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Resolving religious conflicts within a family

Impediment 1:
Two excerpts from Paul's epistles

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See also: The basic cause of the conflict:

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Excerpts from two of Paul's epistles in the Christian Scriptures:

The Christian Scriptures (New Testament) contain two passages allegedly written by Paul that discuss how Christians should interact with non-Christians. This would, of course, include Wiccans:

bullet1 Corinthians 10:20-21: Paul taught that Christians should isolate themselves from Gentiles -- i.e. from followers of the many Pagan religions then present in the Roman Empire. He explains that non-Christians worship demons. He wrote:
"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
This verse is the main source of the extreme particularist view that Pagan Christian religions were led by and controlled by Satan. Paul wrote it at a time when the primitive Christian movements were under attack. His goal might have been to promote internal cohesion among Christians so that they would not drift back to their original religions. Thus they may have been valid only for the first century CE and may not be meaningful today.

bullet2 Corinthians 6:14: Paul requires that his followers avoid close relationships with non-Christians. He associated "light" and righteousness with Christianity; he linked "darkness," and unrighteousness with all non-Christian religions. He wrote:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

This verse is one of the main sources of the belief by some Christians that followers of other religions and secularists are evil, immoral, and unethical.

Some theologians have concluded from an analysis of the topic and of the words in this passage that it was not written by Paul but was a later forgery by an unknown author and inserted into 2 Corinthians. More information

Conservative Protestants generally believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2 Timothy 3:16). Thus, the Bible is viewed as the actual Word of God, in spite of its many passages that are considered immoral by today's ethical standards.

Many of them believe that these writings by Paul require them and their family to avoid contact with non-Christians. The passage from 2 Corinthians is often cited in conservative Protestant churches to urge people to not develop romantic relationships with others from another wing of Christianity or from another religion. Some denominations use this same verse to forbid dating and marriage outside of their denomination.

One might discount the messages in these verses by arguing that they referred only to conditions in the Roman Empire during the 1st Century CE. Christianity was oppressed at the time by both the Empire and Judaism. One might argue that Paul's statements are no longer applicable in today's religiously diverse societies. The United States is generally regarded as the most religiously diverse country on earth.

Some Christians ignore these passages and feel that inter-denominational and inter-religious marriages can actually strengthen both of the faith groups involved.

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See also Impediment 2: Exodus 22:18. etc.

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Site navigation:

Home > World religions > Wicca > Christian conflict > Families > here

Home > Christianity > Comparison to other faiths > Christian conflict > Families > here

Home > Religious conflict > Specific conflicts > Christian conflict > Families > here

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-NOV-17
Latest update and review: 2008-NOV-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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