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There's a very famous radio personality in the US named Laura Schlessinger, or "Dr. Laura" Who has a daily radio show. She's a licensed psychologist, among other things, and has a long history of providing marriage counseling. Based on her own experience, she believes that people from different religions should not marry. She says that, while you're in love, and after you're married, the religion thing is a lot less important than the relationship, that is, until the couple have their first child. Suddenly they both get more religious, and the conflicts begin, not to mention the families wanting to intervene in the child's religious upbringing. The issue typically ends with a compromise, in that, the child can decide for himself or herself, with neither the father or mother being particularly happy about the whole thing, which fuels more conflict. In Schlessinger's opinion, what the compromise really becomes is the child having no religious upbringing at all. Incidentally, Schlessinger is a religious person, having converted to Judaism some years ago. Her husband is also Jewish. Is she right?

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Ben a very interesting topic to which i have no exerience because i dont have children but i can see that there could be serious problems, My husband is obviously muslim and follows his faith, i was born a christian however have never been brought up in a religous home and have never followed my faith.

Should i ever have children this is something that we would have to discuss but all schools now have religious education in several different faiths where as when i was at school we were only taught RE in one religion and so i am hoping that if i had a child the education they receive at school would give them an insight of several faiths and that would aid them in to deciding which faith if any he / she would want to follow.

My husband i would imagine would want his child to be muslim however he is a very fair and understanding person and i truely believe he wouldn t force them if they didnt want this , hopefully we would be able to discuss this fully without getting into a blazing row but because i am not religious in any shape or form i would not discourage Ahmet in teaching our children (theoretically because i dont have any children ) islam and when they are old enough i would ensure that this is what they want , if not then i truely think he wouldnt enforce it and demand they studied and practiced islam. because i dont follow any faith i wouldnt let that influence my children and i would encourage them even study with them if thats what they want,

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There are a great many mixed-faith marriages, with children. Some work out, some don't. All depends on how the couple choose to work it out between them, and how much influence the grandparents hold. Whatever they do, in the end the child WILL make his/her own decision when they come of age.

But it's not that simple ! So many factors are at force, including the child's own personality, that you can't predict how things will turn out (even a psychologist cannot). In my book, all roads lead to Rome ! And I remember what Shakespeare once said - nothing in this world is right or wrong, except THINKING makes it so ! And just think of the many wars fought and lives lost, all because of differences of thinking in the matter of religion !

Sometimes parents and grandparents may lose sight of the real goal - to bring up a happy child - in the struggle to propagate their own beliefs (rightly or wrongly). It's part of passing on to their children a part of themselves, and even moulding them after themselves.

And so, Ben, I can't tell if Dr Laura is right. And Jackie, if you do have children, I believe they'll be happy because you've said you would encourage them in what they wanted.

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I thought that would be a good topic to "christen" the forum! :lol: Rozzici suggested it, and I had thought of it some time ago, but thought it might be too hot of a topic. But it's so important for any foreigner living in Turkey, and in relationships with Turks. I had a girlfriend who I was seriously considering marrying. She is a Muslim, and told me that she always would be. I certainly accepted that, since each of us makes our own decisions and conclusions about things, based on what we know and experience, so nobody is in a position to judge anyone else. We agreed that if we did have children some day, that we would both be free to practice our religions, and teach both of them to any child we had, letting them decide, but not leaving them in a vacuum, either. At least I still see her every day, if only in the Turkey Central banner! http://www.turkeycentral.com/public/style_emoticons//laugh.gif :lol: :lol: And you're absolutely right, Meral, the welfare and happiness of the child is paramount, and I can see how that goal could be lost in some situations.

Previously, I had another girlfriend, with whom I talked concerning the same topic. She told me that she would do everything in her power to prevent me from teaching anything about Christianity to any child we may have had. Islam to her was very important, even though you would never know she was a Muslim by her outward appearance and actions. It was only when I brought the topic up that I could see that she was extremely dogmatic about Islam, it was like setting off dynamite. It was a real surprise for me, I never even suspected this of her even though I had known her for four years!

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A very difficult issue. Although I am not a religious person I agree that children of mixed marriages should have the oportunity of learning about both faiths even if, like you Jackie, they have no strong feelings, because if a child has no religious education it leaves them in limbo. How can someone decide when they have no information about a subject or worse, a very one-sided view?

I remember the saying of a Catholic priest "Give me a child until he's seven and I'll show you a Catholic for life" suggesting that whatever we learn when we are very young stays with us forever, so leaving religion for the child itself to decide seems not to be a good idea.

Whatever is taught, in all things, moderation and tollerence should be taught. Who is to say which is the 'right' religion? It would be very pesumptuous to say that yours is the only true religion out of the hundreds that are practised on this earth.

Surely the best is to lead a good life, doing no ill to others and helping those you can? It doesn't need mosques, churches, temples and synagogues, fancy clothes or habits does it?

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You are probably right Tommy but many people need someone/something to lean on or blame so something else would have evolved probably causing as many problems.

It's not so much the religions as fanatics that are to blame. It doesn't matter what the cause, fanatics can make it dangerous if you don't agree with them.

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Sunny.....you are right. I personally believe in the soul and it's journey when i leave this planet therefore God has given me guidlines to follow. Most all religions teach peace,love and compassion. However it is human beings that through power and greed cause the most destruction on this planet.

jackieeuk.I would suggest that you discuss this sooner rather than after having children. Do you know anything about Islam? Would you want that for your children?

I was a catholic until i was 16 then decided that i could no longer accept the faith. When i met my husband he never forced me to change my religion but insisted that any children would follow Islam. Although i was no longer a catholic and did not believe that Jesus was God or the son of God, [i believed that God was one and did not need to come in different forms] i still believed in all the prophets and that will never change. I learnt about Islam from his educated perspective and his nature,way of life and the life of the prophet Mohammed. You will be surprised how close Christianity and Islam are. I think.like me you are the sort of person that can make it work but have no doubt that any children will have a strong leaning towards Islam. When they are older and wiser thats when they can make their own decision....just like mine did. I have 2 strong well adjusted daughters of whom both hubby and i can be proud of.

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Everyone has a very valid point of view !

Ben, it's just as well you chose to discuss these topics with former girlfriends, their views will often help influence a decision on whether to marry or not, before disaster happens.

Sunny, you are right, an individual's feelings of right or wrong are a sort of "natural instinctive" religion without needing to put a name to it, and if you do happen to believe in a higher power, it matters not what you call it !

Jackie, I agree with Rozzici, and it looks like you've already discussed this topic with your husband, and you are fortunate he doesn't hold extreme or dogmatic views.

Rozzici, the similarities between Chritianity and Islam are not surprising, as Islam also accepts the holy books Torah and Bible, and all the prophets of the Jews and the Christians as earlier prophets of Islam. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet of Islam (but not the son of God), and that Mohammed was the last prophet. I'm wondering what made you turn away from being a Catholic at 16 ? Could it be that you had never known anything else and needed to learn and make your own conclusions ?

As I said, all roads lead to Rome !

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Hi Meral. Yes..i have been a Muslim for 30 years now :lol:

I'm wondering what made you turn away from being a Catholic at 16 ? Could it be that you had never known anything else and needed to learn and make your own conclusions ?

You are probably 90% right there and between the years of me converting i learnt about many religions. I was the only one in my family from a very early age who was a practising Catholic.my parents were quite surprised...lol . and as you say

Many roads lead to Rome

and i chose the road i thought was best for me ;)
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[Hi All,what i brought up in conversation was that if i manage to have a child bearing in mind im well into my 40's now im 43 now and it would be probalby 46 before anthing like that happens and in my opinion way too old to start a family Ahmet states that i am the most important part of his life and if getting prenant causes any detriments to my health then the questions about having a family will stop there. BUT we discussed about how ( if i did have one) the childs upbringing will he wish it have a religious one from him and he said absolutely not because we are not on the same level when it comes to our faith and he will not be the one who enforces a child to enter and faith , I dont practice and when our child was old enough to ask qestions about what daddy is saying and what daddy is reading etc etc and why i do not do these things then we will sit our child down when they are old enough to run through the brief outlines .

Ahmet is a muslim but he isnt like his mother who reads the koran everyday and doe sher receitings, once in the uk he wont have time to visit a mosque and pray too much and so wont be thrown in our faces all the time.

I was totally surprised about his recation when i mentioned what about children, he says we will all be in Englind not in a muslim country and so he will be conforable not enforcing his religion on to English bred children but if they are curious he wil discuss it but he has studied chrisitan religion and is well geard up to discuss both, when at secondary school their RE will teach even more for them to think about, i have to take the back seat because but i will do my best to get involve in order to offer support by perhaps going through the lssons they have been taught maybe at the end of the day if i do become a mum they can tell me but hand on heart i dont follow faiths but i also have to admit having many conversations with Ahmet over questions about the Koran and christianity he have learnt a lot ore than i did 2 years ago 1have no knowledge other that what Ahmet as taught me when ive asked quesstions about islam, he has told me what how islam has made him the man he is toady, kind, thoughtful of others, help those not as fortunate as him or his family but his honesty came through in the conversation and so i believe that there wont be a problem, he will tell them about god and islam and he will also talk about christianity as i now nothing but i would be very interested in sitting on this discussions because so far whe we talk on the phone i find his coverations facinating , still dont blieve in god but indeed they are facinating conversationsHe hasnt changed since having been married he is still the same man, not making demands on me as he apprecites our culteral backgrounds and we both have gone from strehgth to strength and the more we discuss islam the more i understand him but i still think the koran is like the bible a story book lolI cant inturpret The bible and have no chance of understanding the koran, it too goes straight over my head simply because some of the words used in the translatin insnt in th english dictionary and so he is able to make things clearer for me.so the bottom line is if we have children he will not bring his faith in to the childs world until the curiouosity takes over and they start asking questions . hope ive written it clear enough to make myself clear.when they ask questions we will both sit down and discuess what its all about and when they are at an age to understand what religion is all about we will be both there to support that path they wish to take in life, if that ever arise.

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  • 1 year later...

When we got married my husband insisted that any children we had would be brought up muslim. Although I was brought up a presbyterian and sent to Sunday School every week until the age of 11, I never went to church or followed my religion after that age, so I didn't mind that my husband wanted this. Until our sons were 5 & 8 they lived in Belfast and the only thing they did different to other kids was they didn't eat pork. At school they got chicken nuggests when the other kids got sausages but they still learned the same things in RE class. Now that we've been in Turkey for the past 6 years they're more aware of what religion they are. If they decide to change their religion or, like me, be Agnostic then that's entirely up to them. My husband has just finished his month of Ramadan which he does every year but he rarely goes to the mosque for the other 11 months, so isn't what I'd call a religious man.

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I believe respect and understanding has a lot to do in mixed marriages. A long as both partners respect the other attitude, taste, the way of thinking; the religion choice should be also respected as well. From my point of view when is born a child, it is not so much the religion feeling that wakes up in both partners, but it is waking up more a desire of power over the child and the desire to influence. When both partners are having the same religion, this "fight for power" can be feel in other areas: the ways in treating the child, the way you feed the child and so on. We are all familiar with the situation in which one of the partner says: "My mother teach me like this and is the right way to do it!" and the other partner gets angry. But when both the partner are very much coming from different cultures, religion, this desire of making the child to be in touch with the father/mother background it is even more powerful. The ideal situation is in which both decide to let the child to get used with both religion and after that having a preference for one of them. Personally I know someone who was raise like this, son of a jewish father and a catholic mother. He choices none. It is not guarantee for it. I'm agree with TurkCell that the dicussion has to be before marriage, but I guess also the power of understanding the other and the respect has to do a lot with the decision after. If you do not give to uch importance to the religion, I guess will not make difference for you iuf the child will be Muslim, Christian, Hindus or Budish. In the end the child will decide for himself.

Eva

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When I was planning to marry my wife (Turkish), there was no question of faith or religion presented to me by her family. They only cared about her happiness with me. Now, we have Emily in our lives, and we strive to guarantee her happiness.

My concern was "When should a child be introduced into their first level of religion?" I decided to just introduce different cultures into her life first. Of course I have to guide her along and answer those never ending questions. Facilitating a positive approach to life is most important. That includes talking about religion. The best part is when 'I ask her the questions.' From this point, I can get a better understanding as to what she knows and what she believes. Remember - children say the darnedest things. I'm curious as to what her friends are telling her. :)

The question I always have is "What was Abraham's religion?" "What about Adam, Eve, Noah or Samson?" Hmmm. I don't believe they claimed a religion, yet their belief in God was uncontested. I think I can do that also. :)

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You're right Bob, those early prophets wouldn't have claimed a religion other than worshipping the one true God as opposed to paganism. The later advent of prophets caused divisions, and so we now have 3 main faiths all worshipping the same God, not to mentions hundreds (maybe thousands) of subdivisions. But it's possible to believe without following a set path, and (after all) all roads lead to Rome, do they not ?

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  • 2 months later...

This is an interesting thread. I would never want to get married again so it does not apply to me but objectively I can see nothing wrong in mixed marriages if the prospective partner (here I am talking about the man) is accepting. The problems my friends had in Germany was not with the Turkish guy but with his parents. Time and again I heard that the parents had either broken up the relationship or disowned the son because he had not married a Turk.

In Judiasm and Islam, if the wife is unable to bear a child within 10 years the husband is entitled to divorce her for being barren which I find rather sad:(However, the husband is entitled and of course if he does not wish to exercise that right then the marriage continues:) I would emphasise that a lot of the reason for problems in these mixed marriages is due to the man's family. If they are from certain backgrounds and areas, especially Anatolia, it is often difficult for the woman to be ever accepted by them even if she was prepared to convert to Islam.

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When we got married my husband insisted that any children we had would be brought up muslim. Although I was brought up a presbyterian and sent to Sunday School every week until the age of 11, I never went to church or followed my religion after that age, so I didn't mind that my husband wanted this. Until our sons were 5 & 8 they lived in Belfast and the only thing they did different to other kids was they didn't eat pork. At school they got chicken nuggests when the other kids got sausages but they still learned the same things in RE class. Now that we've been in Turkey for the past 6 years they're more aware of what religion they are. If they decide to change their religion or, like me, be Agnostic then that's entirely up to them. My husband has just finished his month of Ramadan which he does every year but he rarely goes to the mosque for the other 11 months, so isn't what I'd call a religious man.

This seems fairly typical of what most of my friends and I experienced, not that it was a problem for me since I was interested in Islam before I even came to Turkey and met my husband. When I got my Turkish ID card, they wouldn't write 'Islam' on the card until I'd made a declaration of faith before the muftu. But for registering the kid's births, my presence wasn't even necessary. Of course, my husband declared them muslim. Children have compulsory lessons in the muslim faith at primary school at the moment, unless their ID gives a different religion. I think if you are bringing up your children in Turkey your children will want to be muslim, anyway. As a moderately religious person the idea of bringing up a child with no religion, and then telling them at the age of 18, or whatever, they can 'choose to be what they want' is fairly ludicrous to me, but this is of course a personal opinion. Islam is a way of life not just a religion. It matters not a jot if you only go to the mosque once a year, you just ARE muslim, it's an integral part of your identity. It also means your child will probably have to have a muslim name, even if it's a second name. The reason why there are less problems when a foreign WOMAN marries a Turkish man is because the woman was expected to agree to her husband's wishes in this important matter. Obviously, the reverse situation can cause the woman to become estranged from her family and cause immense heartache to them. No matter how 'modern' a family/husband seems, this is a serious issue. Usually, they are unlikely even to consider a child being brought up Christian.'Sunnet', particularly the age at which it will be done, is another very hard issue for some foreign women to accept. It really is important to discuss these things before you marry.
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The reason why there are less problems when a foreign WOMAN marries a Turkish man is because the woman was expected to agree to her husband's wishes in this important matter

What planet are you on janh,

Before I married my Turkish Husband 5 yrs ago, yes religion was discussed, he is obviously Muslim (but definitely not practising one) and I wanted to make no cover up of the fact that I was atheist, I also said he must not lie to his family when they ask about my religion as I would know this, I can understand a bit of the Turkish language.......... so even before we were married, my Husband and his family new I was non believer, it never caused any problems for me from my Husband or his family, they have never asked me to become Muslim only they ask questions why I don't believe in God, to which I am able to explain my reasons, they accept my reasons as I do their's for believing..... this shows a total respect for each others beliefs.....

Just because one person may be strong believer in god does not make this person more superior to someone who does not believe, I don't believe in God....... but this doesn't make me a bad person,

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Your point is? We were talking about deciding on the religion of the children. I meant that when a foreign women marries a Turkish man there is less trouble because it's assumed that she will accept his desire for the children to be Muslim. Conversely, the Turkish family are afraid that the foreign husband will put pressure on his wife for the children to be Christian. Of course, often these days many people are atheist like you and don't care, but Turks don't grasp this easily. It is these Turkish families that live 'on another planet' to you, as you put it, not me. Your husband's family may accept YOU don't believe in anything, but this is probably less of a problem for them than if you wanted to bring up their grandchildren to be devout Christians. I'm not saying believing in God makes a person superior. But to Turks, being 'atheist' just means you haven't felt any spiritual awareness, and they are usually very sorry for you--as I said, I never came across coercion to convert, either. But when it comes to the religion of the children, it's a different matter.

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janh

when a foreign women marries a Turkish man there is less trouble because it's assumed that she will accept his desire for the children to be Muslim. WHY should I accept his desire over mine, is his religion better than any other....

Your husband's family may accept YOU don't believe in anything, but this is probably less of a problem for them than if you wanted to bring up their grandchildren to be devout Christians

Are we to presume from your quotes above then that the Muslim faith is better than a Christian one, at the end of the day they are my children and my Husbands, and it is for me and my Husband to decide which faith if any OUR children would follow........... what the family want or desire is very much irrelevant, at the end of the day if it was to cause a problem between me and my Husbands family then they would probably be the one's to loose out.

I've actually had 2 children and neither did I have christened, I left this for them to decide themselves, if ever they felt they wanted to be christened I would have never tried to stop them, my family are Christians (but lets say not practising , but do believe in God) it never caused any problems for my family, they excepted it was my choice as the children were mine....

I never discouraged my children from believing, they had RE lessons at school and I often used to read them biblical stories when they were little.......the choice was left to them, as I feel it should be for everyone........

I asked my Husband ages ago why he believes in God, he the same has asked me why I didn't believe in him.......my Husband's answer was "he didn't know, it was what his Grandmother and mother had told him to believe"

I'm not a believer as I have said but I respect them that do believe, and I don't question whether someone wants to be a follower of the Muslim, Christian, catholic, orthodox, or whatever faith, one faith should not be classed as better than another......there is supposed to be only one god after all.

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I must say Debbie that I think along similar lines to you.

Who is to say which is the right faith? Usually what you are is a matter of where you happen to have been born and to which parents.

To suggest that a woman should give in to a man over faith is not on. One should be true to your own ideas and not sucumbe to pressure from family.

What you believe is in your head and not a thing to be turned on or off at will!

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janh

when a foreign women marries a Turkish man there is less trouble because it's assumed that she will accept his desire for the children to be Muslim. WHY should I accept his desire over mine, is his religion better than any other....

Your husband's family may accept YOU don't believe in anything, but this is probably less of a problem for them than if you wanted to bring up their grandchildren to be devout Christians

Are we to presume from your quotes above then that the Muslim faith is better than a Christian one, at the end of the day they are my children and my Husbands, and it is for me and my Husband to decide which faith if any OUR children would follow........... what the family want or desire is very much irrelevant, at the end of the day if it was to cause a problem between me and my Husbands family then they would probably be the one's to loose out.

I've actually had 2 children and neither did I have christened, I left this for them to decide themselves, if ever they felt they wanted to be christened I would have never tried to stop them, my family are Christians (but lets say not practising , but do believe in God) it never caused any problems for my family, they excepted it was my choice as the children were mine....

I never discouraged my children from believing, they had RE lessons at school and I often used to read them biblical stories when they were little.......the choice was left to them, as I feel it should be for everyone........

I asked my Husband ages ago why he believes in God, he the same has asked me why I didn't believe in him.......my Husband's answer was "he didn't know, it was what his Grandmother and mother had told him to believe"

I'm not a believer as I have said but I respect them that do believe, and I don't question whether someone wants to be a follower of the Muslim, Christian, catholic, orthodox, or whatever faith, one faith should not be classed as better than another......there is supposed to be only one god after all.

I said nothing about the muslim faith being 'better'. What we are talking about here is how the majority of Turkish families view the situation. The important thing is to try and understand Turkish views, I think. Your family may be an exception, but not everyone is so lucky. Like I said, when a child comes along often women find their husbands are not as 'modern' as they thought they were. They can be sucked into a very difficult situation. However, if people on this forum are only interested in having their toz pembe views reinforced, say. I'm not making an attack on anyone's lovely husband.

It is important for women to realise that their liberal views can seem very illogical to Turkish people. I am not passing judgement, only passing this on. And by the way, my mother was Turkish Cypriot so I have a bit of a foot in both camps, and speak fluent Turkish. When I came out here I thought I would have no problems because I already knew the culture, and I was in Izmir which is the most western city in Turkey. I really wish someone had given me some practical advice about the difficulties of spending the rest of my life here. Really, my desire is to help, and warn women about problems they MAY come up against. Every day I see the fallout from marrages or relationships that went sour. Some situations are rescuable, some are not. Believe me, life here is not always easy for everyone. But I'm not saying that it can't be happy for some, either.

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Thank you for your post Janh. You are quite right that people should know what they are getting into when they begin a relationship with someone from another culture and, of course, it works both ways. I get some puzzled looks sometimes when I try to explain how I (Brits etc) look at or do things. I was laughed at one day because I was using a knife and fork with the fork prongs pointed downwards (not like a scoop). I told them that was how polite Brits, like Queen Elizabeth ate. :) They found it very funny.

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