Question:

Hi,

I'm 20 years old and, though baptized as a Catholic and brought up as one. I have never really practiced it. Because of problems and issues while growing up, I lost faith and resented God. But that has changed and though not baptized as a Christian, I would like to consider myself as one.

It all started when I started a relationship with my boyfriend who is a Muslim. I have didn't have a problem about our religions because i wasn't practicing mine, but he was slightly. I have always grown up around Muslim friends and have been closed to them. I respect his religion and he respects mine. That's one point I'd like to make. He has never once tried to convince me to convert or anything. He has taught me about his and he has learned about mine.

We are both students and have a long distance relationship. We don't really see each other, even during holidays, but we have committed sexual immortality.

Recently he has gone back into his religion to practice it fully. This all started when his grandma, may she rest in peace, passed away. He found comfort in his religion. We broke up due to problems before this, but he asked me to try again, so we did. But now he says our relationship is illegal in his view. I can see he has inner conflict by even holding my hand or hugging me. We agreed to no sexual intimacy and I repented of it. We have always had the intent of getting married from the very beginning and he wants to after he finishes university. But it's a long distance relationship and we won't see each other and I won't be visiting him due to temptation of been alone. We'll see each other every three months, and even then I can see he finds it hard to hold my hand because it's not allowed in his religion.

I'm really conflicted. I see the only options are to break up or to get married. I really don't want to break up as I love him very much, and he doesn't want to break up and he loves me. I want us to do this the right way. I want him and me to follow our paths correctly. We either need to repent and break up, or repent and get married. Also it won't work if we don't get to see each other, and I know that it's not an excuse to get married.

I would also like to point out that he has helped me get back into my religion.

I'm very confused, and I don't know what to. I would really like some advice. Please, could you guide me?


Answer:

Depending on the branch of Islam that your boyfriend is following, public displays of affection, such as hand holding, hugging, or kissing is not allowed. What is distinctly not allowed is sex outside of marriage. Under Islamic law, he could be punished by 100 lashes for having sex with you.

But what you are not considering is what happens after you marry. Are you going to live in in an Islamic state? If so, your access to a church or even a Bible may not be possible. When you have children, under what religion will they be raised? Muslim law basically insists that the children be raised Muslims, so if your boyfriend is serious about his religion, then you are going to find yourself isolated and unable to teach your own children the truth about Christ.

You seem to take a lax view of being a Christian. You recognize that you have been sinning, yet you leave me the impression that you haven't done much to change it. It seems you decided to stop the fornication more because he now sees it as a sin than because you wanted to stop. I could be wrong, but that is the impression I get from reading your letter.

I would rather that you became a Christian in truth -- that it becomes something you seriously practice and not just something you claim. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25). In doing so, you will have to grapple with the fact that marrying a devote Muslim is going to hinder, if not prevent, you from practicing your religion. As an example, it is required of Christians to teach Christianity. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Such is contrary to Islam, which does not allow its members to convert to Christianity and, thus, does not allow Christianity to be taught.

What I see here are two people who are going two different directions in their lives. That is not the making of a good marriage.