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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

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soundoff (2,002 Responses)
  1. John

    The term 'soul mate' turns Christian love on it's head. The term 'soul mate' is oriented around 'me'. Love is not about 'me.' It's not about finding someone who completes you. True, real, everlasting love is about dying for the person you love everyday, in little ways and big ones, until your last breath.

    January 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  2. gary

    Delusion. If you believe in something that isn't real, the brain fills in the gaps, creates senses to support the belief. It's called delusion. "psychics" and "forune tellers" depend on delusion. Religions create delusions. Let's face the face that god is pretend.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You have any proof of your claims?

      January 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • realitycheck

      @Mark from MR
      Just his belief and dogmatic faith that what he says must be the truth, like 3 or 4 times here and probably anywhere else he can on the internet.

      Who says atheism can't be a religion. "Not collecting stamps" may not be a hobby, but spending inordinate amounts of time touting how holding any metaphysical beliefs other than "not collecting stamps" is delusuonal sure can be a hobby.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • md2205

      Just because something cannot be seen does not mean it does not exist. We are brought up to think that the world just exists, which if you think about the interconnectedness, the unity, the interdependence of the environment, of the earth, the vegetation, the animals, the oceans and the clouds, the air, and us, you can't really truly think it either made itself or just existed infinitely all by itself. Even if you say it could have happened in billions of years – think about each little detail – really, each little detail itself could not have developed separately from another one and be able to exist by itself. What is it that makes man different from animals? They have seen animals use tools, use words, use communication, use sign language, love each other, take care of each other... so what makes man different? Besides the vast improvement of free choice and intellect, we are the only being that wonders how it got here, how the world got here, and why, for what purpose. If our brain has this capacity, it must be there for a reason. That reason is because there is an answer. Otherwise, there is all this human intellect in a beautifully interdependent, intelligent world for no purpose. Why is the idea of G-d so difficult to accept? You can't say it is because the Bible is so ridiculous, because I already explained that it is a mistranslation and much of its makeup was oral and written down later, and its application as well. You can't say it is because He is invisible because many things of the world are, also. An intellectually honest person can't say that the Seven Basic Laws that He gave to all people to do will not improve society. You have to admit they are good laws. And if you say that you can't legislate belief in One G-d: That is true – you cannot. However, the law to believe in One G-d calls for the study of His ways and how He created the world, etc. Once a person really looks into it, it becomes much easier to understand and ultimately leads to the belief.

      The good thing about these blogs is that it does cause people to think about G-d and try to deepen their understanding about Him and what He wants from us. There is an interesting point: The laws of Torah do not call themselves laws. They are called "halacha" – the way, the path. It is a path that we are on and as long as we are on the right path, or trying to get there, it doesn't matter our exact location.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "which if you think about the interconnectedness, the unity, the interdependence of the environment, of the earth, the vegetation, the animals, the oceans and the clouds, the air, and us, you can't really truly think it either made itself or just existed infinitely all by itself."

      Gee. dude, that's DEEP.

      Except it's not. The fact that we don't know how the universes came to be is not proof that "God did it."

      It's only proof that we haven't yet learned all there is to know.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    I guess, that spouses have a high responsibility for each other and should remain faithful at any rate. Hence, it is important that a man and a woman fit well together, in order to make sure a good marriage.

    How to make sure a working marriage?

    I think the issue is that difficult that we need God's help. I think by our natural intuition we are not able to decide, who is the right one. It is indeed necessary that God gives us our partner. We need God's guidance.

    There are two realms: The secular world and God's kingdom. Only someone, who is inside God's kingdom can be sure of God's kind guidance.

    How to enter God's kingdom?

    Just believe that Jesus Christ has borne your sins on the cross, when he died for you on the cross and get baptized (if you have yet received infant baptism refer to your infant baptism and don't get baptized again).

    After you have started to believe in Christ and after getting baptized, you are able to follow Jesus and you shall do it at any rate. True faith exists only within discipleship.

    As a member of God's kingdom just pray that God may give you a partner and he will do it. Just trust in Him.

    January 8, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Adam Morva

      Why christ? Why not Zoroaster?

      You are wearing an intellectual burka behind which you only view the world through a tiny slit. Come back after an education.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • gary

      god is pretend

      January 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Reality

    From p.30:

    (only for the newbies) ( Reiteration is great for the learning process. As is reading and rational thinking followed by conclusions based on all of it.)

    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."

    And from:

    http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/20/yes-or-al-se-x-is-se-x-and-it-can-boost-cancer-risk/?npt=NP1

    "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.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality repeat crap

      January 8, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  5. Sockra

    So, Mark, how is your search for a "soul mate" coming along? Still nothing? Maybe you'd better ask your god to hook you up.
    Fatties getting together is like watching two overstuffed chairs smash into each other.

    January 8, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    The essence of prayer
    Is communication with God
    Ask and you will receive
    Those joined by God
    Are strengthened for life

    January 8, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • gary

      Atheism is myth understood. God is pretend. Feeling god is a delusion.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Terry

      Time and again intercessionary prayers have been proven to have no affect on outcomes- google this before you make another ignorant comment

      January 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Prayer has changed the course of history from the dawn of time. Godly men and women have been inspired and led mankind forward with the revelations they received from God in prayer.

      January 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • TR6

      @An inconvenient truth:” Godly men and women have been inspired and led mankind forward with the revelations they received from God in prayer.”

      Yes, for example god revealed to Moses that his people should slaughter tens of thousands of men, women and children and ra-pe any number of little girls.

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      January 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  7. Taiping

    Without any way of determining who is a "Christian" and who is not, such a website is a joke.
    Anyone can claim to be a "Christian", even atheists. Any serial killer can claim to be a "Christian."
    If you go dating on the internet, without verifying that the person actually exists as described in their profile, you will be looked on as deserving of whatever you run into, including your "soul mate" being none other than a well-prepared serial killer.
    Will your dead body care that you were wrong in believing what other people say without good reason to believe?
    No. Your dead body cannot do anything like that. You died because you were gullible. You died because you were a fool.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • Heath

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFyv6Y2J9Lw&w=640&h=390]

      January 8, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Terry

      Jeffery Dalmer had a bedside conversion to christianity- You must be glad he is in heaven now

      January 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      surely my sweet lovin' jesus lord and savior wouldn't match me up with a serial killer!!!

      January 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  8. In the Know

    ChristianMingle is not even run by Christians so it's no wonder they are out of touch with their membership. CM is owned by Sparks Network which runs a large number of dating sites which can be found at http://www.spark.net/sites.htm ... get real – this company only cares about revenue, NOT the quality of members.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Question. I love the Latest Mustang GT. It is an awesome looking car and I think about it when ever I feel myself slipping on my studying. One day I want that car and can't wait for Ford to sell it too me.

      Do I care that Ford could give a rats rear end why I want it? Should I be upset that profits are the main reason they built the car?

      You are looking at this this site as a church. It is not and I am sure that those that use their service understand it is for profit. You feel it should matter to a Christian who is dating if the site is "for profit"?

      January 8, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • Adam Morva

      Only cares about the revenue? Sounds pretty christian to me.

      January 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  9. Bertrum Redneck

    The discussion on this page shows that god does not exist. If he did he would have unified everyone which he hasn't. Please people, wake up for your delusions – it is 2012! There is more than enough prove that religion has only served to divide us a species. I feel so sad that you all walk around in this deluded state of mind and feel somehow superior to us "sinners". Educate yourself – throw away the crutches and learn how to walk on your on. Does god have a match for you? No, he has a lighter!

    January 8, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hmm..."Sine there is discourse ..so then my view should be seen as true and everyone should believe as me"

      ...just as you are saying that, some folks on out side are pointing towards that since everyone is not on-board with God then there will always be discourse.

      What serves to divide us is not by definition Religion. Religion, Gender, Race, Se'xual preference.... even who you vote for ..... many things divide us in society and to think that it is only religion just shows that you simply have an axe to grind and are not looking for peace.

      Tolerance. To say that folks can live and and exist in society believing, looking and being generally different, without talk of anyone casting off part of who they are.

      Try this, as much as you say you hate folks that walk around and believe themselves to be your superior... is your only weapon to mirror their negative actions and walk their same path to believe yourself to be theirs?

      January 8, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • md2205

      That is not true. He created man for a purpose, which is to act according to how He wants. Now, if He would be the one causing the unity, He wouldn't need us to be here. We are the ones who have to cause the unity. We didn't do it yet. But that doesn't mean we won't. We can't take responsibility for how others act, but we can take responsibility for how we act, and if we act with unity to others, those others will notice and hopefully respond to us in kind and to others in turn.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:44 am |
  10. TheRealDoris

    Hold the phone, folks – why would souls be male or female, a very biological concept. It's complete hooey. Spirit would not be constrained by physicality, nor would it be 'mate' in any earthly sense. Your soul mate could be parked in any body, or perhaps in any form.

    It strikes me odd that we cling to this spiritual concept, but then insist on packaging it within the parameters of idealized social custom regarding males and females. Perhaps that speaks to our limited capacity to think outside our current existence, no matter how religious we profess to be. Or perhaps it just speaks to our unwillingness to think critically about what we believe.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • md2205

      The Real Doris – G-d created the soul, which is an actual part of Himself, one "half" given to a male and other half to a female. He causes that they eventually meet and marry, uniting each half of their soul in the marriage. That is one reason why people should not do adultery and other indiscretions, even before marriage.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • What ?

      "Half a soul" ..... LMAO. The point WAS, if it's not physical, it cannot be "cut" into, or characterized by physical measures. Half a soul. Now THERE's a good one. Hahahaha

      January 8, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Note from Jeebus

      I gave men .5752564 of a soul. I gave women ...well you do the math. I can't find my gonkulator.

      January 8, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • md2205

      That is why I put the word "half" in quotation marks. Obviously, you cannot cut a soul in half with a knife, for example, but the idea stands that it can be put into two bodies.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  11. Klaus

    Christian Mingle is a dating site for f-a-g-s.

    Enjoy AIDS.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  12. md2205

    Observer, it is because the rules were written in such a way, and the oral laws were stated in such a way that in the Land of Israel, whoever had a servant did treat him with kindness, as I wrote before. The Bible has clearly stated that G-d created man, and therefore the logical extension is that all are equal and are to be treated equal. The Bible can be written in quite cryptic form, and doesn't say everything explicitly. The Bible's influence on the way servants were treated in Israel caused the Roman slaves, who were treated badly, to demand better treatment, and they did eventually get some better working conditions.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • LibrePenseur

      md2205, you seem to be a pretty decent person. Please just make a resolution to read the whole Bible for yourself. You are smart enough and you do not need any priests or preachers to translate or interpret it for you. Remember that the combined knowledge of all the people who wrote the Bible was less than that of a kindergarten kid nowadays. Good luck and good night.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • Observer

      Apparently, God was concerned with being politically correct and so went along with not punishing people who hit their slaves with a rod as long as they "SURVIVE A DAY OR TWO".

      Here's another gem where God approves fathers selling their daughters into marriage:

      – Exodus 21:7-8 “If a man sells his daughter as a slave, the rules for setting her free are different from the rules for setting the male slaves free. If the master wanted to marry her but then decided he was not pleased with her, he must let one of her close relatives buy her back.”

      January 8, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • Observer

      md2205,

      I agree with LibrePenseur. Good night.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • Paul

      Don't waste your time with Observer. He's a troll without trying to be one. He's lonely.

      January 8, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • md2205

      Observer – “If a man sells his daughter as a slave, the rules for setting her free are different from the rules for setting the male slaves free. If the master wanted to marry her but then decided he was not pleased with her, he must let one of her close relatives buy her back.” Think – here is man living in the same house as a girl, and because of the natural attraction between men and women, there is going to be some thoughts going on here. Therefore, if he would marry her, it would solve an uncomfortable problem. But if he doesn't want to marry her, then it is best that he not employ her, as living in the same house is just uncomfortable. It is kind to her to allow the relative to redeem her, and in fact he is not allowed to redeem her to anyone else except for a relative, as it would be cruel to sell her to a foreign people.

      January 8, 2012 at 4:04 am |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The biblical texts are fascinating cultural artifacts. Nothing more. There are/were many other texts which were floating around, which were not VOTED into the canon, when the canon was "finalized". That process itself should tell you something. There is nothing "absolute" about any of them, as they are all translations of translations of translations of copies. Those who run around saying they are the "word of god" seem to forget that even THAT concept is a Greek, (Gnostic) concept, which did not even enter the "scene" until the Hellenistic Age, and is easily observable. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke say nothing about "the word", but by the time John was written in it's Greek environment, "the word" had entered the picture..a HUMAN development. Interesting, but hardly worth fighting over. :twisted:

      January 8, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • SciGuy

      Bucky, translations of trans of trans of copies? Really? Not even close. We have copies of the autographs that are 99.4% accurate. Those who read Hebrew or Greek are therefore essentially reading the autographs. Those who speak English are reading translation of the autograph.

      January 8, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Maybe. But the ENTIRE process was human, and developmental. There are no absolutes there. And the bible never said it was "the word" until they got that from Greek philosophy, (another developmental process). :twisted:

      January 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  13. LibrePenseur

    md2205, In Numbers 31:1-47, 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”. Was there some kind of hidden sublime moral teaching in it that we atheist don't understand? There is no mistranslation.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Adam Morva

      Let me make the life of the zealots easier:

      "OMG YOU ARE TAKING IT OUT OF CONTEXT!!!11eleven"

      "OMG YOU R NOT SUPPOSED TO READ THOSE LINES LITERALLY!"
      (But how else you can interpret those, if not literally, I have no idea.)

      "OMG THOSE UNBORN CHILDREN WERE PURE EVIL!"

      "GOD GIVETH GOD TAKETH!"

      January 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  14. perfect

    Jennifer Landsberger....best post of the day ;)

    January 8, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  15. md2205

    Seriously speaking, if there seems to be anything immoral, backwards, violent or otherwise unsavory in the Bible, people have to realize that they are reading a mistranslated text, and there is so much that G-d gave orally at the time He gave the Bible that people don't know, because they never learned it.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • LibrePenseur

      What mistranslation can it be in Psalm 137:9 where the Bible said "Blessed is the one who grabs your little children and smashes them against a rock"? May be it is taken out of context? Or maybe God works in mysterious way? Or maybe human are not smart enough to fully understand the "inspired" words of God?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Observer

      So the Biblical scholars who likely worked for years to translate the Bible didn't know what they were doing and instead it should have been translated by you, a blogger who knows more than they do/did?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  16. Jennifer Landsberger

    This reminds me of the first time I saw one of the Christian mingle ads. I started laughing, and husband poked his head around the door and asked what was so funny. My reply: "God decided to try to compete with e-harmony."

    http://www.walkintothebible.com

    January 8, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  17. md2205

    Chris, the English translation of the Bible doesn't show that there is much more explanation of the words that are written there. G-d gave an entire explanation that was handed down throughout the ages, which was ultimately written down. In one small portion of that 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 2:19 am |
    • Observer

      "So, too, you should not denigrate a servant, neither physically nor verbally."

      So why did God not condemn it and allow it to go unpunished?

      Would you allow someone to injure a slave without punishment if they could recover in two days? Yes or no?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  18. notachristian

    I would love to see who the moderator in this room is.

    January 8, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • notachristian

      I think the moderator in this room is Jenna

      January 8, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I think this blog is being run off of a Commodore 64 sitting in the childhood bedroom of one of the CNN journalist.

      The is no moderators .... this is Wild West , Straight out of Compton .....

      This the Belief Blog on any simple subject.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXS7wCFZ-Kk&w=640&h=390]

      January 8, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  19. Brynne Moore

    My take on this article: http://mark.ly/1uC

    January 8, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  20. 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 |
    • Observer

      Chism,

      "God providing rules to regulate it was not immoral."

      God didn't FORBID slavery or even condemn it. He went along with it like allowing you to hit your slave with a rod without ANY punishment as long as they recovered in a day or two.

      Is that something you can be proud that your God supports? Do YOU support it? YES or NO?

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

      @Chrism – Perhaps the worst responses you've offered yet. Regulating an immoral act, rather than condemning it is immoral unto itself. Regulating when, where or how to murder, molest, etc, someone only makes the regulator complicit in the act.

      Most theists ascribe omniscience to their deity. If you're not then fine, though this certainly contradicts the notion of a divine plan. If, however, you do subscribe to the divine plan/omniscience notion, then your proposed mutually exclusive proposition of knowledge and self-blinding simply fails. As a first cause creator, so does the proposition of a truly independent source of decision making power. You simply can't have this cake and eat it too.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • Chrism

      Observer, it's only you trying to find fault with God. As I said God had a great purpose for the Jews. He permitted things that they did which He obviously hated including divorce. That doesn't make God immoral. It makes Him forgiving actually. You're acting all self-righteous now oh you are upset at the injustice and God did nothing about it. How do you know God doesn't bless those slaves who suffered in the next life? How do you know He didn't bless them in their earthly life too? all owe God a debt far bigger than we can know, Yet you pretend to judge Him.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • Chrism

      @Q, lol, actually my responses to you have soundly answered you. I don't claim them to be great but they're sure good enough for what you're putting out there. And actually this is by the far the worst you've offered? Complicit assumes capacity and lack of purpose, Q. Duh. How many times to I have to remind you now you're assuming your limited human understanding applies. If God has a purpose their the Jews and they're capacity for morality is not greater, God permits but is not complicit. Man am I the only one who sees how blatant that is?

      And lol. You don't even know what omniscience is, who said God can't have any divine plan without perfect omniscience this is simply a blind assertion on your part. As is mutual exclusivity. You simply fail to comprehend it. It is entirely possible so your assertion fails. Transient self-blinding is one possible mechanism as I'm sure are others. And your first cause argument completely fails you assume determinism. Of course a creator who gave first cause to the universe could create beings within that universe and endow them with independent free will. You ignore the possibility of dualism and extension. As Hume wrote, there could easily be extension. The source of will need not be materialistic. Wow you're surprisingly weak in your arguments yet place astonishingly smug certainty in them

      January 8, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • rochdoc

      Chrism, I get your point. People who are trying to bash Christians need to understand many things – not just the AntChristian points they were listening to.
      We are talking about stories or narrations written around 500 to 600 years before Jesus. Possibly collected after the second temple was built. Till the second Temple was built and people came back from Babylon, they really did not think much of "divine morality" or "a paradise waiting for the godly pious people". Their OT God was a king who would provide them safety and forever claim on teh land of Canan where they immigrated to.
      People were never perfect – even God's "chosen" people. They were chastised many times for many of their shortcomings.
      People, us are not divine, we are not gods, we are not perfect – if we were, we will be up there somewhere, there was no need for any of this drama.
      But if you go through the whole Bibel, you can see these short comings are part of a big plan. Something to make the man to open his eyes. A background on to which something bigger was to happen. Something not just for the "chosen" race, but for teh whole world.
      People make up their own rules as they go by, depending on the situations; they had slavery then – now we have H1 Visas, bonded laborers and illegal immgrants.
      At that time, priests were the custodians of all rules, judgements and all written stuff. Basically in NT, Jesus clearly says that many of the rules were given to "people" beacuse of their own hard heartedness. In fact, there are only two god given rules and one No No (never do) command. The 2 Rules as you know: love your neighbour which is anybody and everybody and love your God your Lord. The No No command is: don't fight the holy spirit – which imparts wisdom to you.
      So we are to keep on loving you no matter how hard you hit us. Thanks.

      January 8, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • ashrakay

      It is still amusing to me to watch people scramble to make excuses for god's behavior. When you build your whole belief system on the "rightness" or perfection of god, the last thing you can possibly do is acknowledge wrongdoing on his part—otherwise, your entire sphere of perceived reality must also be wrong. This is terrifying to people and so they cling to these blatant dichotomies like a drowning man clings to a piece of drift wood. It takes real courage to let go of these self-perpetuated fantasies, but if you do, you might just find that you can swim on your own.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • realitycheck

      @ashrakay

      "excuses for god's behavior"? Thanks for the chuckle. I'm also betting you think Epicurus was an atheist.

      January 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chrism, you would likely have defended Jeffrey Dahmer if he'd said he believed in Gawd. Twerp.

      January 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
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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.