Resolving religious conflicts within a family
Two excerpts from Paul's epistles
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,
|1 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
verse is the main source of the extreme particularist view that
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.
|2 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.
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
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.
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
strengthen both of the faith groups involved.
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-NOV-17
Latest update and review: 2008-NOV-20
Author: B.A. Robinson