Friday Q/A: Should a Christian Date an Atheist?

The Bible never mentions dating (or courting if you like that term better). Neither process of getting a male and female together are ever described, referenced, commanded, or forbidden. What the Bible does say something about is the person you are to strive to become, but the process of how you get to be with that member of the opposite sex is not mentioned.

However, the above question is still very relevant and a question worth pondering biblically. It is even a question I wrestled with in high school. There was a girl who had visited our church whom I found attractive and wanted to “ask out” but I was fairly confident she was an unbeliever. The philosophy of “missionary dating” (dating someone who is not a believer in hopes of reaching them for Christ) was something I thought about implementing so I could date this girl.

But the conclusion I drew about such a dating relationship was that it would be pointless and foolish. I would not call it a sin to go out on a date with an atheist or agnostic if you are a Christian, but I would say that it is foolish and mars the design that God lays out in Scripture of a the martial relationship, which is what dating foreshadows.

In II Corinthians 6:14, we are forbidden from being unequally yoked with another individual. Paul uses the image of two cows trying to pull the same weight, but they actually work against each other instead. Paul goes on to say there is never any fellowship between light (the Christian) and darkness (the non-Christian).

Unequally Yoked

In other words, the person you may be dating who is not a Christian is an enemy of God and you are His friend. You have nothing spiritually in common. You are unable to model the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-33). You have completely different worldviews. You are called to live to completely different ends. One of you has hope for eternity; the other is doomed.

In I Corinthians 15:33, which happens to be part of a passage of Scripture I am preaching on Sunday, Paul says that “bad company corrupts good morals.” He is warning all Christians from surrounding themselves in a dangerous way of those who don’t know Christ. And the reason he is concerned about this is because “bad company” can influence Christians far more than we might influence them if we are not careful. And that is all the truer the more immature the Christian is.

The most foundational reality that every Christian marriage is based upon is Jesus Christ and you don’t have that as an anchor in your relationship if you are dating a non-Christian. Your relationship is doomed to fail or corrupt your good character. You have no common purpose or mission with your life if you date a non-Christian.

In conclusion, I believe the Bible does not formally condemn going out on a date with a non-Christian, but there is enough wisdom contained in Scripture that suggests it is foolish to date any non-Christian.


If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please send them to or ask them in the comments section of this post.


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