Interfaith marriages are on the rise. In 1988, a General Social Survey showed 15 percent of couples were married to someone of a different religion. The statistic rose to 25 percent by 2006.
Currently (2010), various surveys show that approximately 50 percent of Christians and Jewish people are intermarried to people of another faith.
The figure drops dramatically for those who are regularly and vitally involved in worship services, ministry and reading their Bible or Torah, such as Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians. These people are more likely to marry within their own belief system.
Christianity and Judaism run the risk of becoming watered down, hybrid faiths when people intermarry or stop religious observances. It is harder to decide how to raise children. Sometimes it’s not even discussed before the wedding day. The answer unfortunately often becomes “we’ll do both and let the kids decide for themselves.” The next step is dropping all traditions, holidays and Bible study because it’s too hard to keep up, or confusion among the children becomes obvious.
In today’s society where whatever we want to do is tolerated and even applauded, the Bible (both Old and New Testament) has become politically incorrect, and people aren’t learning the principles God had in mind. So couples are already entering marriage with a so-so understanding of obeying God's word, or none at all.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the original Jewish generations to remain separate and not intermarry with people who worshiped other gods (Deuteronomy 7:3, Joshua 23:12, Ezra 9:14). In the New Testament, Christians are not supposed to be unequally “yoked” or bound together with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Yoked comes from two oxen strapped together to carry water or goods.
The result of intermarriage becomes a wishy-washy relationship with God that determines how we live, and it’s because we have our traditions confused with real heartfelt love for God. So pretty soon, there is no true worship left. The next thing to be left behind is a moral compass.
Deut 6:4-9: Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Proverbs 22:6: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
(Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.)
Photo: Wedding rings, in public domain at Wikimedia Commons.