It’s a question that is regularly asked, but not always accurately answered. It confuses, perplexes, and even angers both Christians and non-Christians alike. It sounds elitist, holier-than-thou, and downright condescending.

But trust me, it’s not meant to be.

I’m 28 this year, I’m single, and one of the most common things I hear from my friends goes something along the lines of: “Why you so picky? Really must be Christian meh? If your standard not so high I would intro you to my friend(s) already lah.” And while I wholly believe in their well-meant intentions, I think its about time someone explained the reason behind this “pickiness”, lest it be classified as another irrational, snobbish Christian standard to live by.

A long time ago, I went out with someone who, besides not being a Christian, I guess was more or less perfect for me. Perfect in the sense that he was almost exactly like me, we liked the same things, had the same tastes, he knew what kind of stuff I would like, we supported the same football team.. like I said, perfect. All except for the fact that he wasn’t a Christian. It didn’t matter to me at first, but I think all along at the back of my mind, I knew it would be an issue someday. And sure enough, after awhile, I decided I couldn’t go on with it anymore, because it was “wrong”. And so I broke up with the perfect guy all because he wasn’t a Christian. Everyone (including myself, sometimes) thought I was nuts and couldn’t for the life of them understand it. I’m not sure he did either, and for that I am the most sorry. But decisions like this do baffle, and so they should and must be clearly explained.

While I do want non-Christians to understand this, I am much more concerned that Christians do. Because from the relationships and attitudes I am seeing around me (and sometimes even in myself), we sometimes forget the why and get confused trying to do the what.

I think the biggest example of this, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it here, is Christians who extend “dating a Christian” to “dating someone whom I will bring to church”, “dating someone who is open to Christianity”, or “dating someone who calls himself a Christian but hasn’t really been to church in a few years”. I could go on, but you see my point. To do something like that is to miss the point of wanting to date a Christian in the first place. It’s taking God’s wisdom and stretching it so we find a loophole we can slip through.

So yes, back to the reasons why Christians shouldn’t date non-Christians. There are probably more, but here are four simple but truthful ones.

1. You believe in completely, absolutely different things

Any committed Christian (and, really, is it worth being any other kind?) will know that Christianity is not just a nice little side project that surfaces on Sundays and on Christmas – it involves and demands a total change in worldview, nature, lifestyle, decisions and priorities. It’s not just an “agree to disagree” kind of difference – like whether Manchester United or Liverpool is better (is there really an argument anyway?), its played out in how you spend your time, money, what you teach your future children, how you deal with hardship… I could go on. Some of these you may or may not have to deal with before marriage, but they will certainly apply after.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Eventually, marrying a non-Christian means a lifetime of split loyalties, and a severe endangerment of your relationship with God. One way or another, one relationship (or even both) will have to be compromised. Here’s an article which describes very clearly the hardships and dangers of marrying a non-Christian.

2. It is never “just dating”

I should also clarify at this point that by “dating” I do not mean a casual, just-for-fun romance with no likely future – I mean a relationship entered into with the intention to find out if you are suitable for marriage. What?! You say. I ain’t ready for that! Well then, perhaps you are not ready for dating. Casual dating is usually self-centered and self-serving: it’s fun, it makes me happy, who cares what happens in the future? If we know for sure we will never marry said person, then being in a relationship with them is unfair to them as well. As Christians, the most important question we should ask is “Does this make me more like Jesus?” – and casual dating, especially with non-Christians, almost certainly does not.

3. Something else just became more important than God

Click on the link below to read more.

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