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.”
Hello Pirate, you are just as stupid and dumb is the rest of the world.
Why? Because he doesn't believe in the invisible man who lives in the sky who happens to be really bad with money?
Thank you for the kind words, but so you know I am a member of Mensa. You should read your bible before spouting off like that. You would know what I was talking about. Its not very christian, this name calling too, btw.
If God is finding a match for me, he's not doing a very good job. No match in college, no match in my 20's, 30's or 40's. The people I'm attracted to have never been attracted to me (as far as I know).
Well, I guess it's time you wash down a handful of anti-depressants with a pail of scotch.
Wow Choad..... WT'Flip Wilson? Tell us that you are kidding. There a lot in his position, and you think it's best to just end it all?
Is this the Atheistic reasoning for life you want society to embrace? If you can't it's reasonable to just commit suicide.
Marks – first of all – what does atheism have with respect to recommendations of suicide? Second, I think that was more of a joke than anything. Third, sorry for the guy.. but this world is rarely fair.. Good luck, hope you find someone. Prayer won't help I can tell you that much!
Marks – you're right. I was being facetious, however it was still a pretty @sshole thing to say. Matt – I do apologize. You were simply being open and honest, and as such did not deserve my snotty retort. Don't give up hope – and try to ignore idiots such as myself. Good night.
I met my soul-mate through Feltchmasters. He is divine. Thank you, gawd.
HEY CNN where is my comment?HEY CNN where is my comment?HEY CNN where is my comment?HEY CNN where is my comment?
Young naked girls and guys looking to hook up for one night stands on the website that sounds like wig lurch.
I'd maybe be into checking out "christian-a.nal-cougars"......"christian mingle"? NO thanks!!
No sites like that can help you. I saw all the commercials and don't believe any of them as a Christian. All you've to do is pray the Lord for the right person as a Christian. If you do it with the right motive as a Christian, the Lord will grant it to you. I tell you that because I have been there. I was with someone for five years and it was a complete waste of time with him. He was at least 15 years older than me and he couldn’t understand or lead the way. I was a teen and when I realized that he was not able to identify real life from Hollywood drama, I decided to move alone without him. This man was living in a dream world. For someone like me a foreign teenager who understand life after years of trials, for the ordinary USA teen, you are able to call me a survivor. I decided that he was a lost cause and I move on. I pray the Lord that I will meet the right man and the only one for the rest of life as a born again Christian. Believe it or not I did meet and marry that man. He is not intellectual, rich, or a prince, even educated, but he is the one. I am highly educated with a master degree and he is a simple man with a high school diploma and he is the one. We have been married for eight years and he has been making more money than me who is highly educated with a master degree in computer science. He made twice my salary and he is a very understanding person, and treats me like a queen. He gave me any thing I ever wanted. This I will call a gift from God the Lord himself.
You see you don’t really need a commercial site to persuade you, all you need is Jesus, trust in Him with all your heart and call Him and he will answer you.
You dont seem to understand the term "sample size."
Refer to Number 2 on the list!
Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
btw – your bible clearly explains what a racist pig your Jeebus was, refer to Matthew 15:21-28
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to Him and urged Him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before Him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
27 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Yeah, your Jeebus referred to a woman who believed in him as a dog, just because she was not one of the "lost sheep of Israel"??? Pretty sick if you ask me!
This is amazing. I can go and tell the hot girl next door that God wants me to sleep with her...and then say God wants me to dump her!!!
Michelle Bachmann did the same thing...last year she said God has asked her to be president...now she says God asked her to drop out of the race!!!
Any person that doesn't believe in a soul mate doesn't believe that everything happens for a reason. Fate is out of the question because God isn't in control, and doesn't truly "know" who you'd eventually end up with. But the important thing is not wondering if the person is the person you're "meant to be with," but taking the time to get to know the person and if they fit the qualities of a person who is someone you'd be the right fit with, for all the reasons of love and common interests etc., and you believe that God would be happy with that union.
My mom used to tell me there was one person out there just for me. I'm 65 and haven't met him yet. What if he's a pygmy in the Ituri Rain Forest? Or somebody on Samoa or in China? I'm an athiest and going to hell in a handbasket for sure. Christian Mingle may help people, I guess, but don't they recommend meeting people at church these days like they used to?
It would seem that if god has someone chosen for you, you wouldn't have to "mingle"; so what's the point of the website?
Are gays welcome to mingle? I would imagine they aren't...just a thought.
God didn't have anything to do with me finding my wife but we must be soul mates because after 38 years together we are still interested in each other, we love being together and the only women that does anything for me goes to bed with me every night.
We go to church on Holy holidays and special events. God pretty much leaves us alone and we leave him alone. We were a couple from the first time we met and it has taken a life time to learn to live with each other. We were nothing alike the day we met and we still have many different interests. We have spent a life time sharing our differences. If we had looked for partners on one of those internet sites we would have never found each other. No one would have put us together because we had so few things in common.
Good life lesson in that post. You mention sharing your differences, so you recomend that folks should search or be open to ones that have different interest?
38 years is an amazing run, congrads.
Marks from Middle River – We have never voted for the same person for President a single time. We are both musicians but we don't play any of the same style stuff but we love to listen to each other play. She has four college degrees and I have an Associate Certificate. I speak three languages she speaks English only. There are many, many more things like that in our life, the differences are interesting and keep things going for us.
In 38 years there are plenty of challenges so I don’t know if I would recommend looking for differences but it worked great for us.
>>>" the nature of religion is to NOT believe in yourself"
I remember the commercial for Christian Mingle and one of their statements is:
"often we wait for God when God wants us to take action"
Sounds like they are giving Christians very similar advice as you claim.
'sounds' that way and 'is' that way are two different things, nice try....believeing yourself capable requires action from within, not influence from without...this is not a 'better yourself to be a great person' program but a profit seeking business advertising the absolute existence of a mate for you based on your faith, for god never makes mistakes and has your mate ready for you....this is no choice, of no value to personal growth, and requires no effort on your part, just to have a chain wrapped around your neck so you may be led places, much like a dog...very hard to believe in yourself if that is what you allw for yourself and no better...
The issue is that what I most remember about the Christians mingle site's commercial was how it took the path of saying that we as Christians should put more effort into such and not just wait for God. In some ways I view a site such as this in the same spirit of the sermon of "the man on his roof during the flood". Or the story of the man with the busted wheel on his wagon.
Also the chain you speak of is the make and model of most folks both within and outside of the Faiths. As an atheist the principles of belief are not that much different. That is why some rabid atheist make the same passionate speeches in tone and form. The chain that leads all of us is the belief that each of us is right.
And if you listen to some right-wing bible thumpers, they say the Internet is the playground of the DEVIL. Explain how there are so many Christians on the Internet that warrant a Christian dating site. I'm a happy atheist, and I know enough of the history of computers and the internet to know that a lot of atheists and agnostics were involved in its creation. Maybe christians should take a moment to reflect on that.
They argue that god was working thru the Atheists, even if they're not aware of it. Imaginary heroes can do anything man!
" if you listen to some right-wing bible thumpers,"
You answered your question in the opening of your post. "some", and that is the key to understanding groups. Yes there are Christians that do see the Internet as a potential evil thing but, it is no different than when doctor Phil or doctor Drew voice concerns over it. When you look at TD jakes and other churches down to the small community church that I belong to, use the Internet.
When you said "some" I felt that you understood that there were divisions in different groups of Christians. So, i am unsure totally why "some" have such a issue but for the mass I do not believe there is a issue.
Marks – this is exactly why you can't rely on christianity – nor any religion for that matter – for answers to life... again, quoting my favorite bible study website:
The Bible is supposedly God's perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means of overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books which is the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man.
No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigmatic symbols. And yet the perfect God expects us imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
There is no such thing as ‘Divine Dating’ and the above article is an abomination and void of any spiritual understanding.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary the word ‘divine’ means: of, like, or from God or a god; holy.
People by nature are born in sin and unless they repent will remain spiritually blind and separated from God. The Word of God confirms in 1 Cor. 15:44 that there is a natural and a spiritual body.
The word repent means a lot more than what by nature you have been made to believe and we invite you to read the articles ‘Repent’, ‘What is Sin?’ And ‘Victory over Sin’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
In truth the word repent means to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit mankind is of) unto God (Acts 26:18). Without the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4) mankind will remain spiritually blind and separated from God and unable to understand the Word of God as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
Also, for a better understanding of the above and what it means to be a Christian, we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.
All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of
God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.
He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).
Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).
wonderful quoting....now, what does sin and repentance have to do with a dating website meant to drag your people in by their beads?....and please, show me you're a person who thinks first and say it as eloquently in your own words...no quotes...
Just making some corrections about an inane article and a silly dating service.
I'd rather read soeone's thoughts than link to another's articles, slides, photos, yada yada yada.....think it...write it....
Jespo – those World Decieved guys are Zelots. You won't get much conversation out of them just dogma.
God gave us free will; i.e. the ability for us to discern, make mistakes and learn. The marketing of is site is offensive to this believer.
I'm somewhat on the fence about the site. Obviously they're a business, but then they provide a service. St. Paul specifically advises men to not "seek" a wife. That almost suggests to me to avoid such a site and that God will have you run into any person you're supposed to. In fact there is kind of a conventional wisdom of it will "happen when you're not looking for it." That said I'm not here to judge anyone. Maybe some people actually do feel drawn to such a website and that is how God guides them to meet someone. I do know couples who have met through sites and seem happy.
free will ? with the threat of burning in hell for billions of years should I exercise that will-who can believe such garbage
There is no god....this is just a business out to profit on the mental/emotional weakness of others, much like any other business....will be interesting to see how many get duped into Believing this garbage instead of believing in themselves...but then again, the nature of religion is to NOT believe in yourself...
Yeah, this is a business focused on a specific interest group.
As for the no God part.. I have yet to see any solid empirical stating either way, making it up to the individual to decide for themselves.
hhmm....when you know without needing to KNOW, then you'll know, and then you'll decide, or not...
I run fast and far from Jesus freaks. I like normal people. Ones who don't think a genocidal sky fairy will grant wishes if you beg him enough times.
Evangelicals be they atheist or of whatever religion are indeed best avoided.. Though the atheists trolls on these forums who pass of their opinions about the non-exsistance of a higher power as scientific fact are much the same as a Buddhist priest referring strictly to the bible for spiritual matters.
I never thought of the term genocidal sky fairy, but I guess that's about right. If you belive in God, you'll live forever, if you don't you'll burn in hell. Yep, that's God's Love alright.
Just another way of thinning out the herd. If you are a big believer, then this site will hopefully bring like minded people together. In that sense it doesn't matter to me how they spin the marketing side.
give me money or you are going to hell, i am becoming a preacher that's where the money is
Actually looking at the 26+ pages of comments polarized belief web traffic cash is the way to go! And throw in some politics for double your money.
Being a Preacher is NOT where the money "is." Being a Preacher is where getting up around 3 or 4 AM and sitting with the terminally ill, is. It is also where feeding the hungry, caring for drug addicts and the abused, is. It isn't a pretty sight at times. But, it most assuredly is NOT where "the money is." Being a preacher-man is about preaching the funerals of the people you have known and loved for 40 years-or someone that you have never met until they have been inbalmed and wheeled to the front of the church house. I cant find that there is much money in it, lots of stress, though....
I though CNN was appropriately being cynical about the site's implication that they somehow had the inside track about what God wanted for your life.
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.