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February 18th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Facing death, a top pastor rethinks what it means to be Christian

Editor's Note: The short film accompanying this story, called "My Garden," comes from EdsStory.com. CNN.com is premiering the latest installment in the "Ed's Story" series.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Ed Dobson is not afraid of dying. It’s the getting there that really scares him.

A former pastor, onetime Christian Right operative and an icon among religious leaders, Dobson has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. When he was diagnosed, doctors gave him 3 to 5 years to live.

That was 11 years ago.

“I am a tad happy to be talking to you right now,” joked Dobson, whose voice has deteriorated since his preaching days, in a phone interview. Speaking with him feels like being exposed to a brief moment of clarity. He speaks slowly, but with an understated confidence and authority.

As pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he held for 18 years, Dobson would regularly preach to 5,000 people or more on Sundays. Back then, Dobson said he looked at himself as a man filled with lessons, proverbs and, most of all, answers.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

After retirement six years ago, the massive crowds went away.

“I went from 100 miles an hour to zero miles an hour overnight,” Dobson said. “That was a shock to my system.”

Dobson says the answers vanished with the crowds.

“I know that sounds a bit lame,” he said. “I know that that I should have all the answers, but the truth is, the more I live, the fewer answers I have.”

And yet the people Dobson comes in contact with – those who call him dad, husband and friend, or those who have read one of his 12 books and watched his short films, don’t agree with that assessment. To them, the last six years of Dobson’s life have led to a remarkable ability to put life into context. To them, Dobson is a man filled with lessons.

From 5,000 to 1

In the 1980s, Dobson rose to prominence as an executive at the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell's evangelical political organization, which had influence with the Ronald Reagan White House. Dobson’s rise continued when he accepted the pastorate at Calvary Church in 1987. He cut a national profile, with Moody Bible Institute naming him “Pastor of the Year” in 1993.

After being diagnosed with ALS, Dobson suddenly felt unsure of himself. At times, he said, he didn't want to get out of bed. After years of intense Bible study, Dobson said this is not how he thought he would react to news of his own mortality.

“I thought that if I knew I was going to die, I would really read the Bible and if I really was going to die, I would really pray,” Dobson said. “I found the opposite to be true. I could barely read the Bible and I had great difficulty praying. You get so overwhelmed with your circumstances, you lose perspective.”

Eventually, Dobson regained perspective. But feelings of listlessness led him to take his preaching to a more personal level. He now meets with congregants one-on-one. Sitting with them in their homes or offices, Dobson provides whatever help he can. “Most of the people I meet with have ALS and basically I listen," he said.

“When I meet with someone and look into their eyes, it is like I am looking into their soul,” Dobson said. “We are both broken, we are both on the journey and we are both fellow pilgrims.”

Going from 5,000 congregants to one at a time was a big change for Dobson, forcing him to reevaluate his job as a pastor. “I am trying to learn that one-on-one is just as important as speaking to thousands,” he said. “I reemphasize – I am trying to learn that.”

During his one-on-one meetings, Dobson says he remembers Adam and Eve being charged by God to work the Garden of Eden. For years Dobson’s garden was Calvary Church – the baptisms, weddings, the Sunday preaching.

“Whether it is preaching to 5000 or meeting one on one, I am trying to take care of the garden,” he said.

The wind knocked out

One way Dobson strove to tend the garden is by writing a book about dealing with serious illness. In 2007, he wrote “Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness.”

Dobson’s son Daniel read the book while deployed in Iraq. After returning home, Daniel made it his mission to turn the book’s stories into videos.

He pitched the idea to Steve Carr, the executive director of a faith-focused production company called Flannel. “When I met Ed, when he came to our office, something really spoke to me,” Carr said. “Not too long before that, I had been diagnosed with Leukemia.”

“I thought that this guy, he has been where I am right now and he has somehow mastered it,” Carr said.

So far, Flannel has released five Dobson films, available through the company's website. There are plans for two more. Though the films range in topic, from loss and forgiveness to healing and growth, all are centered on lessons Dobson learned through his battle with ALS. The videos toe the line between a dark look at a dying man's life and an uplifting glimpse at someone who exudes clarity.

"My Garden," the most recent title in the series, centers on Ed’s struggle to deal with ending his preaching career.

Dobson talks about the films as if they are his swan song, his last words of encouragement to a group of supporters he has inspired for decades.

“My desire is that people who have had the air knocked out of them, whether divorce or losing a loved one or illness, that they will get a sense of hope by watching the films,” he said.

Surviving (with help)

The series’ first short film opens with Dobson explaining what it was like to be told he had ALS. After lying in bed, Dobson gets in the shower, brushes his teeth and starts the day. Even he would admit, however, it is not that easy.

Dobson has lost much of the function in his hands and is seen struggling to brush his teeth, his frail body using two hands on the small brush. Though he is able to do a lot, including drive, Dobson wouldn’t be able to make it on his own, a fact he is keenly aware of when about when describing his wife, Lorna.

“She is my right hand, my left hand, my left foot, my right foot, my heart and my brain,” Dobson said. “Without her, it would be impossible to go on.”

Standing in the kitchen in one video, Lorna helps puts Ed’s belt and gloves on. The two don’t speak on camera, but their love is obvious.

“Our love has grown each year of marriage,” Lorna said. “I didn’t want to just wither in the sorrow of how our life was changing. It took a while to get used to what our life was going to be like but I realized that I needed to be more available to him.”

Dobson says he is also more available to her.

“I am no longer a preacher,” said Dobson. “Today, I would say I am a Jesus follower. Period.”

Lorna said she continues to learn from her husband. Throughout their life together, she said she learned by being in church with him, by raising three kids together and by loving one another.

The last 11 years, however, their love has changed. Dobson's illness has taught her to focus on the important things, she said, primarily their kids and five grandkids.

After tending the garden for decades, Dobson is now being tended himself, largely by Lorna. “ALS forced me into a situation where I grew in understanding of what it means to obey Jesus,” Dobson said in the latest film.

“It took me quite a while to find an alternative purpose," he said. "But the good news is out there – there is a purpose for everyone.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Death • United States

soundoff (3,195 Responses)
  1. ReligionIs4Dolts

    (Isaiah 45:7, KJV) – "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, AND CREATE EVIL: I the LORD do all these things."
    (Amos 3:6) – "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be EVIL in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"

    "God" created evil and then expected his beloved man-creation to avoid it! HA HA HA! But instead of realizing "his" mistake of having created the stumbling block (evil) "he" just threw a tantrum and decided to punish us all in "hell". HA HA HA!

    "God" created evil and then wrought it upon man (such as ALS and many other debilitating forms of torture). "hell" is not enough torture for man. NO, man must also suffer in this life. HA HA HA HA!

    Who the hell believes in this $hi+?!

    February 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • edwardo

      It is ridiculous, isn't it? There are some pretty good fairy tale salesman out there however.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      GOD DOESNT CREATE EVIL. YOU ARE TAKING IT OUT OF CONTEXT. GO BACK TO ORIGINAL HEBREW AND GREEK http://www.gotquestions.org/Isaiah-45-7.html

      February 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      That's a typical stupid-@$$ talking point you brainwashed oafs always spout out! "It's out of context"

      BS! YOU read it! YOU read the whole chapter and everything leading up to and following it. It says exactly that and nothing more. GOD CREATED EVIL!!!! DOLT!!!

      February 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  2. ReligionIs4Dolts

    ALS is the ultimate "thank you" gift from "god" who is so grateful for a life of servitude.

    February 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  3. SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

    IF YOU WANNA GET SAVED GO TO JESUS2020.COM WHERE THE GOSPEL IS PRESENT THERE VERY CLEARLY AND A PRAYER FOR SALVATION!!!!!!!!!!!! AND FOLLOW JESUS WITH ALL YOUR HEART. BE FILLED WITH HOLYS PIRIT AND OBEY GOSPEL

    February 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  4. jesuswore womens panties and loved giving rimmers

    i hope this clown dies a long painful torturous death!
    he deserves it!

    February 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I'm a bit disturbed that you know what a "rimmer" is ...

      February 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • craig

      Sounds like you are having a great day. I pray that you come to your senses.

      February 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  5. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Why aren't children's cancer wards the happiest places on earth? oh that's right, no one actually believes they are going to eternal bliss with God. If it were true funeral homes would be the place to be on a Saturday night!

    February 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      EARTH AND ITS SUFFERING AND SIN TAINTEDNESS AND SATAN DESTROYING ISNT HAPPY. BUT JESUS WANTS TO COME INTO A PERSON HEART AND SHOW THEM LOVE AND BE WITH THEM IN MIDST OF THIS EARTH. JESUS LOVES LIL CHILDREN AND WHEN THEY PASS AT VERY YOUNG AGE...THE LIL 3 AND 4 YER OLD GO TO BE IN PERFECT PEACE FORVER. BETTER THAN BEING IN THERE SUFFERING. JESUS LOVES THEM AND THEY CAN SIT ON HIS LAP IN HEAVEN FOREVER. READ MARY BAXTER DIVINE REVELATION OF HEAVEN AT SPIRITLESSONS.COM

      February 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      But shouting person ... we should be happy we're leaving this place "tainted by Satan" ... tell me again why we aren't celebrating or don't you have a real answer, perhaps you didn't understand the question.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  6. jesus liked it up da backdoor

    i bet this guy has r a p e d and m o l e s t e d more children than anyone can imagine

    February 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  7. SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

    IF YOU WEISH TO BE SAVED GO TO JESUS2020.COM AND IT WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO TRUELY BE SAVED!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN THEN YOU MUST BE FILLED WIHT POWER OF HOLY SPIRIT AND GO FORTH AND OBEY GOSPEL AND CONFESS ALL KNOWN SINS. WE MUST PREACH GOOSPEL.......LET US NOT BE VOMITED OUT BUT LET US LET SINS BE VOMITED OUT OF US

    February 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Keith

      You poor fool, if being saved means I would have to spend eternity in the company of idiots like you I would rather roast in hell. As of course there are NO SUCH places as heaven or hell I don't have to bother about being saved. I am however very concerned that religion produces people like you, so insane that they revel in showing us just how disturbed and removed from reality you can get.
      Please just shut up and give us all a break

      February 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Keith – so very well said !! This person is truly another nut-job.. drank the kool-Aid. Hopefully it's a 10 yr old, and not an adult.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  8. SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

    IF YOU WANNA GET SAVED GO TO JESUS2020.COM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JESUS DIED ON CROSS TO PAY FOR PUNISHMENT OF OUR SINS!!! BE FILLED WITH HOLYS PIRIT AND OBEY THE GOSPPEL AND CONFESS ALL KNOWN SINS...IF YOU WANNA GROW AS A CHRISTIAN GO TO CBN.COM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Joy of Sin

      I can just imagine all the sympathy Ed had for people dying form Aids. Good riddence, you got what you deserve.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      JESUS IS LOVE MISTER. JESUS IS HOLY TOO BUT HE IS ALSO VERY MUCH LOVE AND WISHES NOT EVEN WORST OF WORST MURDERERS TO DIE AND PERSIH. HE WISHES FOR ALL MANKIND TO BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO BE SAVED NO MATTER SIN THEY HAVE DONE. WE MUST MAKE SURE FOR OURSELVES THAT OUR SIN IS RIGHT WITHR GOD. IF YOU ARE RIGHT WITH GOD AND WALKING IN HIS WAYS THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. YES YOU WILL STILL GO THRU THIS EARTH AND SUFFER BUT BETTER HAVE JESUS IN YOUR HEART WHO CAN HELP YOU THRU IT. JESUS IS NOT SOME VINDICTIVE GOD OUT TO SMITE....HE IS LONGSUFFERING AND PATIENT FOR ALL MANKIND TO REPENT. HE WAITED HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE THINGS HAPPENED IN BIBEL BEFORE ANGER CAME UPON THEM. HUNDREDS OF YEARS. DO NOT TEST LORD THY GOD. RECEIVE HIS LOVE AND DONT KEEP WALKING IN BITTERNESS

      February 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      * TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE TURNED FROM SIN AND WE ARE RIGHT WITH JESUS

      February 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • jesus liked it up da backdoor

      jesus suc k e d off more little boys than all the pedophiles in the history of the church

      February 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  9. Christianity = Horse Sh!t

    Christianity............it is horse sh!t.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • GodPot

      Hey now, don't go denigrating my horses manure like that, it has many wonderful uses. It can be dried and used as fuel, it can be used for fertilizer, it can be used to generate methane gas... and I'm pretty sure Christians can only do that last one...

      February 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      ALL religions are....but most especially those that are CONFRONTATIONAL!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Olga

      , Heaven is a place of perfect peace: all aixietnes, worries, and troubles vanish. All memories of past failures disappear. It's a place of perfect bodies: no one feels pain, nobody is flawed, and no one ages. It's a place of great reunion with those who have gone before us. Wow .Praise the Lord and thank you Jesus for enduring terrible pain and suffering for our sins.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  10. Celtic Priest

    While it is contradictory to pastoral teachings, I have no sympathy and little remorse for the likes of Dobson. He, Falwell, Robertson and others were absolutely hideous and vicious toward gay men. Dobson is among the crowd that said AIDS was God's punishment for being gay, and that is what gays deserved. He was in the big league of systemic liars who put out incredible amounts of misinformation and distorted information about gays in order to villify them, demonize them and to suggest they were/are not children of God. Really! Perhaps Dobson's suffering is the result of his helping to force so many thousands of others to suffer.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • edwardo

      OH, how true .. how true!!! VERY WELL SAID !

      February 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      MR CATHOLIC PRIEST. JESUS LOVES YOU WISHES YOU TO BE SAVED AS WELL. JESUS2020.COM

      February 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  11. NGN

    "Ed Dobson is not afraid of dying. It’s the getting there that really scares him." If death is the "natural course of things" (yeah right) then why is the dying process so horrible? We need to start looking at death from a purely scientific view. Religion has monopolized the discussion long enough.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Michelle

      Umm. This is the BELIEF section. Why click on it or read an article in this section if you don't want to discuss religion?

      February 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  12. Joy of Sin

    Ask Jesus to appear

    Just about everyone knows the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. The story is summarized in the Apostles' Creed. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he arose again from the dead.
    There is only one way for Jesus to prove that he rose from the dead. He had to appear to people. Therefore, several different places in the Bible describe Jesus' appearances after his death:

    • Matthew chapter 28
    • Mark chapter 16
    • Luke chapter 24
    • John Chapter 20 and 21

    1 Corinthians 15:3-6 provides a nice summary of those passages, as written by Paul:

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    As you can see in this passage, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people a number of different times.
    Being like Paul

    When we look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, there is a question that comes to mind - why did Jesus stop making these appearances? Why isn't Jesus appearing today?

    It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefitted from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions.
    So... Why doesn't Jesus appear to everyone and prove that he is resurrected, just like he appeared to Paul? There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you. And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. If Paul needed a personal visit from Jesus to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why wouldn't you?

    It is an important question for the following reasons:

    • We are told by the Bible that Jesus appeared to hundreds of people.
    • We therefore know that it is OK for Jesus to appear to people - it does not take away their free will, for example - because it was OK for Jesus to appear to hundreds of other people.
    • We know that it would be easy for Jesus to appear to everyone all through history, since Jesus is all-powerful and timeless.
    • We know that, if Jesus did reappear to everyone, it would be incredibly helpful. We could all know, personally, that Jesus is resurrected and that Jesus is God. If Paul (and all the other people in the Bible) needed a personal visit to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why not you and me?
    • Yet, we all know that Jesus has not appeared to anyone in 2,000 years.
    In other words, there is nothing stopping Jesus from appearing to you, and several good reasons for him to appear.
    In addition, Jesus promises that he will appear to you. All that we have to do is pray to Jesus like this: "Dear Jesus, please appear to us, as you did to Paul and the 500 brethren, so that we can see the evidence of your resurrection. In your name we pray, amen." Here is what Jesus has promised us in the Bible:

    Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
    In John chapter 14:14:

    Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    In Matthew 18:19:

    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
    Jesus is actually in our midst. So he is right here already, supposedly. Yet when we pray to him to physically materialize, as he did to hundreds of others, nothing happens.

    Isn't it odd that Nothing happens, given the fact that Jesus promises us that something will happen? Isn't it odd that Nothing happens when, supposedly, Jesus is right here with us already, and materialization would be trivial for him? Isn't it odd that Nothing happens when, supposedly, Jesus was happy to appear to hundreds of others?
    What you will find, if you think about it, is that the situation we see here is the kind of unambiguous situation described. We have created a situation where coincidence cannot "answer" the prayer. The only way for this prayer to be answered is for Jesus to actually, unambiguously, materialize. In this situation, we also know that:

    1. It is trivial for Jesus to materialize
    2. There would be many benefits if Jesus did materialize
    3. Jesus has supposedly materialized to other human beings
    4. Jesus has promised to answer our prayer that he materialize
    How do we explain the fact that this prayer goes unanswered, no matter who prays, despite Jesus' promise that he will answer our prayers?

    As you think about this, you will realize that Paul's story in the Bible is false. Simply look at Paul's story like any judge in a courtroom would. What Paul's story in 1 Cor 15 is suggesting is entirely unprecedented – a man dead three days with mortal wounds came back to life. Yet there is no evidence that it is true, and there are many alternative explanations for what Paul is saying. Paul could be fabricating the story, Paul could have hallucinated or dreamed the meeting, Paul could have seen an imposter, etc. In addition, no one is seeing Jesus today, even though it would be trivial and obvious for Jesus to appear to people today just like he did with Paul, and Jesus promises in the Bible that he will answer our prayers.

    What about Jesus' famous statement in the Bible, "Happy are those who have not seen yet still believe"? What you realize is that this statement creates the perfect cover for a scam. Let's say you are Jesus, you are a normal human being, you realize that you are going to die (everybody does) and you want to cover for this fact. Here is what you would say: "Happy are those who have not seen yet still believe." What you are saying is, "the way I am going to show you that I exist is by not showing that I exist." For every other object in the universe, the way that we know it exists is because the object provides evidence of its existence. If there is no evidence for an object's existence, we call it imaginary (e.g. Leprechauns). But with Jesus, the lack of evidence is turned into evidence. Quite clever, but obviously a scam.

    If the resurrection were true, then Jesus would be answering prayers as he promises in the Bible. He would appear when people pray to see him. The reason why he does not appear is simple: Both Jesus and God are imaginary.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Joy of sin. I'd say that is an appropriate handle for you and the likes of Reality, NOT.

      Jesus does answer all prayers. He knows what is best, even though the person requesting said prayer doesn't comprehend His answer.

      Amen.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Joy of Sin

      HeavenSent......ummmmm
      He answers no prayers. That is the point. You are as dumb as lump on a log. Go ahead, ask Jesus to come visit you right now. Pray HS, pray. Dumb sh.it.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Pastor Lawrence

      You do err. 1) all of Jesus' actual appearances were before His ascension. Christ's encounter with Saul in Acts 9 was speaking to Saul from heaven, not in a physical appearance. 2) Jesus is not our personal pocket deity who does your frivolous bidding. All of this "info" of yours only demonstrates that Bible knowledge, when not accompanied by regenerating faith, is worthless.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Keith

      Wow I didn't know anyone cold pile horse manure this high.
      This guy is typical of the brain dead religious zealots they think the more they talk the more they are believed. If you follow his diatribe you will see that his argument is this, if it is in the bible it must be true. Why because the bibl4e says so, this is typical circular logic ergo, I say I am jc, why? because I say so.
      Listen up, the bible is perhaps the worst fairy tale ever concocted, it is full of hatred, lies, hypocrisy and hog wash. it serves no useful purpose in fact it is dangerous as it gives a platform for mentally deranged people such as this person to spout their insanity. Give us a break and SHUT UP

      February 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Peace On Earth

      Jesus has been appearing to people regularly, even recently.

      Remember at His birth the angels proclaimed, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14)

      Let's try to have some goodwill in our comments here...

      Peace and Goodwill... That's God's plan for you... and that's why Jesus came!

      February 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Pastor Lawrence – the bible says ask anything and it shall be done unto you. Obviously that is a blatant lie!

      February 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • edwardo

      @HeavenSent – pray to an invisible unicorn. The prayers will be answered exactly the same as all other prayers.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  13. Rev-Henry Bates

    Blessings to Pastor Ed Dobson as he moves through this experience of life. As he stated, he now considers himself a "follower of Jesus" and in this I believe he will find peace with this experience he is going through. And when the time comes, he will be able to go to God in peace, trusting that "in Him we live and move and have our being." And blessings to his wife too as she shares this experience with him.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Joy of Sin

      May he burn in his pretend hell.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • edwardo

      He and his ilk, will NOT be missed by me. Glad to see this pos go!!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Keith

      More hog wash, Ed Dobson spouted hatred and lies and did his best to get his own idiotic beliefs accepted as law. I am sorry that a fellow human being is dying but Dobson was an odious man. This claptrap about being with god is just that CLAPTRAP. Dobson is going to be with that other repulsive individual Falwell rotting in the ground like we all will be.
      Just think about it would you want to spend eternity with the likes of Dobson and Falwell I cannot think of anything worse.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  14. Joy of Sin

    Count all the people God wants to murder

    If you look in the Bible, there are an amazing number of people that God wants his followers to murder. For example, in Exodus 35:2 God lays down this commandment:

    For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

    Think about that how many people work on the Sabbath - all the employees of Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Linnens & things, grocery stores, convenience stores, power plants, airlines, hospitals, emergency services and on and on and on. Don't rabbis, priests and preachers work on the Sabbath? God wants all of them dead.

    Then look at Deut 21:18-21. It says:

    If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place. They shall say to the elders of his town, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid.

    That is a whole lot of teenagers that we need to kill.

    Then there is Leviticus 20:13:

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    All h.o.m.o.s.e.xuals need to be killed. What about this:

    If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.
    That's a lot of people who need to be killed.

    In other words, if we actually listened to what God says, we would need to kill at least half of the people in America tomorrow. After all, Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever." The word of the Lord tells us to kill half of the U.S. population.

    There are two things in this that show you that God is imaginary. First there is the utter stupidity of these verses. Second, there is this fact: If God is an all-powerful being, he would kill them himself. There would be no need for people to do the murdering. These people would already be dead, and Wal-Mart would be closed on the Sabbath through lack of employees.
    Notice that believers completely ignore these parts of the Bible.

    That is because they know that the verses are insane. By acknowledging that their God is insane, they prove that their God is imaginary.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Rev-Henry Bates

      you can't see gravity ... or the air that you breathe? are they imaginary too? This is not the time to abuse this man's faith and your words are pretty mean-spirited.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • edwardo

      Isn't it baffling that people will worship in religion, what they despise in humanity? A God who killed 42 children for teasing a profit about being bald. Remember? He sent she bears to kill those kids.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      J of S, I'd say you have serious issues you need to overcome. Only a rebellious child (minded, never to grow up and mature) would be irked with said scriptures.

      Amen.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • GodPot

      "you can't see gravity ... or the air that you breathe" Both of these are testable and definable even though one of them is invisible and the other is as much a thing as a trend, wind is the movement of some other object, that object being gas molecules which happen to be very hard to see with the naked eye. You wouldn't base your belief in your invisible deity on the fact that fashion trends are invisible too are you? The movement from hot pants to bell bottoms going to define your concrete belief? Does it exist? I don't know, arghhh! If only we could see it!! But it's invisible!! Oh No!! Look out, here comes the invisible hand of the free market coming in to smack you on the ignorant ass!!!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • GodPot

      "A God who killed 42 children for teasing a profit" Hey, those kid's in Malaysia have to eat right?

      February 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Joy of Sin

      HS, you are really too stupid to talk to so I dismiss you.

      Henry, this was/is an evil man. Fuk him and you if you support him. I am quoting YOUR Bible yet you close your eyes. You are almost as stupid as HeavenSent.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Keith

      We have been listening to what god say for thousands of years and personally I am sick to the back teeth of what god says. When is this moron of a god going to listen to US. What idiocy are spouting now "you can't see gravity or air" what the hell does that mean. We cannot see gravity but we KNOW it exists and we KNOW exactly what it does. We also KNOW what happens when the force of gravity is nullified, WE HAVE UNDENIABLE PROOF. We cannot see air but I implore you to try this experiment, seal yourself in a plastic bag and you will find out what the absence of air can do. Therefore we have ABSOLUTE PROOF of what air does. Remove all the lunacy of religion, blind belief, praying and grovelling on your belly and the world will improve one million percent.
      Now here is my advice to you, just SHUT UP there are millions of people in this world who KNOW your are an idiot.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  15. archimedes109

    If God's love is perfect, why does it come with strings attached?

    February 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Then stop rebelling. Grow up. Take responsibility for your life ... all good starts.

      Amen.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      take responsibility for your life and stop following man's words

      February 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • dave

      when we say, 'His love is perfect', we need to understand what that means. the Bible says He is the father and we are the children. If you are a father, you understand that your children don't always understand how or why you make the decisions that affect their lives. They don't understand or even appreciate the knowledge and wisdom you have acquired over the years. Well God is the Father and we are the children. Things that we think are restrictive or nonsence, He uses to make His decisions concerning us. And just like our kids don't understand, we don't always understand what He's up to.

      If you want a person to be selfless, giving, caring, etc., how would you go about it? Those qualities are not innate; my basic nature is to be out for my own good, not the good of others or if it's to my advantage, I'll appear to be that way if it furthers my cause. God wants us to live the life that is best for us, and He knows what that is; we may think we do,but we don't. That's why it appears that He puts "restrictions" on us. Our definition of "perfect love" is probably flawed.

      archimedes109, please respond to what I'm trying to say here. Your original comment seems to have a lot of your life experiences behind it. And it seems you are wondering about what God is up to.

      Dave

      February 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • GodPot

      " Take responsibility for your life" No Christians ever really have, it's against there beliefs. They are required to hand over their responsibility to a higher power so they don't have to feel guilty when they discriminate, ostracize, abuse and even murder their fellow man for if they do it in God's name, they bear no guilt. However, this means that someday soon ALL who have been a part of organized religion and hidden their hate filled murder and racism under the hem of their God's robes will share with it's fate. Even if you did not murder but you support a Church that has killed innocents for generations to maintain their control your hands are covered in blood. It will be a long time before mankind can wash away the stench religion will leave on this planet, i'll just be glad that it will have left, though it's not likely to happen in my lifetime.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Keith

      Touche, touche, well said.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    prayer changes things .

    February 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • archimedes109

      Being delusional is not good for anyone around you. Please get help.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • S...T....F....U!!!

      shut
      the FUCK
      up!!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Atheism IS healthy for adults and other living things besides man couldn't give a $HI+ about "god"!!!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      February 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  17. BobM

    I HAVE FOUND JESUS THANKS TO THE COMMENTS SECTION OF A CNN ARTICLE! HALLELUJAH I AM SAVED!

    February 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • SHOUT NAME OF SALVATION

      yey at least SOMEONE GOT SAVED BY READING JESUS2020.COM WITH ALL MY REPOSTING AMEN!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Keith

      Well done was Jesus LOST.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Keith

      Hey shout salvation it was me I just wanted to see what drivel your pathetic web site contained. You did not disappoint me, yes its even more stupid than your ravings here.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  18. archimedes109

    Ed devoted his life to the Lord. In return, God rewarded him with a dose of Lou Gehrig's...don't ask why. It's supposed to be mysterious...

    February 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Samir

      When He loves someone, he tests them.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Because "god" is not creative enough to show mankind how to live without torturing people for no reason!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Aaahh .. the old addage. "If you love someone, torture and slowly and painfully kill them .. and if they come back they are yours forever". That's one of my favs!!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      God: "I love you. Now I'm going to torture you to prove it."

      HA HA HA HA HA! Nice, Samir!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • IceT

      On the news today I saw a story about a kid who was kept in a cage & fed dog food for 8 years, she could barely walk & couldn't read or write! WOW, her parents sure loved her .. almost to death. That would've been soooo awesome! *sarcasm*

      February 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • raidel

      The Lord has given Ed more than this disease. When did we stop counting all the other blessings.... beginning with salvation?

      February 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Salvation from WHAT?

      February 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • archimedes109

      raidel, why do we need salvation in the first place? Because the Big Guy demands it! What a joke. You can't give God credit for filling a need He created in the first place!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Samir – why would God need to "test" someone? The only reason you would test something is find out the end results. Does God not know the end results??? He doesn't already know ?? Your statement is just dumb.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • WHY?

      Hey guy – why is it so wrong to live your life with faith in Jesus and loving your neighbor? You act like having a relationship with Christ is a bad thing.

      I mean this in a very respectful way. Help me understand why you wouldn't want to live you life based on Jesus' teachings.. Do you really understand it or are you just picking a few things here and there to criticize..?

      February 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • edwardo

      @why – why don't you follow the teachings of Adolf Hitler? He had a philosophy behind his beliefs too. Jesus told a woman who was impregnated by her rapist, that she should marry her rapist, as he is responsible for her and the baby. Oh, and the rapist was to pay her father a fine for the crime. Gee...sorry I don't follow his teachings.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Peace On Earth

      This sickness did not come from God.

      The Bible says that "Every good and perfect gift" comes from God...

      Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

      The devil is the one who comes to steal and to kill and to destroy...

      "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..."

      February 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Peace On Earth

      - For "edwardo" --

      Quoting: "@why – why don't you follow the teachings of Adolf Hitler? He had a philosophy behind his beliefs too. Jesus told a woman who was impregnated by her rapist, that she should marry her rapist, as he is responsible for her and the baby. Oh, and the rapist was to pay her father a fine for the crime. Gee...sorry I don't follow his teachings."

      Jesus never said or taught that.

      Read His Actual Teachings...

      In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • WHY?

      @edwardo – So you're answer is because you are ignorant to what Jesus taught...? That is why you or any other Atheists wouldn't want to live a life dedicated to LOVE...? Are you saying that because Hitler justified his actions (only to kill himself) that he is right? Jesus did not teach hate brotha...

      February 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Keith

      Now now god was being kind he could have given Ed a dose of AIDS, if he had I would love to see the squirming as the apologists try to explain it.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Keith

      Which moron said that the sickness did not come from god, of course it came from god, god made the universe and everything in it. You can't have it both ways, either god made the universe and everything in it or he didn't. If he didn't then god is NOT omnipotent and everything you believe in a CRAP. Do you see the problems you get into when you believe in fairy tales

      February 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  19. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Go to rafaeltorch.com Read all those stories about dying of cancer for 4.5 years. Rafael Torch passed away on December 12, 2011 from a rare sarcoma after a long struggle. He was a published and award-winning writer, as well as a teacher of Literature. His Master's Thesis at University of Chicago won an award. He struggled with the questions of death and dying as well. He was not born-again, nor was he Moral Majority, or religious Right. He was a young man who died before his time. And who studied and questioned until the end. The song he chose to have played at the cemetery was "Spirit in the Sky." I guess we all come to some conclusions when our life is ending. Rafaeltorch.com – read it all. Google Rafael Torch and find out what other wonderful things he did during his brief life.

    February 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  20. AdmrlAckbar

    Let's look at the real true facts (P.S. I don't need to supply any support for these facts, so shush):

    1. Science is mainly a fairytale.. I mean come on chemistry is just fancy alchemy. Biology is just an excuse for perverted science teachers to tell children about s-e-x. There's no way any of it could be true! It’s all a system designed to manipulate sheep into becoming mindless followers. “Thank you sir! May I pay you for another Flu shot!”

    2. Science is responsible for nothing but evil in the world, e.g. The atom bomb, biological warfare, Carrot Top etc... Ok well, maybe the devil is responsible for the last one..

    3. By NOT believing in science you are automatically somehow a better, more ethical and more intelligent person. That's right all you have to do is not believe and POOF! That said, all believers in science are automatically idiots and hicks.. every one of em. I mean after all, they all look alike and I can’t tell a physicist from a molecular biologist in their posh white lab coats and conformist safety goggles! Which is more proof they wish to indoctrinate you.. they all dress alike!

    4. Science has done nothing but hold back the progress of belief and spirituality... It's an active agenda people! Sir M.C. Hammer once said we just have to pray to make it today, but now science is trying to make you buy apples everyday or else they will send their doctors after you!! Yeah science, I know where your agenda is based.. In the biggest global corporate economic power in the world.. Apple!

    5. I am somehow claiming to backup all my comments with an implied knowledge of religion and faith, but most likely the last class I took on religion was in high school and even then I was too busy writing the names of bands like Wynger on my Trapper-keeper to have been paying attention. Still it's a cool word to throw around “Religion”!

    6. And remember simply NOT believing in science isn’t enough! One must repeatedly insult, mock and belittle the followers of science at every chance given, whilst all the while implying #3 on the list above. Go thee forth to the street or forums of internets and shout: LOOK AT ME!! LISTEN TO MY OPIN.. I MEAN FACTS! SURE I CAN’T DISPROVE THE NULL HYPOTHESIS ON WHICH MY BELIEFS ARE FOUNDED, BUT I AM A BETTER PERSON THAN YOU AND GOSH DARN IT PEOPLE LIKE ME!

    February 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • memikei

      I hated it at the beginning, but I liked it at the end.

      "you become a better person instantly by not believing in science". What a hoot!

      I tried not believing in gravity. It hurt.

      February 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
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About this blog

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.