Christian Mingle, Random Numbers, and Prayer

I typed the above title into my bloggotool a few days ago, thinking I’d get back to it when I had time. I vaguely remember the point I was going to make. Let’s see how this goes.

Christian Mingle is an online matchmaking service for Christian folks. It makes sense; there are a lot of people for whom a partner must be of the same religion, and it wouldn’t surprise me if same-faith relationships tend to last longer (though there is likely precious little in the way of unbiased data on the subject — it’s one of those simple-sounding propositions that turns out to be a bitch to measure. But I digress…).

Anyway, my memory of the site’s tagline is fuzzy, but it’s something like, “find God’s match for you.” So you see, they are presenting themselves as an agent of God, a conduit that allows the Big Guy to work his subtle magic. I’ve heard crazier things. But then I thought some more (perhaps too much), and I realized that most likely they apply mathematical comparison algorithms to find the best matches, as do the rest of the matchmaking sites. In fact, they are probably a branded front end on one of the other major services. It’s all math, and it’s deterministic. The same data in will produce the same result. If God wants Sally to be with Jorge, but the numbers say she should be with Marcel, what’s He gonna do?

Although random numbers in computers aren’t truly random, they’re unpredictable enough that a deity could jigger them now and then and no one would be the wiser. If Christian Mingle threw a lot of entropy at the problem, they could create the wiggle room God needs to work His will. Clients would fill out a detailed questionnaire, send it in, and Christian Mingle could match them up randomly and bickety-bam, God’s will is done. Sally’s with Jorge.

(Note that God’s will does not necessarily translate to what’s best for the individuals involved.)

Generating the random number is much like prayer, except that now we have a machine to perform that tedious task for us. We are appealing to a higher power for guidance, trusting ourselves to His plan. For marketing, I would suggest to Christian Mingle that they substitute the phrase “Divine Guidance” for “Random Number” in their brochures.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go home and whip up a quick “pray for my soul” script. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

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