Madubata ’06, an Episcopalian.“Christians consider sex to be something more than some pleasurable act.It’s an actual union between two people becoming one,” Madubata says.Some Christian students jokingly refer to interfaith relationships as “missionary dating,” pointing out that conversion might be a consequence of the relationship.Skoda says the phrase negatively connotes one person setting out in a relationship in order to convert the other person, and she says she thinks that this happens infrequently, if at all.“A lot of Indian girls are vegetarian, and they speak the same language. With language comes a lot of cultural ties,” he says.THINK OF THE KIDSStudents say that their broadest and most constant concern about interfaith dating is the faith of their children.
Now that she’s in a serious relationship with a practicing Catholic, however, her children’s faith is no longer quite so certain.And I think it is very unlikely that we’ll raise our children as atheists,” she says.‘MISSIONARY DATING’ Despite these complications, some students are willing to pursue interfaith relationships.“[An interfaith relationship] might create more dialogue between you and God,” Skoda says.She says that such a relationship would inspire questions such as “How is it that I see this and my boyfriend or girlfriend can’t or doesn’t want to see it at all?“That makes the idea of sex so much more sacred.”Different views of gender roles can also complicate a relationship, Summer says.Summer says she disagrees with her boyfriend’s belief that he is responsible for supporting her when she begins law school in the fall and he enters the work force.“I think it’s my financial responsibility,” she says.Catholic Students Association Chaplain Faye Darnall agrees that children brought up with two conflicting religious traditions may not feel truly connected to either of them.But Darnall says that choosing the faith of one parent can pose its own difficulties.“It’s a loss to not raise your children in your own tradition, if you choose to raise them in your partner’s tradition ...Yet more than theological issues, students say that personal feelings influence them to reject the possibility of an interfaith relationship. Manning ’09 also said she could not picture herself in a serious relationship with someone who doesn’t share her faith. It doesn’t seem feasible to me that I would relate to someone on such a deep level if we didn’t have that common ground,” she says.“It would be impossible for me to consider spending my life with someone who did not agree with what I spiritually believed in,” says Sarah H. CULTURE, GENDER & (NO) SEXWhen it comes to interfaith relationships, religion often dictates broader differences in opinion beyond strict theology.