Should Christians Date Non-Christians?

This is one of those lingering questions that always comes up from time to time. Essentially, the question inquires about the importance of faith when it comes to choosing who to date. More specifically, it asks about the importance of another person’s belief in Christ.

Typically, people who ask this question are Christians who want to double-check their decisions. They usually aren’t sure of what the Bible says about dating or aren’t aware of what Christianity says about other religions. Regardless of how you got here, we’re glad you’ve invested some trust in us for advising you on this question.

We’ll start by giving you a quick answer first. Afterward, we’ll discuss how to best apply the answer and what brought us to that conclusion.

couple sitting in the dirt near water

A Quick Answer

Generally speaking, Christians know their faith is important. They understand that the guidelines of the Bible help them answer questions like this, but when heartstrings are involved, simple answers aren’t so easy to accept. Sometimes, it can be a real internal struggle to set aside our desires for the sake of obedience to Christ’s commands.

However, when our desires conflict with the instructions of the Bible, we have the opportunity to worship with our actions. The Apostle Paul knew these moments would happen and calls them part of our service to God (Rom. 12:1-2). We are called to sacrifice our actions to the will of God for His glory.

The Apostle Paul is also the person who gives us a quick answer to the question. In 1Corinthians 7:39, he informs the new church community in Corinth about how to pursue the potential of marriage. This verse makes it clear that Christians are to be married to other Christians only.

So the quick answer is “no.” Christians should not marry or date non-Christians. We cover the biblical rationale a bit more thoroughly in the sections that follow, but first, we want to talk about one way to skip the almost impossible task of discerning a person’s faith (or lack thereof) before going on a date with them.

Online Dating Sites

Online dating sites are the primary way to find dates fast, and they’re an easy way to answer this question without ever needing to have a conversation about religion. Almost all online dating sites have a spot to list your religious affiliation on your profile. That means you can determine if they’re Christian from a glance.

Rationale & Biblical Basis

Okay, time for some brass tacks about the biblical basis for our answer. If you’ve decided to read this far, there’s a chance you’re not completely sold on the idea of only dating other Christians and even think we might be wrong. Well, we want you to be as certain as we are about this subject. 

Maybe you think all religions are just different pathways to the same God. Maybe you don’t think this is a big issue and doesn’t need to be a dealbreaker for romance. Then again, maybe your mind is just struggling to accept what your gut already knows to be probably true.

Well, below is the remedy to all those maybes. The following sections will track our train of thought about dating, explore a biblical example of marriage to people of other religions, and consider the will of God about this subject.

The Purpose of Dating

It’s important to remember the design of dating for Christians. Dating serves a very specific purpose with a goal in mind. The biblical objective of dating is to find a suitable spouse for marriage. 

The Bible has plenty to say about marriages, including which types are allowed by God. As we mentioned in our “quick answer” section above, one prerequisite for marriage is faith in Christ (1Cor. 7:39). Both people must be Christians, or there is a chance of being pulled away from the faith by them. 

Eroding Faithfulness

You might believe your faith is unshakable. King Solomon probably thought the same thing, especially after God Himself appeared to him twice, but it still didn’t stop his heart from turning to other gods because of his marriage to nonbelievers (1Kin. 11:9). 

Solomon was the wisest king in biblical history, but his wisdom was thwarted by the deceitful nature of our human hearts (Jer 17:9). He likely convinced himself that he still loved God, but God Himself was not pleased and brought consequences upon all Israel for his actions. Solomon’s marital circumstances were all kinds of messed up, but it was his marriage to nonbelieving wives that decisively caused his spiritual downfall.

The warning of Solomon’s story is clear. Something that feels impossible is often made quite possible with incremental compromises that occur over time. We exhort you to keep yourself from compromised convictions by obeying the Word of God.

Obedience to Christ and His Authority

It’s important to remember that Jesus described how to get to heaven very clearly and with His own words (John 14:6). Therefore, by choosing to marry someone from another religion, you are signaling one of two possibilities with your actions. You’re either denying the truth of Christ’s claim or making yourself out to be evil by not caring about your spouse’s salvation. 

Neither of these is a good look for you. It demonstrates a desire to be contrary to the commands of Christ and the will of God. If you’re feeling a bit judged right now, good; better now than later by God. In fact, this might be a divine moment orchestrated by Him to induce repentance.

We hope that’s not the case though. We pray that you’ve come to understand the importance of this issue and are choosing to submit your life to the authority of Christ. After all, it’s usually those most willing to obey that go searching for answers to questions like this.