About one third young Dharmics (Hindu, Sikh and Jain) marry to Christians in America, and this rate is expected to increase over years. Most Christian spouses who marry to a Dharmic may be ready to live married life with religious equality and without imposing own religion on the Dharmic spouse. However, there may be some other Christians who believe in using the wedding as an evangelical opportunity and, sometimes, they expect Dharmic to accept "unintended" religious conversion for marriage. Below, information is provided with the objective of helping young adults make an "informed" decision, whatever that decision may be. If you have any personal experience, share it here.
Wedding in a Church: What does this mean to a Dharmic?
Churches from different Christian denominations have different expectations. A Hindu (Jain or Sikh) marrying in a Roman Catholic church.....
1) must sign a pre-nuptial (view here the form for USA & India) that the children from this marriage will be raised only as a Christian. It is understood that the Hindu is ending his or her Hindu heritage. After divorce, this affidavit will have serious legal consequences.
2) may be expected the Hindu intended spouse to Baptized and converted to Christianity (less likely),
3) Hindu will have to attend conversion classes in the church before the marriage, and
4) the Hindu will be requested not to have a second marriage (by the Hindu ceremony). The church priest will get "A Letter of Dispensation" from a Bishop with such an expectation, before the church wedding.
Do only Christians go to heaven?
If you want to know why a Christian spouse may want Dharmic spouse to convert to Christianity, see this video and read this interesting article.
In Christianity, exclusivism holds that salvation exists only through faith in Jesus Christ. If you want to know your friend's view on this point, you may ask the first question "Will (did) Mother Teresa go to heaven?" follow by a second question "...and how about Mahatma Gandhi?" Read text message exchanges between two teens Pooja Patel and McKenna Smith on the same subject.
If you want to know real life experiences of Hindus who married to Christians, read the 2009 Burkley University's report (go to 45 interviews) and read experiences on this site.
"I was not recognized as my wife’s husband because I was not a church member and as such could not be her spouse." -Ron Higgins
Lisa Miller of NEWSWEEK indicated that more and more American Christians are now becoming open minded "in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity." Read more.
Bible's intolerant teachings for other faiths
Two themes found throughout the Bible are religious exclusivity and religious intolerance. The Gospel of John and Peter gives frequent message that the followers of other religions hold invalid beliefs which were wrong, deluded, immoral, and/or heretical. Some of the acts of intolerance cited were actually ordered by God, like… "When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you may nations...then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy" and "do not leave alive anything that breaths. Completely destroy them...as the Lord your God has commanded you."
They certainly would have been considered the most serious crimes against humanity if they were ordered by humans in modern times. Read Bible on HIndus? and more.
Youths' dating experiences
Hinu: I converted without knowledge of my family.
Robin: I am a Christian mother (Catholic) of a son who is planning to marry a Hindu girl. I struggle with, and I have struggled with the exclusivity of Christianity for quite some time.
Vineeta: I m a Hindu and was married to a Christian for 15 years and have two children.
Savio: I’m a Goan Catholic and my girlfriend is a Gujarati (Hindu) from the States. We met each other two years ago and we’ve since fallen in love with each other. …..Your views please?
Anu: I am a Christian (Lutheran) getting married to a Hindu fiancé in December. We will celebrate a Hindu shaadi in India and receive blessings from a Christian priest in my home country. However, I wish to comment on what you said about Christians and baptism. I find it an intolerant statement that….
Pradeep: I am a Marthoma Christian in love with a Hindu girl whom I have know for 15 years. (My parents) want the girl to convert. My parents have agreed to she following her religion however want her to convert for a church marriage.
D-Patel: A Christian dumped her after a few years of dating because she is a Hindu!
Diva: We were madly in love & wanted to get married but he said he can marry only if I am able to accept his Christian faith and before marriage I will have to be baptised.
Ankur: I have a Christian girl friend....but the problem is that her family is asking me to convert by Baptism.
Armstrong: My family is insisting for her conversion.
Saurav: My Christian parents don't want Hindu rituals.
Are these Christians out just to evangelize a Hindu? Read the article below.
How to convert Hindu students to Christianity
This excellent manual on tricks to evangelize Hindu students is a must read by all Dharmic students and parents. It states....Hindus believe in many gods, and therefore open to accepting the Lord Jesus as one of avatars (incarnation of God into Jesus). Rapport with individual Indians can be enhanced by.... playing cricket, helping with basic needs, enjoying vegetarian meals at their apartment, asking to show how to cook Indian food, talk about Bollywood movies, join Hindu student clubs on campus, etc. Indian students are impressed to meet someone who has a sincere interest in their life and this way you will be able to share your personal belief in Jesus. Do not show that you are out to convert. First teach students to believe in God and then encourage them to have faith in Jesus Christ. Read details. In a Dharmic's case, after you are convinced that your loved one is not an evangelizer, then ask the last question posed below.
What is the “best insurance” against a religious fanatic?
Most Christians considering interfaith relationships with a Dharmic may not use marriage as an evangelical tool. But it is important to find out, sooner than later, if the one you are dealing with is going to be intolerant to what you are. One of the most critical tests is to ask “What if I decline Baptism of our children?” If ultimately Baptism is expected, then you should wonder what is the difference between your intended spouse and the Molly?
Be a friend on Facebook. Return to InterfaithShaadi.org. To share your experience, read.