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Other major Christian symbols include the chi-rho monogram , the dove symbolic of the Holy Spirit , the sacrificial lamb symbolic of Christ's sacrifice , the vine symbolizing the necessary connectedness of the Christian with Christ and many others. These all derive from writings found in the New Testament. Baptism is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the Church.
Beliefs on baptism vary among denominations. Differences occur firstly on whether the act has any spiritual significance. Some, such as the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as Lutherans and Anglicans, hold to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration , which affirms that baptism creates or strengthens a person's faith, and is intimately linked to salvation.
Others view baptism as a purely symbolic act, an external public declaration of the inward change which has taken place in the person, but not as spiritually efficacious. Secondly, there are differences of opinion on the methodology of the act. Those who hold the first view may also adhere to the tradition of infant baptism ;  the Orthodox Churches all practice infant baptism and always baptize by total immersion repeated three times in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' teaching on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount displays a distinct lack of interest in the external aspects of prayer. A concern with the techniques of prayer is condemned as 'pagan', and instead a simple trust in God's fatherly goodness is encouraged. In subsequent Christian traditions, certain physical gestures are emphasized, including medieval gestures such as genuflection or making the sign of the cross.
Kneeling , bowing and prostrations see also poklon are often practiced in more traditional branches of Christianity. Frequently in Western Christianity the hands are placed palms together and forward as in the feudal commendation ceremony. At other times the older orans posture may be used, with palms up and elbows in. Intercessory prayer is prayer offered for the benefit of other people.
There are many intercessory prayers recorded in the Bible, including prayers of the Apostle Peter on behalf of sick persons [Acts 9: The ancient church, in both Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity , developed a tradition of asking for the intercession of deceased saints , and this remains the practice of most Eastern Orthodox , Oriental Orthodox , Roman Catholic , and some Anglican churches. Churches of the Protestant Reformation , however, rejected prayer to the saints, largely on the basis of the sole mediatorship of Christ.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Other than Second Temple Judaism , the primary religious influences of early Christianity are Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. According to the Christian scriptures, Christians were from the beginning subject to persecution by some Jewish and Roman religious authorities, who disagreed with the apostles' teachings See Split of early Christianity and Judaism. This involved punishments, including death, for Christians such as Stephen [Acts 7: According to Church tradition, it was under Nero's persecution that early Church leaders Peter and Paul of Tarsus were each martyred in Rome.
Further widespread persecutions of the Church occurred under nine subsequent Roman emperors, most intensely under Decius and Diocletian.
From the year , Christian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith. These authors are known as the Church Fathers , and study of them is called Patristics. However, Armenia is considered the first nation to accept Christianity in AD King Trdat IV made Christianity the state religion in Armenia between and , it was not an entirely new religion in Armenia.
It penetrated into the country from at least the third century, but may have been present even earlier. Constantine was also instrumental in the convocation of the First Council of Nicaea in , which sought to address the Arian heresy and formulated the Nicene Creed , which is still used by the Catholic Church , Eastern Orthodoxy , Anglican Communion and many Protestant churches.
In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization ,  and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth and culture.
With the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the papacy became a political player, first visible in Pope Leo 's diplomatic dealings with Huns and Vandals.
While Arianists instituted the death penalty for practicing pagans see Massacre of Verden as example , Catholicism also spread among the Germanic peoples ,  the Celtic and Slavic peoples , the Hungarians and the Baltic peoples. Benedict set out his Monastic Rule , establishing a system of regulations for the foundation and running of monasteries. Part of the Muslims' success was due to the exhaustion of the Byzantine empire in its decades long conflict with Persia. The Middle Ages brought about major changes within the church.
Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed ecclesiastical structure and administration. The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea finally pronounced in favor of icons. Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the Christian era.
The traditional medieval universities —evolved from Catholic and Protestant church schools—then established specialized academic structures for properly educating greater numbers of students as professionals. Originally teaching only theology , universities steadily added subjects including medicine , philosophy and law , becoming the direct ancestors of modern institutions of learning. Accompanying the rise of the "new towns" throughout Europe, mendicant orders were founded, bringing the consecrated religious life out of the monastery and into the new urban setting.
The two principal mendicant movements were the Franciscans  and the Dominicans  founded by St. Both orders made significant contributions to the development of the great universities of Europe. Another new order were the Cistercians , whose large isolated monasteries spearheaded the settlement of former wilderness areas. In this period church building and ecclesiastical architecture reached new heights, culminating in the orders of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals.
From under the pontificate of Urban II , the Crusades were launched. The Crusades ultimately failed to stifle Islamic aggression and even contributed to Christian enmity with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. These two churches disagree on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most notably papal primacy of jurisdiction. However, the Roman Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches. Beginning around , following the crusade against the Cathar heresy,  various institutions, broadly referred to as the Inquisition , were established with the aim of suppressing heresy and securing religious and doctrinal unity within Christianity through conversion and prosecution.
Another major schism, the Reformation , resulted in the splintering of the Western Christendom into several branches. These challenges developed into the movement called Protestantism , which repudiated the primacy of the pope , the role of tradition, the seven sacraments and other doctrines and practices. Beginning in , the monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved. Their activity brought about the Radical Reformation , which gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations.
Partly in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reform. During the following centuries, competition between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply entangled with political struggles among European states. Meanwhile, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in brought about a new wave of missionary activity.
Partly from missionary zeal, but under the impetus of colonial expansion by the European powers, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout Europe, the divides caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of religious violence and the establishment of separate state churches in Europe. Lutheranism spread into northern, central and eastern parts of present-day Germany, Livonia and Scandinavia. Anglicanism was established in England in Calvinism and its varieties such as Presbyterianism were introduced in Scotland , the Netherlands , Hungary , Switzerland and France.
Arminianism gained followers in the Netherlands and Frisia. Ultimately, these differences led to the outbreak of conflicts in which religion played a key factor. These events intensified the Christian debate on persecution and toleration.
In the era known as the Great Divergence , when in the West the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific revolution brought about great societal changes, Christianity was confronted with various forms of skepticism and with certain modern political ideologies such as versions of socialism and liberalism. Especially pressing in Europe was the formation of nation states after the Napoleonic era. In all European countries, different Christian denominations found themselves in competition, to greater or lesser extents, with each other and with the state.
Variables are the relative sizes of the denominations and the religious, political and ideological orientation of the state. Urs Altermatt of the University of Fribourg , looking specifically at Catholicisms in Europe, identifies four models for the European nations. In traditionally Catholic countries such as Belgium , Spain and to some extent Austria , religious and national communities are more or less identical. Cultural symbiosis and separation are found in Poland , Ireland and Switzerland , all countries with competing denominations.
Competition is found in Germany , the Netherlands and again Switzerland, all countries with minority Catholic populations who to a greater or lesser extent did identify with the nation. Finally, separation between religion again, specifically Catholicism and the state is found to a great degree in France and Italy , countries where the state actively opposed itself to the authority of the Catholic Church.
The combined factors of the formation of nation states and ultramontanism , especially in Germany and the Netherlands but also in England to a much lesser extent  , often forced Catholic churches, organizations and believers to choose between the national demands of the state and the authority of the Church, specifically the papacy.
This conflict came to a head in the First Vatican Council , and in Germany would lead directly to the Kulturkampf , where liberals and Protestants under the leadership of Bismarck managed to severely restrict Catholic expression and organization. Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own in Europe,  particularly in the Czech Republic and Estonia ,  while religious commitments in America have been generally high in comparison to Europe.
Some Europeans including diaspora , Indigenous peoples of the Americas and natives of other continents have revived their respective peoples' historical folk religions.
This masks a major shift in the demographics of Christianity; large increases in the developing world have been accompanied by substantial declines in the developed world, mainly in Europe and North America.
As a percentage of Christians, the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy both Eastern and Oriental are declining, while Protestants and other Christians are on the rise. Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas and Southern Africa. The Christian population is not decreasing in Brazil, the Southern United States  and the province of Alberta , Canada,  but the percentage is decreasing.
In countries such as Australia  and New Zealand,  the Christian population are declining in both numbers and percentage. However, there are many charismatic movements that have become well established over large parts of the world, especially Africa, Latin America and Asia. Mary's University study estimated about In most countries in the developed world, church attendance among people who continue to identify themselves as Christians has been falling over the last few decades.
Christianity , in one form or another, is the sole state religion of the following nations: There are numerous other countries, such as Cyprus, which although do not have an established church , still give official recognition and support to a specific Christian denomination. Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blue.
Nations with Christianity as their state religion detailed map; see legend for more. There is a diversity of doctrines and practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups are sometimes classified under denominations , though for theological reasons many groups reject this classification system.
The Anabaptist tradition was largely ostracized by the other Protestant parties at the time, but has achieved a measure of affirmation in more recent history. Adventist , Baptist , Methodist , Pentecostal and other Protestant confessions arose in the following centuries.
The Catholic Church consists of those particular Churches , headed by bishops, in communion with the Pope , the Bishop of Rome, as its highest authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance.
The 2, sees  are grouped into 24 particular autonomous Churches the largest of which being the Latin Church , each with its own distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering the sacraments.
A number of conflicts with Western Christianity over questions of doctrine and authority culminated in the Great Schism. Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with an estimated — million adherents. The Oriental Orthodox churches also called "Old Oriental" churches are those eastern churches that recognize the first three ecumenical councils— Nicaea , Constantinople and Ephesus —but reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon and instead espouse a Miaphysite christology.
The Oriental Orthodox communion consists of six groups: The Assyrian Church of the East , with an unbroken patriarchate established in the 17th century, is an independent Eastern Christian denomination which claims continuity from the Church of the East - in parallel to the Catholic patriarchate established in the 16th century that evolved into the Chaldean Catholic Church , an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Pope.
Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are far broader denominationally, and are broadly referred to as the Reformed tradition. In the 18th century, for example, Methodism grew out of Anglican minister John Wesley 's evangelical and revival movement. Estimates of the total number of Protestants are very uncertain, but it seems clear that Protestantism is the second largest major group of Christians after Roman Catholicism in number of followers although the Eastern Orthodox Church is larger than any single Protestant denomination.
A special grouping are the Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and organized in the Anglican Communion. Some Anglican churches consider themselves both Protestant and Catholic. While Anglicans, Lutherans and the Reformed branches of Protestantism originated in the Magisterial Reformation , other Protestant groups such as the Anabaptists originated in the Radical Reformation and are distinguished by their rejection of infant baptism; they believe in baptism only of adult believers — credobaptism.
Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as "Christians" or " born-again Christians". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations. The Second Great Awakening , a period of religious revival that occurred in the United States during the early s, saw the development of a number of unrelated churches. They generally saw themselves as restoring the original church of Jesus Christ rather than reforming one of the existing churches.
Some of the churches originating during this period are historically connected to early 19th-century camp meetings in the Midwest and Upstate New York. American Millennialism and Adventism , which arose from Evangelical Protestantism, influenced the Jehovah's Witnesses movement and, as a reaction specifically to William Miller , the Seventh-day Adventists.
Other groups originating in this time period include the Christadelphians and Latter Day Saint movement. While the churches originating in the Second Great Awakening have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly.
Various smaller Independent Catholic communities, such as the Old Catholic Church , include the word Catholic in their title, and arguably have more or less liturgical practices in common with the Catholic Church , but are no longer in full communion with the Holy See.
Esoteric Christians regard Christianity as a mystery religion ,   and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices,   hidden from the public but accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people. Messianic Judaism or Messianic Movement is the name of a Christian movement comprising a number of streams, whose members may consider themselves Jewish.
The movement originated in the s and s, and it blends elements of religious Jewish practice with evangelical Christianity. Messianic Judaism affirms Christian creeds such as the messiahship and divinity of "Yeshua" the Hebrew name of Jesus and the Triune Nature of God, while also adhering to some Jewish dietary laws and customs. Western culture , throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture , and a large portion of the population of the Western hemisphere can be described as cultural Christians.
The notion of " Europe " and the " Western World " has been intimately connected with the concept of " Christianity and Christendom " many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.
Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires , as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Europe. Christianity has had a significant impact on education as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,  and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world ; as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.
It has been prolific in the foundation of schools , universities and hospitals , and many Catholic clergy ;  Jesuits in particular,   have been active in the sciences throughout history and have made significant contributions to the development of science.
According to the Merton Thesis , there was a positive correlation between the rise of English Puritanism and German Pietism on the one hand and early experimental science on the other. Eastern Christians particularly Nestorian Christians contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the reign of the Ummayad and the Abbasid by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic.
Christians have made a myriad of contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields,  including philosophy ,  science and technology ,      fine arts and architecture ,  politics , literatures , music ,  and business. It refers to the loss of Christianity's monopoly on values and world view in historically Christian societies.
Cultural Christians are secular people with a Christian heritage who may not believe in the religious claims of Christianity, but who retain an affinity for the popular culture , art, music and so on related to it. Another frequent application of the term is to distinguish political groups in areas of mixed religious backgrounds. The other way was institutional union with United and uniting churches , a practice that can be traced back to unions between Lutherans and Calvinists in early 19th-century Germany.
Congregationalist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches united in to form the United Church of Canada ,  and in to form the Uniting Church in Australia. Steps towards reconciliation on a global level were taken in by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches mutually revoking the excommunications that marked their Great Schism in ;  the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission ARCIC working towards full communion between those churches since ;  and some Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches signing the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in to address conflicts at the root of the Protestant Reformation.
In , the World Methodist Council , representing all Methodist denominations, adopted the declaration. Criticism of Christianity and Christians goes back to the Apostolic Age , with the New Testament recording friction between the followers of Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes e.
Wild rumors about Christians were widely circulated, claiming that they were atheists and that, as part of their rituals, they devoured human infants and engaged in incestuous orgies. By the 12th century, the Mishneh Torah i.
Criticism of Christianity continues to date, e. Jewish and Muslim theologians criticize the doctrine of the Trinity held by most Christians, stating that this doctrine in effect assumes that there are three Gods, running against the basic tenet of monotheism.
Price has outlined the possibility that some Bible stories are based partly on myth in "The Christ Myth Theory and its problems". Christian apologetics aims to present a rational basis for Christianity. The word "apologetic" comes from the Greek word "apologeomai", meaning "in defense of". Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul the Apostle.
The philosopher Thomas Aquinas presented five arguments for God's existence in the Summa Theologica , while his Summa contra Gentiles was a major apologetic work. Chesterton , wrote in the early twentieth century about the benefits of religion and, specifically, Christianity. Famous for his use of paradox, Chesterton explained that while Christianity had the most mysteries, it was the most practical religion.
Hence all the power of magic became dissolved; and every bond of wickedness was destroyed, men's ignorance was taken away, and the old kingdom abolished God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.
For 'the Word was made flesh. The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Christianity Jesus Christ. Jesus , Jesus in Christianity , and Christ title. Jesus in comparative mythology.
Crucifixion of Jesus and Resurrection of Jesus. Catholic theology of Scripture. Mass liturgy , Reformed worship , and Contemporary worship. Sacraments of the Catholic Church , Anglican sacraments , and Lutheran sacraments. And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.
For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation.
European wars of religion. Christianity by country , Christian population growth , and Christian denominations by membership. Christendom and Christian state. Other Christians by number: List of Christian denominations and List of Christian denominations by number of members. Assyrian Church of the East. Evangelicalism Charismatic movement Neo-charismatic movement.
Nondenominational churches House churches. Christian culture and Role of Christianity in civilization. Protestant culture , Cultural Christian , and Christian influences in Islam. Christian apologetics and Criticism of Christianity. Christianity portal Religion portal Spirituality portal. The name was given by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch to the disciples of Jesus.
In the New Testament the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints", and "believers". Richard Niebuhr ; About. Christian population shifts from Europe". Retrieved 25 February Retrieved 30 July Retrieved 29 May Retrieved 17 August A Very Short Introduction. Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era.
Some Exemplary Voices , p. Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization. Pagan Rome and the Early Christians. Bergen 9 November Univ of North Carolina Press. The Early Christian World. Retrieved 18 October The enthusiasm for evangelization among the Christians was also accompanied by the awareness that the most immediate problem to solve was how to serve the huge number of new converts.
Simatupang said, if the number of the Christians were double or triple, then the number of the ministers should also be doubled or tripled and the tole of the laity should be maximized and Christian service to society through schools, universities, hospitals and orphanages, should be increased. In addition, for him the Christian mission should be involved in the struggle for justice amid the process of modernization. Theologians, bishops, and preachers urged the Christian community to be as compassionate as their God was, reiterating that creation was for all of humanity.
They also accepted and developed the identification of Christ with the poor and the requisite Christian duty to the poor. Religious congregations and individual charismatic leaders promoted the development of a number of helping institutions-hospitals, hospices for pilgrims, orphanages, shelters for unwed mothers-that laid the foundation for the modern "large network of hospitals, orphanages and schools, to serve the poor and society at large. Shapers of a Movement.
In the central provinces of India they established schools, orphanages, hospitals, and churches, and spread the gospel message in zenanas. Retrieved 15 January Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural understanding and practice.
St Vladimir's Seminary Press. Retrieved 9 May Many of these Christian groups, of course, refuse to consider other such groups Christian.
The History of the Church. The Nicene Creed and Mass". Catholics United for the Fath. Retrieved 16 June The British Orthodox Church Archived from the original on 19 June The United Methodist Church.
Archived from the original on 14 January Retrieved 31 December The Capstone in the Arch of Christianity. Australian Catholic University National. Archived from the original on 1 September Retrieved 16 May The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do? Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today , p. Journal of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 3 April What Saint Paul Really Said: Oxford, , p. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Archived from the original on 15 August New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
Oxford Companion to the Bible. Ignatius of Antioch in Letter to the Ephesians , ch. Irenaeus in Against Heresies , ch. From the Stone Age to Christianity. A Reformed Confession Regarding Hermeneutics article 6. Ball, Bryan; Johnsson, William ed. Barrett, David; Kurian, Tom and others. Oxford University Press It took a further two emails being ignored for him to get the drift!
There are loads of ways to easily cut dating costs. Plus as they're more thoughtful, they're likely to be more successful than a bog standard meal out. For a cultured date that doesn't cost a penny, we've full listings of Free Museums and Galleries , or try our Free Festivals guide to see if there's one nearby. Or you could bag free audience tickets to their fave TV show, free or discounted cinema tickets or get Cheap Zoo tickets. Forumites on the Cheap date ideas and Dating in debt discussions have loads of tried-and-tested dating recommendations.
A few to whet your appetite s:. Skip the expensive dinners. The best date I ever went on was a drive to the coast, a walk along the wind-lashed beach, followed by a cream tea in a pub by a roaring fire in winter. It was one of my first dates with the man who is now my hubby. Go for a picnic at your local park. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket packed with your favourite cheese, grapes, wine and some chocolate for dessert.
Bring along a book of poetry and take turns readings love poems to each other. Some of my favourite moments with my now husband weren't expensive. When we walked along the river at night Me and my other half are skintaroonies, but every couple of weeks we go to Orange Wednesdays at the pictures.
We get a nice evening out and it costs buttons. Very impressed when a guy I liked knew my fave chocolate and had some waiting for me for DVD night. Worryingly, a BBC One Panorama investigation broadcast in August found several big dating sites had been using fake profiles to lure in paid sign-ups, with new users reporting receiving bogus messages that disappeared when they joined. A Channel 4 News investigation reported similar instances of dating site trickery.
It's illegal for a dating site to create fake profiles to generate cash. Trading Standards told us: If you're dating online, sadly there's little way of telling the real profiles from the fake. Some of the fake images were reported to be taken from social networking sites without consent or old pictures of celebrities.
We've not heard of Martin's being used - there's probably a reason for this If you're concerned, you could try a Google Images search to see if the profile image comes up anywhere else on the net. So if your new hunk is actually just an old picture of George Clooney in his 20s, move on. This won't always work, so the key is not to get too attached before you've struck up a proper conversation with them.
Sadly there's no specific regulator for online dating agents, so contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 04 05 06 if you're concerned you may be being targeted by fake profiles, and it'll contact Trading Standards to investigate. The Information Commissioner's Office ICO is also looking further into unscrupulous practices from some online dating companies.
If you're worried your personal data's being used without your consent, contact the ICO. If you're out for a meal with your date, ensure you've a restaurant voucher to whip out when the bill comes. As well as saving you both cash, it'll show your date you're good with money too. Don't feel bad about doing it. In our Is it OK to use a voucher on a first date? Some of the past reticence was that vouchers were perceived as only for low-end eateries, yet that's long gone.
If it was me paying and using a voucher, I'd take the bill over to the till or bar and pay there, rather than doing it at the table. For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 10m who get it. This won't guarantee a hassle-free experience. But it does mean the site has to commit to an industry code of practice that includes honest communication with users, protecting their privacy and providing a way to report abusive members. If you have a complaint about a company, the ODA says you should contact the dating site directly.
While the association can't help resolve complaints, it says it monitors the flow of issues, and may step in if something serious is going wrong. We include whether our top dating sites below are members or not. If you've paid for a subscription upfront but change your mind part-way through the contract, sadly there's little hope of getting your money back.
But if it isn't providing the service it agreed to when you signed up, you might have a case for a refund, or even compensation though it's never guaranteed. You've statutory rights for poor service - and this applies to dating sites too. If you don't think a service has been provided with 'reasonable care and skill', it's broken the terms of the contract, or you've been mis-sold eg, you were told something would happen and it didn't you've a right to complain.
See How to complain for help. If you're in a contract with a dating site, cancelling may breach it, so check the paperwork first. You may need to give it notice, or there may be penalties for early cancellation, which could be cheaper than keeping it going. Also known as 'continuous payment authorities' CPAs , these let firms take cash from your card regularly whenever they think they're owed. You can still cancel a CPA or a direct debit if in contract, but you'll need to find another way to pay for the rest of the contract.
This is because you're only in breach of contract if you stop paying altogether, but not necessarily if you change the way you pay always check the terms to be sure though.
If you're still having problems cancelling payments, despite contacting both the dating site and your bank, you can make a complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. It settles disputes independently and will look into the case on your behalf.
See Beware Recurring Payments for more help. It can take a lot of courage to put yourself out there. Yet once you've chosen your site and created your profile, it's time to stop worrying and be yourself. While it's likely to take time to find your perfect match, online dating sites are ultimately tools to help you increase your chances. Plus the web era means successful relationships that started online are now hugely common. Never mind finding your soulmate - finding the right dating website can be tricky enough, with literally hundreds to chose from.
We've rounded up a few of the best below:. Anecdotally, free online dating sites tend to attract a bit of a mixed bag, as there are fewer barriers. Of course, it depends on the website, but free dating sites generally have more basic features and are less targeted to specific types of daters. If you don't mind fending off or ignoring any unwanted messages, and you're aware of the online dating scams to watch out for see safety tips , they're a useful way to meet others on the web for nowt.
A massive name in the world of free online dating, Plenty of Fish lets you sign up, create a profile, send and receive messages for nowt. I met my wife on Plenty of Fish and we had a beautiul baby girl in Jan, so it can and does work. It took me two weeks to decide to message her, as I felt she was out of my league looks-wise, but it's the best thing I ever did.
Signing up will take about an hour, as you need to answer about questions as part of its optional 'chemistry' and 'needs' tests. You can also write a few paragraphs about yourself and add up to eight photos. As part of your profile, you can describe your personality in one word from a pre-selected list - which caters for everything from 'foodie' and 'nomad' to 'starving artist' and 'geek'.
It also lets you choose potential matches by star sign. You can choose what you're looking for from 'hangout', 'friends', 'dating' and 'long-term', though its intent section lets daters state if they're looking for 'no commitment'.
It's free to sign up, create a profile, and send and receive messages. Yet for those prepared to shell out, it also offers a premium account that lets you see when your profile was viewed by others, and whether the messages you've sent have been read. Very easy to use, and hugely popular with social network addicts, Tinder is a fast-paced and addictive free dating app to meet others on your smartphone. It's the premium paid-for version of Tinder. It offers users an extended version of the original app, including unlimited right-swipes, likes, and an undo button to recover mistaken swipes.
There is also a Passport function which allows users to flirt with potential partners in countries where they intend to travel. It doesn't have a lengthy dating questionnaire.
The concept's simple - download an app, then log in using your Facebook profile. It only shows your profile photos and interests - it won't show your entire profile.
Be careful you're happy about the photos users will see. You browse others' profile pics, swiping past any you aren't interested in. If you are, you simply click the 'heart' icon. If they've done the same for you, you can then send each other messages. The amount of times you can 'swipe right' has now been limited, we've asked Tinder for more information on this.
It also lets you set the age range of those you're looking for, find recommendations, and limit your search area to daters within a certain distance from you. If you're keen on playing Cupid, it even lets you matchmake friends. Be aware you're giving the app access to your Facebook account and pics.
As ever, watch out if you aren't on Wi-Fi, as it'll eat into your data allowance. This free dating app allows users to connect with each other as they cross paths in real life, with a range of up to m. It can even show users where and when they crossed paths. It's free to download and uses your Facebook information to build a profile.
It'll show your name, age, job and a few pictures. How big is it? The app has five million worldwide users and has one million active daily users. Your location remains completely invisible to the other users. Only the location of where you have passed each other is recorded. You can also block and report users at any time. Just like Tinder, you download the app and then log in using your Facebook profile.
You can add additional photos from your phone if you are unhappy with the ones imported from Facebook. Instead of browsing dozens, if not hundreds, of profile pics, you'll only see people you've come into close proximity with.
It could be someone you saw during your commute, in your office building or someone living nearby. If you like the look of someone, you can tap the heart icon.
They won't know you like them unless they feel the same and tap the heart icon. If you are a match, you can start sending each other messages. Your phone's location setting needs to be turned on. The app also requires a constant internet connection in order to pick up other users, so be careful it doesn't eat into your data allowance if you're not on Wi-Fi. Finally, just like Tinder, be aware you're giving the app access to your Facebook account and pictures.
Men have to purchase "charms", which allow you to send a notification letting the other person know you are interested without waiting to see if they've also tapped the heart icon. Women get to send charms for free. The site takes up to 48 hours to approve your profile, though. OKCupid is surprisingly slick and user-friendly for a free dating site - though if you want to get rid of the ads, you'll have to pay. I had the most success on OKCupid, which is where I met my boyfriend. I've since recommended it to lots of people - including my mum!
She met someone on there too. Completing your profile should take about an hour. You need to complete an About section with details such as what you're good at and favourite books. There are 50 questions, which can get deep, for example, 'What's your stance on abortion? Unusually for a free dating site, OKCupid says it uses an algorithm developed by mathematicians to match you with compatible partners.
Its 'quickmatch' feature lets you rate or skip users at random, while if you've more time, you can go through a list of detailed questions for more specific matches. It's also got free mobile apps for iPhone and Android. Paid membership lets you view profiles invisibly, see the site without ads, and even search others by attractiveness and body type, if you're so inclined.
Watch out, as paid membership auto-renews. See its Help section for safety info. Mega-popular smartphone app Grindr uses your phone's location to zero in on available men nearby. While often used for uncomplicated hook-ups, it's worth checking out for long-term love as well, as it has such a huge number of users. No complicated psychometric questionnaires here. Just download the app, give yourself a profile name, upload a photo optional , and answer a couple of questions also optional.
It lets you star those you like. Grindr also has a subscription service, Grindr Xtra, which lets you view the site without adverts. As Grindr's often used for casual hook-ups, it's worth chatting first to ensure you both want the same thing before revealing your identity. Only share your location once you feel comfortable. There's an option to connect the app to your Facebook account, so be careful if you'd rather keep your profile photo private.
With so many free dating sites, you might well ask why anyone pays. Yet paid dating websites may attract fewer time-wasters, have fewer ads and better safety features, or have a more tailored approach to matching specific types. Don't assume that paid dating sites are always best though.
All the below offer basic free trials, so it's worth trying these to see if it's for you before you shell out. We've listed their prices below, but it's well worth calling up to see if it's possible to haggle it down. We tried phoning five big dating websites and managed to knock the list price down on two of them, so it's well worth a try. One of the biggest names in online dating, Match.
I met my other half on Match. I paid for one month, only one profile attracted me and it was his. We started chatting over the phone, met up within a week and are getting married next year.
I know I am one of the few lucky ones but if it can happen to us, it can happen to others - BettyDebt. Met my other half on Match. We've been together for a year now, he reckons it was the best money he has ever spent, as it was an investment in the rest of our lives. He signed up for a month and met me face-to-face within 2 weeks after many emails and calls, so jokes about trying to get a partial refund. It has a safety advice section and lets you report concerns to moderators. Setting up an account should take about 15 minutes.
There are fewer questions than some other sites, though you can also add a Facebook-style list of favourite books, music, films, etc, which would take an extra 15 minutes. One of its quirkier touches is if you'd rather leave things to fate, it even lets you search by 'born on the same day as me' and 'it's their birthday'.
It also has a free app for iPhone, Android and via Amazon. It also has add-ons with extra features, such as the ability to go online in 'unavailable' mode and request read receipts, though these add to the cost. Watch out, as Match. Its basic free version lets you set up a profile, search its members, send 'winks' and see photo albums, though you'll need a paid subscription to send and receive emails and instant messages.
Founded by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, all its profiles are written by friends. Its unusual approach to online dating makes it handy if you'd rather not jump into the online dating scene on your own. I have to vouch for mysinglefriend. Me and my girlfriends had a lot of fun on it last year when we were all single, and met some genuinely nice, funny, gorgeous, intelligent people - and we knew they weren't nutters!
It's a well-designed and simple to use site - highly recommended. It will take more time for the pal you've enlisted to brag about what a fabulous, kind, fun person you are. It's easy to view others' profiles on the site before you even sign up.
Your pal can search the site and suggest possible Ms or Mr Rights. There's also an iOS app available. Watch out - its memberships auto-renew, unless they're bought by a friend as a gift subscription. If you want to cancel, it's told us you need to do this through your online account, giving 24 hours' notice before the next payment's due. Your first payment's taken in a single instalment rather than monthly. You can sign up for a limited free profile, and there's no time limit on this.
It lets you search its members, get recommendations from friends, and see who's sent you messages - though you need a paid membership to read and reply to 'em. After years of internet dating, dating through friends and trying to meet people wherever I could, I eventually met my boyfriend.
The thing that worked for me was Guardian Soulmates, as people seemed fairly well-educated. However snobby it sounds, it was important for me. If you like geeky boys, it's a good start point. Signing up for a basic profile takes about 10 minutes, though you may feel pressure to take longer penning a super-witty strapline and profile. You can then add more details and a picture later. If you prefer to pick people based on what they've written, rather than a scientific equation, this is the site to use.
One tip is if you keep updating your profile, it will rise to the top of search results. Watch out as its subscriptions auto-renew as standard, though its told us you can cancel at any time via a button on its 'your account' page. Free membership lets you add a profile, search its members, receive some messages and reply with a one-line standard response, and there's no time limit to this.
Yet paid membership's needed to send and receive all messages, do advanced searches, and see other users' gallery pictures. Thanks to eHarmony I met my other half and we're getting married in March. Allows same sex searches? Yes, but on a separate site, Compatible Partners. Both - eHarmony app available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions for this, as there are over in its questionnaire.
Hopefully it'll be time well invested if you find a match. The site is good if you're nervous about setting up a profile, as it offers gentle guidance while you write your spiel. It's at the pricier end of dating sites. The site offers different prices to different members. It lets you sign up, look at profiles and send 'icebreakers' for nowt, but you need a paid membership to send and receive messages.
Zoosk is particularly popular with those wanting to date online via their smartphone or Facebook profile, though you can also access it via the web. A customer service team to help with issues. Quick questions How long does it take to set up a profile? This is a quick one. It takes about 10 minutes to register and answer a few questions. You can also sign up via Facebook, which is even quicker. Zoosk attracts social networking fans, as it encourages members to link profiles to Facebook and Twitter.
This - along with its photo verification tool, which it claims helps eliminate catfishing - can help you give confidence in potential dates, though make sure you're happy about sharing your profile information first.
Watch out as memberships auto-renew, though you can opt for them just to expire. To cancel, visit the subscription hub under the settings tab. It also has free apps for both iPhone and Android , and via Amazon. A trial membership is free and last indefinitely. It lets you create a profile, search other profiles, initiate a conversation and even receive responses for nowt. But if you want to respond to an email, see who's looked at your profile, and get full access to chat with others, you'll need a paid membership.
If you want to look for love in a more specific way, the following sites are targeted at particular audiences. Lovestruck requires you to answer a few questions, then write at least 50 words about yourself. If you fully complete every question, for example, on your favourite books and films, you'll be there for about an hour. It also has free dating apps for both iPhone and Android.
Membership also gets you discounted entry to its events, such as bowling, comedy and quiz nights. If you buy a package, eg, three or six months, you can't get a refund if you meet someone special before the period's up. Beware - Lovestruck auto-renews your membership for as long as your initial subscription term. You'll need to contact it separately to cancel at least two working days before it's due to renew, read more. Non-members can add a profile and browse others' profiles indefinitely, as well as send 'winks', but you'll need to pay to send and receive messages.
Plus, it's free to download the app. Also, there are a number of free singles events you can attend, more info on the Lovestruck website.
JDate brings together thousands of single men and women from across the Jewish community. As well as letting you add your religious background eg, Hassidic, Modern Orthodox, Traditional , it also allows non-Jewish daters, who can specify whether or not they're willing to convert.
I met my girlfriend 18 months ago on JDate and we're very happy, bought a house together It takes just 20 minutes to complete a basic profile. You just need to answer some generic questions such as "how often do you visit a synagogue? It has a free apps for iPhone, and Android, so you can check your membership on the go. Watch out as its memberships auto-renew, though you can turn this off via your account online, or by calling its customer services team.
You can join for free to create a profile and search matches, though you'll need a membership to send, read and reply to emails and instant messages.
There's no time limit to how long you can access this for free. Christian Connection is owned and run by Christians, and caters for those looking for both friendships and relationships. It lets you specify your faith further if you wish eg, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Quaker etc. Online Dating Association member? Yes, but it has only a small number of same-sex daters. It also has a space for its users to say more about their spiritual journeys and inspirations on their profile.
For this, you can start up to 30 conversations a day, make unlimited board posts, get live chat and priority support. See Christian Connection for info.
Iamges: christian pre dating questions
More than I actually paid. The Assyrian Church of the East , with an unbroken patriarchate established in the 17th century, is an independent Eastern Christian denomination which claims continuity from the Church of the East - in parallel to the Catholic patriarchate established in the 16th century that evolved into the Chaldean Catholic Church , an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Pope. So be aware not everyone on there will have the best intentions see safety tips , but don't let the odd dodgy date put you off.
Meet in a public place We know seclusion can be romantic - but best to leave it till you know 'em better.
If they are going to brand themselves as Christian they should at least try to find out what it means to be a Christian and how they should behave as matchmakers. I was in questtions process of communicating with a gentleman when his bio changed dramatically along with his use of the English language. It refers to the loss of Christianity's monopoly on values and world view in historically Christian societies. She christian pre dating questions a fellow Australian, but we remain close friends. No one has pictures.
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