By Thom Patterson, CNN
(CNN) - Has God taken an interest in the computer dating business? Does he (or she) have a username and password?
You might think so, if you’ve seen TV ads for the subscription-based dating website christianmingle.com.
The announcer says confidently: “Find God’s match for you.”
Really? Is God going to hook you up online? Cue the blogospheric debate.
"That's awfully bold to presume they already know who God wants you to marry," tweeted @Jessie_luvJesus recently.
"... SMH [shaking my head] these folks should be ashamed," wrote @EWebb424.
The tagline has been creating a “misconception” that God works exclusively through Christian Mingle, says spokeswoman Ashley Reccord.
Launched in 2001, Christian Mingle now boasts more than 5 million members, 40% of whom joined within the past year, according to the site (Full disclosure: Christian Mingle advertises on CNN.)
Members can register free and are asked to answer several questions based on religious background and personal preferences. Based on those answers, the website offers profiles of potential matches.
A search on the site for “soul mate” among women age 18-80 came up with 1,000 profiles, including one from Florida.
“I’m in search of the man God has for me,” writes the 35-year-old woman. “I’m looking for my best friend, my soul mate, and someone to share life’s greatest moments with.”
A 39-year-old woman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, wrote, “I still believe in true love … a soul mate. I am reasonable. I understand that there is not a perfect man out there … but one who is perfect for me.”
Says Reccord, the Christian Mingle spokeswoman: "God can orchestrate and use the medium of Christian Mingle to allow people to find their match for one another on the site. He may or may not use that means, but he can use that means."
So does that mean the cliché is true, that some matches really are “made in heaven?" Does God, if you believe there is one, pre-select us to pair up as life partners, as "soul mates?"
The Bible has little if anything to say about the matter, according to many religious writers and leaders. But several high-profile religious commentators have strong opinions about the idea:
–Soul mates do exist, according to some religious voices who cite the Jewish Talmud.
–Many Christians believe God helps people create their own kind of soul mates.
–Some say the Bible's "language of sexuality" supports the concept.
–Islam rejects the notion of soul mates, according to Muslim leaders.
–Many say belief in soul mates has negative consequences and can even be harmful.
Some of those warning about the dangers of the soul mate idea are Christians.
"If I get to heaven and I hear God say he had someone picked out for me, I'll believe him," says Lisa Anderson, host of "The Boundless Show," the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family's podcast for young adults.
"But it seems that this soul mate idea is really breaking up a lot of marriages and it's keeping a lot of young adults single."
Anderson says that believing in soul mates sets up two possible worst-case scenarios: a revolving door of marriages or a lifetime of being single.
Many young adults, she says, make this mistake: They think if they marry their “soul mate” then the marriage will be easy and wonderful. Then if the marriage turns rocky, game over; they suddenly decide they've picked the wrong mate. The marriage ends and they return to square one, searching for someone else to fill the soul mate role.
On the other hand, searching for a soul mate can be tragically intimidating, to the point of indecision.
"We're seeing young adults – X-ers and millennials - absolutely paralyzed and unable to get to marriage because they want to do it right," says Anderson. "They don't want to be their parents' generation ... the largest divorce generation in history."
Yada yada yada
But other evangelical Christian opinion-makers back Christian Mingle’s idea of an divinely ordained match.
"I would be scared to jump off a theological cliff and say we’re intended for one specific person," says Christian author Dannah Gresh. But based on the Bible’s “sexual language,” she doesn't dismiss the possibility.
The Old Testament’s original Hebrew text uses the word "yada" to imply the act of sex, says Gresh.
However, yada doesn't necessarily mean having sex in a literal sense, says Gresh. It means "to know," "to be known" or "to be respected."
She says yada biblically links the concepts of sex and the soul. "Sex is about a soul connection in its truest form," says Gresh, giving credence to a possible connection between God and the soul mate concept.
Not quite, says Bible scholar O. Wesley Allen of Lexington Theological Seminary. "The intimate knowing implied in [yada] is created through the act of sex, not as something that leads to union," Allen says.
A biblical companion to yada is the Greek word "ginosko," says Gresh, which is found in the New Testament. The Bible's original text uses ginosko to describe an "intimate soul connection between a husband and wife in the act of marriage," she says.
But she says the Bible also uses ginosko to describe a deep, intimate connection with God.
Gresh is giving too much weight to these words, Allen says. The fact that these words are used in dual contexts does not imply - or even suggest - the possibility of divinely ordained matches, according to Allen.
Gresh stresses that she does not believe God has intended matches for us. "However, I think there can be a really good theological argument made for exclusivity - once you have found someone you choose to love," she says.
On this point, says Allen, Gresh is on strong scriptural grounds.
A soul mate and a spare
Judaism, meanwhile, specifically includes the concept of soul mates in the Talmud, a collection of writings that constitute Jewish civil and religious laws.
According to the Talmud, before a soul comes into the world it is paired with a bashert, or first match, which is the first soul that you’re supposed to end up with, says Rabbi DovBer Pinson, of the New York-based IYYUN Center for Jewish Spirituality.
“If everything works out you’ll end up with that person,” says Pinson. Jewish tradition also includes a “second match” for every soul, which also could end up as a soul-mate relationship.
The names of everyone’s first and second matches are written down, “We just don’t have access to that information, because they’re written down in the spiritual plane” – or heaven, Pinson says.
The Kabbalistic tradition, rooted in Jewish mysticism, spells out clues to recognize whether your partner is your soul mate. If a partner is helping you overcome your negative traits and negative challenges while helping you pursue your positive traits, that person is your soul mate, says Pinson.
“It means these two souls originate from the same soul root and they’re meant to be connected to each other,” he says.
The Islamic faith, meanwhile, rejects the soul mate concept. "The words 'soul mate,' that you are meant to be with this person forever, there is no concept like this in Islam,” says Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America.
Infinite knowledge allows God to know which partners end up together, but it’s up to people to sustain their marriages and stay together, Magid says, because “the concept of a soul mate in Islam would put the fault of divorce on God."
Are you telling me to 'settle?'
Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband, Jeff, have created their own industry with their popular books, required reading for Christian premarital counselors at thousands of churches.
But she says their marriage, which has produced the million-sellers "For Women Only" and "For Men Only,” was not necessarily preordained.
"If I'd gone to a different graduate school I may have never ended up marrying my husband," she acknowledges. Feldhahn says there probably isn't “one perfect soul mate” for each person. For her, the bottom line is that "whoever you end up with ... God knows what the eventual outcome of your life is going to be."
The flip side of that is God has also given people free will.
“We have every right to screw it up if we want to - and sometimes we do,” Feldhahn says.
However, if couples follow God’s general principles about relationships, it’s possible they can enjoy the same benefits as so-called “soul mates,” she says.
Don’t focus too much on the search for your perfect mate, according to Feldhahn, focus on leading a Christian lifestyle and things will work out fine.
As for Christian Mingle’s “God’s-match-for-you” tagline, Feldhahn says it could mean “Meet the person who’s going to end up being your perfect match - because that's what you're going to make it."
Is Feldhahn telling single folks to stop searching and to “settle” for the best person available?
“No,” she says. “That implies that the person cannot be the person you need. If you both live by God's principles, you will both become the people you need to be.”
Hey CNN democratic anti-christian network, leave Christians alone, don't be nosy.
What are you even talking about, dude?? Shouldn't you be watching Glenn Beck or something??
Unlike our christian brothers and sisters who insist on telling everyone what to think, how to live and what to do with their bodies.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." psalm 14:1
I know who wrote my quote though :)
I have never taken the term "soul mate" to mean blessed by any diety. Have you ever had a connection, dreams about, know what they are thinking kinda person? Even if you are not realistically meant to be lovers anymore ... I will always love mine and hope she is happy in her new marriage. Really.... and we do talk on and off... no harm. It's nice and there are so many people I could care less about.
LOL! diety? Is that a Deity on a diet?
He spelled it wrong. Deity like a God.
Awesome! God's perfect match for me is a truly God honest sleazy woman.
Yup. An "unseen" spirit proves it all. Look... IF there is a "god" IT is nothing more than the collective conscious of all the energy and matter in the universe. IT did not create you, nor any other form of life from IT's own hands. IT does not intervene in your life or prefer people over any other creature. IT merely set a chain of events into motion perhaps in some attempt to understand where IT came from. Consider it a cosmic science experiment. All life on this earth came from amino acids and organic matter, and this is an indisputable scientific fact that has reproduced in laboratories.
As for Jesus... Do some research into the Gnostic gospels (books that predate the books in the bible) and you will find that he was telling us that we were all children of god, and could all attain a personal channel to the divine. He opposed the idea of church or expressive worship of any kind. He believed our relationships with our deities should be kept on a personal level, as each of us has a different connection. Primitive thinking people could not understand this, and had to find some mystical solution to another person being so in tune with the universe, and there was born the entire mythology to which MODERN society still chooses to cling.
It is a much more magical thought to me that the entire universe, every atom in it, is all part of one big organism with it's own consciousness. Organic bodies work almost as antennae and its means of communication. The "god" you so desperately seek is nothing more than the force that keeps everything in balance.
You are making a whole lot of claims that have no support whatsoever. The matter that has been 'recreated' in labs is not yet what scientists believe the earth came from. Very unstable experiments. I'm pretty sure if humans had recreated the stuff we came from there would be a heck of a lot more noise about it.
Also, the gnostic books do not predate the gospels. The content may, but the only known manuscripts of the gnostic books come many years after the earliest copies of the gospels. It doesn't take much research to find that out.
Google "Abiotic synthesis".... Unsubstantiated??? As for the Gnostics... The earliest is the gospel of Thomas, dated around 200 AD, but believed to be much older, possibly within 40 years of Christs death. Furthermore, when you read it, it simply makes a lot more sense than much of the incoherent storytelling that goes on in later gospels. The early church deemed the Gnostic gospels blasphemous, because by nature, they would have made Christians rebellious toward any established Church, and thus harder to control. Dig a bit deeper before you say someone is making an unsubstantiated argument.
Dating sites are just a seemingly efficient way to do all the courtship/relationship/romance stuff that we've relegated to the background in our lives. I'm glad to hear this woman from Focus on the Family talking some sense.
The problem with the notion that the beliefs of others are of no concern to the non-believer is that the believer spends little effort addressing some important problems and diverts resources away from solutions when faith that an invisible, bearded old man in the sky will take care of everything if only they believe hard enough. This is why non-believers lament the waste that is "faith" and why it is absolutely everybody's business how believers burden the rest of us.
Where's the "like" button on this??
Most of the comments here have little to do with the question of Divine providence in finding your soul mate or perfect partner. What emerges is the absolute void of faith in the modern world. If one believes God will provide the right partner, God will provide the right partner. If one does not believe God will provide the right partner He will not. If one chooses to not believe in God, then nothing is possible by faith, but self effort and random chance will lead one to the right partner. Jesus said, "When the Son of Man returns to earth, will He find Faith?" God isn't concerned with our opinions or intellectual conclusions about His existence. Faith is the open door to God's Kingdom. A willingness to believe opens this door. To try and understand or process it through human logic or intellect is virtually impossible. Be it done to you according to your faith.
What if someone has "faith" that their god wants them to strap a vest of explosives to their chest and blow up a bus full of school children? Is that persons faith any less valid? At what point do we demand verifiable evidence to support the actions of others?
Fairly presumptious of you to know what a God would or would not do. Do you think he objects to you putting words in his mouth? If there was a God, and even if he said he would want us all to find mates (which he didn't), that doesn't hamstring God, he can do as he pleases... he can say "Oh that one doesn't deserve it" or "I have other plans for this one". You commit the unforgivable sin most christians commit... you clam to control god's will and actions.
God told me to stay away from American women and American cars – they need a lot of maintenance.
There he did not lead you astray :)
They probably don't like your INDAN CURRY BREATH EITHER. Monkey and snake worshipping freak.
A snake worshiper can at least prove what he worships exists :)
No, I don't worship snakes and cows (although my forefathers did years ago). I'm a born-again baptized Christian and attend church every Sunday. Speaking of curry, I don't like the taste of it and it makes of fat. Speaking of me being a curry breath, mind you, I brush my teeth twice daily. The thing is, no one knows what happens after death. The Bible however gives us some hints. I just wanted to make sure I'm on the right side before I die – and so should you if you wan't to save yourself from hellfire.
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
– George Washington
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
– George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789
“I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” – Samuel Adams
“We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.”
– Samuel Adams
“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”
Congress printed a Bible for America and said:
“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”
– United States Congress 1782
“Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
“By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”
“In God We Trust”- United States Congress 1864
Yeah, and he was okay with owning slaves too... whats your point?
John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
– John Jay
The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.
Yeah.... I liked the holocaust and the 9-11 thing.... Thanks God!!!!
The congress also inacted price controls on farmers and as a result nearly starved Washingtons army... So if you're trying to prove congress can do dumb things, well then I agree with you.
“The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
– Benjamin Rush
"“President George W. Bush has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.” – Sam Harris
Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.
– Noah Webster
“In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” – Abraham Lincoln
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” – Abraham Lincoln
“This nation under God”
– Abraham Lincoln, Gettysberg Address and inscribed on Lincoln Memorial
“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion." – Steven Weinberg
Wow, imagine that... politicians saying "Gawd said vote for me!".
Chrism reminds me of Reality who posts paragraphs and paragraphs of text but never gets to the point or posts their own thoughts on the matter or does so repeatedly.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. – George W. Bush
To preserve our blessed land we must look to God… It is time to realize that we need God more than He needs us… We also have His promise that we could take to heart with regard to our country, that “If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Let us, young and old, join together, as did the First Continental Congress, in the first step, in humble heartfelt prayer. Let us do so for the love of God and His great goodness, in search of His guidance and the grace of repentance, in seeking His blessings, His peace, and the resting of His kind and holy hands on ourselves, our nation, our friends in the defense of freedom, and all mankind, now and always. The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America… Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal. Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth. If I had a prayer for you today, among those that have all been uttered, it is that one we’re so familiar with: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace….” And God bless you all.
Ronald Reagan; a prayer for healing (from a speech to the American people, February 6, 1986):
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." – Bertrand Russell
Scott, even the founding fathers recognized slavery would be a problem. What's your point? Wayh, neither what any origin in the teaching of Jesus Christ. Thank God! Scott, price controls? Yes people make mistakes, which only proves the bible more true and shows us our need for God. Eric, oh by all means lets dismiss the words of our founding fathers and leaders because Sam Harris thinks they are ridiculous. Scott, your paraphrase is grossly wrong. They were sincere. gAW you remind me of someone who doesn't read and blindly attacks.
“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
– Calvin Coolidge
Heed that last quote well. And remember if the country decays into immorality, You fought for it. You fought against the founders of this country. You fought for immorality. You fought for Godlessness. You fought for what you clearly now see our founders said would destroy this country.
( re: hairdryer )
Awesome. Just plain logic. You could also add "what" the dialog was... if GW received in his dialogue what should name his dog, why does the addition of the dog make it rediculous?
The Treaty with Tripoli, (1797).
George Washington's administration wrote it and supported it, and by the time it was passed, John Adams was the President. It was read aloud in its entirety and passed by both houses of congress on June 7, 1797. The vote in both houses was unanimous. President Adams signed it into law.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
In other words, according to a unanimous agreement of America's Founding Fathers, the USA is NOT, was NOT, nor ever intended to be, a Christian nation.
sigh, that grandma still believes America was founded on Islamic principles ;)
Chrism, the Treaty with Tripoli, (written by the Washington Administration), signed by Adams, and passed unanimously said in Article 11 this was NOT a Christian nation. Sorry.
The pastor of one of our local churches is getting divorced for the fourth time. I guess he doesn't listen to God when he makes his marital choices. These dating "services" are just ripoffs exploiting the weakminded.
Kind of like that pastor of that church
I kind of wish we could all just admit we want to believe in God, but our organized religions may not be the exact representation of who God is.
What this country needs is a Defense of Marriage Act. Oh wait ....
Yet another ridiculous delusion. If your "god" is omniscient, he knows everything, including your future. That means whomever you will marry (and for most khristians that will happen at least twice because you of course consider all your god's rules to be "negotiable"), is already predestined. There is no choice. And of course, if he doesn't know, it means your god is not omniscient, actually knows squat, it all comes crumbling down and you figure out it's all BS in the first place. Shoo. Use your brains.
To Eric G...look in the mirror. You want proof of the existence of God? Just the fact that you are a living, breathing human being with an unseen spirit inside of you proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt. You don't believe in Him? He still believes in you!
Actually its widely unknown fact but humans were created by a flying spaghetti monster. See... non christians can do that too!
How can sentient beings be so stupid? Grow up!!!!! The santa in the sky is NOT REAL!!!!
Sorry, we have evolution theory which explains what you claim to be the actions of your god. You have taken something that you cannot explain and inserted your god as the cause. This is not logical because you have not provided any evidence that your god exists.
Please provide verifiable evidence that your god exists.
So you're saying that because each one of us is here and alive, that proves God's existence? Kind of a leap, isn't it? Yes, it's natural to wonder about where we came from and why we're here, but no one knows the answers to these questions. And since there's that lingering question mark or blank space waiting for an answer, you seem to think it fit to fill in that blank with whatever you please. Just remember, lack of a definitive answer to a question is in no way proof of the explanation you theorize.
I believe in unicorns and elves too. Doesn't mean they exist.
Why all this divisiveness and name calling? So you don't agree with someone's beliefs, why resort to childish name-calling and verbal attacks. Your beliefs don't have any impact on mine and mine are no threat to yours. I have strong beliefs.But I'm not going to resort to making fun of those who don't believe what I do. All it does is spread more hatred. Take a look at the words you type before you hit Post. If all they do is add more hatred to this already ugly world, please reconsider posting them.
Here on the internet people can hide behind the veil of anonymity and say whatever they want because no one knows their real name, where they live, their gender, age (I guess that most those posting nasty comments here are teenagers and early twenty somethings) ect. In some ways it's a form of cowardice and on the other hand a form of protection for idiots.
This is what I think about this subject. P.S. – Tim Minchin is a comedian, his song is supposed to be ridiculous. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAaUnmEdh2A
Funny, did you know that the divorce rate in the USA is slightly higher among those people who classify themselves as strongly religious than those who don't.
That is because they have been forgiven of all sins. That is why they can act immoraly and justify it with belief.
Just like I hate politicians that use God and religion to garner votes and support and cannot stand a company that claims that you will get "Gods match" at their dating sight. This is clearly a move that has nothing to do with God or anything except preying on peoples weakness. If someone wants Gods help in anything they can pray for help but certainly don't need to go to some company claiming "God's match".
If God has the power to create the universe, why would he need a dating service (perhaps charging people in God's name) to bring two people together? I would think that this would be a very minor thing to do. Just curious.
I guess creating the one eye'd monster was easier than finding it a lair. :)
If people want to call it a "soul mate" or coffee mate who cares!Online dating is fine and now necessary in society. Why doesn't some write an article and do the numbers on how the number of men "marrying" other men is directly affecting the amount of women left single? Writers are too PC to touch this elephant in the room- but where are the marrying men?
Here’s one of God’s laws about marriage: Deuteronomy 22:28-29: "...If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and violates her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her". So, according to the “perfect and morally supreme” biblical laws, if a person “violated” a girl/young woman, pays her father 50 silver coins then he "has" to marry her. Luckily, most so-called Christians have been civilized by secular societies enough not to follow God’s horrible rules anymore.
In the early church there was quite a debate about the OT and the NT having the same god. Marcion of Sinope (a bishop in the early church) argued that they were not the same god, their actions and teachings were incompatible. I see the NT even more viscous than the OT due to the addition of hell. Eternal torment as a punishment for lack of belief is more heinous then marrying your rapist I think.
Generally speaking for any woman living in that age, if she were violated she would be ruined and die of poverty as an outcast. Requiring the man who sinned to marry that woman is a just and right act. She would not have survived otherwise. Today, if such a thing were to happen, we are not bound by mosaic law nor are women restricted from earning a living or rejected (for lack of a better term) as "used goods". The law was just in it's time.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.