Thou Shalt Date Online Online dating is not wrong--it's just one more way to co-create your life with God. I am primarily a pastor in Southern California, but I also serve as a spokesperson for Faithmate, an online dating service. Not long ago, I was interviewed about the site by one of the leading gospel radio and magazine personalities in Houston, and we were bombarded by callers questioning whether the church should support online dating.
I held my own, but the conflicting views of callers placed us at an impasse. I believe Christian online dating is just one more avenue to meet people. It does not replace conventional ways of meeting, nor does it add to or negate the intellectual and cognitive process associated with establishing a relationship. It simply puts more potential prospects within your reach. You scrutinize a person online as you would if you met them in any other context.
The criteria you use to decide to be with someone do not change online. The same potential for people to deceive you in person exists on the Internet, so you must use discernment either way. There are advantages to being introduced to someone by a friend or a relative. First, there is the comfort of having someone whose opinion you trust make the recommendation.
This person, who knows both of you, can also be a good source of advice. And should it seem that something is going wrong with the relationship, this person likewise becomes a source of comfort.
There is no such safety net when you meet someone online, but one advantage is that your decision to continue or stop a relationship is not influenced by a third person to whom you feel obligated because he or she made the introduction.
But there is another, spiritual issue surrounding online dating: My response to this argument is that the Internet is simply a place to position oneself in a larger arena. How many people position themselves for dating in the church by being available for a plethora of different services, going to conventions, singles ministry functions and all else that the church offers?
There is nothing wrong with that. It is putting oneself in a more effective position to wait on God. It does not mean you are desperate. To the contrary, it simply means you are ready for the next level. We speak so eloquently and ebulliently about what God is going to do in our lives as it relates to certain essentials. Two of the more common issues are our financial and personal relationships. We are repeatedly told that God is going to do marvelous things for us in our finances and relationships.
This seems to be the stumbling block that keeps our faith from moving from the mystical to the practical. God does more through us than for us. In fact, God does it for us by doing it through us! We are co-creators with God. You and I have to participate in the process of achieving both success and a good relationship with the right person.
We need the opportunity to be exposed to a larger universe of potential mates. We need to broaden the playing field to a larger market of potentially qualified mates.
Online we can literally browse through thousands of profiles and reduce the numbers of prospective candidates without the laborious, agonizing, and expensive prospect of going out with the many to find the one!
This is the joy of online dating. It is through communication that we identify the qualities and dispositions others possess.
This is what Faithmate and other dating sites are designed to help us do. Being online simply widens the playing field.