As a single Christian who likes to keep up with issues (in general) I am very interested in how single Christians are treated in the local church. Don't worry I am not starting "another" thread on that issue here (see pastoral ministries forum for my latest rant on that). In the past I have spoken out on statements made by Al Mohler, who I generally like but tend to disagree with somewhat on this issue, and other authors who have suggested that those who don't get married maybe living in disobedience. These good people suggest that unless one is going to be living over seas as a missionary, is physically disabled, or simply has zero desire for marriage (etc) they should be married. These folks often blame Christian men for the large number of single Christian women. I believe one even went so far as to say that single Christian men were going to be held accountable for the many single Christian women who wanted to marry but could never find anyone to marry. I think we beat that issue to death here some months ago and it is not my desire to repeat that debate now. What I want to focus on here is another, but related, issue. It seems that everytime I turn around Christian singles, and non Christian singles, are being stormed with online dating advertisements. From adds promoting match.com to eharmony.com it seems that no Christian website for singles is without those adds. Not only that some churches, including my old church, use some of Neil Clark Warren's materials in singles Sunday School classes. Now the fact that I am writing a post on this should tell you that I have concerns. So, let me list them out... 1. Safety. While I suppose it can be argued that online dating is just as safe as meeting someone the old fashion way I still wonder if there is not a bit more risk involved. After all online there is no way to verify that the person is who, or what, they are claiming to be. There are many tragic examples of people who thought they had found Mr Right online to end up being raped and/or murdered. While such dangers can be guarded against through common-sense precautions I am not sure that such precautions does away with the risk. When a person meets someone in person, through a friend, or at church, that person has some idea who they are dealing with. If your best friend sets you up with someone you can, usually safely, assume that the person is not a axe murderer. However online I just don't see how such assurances can be gained. 2. I am afraid that groups like eharmony are nothing more than money making schemes. While their programs may work for some people these companies are more than willing to continue taking over $20.00 per month from lonely people in the "hope" that they will find "true love". I am worried that this maybe taking advantage of people who are lonely. So I wonder if we, as Christians, should be promoting these groups. 3. Another concern I have is that these groups may promote easy dates. What do I mean? I mean people who lead someone on with no real intention of going anywhere. Sure this can happen in person and I suppose online dating does not raise the risk of a person falling victim to this that much. However it is much easier for someone to lead someone along online than it is in person. 4. My second major concern, behind safety, is where people are focused. I wonder if these online dating groups feed people's desperations and cause them to become more focused on what they "don't" have then what they do have. I wonder if these groups allow people to become so focused on what they think they want and not to be focused on what God wants for them. Maybe God does not want them married right now, maybe God has someone for them down the road, I don't know. However I am concerned that these groups enable people to try to find a way around God's will/plan, which maybe moving slower than that person desires, and as such will cause some to never reach God's best for them. Now I am not, and I repeat not, crashing anyone who has had success with these online groups. I know there are people who have and if they are happy I am glad for them. However my focus is on the singles, usually female, I see on a regular basis. They are lonely and they are looking for someone. My concern is that these groups maybe doing them more harm than good. After all what if, and this is a big what if, they try all these groups and nothing works. Then what? What about their self esteem? What about all the money they have spent? It just seems to me that the modern online dating craze needs to be re-examined. So, do you agree with my concerns? Am I just overly skeptical?