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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. Name*Martha

    Im a nice woman

    August 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  2. Luann

    Does your website have a contact page? I'm having a tough time locating it but, I'd like to shoot you an email. I've got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

    May 30, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  3. The Devil

    Looney toooooooooooooooones, if they think god does it.

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    March 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  4. Sabrina

    The idea of a "soul mate" is NOT Christian. That is a concept that comes from Eastern philosophies like Buddhism or Hindu. Some people simple can't deal with the truth: not everyone will marry because it's simply not God's will for their life. Companies like Christian Mingle (which in reality is just one of many niche markets owned by a secular company) take advantage of single people's insecurities. Christians should not be going onto dating sties, insead they should be living their lives each day, and if it is God's will, then the right person will come, and it it's not then not.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  5. just hook up

    Useful information. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally, and I am surprised why this twist of fate didn't took place earlier! I bookmarked it.

    February 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  6. Glenn Davis

    Does the Christian mingle help me find my gay male partner? Or is it as bigoted as most Christians are. I find it odd most Christians wouldn't welcome gays in their church but would never consider turning down all the money gave to their church on Sunday services.

    December 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Sabrina

      Glenn, I'd say it's you who are being bigoted by presuming all Christians are bigots. Why do you gays keep attempting impose your lifestyle on everyone else? There are plenty of gay websites, go peruse them and leave the normal people alone!

      March 2, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  7. JON

    There are a number of bad reviews about ChristianMingle.com. The website is a business. It's all about marketing on TV to make money. It's not owned by a Christian company. The fact they use "Find God's Match For You" is such bull! They're using God's name in vain. I'm not, but I read from a former member – if you're a member, and they find you've said something negative about them they will cancel your membership without warning and ban you from the site. Some have not received any refund. You can signup for a free account, but It's $30-$40 a month to send and receive messages from the other members. Save your money!

    November 29, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Glenn Davis

      This is unbelievable that Christians are so gullible. This products acts like GOD created the site for his followers a to meet. But then I guess if you believe the bible you'll believe anything.

      December 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Sabrina

      Exactly! Someone found out that money sometimes has a cross on it, and now there's all sorts of companies taking advantage. A true Christian should not be on dating websites anyway. If God will you be married, then the right person will come along in a natural, normal way. If you're meant to be single, then that will become apparent too. Far too many "Christians" think in worldly ways, and that's how companies like Christian Mingle wind up separating people from their money.

      March 2, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  8. What is Dating Directorys for?

    I really like how all these dating sites have the ability to these scorching chicks of their advertisings, plus the actual members are like a stable. Not a pimps firm, sometimes.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  9. Godly Person

    @ChristianGirl The problem is not we should simply ignore ChristianMingle.com,the problem is that christianity does not, repeat, does not have an exclusive bond with god. Rather far from it.

    January 30, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  10. Wayne Whitaker

    Seems like another modern day equivalent of the money changers that Jesus drove out of the temple – just another way to make money off of God …

    January 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  11. Erik

    I was ordained in under 5 minutes using /www.themonastery.org/ the entire process was 100% legit safe and fast! like i said it only took 5 minutes. now i can legally perform my own weddings regardless of what church or religion i belong to. i would HIGHLY recommend this to anybody interested

    January 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  12. Christian girl

    Let's get down to the real problem here. Isn't it obvious? If we were talking about match.com, eharmony, (fill in the blank of your many selectable choices) people wouldn't think anything of it. 1 and 6 marriages met online, and the statistics for the numbers are ever growing and changing because this is the world we live in! Technology has made it possible for us to connect with people outside of the work place, school, or local environment. It's really quite incredible if you think about it.

    But that's not the real problem, is it? The problem is 'God', 'Christianity' and 'Soul Mates'. CHRISTIANmingle. If you have a problem with it, ignore it. Just like the article said, it's just a medium to allow people of the same belief to interact with others who believe what they do. Did you know, there is a site called, meetblackchristiansingles.com? C'mon people, there is something for everyone out there. Give people a break. Just because Christian Mingle is becoming more popular doesn't mean we gotta get our panties all in a bunch.
    Do whatever works for you.
    If whatever you're doing isn't working, heck... why not give it a shot? There are so many people out there, and so many opportunities to connect with anyone you want. And those who choose the internet route shouldn't be judged for it.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mon

      What I really think about the whole soulmate issue?
      I do believe that it´s the question of free will that people have and the ability to choose right. God never tells us that he will " send us" / send us from heaven:D/ our ideal husband or wife, he just says that it´s the question of belief. If you believe that someting will happen, then it will happen. You will have what you say. So if you beg God to " send u" your ideal husbad, he may send u that person – in other words u will meet that man somehow, but once u meet him among other men, YOU must DECIDE if you want to end up with that person or not.
      To sum up, we have a million opportunities to meet new people / our future partners/ even through Internet, but it´s only up to us who we will CHOOSE. We must decide, we must choose, God won´t show us with his finger like " see, this is your husband that I picked for u/.
      Besides, I also believe in the power of intuition. Once you feel that a person you chose is right, then that person is right for u and may be your soulmate.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Sabrina

      Christians should not be doing what "works for them." They should be living their lives by seeking God's will. Remember what it says in Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

      March 2, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  13. Josie

    I have proof that my Gods exist...it's called there is an universe that exists, we are alive, and there is life. Science can explain certain things, but many things are theories and still being proven. When it comes to soul mates, I believe everyone has one that is to be with them, life and decisions can effect that. I also know that a person can have others that have been past soul-mates that can work almost just as well. I know it does not mean that if you do find your main soul-mate, will things be easy, nor will it go smoothly. My own parents are examples of that.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Relictus

      I am 45. Being told that I do have a soul mate is a cruel lie. Where is she? I have looked. Your God has forsaken me in my search for love.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • mdanby

      Sorry Josie, existence of the Universe and life does not prove that any supernatural god(s) exist.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  14. Fearfighter1

    Hehe..start out on christianmingle but end up on Ashley Madison.....it's the way of the world..

    January 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  15. queen

    FYI- someone got a hold of my credit card number and charged up a membership on Christian Mingle. Classic example of why NOT to believe everything that is presented as being "Christian."

    January 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  16. ELISSA JUNG

    WELL, DOESN'T THAT TAKE THE CAKE...COMMERCIALIZE GOD! ITS IN OUR FACE CONSTANTLY..IN POLITICS, IN MEDICINE, IN DATING...NEXT IT WILL BE IN OUR PIZZA. MY RELIGON, MY GOD, MY VIEWS, MY BELIEFS ARE PRIVATE. FOR ME AND ME ALONE. AND YOURS ARE YOURS, NOT TO BE WORN LIKE A BASEBALL CAP OR BANTERED ABOUT.GOD HELP US ALL, WE SURE DO NEED IT.

    January 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • God

      Your caps lock seems to be malfunctioning. Plus, I just got into the whole interwebz thing! I gots to make some bling too!

      January 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  17. BillnTed

    Most people use the term "Soul mate" to defend not so good relationship and as a reason to stay in them.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • God

      Don't be a fool. I will decide what is best for everybody, at a low, low price. Have your credit card number ready!

      January 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Sabrina

      or like that politician in South Carolna, as an excuse to cheat.

      March 2, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  18. A Reasoner

    Dionysus hooked me up with a soul mate. Had to break up with her. I just couldn't afford to keep her knee-deep in wine.

    Ok, that was a pretty bad, but not nearly so bad as yet another scam to fleece the religiously impaired. I can see where this scam would help eliminate the possibility of one of the sheep falling for, and perhaps being influenced by, a thinking person. That could seriously accelerate the emptying of the pews/coffers.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • God

      What's really bad is the rates through paypal. They are really rate hiking me! They might get a couple plagues if that keeps increasing. Either that or Jesus is gonna have to run with some endorsements. How about this...Your savior in Nike sandals! Stylish!

      January 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • bankerlady

      Since when does lumping an entire group of people together by one trait and calling them all sheep make one a reasoner? The idea of a dating site for Christian singles is to avoid people who might, oh, I don't know, attack a person for having faith.

      January 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  19. Johnny

    I'm just a little alter boy looking for a priest to take care of me. Is this the right site?

    January 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • God

      Don't be a pervert, Johnny! I have plenty of Catholic churches that are ripe for that sort of thing.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  20. abbyt

    a Christian dating site, where God helps you to find your 'soul mate'.... so is it free then?

    January 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • God

      Hey, I have to make a living too! You think rent up here is cheap?

      January 10, 2012 at 3:51 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.