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Is God going to hook me up online? Assessing Christian Mingle and 'soul mates'
January 7th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Is God going to hook me up online? Assessing Christian Mingle and 'soul mates'

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.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam

« Previous entry
soundoff (2,002 Responses)
  1. Observer

    Chrism,

    Still speaking of "limited comprehension:

    – Joel 3:8 “I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the Lord has spoken.”

    January 8, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Chrism

      Observer, your post is literally a self-parody. It speaks for itself. You have very limited comprehension of the verse you quote or it's implications. Sadly however, despite your limited comprehension, you smugly pretend you have great comprehension. It's not a good quality. And it's hurting you. I can only tell you again youre trying to judge God, which is never a good idea, sir, and you're doing it blindly. God is the creator of us all. He has the right to judge and to punish. If He inflicted this punishment He had a reason. It doesn't make ahem immoral. You on the other hand are His creation. You have no purpose in mind other than to troll pretty much. You have no right to judge God. Yet you do. That makes you immoral. That's God 1 you 0. I'd quit now. It's not a game you want to keep playing.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hilarious. Chrism is telling others what to do and how to live. "It's not a good quality."

      Who put you in charge?

      January 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  2. Paul

    Did any of you see two little boys wandering around? I've lost Observer and Chris. They were pretending to be big boys and got lost.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Observer

      Paul,

      Why not act like a grown-up and cut out the juvenile insults?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Paul

      @Observer
      Why not admit that you're incapable of upholding your side of a debate that you at first pretended to understand? You jump on Christians, but you're hardly more "enlightened." They disgust me, but your shallow pretense disgusts me more.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Observer

      Paul,

      See? It's better when you act like a grown-up and not make ignorant statements like assuming I'm an atheist when you obviously don't know better.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Paul

      @Observer
      Given your obvious intellectual dishonesty and limitations, why do you bother trying to engage people in debates? When defeated, you sulk. When you think you might have the advantage, you're snarky. You're a coward. At least Chris has the character to accept being bested in a debate. You're just a passive aggressive loser. You should thank me for teaching you.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  3. LibrePenseur

    Please open you own Bible and check it for yourself:
    Human Sacrifices condoned in the Bible:
    – In Judges 11:1-11, 29-33, Jephtah sacrificed her daughter to God. God did not object even once.
    – In Genesis 22:1-19, God tested Abraham’s faith and asked him to sacrifice his son to God.
    – The whole New Testament story is based on human sacrifice. God sacrificed his own son for us (Actually just for the Christians).
    . We, atheist, have no original sin.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Well, if you understand that Jesus was the final sacrifice then that means for Christians human sacrifice is not our issue.

      Also, how did all of this discussion come from a article about Christians dating?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Q

      Well, dating, marriage, human sacrifice. Pretty much all the same, just a matter of degree...

      January 8, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Eric

      For Q
      +1

      January 8, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Well, dating, marriage, human sacrifice. Pretty much all the same, just a matter of degree..."

      Well with dating and marriage the suffering just goes on and on ... human sacrifice, you only suffer once :D

      January 8, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • LibrePenseur

      Human decency is what encourages us to come to this forum where there is a good gathering of Christians and try our best to help them free themselves from dogmatic indoctrination. And we welcome the Christians to try the same to convert us. Let's try use our intellect politely, amicably to make this world a better place to live.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hmm... So to you the sole use of this forum is for folks to convert or be converted?

      For me, this is a great place to find that its those on the extremes on both the Atheist and Faithful side that live to separate us as a society. You welcome us to try to convert you, what about welcoming folks to find a way for tolerance of both sides?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  4. Bob

    Religious fools and their money...

    January 8, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  5. Paul

    So ... Observer and Chris are running away now? You two need to study a bit more before pretending to be Christopher Hitchens. Not only are you unable to answer my questions, but you obviously don't even fully understand the questions. Just admit that you're a couple of fashionable atheists going along with the crowd.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Observer

      Paul,

      I have no idea if there are any universal morals. It wasn't relevent to your comments about Chris.

      I am an agnostic, not an atheist. Just another bad assumption by you.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Chris

      Wow, a couple minutes from my last post and Paul is already missing me. I'm willing to answer any questions you ask, though I haven't got a response from "do you think I deserve to be sent to hell?". And I think I know why. You do, too.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Observer

      I am also REALLY gay.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Eric

      I don't know how this may fir in this argument but....

      mor·al

      adjective
      1.
      of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral att.itudes.
      2.
      expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
      3.
      founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
      4.
      capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
      5.
      conforming to the rules of right conduct ( opposed to immoral): a moral man.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  6. LibrePenseur

    Another instance of "sublime morality" of the Bible: God threatened to punish a mother by making her eat her own baby if she did not follow his command (Deuteronomy 28:45-57)…PLEASE READ the Bible and set yourself free! You will give others less headache also :)

    January 8, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • LibrePenseur

      Oh and by the way, I have absolutely no life, much like many of the other repeat posters here. But it's still reasonable entertainment., I guess.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  7. notachristian

    Two girlfriends go into a five-story women only hotel. The man at the front door explains to them how the hotel works: "there are five floors, go up one floor at a time and when you find what you're looking foor, stop there." So the girls go to the first floor, the sign reads: "short and plain men are on this floor." The women go to the next floor, where the sign reads: "short and handsome men are on this floor." The women go to floor 3, and the sign says: "Average height and plain men are on this floor." the women are tempted to go in, but decide to go up to the next floor. On the fourth floor, the sign says: "average height and handsome men are on this floor." the women are about to go in, but remember there is a fifth floor. Curious, they go up. The sign on the fifth floor says: "there are no men here. this floor was only built to prove that there is no way to please a woman! That is why there is no such thing as a soulmate...women can't be pleased! Especially not "christian" women!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Jenna

      You probably can't get any, eh? ;)

      January 8, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  8. LibrePenseur

    The bible also mentions in Numbers 31:1-47 that Moses, following God's command to punish the Midianites, ordered his troops to kill all men, women (Including pregnant ones), children, elderly people, new born babies BUT specifically told them to spare the virgin girls/young women for themselves and for the priests' enjoyment. The Bible specifically states 16,000 virgins were “spared”...How more "moral" can the Bible be?

    January 8, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  9. md2205

    Neither does G-d support human sacrifice and that is written in the Bible. One of the seven basic laws given to people by G-d is not to murder. The only time human sacrifice topic was brought up in the Bible is when G-d told Abraham to bring him up on the mountain he would show him. The Hebrew language "bringing him up" means a sacrificial offering. However, it also means just that – to bring him up. Avraham took Isaac up the mountain and tied him to sacrifice him, thinking G-d meant to make him an offering. However, after he tied him up there, G-d told him to lower his knife and not touch Isaac at all with the knife. G-d had wanted him to bring Isaac up, for the purpose of showing the world that Abraham will do anything G-d says, even if it is against his nature. This made it clear to everyone who lived from then on that Abraham was a true servant of G-d, who would do anything for G-d according to what G-d wants, even those acts that run against his nature. That is the true service of G-d. A person cannot think that he is serving G-d when he does what he wants. The service of G-d is what G-d wants him to do. G-d told us what He wants us to do. He gave us seven basic laws to fulfill, and that is our job in this world, to make the world a place that G-d can "live" in. They are: to believe in One G-d, not to blaspheme Him, not to murder, not to steal and kidnap, not to do adultery (etc.), not to eat the limb of a living animal (animal cruelty) and to set up effective courts of justice.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Observer

      I don't know of anyone claiming the Bible supports human sacrifices. It does support slavery, the inferiority of women, discrimination against the handicapped, genocide, and hypocritically condemns incest.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Q

      Jepthah's daughter perhaps?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • LibrePenseur

      To Observer, the Bible does support Human sacrifice in 3 instances. I need to do some research and I will get back to the forum.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Observer

      LibrePenseur,

      Please do the research and let us know. God does threaten to make women eat their children, but it seems like that would be more of a punishment than a sacrifice.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Chrism

      Md, excellently out especially regarding Abraham and Isaac. To this day I am astounded anyone could look at these verses and equate it to God wanting human sacrifice when it was so expressly the opposite.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • fsmgroupie

      sounds like md22 will kill his own child if his god so demands

      January 8, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Chrism

      Fsmgrouple, sounds like you missed the whole point and then told a lie just to make someone else look bad. No, if you got the point there has never been a single time God ever asked anyone to kill their own child. There was only one time in history that He seemed to, and it was a very very devout man who God knew could reality test very well and could hear Him very well, and in that one and only time it was a test. And if you understood what happened at the end of the test, you'd understand why every Jew and Christian knows God will never ask anyone that test again.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • What ?

      Chrism,
      Abraham was a myth, as was the "almost" slaying of Isaac. Your childish attempt to take it literally robs it of it's ultimate meaning. "Myths" are not bad things. All ancient cultures had myths and national "stories".

      January 8, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  10. Observer

    md2205,

    "Living in the same house, the employer would have to treat his help with dignity, even giving up his own pillow at night if there was only one in the house, for the worker to sleep with.'

    You really ought to read the Bible sometime. Rather than your fantasized giving up a pillow, instead it says it's fine to BEAT your slaves as long as they can recover in a couple of daysj.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • md2205

      Chris, You must be reading from mistranslated text, as it clearly says "IF he hit his worker..." and then proceeds to list the punishments that the employer would get.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Observer

      The word of God:

      – Exodus 21:20-21 "IIf a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property”

      January 8, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Chris

      md2205, you're missing the point. The owner is cleared all wrong doing if the slave doesn't die after a couple days. That's not moral justification. How could anybody actually think that's OK?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  11. Eric from NH

    What does all this chatter have to do with the story on Christian Dating..... You're all mad!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  12. Chris

    Paul, we get our morals from living and sharing the planet together. We want to get a long as a society. I'm more moral than the God of the bible and you are too. Own it.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Paul

      Babble! Question begging won't help you. "We get our morals from living and sharing the world together." So ... you're suggesting some sort of experientially emergent morality? That's fine, but it obviously emerges differently in different people, so whose version should be follow? [This is so basic!]

      January 8, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • What ?

      Paul,
      Why should there be only one version ?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Paul

      @What?
      I didn't say there SHOULD be one version. I'm asking Chris how he arrives at HIS version!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • md2205

      Judging from the way people in various parts of the world oppress their women, abuse and traffic children and women, kill each other, make wars for land or oil, and steal from each other everyday, I don't think you can say that we form our morals from living together. Historically speaking, we did not form our own morals. G-d gave Noah the seven basic laws that I wrote in a previous post and we are charged with acting according to those laws. Any moral things you do, you do because you were taught, and you were taught from those before you whose belief system ultimately derived from – a religion.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Chris

      I already said it in my original post. If you disagree with any of my moral judgements, well, you're morally inferior as far as I'm concerned.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  13. izy

    just another reason to divide one another, religion doesnt make a person.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  14. LibrePenseur

    It is sad to see people quoting the Bible to claim God’s love or to brag about higher Christian moral standards. If they are just repeating what the priests/preachers told them, they are misinformed. If they have read the whole Bible but choose to quote only its few decent teachings and ignore the rest, then they are dishonest and hypocritical. The truth shall set you free and the truth is the Bible contains more atrocious, violent, vile, immoral, incestuous, filthy, disgusting, unscientific and contradicting teachings that any other book in Human history. PLEASE refrain from arguing back until you gather your courage, your sense of right and wrong and read the whole Bible first. Or go online and google for the word “Bible” combined with any of the adjective quoted earlier and see for yourself.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • md2205

      Chris, the English translation of the Bible doesn't allow for more explanation of the words you read. There is much more to the Bible than what you read there. There was an entire commentary on it that was handed down throughout the ages, first orally, also given by G-d, and then written. In one small portion of the written commentary, it says, among many other things: The way of the pious and the wise is to be compassionate and to pursue justice, not to overburden or oppress a servant, and to provide them from every dish and every drink. The early sages would give their servants from every dish on their table. They would feed their animals and their servants before sitting to their own meals. Does it not say (Psalms 123:2), "As the eyes of the servant to the hand of his master; as the eyes of the maid to her mistress [so our eyes are towards the L-rd our G-d...]"?

      So, too, you should not denigrate a servant, neither physically nor verbally. He is a servant to do work, not to be disgraced. Do not treat him with constant screaming and anger, rather, speak with him pleasantly and listen to his complaints. Such were the good ways in which Job took pride when he said, "Did I ever despise the judgment of my servant and my maid when they argued with me? Did not my Maker make him, too, in the belly; did not the same One form us both in the womb?"

      People do not realize that what is written in the Bible is not followed exactly as written. When it says "an eye for an eye", a well-known phrase, people do not know that because of what it says in the oral part of the Bible that was given by G-d along with the written part, that it means if someone causes someone else's eye damage, he has to pay compensation for its value to that person, like what we do nowadays when we sue someone for damages. And we do that nowadays because of the Bible. We are not acting better than what it says in the Bible. People might think so simply because they have no idea there is a corresponding oral law that was handed down to Moses at the same time with with the written part and that explains HOW we implement what it says in the Bible.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  15. erzhik

    God is a loser.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  16. Observer

    Paul,

    Speaking of doing some thinking, why would you claim that Chris doesn't believe in moral absolutes? Did he say that or did you just make it up?

    January 8, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Paul

      You've got to be kidding. So you're comfortable with people just making up whatever moral "absolutes" feel good to them? That's the definition of subjectivist emotivism and you can't get to moral "absolutes" (true for all people at all times) from there. While I'm at it, you can't explain free will or an essentialist self from a strictly naturalistic cosmology, which is what I assume you pretend to accept and understand.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Observer

      Paul,

      Sorry you missed the question. Here it is again:

      Speaking of doing some thinking, why would you claim that Chris doesn't believe in moral absolutes? Did he say that or did you just make it up?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Paul

      Observer, being deliberately obtuse is not going to help you. Chris admits to believing in moral subjectivism. Subjectivism is not objective, it is subjective. Moral absolutes are objective, not subjective. Thus, Chris does not believe in moral absolutes. Get it? Now respond to the free will and essentialist self problems.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • What ?

      Paul,
      You must have missed it, but Libet proved there is no "free will ".

      January 8, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Chris

      Paul, I'm well versed in the bible. You gotta be kidding me when you say I don't know what I'm taking about. But let's cut to the chase. You're obviously a Christian... so you think I deserve to be sent to hell when I die, right?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Paul

      @What?
      Once again, "What?" you're making unfounded assumptions. I don't believe in "free will" either. If Observer would like to argue that "free will" is a myth. That's fine. If, however, he tries to argue in favor of some sort of "free will," then he is less of a naturalist than he may think he is. Why would you assume that I believe in "free will"? You people are thick!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Paul

      I'm an atheist, Chris, the real kind who was one before it was fashionable. The "chase" is that you don't know what you're talking about. You accept a fashionable atheism without being able to defend it. If you can't defend it, you might as well believe in super ghosts. You don't know enough to pretend to be enlightened.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Chris

      Paul, you've lost me. You're also an atheist who is questioning the basis of my more values. How I arrive at my version. Is that right? Couldn't I say the same to you? If you have any... you seem to just be dissecting mine and jumping to nothingness to defend your position.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Paul

      @Chris
      What's the use of being an atheist and, I assume, have a commitment to facing reality, if you automatically accept a fashionable (politically correct) morality, or believe in "free will," or believe in some sort of essentialist self (ghost in the machine). If you believe these things, you might as well believe in some sort of super ghost "god." Either you're willing to face reality or you're not. If you're not, or you're not sure because you haven't thought deeply enough on these subjects, then stop trying to condescend to those "silly" Christians.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  17. Sambo X

    I had you all fooled... You thought I was a black man..... I'm really a 12 year old girl.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Observer

      No ... I want Sambo's man meat!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • notachristian

      Yeah? So was Michael Jackson! So what of it?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  18. Lopez

    Atheists have no life other than looking at 'faith' and 'religious' articles on CNN and criticize Christians :D

    January 8, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Observer

      Many Christians have no lives other than to be major HYPOCRITES who trash gays, equal rights, and certain doctors.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Stan

      Atheists are the ultimate hypocrites. They attack and criticize Christians ad nauseum on this board, and at the same time, essentially telling everyone they are right, and the religious must be wrong and are therefore fools. I'd say at least 90% of the 1700+ comments on this board are bigoted attacks.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Observer

      Stan,

      Speaking of hypocrites, there are FAR FAR MORE Christians guilty of adultery by divorcing and remarrying than there are total number of gays, but you won't see those hypocrites pick on their own adulterers, but pick on gays instead.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  19. Agnostic lady

    It's 1:02 AM for me I have to sleep to attend church tomorrow morning. Good Night peeps!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  20. Chris

    Christians, close your eyes. I hope you know your God advocates slavery, genocide, and human sacrifice. It's in your "good" book. Go read it. And no, the "well that was in the Old Testament" is not a valid nor moral response.

    Anyone who supports a belief system that states someone deserves to be tortured/punished forever for simply not believing and not being apart of that group is morally bankrupt.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Jake

      Agreed. It's really sad to see what the fear/threat of hell does to people. Atheists aren't the ones wishing Christians deserve to be punished. We simply just don't agree with them, but are willing to share the planet with them and hopefully create as much positivity as we can.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Observer

      Pretending that the Old Testament doesn't count is a frequent logical failure for some Christians. It tells how God wanted the world run when he set up the rules. The Bible then says that Jesus got him to make major changes in the rules.

      It's the same Bible. It's the same God.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Paul

      Morally bankrupt? Why, Chris, because you say so? You don't believe in moral absolutes, do you? So how can you make general moral judgements about ANY action? "Because everyone knows ..."? Well, then you believe in natural law. Do some thinking before you pretend to know what you're talking about!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Chris

      "How can you make general moral judgements about any action?"

      Who else could, Paul?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • md2205

      G-d does not advocate slavery. That is a misconception because of the mistranslations that abound in the English version of the Bible. G-d created a system in which people who became too poor to sustain themselves, and perhaps stole to eat, could be employed for a period of time during which they would be taken care of by their employer and not die from starvation. They would put themselves up for hire and work for their employer. Living in the same house, the employer would have to treat his help with dignity, even giving up his own pillow at night if there was only one in the house, for the worker to sleep with. One of the seven basic laws that G-d gave to everyone to do is that a person is not allowed to steal and kidnap. Slavery is kidnapping and as such is not allowed.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Chris

      md2205, please go back and actually read the bible itself. Not some apologetic response from a website you went to. The bible grants purchasing of another human, which I find immoral. The bible grants abusing and beating your slave as long as they don't die after a day or two, which I also find immoral. This isn't some nicer form of slavery.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Chrism

      Chris, God doesn't advocate any of the things you claim. And you're very mistaken about the old testament. You obviously don't understand God gave a law to a chosen people for a specific purpose. It he law was always for the Jewish people. And it was voluntary. News could choose to live by it. You fail to realize too that the Creator of mankind has different rights. if He takes a life it is taking up that life to Himself. You pretend to know better and then judge what you do not understand as immoral.

      And you miss too that we all have free will. Of course God doesn't want anyone to die for our sins. But we have free will. We need to let Him forgive us. And yes, if you think about it, to live eternally does mean needing to be purified. So we just need to cooperate with God. No one need face eternal punishment. God told us all we need about 2000 years ago. So that's it. We just accept His free gift. I really hope you don't keep ranting and raving when all you have to do is accept His free gift. God bless you.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Paul

      Chris, please, try to keep up. You're the one who made the silly comment about people behaving "morally" without even understanding what you mean by "morality." Stop pretending to know what you're talking about.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Q

      The OT, as the divinely inspired word of god, most certainly advocates the practice of slavery specifying different treatment for Israelites and non-Israelites, the proper way to release a conjugal slave, etc, etc.

      There is no free will if god is omniscient and infallible, i.e. god knows what you will do and as you cannot do otherwise (given the knowledge is infallible) there is no actual "choice".

      January 8, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • realitycheck

      @Observer
      New covenent. Get ovr it.

      Also, not every Christian is a biblical literalist. Try not to be too much of an atheist troll or confuse atheism with anti-theism, or science (methodoligical naturalism), or think atheists own rationalism or reason "because it' atheism man".. Seriously, you sound butthurt.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Chrism

      No, Hod allow slavery, it doesn't mean He promotes or advocates it. He also allowed divorce, but said He hated it. And slavery was voluntary and slaves were freed after 7 years. And itthehonest laws were precisely to insure treating fellow humans well. The law corresponded to the capacity of the people and also to God's purposes. It is not immoral. It is also however only for the Jews and this is precisely why people misinterpret it and take it wrongly when they look at old testament laws.

      God gave us free will and there is no contradiction. The only problem is your limited comprehension cannot understand God nor how His power and free will can coexist. But wrong He is certainly capable of granting it, even if only to the extent that we have true choice.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Q

      @Chrism – Slavery also included the selling of children/daughters and the taking of non-Israelite slaves by war or trade. It was certainly not exclusive to indebted servitude.

      Your statement regarding free will does nothing to undermine the simple fact that if your future choices are infallibly known by god, then you cannot actually make a choice which isn't a predetermined manifestation of god's infallible foreknowledge.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Observer

      realitycheck

      "Seriously, you sound butthurt."

      How "Christian of you". HYPOCRITICAL Christians are nothing new. Especially the ones who pretend that the Old Testament isn't the way the world would be if Jesus hadn't got God to change so many rules. Same God in the Old and New Testaments.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Q

      @Chrism – You state: "It is not immoral." You are actually suggesting slavery is not an immoral practice?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Observer

      Chrism,

      Speaking of "limited comprehension" this is what the Bible said about those slaves who you pretend are like hired help now:

      – Exodus 21:20-21 "If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property”

      January 8, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Chrism

      Q, no you mistake what I said. Slavery now is immoral. Slavery as it was in the us was immoral on many levels. Slavery even then may have included immorality. However, God providing rules to regulate it was not immoral. Nor was God's permitting something even if it was not His positive will is not immoral for God since it was part of a higher purpose.

      And no, your statements on free will are simply wrong. I did undermine your fallacy completely because I showed you that the two can co-exist, just that you are not personally capable of understanding how. And it's only you who make the assumption about God knowing all future choices. I don't even claim that. But you're wrong because you assume the choice is a predetermined manifestation. The choice could be independent and not derive from God's knowledge. The problem is you simply think you understand more than you do. You don't understand omniscience. I don't but I know God could create beings with free will if He chose. One limited way I have of reconciling it is God may transiently blind Himself to the knowledge. I don't even claim to know God is fully omniscient. But your claims are simply non sequitur. You simply operate on your own limited logic, a logic which God could transcend. You deduce erroneous conclusions only because your logic is limited, not because God is limited.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • realitycheck

      @Q

      You seem to be confused on terms. Infallibility is Latin for "not to deceive".

      Also, there are many different views of God in Christianity, including whether God is unchanging (immutable) or unaffected by the world (impassible). Take some philosophy courses.

      @Observer
      Just an observation. Nothing "in-Christian" about it, you troll.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Observer

      realitycheck,

      Passing judgement and not following the Golden Rule. The HYPOCRISY marches on and the sheer ignorance of your charge displays your lack of knowledge.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Chrism

      Observer, no as I said God does not promote or advocate the actions. He gave laws regulating it. What is immoral is the treatment of the slave. God may well view the relationship between the Jew and slave as immoral yet still permit it for the purpose of guiding His chosen people in a plan. Again, just as God permitted divorce yet said clearly even in the old testament that He hated divorce and Jesus clarified it was only for the Jews' hardness of heart that Moses allowed it.

      In fact I will mention that very verse Jesus said Moses allowed it. There is also a belief in the catholic church that Moses created some laws, perhaps again with God's general permission. But it is possible to me some laws derive more from human writing. I am certainly open to it and it simply again highlights why one should interpret the bible properly and not pick verses like you and others do and try to judge God as immoral for it like you do.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Q

      @realitycheck – I don't think I need to explain that "infallibility" is also employed as an inability to be wrong. As to your other notions of the variety of Christian thought on the nature of God, frankly, don't really care other than to lament the time wasted in their endeavors and my having to hear about it...

      January 8, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • realitycheck

      @Q
      Infallibility does not mean determinism must be a predicate or even a requirement. You can still have free will and indeterminism. Also, there is nothing that dictates reality (all that exists whether observable or comprehensible) must conform to modal logic. In fact there are many other views in mathematics and the sciences. Look at non-Aristotelian, multi-valued and quantum logic as examples. Step back from youvown atheist indoctrination for a bit.

      @Observer,
      Pointing out you an irrational troll is not un-Christian or hypocritical. Just an observation. You anti-theistic argument is built on biblical literalism and cherry picking. Like many atheist trolls.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:30 am |
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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.