Is he a Hindu hottie, but you're a Catholic cutie? Not sure what to get your friend for her Bat Mitzvah? Wondering about Wicca? Pastor Paul answers all your religion and spirituality questions. Send them to PastorPaul@staff.beliefnet.com.

Dear Pastor Paul,
My boyfriend recently broke up with me because, he said, God told him he had to. My boyfriend told me he loves me too much, and it's sinful because his mind is always on me, instead of God. Also, it's against the First Commandment, because his love makes me his idol. He said he isn't ready for marriage, and that the right time to date is when a person is ready.

I'm not Christian; I grew up learning Buddhist ideas. It baffles me that he could make such a decision. Can you help me understand where he is coming from?

--Idolized

Dear Idolized,
The first commandment requires that we love the Lord with all our heart. If your former boyfriend was so obsessed with you that he forgot to love God, then he's right: he's not mature enough to be dating. A real boyfriend is capable of loving you, his family, his friends, his neighbor and God all at the same time. Love doesn't have to have limits. I suggest you practice the Buddhist principle of non-attachment and try to be compassionate toward him while letting him go.

By the way, when people tell you they are doing something unpleasant because God told them to do it--watch out.

Dear Pastor Paul,
My boyfriend and I have been together over a year and have just recently become Christians. We go to college in different states, but whenever we're together for vacations we seem to be too wrapped up in seeing one another and becoming a distraction from our faith. We want God to be the center of our lives as individuals, but we also think it's so important to make God the center of our relationship. Do you have any ideas on how we can cause each other's faith to grow rather than become a distraction? We want more than anything to make God the most important person in our lives together. Thank you!

--Unsigned

Dear Unsigned,
Congratulations on your love and on your desire to include spiritual growth as a part of your relationship. There's an old saying I still believe is true: A family that prays together stays together. On your next vacation, why not go to a Christian retreat house? There are plenty of places that help young couples to grow in their faith together, and provide another common experience to make your love grow stronger and deeper. This site and this one are just two that list a wide variety of retreats for singles and couples.

Dear Pastor Paul,
I only started to believe in God this summer, after I read some of the Left Behind series. It struck me hard, and now I'm questioning a lot of things. How do we know which religion is right? I'm Catholic, but have a friend who is Hindu. Is she going to go to heaven when she dies? Or is she condemned to hell because she isn't Christian?

--Confused

Dear Confused,
I don't believe everyone has to be a Christian to go to heaven and be loved by God. Jesus loved people of religions different from his own, such as the Samaritans (John 4), the Canaanite (Matthew 15), and the Centurion (Luke 7). All these people were outside of the Jewish tradition, yet Jesus associated with them and loved them, even though Jewish law did not permit it. I stick with my core belief that God is love, and that anything that is of love is of God. That's a good test for your friends of different faiths: Does their religion promote love? Hinduism believes in a supreme God and calls upon all people to revere and love all forms of life. For me, this passes the test. For some basics about Hinduism, click here.

Want to read more from Pastor Paul? You can find all his columns by clicking here.

Pastor Paul has worked with young people in the Twin Cities, Seattle, Sao Paulo, and New York City. He is Associate Minister for Young Adults at The Riverside Church in New York City.

 
 
DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook