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.”
From p. 1:
(only for the newbies)
WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!
To all us overse-xed h-o-mo-sapiens:
: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute.
Added information before making your next move:
from the CDC-2006
"Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
"Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-
Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.
"Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'"
Obviously, Planned Parenthood, parents and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
Nice cut and paste
yeah, right………..god gets you the girl, wins your football game, helps you win the lottery, guides you to victory in war, blesses YOUR country only………………………etc., etc.
Some of you folks are frackin INSANE!!!!!!!!
COULD ATHEISTS/NON-BELIEVERS STOP STOP STOP THINK THAT WHOEVER POST HATE/BAD STUFF ABOUT ATHEISM ARE CHRISTIANS !!!!! 20% OF AMERICA ARE NON-CHRISTIANS!!!
Actually, atheists only make up about 15%. We're pretty small and generally irrelevant (trust me, we know this)......UNTIL CNN's BELIEF BLOG puts out another sensasionalist Christian article, baby!! Then we come out swinging! ;)
Observer swing like a girl!
16% of the U.S. are not afflicated with any religion, of those are 1.6% Atheists.
Of course Jesus told you to love your enemies, but he also taught the following lesser known things:
– A desperate Greek woman was begging Jesus to save her daughter, Jesus replied that it is not right for him to take the bread of his children (His followers) and toss it to the dogs (The woman and her daughter) (Mark 7:24-27)
– Jesus, in a parable, taught: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27)
– Jesus actually hated and cursed his enemies with eternal hell (Matthew 13: 41-42; 23: 13-33; Mark 9: 48-49). Also: "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33)
– To the people who offended his followers like some of us atheists contributing to this forum right now, the compassionate Jesus threatened: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea". (Matthew 18:6).
– About family value, Jesus said: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
And there are many more, many more….
Yeah... as mentioned by everyone here, it's all crazy.
If Jesus is all that, then you'd be a fool not to obey him.....
I started out sympathetic to all the religious people. But now I realize that the atheists are actually smarter and more moral because their morality comes from reason and internal goodness rather than fear of being punished. Thank you all and good nigggggggggggggggggggggtht
Sorry everyone. I realize i really haven't accomplished anything positive today (realistically, my whole life) with my comments, that have been insulting to many. Have a good night. I wish both my fellow atheists and all the Christians that i've insulted well.
Perhaps my name was written with small "l" not "Lady" your noob. Atheism actually suck anyway
Oops you'd actually fooled me. I'd believed you but I'm sure now reading that you didn't just come to that conclusion. God bless you though and have a good night.
A child has stolen my name and amazingly, a child has stopped commenting under another name.
bnb42: Many churches have been built hundreds or even thousand years ago. Why can't we build both hospitals and churches? There are Christian hospitals too your mo.ron
Jesus Christ 4 ever.....you might want to have a talk with angry girl.
Wow.. I just did a quick scan of a few pages of comments. Some of you have literally been writing comments and responding t comments for the better part of your Saturday night. Time to get a life, maybe? lol
LOL a crazy troll pretended to be me. I did NOT post that commen about that "I'm confused" whatever.
"An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated."
Spot on. Without actually investigating the world we live in, using science, and actually caring about whether or not something is most likely to be true has got us to where we are now.
Yes, Chris, but WHAT KIND of "deed"? WHAT KIND of "involvement in life"? You can't just start with the thoughtless premise that "everyone knows what's right." That would imply natural law. Atheism is fashionable right now, and you pseudo-sophisticates aren't impressing anyone.
@Paul – The bible is a horrible source of morality. Contemporary societal norms are a much better source. I'm sure that if I suggested that god told me to sacrifice my first born son (like he allegedly told Abraham to do to his son Isaac) because he likes the smell of burning flesh...you'd have me committed. But, it's in your precious book of nonsense...
Being Christian is the greatest gift in the world.... Being Christian is nothing but love (L)
I agree it is a great great gift and all about love. :) God's peace be with you.
Does the love extend to equal rights for gays and not calling some doctors murderers?
Observer, Christians support equal human rights for all people and always have. We just also support keeping marriage exactly as God defined it as a holy bond between man and wife. And you know what, you can disagree, but that doesnt make you more loving. It just makes you of a different opinion. And as far as doctors, I am one. I wouldn't personally perform an abortion, nor do I judge those who do. There are medically necessary abortions. And sin depends on one's knowledge it is a sin. Whether they sin is between them and God. I don't judge them. And yeah, I belong to the group and I love my fellow doctors including those that perform abortions. But you can look in any embryology textbook, a new unique life begins at conception.
Marriage wasn't "defined" by god. It was defined by humans who knew nothing except what they knew from their own culture, and said they spoke for god. Conception does begin a unique life, but ascribing person-hood to a clump of cells with no neural tube is not rational.
What, no, God made marriage for man and wife as has been recognized by our country since its founding and pretty much every country in the world. You can believe what you want but it doesn't give you the right to define it. And you're simply wrong medically and scientifically. As I said, any textbook will confirm the fact that a new life begins at conception. You of course can believe otherwise but it doesn't change science and medicine. Just like you can believe 2+2=5 all you like but it's still a wrong opinion.
Atheists have done NOTHING good in this country other than causing dramatic problems with our wonderful God believers and God lovers. Atheism is worse than cancer treatment. I wish they all died and were wiped away from this planet!!!!!! I'm sick and tired of those dam.n Atheists... they already took away many of our freedom and lovely rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
+1 on your Name, Angry Girl........ You sure are angry!
I'm sure God would be proud of your wish to kill all the atheists. Good job representing Christianity. Oh, and by the way, religion has caused MILLIONS of deaths. Grow up and stop thinking atheism is some evil "belief" system that wishes the worst. It's quite the opposite.
Spoken like far too many Christians I can name.
You sure are a good Christian since the biblical God was always angry and vengeful like you.
Well anger is an emotion and I wouldn't blame you for expressing an emotion. I admit too when I think of what people do fighting to make this country immoral, it makes me angry too. But I think you already know not to wish harm on others. Offer it to God. Ask Him to guide you to handle only how much and what He wants you to. God bless.
You sound kind of like a Christian barbarian, but I'm guessing you're trying to make Christians look bad. All sorts of games here. You tipped your hand with "lovely freedoms" . Nobody's ever said that.
Divine Dating... because god has the same luck as a coin flip at making unions that last.
This dating services is offensive, and another example of anything for a buck.I
Imagine, religious folks doing something for a buck.
Can you imagine a world without nonbelievers/atheists....... would be paradise and freedom :)
Yes, no one would question things and would just accept 2,000 year old stories about talking serpents and unicorns.
That would leave a lot or religious groups, ready to commit genocide, over whose fairy tales are best!
Observer hate God cuz he feel gilty bout bein' gayashell!
"One side prays for god to destroy their enemy, the other side does the same. Someone's going to be really disappointed.... could it be... EVERYONE?"
Yes, I can imagine it... it's called "Hell". Thankfully, it's as non-existant as your god.
"Can you imagine a world without nonbelievers/atheists....... would be paradise and freedom "
For starters, we wouldn't be here to protect you from getting stoned by your other wives for sneaking on your elder husband's/master's computer. You wouldn't even be driving let alone voting. You'd be stuck somewhere in the first millennium living kind of like the Taliban, but maybe more chanting, celibacy and self flagellation.
Observer gayashell! He gots ta ware adult diapers! He takes he luvers fist up his nastybutt!
If Atheists don't want to be criticised and hated, then why don't they shut up and keep their beliefs to themselves ?!?!
If believers don't want to be criticized, why don't they just keep their religion in their homes and places of worship instead of trying to force it on others and deny others respect and equal rights?
I make Observer respect my penus!
Nobody forced or shoveled their religion in your face ! What about the Atheists that post billboards, removed prayers from public schools, against cross in ground zero ?!!!!!????
"Nobody forced or shoveled their religion in your face ! ... removed prayers from public schools...". Just priceless...
@Josephine, you are kidding, right?
"Nobody forced or shoveled their religion in your face"
LOL. Guess you haven't heard all the believers scream about not being able to put their religious commandments in schools and government buildings. Guess you haven't heard all the believers call doctors who perform legal operations "murderers".
@Josef: For the same reason you don't.
OMG……………I did not think that an entire sentence could be an oxymoron:
"If Atheists don't want to be criticised and hated, then why don't they shut up and keep their beliefs to themselves ?!?!"
BTW……….I'm not an atheist.
God is definitely camera shy. During biblical time, he appeared everywhere. People actually saw him walking on the street. Now come the age of digital cameras and camcorders, God is no where to be seen but only on a reflection of the sun on some front glass, a burned toasted sandwich slice, a distortion on a tree… Can he for once appear to the whole world so we can put to rest the controversial question if he exists or not? Merde! mon dieu, ou es tu? (That’s mean “Sh.t! God, where are you? In French)
What do you mean?
God is constantly showing up on people's toast.... didn't you see the story on the Jesus Toaster a few weeks ago?
I think it definitely helps to strengthen a relationship when the partners share similar core values.
Why do Atheists only target Christians & Christianity? There are millions of Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc. living in the U.S. too. Why not target them as well rather than focusing on poor Christians only?! Ridiculous!
I guess because they want their head attached to their body
It's likely that Christians are targeted because they are the main leaders when it comes to hypocritically trying to deny equal rights to others.
You're playing the Christian martyr card as you must know the answer to that.
Firstly -there are a lot more Christians than Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc
Secondly – Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc do not come to our doors or try to get their religion in our face (schools, courts, ball games) Sharia Law is just another whiney Christian victim sob story – boogy-man fiction
Thirdly – Other religions are targeted when they act like Christian Evangelicals or Crusaders.
I don't feel sorry for you. You're making it up. I do feel sorry for the atheists and other religious people that you manipulate with this scam.
Could someone please tell me what to believe. I'm so confused
Agnostic Lady, thank you its clear you have sympathy and caring for Christians and others in general. I think that's a good starting place. The bible says God is love. And Jesus taught when He gave us the commandment to love one another that this was something already in our heart. I believe all know God. He's already in our hearts. :)
Agnostic Lady: .......Try This:
An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.
"Could someone please tell me what to believe. I'm so confused"
The fact that you say you are agnostic says that you AREN'T confused. You apparently realize that neither believers nor atheists can prove the existence of God. They could all be wrong. The explosion of new knowledge gets us closer to knowing what life is all about, but it still may never be learned.
Rather than worry about being confused, why not just try to learn as much as you can about the world and appreciate the incredible things we do have? No one has all the answers, so don't worry about being the first to have them.
"neither believers nor atheists can prove the existence of God."
was intended to mean "neither believers nor atheists can prove ABOUT the existence of God."
"Could someone please tell me what to believe. I'm so confused"
Another game. She/he is really a Christian mocking the supposed confusion and indecisiveness of agnostics. This is not the kind of manipulation that is characteristic of the Jesus as described in Christian scripture. Jesus did not seem to have a personality disorder other than that little persecution issue toward the end.
Chapter and verse, where does the Bible say "god is love" ?
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.