Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Questions from a reader

This comment was added to the kitchen post below.  Since it has nothing to do with the post, I am making it a separate post.  Here it is:
Peter your Christian. Can I ask you a question personally? Is it against Christianity to marry another race and if your parents do not agree with the person that you're with is that a sin because it violates one of the 10 commandments? I not as religious as I should be but maybe someone with your faith can fill me in... thanks in advance.. Paul 
Paul- I love honesty in questions.  The first one is a yes, you can ask.

Secondly, no, it is not a sin to marry another race, or a person from another race.  You probably are thinking of the Old Testament, when Israelites were forbidden to marry non-Israelites.  This was for religious reasons, as the “Gentiles” did not follow the Mosaic law and worshiped other gods.  As New Testament Christians, we are not to marry outside of the faith, but the faith is open to anyone from any race in any nation.  So a white from America can marry a black from Africa, as long as the two are believers.

Now, if the parents oppose the marriage, the couple should refrain until something can be worked out.  I have known couples that waited, and the parents changed their minds.   It is always good to honor the parents. However, if the reason the parents oppose is not based on Christian principles, then there ate allowances for the couple to marry.  But there is no set rule.  Many variances in Christian practice are cultural or societal.  What we do in the US may be something an African or Chinese Christian would not do, and vice versa.  And by the same token, I know of some Americans who would frown on interracial marriages because of where they live.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this?


Anonymous said...

Peter, you gave good advice. I agree with your position.

Pauline said...

I agree with Peter L for the most part. Regarding parents who oppose the marriage, I would say it depends in part on the age of the couple. If they are quite young - say 18 to 20, I would say wait, as Peter L recommends.

If they have already been on their own for several years, then I would look at this less as a matter of honoring parents, and more as a question of future family relationships. How important is it to you to have close relationships between your parents, your spouse, and your children? How would continued opposition from one or both sets of parents affect the marriage relationship?

Honoring one's parents means treating them with respect, but it does not mean (at least in our society - as Peter L points out, deference to parents' wishes plays a much greater role in some cultures) always doing things the way they think it should be done.

Honoring one's parents does include taking care of them - as needed - in their old age. Would a marriage they disapprove of cause such a rift that they would resent accepting help, even if they needed it? That isn't the deciding factor but it should be considered.