Online dating is now a fact of life for singles. But what does this mean for Christians? How do we maintain our integrity in the cut-throat world of online dating?
Imagine a time when the only way you could communicate with a potential love interest was by writing a letter, or literally going and knocking on their front door! Imagine having to ask someone out in person! *shudders*
While internet dating is not a new phenomenon, it would forever change in 2012 with the launch of Tinder. Its simple format made it a huge success—if you like the look of someone you swipe right. And if they swipe right on you, boom! By 2014, the app was registering a billion swipes per day.
Since then, online dating has become a normalised part of our culture. You may have heard that Tinder and co. are used purely for ‘hook-ups’. This is unfair, as there are a plenty of singles on these apps who are genuinely looking for love and commitment. But, if this could be a temptation for you, then perhaps it’s best to keep away from it altogether.
With that in mind—how should we, as Christians, approach dating apps? It’s vital to think about how online dating can alter our perspectives of a potential partner. Here’s a few questions we can be asking ourselves when engaging with technology:
• Is endlessly swiping on Tinder causing us to objectify people? Are we potentially becoming too preoccupied with how physically attractive people are?
• Are these apps consuming me? How often am I checking them?
• How is it affecting my self-esteem and sense of worth? What is it doing to my confidence?
Regardless of what our intentions may be, dating apps can quickly require us to objectify others. By its very nature, Tinder’s ‘swiping’ function means a person’s physical appearance can become the only thing we consider when browsing potential matches.
As Christians, is this really how we want to judge people? You might argue that this is no different to walking into a church and choosing to approach someone we find attractive. But when we’re presented with hundreds of images of different strangers, it’s easy to forget that these guys and gals are people too—people loved by their friends and families, people with hopes, dreams and aspirations, people made in the image of God. People are not commodities to be ‘shopped’. As followers of Christ, we are called to honour the dignity of all people.
And while a spark is important, it’s a person’s values, integrity and faith that will make them a good partner for you. More importantly, maintaining these values yourself are what will make you a good partner for someone else.
All these thoughts aside, dating apps are a valid way to meet people in 2018—especially for Christians who don’t have a lot of opportunity to meet potential partners. Many happy Christian couples have found each other via dating apps. There’s no reason you couldn’t be one too! Let’s just be mindful that we’re swiping humans, not robots.
(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 17 November 2018, p10 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.