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Pastor’s detailed book on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy
January 6th, 2012
07:10 AM ET

Pastor’s detailed book on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Mark Driscoll, the pastor of a megachurch in the Seattle area, understands the uniqueness of a man in his profession coauthoring a book about sex with his wife. From the chapter on biblical approval of detailed types of sex to the chapter titled “Selfish Lovers and Servant Lovers,” the book is far from a timid look at a usually private subject.

And that has struck a nerve with a large swath of believers whose reactions have propelled the book to a trending topic on Twitter and has elicited responses that range from praise to disgust.

“Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together” released on Tuesday.  The book was written by Driscoll and his wife, Grace, to, in Mark’s words, “compel married couples to have important conversations about important things.”

In the first half of the book, the Driscolls discuss their own sexual issues using the lessons they learned to discuss how to reignite a marriage whose flame may have gone out. The book’s second half, which is getting most of the negative attention, discusses sex in detail.

In response, religious scholars and writers have blasted the Driscolls’ work on a number of grounds ranging from the logistical to the biblical.

“In the first place, there is a kind of sloppiness and inconsistency to the book…” writes pastor and religion blogger Tim Challies. “Real Marriage reads more like a series of seminars than a cohesive introduction-to-conclusion look at a subject.”

But more than just punctuation and flow, the backlash against the book stems largely from the revealing chapter titled “Can we ___?” The Driscolls fill in that blank throughout the chapter by using different forms of sex and then answering whether the act is biblically lawful. This chapter even comes with a disclaimer, warning conservative readers or readers who “live far away from a major city” that they may want to sit down while reading.

Denny Burk, a Biblical studies professor at Boyce college and popular blogger, writes the chapter is inherently flawed because Driscoll’s interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:12, his main argument in allowing many of the sex acts, is incorrect. Even more, writes Burk, this chapter could be dangerous.

I think chapter 10 has the potential to wreak havoc in such marriages where one spouse will feel a whole range of taboos to be “permissible” if he can convince his spouse to participate. This to me seems like a recipe for marital disaster, and I do not think the Driscolls’ requirement of “helpfulness” mitigates the difficulty.

And even that that was timid compared to what author and blogger Rachel Held Evans writes about not only the book, but Driscoll in particular. "True maturity,” she writes, “is marked not by how much a person knows but by the wisdom he or she shows in discerning when to speak with authority and when to hold back. And when it comes to maturity, I’m afraid that Pastor Mark still has a long way to go.”

When asked to respond to his critics, Driscoll said he hadn’t read any of the reviews but that “sometimes reviewers will reveal more of their own struggles than actual problems with the book.”

“I am not backing down from it. I am going to stick to my guns on it,” Mark Driscoll said. “This is not just stuff that I have pulled out of my mind. These are issues I have dealt with for 15 years and it is battle tested.”

Seattle pastor returns to Haiti

Mark and Grace Driscoll founded Mars Hill Church in 1996. Though it started out as a single location church, as the congregation grew, Mars Hill became a multi-campus church and now has locations around the Puget Sound region and in California.

Though the scathing reactions have been loud, not all reactions were harsh – a fact that Driscoll notes on his website.

“I am so thankful that Mark and Grace Driscoll wrote this book,” writes Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church. “Their approach to marriage, its benefits and challenges, are transparent and challenging.”

This division among pastors and scholars shows the polarization of opinion that boundary pushing pastors like Driscoll have come to embody. As noted by Aaron Armstrong on Blogging Theologically, “Whenever Mark Driscoll talks about sex and marriage, ears perk up. Some listen for ammo (and can usually find it). Others listen for something Tweetable. Still others search for something helpful.”

And in a way, that is how Mark Driscoll likes it. In response to the criticism, Driscoll jokingly said, “you try and write a book on sex with your wife.”

He went on to say that the negative attention is just part of writing a book like "Real Marriage." Looking at himself in that light, Driscoll said the controversy is worth it if marriages are helped by the book.

“I will endure as much criticism as necessary to help as many people as I can,” concluded Driscoll.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Books • Sex • Sexuality

soundoff (727 Responses)
  1. walter poe

    OK Seriously...at the beginning of the religion Blog on CNN...Why I hate religion and Love Jesus and on top of it is a LINk to this load of Crap...So We are wondering why Religion has gone down the Toilet? Seriously...No wonder this video has gone viral....Look at religion today based on the stuff on this Blog...Seriously.....I think Religion and the So called dogmatic Church just got a Serious Wake up call...or better yet Slap in the Face by no other then Jesus Himself Maybe?

    January 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  2. PleaseUseLogic

    If there is one thing that would make the world a better place, it would be if people stopped caring so much.... about everything. Just stop. Especially about other people's lives that do not directly and without question affect the mechanics of your life. Every time you think, "Gosh darnit, hat is something I disagree with! I MUST do something!" Stop. Here are some examples:
    1. "Honey, the next door neighbors are a gay couple!"
    Incorrect Response – "Why that is a sin and we must do something about it because we have so much time on our hands and need an outlet for our crazy uncontrolled malignant psychiatric pathology!"
    Correct Response – "OK"
    Correct Response, but with too much care – "OK. That's not something I agree with, but it doesn't do anything to me except in my own head"

    2. "Honey, a guy across town is of a different religion, believes in things that I do not believe, and practices his beliefs in the privacy of his own home."
    Incorrect Response – "Why that is a sin and we must do something about it because we have so much time on our hands and need an outlet for our crazy uncontrolled malignant psychiatric pathology! Perhaps we should get other people together and make this a big issue. Perhaps we will instigate violence and a war if we are lucky, just like God intended!"
    Correct Response – "OK"
    Correct Response, but with too much care – "OK. That's not something I agree with, but it doesn't do anything to me except in my own head"

    3. "Honey, the lawyer next door has been a professional, productive member of society for 20 years, but when I was snooping into his business, I discovered that he enjoys the use of an illegal drug in the comfort of his own home occasionally!"
    Incorrect Response – "That is absolutely terrible and we must do something about it, neglecting evidence that we would never have known the difference! Also, something about children. Even though our children have lived with us their entire lives, know no other environment, have had our ideas pounded into their brains, and will require years of therapy as a result..... the mere thought of this will lead them astray because our children are weak willed and have no ability to process the world's challenges on their own accord."
    Correct Response – "OK"
    Correct Response, but with too much care – "OK. That's not something I agree with, but it doesn't do anything to me except in my own head"

    January 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  3. whuuu

    everybody on these forums need to listen to more slayer

    January 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. @usxpatriate

    Because of what my pastor did to me when I was child I can never trust anyone again....He cheated on me with another boy younger than me.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  5. rick

    "Adolf Hitler committed atrocities that go beyond description......Did God allow him to get away with his crimes or did he face judgement for them."

    How can anyone know for sure?

    January 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Ran

      We will all get judged at the end of time for our works. I guess all I can say is wait and see. He, Adolf Hitler will reap each and every seed he has sown.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • rick

      "We will all get judged at the end of time for our works"

      Based on what?

      January 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Carlos Rueda

      Condemnation is based upon faith in the sacrifice that God himself made for all of us. This fact is based on another fact, and it is that God is perfectly fair and just; meaning then that there is a price to be paid for every person(we are all sinners) that has laid a foot on Earth, and Jesus paid for it himself. This way justice is made for anyone who decides to believe and accept this sacrifice, regardless of the sins committed. Therefore, if Adolf Hiltler will pay or not for what he did? That only God can answer, because no one is sure about whether he accepted Christ in his heart before dying. I hope it helps.

      January 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. 1tonks

    If you want a real book on marriage, that is also quite racy, and quite legitimate, don't look to megachurch pastors, read the Bible; Song of Solomon!!!

    January 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mark

      Oh, please!

      January 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  7. bdl

    No, I was closed minded when I was young because I was brought up christian. No one forces the theory of evolution down your throat as a child and takes you to a museum and says look at these dinosaurs, this is proof that the earth is older than 6000 years. Instead, americans take their children to church and force their beliefs on them, not ever allowing the children to form their own opinions, and more times than not the children will never question what they have been taught by authority. It has nothing to with rebellion. It has everthing to do with thinking for yourself and forming your own opinions based on logic and rationale, not an ancient book of fairy tales. The funny thing is the bible is not the history of christianity. If christians were aware of the real history it woud scrare them and possibly make them question it but not likely. Brainwashed sheep.

    January 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • tokencode

      You sir seem like a very well-educated and throughtful person. The problem is when you believe in something that cannot be backed up by rational thought or fact, if you allow your children to come to their own conclusion, it is very unlikely they will follow your beliefs. Science speaks for itself and no matter how much or how many people believe differently, history and the laws of nature remain the same. What I don't understand is why people of faith are so strongly against history and the rulres of nature which their supposed God put in placae to begin with...

      January 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • West2020

      How do you know it is 6000 years. What methods did the scintist did trying to prove their theory so they can made profit out of it? So which part of your body did evolve first in cellular level? Do you think the DNA cell in your leg developed first become cell then leg, then your leg started to ask other cell to evolve become the brain cell? The best doctors on earth has no known much about the human being in cellular level, that is why those scientist never able to cure the most common disease; influenza and every year kill more than AIDS. If the best scientist or doctors can not explained human body in the cellular level completely, how can you explained where the human coming from. If the scientist and doctors said they had already understood the human cellular level completely, why there is auto immune disease with the etiology is unknown? If the etiology is unknown or idiophatic, how can you say you know the beginning of it. Sorry my english

      January 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Toumi

      What you're doing is generalizing. There are atheist who shove their ideas down people's throats and there are religious people who don't. I'm Christian, and when I was young, it wasn't shoved down my throat. And I'm not Christian because it was shoved down my throat. I've met forceful Christians and forceful people who were anti-Christianity. Forcefulness has nothing to do w/ religion. It has everything to do w/ the person presenting their views. Jesus did say to preach the gospel, but not forcefully. He tells his disciple to leave a town or household that does not welcome them and shake the dust off their feet when leaving (which I'm sure means to not be negatively effected by it) Matthew 10:14.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  8. bdl

    trying to explain the bad aspects of religion to a religious person is like trying to explain to a 5 year old why candy is bad for his teeth. Science flies us to the moon. Religion flies us into buildings.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • NHWoman

      It wasn't religion on the Enola Gay. Explaining the negative aspects of secularism to a secular person is like....maybe the same thing? A closed mind is a closed mind no matter what perspective it comes from.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Ran

      Unfortunately trying to explain the truth of Christianity to someone who's already decided it's all fake is almost hopeless. Because as the bible says faith is .....the evidence of things not seen. We don't seek prove or evidence that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who deligently seek Him, we know in our hearts. And as the Bible states, this truth is clearly revealed to those who are WILLING to open their hearts and believe, like children do. Jesus said unless you become like one of these (children), you will never see the Kingdom of Heaven.
      We are accustomed and expected to use logic, reason, .....'seeing is believing' as they say to prove that something exists. The spiritual world is so contarary to that. I 'm sorry that you feel your parents 'forced' religion down your throat when you were young. As in all other areas, parents have the responsibility to guide their kids down the right path. It's funny that you don't question that your parents 'forced' you to go to school. I think parents have to enforce certain things which they believe are right for you and are necessary for your upbringing, regardless, it's your choice to continue pursuing those things once you are old enough to make your own choices. So don't blame your parents! Perhaps there's still that part of you which thinks that they did right in making you go to church and Sunday school etc and you know that this is the true way...however you still feel you have to shun all this to rebel against the way your parents brought you up. God bless.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • rick

      "Unfortunately trying to explain the truth of Christianity to someone who's already decided it's all fake is almost hopeless"

      Unfortunately, trying to explain the absurdity of Christianity to someone who's already decided it's all true is almost hopeless

      January 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • tokencode

      Faith is by definition believing in something that cannot be proven true. Please explain how you can prove your faith? Believe in whatever you want, but you are a liar if you claim it to be the truth. It is your beliefs and nothing more or less. Science is not faith, science is backed by logic, reason and fact. To compare science to religion does a dis-service to science.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  9. NHWoman

    I now understand why my earlier comment didn't post-CNN must have taken offense to something in it, so I'm going to "code" everything in this one.

    I think it's good that this book has been written. These things that we cannot discuss on this blog are the very things that people are discouraged from discussing if they are religious. So we end up with creeps preying on children, abusing their spouses, and cheating on those spouses while pretending to be religious. We end up with people who are afraid that they are sinning and are unable to have normal, healthy relationships as a result.

    Good for this pastor for recognizing that there are people throughout the Christian world who need this guidance but don't know how to ask about it without being hushed or worse.

    January 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  10. Douglas

    More and more gays and lesbians are finding fulfillment through celibate partnerships. As the lessons of the Bible become a way of life for people seeking answers in a world of conflict, there is assurance in the knowledge that gays and lesbians are loved and that power and salvation is possible through celibate relationships that are pleasing in the sight of God. Straights would do well to follow this example of obedience and remain abstinent until married and faithful to their betrothed after exchanging vows. Anything less is falling short of the mark and separates us from our divine host. Regards, Douglas

    January 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Zornfelcher

      Dougie – I presume your stringent model of purity allows for regular personal "release" . I mean rules are rules, but let's not be unreasonable! Right?

      January 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • rick

      Dougie: A wee bit pompous speaking for God.

      January 16, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • tokencode

      Christianity should come out of the dark ages and realize that any god that persecutes or treats pepole different when he supposedly created them is not a god worth believing in.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  11. Zornfelcher

    Does anyone know is the good reverend gave the OK to 6-9ing and the French necklace?

    I hope his next book is on "Christian Bowel Movements."

    January 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • rick

      Forget 69. With 77 you get ate more

      January 16, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  12. Adrian

    As a christian you are going to get persecuted but remember the wheat and tares grow up together. God's will is that all men and women be saved but the bible is clear that alot of people are going to hell because of sin and unbelief. When Jesus crack the sky and take the saints home the whole world will know a major event happened. millions of people dissapper in a moment of a twinkling of an eye. Dont worry about people trying to talk about you just let your light shine and keeping on walking this christian walk. The whole conclusion of the matter is that we have two choices heaven or hell. Its a free will choice The bible is the guide to our lives the devil has blinded so many people and its our job as saints to and knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men. We must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema Maranatha. Amen.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • ashrakay

      I hope you wake from your slumber of illusion soon and realize the truth of life that exists all around you before it is too late.

      January 14, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • rick

      Any god that would sentence someone to "hell" for disbelief is not worthy of worship

      January 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • bdl

      then by a christian's reasoning 70 percent of the world's population is going to hell because they were not as fortunate as you to born in the good ol usa and share your narrow minded, bigoted, and just plain ignorant beliefs. That sounds like an all forgiving god to me. Your logic, or lack of logic, is flawed. Christianity contradicts itself. If your religon depends on location then it is arbitrary. Your bible says the earth is 6000 years old. Our planet is nearly 5 billion years old. Pick up a science book.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • clemdane

      Don't let the door hit you on the a$$ when the rapture comes.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Ran

      I don't have much to comment on what you've written, you are indeed quoting the bible. Unbelievers will not inherit heaven, we are however to love them nonetheless and show kindness towards them. Whatever we preach should be done in love, because like our Father in heaven we want every soul to be saved.
      @ bdl, shrakay, rick- I respond in random order. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whomsoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. What this means is that this universe that God built is goverened by laws and rules, just like any other order within it. God meant for us to live in harmony in Eden with him without suffering, hunger, illness or poverty. The first man and woman (Adam and Eve) messed that up by sinning. Now they brought about the downfall of mankind as a whole, due to thiis all generations born of the first man and woman are born with sin and have to go to hell or die the second death. Hell or the second death (death of the soul) basically just means being separated forever from God. But in His kindness, God made a way out, through the suffering and humiliation of His one and only sovereign Son, Jesus. AND all we have to do is to believe in His Son to be saved. That's all. So believe in Jesus, you'll be saved, if not, there's nothing God can do for you because if you reject His only Son who died to save you from Hell, then although it pains Him, you'll have to go to Hell.
      Since God is a just God, those who don't know Christ would be judged after this life as follows- those who know the Law (10 Commandments) will be judged according to their tresspassing any of the 10 and 100s of other related commandments and those who don't even know that will be judged according to the sins commited against what their inborn God-given concience. Like I said, God is just, He will never, ever judge someone for something they have done without knowing it was wrong to do so. You will only be jugded when you knowingly reject Him and the laws and rules He as creator has set in this world.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • rick

      "You will only be jugded when you knowingly reject Him and the laws and rules He as creator has set in this world."

      Oooh, empty proxy threats are fun. Let's play "fear the comic book god"

      January 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • tokencode

      YAWN Haven't you waited 2,000 years for this already? Isn't it always right around the corner? Wake me up when we get there

      January 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  13. ashrakay

    Se.xual fantasy is preferable to religious fantasy. Just please don't reproduce!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  14. elgatoblanco

    We must not talk about such naughty things! Now let's BOMB IRAN! Amen.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  15. atomD21

    Any time someone uses Bible verses in a way that's different from mainstream theology, people get all up in arms. It reminds me of last year's big deal with Rob Bell and his book 'Love Wins.' He brings to light some very important issues that the church is happy to ignore because they are uncomfortable. Same wih this book it seems. 5ex is only brought up in church when pastors are preaching against the premarital or ho mo 5exual (so childish to have to spell it like that...) varieties. There is rarely a positive discussion about it. We need to grow up.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Nope

      "We need to grow up."

      To many are stuck back in the bronze age and believe in imaginary friends.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  16. Johnson

    And Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. I'm not a fanatical born again and I believe in respect for any religion that does not impose its beliefs upon others ; however, the LDS is not Christian and not even close to Islam since the LDS does so much active prostelisysing. A LDS US President would get millions of convert.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Casey

      Just like how millions of people converted to the catholic church under Kennedy . . . . oh wait, they didn't.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Rebel6

      Have you even STUDIED the book of the LDS? I am not a morman, nor have I ever joined their church. But I *HAVE* read their 'book of Morman'. Their main claim is the 'missing tribe of Isreal' is at the heart of their religion. The next step is their 'prophet' who received a message from god.

      How is this any different than the prophets of the Jewish faith, that is the BASIS of the christian religion. Or the SAINTS of the catholic church.

      And remember – ALL non-catholic versions of Christianity are technically CULTS as they SPLIT from the main church – which was the catholic church. And THIS church split with the Eastern Orthodox Chruch.

      So be careful how you define 'christian' when your own version is technically no different in it's start than the LDS church.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Aharown

      Rebel6, the Roman Catholic Church was not the first church and did not even begin to exist untill 325 A.D. It is false to claim that all non-catholic versions of Christianity are technically CULTS. Thats just absurb and ignorant.The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the gospel, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. If you want to educate yourself on why Mormonism is a cult you can start here http://carm.org/is-mormonism-cult

      January 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Zornfelcher

      Actually, Ignatius of Antioch first used the term "Catholic Church" in a letter dated cir. 107 AD – long before the Edict of Milan and the conversion of Constantine in the 4th century.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  17. Catherine

    Conservatives cannot blame the liberals for their unkind remarks about Mark Driscoll. He brings this all on himself, which is one of the most unfortunate aspects of Mark Driscoll. He gives unbelievers an excuse to discount the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember it is Mark Driscoll who jokes about Jesus kicking off his ministry as a bartender and that He went around telling knock knock jokes.

    Any good he does is UNDERMINED by his immaturity, his tendency to apply Scripture wrongly, and his irreverent ,and yes at times, his disgusting bragging about women hitting on him.

    Believers need to stop making excuses or covering up for a man, who has proven time and time again that he is not qualified to lead.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • david

      I would love for a single person commenting on this article to demonstrate that they have studied scripture *more* thoroughly than Mark Driscoll. Not one of you have! I have two degrees in Biblical studies and I would still not claim to have studied more than Driscoll. You may choose to fault him (to your own condemnation) for many things, but being unknowledgable of what the Bible teaches is definitely NOT one of them. And as far as his "giving unbelievers reason to discount the gospel," that is wrong in two major ways: 1) unbelievers do not need a reason to discount the gospel. If they didn't already thoroughly discount it, they wouldn't be unbelievers, would they? The scriptures which you IMPLY that you know better than Mr. Driscoll make that abundantly clear, that the wisdom of God will seem foolish to man. 2) have you ever heard a sermon where Mark Driscoll does not clearly lay-out the gospel of Christ? There are very few "mega" churches where the gospel is taught as clearly and regularly as at Mars Hill. A very SMALL amount of actual research would have showed you that. THOUSANDS of unbelievers have responded to the message of Jesus at Mars Hill and have been brought from death to life. THOUSANDS. God proves again and again in Scripture that it is the ones who seem unqualified and rough-around-the-edges that he most prefers to use. God has used Mark Driscoll and the ministry of Mars Hill to change countless lives not just in the Seattle area but all over the world through Acts 29.

      You sound stupid when you speak unknowledgably -especially when it is in judgment of others. I'd suggest you stop doing that.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  18. Seamus Ruah

    “This is not just stuff that I have pulled out of my mind."

    Nope, just his ass...

    January 12, 2012 at 3:19 am |
  19. Prespreacher

    As Presbyterian pastor and Christian with a liberal theology and moderate-to-liberal political view, not all Christians are like Mark Driscoll and this guy is, God love him none the less, an idiot.

    January 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Just me

      I'm sorry preacher- what is it the Bible says about calling your brother an idiot?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • AJ

      Soooo, you're liberal in your theology? I would think think you would be glad that the author is encouraging people to throw off the antiquated restraints of self-control!

      January 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Otown D

      The Bible doesn't even mention the word "idiot"; I think the commentor is safe =)

      January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  20. Alex

    Wow! I read these articles on CNN's belief blog every so often, and it never fails to amaze me how many non-believers "rag" on Christians and our faith – looking for every chance to ridicule us. In fact, just about every other reply is from a non-believer! The fact that you take the time and effort to read and reply with the most disrespectful comments you can muster shows your insecurities in what lies beyond human life. Of course, many of you are going to read my reply in complete denial, speaking more blasphemy, etc. They say the truth is too much to handle, others say we fear that which we don't understand. Still, others say we don't believe because we don't want to – sin is bliss, and so we make excuses. And what's so interesting is that God gives us the free will to do all of that. He gives us just enough information to CHOOSE to believe and CHOOSE NOT to believe. This is what a loving God does. I don't know any of your pasts nor reasons for being so judgemental and hateful towards Christianity. And I would believe you if you felt like the Christians you met in life were themselves judgemental hypocrites. But that is only because Christian believers are humans just like you – no person is perfect, but God is. So stop looking to the flaws of others as an excuse not to believe. Face the real questions and issues you have about life, and see if you can be open enough to read the bible objectively and test its truths in your own life and experiences. If nothing else ponder this scripture – Proverbs 3: 5-7.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • AgentSTS

      Boy, you hypocrite Christians can dish it out, but you sure can't take it. Religion, specifically the ones that feature Jesus, are a plague upon this planet due to the hypocrisy of the message and the followers. That said, I'm glad it exists at this moment in time... as soon as someone mentions that they believe is a bi-polar old man that lives in the sky then it cements that they're an idiot and should be avoided in all aspects of life.

      My favorite thing about the bible is that read one or two verses at a time it seems like a nice thought of the day calendar, but read in large chunks the thing is just f'ing nuts. Weekly World News made more logical sense...

      January 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Rick

      A loving does not punish disbelief by eternal torture

      January 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • pat carr

      Oh poor baby. Time to get out the violin. How many centuries has your evil cult persecuted and killed "non-believers"? Christianity is a sick cult that teaches all that don't believe in your particular deity "go to hell". Thankfully many people on here still have a functioning brain. it has nothing to do with insecurity "After death" but instead we're tired of YOUR STUPID CULT. What did you expect? What comes around...goes around and we are speaking out.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • jadams

      “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." John 15:18. Alex, Jesus promised that the world would hate us because he taught a very divisive and polarizing message. You said "it never fails to amaze me how many non-believers "rag" on Christians and our faith." It shouldn't surprise you, Jesus told us that this was a cost of following him. The very reason that we are often rightfully called hypocrites is do to statements like yours; we claim a faith of love and humility and say things with hate and hostility.

      To anyone who does not believe the message of Jesus Christ, I as a follower of Jesus apologize for the hateful statements that you have endured from believers. You often are right in calling us hypocrites in that often people use the message of Jesus and twist it to create some for of superiority for themselves. I am sorry that you have dealt with these types of actions toward you. I myself had made mistakes and been arrogant, and I am doing everything I can to change that arrogance and to respect and love the people around me. Believers, myself included, make mistakes, and I am sorry that we have not demonstrated the message of Jesus Christ. Please look to him in the scriptures to find out what he taught so that you can get a clear view of the man that he was.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I respect every Christian that respects my right not to live by their rules. Its that simple. Allow the Consti.tution to be the law of the land and do not try to restrict the rights of those that are different from you.

      However, if you trot out your bible to explain why you would actually vote against someone else having the same rights, then expect an argument. We live in a pluralistic society and those that can't accept it are putting themselves outside of society.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • hamish

      One of the things that saddens me as a christian and one of the reasons why we get bagged out so much is because so many so called christians don't show the love to others that we have been shown by christ. We as believes must be kind to others if we are just rude to people who dont share our faith then of course they aren't going to want to listen to what we have to say. from a christian point of view hypocrisy is rife amongst our own people.

      January 11, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Lars J

      Many people responding to this article highlight the old truism that the best way to destroy something is from within. The hypocrites, intolerant, dogmatic, et al among Christians, historically, have been the best tool for vilifying their religion in the eyes of the world. For every anonymous Christian working away in a homeless shelter, or running an orphanage in a impoverished country, or giving sacrificially so poor kids can afford college – there are dozens of "cultural Christians" who have never died to their own base selfishness, pride and passions. THOSE people will have to give an account to God for using His name in vain.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • djusmc7229

      They are all "closet" Christians or christianophobic.

      January 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Intruth23

      Alex many unbelievers will hate you because you are a christians because Christ and his teachings are spiritually discerned. Many cannot see or hear because you have to open your heart to see. With that said remember Christ said love those who hate you. Pray for those who despitefully use you or abuse you. Return evil with good. Why would Chirst say that, because that is God's nature. This is a HARD leson to learn and I will be honest with you I have yet master it myself. But master it we must. As for anyone whon does not believe, I understand you anger, and dis belief. There are and have been and always will be hypocrites and untrue people out there who say one thing and do another. But honestly we all have done that and so NO ONE can judge another. But I will leave you with this thought. Adolf Hitler committed atrocities that go beyond description......Did God allow him to get away with his crimes or did he face judgement for them......You see God is kind, merciful and good far beyand are febble attempts to be.....But he is also JUST!

      January 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • tokencode

      That's because many christians feel the need to impart heir beliefs on others. Keep your nutcases in check, stop trying to get people to follow your beliefs and live a lifestyle that you find acceptable and I'm sure you'll find that you are left alone as well. The entire idea of a "christian vote" and all of the political discussions regarding faith disgust me. I don't want any religion having political influence in this country and certainly hate the discussions of using that political leverage to create laws that impart their views. It is unamerican.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.