home
RSS
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. 5thApe

    Definition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  2. Michael

    I've seen multiple women post multiple profiles on multiple sites. It's one big joke. I caught one that I had been talking to that poster her profile on Singlesnet and had posted the same profile on ChristianSingles. The only difference was her screen name was written backwards in CS. I called her on it and she deleted the profiles within hours. I don't trust any of these women and a lot of them are looking for "gifts" and "money". lol. Just because the site is purported to be a Christian site does not mean thhat these folks are infallible and perfect. If you read the profiles you'll read the same of egocentric and self-absorbed mantra that you'll get on other sites. These sites are the new "bars"; just have a beer and read all the profiles just like a kid in a candy store. Too much too soon and with all the choices, confusion only make it that more difficult to make a choice. That is the gist of these sites. They keep you coming back for more and it's all about money. If you don't like that one person that message you? So what; find another. You don't like their pic, find another. You don't like their choices in life in their profile; so what find another.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  3. M22@msn.com

    80% Christians lives in the U.S..... they won't leave so shut up atheists

    January 7, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Donald

      Atheists are not gonna leave either so shut up you Christian hypocrite

      January 7, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • 5thApe

      Sorry. We are getting louder and louder and laughing at your belief in an invisible sky daddy. But then, you do have the talking snake on your side.... LOL

      January 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  4. Jewish mother

    Remeber God loves atheists too.... :)

    January 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • 5thApe

      Which god? Oh..... I know – its your god right? How did I know the answer to that one....:-)

      January 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  5. Donald

    I could not finish reading this drivel. I've senn the commericals and wonder how in the wold a so-called "Christian" site could trash God's name in such a way, couple that with the pure bred suckers who waste their money on such foolishness. People who subscribe to these sites have subscribed to a zillion other sites in search of a "soul mate". These people are nothing but souless, useless hacks with time and money to spend. At the end of the day Christians are hypocrites just like everyone else, nothing special about them whatsoever.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  6. J

    When I was single; looking at personal adds I always appreciated it when women would say that they were looking for a "Soul Mate" as the phrase directly translates to " I have unreasonable expectations ".

    January 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Michael

      lol,,great post. Just last week this girl wrote me and said that we could never date because I had no children so I could never understand how to be a father so in turn, I was not a match. This is almost verbatim. I wrote her back a scathing note and basically said she had rocks for brains to think that way and was seriously shallow. her post was completely and utterly void of common sense and logic. But this is what you get on these sites. Instead of having one-on-one discussions, coffee, get-together's to talk about life, profiles are read and judge without any due respect or consideration. It's all about making snap judgements and moving on to the next profile merely because of that one word or though being out of place. Too many people are misreading into what a profile's function and it's purpose to merely state a few ideas and thoughts. It's not a big picture view of the next 30+ years of compatibility.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  7. linda

    Dear CNN, your first page of today concerns for its too deep intellectuality:
    _Divine dating
    _Anthony shows piercing
    Are you OK?

    January 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  8. Jewish mother

    ATHEISM IS NOT HEALTHY FOR CHILDREN..... ATHEISM IS SAME AS NAZISM. STALIN WAS AN ATHEIST, AS WELL AS MOST KILLING LEADERS. No, Hi.tler later rejected his faith, so he's no longer Christian. ATHEISM MEANS RUINING AGAINST RELIGION WHOSE BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. STOP atheism NOW!

    January 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • 5thApe

      Never have a seen so much nonsense in one thought. Its so bad you must be a poe.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Stupid is as stupid says

      Malaria has been around for thousands of years. It is a divine disease.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Fnordz

      I sincerely hope you are not making a serious attempt to present such poorly thought out "arguments" (and I use the term rather loosely here) as any sort of attack on atheism.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • humanbean

      This has got to be a bit. If not, I suppose you should go back and do a little more research. 3 groups of natives were nearly wiped off the planet under the veil of "religion." Actually one group was wiped out completely. Does the Spanish Inquisition ring a bell, or did we conveniently forget about that one? How about the Crusades? Anyway, just a few things for you to ponder in response to your ridiculous assertion.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  9. Livelystone

    What is the big deal about looking beyond the horizon for a possible mate?

    The Bible makes it clear that two cannot walk hand in hand unless they agree.

    Any chance you get to sort through all of the differences between two people without first being labeled as a couple is a blessing

    First thing that does ring true means it is time to cross a name off of the list

    Bottom line is this is a business venture for a company that is not violating mans laws or God's

    January 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  10. Mom

    Non-believers should NOT be allowed to become U.S. citizen, nor should they be allowed to vote !!

    January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • 5thApe

      I believe in the flying spaghetti monster.... Does that count :-) It has the same evidence as your god does....

      January 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Scientist - See: Rational Being

      What part of the Bible do I need to believe? Let's see: stoning of non-virgin women? Stoning of anyone who talks about a messiah? Crucifiction of that messiah? Blind faith in an all-loving invisible god who condemns you to hell if you question his existence?
      The same god who leaves fossils everywhere that ministers say are the work of the devil? Why did god create the devil? Who created god?
      Talk to me after you have a model of the universe that reflects a usable reality, and not witchcraft or wishful thinking.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Stupid is as stupid says

      A "Christian" nation ? So, stupid mom, are YOU going to pass out the "belief test" ? YOU are anti-American.

      The Treaty with Tripoli -1797

      George Washington's administration wrote it and supported it, and by the time it was passed, John Adams was the President. It was read aloud in its entirety and passed by both houses of congress on June 7, 1797. The vote in both houses was unanimous. President Adams signed it into law. Here is Article 11.
      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

      In other words, according to a unanimous agreement of America's Founding Fathers, the USA is NOT, was NOT, nor ever intended to be, a Christian nation.

      Get over it.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Nelly

      hmm....maybe "MOM" only said this so she's get a laugh at it from the responses. Many who do not believe are already citizens so too bad for you MOM!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  11. Shelly B

    Sooooo the basis of Christian faith is choice. I used to be sold on the idea of soul mates – I mean doesn't even Disney suggest that the "one" is out there??? It's not strictly a Christian belief. Our lives are made up of a myriad of choices. We don't just "end up" somewhere. I agree there is a negative fear within the Christian singles community that unnecessarily complicates their decision-making but they should have a bit more faith in themselves and the choices they make. Follow godly principles, reap godly rewards. Don't fear failure – history's greatest figures have become great because they made failure work for them.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Michael

      Disney? Are you kidding? No wonder women in America can't find a guy when they have their thoughts and ideas about marriage coming from a Disney cartoon. Get rid of the princess complex.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  12. Suzie

    Most of these so-called Christians are nothing but phonies. I've seen it way too many times to count in my life. Yeah, and I'm sure all 5 million of Christian Mingle's members are virginis, too. Get real. I know a Pentecostal church pastor in the town I grew up in who left his wife for his church's secretary. I guess they're soul mates.....

    January 7, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  13. Matt

    GOD BLESS ALL CHRISTIANS & THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST

    January 7, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  14. EXtian

    Funny how Christian marriages have the same divorce rate as their heathen counterparts. This "soul-mate" talk isn't really panning out for those with heavenly guidance. "He that is in you is greater than He that is in the world" (1John 4:4) is nonsense.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  15. Becky

    Can't read this piece...excessive paragraph mayhem. One sentence does not a paragraph make.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  16. WoI Admin

    I think soul mates, like heaven and hell, are just ideas people wish were true.
    Everyone wants an ideal mate.
    Everyone wants eternal paradise and divine justice.

    There's no evidence to support any of those ideas though – so I must label them naive, self-fulfilling fantasies at best.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Nelly

      I find what you're saying so true! people just like to close their mind up and live in a fantasy world. I don't completely not believe because there might be a heaven and a hell but we'll find out when we have to find out , and then well then well really know what's what. We might end up discovering something totally different of what people believe in or nothing at all even. As of know the only religion i believe in is be a good person and a good mate will probably come your way.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  17. WZJPKP

    THERE IS A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE..yep thats it folks..GOD is sitting up on a cloud with a joystick manipulating your every move..freaks

    January 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Jesus

      I passed Him while flying on a Boeing 747, I waved, and He gave me the finger. Apparently the exhaust from the jet was messing up his cloud.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  18. An Atheist’s Perspective

    I remember when I first saw the commercial for this. I sat there stunned at the levels of stupidity dating sites have reached and my Catholic boyfriend laughed so hard he nearly fell off the couch.

    Dumb as it is, it's no where near the dumbest thing I've seen advertised on TV.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  19. RMG154

    The purpose of all dating websites is to determine possible spouses by similar likes and desires. Christian mingle starts off on a big similarity.. religious belief. I'm blessed to be around alot of good Christian relationships, soul mates if you will. They work hard to keep their relationship solid and towards a better understanding of God. The idea of a monogamous, life long relationship is not exclusively based in religion, it is also found in the animal kingdom as well. Furthermore, if you look at the divorce rates for the united states historically, it was fairly steady until the early 1960's, then started a rather steady climb, source:DHHS Publication No. (PHS) 95-1120 5-0454 (3/95). I contest that the rejection of the judeau-christian values that the country was based on has lead us where we are today, and started about that time period. As always, churches are not perfect, because people are not perfect, but the goal of a true believer is to continue to grow into a better person every day. Yet for some reason, whether people have been wronged by a christian or simply cannot grasp the concept of belief, any reference of God is met anger and lack of tolerance. I would expect atheists, who apparently as posted above are smarter than other people, would not react to lack of understanding with hatred.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • TRH

      You need a history lesson and you need to go back much further than the 1960's. I suggest you start with Howard Zinn's "A People's History of The United States". There you will find out why this country was founded and how. I won't go into it here. Have the courage to find out for yourself.

      "any reference of God is met anger and lack of tolerance."

      Try "coming out" as an atheist or gay or left-wing and you'll find out the meaning of hate and intolerance.

      "They work hard to keep their relationship solid and towards a better understanding of God."

      A relationship needs three things: Communication, respect, and love. Those are not God's "rules" they are mine.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Donald

      WHATEVER CHRISTIAN HYPOCRITE

      January 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  20. Spencer

    Saw this commercial for the first time the other night. I do recall the commercial ending with "find gods match for you". So funny. Gods on the Internet now.

    January 7, 2012 at 9:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

« Previous entry
Advertisement
About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.