Religions are often thought to be about what’s true. In most faiths, belonging means believing the core ideas or revealed truths of its particular message, as well as joining in the practice and culture of a community. All faiths that claim to be universal – that is, true for everyone, and not just for a particular group at a particular time – have to deal with the fact that there are people outside.
Are other faiths just wrong, or at best only partial or garbled versions of the Truth? Can those outside the faith still be good people? If they can, doesn’t it imply that keeping the faith isn’t after all essential to ‘being good’? If you are in an interfaith relationship these kinds of questions are not just theoretical.
In a multi-faith society people of other faiths may be your neighbours; in an interfaith marriage they are your family. Whereas communities sometimes deal with the challenge of other faiths by keeping a certain distance, people in interfaith families cannot avoid the issues.
Different approaches to the matter of religious Truth:
- Ignoring or rejecting – ‘We don’t do “Truth”’
- Hoping and praying that one day your partner will be convinced and converted
- Accepting a humble approach to Truth – God alone is all-knowing.
- Treating religion as part of an ongoing search for Truth, and recognising that no one is in a position of complete knowledge.
- Respecting your partner’s faith and asking the same of your own. By respecting both faiths you behave as if both contain Truth, but observe them in different ways and at different times.
- Finding affinities in both religions, such as Love or belief in a Creator, respect for creation, or a sense of human purpose and accountability.
- Experiencing ‘Truth shock,’ and feeling the need to defend it from challenge.