The right to love in spite of the tribe: the interaction between culture, religion and social pressure, on interfaith and cross-cultural dating and marriage
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:48 authored by Siham Yahya
With increasing globalization, the possibility of interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and faiths is greater than ever. Additionally, the possibility of these interactions developing into more serious relationships (e.g., dating and marriage) is also increasing. Nevertheless, interfaith and cross-cultural dating and marriages have and remain taboo in certain societies and religions (e.g., antimiscegenation laws). Individuals engaging in interfaith and cross-cultural relationships sometimes also face ostracism (by family and friends) and even death penalties in more extreme cases. Despite this, the numbers of interfaith and cross-cultural couples are increasing gradually, despite the obstacles that some of them face. Questions arise then concerning both the inhibiting as well as facilitating factors of interfaith and cross-cultural relationships.The current thesis investigated the relation between religious affiliation and social/cultural pressure towards interfaith and cross-cultural dating and marriages. Four studies were carried out to explore the subject addressed. The first study explored the relationship between the three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and individuals' attitudes towards interfaith dating and marriages. The second study examined the perceived influence of parental and social pressure on individuals' perceptions regarding cross-cultural and interfaith dating and marriage. Further, the third study examined attitudes towards interfaith and cross-cultural relationships between Jewish, Christian and Muslim individuals living in Israel, a conflict-ridden area. Finally, the fourth study looked at factors associated with short and long-term interfaith and cross-cultural married couples.The general findings suggest that interfaith and cross-cultural relationships are both difficult to initiate and maintain if the social network surrounding the couple is not approving of the relationship. Moreover, the more religiously affiliated an individual is, the less likely it is that they will engage in an interfaith or cross-cultural relationship. Additionally, for an interfaith and cross-cultural relationship to work, it requires one of the individuals in the relationship to compromise more than the other for the relationship to work. Lastly, there appears to be a generational attitude shift towards interfaith and cross-cultural relationships, with individuals generally more open to the possibility of interfaith and cross-cultural relationships compared to earlier generations.