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Religious dating sites a detriment to a mixed culture society

Many have probably seen the recent commercials for the dating site Christian Mingle. It’s a website for Christian singles to come together and “find God’s match.”

The ads are appealing, no doubt. But the implications of this dating site are somewhat disturbing. It seems that people of different religious backgrounds aren’t interested in each other. They only want to date, marry and have children with people based on improper criteria: the circumstances that one was born into.

Some would argue that religion is a choice and is not immutable like the race or ethnicity that a particular religion is tied to. This is true to an extent. A person can change their religion at any time. However, most people will retain the religious identity that they were born into throughout their entire lives. Even if they do convert to a different religion or lose religion completely, they still carry with them an understanding of their native faith system.

This becomes problematic because if people are no longer interested in dating people who are different from themselves, then we’ve lost one of the pillars that support cross-cultural communication and understanding. Or perhaps two.

If there’s a reduced romantic interest between people of different religions, then less miscegenation takes place. Thus, fewer mixed-race children are born. Such children — who possess experiences from both their parents’ backgrounds — would serve as bridges between cultures in whatever capacity.

Some say that the children of mixed-race-and-religion couples would be confused about their personal identities. According to Faye Darnell, a chaplain at Harvard University, children who are raised with two different religious traditions will not know to identify with either one in adulthood.

However, if a child can amalgamate the experiences of their parents simply by growing up in the same household with both parents (who have assumedly already worked past whatever cultural differences they may have had), then it it less likely for the child to be confused. Children aren’t born with cultural or religious biases.

This may be a bigger deal than some would give it credit for being. When people finally emerge from their cultural bubbles after an extended amount of time and end up interacting with people from other bubbles, they tend to poorly empathize with each other, and conflict arises. This was arguably the cause of the Crusades and a great deal of bloodshed throughout the centuries.

Regular interaction between different cultures, religions and races, on the other hand, can give rise to mutual understanding and amazing feats of cooperation.

 Opinion columnist Adam Mayo is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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