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Thursday, 11/27/2014

Different Religions in a relationship

POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
About a year ago I came into touch with a girl in Singapore whom I connected well with from the start. After we met, we soon ended up in a relationship.


There was one problem though. I'm a Christian and she was Muslim. This is something we talked about from the start and decided that we both didn't mind the other having a different religion.


Over the past year we have been out of contact for a small period, due to her struggling with a medical condition that took a long time to cure. However in the end we ended up continuing our relationship and it went well, for a while.


Things went wrong when her parents started to step in, and create a fuss over us having different religions. They saw us getting to serious, and this bothered them, it resulted in my girlfriend fighting with her parents about "Following the rules" VS. "Living her own life". Basically the demand of her parents was that I should convert to the Islam.


I had no intension to convert not because I am such a devoted Christian, but simply because I do not believe in forcing people to convert, next to that, I feel no affinity towards the Islam.


In February right after Valentine Day, her parents increased the pressure once more, and I could feel my girlfriend was being pushed close to her breaking point. I didn't want her to end up in a situation where she would be stressed at work during the day, only to come home at night to have to fight her parents. So I decided to break up with her.


4 months have passed now, and I still feel devastated about what happened. My girlfriend has broken contact with me, saying it only hurts her to talk to me.

I've tried to pick up my life again, but so far I can't seem to get over her. Wish there was a way to set things straight.


Is there anyone with a similar experience? Has a relationship such as mine ever worked out? What could a possible solution be?


Perhaps someone can also provide some insight into why its so important that in a marriage people have the same religion. I haven't gotten a decent answer to it yet. All I ever get is "Its the rule" and "God wants it to be like that". In my opinion, those are silly reasons.
#1 POSTED BY woods99 (6 yrs ago)



You are asking a very good question. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.



If you are a committed Christian, and your girlfriend is a committed Muslim, the simple fact is that your beliefs have a lot in common (surprisingly), but some very important differences.


Muslims simply cannot accept the idea of the Trinity. They believe in one God, and that is it as far as they are concerned. They do revere Jesus, and his Mother, they believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but they do not, cannot, accept that Jesus is God.


There is not much point thinking about these differences. They exist, and you will not change them. If you really, really, love your girlfriend, I suggest that you learn more about Islam, and consider whether your life would be happier and more fulfilling if you converted.


God is God. None of us can really know all that much about God. So, maybe there are different paths to the truth, and to happiness.
#2 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
I'm not a committed Christian at all, I only go to church a few times a year. Never pray, and try to avoid the whole God subject as much as possible. Not easy in Singapore where conservative Christians seem to be a growing group.


I wasn't willing to change because I am against forcing people to convert. To me it seems such rules purely exist to ensure the source of power and income of any Church.


I consider myself quite knowledgeable about many religions, know that Christianity and the Islam have a lot in common. Which made this demand even more bizar to me. I simply can't imagine myself "pretending" to be a Muslim, and follow all the restrictions that come with it.


Right now, me and my gf are not talking, she ignores my message. Been thinking though, maybe I should just convert if only in name, still something I would prefer to avoid. Which is why I hope to hear from other people who have seen, or experienced cases similar to me.
#3 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Thanks Ribbons,


You hit the nail on the head. This is partially why I am reluctant to convert. I'm not so interested in going along in their culture, and give myself an identify conforming that culture. And yes, I'll be a cynical observer.


As my gf told me at that time, nothing much was expected of me. Do the minimum to convert, no need to go to the Mosque, fast or whatever (just stop being a Christian).

Off course I wonder how in the future these set boundaries will be challenged by her family.


As for Baby's well I've always said I want my children to have a choice as for religion. They can decide for themselves, I am not going to "tag" them on birth. My gf agreed with this, found it fair enough. But again, no telling what her parents may put for pressure again, when it comes to that moment.


All in all, I find it a sad situation, unnecessary as well. Wish there was a solution.
#4 POSTED BY woods99 (6 yrs ago)



I agree. Either break up the relationship, or convert to Islam. There is no other choice.


Her family would disown her if she were to convert to Christianity, and it doesn't sound as though she wants to do that anyway.


If you are a committed Christian, then obviously you have no choice but to walk away.


However, there are a lot of good Muslims in the world, and most of them are not fanatical about their religion.
#5 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Thanks for your reactions everyone.

Guess there really is nothing else to do for me, then accept the situation for the way it is. Its amazing though, how much religion can destroy.


As for my children being allowed to choose a religion, well I'm not saying I will keep religion away from them, just I will not "brand" them with a specific religion on birth. The bulk of the people around me in my homeland, have massively turned their backs on the religion their parents gave them. (And I'm not so far from that myself). I see no point in my children having a religion when they feel nothing for it anyhow.

It should be noted though, unlike in Asia, religion is more a private matter then a social practice where I am from, so you won't end up in isolation should you not have one.


I agree though, should I stay in Singapore, the religion of my children may be a problem in the future.
#6 POSTED BY lone007 (6 yrs ago)
i was Christian now convert to islam , coz i found islam is true religion and i read holy book quran and now i am married to muslim man ,coz my husband family is native muslim they want me to convert to islam,whatever islam is true religion.
#7 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
I respect the fact that people have different religions, and respect that people other then me, can follow it with devotion. However I disapprove of enforcing a religion upon a person, which is exactly what happened in this case.


My girlfriend was also not the strongly devoted type, which is why she found it perfectly acceptable to be in a relationship with me. (I raised the issue with her even before we got into a relationship, because I knew this could become a problem) Things went wrong under community pressure, which got enforced when our relationship got to serious. Basically her family was afraid of being condemned by the rest of the family and community. Her parents didn't want to be seen as the "parents who raised their daughter wrongly".

That is also why she ended up fighting her family with the argument "Living my own life" versus "Be a proper Muslim".


So yes, I do feel religion can destroy many things, because in almost every religion community pressure is used to prevent a person from leaving, or doing anything that might make the group of followers smaller. I can't help wondering, if you force a person to convert, or force a person to stay with a particular religion, is that person a true believer? It is this shadow side of religion that I dislike.
#8 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
In a way all of you are correct, she wasn't to keen on living a devoted Moslima life. But for every child its hard to go against their parents, specially when they play the "emotional card". (Another reason I feel that religion in general has its shadow side) Which is what made her hope at some point I would convert, but on the same hand didn't want me to make such a sacrifice.


For me its hard to start pretending I have a lifestyle that I feel nothing for. Prefer not to live like a hypocrite (and from what I read in the Qu'ran, God doesn't like hypocrites either). Hence I was hoping there to be some compromise. A Win-Win situation.


As for talking to a Imam about it, actually thought about doing that before, might actually do that. May give me some answers too.
#9 POSTED BY Kate71 (6 yrs ago)
I have a dear friend who is Jewish - at least in name. He doesn't actually believe in very much, but his family observe the cultural side of the religion (Friday night family suppers to observe the sabbath etc) - I'm not sure how strict they actually are. This mate of mine fell in love with 2 gorgeous non-Jewish girls (several years apart) - but each time he got serious,his family disapproved and he felt he had to choose between continuing to see them and bowing to family pressure... he gave way and split up with them... he now (a couple of years on) regrets his decisions


I know that this is slightly different to your situation but I guess all I'm saying is that maybe some things are worth fighting for if both parties want it enough...
#10 POSTED BY beancurd (6 yrs ago)
I have two daughters brought up as catholic, studied in catholic school and both of them ended as muslim. They worked in Middle east and they studied Islam and I really do not know how they were easily changed their mind to become a Muslim.


In your case, if you do not want to become a Muslim, there will be a lot of trouble ahead in the future, how the children were brought up, your in-laws will always interfere and different culture actually. And it will add stress in the relationship.

#11 POSTED BY tiwari64 (6 yrs ago)
agitoM, by focusing too much on 'to convert or not to convert', could you be missing what really matters to both of you?


You've said that from the start, different religions was not important for both of you. It became an issue only when she came under parental pressure. So isn't the real issue here her ability (or inability) as an adult to make her own decision about whether or not to marry the man she loves - 'living my own life' - as she put it. This she needs to do not by 'fighting' with her parents, but by taking the decision she considers right for her as an adult. It was indeed a stressful situation for her (in Feb.), and it seems she was struggling to make a choice. Your love was her real strength, and she needed your absolute support to withstand the parental pressure, and hopefully make the right decision to unite with you in love.


Sadly, this was when you "decided to break up with her", with all good intentions. But did you really think it will make her happy, at peace? Have you wondered why she said, 'it hurts to talk with you'?


You could have done better then, and you can do better now. It is not the time to be concerned about your future child's possible circumcision. Right now, the woman you love is lonely and she is hurting. That's all that should matter at the moment. How about starting communication with a genuine apology for leaving her? Somehow make her believe that you'll always be there for her no matter what -for better or worse. Assuming, of course, that you truly love her.


Then, knowing that you still want to marry her (without converting), will allow her to make a choice. If she decides to accept your proposal, then you both need to do so with full awareness of family/social pressures and difficulties. If, on the other hand, she opts to obey her parents wishes, and refuses to marry you unless you convert, then you will know the extent to which she allows her life decisions to be influenced by her parents. This should be factored into any decision you then take.







#12 POSTED BY aworkingmum (6 yrs ago)
Ribbons said,


"Do not convert unless you are really willing to embrace the whole box and dice with enthusiasm. If not, you will always find yourself a cynical observer, and not an active participant. Also, different religions demand not only religious and ritualistic adherence, but also social cohesion. You are probably going to have to mix with Muslims, and accept Muslim culture as your own. I don't get the feeling you are able to do this without an enormous sense of loss of intellectual and spiritual autonomy."


An enormous sense of loss of intellectual autonomy? That's a little over the top isn't it?


I've lived with this ALL my life. My parents are a combination of Catholic(mum) - devout, mum almost wanted to be a nun and Muslim (dad). Of course, culturally they were different too. Mum was Chinese-Eurasian and Dad, Eurasian-Malay. It was great! We grew up appreciating all aspects of being a multi-racial Singaporean family. My parents chose to be sensitive to their parents needs and made decisions accordingly i.e. convert in name, accept in name to both cultures and religions and they played the part well and yet at the same time fulfilled theirs. As children, we were exposed to both beliefs and explained (when we were old enough) that God gave us free will. They went as far as sending us to an Anglican school, going to Arabic school once a week to learn about Islam, going for all Catholic events, giving us neutral names that appealed to both families. At the end of the day, whatever they did in name, worked. No dramas.


It was great for us kids - growing up in two cultures and religions and WE benefited. Made us global citizens. I know how to behave in a church and a mosque within the Catholic, Christian and Muslim world. I understand the role of religion in life. Today, my partner and I are the same, I still have to appease the Muslim side of my dad's family and my partner's VERY Catholic family. I've done as my parents and NEVER looked back.


Both my parents and I have done what we needed to do for peacekeeping purposes and there is NO regret!
#13 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
The situation that aworkingmum described was exactly the situation as I would have hoped it would have turned out. Introduce religion to children when they are old enough, instead of forcing it up on them since birth. Why not celebrate both Christmas and Hari Raya Puasa? I believe that children will, when given a wide exposure, will eventually end up with the religion they feel most comfortable with, and be open towards other religions at the same time. This was also a view that my gf agreed with.


Everything changed however, when their family started to get involved. Even though I've never taken up the matter with her parents directly myself, I heard through my gf, that the situation is uncompromisable. The treats of her family are real since people in her family have been disowned and out casted from the family in the past for getting married to a non-Muslim.


Yes, the whole incident left me quite disillusioned with religion in general. Can't but help feeling that such rules exist basically the ensure the power and income of a Church.


Anyway Ribbons, decided to take up your advice, will probably go Islamic Foundation for converts this weekend to talk to some of the people there. Not because I'm going to convert, but just to get a insight into the whole situation from a Islamic point of view, but most off all, to get things of my chest.
#14 POSTED BY Happiness is a state of mind... (6 yrs ago)
Hi AgitoM - so sorry to hear that this happened to you. Gotta say that I agree with tiwari64 though - the issue here isn't the fact that you were from different religions or that indeed either of you was not really religious at all. It's the fact that a grown woman who had met the love of her life allowed her fundamentalist parents dictate her life to the extent that she was emotionally blackmailed! I'm truly sorry, and I'm sure your girlfriend was a lovely person, but anyone who allows someone to say 'do what I tell you to do or I will sever all ties' is behaving like a doormat and will likely never change her behavior pattern. She should have told them very politely that while she understands that they're upset about the differences in religion but she's sorry - she's found the man she wants to spend her life with and she hopes that they will be very happy for her. If they can't then that is THEIR problem - true they might cut her out of their lives, but honestly I don't know how you can continue, or really wish to maintain, a relationship based on the offensive terms of emotional terrorism (extreme words I know but that's just how it appears to me). The fact that she couldn't or wouldn't do this does go to the heart of why you ended it, which I think you were right to do, which is unless you're both willing to meet in the middle there can't be a true meeting of the minds and building of a future. I do think it is an excellent idea though to go speak with a muslim convert, as you say not to convert yourself but to better understand where they are coming from intellectually and emotionally. I do wish you luck in your next relationship and would caution you to remember that it's not the religion question/issue that fractured the last relationship it was the inability of your girlfriend to stand on her own two feet and say this is who I am and this is what I want - I'm sorry if you don't agree. All the best for the future!
#15 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Well, her parents were not exactly fundamentalists, as a matter a fact they were quite fond of me. (And don't think they deserve to be referred to as such). The problem was more fear of pressure from the rest of the community.


In my opinion, it is something that happens a lot in the group, there is a socially accepted opinion, and people feel they should express that opinion in a group. It may not exactly be the opinion they agree with. But its the opinion they feel they should express.


As for my gf, well she is a Asian girl after all. Where a western person would at some point decide to go against their family to pursue what they want, a Asian person will not do that so easily, specially when the emotional card is played.

It wouldn't be the first time that Asian I know make a comment that sugests, or straightforward ask, if I love my parents, because I went against them quite frequently. On which I end up explaining that going against your family doesn't mean you don't love them, but simply is a matter of leading your own life. But its a different case here.


I could see the emotional pressure was consuming my gf, and any person when pressured long enough will just snap and break. It is something I wanted to avoid.

Currently me and my gf are not talking anymore, she ignores my email and calls, claiming its to painful for her to be in touch with me.


So I'm going to drop her a message, tell her I'm going to have a talk with the convert, leave it to her what to do with it. As for going to the convert, I'm just going to talk with them to get it off my chest, get their perspective on the matter, and try and find out if the implications of mixed really are that heavy. Sometimes there is a difference between what the followers of a religion say, and the actual leaders.
#16 POSTED BY aworkingmum (6 yrs ago)
AgitoM, I should mention that my mother (the Catholic) converted in name and my grandfather was never the wiser. When it was Hari Raya Puasa, she celebrated it. And when it was Christmas, he (my dad) celebrated it. As kids, we LOVED it.


I understand the whole Asian rationale you mentioned. My cousin (in Singapore, he's Muslim) recently married a Chinese girl. And she converted in name too. It's a six months course i think to convert. She went through the whole shebang (treated it like a uni course - Islam 101 - An introduction into the Muslim World, they both compromised on a Western Styled Wedding & Chinese Tea Ceremony (No under the void deck wedding) and both families was happy. He practices Islam and leaves her to practice her beliefs even after the conversion. And like my sisters and I, their daughter who is 2 now is exposed to both worlds and will probably turn out as we have.


Good Luck with it all. Just think of the bigger picture of the global family you'll be raising ;-)
#17 POSTED BY doncella (6 yrs ago)
Well just to start,


I’m sorry that you are in such a dilemma, I got into a similar situation I’m from a catholic family, background, country etc, and my ex is Hindu, I’ll highly advice you to think about it before you step forward to a very traditional (fanatic religious) community, I’ve lived a real night mare that cost me lots of tears, sweat and blood; I give up everything for this person and I try very hard to be accepted and do everything and more possible to fit in and make them happy, lots of frustration when the family got evolved and they start to boss my life like I was just a piece of furniture with no opinion whatsoever, everything was so difficult and I even pray every single day no to wake up the next morning etc. I even try to kill myself once, is not worth it trust me. I thought I could handle everything because of my love for this person but soon I realized that it was only me who compromised on give everything sad, I end up divorce with kids; but as soon as leave the relationship I become a normal person again and we are happier than ever.

Wish you the best luck, if you are willing to go all the way and give up on yourself for this person good for you but just be careful not to get hurt. I don’t say is good or bad but for sure very difficult to handle.

#18 POSTED BY zonked (6 yrs ago)
My take on this is that if both of you really and intensely love eachother, and are focussed on being together, the religion issue is actually a minor one. The committment to eachother should take precedence and both of you can decide to not follow any religion at all!


One thing to keep in mind is though, when one family is being so difficult, is to be away from that family. If you stay in the same city their interference and thus the influence on their daughter will definitely create problems in your relationship. You will be able to manage it better if you're away from their prying eyes.


Just live your life, away from them, not by breaking any contact, but rather explaining them with calm that you need to live your life in your way.


It is wrong to say that any particular religion is more fanatical than the other. You find fanatics in every religion and not everyone of a particular religion is so stcuk up on the religious factor!


I am a Hindu but I come from a rather enlightened family. And, I have an aunt who is married to a Muslim and it is from her experience that I say it is good to stay away from the families.... especially in her case her husband's family even though they are also quite broad minded. But back then they decided to stay away from their families to avoid any troubles that might arise in the future.


If you love eachother -- find a way to be together, rather than break up! Second step -- protect yourself from interference of the families.


I wish you luck.

#19 POSTED BY tigerbay (6 yrs ago)
My mother was catholic. My father protestant. My father ahd to convert to catholicism as my mother wanted a Catholic marriage. Us kids were brought up as CofE.


There are different levels of belief. There are the zealots, the devout, those practising but otherwise secular, and non practicing.


Devout Christian (born again) do not like kids marying non-born again christians.


I have a friend who is a secular Jew, he enjoys the holidays, eats pork, but wears a skull cap for wedding and funeral and those special Synagogue events.


There are very few non practicing Muslims in Asia, although many are secular.


You have hit a cultural difference (not race) here, that is connected with religion.


If her parents are secular Muslims they may accept you being non-practicing, but you must still be moslem. It is unlikely that she would convert, as in Sharia law turning away from Islam is punishable by death. I am not saying this would happen, but it shows the level of stigma. Her family would loose all reputation in thier community.


If you are a practicing Christian you cannot consider converting to Islam. If you are non-practicing then it will make little difference tou your life and value system. You will just celebrate different holidays.


If you really love her, then you may need to consider letting her go. Especially if your relatiohsip will destroy other relationships that are important. You will both move on and fall in love again, with somebody who is free to make the choice.


Life is not fair, sometimes our love is not realistically possible. There are other examples, falling in love with somebody married, or even a relative.


Life sucks sometimes, we cannot always get what we want, or what we feel we are due,but we must make the best of what we are given and what is available.


Final point.

If you are really asking her to turn her back on her family and her community for you, are you being fair on her.
#20 POSTED BY zonked (6 yrs ago)


I think converting to another faith is not needed to marry! It is totally upto you.


Atleast, back home in India, there is a special marriage act under which couples from different religions can marry and have full sanction by law and the scoiety at large.


As I wrote yesterday -- my aunt and her husband did not bother to convert! They both don't "practice" their religions.
#21 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
p.mason:

I fully agree with you, and as I stated several times before, I believe that the problem with religions is that they consider themselves as having the ultimate truth, and use rules like converting before marriage to ensure a source of power and income to the religion. And it disgusts me.


Let me also mention again, me and my gf were miles away from marriage, but her parents decided to put pressure at this early stage already, under the motto: "Better break up now then later".


So I broke up with my gf, because I didn't want her family to break her and emotionally blackmail her. I also was unwilling to let myself being converted, and held on to my principles. And then it struck me, what is the point? What did sticking as little faith as I had, and holding on to my principles gain me? I lost the person I loved more then anything. Her family was happy it ended, so was mine, and then what? Do I get a medal or a reward for making what seemed to be a logical and good decision? Truth is that "doing the right thing" only left a bitter taste and a empty feeling. Worst of all, nobody seemed to care.


Tried to pick up my life, even go out with other girls, didn't help, none of them even come close to her. I regret the decision I made, and would I be able to turn it back, I would do so.
#22 POSTED BY foxmulder (6 yrs ago)
My goodness, Ribbons, I love the way you write - both in what you say and how you say it.
#23 POSTED BY tigerbay (6 yrs ago)
agito


Another take on the situation of relationships that do not follow through. I read this somewhere a long time ago.


What is the definition of a succesful relationship? Is there a proper definition? If the definition of a succesful relatiionship is one that ends in marriage, then by definition most relationships are failures. As most people date several people before they find their partner.


Instead we can take away fond memories of every relationship we have, and these are memories we can hold dear for the rest fo our lives. Even if we never marry, or marry somebody else, we can retain these memories.


I only mention this as it helped me goet through a rough patch a while ago.


Sorry if it is not PC, but I read it back in the 1970s. And I still remember the essense of it well.
#24 POSTED BY RINZ (6 yrs ago)
Why you even bother of all this converting or not converting? You are not even a Christian yourself! How could you call yourself a Christian if you almost NEVER go to church or pray to God (assuming Jesus and the trinity here as the God in Christian belief). Do you even know what's the meaning of 'Christian' is? You are called 'Christian' because you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. The word 'Christian' is derived from Christ, meaning follower or a disciple of Christ. Do you even read the bible? It is WRITTEN there what a Christian means. You are not a Christian! You are only a Christian by Identity! If you want to call yourself a Christian, ask yourself this: 'Do you have a relationship with God(Jesus)?' A relationship is different from praying on a daily basis and say: Oh , God, please bless my family, my dad, my mom, my girlfriend, my dog..etc..that is not a relationship, that is a shopping list!, a relationship is where you can confide your true feeling and hear what God has to say too! And God's feelings too! Do you even know God can talk back?

'Do you follow his practice?' Do you more and more become more like Jesus himself? Forgiving, love, fearing God, praying, caring for others, etc etc. 'Do you read the bible (God's love letters)?' 'Do you go to church regularly(Socializing)' Do you know that praying is talking? Do you know that there is no such a thing like praying only when you are in church? Church is only for socializing with other Christian as a whole body of Christ. But praying is personal between you and Him.

If you never pray, never read the bible, never go to church, never know who Jesus is personally, never follow His practice, how can you call yourself 'a Christian'?


You are NOT a Christian! You are only a Christian ON YOUR ID CARD. That's a big difference. Even if you convert to atheism or satanism or whatever, what change does it make? Only what is written on your ID that change!
#25 POSTED BY tiwari64 (6 yrs ago)
agito,


Did you ever propose to her - told her that you will not convert, and asked her to marry you?

If she walks out of her parents' home tomorrow, and stands up against her parents' demand for convertion, will you marry her? If the answer is yes, does she know that?
#26 POSTED BY persuitofhappiness (6 yrs ago)
Hi Agito M


Everything that have been written here its total BS.


I am muslem, devoted, who practice 5 times a day. My wife is Christian and still is who goes to Church every sunday, Been married for 5 years and dating for almost 8.


Now let me tell you something,


In the Eyes of God, Christian, Jew or Muslem we all "people of the book" we all follow the same concept even thought we differ in few things.

Muslem do no believe in trinity,

jews do not believe in the Second Testamenet,

Christian do not belive in Koran.

But at the end we all have same concept abotu god.


Some poeple wheather muslem or Chrisitan or jew, are changing the whole meaning of Religion out of pure wants. Its what they want, its mostly her parents thinking oh what poeple will say about us if my daughter marry a chrisitan and so u parents will think the same.


here is the deal mate: sti down with ur girl, and talk, Do u care about what poeple say, think or act or do u care about ur true love for each other???


if u, her, her parents, ur parent, think more about what poeple think instead of ur own happiness than the relationship ur having is dumed from the start. U better try to find a way of fixing things with each other without thinking about Parents. and so she need to do too.


the only concern u will have is ur baby, will he / she be muslem or Chrisitan? if u can fix this than thats it u can fix anything else.


tell her parent to find something better to do. do they care about their daughter happiness or what poeple or what religion her husband is. WHo cares as long as she is happy and u taking care of her.
#27 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Sorry it took me a while to respond to the post, I've been in Malaysia for a while, ill and busy with work.


Ribbons:

Thank you for your many nice reactions. As foxmulder wrote, they are very sincere and comforting.

You are right about one thing, I indeed can't get all I want in life, and its in my nature to always try getting whatever I want. I need goals and ambitions to keep myself going, and tend to rather try something and fail, then not try at all.

Down side to that, I also tend to not give up on a matter, not matter what happens, guess its the same thing with this relationship. Feeling unable to "fix" the situation causes me a great deal of suffering.


Then again, there has been no other girl in my life ever, who could make me feel the way she made me feel.

So in a way I feel I shouldn't give up on her, even though things look very grim right now.


RINZ:

Please do not lecture me on Christianity. I come from a nation with a strong Christian tradition, have been exposed to, and studied, the various aspects of Christianity my whole life. Next to that, I have quite a bit of general knowledge of Jewism, Islam, Hinduism and Budhism. Knowledge that proved quite usefull when moving to Asia, since it helps me understand people better.


No I don't pray a lot, don't feel its necessary to bother God all the time. As for going to Church, I don't do that a lot either. In my homeland there are to many people in church who seem to constantly condemn other people for being different. In Asia church seems to be more a social event. People don't go there to be with God, but to make friends, going to church is but a means to kill their loneliness and be friends. As I have often seen in Singapore, the loneliness of particularly foreigners is often exploited by church groups to increase their church members.

Again typically within such a friend group, the ones that behave as the most devoted gain the most popularity.


As for Jesus, I see him as a good and kind person who did good to everyone. Thought us to be loving and compassionate, even towards our enemies and those outcast by society. Seeing people claim that their faith is the truth. Look down on people of other faiths. Helping people to promote their faith, instead of just helping to help a person in need. And claim that some people are not Christians or not faithful because they don't spend a lot of time on their knees hardly seems to be in line with Jesus his teachings.


So this is how I choose to live my life, not looking at God all the time to make things better, but try do what I can myself.

I try to be good to all, and even if I do harm, I try to set things straight. I don't judge and condemn people that are different, accept them the way they are, even though I may not share their views.

This is also the reason I accepted my girlfriend as my partner, even though she was a Muslim, to me it didn't matter.


persuitofhappiness:

I'm very happy to hear your story, the way you describe your relationship with your wife is quite simular to how I imagined my relationship.


Yes I know that in the Islam Jews and Christians are considered "People of the Book", and believe in the same God (Just follow the teachings of different Prophets)

I once, out of curiousity, read the sections of the Qu'ran that tell about Jesus, I was quite amazed that the story is about 80% the same.


It was because of the concept of believing in the same God, that I had hoped things would work out between me and my gf.

To her different religions also didn't matter, and since our religions had a lot in common, we considered it even less a problem.

However, as I have stated many times by now, the community around her had a different opinion.


As for our children, well I've always held the opinion that children should not be labeled and bound to a religion on birth, but should eventually choose form themselves.

Instead they should be given a wide exposure. So typically my children would have been raised with both Christian and Muslim influence, like aworkingmum describes earlier in this discussion.

To many people of my generation in my homeland were baptised at birth, and eventually dropped their faith because they simply didn't feel anything for it anymore.

So why not let children choose their own faith? Only God can decide who is right, and I think God probably wouldn't care in which way he is worshiped.


I wish I could sit down with this girl, talk things over, and work out a solution. However she is ignoring all attempts of me to contact her.

She tends to do this when she doesn't know how to deal with a situation, (as said by herself) and shuts out the element that causes her pain (In this case me).

Unfortunatly this also makes it hard for me to try and solve things, and my situation more grim.
#28 POSTED BY foxmulder (6 yrs ago)
The fact is that your girl needs to stand up to her parents and tell them that she will run her life the way she wants it and that you two will run your lives both as man and wife and as parents as you see fit- not them. If she succumbs to their pressure and you are prepared to accept it, it will not work. The parents, their religion and the influence from their community will be ever-present in, and will dominate your lives and that of your children. If she does not stand up to them now in such overwhelmingly important matters, what hope is there for you two to run your lives as you see fit? Where there is a difference of opinion between the two of you, don't you think she will accept her parent's views? What would they say about leaving it up to your children what god (if any) they should believe in? Whose view would your girl take if her parents insisted on your bringing up your children only as muslims? We all know that most people are "believers" because they were indoctrinated as kids. We accept what are parents and teachers tell us. That is why they catch as young as possible - we don't know any better. She has to face up to them if she wants you. She has to risk an irreversible break with her parents. If she won't do that, I just don't see you have a future and you should just move on. Marriage and parenting are difficult enough as it is. Although it may hurt you now, you will get over it. And there are lots more girls out there. Sorry to be so blunt - occupational hazard.
#29 POSTED BY nazlyn (6 yrs ago)
I praise your work to read the Quran and realise and "believe in the same God (Just follow the teachings of different Prophets)".But Islam and Al-Quran that brought by Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet and a complete version of life as "Islam is the way of life".

First,a prophet is essentially sent to help us understand something about God and His attributes,and to give us this knowledge that we cannot obtain by our own means.This is very essential to our understanding so that we do not mixed up in the whole realm of philosophy and theology.We have to get the correct knowledge through prophets.It would help us to avoid having divided loyalties by knowing that there is only one Creator for the entire universe.As an example of the basic call of the message of the prophets.In Chapter 21:verse 25,it says,


"Not a Messenger did we send before you (Muhammad) without this inspiration sent by Us to him;that there is no Gog but Me,so worship and serve Me."


In Chapter 11 of the Quran, you find that there are stories about different prophets.All of them say identical words to their people:"Worship God.You have no other deity but Him". So that shows that this is the unifying theme in all the messages of the prophets.In addition,to make it clear,the Quran indicates that one cannot really achieve servitude to God alone unless one shuns false gods.One verse in the Quran, Chapter 16:verse 36,says

"For We assuredly sent amongst every people a Messenger with the command:'Serve Allah (God) and shun false gods'."


The second basic mission of a prophet is to communicate to us the info. about the unseen ,because we cannot obtain info.about the unseen in the lab or by our own thinking.To document this the Quran ,in Chapter 72:verses 26-27,says,

"He (God) alone knows the unseen.Nor does He make anyone acquainted with His secret except a Messenger whom He has chosen."

So, the knowledge of the unseen is not only for God,but certain info. is also made a available to a messenger or prophet.


A third basic function of a prophet is to show us the way to tell us how to achieve salvation in this life ad the hereafter.How do we conduct our lives?What pleases God?What is our role on earth?What should our relationship be with each other?These are all things that we need a great deal of guidance about.As example of this is in the Quran in Chapter 3:verse 164,which mentions the mission of Prophet Muhammad,which was similar to the mission of other prophets:

"Sanctifying them and instructing them in scripture and wisdo,."


A fourth mission of Prophethood might surprise some people,although within the Islamic approach of integrating life it is very relevant.This mission is to participate in the struggle to establish social justice on earth.This means physically,if necessary, to participate in fighting the forces of evil oppression and exploitation.Of course, you might ask what evidence I have. We have several pieces of evidence in the Quran,but I will give you one verse. In Chapter 57:verse 25,it says,

"We (God) sent a aforetime Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of right and wrong) that men may stand forth in justice."

This shows that a prophet or messenger's participation in leading his people to fight evil and to establish justice on earth is part and parcel of his mission.These four basic points,I think, can be summarized,basically ,as true submission to God on an individual as well as a collective level.

Since you now is Singapore,u can go to The Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore(Darul Arqam Singapore),32 Onan Road,The Galaxy,Singapore 424484.

http://www.darularqam.org.sg .Email:info1@darul-arqam.org.sg. Tel:6348 8344.


I wish u good luck in your new life and may Allah bless your future and anything u may achieve.
#30 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Dear nazlyn,


Thank you for your explanation of things. I've already been in touch with Darul Arqam in Singapore. Basically to inquire about their opening hours. So far however, I haven't had the guts yet to go down there. Biggest thing is, I don't know exactly what to say to them. Technically I am not in a relationship anymore, making my visit there somewhat strange. I do wish to know what converting would mean, and why this is so important anyway.


Next to that, I wonder if it will help in getting her back. Its been a while now since I've been in touch with her. I've tried to get on with my life though, see other girls even, but my heart still cries out to her every day, and other person can make me as happy as she could.
#31 POSTED BY nazlyn (6 yrs ago)
Dear AgitoM,


"I do wish to know what converting would mean, and why this is so important anyway."

ANS:

Nobody should press you to make a hasty decision to accept any of the teachings of Islam, for Islam teaches that man should be given the freedom to choose. Even when man is faced with the TRUTH, there is no compulsion upon man to embrace it.


In making your move, Islam continuously reassures you that your rights to freedom of choice and freedom to use that God-given faculty of thought and reason will be respected. Every man has that individual will. No one else can take that away that will and force you to surrender to the will of God. You have to find out and make that decision yourself. May your intellectual journey towards the TRUTH be a pleasant one. The Quran says:


" Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Taghut (evil) and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trust worthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. " (Qur'an 2:256)


'When you have understood what is Right and what is Wrong (Evil), it is Forbidden for you to do Wrong.' 'Right and Wrong is defined by Allah swt the Creator the Sustainer. Right is to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah (Purpose of life) in all walks of life. Wrong ((bad) evil) is to do the opposite. The Punishment for Not following the Qur'an and Sunnah (working against Islam) is Clearly Stated and Warned by Allah swt.


Find out for yourself about Islam from reliable sources and not only taste it, but digest it well before you form an opinion. That would be an intellectual approach to Islam. It is up to you to make the next move.Since your heart still cries out for her every day,u may try to make her happy to begin as Muslim and u both will make each other happy all day long.

Be a muslim with True understanding of Islam.

The Truth will always prevail over falsehood.

The light of dawn always rises after the darkest moment, so think about it..

Perhaps avoiding ignorance and pride could help one understand the Truth.
#32 POSTED BY Mobs (6 yrs ago)
AgitoM


I am in the proceess of being divorced from my wife who is a Muslim. When we first decided to get married (after 6 years of dating), she said she would convert out of Islam. She gave it a shot, but her religion had too great a hold over her and she gave up (nothing to do with parents here). I did the pretend to convert thing to satisfy her parents. I regret it greatly now. After our divorce is finalised, I will move to expunge my name from the Islamic registry. If Islam is so enlightened, how is it the only mainstream religion to make it a rule that one must convert to marry a Muslim - yes a blanket statement that is not fully accurate - but it is accurate enough. All the holy books say this and that. But if I cannot make my own choice (I was coerced into the "conversion" that I absolutely didn't believe in) and my wife cannot make a choice to change her religion to mine (whatever that may be), then the religion takes on more importance that our personal preference.


I second the view that if you want to do it, convert - but don't do it because you want to marry someone. I firmly believe, if anything, the wife should "follow" the husband's religion if the husband so believes.


We never had any kids in 7 years of marriage - I was too afraid she or her family or her larger community of Muslims would take my kids away and indoctrinate them into Islam. This I couldn't accept even more than my "pretend" conversion.


Now, we are the best of friends - I love her to bits, I will always care for her. But we cannot be together as her religion has taken precedence over our happiness as a family and married couple.


#33 POSTED BY Xshoequeen (6 yrs ago)
Hi Agito M, I am deeply touched by your devotion to this lady and it gave me warmth, but, at the same time, may I suggest that you take a hard thought ( and I know it is easier said than done) if things are really going to work out with her, because you do not want to break her heart the 2nd time. 5 years, 10 years from now, after you marry her and have children, with the in-laws getting more involved, are you going to be able to persue what you and your wife really wants?

I think there is a big issue here more than religion. i am not criticizing anyone, just that I think it is a hard road when her parents have a strong belief in a way things should be. Maybe it will change once you two get married, it is difficult for her at the moment because she still belongs to the family unit of her parents and not her own.

I come from a traditional Japanese family, and my husband comes from a catholic background. Fortunately, both our parents are really open about the religion, or our life style. ( the whole talking to my parents about our decision has become easier after marriage .) I even asked the in-laws since they are really catholic if I should convert and they said no as it does not happen overnight, if i feel during the course of life that Catholic does it for me, they wish me to do the proper procedure. I have not decided yet so I am doing as much as possible to understand and follow the rituals of my husband religion and the in-laws are happy that I am respecting the religion. Same with my parents, they have no problem for the soon to be born grandchild to be western, catholic, if he or she chooses, japanese, Shinto, as long as the family is happy and healthy, they are even wishing that we have a baptism so that they can attend the ceremony and this comes from parents who said that I have to marry a Japanese until they met and spent time!!! So my point is, yes, you can go ahead and go back to this girl and take time, have the in-laws be comfortable with you as a person, but, at the same time, please think, different religion/culture, there are lots of things that the couple really need to discuss honestly and it is a really tense process. Can you bear your in-laws telling you what is acceptable with each and every thing? Our parents letting us be independent from what they believe has helped us so much. This said, maybe your love's parents might change but, it sounds like you should be prepared for the worst case scenario, no?

I wish no disrespect to your to be in-laws and I apologize if it came across that way but, i just wanted to high light a fact that the more you get involved, the more things have a twist in them and do you think you can be strong enough to support her? Please really give it a thought and if the answer is yes, what are you waiting for?
#34 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Well, this evening I finally managed to pull enough courage together to go down to the convert center. Ended up talking to a nice and understanding lady there.


Basically she told me the following things:

Conversion for marriage is not encouraged, if there will be a conversion, they prefer it to be for the religion. However, she did comment later on that it is the law that a Muslim can only marry a other Muslim. (Didn't go into discussion on the two somewhat conflicting statements)


As for the actual conversion, it will require me to take 2 basic courses on Islamic customs. The actual conversion is mostly paper work but includes a sort of examination on my Islamic knowledge.


Circumcision is not mandatory, something I am quite pleased about.

As for the question why conversion is necessary, the lady had no answer to that, other then the "its the law" answer. She commented that these questions could best be asked at the basic course.


If I will go for the basic course? I don't know. Right now I don't see the point, because my gf until now has been completely ignoring me. Hope that this will be a good moment to resume contact, but if it doesn't help, guess I'll just have to forget about ever making things work out.
#35 POSTED BY Mobs (6 yrs ago)
Having been registered in the converts' association as a "Muslim", if I were to pass on, my estate may not even go to my family (non-Muslim) and any will I draft will not be applicable insofar as it contradicts the Islamic laws. I have to finalise my divorce and then launch an application to expunge my name from this association. I'm not sure how successful I will be. In Malaysia, it is against the law to renounce Islam. I'm so happy I'm not from or in M'sia.


My ex is in depression which has been triggered by the start of the actual legal process (paperwork, court petitions, etc) and has had to see a psychologist. As much as she wants to stay married to me, she is not willing to give up her religion. And, as the doctor says, it is a concious choice to choose the religion or me.


Unbelievable sadness and pain.
#36 POSTED BY Mobs (6 yrs ago)
I like the way Xshoequeen has conducted herself where I detect her gravitating towards her husband's Catholic beliefs. I like the fact that her parents are open minded and want only happiness for her and any offspring.


I don't understand how the law can be enacted to foist a religion on you - "it's the law". And I certainly don't accept that my ex has made the choice of her religion over me.
#37 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Well Mobs, let me tell you I really deeply sympathize with your situation, and feel very sorry about how your marriage has gotten. Actually the situation you describe is also a situation that I quite dread. I also wondered how far things will go should I ever give in a bit, which I already did in a way. It is quite possible I will be pushed one step further each time, and if not me, my kids may end up being manipulated.

Should I end up talking to my girlfriend again, I will definitely raise those concerns.


I can imagine you are quite sour about what the situation "the law" made you end up in. I've already commented several times in this discussion as for why I think such rules exist. Won't repeat it again since that comment may be hurtful to some, but the fact that so far I've not gotten a decent answer on the "why" question yet, seems to prove that point a lot.


As for me right now. I send out a mail to my ex-gf telling her about my visit to the Convert Association. Asked her if she wants to start talking to me again.

So far no answer, and I fear I will never get any, even though I hope I will.

When things stay silent on her side, I guess its over, I've gone as far as I can possibly go at this moment. There is nothing more I can do.
#38 POSTED BY Mobs (6 yrs ago)
I do wish you the best of luck in all of this and hope you will get to the place where you will be most happy.
#39 POSTED BY AgitoM (6 yrs ago)
Well, after having waited for several days, and still not having heard anything from my ex-girlfriend, I guess all that is left for me to do is give up on her and the whole matter.

I've done all I could, can't imagine anything more I could do.


Thank you all for your kind messages and support.
#40 POSTED BY sapphire26 (6 yrs ago)
I c no reasons of religion conversion. U both can maintain ur own religion after all! But, if either one is asked to take up one, give up! Coz, i don't think luv is based on any criteria.

#41 POSTED BY somia_khan (6 yrs ago)
9-11 -- it's MUSLIM not moslem.


OMG AGITOM!!! i TOTALLY understand what u're goin through! Im muslim n my BF's christian. the only difference is that our parents dont know bout it. the thing is, my religion dsnt allow me to get married to a non-muslim. there r reasons, ofcourse. i'd never ask my BF to convert. buh i wudnt marry a non-muslim as well. cuz my religion is my priority.

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