make it harder on yourself but throwing in the element of religion?
Bottom line: Brothers, for the sake of your children, find a wife who will be your partner in instilling your shared religious values, and who will support your way of life. Marriage is a team-effort. It helps if you’re both on the same side.