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.”
Atheists don't believe in any kind of supernatural being. They view Satan as being every bit as mythological and nonexistent as God.
So what does this have to do with an article about Christian dating sites?
Being agnostic I find that ridiculous commercial both rankling and extremely irritating. 'nuf said.
Extra credit awarded for "rankling".
Hey, this is progress, as far as religion is concerned. At least the marketing techniques they're using today are an improvement over what they employed during the The Inquisition.
Question to atheists: Do you carry U$ Money with the motto written on it? You don't trust in God so you pay with credit card instead right?!
I only use cash that was printed before 1957. That was the year it was put on paper money.
I do have a question for you....
Do you believe that Zeus is a god?
"In God we Trust" was added on during McCarthy-ism.
Also, if I were Christian, I would think very carefully before associating "God" with currency, or McCarthy.
Being Christian is the greatest gift in the world :)
Amen! Remember it's a freewill offering, if you don't want to, don't.
Greatest gift to fellow Christians. For the rest of us, not so much. :-)
I think, before God can give someone a partner, he needs to develop a well-adjusted personality. First, when the own soul enjoys peace, someone will be able to love his partner.
In order to get a well-adjusted personality, not a few people need some pastoral care.
Where to find pastoral care?
Answer: In a lively congregation (no re-baptizing Free Church), where "Life Together" is practiced. Life together means that pastoral care is not only performed by one man in the congregation, but the members of the congregation take care of each other. It is a kind of brotherhood.Everybody needs care and everybody can take care of the brother's health of the soul.
I would join a mainline church (Lutheran, Anglican, ... ), which keeps sacramental baptism and teaches discipleship (probably not easy to find).
I can't make any sense out of your post even if I wanted to.
I meant, if someone is too much occpied with himself or herself, how shall he assume responsibility for a partner, that means how shall he love his partner?
More dark comedy brought to you by....religion.
I guess divorce rates are higher in the south because of all the soulmates walking around.
If they bought have the same religious "programming".
Why do atheists try to use the scientific method in theology? Miracles are obviously not science. So why use science to prove God? The idea that miracles don't happen is just strange because even the big bang is a miracle. Its the same with Jesus. You don't prove Jesus using science, you prove him through history.
Careful there, you almost spilled your Koolaid.
There is no legitimate history of Jesus, just a bunch of fairy tales written geneations later. We use science and reason to determine what to believe about everything including biblical nonsense.
So provide proof of jesus please. As for the big bang being a miracle...there's nothing miraculous about it...it happened and in its process created numerous universes. We say scientific data because it is more reliable than a book written by man that has never been updated or changed to meet the present day. When science gets something wrong they make the corrections and admit it, when religion gets something wrong they simply blame it on the devil.
Even science has places where things exist and no reason can be developed. There are differential equations that cannot be solved. So your reason is flawed in the sense that there are answers you cant possibly calculate. Those are the areas God is found and they exist everywhere in science.
well we go back to what counts as history. What makes a history book written by a PHd at Harvard anymore accurate than the bible. FYI: History does acknowledge that Jesus exists. Ive read multiple books acknowledging that J3sus existed.
Theology isn't all that different from philosophy, but philosophy seldom, if ever, makes claims as to the origin of life, the universe and other things that conflict with what the sciences have discovered to be true.
You've done well to catch on to one of the tricks of the trade. They DEMAND you prove God to them by science. This is such a ploy, a method of trolling no more or no less. It is bait. They have not in the slightest disproved God by science or any other means. And they know what they demand is a false demand. They know no astronomer looked through a telescope and saw God performing a miracle and published it. So it is a ploy. If you take their bait at all they will say, that's not proof, that's not proof. Anything you say they will say that's not proof. As if they had any. As if they had the slightest proof for their beliefs. And as if anyone owed them any proof. Who owes them this proof? Why is it anyone's job to prove anything to them? To anyone demanding proof, seek and you shall find. Why should I do your work for you? I seek God. He reveals Himself to me. Quit pestering me for something you know you will reject whatever I say. And quit saying a Christian nation has to have scientific proof of its God to remain Christian. Newton and Kepler were Christian. Georges LeMaitre who proved the big bang was a catholic Jesuit priest ! We do have proof. For us. And you could find the evidence if you looked and quit shouting (falsely) that there is none. There is so much evidence. And if you really were interested, I've offered many people to talk about the low entropy of the early universe. All these "scientists" go running. I actually know as others do too there is scientific evidence stronger than any other theory known that the universe did not occur by chance. God bless America.
"Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically."
– Stanton, Graham. The Gospels and Jesus. Oxford University Press, 2002; first published 1989, p. 145
The life of the real Jesus attracted and convinced disciples who proclaimed him throughout the known world. how do the portraits of the actual Jesus, the historical Jesus and the Gospel Jesus match up to "real" in that sense? major aspects of the actual Jesus are unreported and thus unknowable... the depiction of the historical Jesus (or better "the reconstructed Jesus") is the farthest from giving us the real Jesus.
– Raymond Brown. Intro to the New Testament 2002. p 105-6
"In the twenties of the first century C.E., this man walked out of the hills of Nazareth and into world culture."
– James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Editor and Director of the Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea Scrolls Project, an internationally recognized expert in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus Research, and the Gospel of John.
These are exciting days to study Jesus in context. Archaeology is flourishing... When all is said and done, though, it is clear that Jesus lived in a Jewish context.
– E.P. Sanders, "Jesus in Historical Context", Theology Today, 1993
‘Only after such a process of selection [of material] can we come to recognize the historical 'Jesus, the Jewish Jesus, the Jesus who could have arisen out of none other than Jewish surroundings, but whom the Jews, from certain historical and personal reasons which we shall understand later, could not receive as their Messiah nor his teaching as the way of redemption.’
-Joseph Klausner's Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teaching (trans. Herbert Danby; London: Allen & Unwin, 1929) p 127
there are answers you cant possibly calculate. Those are the areas God is found and they exist everywhere in science.
Grade F. God of the Gaps.
"Tacitus's report confirms what we know from other sources, that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, sometime during Tiberius's reign."
– Bart D. Ehrman (2005:212) Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew Oxford University Press, New York.
"Even science has places where things exist and no reason can be developed."
This statement is logically flawed. If you replaced "can be" with "have yet been", you would have a stronger position.
In general, your post is based on the god of the gaps principle. You have gone to the end of your understanding of the universe and inserted your god where your knowledge ends. Your statement still has not satisfied your burden of proof from the claim of your gods existence. Without proof or verifiable evidence that your god exists, any claims about the actions or abilities of that god are invalid.
Your position has been posted on this blog many times and leaves you two options to base your arguments on.
1. You do not understand the scientific theories, and the verifiable evidence that supports them, that explain many of the things you attribute to your god. This is called an argument from ignorance.
2. You do understand the theories and verified evidence, but choose do deny it because it does not support your unverified hypothesis. This is called an argument from dishonesty.
In future posts, please let us all know which of these two positions your comments are based on. Ignorance or dishonesty.
Thanks Chrism for the supporting evidence.
No no, you dont understand Eric. Take a differential equations course. They also exist in Thermodynamics. These equations CANNOT BE SOLVED. EVER. Unless you change what we know as logic which would require a complete overhaul of mathematics.
Yes there are equations that have not yet been solved. But Im not talking about those equations.
Thank you for your inspiring bravery. All thanks be to God. :)
Because atheists have all their faith placed in science, zealots for science. Or if you prefer, they are nature worshipers, putting the creation well above the Creator. View them in that light, and they become highly predictable!
You said, "Because atheists have all their faith placed in science, zealots for science. Or if you prefer, they are nature worshipers, putting the creation well above the Creator. View them in that light, and they become highly predictable!"
I'm going to be predictable for you here.
Of course, you've got most of it backwards. All atheism is, is a disbelief in gods. Nothing more, nothing less. Atheism doesn't say anything about what to believe. Atheism doesn't cause one to believe in science or reason. It is an open mind and the ability to reason that will lead one to atheism. You got cause and effect reversed.
You were correct in your assessment that atheists are predictable. They are so because they tend to hold the rational side of the argument. It is the theists that can be unpredictable, because there is no rational basis for their argument. They are free to adjust their story to fit their whims, though most will simply parrot what their preacher tells them.
I think this is more about keeping Christians from dating people who have different beliefs than they do. Heaven forbid that they fall in love with someone of a different faith and be tempted to compromise their beliefs a tiny bit in order to make the relationship work. All this offers is, perhaps, the best choice of potential mates who just happen to share your religious beliefs, while meanwhile someone who is a better match for your personality, lifestyle, temperament, and a bunch of other stuff that makes people compatible is out there. It just seems so terribly limiting, and probably results with many folks just settling for someone who is just OK, but at least they can both go to the same church.
Allah u Akbar – God is Great
Those who don't believe in Allah will be sent to hell
First of all moron you'd have to provide the proof that hell even exists for anyone to believe you! Second, what if they believe in another god (not that any exist but just for argument sake)?
Is that just Muslim hell, or Christian hell too? I ask because it could be the difference between spending time in a Canadian prison and being in a Texas lockup.
Christian hell is 1.3897652189675432190871625 degrees hotter.
People are lonely, so they try anything to find a mate. The best way is to just be yourself, pursue those interests you truly love and hopefully, you'll luck out and find someone.
"Whenever he was talking about being hard up he often used to say that he thought the easiest way to make money would be to start a religion."
Neison Himmel, briefly a roommate of Hubbard in Pasedena during the fall of 1945, in a 1986 interview, quoted in Bare-Faced Messiah, The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard (1987) by Russell Miller
IT DEPEND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE IN YOUR ACCOUNT. IF THE POPE OR GOD FOUND OUT YOU HAVE A LOT OF MONEY, THEY WILL COME TO YOU QUICKLY . ONCE YOU GET DIVORCE, GOD WANT HAVE OF YOUR INCOME
I don't C. Mingle is bad though ... nothing wrong with finding someone with similar interests. We all no how prevalent pot smoking is, but find a profile on plenty of fish that says "yes" to the drug question. So now we have drug using liars mixed in with everyone else since they have nowhere to go.(I am neither pro or anti ). Maybe Christians have felt left out as s sub group? Nothing wrong with it.
I'm a Christian and regretfully have to say that a lot of Christians are fakers. For example, most of the "single" women at my church are fatter and older than me, and already have kids from previous relationships. Plus, these women did'nt even finish high-school and expect to date a professional like myself. Then they complain they can't find a Christian husband. It's all a bunch of BS.
Sad thing is, most of those women are there just to find a man. I don't go to church, not particularly religous, but I find the concept of using a church as a singles bar laughably appauling.
@Rahul: Stating that most chrsitards are fakes is the 'no true scotsman fallacy'...look it up.
Rahul? tch..tch.. didn't you find a good christian name? Why are you still keeping the "infidels' first name? Not accepted much?
As a Christian, I find this advertising offenseive and blasphemous. Not the first time tho, that evangelicals are being used by big business. Think Republican party.
Who in their right mind wants a president whose name is synonymous with bung hole foam? A freak who brings a dead baby home to sleep with? Evangelicals!! That's who !!
What this article seems to be telling me is that many religious people (esp Evangelicals) are having trouble finding a suitable partner. I have also read articles on Christian sites indicating the growing frustration of Christian women of not being married. Targeted dating sites not doubt exist because they attempt to fill a need in the religious community albeit with unrealistic expectations.
If all those christian women hadn't been so eager to divorce and use the courts to rob their former benefactors of everything they could... maybe more men would be willing to get married. Makes you think doesn't it? See, me personally, I don't care how many times a woman goes to church a week... I'll never marry one that has divorced her husband. She's proved herself incapabilty of living up to the commitment, why should I offer myself up as her next victim?
There are a lot of single women who go to dating sites christian or otherwise. the problem is not of Christians alone. I know you have an agenda. but i still want to put it in the right perspective.
I see nothing wrong with a christian network for singles. Many parents want their sons and daughters to marry within their own religion...understandable. Many people like Scott have ideas of what they want in a mate, prerequisite stats that they deem necessary for them. Many girls like many men have played around had unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and now reap the consequences of their actions. In the church i go to we have many young men and very few girls so their answer is to look outside the church, you wont change them they will change you. The Bible says not to be unequally yoked. If you use this media to search for a mate use the brains God gave you. If you want single never married and no children the same faith you are this gives you the ones that are available. Then meet them go on a date see what clicks but before you fall in love or lust PRAY this is your key that God gave you to find out if this is His will and His desire for you. If you are divorced then look for divorced partners but again pray before you commit. This can be a good tool but not to be used blindly and taken for face value. You shop around before you buy a car then you find one you run it thru car max to find out whats been done to it before you sign on the dotted line so you find a guy or girl you think might be what your looking for do your homework and see if they are the christian they claim to be and again pray for God to reveal what His will is in this. God did give us free will but He expects us to remain in His will therefore, we must seek Him first and use the tools He provides for us and the brains he gave us. And after you have found that person you must pray together and work to keep that love alive just like in your walk with God, if you dont pray or go to church or read His Word one day you will find out you have drifted away from Him just like you will drift away from your spouse.
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.