Wednesday, December 16, 2015

eHarmony – Is It Christian? (And Does It Matter?)

Here's something I wrote about six years ago for my own website. I feel it might still be relevant.

Several years ago I received an unexpected email from an old friend – a devout Christian – with whom I had lost contact. He announced that he was married again, three years after the tragic death of his first wife.

He wrote: "I am remarried now to Jane, a lady I met through eHarmony. She is wonderful. We just celebrated our first anniversary. Have lost a lot of weight and am healthier than I have been in a long time."

Considerable debate continues within the Christian community as to whether or not eHarmony is a Christian company and/or whether Christians should use this service.

For example, the popular online dating service writes:

While there are Christian singles on eHarmony, it is a secular dating site that serves Christians and non-Christians alike. When matches are sent on eHarmony one can select to have Christian matches only; however for most users it requires communication before determining how much faith plays a part in a persons life. Furthermore, eHarmony supports gay and lesbian matching (via a website they own).

The Christian Dating Watchdog website declares:

eHarmony is one of the most well-known dating websites, secular or Christian, because of their aggressive television advertising. I have found a lot of information that, when put together, makes me come to the conclusion that is not a site for Christians.

An article on online dating in The Atlantic included an interview with eHarmony founder Dr Neil Clark Warren:

Warren…bristles at the widely held opinion that eHarmony is a Christian dating site. The company’s chief operating officer, he offered by way of rebuttal, is Jewish….And while Warren describes himself as “a passionate Christian” and proudly declares, “I love Jesus,” he worried about narrowing the site with too many questions about spiritual beliefs.

Well, if the Jesus-loving founder himself bristles at the notion that the company is Christian, who am I – or other Christians – to be less bristly?

It is not a Christian company.

But should Christians use it?

I personally try to do business with Christian-run businesses as much as possible. My doctor, dentist and financial planner are all Christian. But I am also aware of the advice sometimes (and probably wrongly) attributed to Martin Luther: “I would rather be operated on by a Turkish [non-Christian] surgeon than a Christian butcher.” So would I.

I am happily married. Yet if I were seeking a wife I should certainly want a Christian lady. I might find one at a secular dating service. But I would almost certainly find one at a Christian service. Plenty of these exist, some boasting up to 100,000 active members.

Ideally, people would be led by God on these matters. And certainly my Christian friend found happiness through eHarmony. But I feel that if I were seeking a partner I would probably head first for one of the Christian-owned services.

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