Would you switch your religious faith to be with the one you love?

I watched My Big Fat Greek wedding last night. It was pretty enjoyable overall, but as a nitpick the main character’s WASP fiance’s willingness to become Greek Orthodox Catholic at the drop of a hat for his American Greek bride’s family was a bit too… ummm “yeah whatever, no big dealish”, even if he was “not very religious”.

I generally think of actively switching faiths as a pretty big deal for most people. I mean you’re essentially telling them you are onboard with their faith, beliefs and ideals.

Would you switch religious faiths to be with the one you love?

Maybe. If they were a member of a Christian denomination and I felt that it was compatible with my beliefs, sure. If it was a non-Christian religion? Likely not, barring a huge change in my belief structure.

Nope. Nor should you even have to consider it.

How the hell do people simply change what they believe, on demand?

I already didn’t.

But I found the movie fairly plausible, because I have known several people who did. They weren’t particularly religious in the first place, and so didn’t really place a lot of importance upon which religion they belonged to. More of a cultural accomodation than a spiritual conversion. And so many people now have the attitude that all religions are basically the same–that they all lead equally to God without one having better ideas than another–that changing isn’t seen as a big deal, if it makes the family happy (or whatever).

OK, I should rephrase that. I didn’t change religions, and I didn’t marry the guy either. (Good thing too.) I married mr. genie, who has the same beliefs as I do, and is in general a much better person for me to be married to. But if I was going to marry a guy with different beliefs, I wouldn’t change mine.


(BTW - I’m a Neo-Pagan married to a Southern Baptist. So it’s not like our faiths are anywhere close to each other)

I was actually asked this once. My Muslim then-boyfriend from a small village in Dagestan asked if I would convert to Islam for him.

After I stopped laughing (which I admit was not the most diplomatic thing I could have done, but hey, it was more than 12 years ago and I wasn’t the smoothest sometimes in these matters), I asked hm why he thought that would be a good idea. Why should I change from one religion that I don’t believe in (Judaism) to another religion that I don’t believe in? And I meant that out of rspect for the people who believe in either religion; I find it highly hypocritical to change religions for any reason other than changing beliefs. His response was “Well, because otherwise my parents would never accept you.” My reply: “But mine would kill me first, so it wouldn’t become an issue.”

In retrospect, it’s for the best that I never took his question too seriously. As madly in love as I was with him at the time, let’s just say that our extremely different backgrounds gave us rather different and incompatible world views. (The gender roles issue was a biggie, for one.) If we’d ended up together, we probably would have both been miserable.

I would be willing to attend his church, if it were some sort of Christian denomination and I found the services to be uplifting. I would not change my faith, nor can I see how it is possible to do so, unless I had little or no faith to begin with. I pretty much see all Christian denominations as one faith, with different ways of expressing it.

No. I am an atheist/agnostic, depending on my mood. I have only been in one relationship where this has come up. She was Mormon, though on probation or whatever, but she was fairly liberal when it came to its beliefs.

I told her flat out that I would have nothing to do with her church, or any church for that matter. She acted like that was no problem. A short time later she admitted she was a little bothered by my attitude. We talked a bit more about it and I conceded that the only church I would even consider getting involved with would be the Unitarian/Universalists. It probably would not become a weekly thing for me, because they seem to lean to the far left, politically, which on many issues I don’t.

In fact, I went to one of their churches in Arlinton, TX. several years ago and happened to go by the pastors (if that is what they are called) and I swear I saw a picture of Lenin on his wall. That kind of turned me off right there.

The relationship soon fizzled, but I think it is better to find out this type of stuff early on than to let someone keep hope that they can “change” you.

Exactly how I feel. For starters, I’ll never be involved with someone who’s devoutly religious. The worst I can tolerate is someone who may belong to a religion but not follow it too closely. I can support that, but I’d never pretend to believe in it or convert.

I happen to be agnostic, if that makes any difference.

I would be willing to learn about the guy’s faith. I would want to understand what he believes- it would help me understand him better. I wouldn’t take his religion, however; I would simply seek to understand it.

astro, this is actually something my now-husband and I discussed before we were even engaged. His parents are staunch Eastern Orthodox Christian, (he does not actively practice anything) while I was converting to Judaism (Reform, btw. This branch of Judaism accepts interreligious marriages). We did discuss what we were going to do, and even kicked the idea around of me converting to Eastern Orthodox so when his parents got the wedding pictures they wouldn’t be offended, and then afterwards I would finish converting to Judaism! However, we decided this was too much trouble for parents living in another country, and we were married by a rabbi almost 3 months ago :slight_smile:

But his parents haven’t gotten the pictures yet… :eek:

I have considered this… my SO is Roman Catholic, and I was raised United Methodist, but now consider myself Neo-Pagan, and I have considered converting to Judaisim. I’m certainly not Christian, by any standard, now.

I thought long and hard about trying to convert to Catholicism, but I don’t think anyone would buy it. Especially me. So, no go.

No. If I’m not good enough (or whatever) as is, then you’re really not in love with ME. Plus, what does it say about the person and their faith that they view changing religions like trying on blouses? Ick.

I think there’s a certain number of people who would see conversion as merely exchanging one set of meaningless and pointless rituals for another. And they wouldn’t be bothered much.

As an atheist, I definitely WOULD be bothered, to the point where I wouldn’t do it. Period. Well… possibly with the full understanding of my fiancee that it would be a total charade to keep her parents from freaking, and that it would be out the door and never mentioned again after the wedding.

But if I had to take lessons, or swear an oath, or any crap like that, forget it.

I go to whatever church the lady is with at the time. They don’t mind. I prefer Episcopal, which has half the guilt of Catholic church, but pretty much the same concept.

Never thought of converting, whatever that means, since no one asked me to.

No way. I am an atheist. Honestly, I lose a small amount of respect for people who actively WORSHIP. But to change one’s core beliefs for a marriage is ludicrous. My Father-in-Law is a great man, and I respect him IMMENSELY, but I just don’t understand how he, a teacher for 40 years, an extraordinarily intelligent man, can be so devoted to his god. To act in a respectful and “Jesus-like” manner is one thing, but to really immerse oneself in the rituals of Christianity baffles me. Luckily, his daughter stopped believing long before I met her…

I have no intention of insulting any believers, and will not defend my position if attacked, as I don’t want to get into a debate, I just want to answer the OP’s question.

No way, Jose. And I wouldn’t expect anyone’s beliefs to change to better suit mine either. I went out w/ a Jew for a long time (I’m not religious, btw) and our differences were never a problem. There were the subject of many a theological discussion, but definitely not a problem. We understood and respected each other’s religious beliefs so everything was peachy keen… until we broke up, that is. Our reasons for splitting had nothing to do w/ religion though. It was more like he was getting on my nerves.

I’ve actually faced this issue. As anyone who follows the religious debates in GD knows, I’m a devout Episcopalian. Years ago, I was very much in love with an equally devout Catholic. We loved discussing religion, both seriously and lightly, but out of respect for each other’s beliefs, neither of us expected the other to convert. We did get engaged, while neither of us wanted kids, we did talk about the idea of fostering in teenagers. If we had married and had kids, my take on it was I’d be willing to take them to the Catholic church once a month, thus taking steps to make sure they were raised Catholic and attend my Episcopal Church the rest of the month. I asked him about the rule for Catholics marrying non-Catholics, since I understood the rule to be that I had to convert, but according to him, it was enough for me to agree to raising kids Catholic. We never married, but for unrelated reasons.

My brother, on the other hand, did convert to Catholicism, in part because it was more important to his bride-to-be than it was to him. Also, it was her understanding that he did have to convert to Catholicism before marrying her, but these two relationships were taking place in very different part of the country. Tomndebb, if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t mind having it cleared up.

I also had a very conservative coworker once who surprised me when he told me he and his fiancee were converting to a new Protestant denomination which neither of them belonged to as part of their preparations for marriage. Apparently they wanted to go to a church which was theirs as opposed to his or hers. While even I admit there’s not that much difference among Protestant denominations, I found that unusual, and I didn’t really understand it. Then again, one of the stock jokes about my church is an Episcopalian family is what results when a Baptist marries a Catholic. :smiley:

I still can’t see myself being willing to convert to a different religion, no matter how much I loved someone. On the other hand, I plan on continuing enjoying good discussions of religion in real life, as well as on-line. I would also much rather marry someone who was good, honorable, and decent, but whose religion was different from mine than an Episcopalian lout!