Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Penetrate the heart of just one drop of water, and you will be flooded by a hundred oceans." Mahmûd Shabistarî

Someone e-mailed me and wanted my opinion on whether two people with seemingly disparate religious views (Conservative Christian and Buddhist) could make it as a couple.

My opinion is yes, yes they can make it. "Opposites" make it work every day and twice on Sunday. But what concerns me more is the question. It was the Conservative Christian's hesitancy to getting involved with the Buddhist that concerns me.

It's the doubt.

Doubt will bite you in the ass every time.

My opinion is that Jesus and Buddha line up on MOST things, and there isn't a whole lot to fight about when you both agree love, peace and compassion ROCK. There are lots of good books on the subject, and if two people are entering coupledom with wide open hearts and minds, I'd like to believe anything is possible, in fact likely.

But again, it's the question that concerns me. It's the looking for trouble. It's the doubt.

The Dalai Lama says this: "Faith dispels doubt and hesitation; it liberates you from suffering, and delivers you to the city of peace and happiness. It is faith that removes the mental turbidity and makes your mind clear. Faith reduces your pride and is the root of veneration. It is the supreme lake because you can easily traverse from one stage of the spiritual path to another. It is like your hand, which can gather all the virtuous qualities."

Thoughts, Readers? The person that asked the question reads this blog. Many of you are Conservative Christians. Many of you are Buddhists. Many of you are in partnership. What do YOU think?


deb said...

True basic christianity follows the tenets of buddhism quite closely I think. Just my opinion.

I have sisters who are judgemental christians I would call them. What bugs me is that I have no argument with their faith and leave them alone but am not allowed the same consideration from them. I cannot discuss religion with them because there would be tears and yelling and shunning and then my mum would tell me to apologize to my sisters, even though all I would have done was ask a question or express an opinion. They are allowed to their opinions but not me. I guess this really bugs me, more than I realized.

Lola said...

I wonder if the just asking the question means more than it seems.....I think it can work-especially if there is no 'judgemental' religion involved:)

Kathryn said...

Thank you for that quote. I needed that today.

I think it goes deeper than just what faith you are, depends on what kind of people you are. Do you get so passionate about your beliefs that you do not have room for another's opinion. So, to me, it would be about respect. If you can have differing faiths but treat each other with the utmost respect, then I think you will be okay.

pixiemama said...

J and I struggle with this. We have tried to create a united front both for our children, and for his family, which is devoted to Catholocism in a "this is the only way" kind of way. And while J has moved away from it, our beliefs are no closer than they were when we met. Yet we have a VERY happy marriage, and have four beautiful children.

It works. It's a struggle, but every marriage struggles. Being there myself, I suggest they talk about this A LOT before they get married, and figure out how it will both impact them day to day, and what will happen when they have kids.

For instance, when we got married, J and I didn't intend to have kids. Then, when we did, I thought that if he wanted them to be raised Catholic, he could go for it. Then, I became suspicious in a "if you're going to teach my kids, I want to know what you're saying" kind of way. And I said "NO WAY." And our marriage took a serious hit from that for a while.

Now we're on firm ground, but struggle with his family's stress that we have left the church.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I think if the mutual respect and acceptance are there up front, it won't change in marriage.

Amber said...

I think that your thoughts are ideal. Ideal, and can work. But only if the CC is willing to shun pressure and judgment from his/her family/circle of other CC. And that is the truth.

I have almost all my life gone to Conservative Christian churches, and some of my best friends are such people...and they all know that my TRUEST ideas about Faith and belief don't exactly jibe with what we are told in such churches...and I have lost friendships, and had OUT RIGHT confrontations about that fact. If I had been another kind of person (one who gives a shit what other people think about my relationship with God), it would have been very hard to walk my true path.

I found that many CC people had a very real hard time understanding WHY I would study any other religion-- let alone minor in such a thing. They argued that it was "wrong" to even open a door to any other belief that "contradicted" Christ. they asked this, because THAT really IS what Conservative churches teach. And it has a place-- some people really need ONE path to study and walk, and it builds their faith and inner peace! IMO, it is a valid walk.

But, there is a reallll difference between a "Unity" type of Christian, and a evangelical. Not that conservative evangelical people are INDIVIDUALLY not open, but as a GROUP there is a pressure to conform-- so as not to...cause doubt in something that is SO important to something that is the foundation of how they live. People don't like any "seeds of doubt".

I believe that your friend can be sucessful in such a relationship. And I beleive that it could enrich both of their lives and their own faith! But it might be easier if they are willing to stand hard against outside judgment, or go to a more liberal minded Christiann church.

Just MHO. ;)

Wanda said...

"By their fruits you will know them."
~ Jesus ~

I agree with everything that has been said here. It isn't the different faiths that will keep people from making it as a couple. It is their belief about the "rules" that will prevent their making it.

What is really, really important is dealing with the doubts before entering the convenant. As so many have said, marriage is work. If one enters the relationship trying to change the other...fuhgeddaboutit. If one enters the relationship knowing that both of them will change there is hope.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

I agree that the asking indicates doubt. But if they're aware of it, I think that might give them a better chance of succeeding as a couple.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Friends and Carrie-

Thank you SO much for all your words of loving wisdom. This is exactly what I needed. Actual words to support what I told her earlier. I spoke from my gut saying they could definitely make it work. Now I have the words from you who have lived it to help me support her. Thank you all.


Jerri said...

If both people have faith in each other, they can work out differences in Faith.

Harmony starts with respect for other ideas. If you've got that, you can make it work. If not, it's all "Danger, Will Robinson!"

Robin said...

I think doubt can be a good thing, it can be dangerous to go into a marriage thinking "love conquers everything." Love is important but somedays... well...

That said, I think a "mixed" marriage can be stronger, because each person has had to dig down to see what is important within the religion that you practice and what is important to you as an individual. So many people "practice" a religion that they do not even understand.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

what an interesting post - i love it :) .

as a "wanna be buddhist" raised as an Episcopalian who has very close friends who are 'born again' i struggle with these issues almost daily. i know that i have some close friends who believe jesus and christianity is the only way - the right way - the only way to get into heaven. everything else is wrong. the bible is correct - every word is God's word. we are also at oppossite ends of the spectrum with about all social/political view points.

yet, i have still maintained a very deep and wonderful friendship with them where we both respect each others opnions, don't try to get into arguments 'convincing' each other who is right and wrong. we actually enjoy learning from each other. a marriage, however, can be different in that it is a much closer relationship and when how to raise children is involved, it can be challenging. but, marriage is also about friendship. it could work, if you have 2 people who are open, the relationship is healthy, communication is wonderful, and things are discussed before the 'i dos'. in fact, if it works, i think they'd be a really cool couple with really neat kids! hard to pull off, but not impossible. :)