Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Does God Not Heal And Save Despite Belief And Prayers?

             There’s pain and sickness all around us. As you read this article, you could be in pain. I am in moderate physical pain and have been in intense emotional pain. Moreover, those we know and do not know are suffering from a variety of painful situations. Christians as well as non-Christians are in pain.

            No one enjoys being in pain. No one enjoys observing the painful existence or the death of a loved one.

            When in pain we solicit help. Apart from atheists, the others pray to God for deliverance, healing and relief. It is more than just a mere fact that the walls of the hospitals have heard more intense prayers than the walls of the churches. Then there are local support systems (friends, hospitals, counseling centers etc.) that serve many.

            When we ardently believe in God and earnestly approach HIM in prayer, we expect healing and deliverance from the most gracious and the most loving God. God does heal; but healing and deliverance does not always happen, which is precisely why we have overcrowded hospitals and innovative measures to bury the dead or as an alternate, choose cremation.

            Some Christians teach that all sickness is because of sin. While sickness could be because of sin (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11: 29-30), we should also recollect that Christ denied that very notion, “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1–3). Therefore, to state that sickness is always because of sin is theologically incorrect.

            It’s also not always true that Satan is the source of all sickness. These verses (Exodus 4:11, 2 Kings 15:5, Luke 1: 19-20) assert that God sends sickness. There are also situations when God sends evil upon the most righteous, “they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him…” (Job 42: 11, RSV, Emphasis Mine).

             I recently witnessed the death of a new born which was a consequence of a complicated pregnancy. In this instance, the new born died despite her parents’ ardent belief in God and fervent prayers. On the other hand, I have witnessed births of premature babies who continue to enjoy good health. So on one hand, God took away the life of a newborn but in another instance, HE blessed the newborn with life and good health.

            We can extend this situation to many scenarios. There are remarkable illustrations of freak accidents and freak births. Consider the lives of Joni Eareckson Tada, Nick Vujicic and many many more.

            Joni is paralyzed shoulder-down after a freak accident that fractured her 4th and 5th cervical levels. Nick was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of four limbs. Joni continues to remain a quadriplegic and Nick remains without his four limbs. Significantly, they remain grateful to God and continue to serve HIM with faith and fervor.

            Another famous argument against God is that HE does not heal amputees, even the amputees who are faithful Christians. Even the most famous pastors are not exempt from the predicament of pain. The author of best selling ‘Purpose Driven Life,’ Pastor Rick Warren’s son committed suicide recently.

            So the question ‘why does God not heal everyone’ is indeed pertinent.

            The greater problem is that some Christian teachers preach and teach that lack of faith in Christians defeats God’s plan to heal. This motivates a conclusion that Pastor Rick Warren did not have faith in God; hence God did not save his son from suicide. But it may be absurd to treat Pastor Rick Warren as an unbeliever. Therefore pain and death seem to be the lot of those who have utmost faith in Christ.

            We could also observe pain and healing from the perspective of God’s sovereignty. If God wills not to heal, then HE would not heal. This is the implication of God’s sovereignty.

            There are some who were not healed by God in the Bible, they are: Elisha (2 Kings 13: 14), Apostle Paul (Galatians 4:13-15; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10), Timothy (1 Timothy 5: 23), Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), and Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25–27).

            Even Jesus did not heal everyone. For example, at Bethesda, Christ healed only one, although there were many who were ill there (John 5: 1-8).

            This affirms the notion that while God does heal; healing is not always assured to everyone.

            When God’s sovereignty is juxtaposed with God’s perfect justice and love, there should be very good reasons as to why God does not heal everyone. However, the sovereign God is not constrained to make it known to men. This too is an entailment of God’s sovereignty.

            How then do we understand the verses that proclaim healing upon God’s children? An oft quoted verse is Isaiah 53: 5, “by his wounds we are healed.” Hebrew word study reveals that “heal” (Hebrew “rapah”) does not always refer to physical healing, e.g. “Rapah” refers to spiritual healing in Jeremiah 3:22 (healing of faithlessness). The other two much quoted verses 1 Peter 2: 24 and Matthew 8: 16-17 are quotes of Isaiah 53.

            Suffering is an integral part of Christian life (John 16:33, Romans 8:17, 2 Corinthians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 4:8–10, Philippians 1:29, Hebrews 11: 35-38; James 5:10). Therefore, our attitude should be that of Job’s, “…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:10).

            Failure to receive healing from God is not a universal indication of our faithlessness or our sinfulness. Of this we must be sure. However, we should consciously ensure that we do not fall ill by indulging in sinful activities.  

            Therefore we infer that while God does heal, healing is not assured to everyone. While God may not heal everyone, HIS peace and guiding presence is available to all those believe in HIM during their trials and tribulations. So while we pray, we pray for healing as well as wisdom, peace, comfort and encouragement especially when healing does not come our way.

            Whether we are healed or not, we can always glorify God. To glorify God during our times of trials and tribulations is a greater testimony to God’s presence, and may we do just that. Amen. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hey Prosperity Gospel Preacher, Don’t Condemn The Poor (Is A Christian Poor Because He Sins?)

            This short essay is to emphasize the false doctrine of the prosperity preachers. Prosperity preachers preach false doctrines when they preach prosperity and blame the poor for their poverty. When prosperity preachers blame the poor for being poor, they miss out on the crux of Historic Christianity that Christ came not to make poor people rich, but to make dead people live (spiritually).

            A few introductory remarks are essential.

            First, let’s define poverty. In the context of this short essay, I use the word poverty to signify material poverty (not spiritual). Material poverty includes wellness of body and mind. Poverty, therefore, is an insufficiency of necessary ingredients such as shelter, food, clothing, sanitation, education and healthcare.

            Second, people generally do not desire poverty. Minimally, all of us strive to have our basic needs met.

            Third, the Bible teaches that God prospers people (Deuteronomy 15: 4, 28:11; Psalm 25:13, 37:11, Proverbs 13:21 et al.). But the question is whether prosperity ought to be the universal status of all believers. In other words, does God allow poverty upon HIS people?

            Fourth, the Bible does not teach that God desires poverty or that God’s people should desire poverty. However, the Bible mentions the presence of poor and needy even among God’s people. This is not a condemnatory reference of the poor but a reference that encourages the wealthy to help the needy, but more on this later.

            This is the claim of the prosperity preachers:

            1. God wills prosperity upon HIS people and not poverty.

            2. If God’s people obey God and believe that God would prosper them, then they prosper and not remain poor (Deuteronomy 15: 4-6 et al.)

            3. There are poor Christians.

            4. Poor Christians are poor since they do not obey God (sin) or they do not believe in God’s words that God wants HIS people to prosper or because of other people’s sins.

            5. Therefore, poverty is the fault of poor Christians.

            My brief response to this teaching of the prosperity preachers is, GET OUT!

            My rather elaborate response to the prosperity preachers is as follows:

All Are Sinners; Even the Prosperity Preachers

            The Bible teaches that all are sinners - Christians and Non-Christians (Romans 3: 10, 3: 23 et al.). The sinners include the wealthy and the poor Christians, and the prosperity preachers as well. The prosperity preacher is either just as much or more sinful than the poor Christian. Therefore, if sin is universally present in mankind, then sin does not play a universal role in causing poverty among Christians.         

            This entails that prosperity is not granted to a lesser sinner or poverty upon a greater sinner. In other words, prosperity need not be the consequence of a believer’s greater obedience to God or poverty a consequence of a believer’s lesser obedience to God, especially when all believers are sinners.

Poverty Is Not Sinful

            The Bible does not teach poverty to be a sin as in the likes of idolatry, adultery, drunkenness, theft, homosexuality etc. Neither does the Bible teach that it is very difficult for the poor man to enter God’s Kingdom.

            In fact, it’s the other way around. The Bible teaches that it is very difficult for the rich to enter God’s Kingdom (Cf. Matthew 19: 23-24).

            If poverty is not a sin, then the prosperity preacher is not justified calling it so.

God Allows Poverty; Poverty Is A Tenable Status In Christendom

            These verses state that God allows poverty, “The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2) and “In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:14)

            Just as the rich, if the poor are to praise God, then poverty is a tenable status in Christendom, “Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name” (Psalm 74:21).

            The following verses establish that God’s people could be poor.

            Exodus 22:25: “If you lend money to My peopleto the poor among you…”

            Exodus 30:15: “The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel…”

            Leviticus 14:21: “But if he is poor and his means are insufficient, then he is to take…”

            Prosperity preachers who cite Deuteronomy 15: 4-6 should read the 7th and the 11th verse as well. Deuteronomy 15:4, “However, there will be no poor among you…” is not a categorical imperative about the poor being an abomination, for a couple of verses later the poor are mentioned as being in the family of God’s people, If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns…” (Deuteronomy 15:7).

            Subsequently an imperative appears in Deuteronomy 15:11, “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land…’(Emphasis mine). The importance here is on your brother, your needy and the poor in your land, signifying that the poor belong to the family of God’s people.

            Primarily, the Bible establishes the fact that there could be poor among God’s people. Then the Bible states that poor will always exist. These verses do not state the reasons behind the poverty of God’s people, but they merely state that they are poor and should be supported.

            If the Bible refrains from emphasizing causes to the poverty of God’s people, then so be it. Instead of examining and emphasizing the cause of a believer’s poverty, these nonsense-wielding prosperity preachers should alleviate the poverty of their brothers and sisters. 

            We are not done yet. Please observe more verses that establish the presence of the poor among God’s people.

            Leviticus 25:25, If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property…”

            Leviticus 25:35, “Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him…”

            Leviticus 25:39, “If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you...”

            The Lord Jesus exalted the giving of the poor widow instead of alleviating her poverty or blaming her for her poverty (Mark 12: 41-44; Luke 21: 1-4). In fact, Christ’s ministry was not about eradicating poverty or prospering people.

            The Apostle Paul boasted about his weakness than his success (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10). He relates abundance and poverty giving neither the dominance over the other, but emphasizing upon the fact that we should be satisfied during poverty and abundance (Philippians 4: 12-13).

            The verses cited above merely mention the poverty of believers, and instruct the fellow believers to sustain and support the poor than blame them for being poor. There are more such verses, but the point is made.

            The Bible establishes that poverty is a tenable presence in Christendom.

Poverty Sans The Sin Of The Poor

            Sin could play a specific role in poverty e.g. a person may gamble his possessions to become poor. But specificity of sin as a cause for poverty is in some instances only. Most surely, sin cannot be universalized as a cause for poverty.

            Think this through please. If a person is born to a poor family, then the person cannot be blamed for poverty.  People cannot be blamed for poverty when their entire possessions are destroyed due to natural calamities such as earthquake or hurricane. Similarly, a person may invest his life’s savings into a business and may end up in bankruptcy.

            In these instances and more, the poor cannot be blamed as being sinful for their poverty.

            The Bible, in other instances, refrains from blaming the poor but recognizes their presence and supports them. Here are those citations from the Bible:

            The Bible commends the giving of poor people (Luke 21:4; 2 Corinthians 8:2).

            The Bible warns against pursuing wealth (Matthew 6: 19, 24; 1 Timothy 3:3, 6: 10; Hebrews 13: 5)

            God will sustain the poor man (Psalm 12:5, 34:6, 72:13, and 140:12)

            Bible defends the poor (Proverbs 19: 1, 31: 9)

            Finally, how can the prosperity preacher judge with all certainty that the poor refuse to believe in God’s words that HE would prosper them? Only God knows perfectly well as to what a man believes or not.

            Moreover, God is a God of believer and unbeliever. When God blesses those who do not believe in HIM, how can the prosperity preacher proclaim that God will not bless the Christians who apparently do not believe in God’s promise for prosperity? Thus the prosperity preacher exposes his lack of understanding of God and HIS Word.

            May these words of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ conclude my tirade against the prosperity preachers, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15; NIV). Amen.


All Scripture verses are from NASB, unless mentioned. The scripture verses have been emphasized by me through italics and underline.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

So What If There’s Gay Gene? So What If You Are Born Gay?

            Why is the pro-gay lobby eagerly waiting for the discovery of a gay gene? Is it to possess a so-called legitimate excuse to practice homosexuality? If a gay gene is discovered, would it offer true legitimacy to practice homosexuality?

            First things first, homosexuality is a deviant or an abnormal behavior whether it’s viewed from a natural or from a Historic Christian perspective. Nature deems that the final cause of sexual intercourse is to procreate. This sexual intercourse ought to happen between a man and a woman. That homosexual couples cannot bear children naturally is basic knowledge. 

            Reproduction or procreation is inherent and mandatory to sexual activity, argues the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Freud wrote that “It is a characteristic common to all the perversions that in them reproduction as an aim is put aside. This is actually the criterion by which we judge whether a sexual activity is perverse – if it departs from reproduction in its aims and pursues the attainment of gratification independently.” 1 It is quite interesting to note that these words came from a man who was quite liberal on homosexuality, but who through his views on perversion deems homosexuality as a sexually perverse act.

            The Bible explicitly forbids and condemns homosexual behavior (Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10; Jude 1:7). However, it’s important to draw a distinction between homosexual orientation and behavior.

            The Bible does not condemn those possessing homosexual orientation and not expressing their orientation in actions. Therefore it’s not important whether a man or a woman has homosexual orientation, but what’s of ultimate importance is whether people express their homosexual orientation as homosexual actions.

            This entails that it’s not important how one gets their orientation, but what one does with their orientation.

            Many gay men and women truly believe that they were born gay and hence they argue, “If I were born this way, how can I not be attracted to those from the same sex? And if am born this way, how can I change?”

            On the face of it, the arguments of the gay people seem legitimate. But the question we need to ask is whether these arguments are seemingly legitimate or truly legitimate. 

            In line with procreation, which is only possible when opposite genders unite sexually (man and woman); we could reason out that homosexuals should act primarily according to their gender than their desires. In other words, why do homosexuals follow their desires more than they follow their gender?

            Although a person could be born with certain desires, he / she can necessarily control those desires. By soliciting the most appropriate supportive measure, a person can control and suppress any desire, including their sexual behaviors. If homosexuals argue that sexual behaviors are uncontrollable, then by the same logic, they could be taken to endorse crimes of all sorts (murder, rape etc.). Because no sane person tolerates crimes, this contention could be deemed nonsense.

            The existence of genetic basis for traits does not by itself prove anything about whether the trait is natural in its relevant sense. For instance, clubfeet is a defect. So proving genetic basis for clubfeet does not necessarily prove that clubfeet is ‘natural.’

            Therefore, establishing a genetic trait for homosexuality does not necessarily prove that homosexuality is ‘natural.’ (Moreover, none with normal feet would want clubfeet through surgery. It’s always the other way around. Man always strives for normalcy and not abnormalcy.)

            Let’s observe from another vantage point that genetic traits do not necessarily prove a behavior to be natural. Suppose science offers genetic predisposition to anger, would that justify thrashing gays and those who support them? In other words, if a homosexual seeks to legitimize his behavior by reasoning that he/she is born gay, then can his antagonist seek to legitimize bashing of homosexuals by arguing that he/she is born mean and angry? Therefore, genetic predisposition does not determine a behavior as ‘natural.’

            Here’s another intriguing instance. Are you aware that pedophiles (an adult who is sexually attracted to young children) argue that their damaging trait is inborn? Retired FBI agent Bob Hamer and author of “The Last Undercover” recounts his experiences, “It actually brought back memories of the NAMBLA conferences I attended. I listened to men justify oral sex on 18 month olds. How often I listened to men claim their pedophilia was an inborn trait; it was natural, ‘this is the way God made me’”2 (NAMBLA is an acronym for ‘North American Man Boy Love Association’).

            Whatever said and done, pedophilia cannot be a ‘natural’ practice even if it is proven to have genetic basis. It is unnatural for an adult to have sexual relations with a child. Similarly, it is unnatural for homosexuals to have sexual relations; hence homosexuality cannot be a ‘natural’ practice even if it’s proven to have a genetic basis.

            On the other hand, if homosexuals demand freedom to pursue their illicit sexual relations, then would they endorse pedophiles to sexually molest a child? (Well with the kind of depravity that exists, I would not be surprised to hear them argue to justify the actions of a pedophile. Such is the deplorable depravity we encounter in today’s world.)

            The cause for the deplorable moral depravity we find in today’s world is a logical extension of the Humean moral philosophy that “reason is a slave to passions.” 3  If reason is a slave to passion, then one should endorse all possible depravities, including homosexuality and pedophilia.

            Where is the scientific world on the discovery of the gay gene? The largest scientific organization in America, the 'American Psychological Association,' a pro-gay organization, believes that “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles…” 4  Although we do not conclude that the search for gay gene has ended, we contend that ‘gay gene’ is irrelevant.  

            Why then is the homosexual community harping on genetics? As Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis, American Family Association, articulates commendably, “If homosexuality is not in fact genetically caused, they have nothing….Without a genetic causation, sexual preference in behavior is clearly a choice, a choice which no one is compelled to make. And that choice can be evaluated in any number of ways, including whether or not it is good for human health and whether or not same-sex households are sub-optimal nurturing environments for vulnerable young children.” 5    

            To conclude, gay gene is not a matter of concern at all. Even if it were to be discovered in the near future, it would not affect our thoughts and conviction.

            Gay gene or not, homosexuality is an inappropriate and a deviant sexual behavior, and hence should not be practiced. But we should love homosexuals, albeit reminding them lovingly that homosexuality is unnatural and sinful, which should be overcome by the grace and power of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and by seeking the right support and remedial measure. Amen.   


1 Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis, p277.





Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Pastor Osteen Why? (Response to Pastors Victoria & Joel Osteen’s Sermon Viral)

            Forbes cites Lakewood church as the largest church in America.1 Pastor Joel Osteen with his wife and co-pastor Victoria Osteen lead Lakewood church.

            A recent video posted on YouTube shows Pastor Victoria Osteen’s remarks, which have gone viral on social media attracting scathing criticisms as well as sympathetic defense. She said, “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy… So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy,” she continued. “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen” (Emphasis Mine).

            I disagree with Pastor Victoria’s theology. Let me merely introduce Pastor Victoria’s error.

            The crux of her message was “self over God” (narcissism), which is an outright idiocy. Man worships God for the Almighty God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth.

            Holiness is the key theme in the book of Leviticus. We are not called to be holy for our sake, but we are called to be holy for God, whom we worship, is holy (Leviticus 11: 44 et al.). Therefore, when we worship God, we are not doing it for ourselves, but we are solely doing it for God. This thought pervades the Bible.

            Our joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We bear the fruit of joy if and only if we remain in Christ. Apart from Christ we can do nothing.  Therefore if we are joyous, God would be pleased with us, not for being joyous, but for being in HIM and HIM alone.

            Think about this as well; are we in the business of keeping God happy?  Alternatively, would our failures cause sadness in God? If this be true, and if the whole world, Christians included, are sinners, we are looking at the possibility of a very sad God. This God cannot be happy at all.

            On the contrary, if God is ‘perfect’ (of course God, as a maximally great being, has to be and is perfect), then HIS perfect being entails HIS happiness. Therefore, as the much acclaimed Aristotelian philosopher Thomas Aquinas said, “God is happiness itself.”2

            I hope this introduces the error. 

            As pastors of a church boasting attendance of 45000, Pastor Joel and Victoria Osteen would be much scrutinized. They would be much sought after and scorned by quite a few. This is the dilemma and the inevitability of success. Yet their immense popularity and mass acceptance would drown these negativities, even if these negativities are justified.

            Let’s look outside the persona and into the nature of the teaching. Why do preachers preach errors at the local church?

            Erroneous teaching would continue in the local church for the very simple fact that Christian or shall we say some of the so-called Christian seminaries teach these errors to their so-called gullible students. Thus, pastors graduating from these seminaries would preach errors to drag their congregation into deplorable theological pits and existential pitfalls.  

            This is the sad reality in the church today. When errors are preached by the pastors, the congregation simply believes the error as if the preacher’s words are infallible and inerrant. But in fact, it is the Bible that is infallible and inerrant because it is inspired by God.

            Since the average Christian is too busy to study and understand the Bible, and even discuss in Bible study groups, they render themselves vulnerable to the evil schemes of satan, which also could be in the form of church leadership (Cf. 2 Corinthians 11: 14).  When the average Christian refuses to study and understand the Bible, he/she loses the ability to discern the right from the wrong.

            When the average Christian loses the ability to discern the right from the wrong, he/she mindlessly applauds the heresies proclaimed by the preachers. These preachers are motivated by the applause, and they continue in their people-pleasing endeavor. The vicious cycle continues.

            So, it is not right to only blame the preachers for preaching errors. Please blame those in the congregation who hear and applaud these errors rather mindlessly. As some say, biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high.

            Here is a disclaimer. Not all churches and not all preachers preach errors. There are preachers and churches that remain faithful to God and HIS Word. Similarly, not all Christians remain without a great desire to study the Word of God. There are quite a few and I am blessed to know a few who have a deep desire to know more of God and HIS Word.

            So what do we do when we encounter errors? C.S Lewis once said, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” We ought to pray that God opens a door or even a window of opportunity where we can engage the error so to present the truth with a view to liberate the many who may have believed in the error.

            So those who are empowered to counter the errors should not remain silent, instead voice out the truth so that the truth will set them free. Having said this, the truth does not set everyone free, for many will reject the truth. But rejection of truth need not dampen the voice of truth. Truth should be proclaimed always, especially by those empowered to negate errors.  

            So let’s understand the Bible (2 Timothy 3: 16-17) through the anointing of the Holy Spirit and continue to destroy “ …speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10: 5a, NASB), and may we do so in the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.



2 St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (A Concise Translation), p61.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Love Jihad And The Perils Of Interfaith Marriage

           ‘Love Jihad’ is one of the contemporary trending topics in certain sections of Indian media. Love jihad is an interfaith marriage arguably with a deeper intent and consequent ramifications.

            Wikipedia defines Love Jihad as, “…also called Romeo Jihad, is an alleged activity under which young Muslim boys and men reportedly target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love. The term has been used to describe the activity in India, while similar activities have been reported in places like the United Kingdom.”1

            Love jihad in its context of use by the India media seems to incriminate Muslim boys. But aren’t there are two players in this game – a Muslim boy and a non-Muslim girl? If it takes two to tango, then incriminating the Muslim boy, and absolving the non-Muslim girl seems unjustified and irresponsible.

            The non-Muslim girl is an active party to this wedlock, so she should be held equally responsible. If force remains unemployed in this so-called coercing relationship, the non-Muslim girl becomes a willful participant to this interfaith marriage. If she is a willful participant, then she is equally responsible, if not more, for the act of marriage. 

            It’s plausible that a girl be attracted to a charitable, loving, kind, handsome, well educated or an affluent boy and be married to him. The boy could be attracted to a girl for the same reasons. So attraction is aided by a particular trait or a combination of traits inherent in the individuals.

            As much as religion is an identity, it’s also a personal trait, for religion is a serious lifestyle of an individual. But it is implausible that a girl marry a boy merely for the sake of his religion and not for any of his other personal traits.

            Religion could be a secondary or tertiary appealing trait that attracts a girl to a boy or vice versa, certainly not the primary. The primary trait that attracts a girl to a boy, I maintain, cannot be religion, but one or more traits such as good looks, affluence, benevolence, education, vocation etc.

            Elaborating briefly, in quite a few occasions, a boy and girl would silently observe each other or at least one would silently observe the other before making the first move to initiate a verbal conversation. I contend that, during this phase of silent observation, the girl gets attracted to the boy, not for the sake of his religiosity, but for the sake of his personal charms.

            In the first few silent interactions (or observations) between a boy and a girl, the individual’s personal charms achieves the task of attracting the opposite sex.  This is the preliminary attraction. Since words are not spoken during this phase, the religious identity need not be established for the attraction to mature.

            If we concede that the boy may have malicious intent in coercing the girl towards marriage for religious purposes, then we contend that the girl succumbs to the boy’s play not for the sake of his religion, but for one or the other personal trait that she finds attractive in him.

            If the girl discards her faith to marry the boy and his faith, then this is purely the decision of the girl, barring any act of explicit coercion (e.g. threat). After all, in the absence of any direct and explicit coercion for the sake of religion, the girl merely bites the attractive ‘carrot’ the boy dangles. While the boy merely dangles the carrot, it is the girl who bites the carrot. Hence the girl, through her act of accepting the boy and his faith, becomes an active and a responsible partner in the act of marriage. 

            If love jihad were to be factual, the non-Muslim girl becomes an active and an equal partner if the relationship were to culminate in a marriage. Therefore, it is unfair to entirely blame the Muslim boy and absolve the non-Muslim girl of any responsibility, or shall we say irresponsibility.

            Steering away from love jihad, let’s for a moment discuss the deep concerns that could plague an interfaith marriage. Yes, I presuppose that an interfaith marriage is a recipe for disaster.

            However, we should concede that if the husband and wife in the interfaith marriage are not passionate (the word ‘passionate’ is employed in a very deep sense here) about their respective religion, then the interfaith marriage would remain healthy from a worldly perspective. Such a marriage is a purely a marriage of convenience.

            On the other hand, if one partner of the marriage covenant is passionate about his/her religion, then he/she will encounter stumbling blocks that could potentially ruin their marriage.

            First, religious tolerance within the marriage is a fallacy, for it states that ‘you-practice-your-religion-and-I-will-practice-mine.’ The essence of religious tolerance is ‘you-do-what-you-like-and-I-will-do-what-I-like.’

            Imagine a wife as a stickler for ethics and the husband expressing his desire to rob a bank. Wouldn’t the wife, if she is a true stickler for ethics, prevent her husband from robbing the bank? But if the wife tolerates or does not oppose or prevent her husband’s desire to rob the bank, would we not say that the wife’s passion for ethics is a convenient lie? 

            Second, to affirm religious passion and at the same time training their children in both religions is fallacious as well. To allow their children to dabble with both religions in order to choose one is akin to endorsing the child to indulge in both religions.

            Endorsing the child to practice both religions, as if both were fundamentally same, either reveals the poverty of religious knowledge in the parent or is a serious blot on the factor of religious passion. No sane parent would endorse their child to both study and simultaneously indulge in lazing or gaming or being a cybernaut. These are highly destructive and distractive activities preventing the child from studying.  

            Therefore, not being passionate about their religion is to remain religiously unobtrusive (pun intended) in the marriage partnership. To be passionate about their religion and at the same time being religiously unobtrusive is to betray the true meaning behind the religious passion.

            So far, I have presented two reasons from the perspective of ‘religious tolerance’ and ‘parenting’ to assert that an interfaith marriage is a recipe for disaster for those who are passionate about their religion.  

            The third reason is based on the ‘exclusivity of religions.’ As the term suggests, all religions are highly exclusive and contradictory to each other.

            Allow me to explain through examples. What would be the state of a marriage between a conservative girl (being holy and prude) and a hedonistic (pleasure seeking) boy? It does not take an astrophysicist to answer that this marriage would be disastrous, unless one party gives in to the other’s ideologies, although they are mutually exclusive, totally unacceptable and thoroughly unfathomable.

            Holiness and hedonism cannot coexist. A conservative girl is by definition not pleasure seeking and a hedonist is never holy. Such opposites could never coexist. Similarly every religion opposes the other in every essential doctrine, so two different religions cannot coexist in a marriage covenant.

            An interfaith marriage would suffer irrevocably even in the most common aspect of dispensing with the household’s finances. Just as how a passionate supporter of a particular political party would never financially support the opposing political party, a passionate religionist would rather give his money to a project of his own religion than to an endeavor of another religion. (This does not imply that a Muslim / Hindu / Christian would not be charitable to a desperately needy person from another religion.)

            Therefore when all religions are mutually exclusive, partnership between two individuals passionate about their respective religions, would not be successful, unless one subscribes to the other or dilutes his/her own stand.  

            Does the Bible endorse interfaith marriages?

            The Bible does not teach anywhere that a Christian can marry a non-Christian and live happily to glorify God.

            The responsibility of every Christian is to glorify the only true and the living God of the Bible (1 Chronicles 16:25-29; 1 Corinthians 10: 31, Colossians 3: 17 et al.). Therefore, living with a spouse who practices another religion is synonymous to agreeing with the truthfulness of that religion or denying the truthfulness of Christianity, which consequently does not glorify the God of the Bible.

            The bible does not encourage or endorse a Christian towards interfaith marriage (Cf. 2 Corinthians 6: 14-17; 1 Corinthians 15: 33). The 1 Corinthians 7: 12-14 passage is at times referred to endorse an interfaith marriage. But this passage refers to a non-Christian who converts to Christianity while being married to an unbelieving spouse. This passage does not refer to a Christian marrying an unbeliever. 1 Peter 3:1 is another similar passage that suggests a marriage between a Christian wife and a non-Christian husband, where the conversion of the wife into Christianity happened during the marriage.

            But don’t these passages suggest a happy marriage between a Christian married to an unbeliever?

            While these passages do not refer to a happy married life, they merely suggest that the commitment to the institution of marriage be honored. However, if the unbeliever desires to exit from the marriage covenant, the Bible teaches that the Christian spouse should not prevent the unbeliever’s exit (1 Corinthians 7: 15). 

            Therefore, my conclusion is two-fold:

            (1) I personally do not subscribe to jihad of any form or size. However, within the context of love jihad, the non-Muslim girl exercises her freewill to marry and convert to Islam. Hence, the non-Muslim girl is equally responsible, and it is unjust to ascribe blame purely on the Muslim boy.

            (2) Interfaith marriage is a recipe for disaster provided one or both spouses are passionate about their religion.

            May God bless us all. Amen.