PZ Myers had a post up the other day about the difficulties atheists might face in finding a matching non-religious partner, and to what lengths one would go, and where to compromise, when faced with a situation where non-religious candidates are not readily available for partner selection. Personally, I draw the line at getting asked whether I would attend church with person of interest, that sort of thing makes me nervous, because I’m outspoken about my non-belief, and if someone’s reaction to that is to ask me to come to church with them, I consider that insensitive and suspect ulterior motives, like the wish to play conversion games with me. Do not want.
Could I imagine dating a religious person ? Well, maybe, if they practice it for themself and keep it private, I might. The problem is of course that the presence of belief in supernaturalism often indicates other shortcomings, like a lack of ability to argue rationally, or the absence of a feeling of responsibility for one’s own fate.
Anyway, I was reminded of PZ’s post today when I saw this article on Christian Today, where a local religious troglodyte called Mark Tronson is quoted as wondering where evangelical Christians would find a suitable “marriage partner”. Note that we’re not talking about dating or romance or “getting to know each other” here, no, it’s straight to marriage for these guys :
Where do evangelical Christian singles find a marriage partner? If a young person is already having trouble meeting ‘suitable friends’ of the opposite sex, how much more difficult must it be to find someone else of the same faith and a particular group of that faith?
Then the writer of the article slips in a little, shall we say, inaccuracy :
Two of the groups with the lowest divorce rates (although these are not far below the wider society) are self-identified evangelical Christians and groups with higher education (these overlap of course). (www.christianpost.com)
Maybe the author didn’t read the link he provided, which in fact states that the Christian divorce rate is identical to the national average (in the USA):
Among all born again Christians, which includes evangelicals, the divorce figure is 32 percent, which is statistically identical to the 33 percent figure among non-born again adults, the research group noted.
Anyhow, I never thought about this before in great detail. So evangelical Christians are looking for like-minded, brainwashed, inflexible, irrational, semi-sentient superstitious mating partners, just like atheists are looking to meet their geeky, rational and non-godfearing other half ? I wonder who has the tougher assignment ! It depends on your location, I guess. Tronson has noticed a paradigm shift, would you believe :
Mark Tronson says that from his observation, a paradigm shift amongst Christians is in a process of change in relation to this specific question. It has largely come out of the Pentecostal movement where the Holy Spirit is the guiding force for all of life’s decisions.
In this new paradigm, it doesn’t matter what the venue is, in its simplest form, the Spirit of the Lord will guide you to your soul mate.
This is where it becomes a bit tricky, Mark Tronson explains. This new paradigm says it does not matter that the ‘venue’ might be a wine bar, a holiday on a cruise or on the Whitsundays, a Kakadu trek, a disco club, a hobby destination such as a walking club, the work place, a university college, on-line (which is very popular today) … but it may not be, and quite possibly unlikely to be the church or the youth group or the Christian camp.
The emphasis has changed.
Indeed, the place where the Holy Spirit will surprise you with the romance of your dreams features less on the church and reading your Bible, as it does on your personal and individualistic sense on the Spirit of the Lord’s wisdom and guidance.
Yes, well, you never know where the holy spirit might surprise you, right ! There’s no hiding from the reach of the imaginary Christian sky pixie, whether you’re trekking, dancing, on Facebook, or cruising the Whitsundays ! That holy spirit sure gets around.