I didn't want to post this in the main forum because I want this discussion to come predominantly from the Catholic point of view. The question: would you, as a Catholic, date non-Catholics, non-Christians, and/or the irreligious (atheists and agnostics)?
Here's my situation; feel free to share yours.
A girl has entered my life who I find attractive on both the physical level and personality wise too. She would make for a good girlfriend I believe, except for the fact that she's an agnostic. As a conservative Catholic I would have a very tough time dating a through-and-through atheist, but I'm willing to bend a bit to date an agnostic. Is this wise though? I hold my faith in very high regard; would it be wise of me to date "outside" my faith? Or should Catholics stay close to home and date Catholics?
What are everyone's thoughts on Catholic dating?
Amendment: I've read II Corinthians, too. I believe Will is referring to II Cor. 6:14 ("Be not unequally yoked..."). I interpret it differently.
If your faith is so central to your being that dating a non-Catholic, etc., could be an issue later on, tready wisely. My wife and I are both Catholic, so it was a no-brainer. I don't think I could've married a non-Catholic, because my faith and beliefs are so core to who I am as a person.
My brother married an agnostic, and she converted, but I think it was more because he thought we (his brother and sisters) expected a Catholic ceremony, when really (they were both mid-40s, ergo no kid discussion) we just wanted him to be happy. She went through the motions of becoming a Catholic, but in her case, I didn't see any real conversion or belief.
The kids question -- do you want them? how will you raise them? -- has to factor in. You have to decide how much you're willing to change if she's not Catholic or has other views. Know yourself and who you are and want first, and once you have that clear, the rest will follow.
An interesting non-conundrum. I've dated Catholics, non-Catholics, and an aetheist who converted to Wicca(!). I'd say that things depend on whether or not you are dating as boyfriend/girlfriend, or if you are courting a spouse. If the relationship is based on mutually enjoyable company, and not on a desire to commit to the other person, enjoy dating. If your relationship is more a courtship, your personal conscience may require you to find "a nice Catholic girl."
An aunt of mine not only dated, but married a Protestant fellow named Luther. The main religious upset? My VERY Catholic maternal grandmother promptly started using his nickname, "Pete". I didn't find out Pete's first name was Luther until I was in my thirties.
I had a similar experience as you have D.J. Actually on more than one occasion. I once dated a girl who had an Irish catholic raised Mom and an Atheist dad. She went the way of her dad way before me met, and honestly, I couldn't delve how much like oil and water. See even though we had the same interest, and even before I came back home to Rome and jumped in the Tiber, I had moral leanings of being Catholic because that's how I was brought up. It didn't last. then a few years later I started seeing this well earthy crunchy girl, and yeah we liked vintage things but that's as far as it went. See agnostics are just functional Atheist.
See no matter what Faith you are, a part of it is cultural, so it goes deep as blood even deeper, Plus it being a part of you or who you are as a person means that well you are Catholic. I wouldn't date to far out of your Faith. I fight and scrap to the nine to find a good Catholic girl. Because yeah even though a girl your interested in might be gorgeous, well that's really not a formula for a happy life together. I know when I was dating the Atheist, I would have to watch what I would say and she was very closed off and vaulted up to begin with.
I would go Conservative Protestant because you also have to be able to try to get her on board with the ins and out of The Faith. Plus I think now a days we should stick together. I mean of course you have Protestants and Baptist that married Catholics and went that way themselves.
I've seen some pretty good looking ladies at my college Church and yeah even though they may not show it, you have to find out how a live in the Faith they are. Most Catholic girls that I meet are really searching for that "in" to the faith they were born into and raised in. it's the world that pressures them to shutting it down you know.
It's all dependent on what you want. Do you only date people that you think you might have a serious future with/marry? And if so, does your vision of marriage include going to church every sunday together?
Do you date just to date, to socialize and hang out with new and different types of women? Would she be turned off by your religiousness?
That's probably not a conclusive list of things to think about. My basic guidelines are be respectful of her beliefs, be willing to talk and discuss in a mature, rational, dispassionate way, and never ever try to convert. She's an adult and can make those choices for herself.
I've had to deal with the same issue lately. I think that dating outside of the Church is usually a bad idea. I can't see how a relationship a relationship would last between an atheist/agnostic/etc. and me. There a lot of issues that we would almost certainly disagree on, and some of those issues cut to the core of a romantic relationship (premarital sex, sexual acts besides intercourse, cohabitation, etc.), a lot more that would come up if you were to get married (contraception, raising kids in the Faith... maybe having kids at all!... dealing with medical issues, etc.) Even worse, though, we wouldn't have the common ground to resolve such disputes. I would look to Scripture, the writings of the Saints, and Church documents to sort through important issues, and they wouldn't mean anything to her... and, she'd have her own sources of "wisdom," and odds are high that many of them wouldn't mean anything to me.
I should note that I'm assuming that when you say "dating," you mean in a serious romantic sense. I'll go out for coffee, or drinks, or to a concert with a lot of different women whose company I enjoy, even if I'm 100% certain that we would never get married. One (non-Catholic) friend of mine and I had a long running agreement that we would be each others' dates for the kind of functions that require them, and we were both very comfortable with the fact that nothing more was going to come of that. But, I don't think that it makes any sense within a Catholic worldview to form a serious romantic connection with someone who you already know you wouldn't marry.
she'd have her own sources of "wisdom," and odds are high that many of them wouldn't mean anything to me.
Even the Church Fathers agreed that "pagan" (to use a dirty, inaccurate, and outdated word) literature--philosophy & poetry--was extremely important.