I was interviewed this week for an article today on ChristianMingle.com. I previously published a blog article on the precarious line between false advertising and faith-based pitches at the company. My favorite fact from Paul Farhi’s article below is that ChristianMingle is an outgrowth of a Jewish dating site that has now branched out into other faiths and made a killing by bringing the goyim together.
Spark made a fortune with Jdating for Jews and now has 28 dating sites including Adventist Singles Connection, BlackSingles, DeafSingles Connection and CatholicMingle “as well as sites for Mormons, older people, plus-size women (and the men who like them), single parents and military personnel.”
We previously discussed the controversial pitch that Christian’s could use it to “Find God’s Match for You.” That makes it sound a lot like promising a divine dating experience — something promised in bars with less of a direct implication to God. It is a bit like Yenta if she had a computer and no scruples. (There does not yet appear to be an AtheistMingle.com to “Find That Faithless Match for You.”)
What is clear is that the 29th site is not likely to be FTC-Mingle — a site for FTC lawyers seeking mates. The Federal Trade Commission is tasked to prohibit “unfair and deceptive acts or practices in commerce.” The question is whether the “advertisement . . . is misleading in a material respect” which can include consideration of “representations made or suggested by statement, word, design, device, sound, or any combination thereof, but also the extent to which the advertisement fails to reveal facts material in the light of such representations or material with respect to consequences which may result from the use of the commodity to which the advertisement relates under the conditions prescribed in said advertisement, or under such conditions as are customary or usual.” As I mention in the article below, the company is probably saved by the verb “find” suggesting that the company will only help in a process or pursuit of “God’s choice” rather than certify that the guy waiting at the coffee shop is God’s approved mate.
The company is a for-profit business but it can still claim some free exercise, faith-based protections. After all, churches have been known to sound “blessed clothes” and other items for “donations” and even promise that Jesus will cure cancer and other illnesses.
Notably, one of the competitors of ChristianMingle is ChristianCafe.com, which has ties to Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian group founded by James Dobson. ChristianCafe is also making considerable money on mingling the faithful. However, they balk at the advertising promises of ChristianMingle and insist, as Same Moorcroft told the Post, “We don’t claim to have a pipeline direct to God,.”
Of course, the Bible is not exactly a testament to God’s ability to find you a good mate. First, Old Testament figures were often polygamists who simply married all eligible woman of interest rather than winnow them down to just one divine choice. Abraham had three wives (Genesis 16:1, 16:3, 25:1), Moses is believed to have had two wives (Exodus 2:21, 18:1-6; Numbers 12:1), and David is believed to have had 18 wives (1 Samuel 18:27, 25:39-44; 2 Samuel 3:3, 3:4-5, 5:13, 12:7-8, 12:24, 16:21-23).
God’s choices often went to taking mistresses or additional wives:
50.49. In the Old Testament, Genesis 16:1-11 suggests Abram’s taking of a second wife is directly acknowledged and supported by God:
1 NOW Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
David’s plural marriages however, paled in comparison to King Solomon, another central biblical figure. As described in 1 Kings 11:1-4:
1 BUT king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Of course, in the New Testament, Jesus was single and had limited if any dating experience. Nevertheless, selling faith-based dating has proven divine for these companies and their executives making tens of millions of dollars off the romantic religious single set.
It is said “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 In some cases, however, money attracted some to faith and the faithful at sites like ChristianMingle.com.
Source: Washington Post