Marriage, in the Bahá’í Faith, is considered the basic unit of civilization, uniting not only two individuals, but two whole family lines, as well. Thus, it is too important to be trivialized or rendered temporary by inadequate planning before marriage and less than purposeful maintenance after.
Given the importance of marriage for both personal happiness as well as society at large, Bahá’ís can be serious about looking for potential spouses. For many young Bahá’ís, there are often few local choices for Bahá’í friends, let alone life partners. Looking on line can widen their target population.
There is such a proliferation of online dating services these days, that competing sites often promise anything in order to get attention. I bet it would be possible to enter the words “Penguin Dating” into any search engine and have lots of hits announcing their sites as having the very best penguin dating available! Of course, when you got to those sites, they would apologize that presently they have no penguins among their members – but you could be the first to sign up.
There simply aren’t enough Bahá’ís using online dating services to make a profitable subgroup, I suppose. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that out of nearly two billion people using the Internet, (as of December 2009) only some few thousands happen to be Bahá’ís, and few of them go there looking for a date. Also, there is no activity that can be labeled “Bahá’í Dating” -- just as there is yet no “Bahá’í Music”, or architecture, or culture. The religion is too young for those things to have developed.
Nevertheless, there are very clear guidelines and laws governing personal conduct, marriage and sexual activity. Dating, as portrayed in modern western entertainment media, with its focus on the trivial and superficial, not to mention sex, is not a purposeful activity.
“Bahá’í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding involvement between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity…” - Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118
Dating, as I understand it for Bahá’ís, is a place for more serious exploration of each other’s goals, hopes, fears and compatibilities. Movies and parties alone, for instance, do not allow for such in depth conversations.
“A couple should study each other’s character and spend time getting to know each other before they decide to marry, and when they do marry it should be with the intention of establishing an eternal bond.” - Lights of Guidance, p. 380
There are some social networking sites maintained by Bahá’ís (see below) but only one serious ‘dating’ site: Two Doves. And they make it very clear that their site is about facilitating character research.
So, if you’d just like to meet some people who happen to be Bahá’ís, hang out in a chat room, discuss issues in a forum, download some music, or whatever, try Planet Bahá’í. It is free but you need to register. If single and looking for more than just a friend, it’s Two Doves, which like most dating services, is not free. But then, it doesn’t expect to be a longterm solution to anyone’s searching, either.
This being the Internet, however, caution is advised no matter what sites offer services targeted at Bahá’ís. No background checks are required to enroll in these services, and so there is no way to know that people are who they say they are.