Hindu/Christian interfaith marriage

Case study: Can people of two very different religions be successfully married?

Here's an actual letter I received from a young Hindu wanting advice and guidance regarding his wish to marry a Christian young lady. Read it, Then decide how you would answer this young man's letter.

Some general case study guidelines are available to aid in your reflection and discussion.

Note: It is not uncommon to hear people use phrases like "the Baptist religion" and "the Nazarene religion." That is incorrect. Both are denominations or groups within the Christian religion.

This case study is not designed to talk about whether a Baptist should marry a Presbyterian. It is meant to help discussions involving a marriage between a Christian a another completely different religious system like Hinduism, Islam,, Sikhism or Buddhism.

Hi there

I am in a dilemma. I am a Hindu and am trying to decide whether to marry a Christian girl from the Assembly of God denomination (she converted from Hinduism 3 years ago). We are very much in love with each other.

While my parents expect her to follow my religion after marriage, I am of the view that she can follow her Christian religion, but that she should partake in my Hindu religious activities as well. I do respect Christianity, but we will have to have a Hindu marriage. When looking at a marriage partner who will be my other half (two bodies, one soul), I think it's very reasonable for me to ask of her to participate in my religious obligations (which are not many). Wouldn't that be a reasonable expectation of married life? She can still go to Christian worship services and other church activities, and I will accompany her whenever possible.

She has come back to me saying that all the above will be a sin in Christianity and that she will be punished if she participates in the activities of my religion. Because we love each other, it seems like the heart does not agree with the mind.

I have been advised by my priest to participate in her activities where possible. I respect her choice of religion because for me there is only one god it's just that we all have our own ways of faith. The scriptures of all faiths, including the Christian Bible, are indispensable holy tools that are at our disposal to provide everlasting energy for our life journeys. The ultimate goal of Hinduism is, of course, the attainment of self consciousness/realization. This is in line with the spiritual truth that our atman is part of the all-prevailing Brahman. Our own journey, however, needs to be undertaken individually. For this I will have to go through a cycle of seven births and deaths.

I also realize that there are other factors like children to be considered here.

I like this girl and will find your advice invaluable.

It would also help if you could provide me the details of people who have been in a similar situation. At the same time it would also help if you could point me to a "best practices" manual for Hindu/Christian marriages which would give us guidelines and steps to follow.

Kind Regards

Rajesh


  1. How would you respond to Rajesh?
  2. What Hindu beliefs and worldview assumptions are reflected in the young man's letter?
  3. Are there basic Christian beliefs that he may be misunderstanding?
  4. What are some best case and worst case scenarios that may come out of a marriage like this one?
  5. How do you evaluate the approach of taking a "love conquers all" attitude?
  6. What Bible verses or passages would be helpful in this situation?
  7. How would you counsel this young man?

    -- Howard Culbertson


More case studies    10/40 Window explanation and map     Seeking God's will?     African martyr's commitment    Mission trip fund-raising     Ten ways to ruin your mission trip