Quotes in Italics, preceded by >>>. My comments in normal font.
>>>This is a topic that raises more question marks than answers. Those who take a stand for or against it generally tends to get very judgmental and completelydisregard the fact that the Lord does not want us to judge anyone (James 4:12).
This is not true. We are to judge sin as sin, and to expel serious unrepetant sin from the church. See, for example, Paul's treatment of the man sleeping with his father's wife in 1 Corinthians 5, or John's calling out of Diotrephes in the book of 3 John. Other examples exist, I'm sure, but aren't coming to me now.
>>>Now on the topic, it is very subjective. When Paul writes that one should not be unequally yoked with the world, in another context in 1 Corinthians 5, he talks about the company of the world who are sinners. He never said not to disregard them, even in the matter of being ‘unequally yoked’. I have heard a lot of interpretations from bible teachers around the world. And the conclusion: there is a lot less guidance of the spirit in this matter.
>>>Let me explain. If one says, one should not marry an unbeliever. One should also substantiate that in the context of marriage from the NT (most bible teachers just mix and match and put some rationale in it). If I were to believe that the Lord has ‘predestination’ as a purpose for all His people and His calling. Then we do not know who is called and in which manner He/She is/was called. If someone argues and strongly refutes an association on a believer who has feelings or has fallen in love with an unbeliever. Then he/she refutes our Lord who comes from the line of Ruth (read curse on the Moabites) and Rahab (read punishment for prostitution) in the genealogy. This is where it is complicated. Why? We do not appreciate or understand the mercies of the Lord and how it can work between believers and unbelievers. There are lot of examples of good marriages where the families have come to faith, all because of the mercies of the Lord resting on them. They live good Christian lives and are not as flamboyant as our current minsters who advise otherwise. But there are also bad ones as well. We love concentrating and talking about the bad ones.
>>>So, to conclude, though it is advisable that one marries within the Christian community. One does not really know who the Lord has planned for them when they truly are in the faith. It’s all about submission. Who knows, your marriage to so called believer or a non-believer is the Lord’s calling for you to show them the true light of salvation.
Appreciate your thoughts, Joe, but in my view, you're mixing up two thoughts together, namely: "What the Lord could do", and "What the believer should do". There is no question as to what the Lord can do. However, there are also consequences for sin. See Solomon, or Samson for example. both were corrupted by unbelieving women yet the Lord redeemed them both. Ruth seem to already have put faith in the God of Israel (see Ruth 1:16), and Boaz wasn't just marrying a Moabitess, he was marrying a kinsman's wife, thereby redeeming her, fulfilling his legal and moral obligation. In Rahab's case, it seems that she was saved by having faith in the God of Joshua; this is further proved in Hebrews 11, as she is mentioned in the hall of faith.
The unequal yoke concept is very clear, and isn't subjective as you allude. 2 Cor 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" Why is this the most often quoted passage with regards to marriage? Because a yoke is an instrument by which two beasts of burden (oxen) are forced together along a journey. (see here for a pictoral example: https://eveunyokeddotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/yoke.jpg).
It's a very apt image for marriage, as marriage is a journey along which husband and wife move in tandem. In this regard, it seems to be clear enough that it's wrong. Why? How can two people navigate life together if they disagree with each other on its most important part? if they disagree, but are bound together by the yoke how will they move? They'll veer to the left or to the right.
This is where the imagery of hte yoke comes into play again: with a yoke, it's imperative that the oxen be of the same strength/size, otherwise as they walk, the yoke willl veer in the direction of the animal that's stronger. This animal will then tire out quickly and then the weaker animal will have to carry the load for both, which will tire it out also.
The imagery is clear. Moreso the language: it's given as a command, with the authority of an apostle: "do not be...". So this is even more clarity.
If this yoke discussion by the apostle Paul isn't enough, there are numerous stories from the OT about the israelites marrying their pagan neighbors and causing them to sin/backslide/walk away from faith. I mentioned solomon and samson above, but there are many more who did not have favorable outcomes.
(BTW, not in the context of this discussion, but I believe the context of the unequal yoke passage applies in any situation where the unbeliever is yoked together with the believer--marriage is the biggest one, but also business contracts.)