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. Byrd

    My first spouse said liked to say we were soul mates. Guess she was wrong.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  2. HillClimber

    The web site is useless for matchmaking, but there are soul mates. I have seen all of my past lives, and know for example that my mother in this lifetime was my wife in circa 400 AD, and my mother too in circa 800 BC. My father? A guard from that 800 BC incarnation, where too my Uncle in this lifetime was my father in that lifetime. I know who I was last lifetime, have met the wife I had from my incarnation that included 1789 when I lived in North East England and was a gentleman farmer. By the way, God doesn't care about your religion – it is simply a crock!

    January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • guest

      you are just a hired gun! there is nothing like reincarnation in the Christianity, it is either you are of Devil or you are of God, so simple as a,b and c you are of the D

      January 7, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  3. Dan Tanna

    I thought it said sole mate. I've been hanging out with a fish.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  4. Duplin

    Christianity, the basics: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that 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. – Unknown

    January 7, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  5. Kim

    The Christian cult is so laughable. I wonder if any of them actually have a brain. If they did they'd realize that Jesus(really Jeshua) did not creat Christianity, men did to use it as a weapon.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • guest

      Kim or kill, what ever your short, useless and meaningless name is, i warn you to control your mouth or else you will go dumb

      January 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Reverend Right

      Kim, the Lord Jesus DID intend for people to follow Him, even after His assenscion back into Heaven. Jesus said to Peter: "Upon this rock I will build MY CHURCH" (emphasis mine). Jesus knew thae world would not end right away. The Scriptures tell us to "occupy" until Jesus returns. That is what I do now.....does it offend you that badly?

      January 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  6. IceT

    No soul mates, just varying degrees of compatability ... but that doesn't fit with the religious agenda and all the implications that go with the word "soul".

    January 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  7. Pat

    Poor Scott: Angry but with some points. There is nothing wrong with using an internet website to find people and a Christian one may be safer than most and certainly safer than bars. But the soul mate is up to the individuals. My mother just died after 73 years of marriage and I'm here to tell you, it wasn't always easy. Either could have left at any time. They had nothing in common. But they compromised and stayed and it worked out. You go into marriage with the committment that you will stay together no matter what. The hard times WILL come. And guess what. You find your soul mate. I could add to Scott's tirade, there are happy arranged marriages, though I suspect there are miserable ones. That's true of all marriage. Leave if he or she hits. Otherwise stick it out. Or, if you can't do that, stay on your own. You can be quite happy that way.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • WilltheFree

      Sorry to hear about your mom. But I do see that you are applying some type of old social filter to marriage. The concept of a life-long commitment is a farce, and that's not what marriage means today. I still think most people enter into marriage with the intent of making it forever, but that's just not the paradigm anymore. And really, our current society allows for more freedom than that – it's not like a divorced woman is shunned anymore, nor is she necessarily dependent on her man financially. I am merely pointing out that the social idea that marriage is forever was in fact rooted in the social need to not have orphans and divorcees who couldn't support themselves running around. And thus religions – which are be definition a means of social control – attempted to force something when it was needed.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  8. guest

    please can i know the name of the dating sites meant for Christians

    January 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy one

      How about the "Rick Santorum Beastiality Page" ?

      January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • guest

      send it to your father

      January 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  9. tacc2

    If god has time to hook people up with their "soul mates" on online dating sites, I have a few questions for him. Like, "Where were you in Darfur? Or during the holocaust? And if you love your people so much, why do you keep killing and torturing them in terrible ways?" If the Christian god is real, he is the biggest d–k head in the entire universe.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • guest

      you have just prove that you are a fool, by your word

      January 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Reverend Right

      God gives people choices. In the old Testament, Moses told the people of Israel: " I set before you this day blessing and cursing. A blessing if ye do well, and cursing if ye do not well." Joshua (or Jeshua/Jesus/Jesse. All being the same name:Yeshua) told the Jewish people: "Choose you THIS DAY(emphasis mine)whom you will serve....as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." So, there is a choice to be made. Our Jesus is a gentleman. He will not force His entry. That is something so many on here do not (or CHOOSE not) to understand.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  10. ruemorgue

    and the seque to *fix* past mistakes is ... drum roll ... *Christian Unmingle", aka, divorce.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  11. Are we there yet?

    Where is the antidote to that dreaded disease that is ruining families-Divorce?

    January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Moses

      Look to the scriptures for the antidote!!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Rachel

      Moses-well said!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Reverend Right

      Good reply Moses. Also, the family that prays together, stays together.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  12. rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy one

    It would be hilarious to see Rick Santorum in a federal prison, getting r@ped in the shower every day.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  13. Pingy

    Proverbs 3:3-5 Answers any question that any believer would have regarding God's will for them in finding a mate.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  14. ProgressiveMike

    Nothing wrong with ChristianMingle, it's just another dating site with a Christian disqualifying filter applied to all the candidates. People claiming to know what God wants, though? They're deluded. They have no more idea than anyone else what fate will bring or what God "wants".

    January 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  15. Eddy Merckx

    Asking whether or not God creates soul mates is like assuming that Daffy Duck is real and then debating whether
    or not she lays specially colored eggs.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  16. Tate Miller

    How utterly laughable! Religion itself is a disgrace and now we have religious matchmaking. What's next? Christian bomb-making?

    January 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  17. If horses had Gods ...

    Religion teaches followers to Fear & Love God ... I teach my children to avoid schizophrenic relationships like that. But they'll dole out relationship matches?!

    January 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  18. oscar

    ok! i have the answer to the question if god has anything to do with choosing a mate ? yes he dose! im talking for all those true christians that truly walk with him, he tells me who i can date on christian site keep in mind that he knows who is truly a christian and who is not, yes he is here!

    January 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • ProgressiveMike

      Okay oscar! Good luck with all that!!!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • IceT

      Soooo you believe God IS running a dating website?! wow!

      January 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  19. JennyTX

    Omigod, this is so silly. People will be much happier if they get rid of the make-believe stuff and just focus on being good people and treating others with respect.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  20. TownC

    People seem to have a lot of faith in the evidence for their atheism. It seems that being an atheist takes more faith than being a Christian. I have seen bad people become good and good people become better because of religion. The evidence for God is all around you if you will look and yes, have faith.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • ruemorgue

      The gullible will alwys see what they *want* to see. Fool.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • edwardo

      Faith is not a virtue! It brings Witch trials, wars, need I continue??

      January 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • WilltheFree

      You are making a connection that isn't there. Even if religions – which in theory teach people to be better – occasionally do just that, that is not evidence of god. They (try to) teach good values, morals and judgement at public schools as well, and that works occasionally as well.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • doodlerbug

      Many say God & Heaven is a dream.... but I say: If it is a dream.... then let me live there always... for there is where I am happy, fullfulled and hopeful. Do not take this delight from me... do not darken my mood. Let me ... believe there is a tomorrow past today and on...Let me.. feel someone loves me..for me. I have nothing ... but my spirit...which takes me on and forward. I have nothing but that hope.... which give me the will to go on. You who doubt, how are you really better? You live for no real reason except to exist. I exist for the reason to live on...

      January 7, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Missouri Boy

      @ Will, the free: Sir, I cannot PROVE to you with "impirical" evidence that there IS a God. I could give my personal testimony, but you would disregard that as biased, no doubt. But I will take the time to tell you about something that I "saw with my own eyes." When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my Mother, Aunt and myself attended a service presided over by a young Canadian preacher who was a "Faith Healer" That preacher's name was Lloyd Bustard. There was a lady present(it was her home Church) who was known to almost everyone there. This woman had a very largecyst on her back, upper shoulder. The preacher passed by her, prayed a short prayer and "bumped" her forehead with his finger. Nothing happened-for about ten seconds. Then the cyst busted. I saw this with my own eyes. This woman is still living. If I never see another sight like this, I saw it then: I will never forget the sight of the dark red- puss and blood running down the off-white dress this lady was wearing. This miracle happened at Christian Tabernacle, just outside of Sikeston, MO, about 25 years ago.

      January 7, 2012 at 9:35 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.