I found this image floating around on the Internet the other day.
At first I chuckled, but then I realized how messed up this image is. The author of this image (and indeed anyone who agrees with it) is essentially saying they agree to be thrown under the bus in their relationships in the name of Jesus. Even worse, they show a level of bigotry. Relationships do not center around belief in supernatural agencies, as this image implies. Religious belief might play a role in the growth of many relationships, but it should not be a prerequisite to any official attestation of love.
A good and moral person will, on the other hand, ignore religious differences in relationships. Indeed, there are many cases of interfaith marriages. Catholics marry Protestants. Jews marry Muslims. Believers marry non-believers. In each case of interfaith marriage or relationship, we see that religion is no more important than skin color, height, weight, or musical talent.
Yet this image perfectly captures the essence of religious extremism. It calls for exclusion based on one single criterion; love Jesus first, then we’ll talk. The entire non-Christian world (all 5 billion of us) is excluded as the out-group simply because of beliefs that are beyond our control.
Some Christian apologists might claim that this image holds merit. They might see marriage or their relationships as a means with which to raise good Christian children. But that’s my whole point. Raising Christian children is no more important than raising children in general. The Christian in-group is no more special than the rest of the human race.
Religion is not a prerequisite to relationships. Love is a prerequisite for relationships.