Interestingly, Riley, a former Wall Street Journal editor who has written extensively about religion and culture, notes that 45 percent of all U.S. marriages in the last decade were between people of different faiths. Naturally, we may look at that as a sign of greater acceptance and tolerance, which a broad society needs to remain dynamic and growing.
But Riley also reports that marrying across religious lines may be very difficult for the couples involved. Their deeply-held differences may eventually become a problem, especially when it comes to raising children.
There are a number of ways we could go with this question, including why dating couples may spend more time worrying about political differences than religious distinctions. Feel free to chime in on that aspect, if you like. But the main point I would like you to consider is this:
Interfaith marriages may help the broader society, but are they good for the couples?
AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms and Writer/editor Moonlady News Newsletter
So much depends on the literalness of the position and the rigidity with which it’s held. The ultimate success in cohabitation, from sharing the planet to sharing an abode, is letting go of the need to be right. Not acquiescence, but taking the effort to discover what is beyond right and wrong.
Riley perceives widespread fear of “waning of religious and ethnic identity — a kind of extinction” in way that evokes turf protection more than faith. The assumption is that time and evolution of thought can be frozen, that the way things are arranged now is the way it must remain. Yet nothing is static. Nothing wanes without something waxing, forms give way to others. It is the way of the planet, born out in the laws of thermodynamics.
The rise of interfaith marriages parallels the rise of the spiritually unaffiliated. Both step away from religion or race or nationality as the primary identifying characteristic in favor of self-definition. Both ask us to embrace a humility about our humanity and accept that we as humans simply can not know it all, that there is so much about the great divine our brains can not comprehend.
In my 20 years of work with the “nones” through Winter SolstiCelebration and the group Earth Rhythms, we strove to find the highest common denominators all faiths shared, those qualities beyond beliefs and opinions. From these we can forge a common spiritual-humanistic ground.