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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.

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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. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoDYDLFrv9g&w=640&h=390]

    March 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  2. Mike

    Dr.D. I understand your logic completely and on the surface it does not make much sense for a man to lose his voice after being "called to preach." However, the most effective way to get one's point across, is not with voice but with example. To be stricken in such a way and yet remain a faithful disciple says more about the man and his message than anything he could speak. In fact, his suffering silence says more and says it louder than anything his vocal chords could ever produce. Regardless of where you stand on the reality of God or faith, or Christianity or whatever, his counseling with those also stricken provides peace of mind for those with no seeming hope.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 6, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • huh

      How exactly does prayer change a damn thing?

      March 6, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • badlobbyist

      And that ladies and gentlement is what is wrong with religion. Instead of trying to fix things here and now, let's just pray for a better world later. Fatalistic nonsense.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  4. scooby-do

    Lorraine, do you ever objectively stand back and read whatn you have posted???? As an alleged Christian, your rhetoric and driven actually turn me off to the true meanings here. It seem as though you've done a very good job of memorizing the wording patterns and buzzwords of the bible storybook, but you simply open your mouth and blindly regurgitate them. You are a poor, no, a horrible example of a Christian. In the very unlikely event that any of this drivel written my MANKIND ever turns out to be true, you are going to find yourself trying to explain a lot of your actions to that god of yours, right before he sends you to hell.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • ath

      @Lorraine
      This may sound strange coming from an atheist, but I advise you to seek counsel with an understandig priest wth a good theological background. There is a difference between normal, reasonable religion and the path you are on. You run the risk of deep psychological problems.

      March 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • BOB

      IT APPEARS THAT LORRAINE IS OF THE MORMON FAITH. SHE DOES NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH AS TAUGHT BY THE HOLY BIBLE. A TRUE CHRISTIAN CAN NOT DISREGARD THE NEW TESTAMENT. WITHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT YOU HAVE NO CHRIST AND WITHOUT CHRIST YOU HAVE NO SALVATION AND NO CHRISTIANS. CHRISTIAN IS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. THE NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLS THE OLD TESTAMENT. GOD DID USE PROPHETS TO BRING HIS TRUTH, BUT THEN HE SENT JESUS

      March 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BOB

      http://theoatmeal.com/pl/minor_differences/capslock

      March 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  5. Dr. D.

    This is totally illogical that a man who is a pastor who says god called him to be a minister yet he gets ill and will lose his voice. Why would a god let his messenger get ill? It is just amazing who one can totally ignore reality.

    March 5, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • VERA ROWELL

      I believe in a God who is all loving and who hurts that any one should suffer. My God does not control the lives of anyone like a puppeteer. That would require favoritism and that's not God's nature. God loves every person on this earth. The God in whom I believe is probably more disappointed than we are in the ego centered life that so many of us live.
      Ed Dobson is one of the few examples that we hear of (there are many unheard of) who has found the message that Jesus tried so hard to deliver - Each of us is called to be the very best that we can be and like a loving parent is always there to encourage us to keep striving no matter how we think we have failed.
      Our world would be a totally different place if Christians practiced the real faith to which Jesus called us.

      March 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • MarylandBill

      And why exactly does the largest Christian Denomination (i.e., Catholicism) have crucifixes (i.e., images of Jesus nailed to the cross) in every church?

      The notion of suffering is built into the very fabric of Christianity. Its greatest heros and saints have always suffered for the faith. God sent his own son to earth, to preach and to heal, but also to suffer and to die.

      All men suffer because all men (save Jesus) have sinned. Even though Jesus died to redeem us to God, we still must suffer the temporal effects of a fallen world. You don't understand this because you see God as some sort of power that should be invokable by Man. I.e., if I do this, this and this, I will have a good and easy life. But, that is not the core of the Gospel message; we are called to take up crosses and to follow Jesus; through self denial, through prayer and ultimately through suffering and death.

      Why do we do this? Because what we strive for is not of this world, but of the world to come.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Andy

      God is using him as his messenger... and he doesn't even need his preaching voice.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • graytiger

      @ Vera and MarylandBill Then why does an infinte good and loving God let innocent newborn children who don't even have a notion of good or evil, suffer horribly and die?
      If your neighbour would act like this, you would accuse him of criminal negligence. Then why do you let God get away with it?

      March 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      graytiger,
      First I would point out that in all likelihood, you, me, and most other people reading this blog have not done everything in our power to help save the lives of innocent newborns (if you have surplus savings, ever bought a car, etc., you clearly have means that could have been used to spare their lives). So I guess you have convicted yourself of criminal negligence.

      That being said, the point of the Gospel is that we live in a fallen world. Yes, I grant that newborns, and indeed all children who have not yet reached the age of reason are incapable of truly sinning. But they still live in a fallen world. The children ultimately suffer because of the sins that the rest of us commit. And yes, it doesn't seem fair by our reckoning; but then Jesus's suffering and death was not fair either.

      Ultimately though, on issues of suffering and death, how can we judge God by our standard? When we judge God on the suffering and death of a newborn, we do so because we act as if Death is really the end. No one sees the suffering of a newborn during birth to be an absolute evil because we see what the child gains at birth (the loving embrace of its mother hopefully). We don't see what the baby gains at death. If we did, perhaps more of us would desire more fervently and fear death less.

      Remember Christian belief in God is linked to our belief and hope in heaven. You can't judge the Christian notion of God without keeping that notion in mind. To blame God for the suffering he allows me in this life, without considering how he will reward me in the next life would be the same as a three year old judging a parent for the timeout that they have received.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • graytiger

      @MarylandBill
      – children have suffered horribly at periods in history when mankind was totally unable to cure these diseases. So it was at that time impossible for man to help these children. Only God (if he exists) could have helped them. But he did not. So your first point about not having done what we could is invalid.

      The fallen world: it is unfair and must seem even more unfair to a being of infinite goodness that an innocent child suffers for someone elses sins. Maybe Jezus suffering was unfair but does that make the childrens suffering fair? Besides Jezus chose to suffer. If he was made to suffer beyond his will his suffering would become meaningless. So second reason invalid.

      Heaven. The fact that a child is rewarded by going to heaven, does not make his suffering fair. He could go to heaven without suffering. Nowhere in the bible it says that it is a requirement for heaven to suffer first, even if one is innocent. There is still no reason for the suffering.
      To compare the suffering of certain children who have cancer or tay-sachs disease with a timeout is really beyond words.
      It would for God an infinitely small thing to stop this suffering. But he doesn't do it.
      God is infintely good so his own goodness should compell him to save those children from this terrible agony.
      I think I've anwered all your aguments and found them all lacking.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Lettersnumbersperiods83

      @graytiger

      There's a problem with your argument... nobody is innocent, other than Jesus.

      March 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • badlobbyist

      What Christianity are you guys talking about that the children are innocent? They are not inoccent. They are all born sinners. Remember, original sin? That's the silliness of the whole thing.
      Somehow we are all sinners and Christ died for our sins. Huh?

      March 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Letters

      I dont' think there is a problem. I am well aware of the concept of original sin.
      It is an invention by Paul. Jezus never spoke of original sin.
      It is a very irrational concept. Somewhere in the past a sin has been commited and now a child that isn't even aware of his surroundings should suffer for that? Again, this not a forgiving God of infinte goodness that you speak of. Even we, limited and imperfect humans do not act in this way.
      Even from the viewpoint of a believer. Most christian denominations accept that when a child dies, having suffered or not, it goes straight to heaven.
      from the wikipedia entry on original sin: 'This teaching explicitly states that "original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants". In other words, human beings do not bear any "original guilt" from Adam's particular sin, which is his alone. The prevailing view, also held in Eastern Orthodoxy, is that human beings bear no guilt for the sin of Adam.'

      Maybe you could claim that a man has to compensate for original sin by doing good deeds to get to heaven.
      But these suffering children haven't even gotten a chance to do good deeds! So God takes away their chance to live a good life and let's them suffer in agony. What God is that?

      March 7, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • MarylandBill

      @Graytiger
      Wait you are getting your theology from wikipedia? Well gee, then I guess you must be right....

      The basic tenor of your argument is the following. I don't think it is just, there it is not just, therefore God doesn't exist.

      The problem of evil is a tricky one. The best anyone can do is suggest solutions; solutions that must be inadequate because our minds are so much more limited than God's. I do know this however, that many people seem to demand logically inconsistant things from God. They want free will, but they don't want God to control their lives. They seem to want all the goods in this world without wondering if there is a price to paid for them. They want God to fit their personal model of justice without wondering if God might have his own standard.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • graytiger

      @MarylandBill

      – First of all you start with a condescending remark about me quoting from wikipedia. What do you know about my knowleddge of religion? Nothing. I was raised a catholic long before wikipedia ever existed. This reaction of yours shows only the frustration of someone who is on the losing end of a discussion.
      – Next: you claim I think it is just because I think it is just. Here you simply ingnore all arguments I made and invent one of your own. The argument from evil has a number of forms but dates from the ancient Greeks. Until now no christian philosopher has been able to reject it. It sets out a logical impossibility, and has nothing whatsoever to do with what I think is just or unjust.
      – Next: you claim the tricky problem has its origins in people demanding inconsistent things from God. Wanting free will and wanting to be delivered from evil. I get the impression you haven't been paying attention, because my whole argument about the children is centered on the fact that this situation has nothing to do with free will.
      – Next: people wanting goods without paying the price. These children are too young to know what goods are.
      – Next: 'wondering if God might have his own standard'.We know what our standard is: letting children suffer is a crime. And we know what your God's standard is: telling people he is infinite good but at the same time letting children die in agony.

      I understand your frustration: you realize that such a situation is horrible but you are unable to explain it away. You are caught between recognizing that your God is nonexistent or at least not what he seems and your faith. And your solution is to mock, to denigrate the messenger.

      By the way, this argument doesn't prove that a God doesn't exist. It just proves that the christian God doesn't exist.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The notion of suffering is built into the very fabric of Christianity."

      That way, followers can suffer and feel good about it

      March 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Nitrogen

    The cake is a lie.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:05 am |
  7. atheist knows best

    So we look at all of the gibberish posted by the religionists here, and I'm thinking that this is the ignorance and delusion that people like Dobson and the Moral Majority have encouraged in the place of critical thinking and strong moral reasoning.

    We're living in a lesser world - one which is less compassionate, less healthy, less egalitarian, less inclusive, less welcoming, and less charitable than the one we would have had WITHOUT Dobson, Falwell, and their natsty, false morality. Speaking as a woman whose rights you are constantly attacking, whose friends you pursued without compassion because they weren't like you, whose neighbours have poor access to birth control because YOU don't like their lifestyle: if there were a compassionate god out there, he'd have shut you up YEARS ago, before you had so much time to do so much damage.

    You've hurt a lot of people, Ed Dobson, and now you're hurting in turn. That's not justice, that's just life. I'm a little happier tonight, though, knowing that you're not just twirling your evil moustache on the veranda of your beach house, gloating that I have trouble accessing reproductive healthcare. Instead, I'm gloating a bit, myself. Perhaps stem cell research could have provided us with cures for ALS years ago, if not for your moral majority's influence in defunding medical progress. Perhaps not, But it's a thought that will help me sleep tonight, that maybe your high-handed know-it-all moralizing may now be biting you in the rea r end personally. :)

    March 5, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • snow26

      It's actually people like you that leave the world in a sad state. I'm glad I don't know you personally, you would make my life darker.

      March 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  8. Lorraine

    PRISM 1234, I ask you, again who is yeshua, jesus, and christians even say this myth is YHWH, and YHWH son, which is it? And, where is it even prophesied in the OT, by YHWH it is not there, not even the story of jesus, this is not the way of the Creator YHWH, He tells us these kinds of things with His prophets, as He does 'nothing' without them said in Amos 3v7, (clue,hint). Whatever you were taught this is not from YHWH, this is a change, and YHWH has not changed none of His law or righteousness, and what He tells us in the OT, for He changes not said in Malachi 3v6. I never said that I said anything myself, these are the words of YHWH, if He says He is our only Savior, and Redeemer, in Isaiah 60v16, 43v11, and 49v26, and in many other scriptures, And, let us know not to liken Him, or compare Him to no one in Isaiah 40v18, right in the scriptures of the OT, so what do you want for me? For it seems that it is you who because of your stubborn pride will not acknowledge, and who ignores this truth. YHWH son, and firstborn is in Exodus 4v22,23 and its "Israel" the chosen people. There cannot be two firstborn sons Prism, it just cannot, you have been mislead from the truth of YHWH, not I, You have to open your eyes, and think for yourself, and not just be lead to 'believe' in things. Don't you want to know?

    March 5, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Lorraine
      Dear lady, you went so far off the deep end, that there is no point to even make attempt to discuss anything else with you. You do NOT KNOW this God YHWH whom you're talking about, and His Spirit is is not dwelling in you. If He did, you would recognize Him in Yeshua. Go your way, and see where it takes you. As for me... the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life is my Shepherd. And HE knows His sheep, and His sheep knows Him and hears His voice and will not follow and impostor.
      There are many voices out there, but there is ONLY ONE TRUTH. And without Yeshua, Christ Jesus, the Messiah whom YHWH, whom you talk about, but don't know, sent to redeem the fallen human race...without Him no man can come to YHWH, the Creator of all, whom I call my Father, because He has accepted me in His beloved Son Yeshua.
      See how you fare without Him when you face you Maker, standing in your own works, which He equals to filthy rags, without Christ's covering!
      There is nothing else needed to be said, except , a prayer for you – may the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Truth, open your eyes that you may see, and have time and space to turn away from your error, before it's to late for you!

      March 5, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  9. Ann Covey

    Interesting how CNN positions this story in the headline leading to it. This man is NOT rethinking Christianity (as if to imply questioning it), he has simply awaken to the realization that being a true Christian is about wholehearted devotion to Jesus - versus the "keep-your-options-open" spirituality that's so PC now.

    March 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      perhaps your inference is not their implication

      March 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  10. graytiger

    @Lorraine your answer to Tepeters seems in short to come down to: we don't follow Gods demands so we have to suffer. But that says nothing about the reasons why newborn innocent children sometimes have to suffer horribly, even die after a few months of nothing but suffering. How can an infinitely good God let that happen if he is also infinitely powerfull? There children now nothing of Gods demands and they certainly can't read all the quotes you make from the bible..

    March 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Lorraine

      graytiger, Also, when I commented to Tepeter, I stated that the innocent dies, and much of this is coming from us being away from the truth, away, and against YHWH, not doing the law of life. This strays us away from His peace, and harmony, and the righteousness of His Spirituality, that surrounds us. We in this world are out of harmony with the Creator YHWH, much sufferings is expected, and has been from this very reason of leaving the truth of the Creator, and King YHWH. All of this is what we have done to ourselves is what I have said too, we have brought this upon ourselves from having in difference, and poverty, and hate, greed..etc. in this world these spirits has caused a tumult in our world, and pain. We are to live righteously towards one another, not deceit, not injustices, for instance the three supremacist who killed James Byrd in Texas, just because of hate, who do you think is holding the consequence of this tragedy, and many, many others to innocent people, or just in general?, We all are for not teaching the righteousness of peace, and love, and working together in our world as one, with no in difference. As the person Ogg Oggleby said, we have to all do righteously, this is not about religion, but of all of our spirituality that passes to others in our lives. Everyone is responsible, this is our true purpose in life, to care, and love each other, and to praise Him, our Creator for this peace, for this righteousness, and love. And, we do that by doing the law of righteousness. But, the day is coming for in Jeremiah 33v14-26, is a future prophecy and is in progress as we speak, and is prophesied for the end times, which is only the 4th kingdom, of our time that is now days, that's all this means.

      March 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • graytiger

      @Lorraine If I understand you correctly, you are saying that these children who know no hate, indifference or greed, suffer terribly because of the actions of their parents? All human judges who would do likewise would be condemned as evil. Your God must be incredibly cuel and evil to punish children for things of which they are innocent. You seem to worship not the christian God but a demon from hell.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Lorraine

      graytiger, As I said, and you must understand this is our own fault, we have to take the responsibility of the generational curse, that was prophesied in Deut.30, that we (all) not just the chosen people, will endure if we don't follow the law of life, of righteousness, and peace,for all no matter the skin, from our Creator YHWH. It's a generational curse, this is why in many scriptures, YHWH ask us to return to Him, in Isaiah 44v22, and in Malachi 3v7, but we shun Him as always, and walk in our own ways, and in Jeremiah 10v23, it tells us that man cannot do this alone. YHWH is not cruel, we are stubborn, and hard hearten, so selfish, and so caught up with pride, and no humility for others, that we think we are waking up each day on our own, so mislead. If we were taught the truth of life, by the pastors, and priest, of the righteousness, and of its peace, this curse of pestilence would not be here, YHWH, always has His hand stretch out waiting for us, its not too late, we need to return to His spirituality, of the law of righteousness, and stop doing idols, pagan religions of deities for centuries, and they have not done a thing for us in this world but divide us, and control, its actually worst today, and that none are not of YHWH, who made us with His breath of life.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • graytiger

      Torturing innocent children that have no idea of the bible or even of God is monstrous.

      Do you realize that you are interpreting this text and that most other christian religions don't agree with such an interpretation. Why then do you think that you are right? Are you not guilty of the sin of arrogance?

      Do you believe and follow literally each saying in the bible?

      March 5, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  11. Ogg Oggleby

    I think this belief blog needs more people to encourage others to consider the irrational nature of belief in the standard concept of a higher power. I appreciate that it takes a lot of energy and work to really convice ones self that faith in a god is the thing to do, because others expect it. I am here to respectfully suggest that faith in ones self first is most important. I won't get into the bad things that are related to religion here, but being good to yourself and being a good person with a good conscience, being good to other people and doing the right things all do not require religion. I am a healthy good person, was not raised in a family that indoctrinated me with any religious dogma, and I feel so free. I have no stress about needing to be religious, am not worried about an afterlife or pleasing any diety. In fact, I am grateful that I can look on as people do their religion thing and I am not included in it. Thanks for considering what I have to say. I live a great life, but I am not blessed...just fortunate and pleased.

    March 4, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Cheri0

      OGG: It HAS to take MUCH more "faith" for you to believe that your uncle was a monkey & his uncle was slime!
      As you look around, you must convince yourself of many lies, if you are, indeed, a "thinking man."

      March 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • momoya

      Cherio, why do you comment on things you know nothing about? (You obviously have no clue what evolutionary science says or does)

      March 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • ath

      @cheriO You simplify things beyond measure and then find them incomprehensible. Read a good book on evolution. If ever one of your children, wife, husband or yourself would get cancer. Then if you get cured, it won't be because of your prayers but because of the medicines scientists prroduced with the knowledge of the buildingblocks of biology. The same buildingblocks that underly evolution.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  12. Lorraine

    PRISM 1234, and ted, ted you obviously read my post, but you did not have to bother, if that is what you are being bothersome, or blind to truth, I have much to say because its time for the truth. PRISM 1234, if you can show me anywhere in the so called OT, that YHWH sent His only begotten son to die for sins, and no one can die for anyone else sins, as said in Jeremiah 31v30, and Ezekiel 14v14, by YHWH, or even the story of jesus anywhere at all in the OT, which is truly called the book of remembrance written in Malachi 3v16, then I will agree with you. But all I see in the OT, which should be fulfilled by the NT right?, are prophecies, and scriptures speaking about a servant, an elect, or the seed of David, as in Isaiah 11v1-10, and Isaiah 49,53, and 9 not the name jc, and YHWH does nothing without His prophets, told to us in Amos 3v7. Also, PRISM 1234, the only son, and firstborn, that I read in the OT was said to be 'Israel' the chosen people, written for us in Exodus 4v22,23. This tells us that there cannot be two firstborn sons can there? What say you? Now, for those who say that this is the old writings, YHWH says that He changes not, in Malachi 3v6, confirming that His written scriptures are perpetual. There fore, whatever changed in the book must be discerned

    March 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  13. peakarach

    How can Jesus be a Jew when in fact he was born in Bethleham West Bank?

    March 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Lorraine

      pekarach, And, so was David, the son of Jessie born in Bethlehem, in 1 Samuel 16, and 17, and chosen by the most high, and Creator YHWH, to serve Him. David was so dedicated to YHWH (God), as many of you call Him, but it is YHWH, so dedicated that YHWH chose the 'seed' of David to reign upon the throne, in the new Branch of righteousness, called YHWH (The Lord) Our Righteousness, future prophecy written in Jeremiah 33v14-26 and in Jeremiah 23v1-8. David also wrote most of the book of Psalm, to his Creator YHWH.

      March 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Is there 'anywhere' in the book of remembrance, the so called OT, for the NT should fulfill the OT, that supports this fact of jesus?, for it is written in 1 Samuel 16,17, that David was born there in Bethlehem, the child born, chosen, and anointed unto YHWH whose future 'seed' will reign upon the throne, in Jeremiah 33v14-26.

      March 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  14. ted

    We'll call this LORRAINE'S BLOG

    March 3, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Lorraine

      ted, lol, No, I like to share the truth, not to just believe in a thing, but to 'know it' is what I substantiate, historical facts, and like others to know truth as well. See, when you 'believe' in a thing then it can be true or not, its only subjective, but when its subjective, and then objective, then its a fact.

      March 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  15. JS BOEGL

    The Father's love to you, Ed. Your story is a blessing...

    http://breath4hisbride.wordpress.com/

    March 3, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  16. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIzpAJArL6Q&w=640&h=390]

    March 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  17. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIdfrKJv1VI&w=640&h=390]

    March 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Iqbal Khan, To begin, Judaism was in the 3rd century, Christianity, and Islam were in the 4th. And, According to the book of Daniel 2v1-49, of his vision about the 4th kingdom, in Daniel 2v40, of the different governments, and rulers that will come over the years in the future, of the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar, and Cyrus the Great, the Persian, the Romans of Alexander the Great, and others, Augustus Caesar and Constantine, in Daniel 11v36-12v10, these rulers were all prophesied to Daniel by Gabriel that in the 'latter days' there will be strange gods that the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, knew not. Preferably in Daniel 11vs.39, of christianity, and in vs.43-45 of islam, that will rule over M A N Y, for G A I N. And in Deut.32v17, the prophet Moses, also told the people that in the 'latter days' their future generations will go into idolatry, doing strange gods (newly raised up), that are devils, and not of YHWH. This is no religion, this is the spiritual righteousness, of our lives. Furthermore, YHWH does not condone religion, they are idolatry, His the Almighty King YHWH, the Strong One of Israel, is the Spirituality, of righteousness, and peace for all no matter the skin. The purpose of life is the spirituality of living righteously, and with peace, of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20, Duet.5, the sabbath, day of rest, Leviticus 23, and the passover, in Exodus 12, once a year,to remember the freedom, and the innocent, and love for all of us,and to serve the most high, YHWH, and to eat right, in Duet.14, Leviticus 11, by doing the law of righteousness, left to us by YHWH, for it the law is our 'life' to live right by for ourselves, and for others, as said in Deut.32v45-47, so choose life. All is done by not having any in difference, greed, poverty, hate, and many other wrongs that are in our world today, is what our purpose is, it is all of our responsibility. And, until we do right by YHWH, then His wrath in Jeremiah 25, is our fate. As He says, He is our only Savior, and Redeemer, in Isaiah 49v26, and in Isaiah 60v16, and all He ask is for us to come back to Him in Isaiah 44v22, for no man can ever be delivered from out of His hands in Isaiah 43v13. YHWH is the One King, and we have forgotten Him, and He says to us to return, in Malachi 3v7, and in Isaiah 40v18, He tells us not to liken, or compare Him to no one. We have angered Him so, as the people did in Malachi 1v6-14, and we still are doing this, and brought upon ourselves the suffering.

      March 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  18. Lorraine

    John, If one truly knew the real advantage of being good, as opposed to being evil, by knowing the law of righteousness of YHWH, then one would not even attempt to live this way as we live today. Many are not taught the right way of how precious our lives are. We are in a society that teaches, only the strong survives, which is true, but it should not be to another's demise, or taking another's dream or life, a society that advocates selfishness, may the best man win, and to be all out for oneself, so we think this is right, and this is good. But, oh if we only knew what real goodness is like, if only we were taught not to cheat ourselves, by our pastors, and priest, etc.. what is truly good, and what is evil, and how to live right, and eat right, and do what is absolutely right, we would be in euphoria nowdays. Life could not be any better for people if we knew about the life that YHWH gave us, for we would all be as one, and connected to the universe spiritually, and to YHWH, this alone does not totally describe on what goodness is if life was actually lived this way. We are so caught up in the rat race of surviving each other, being against one another that we with all the money, and possessions in this world, which all belongs to YHWH anyway, will still never have a complete love of life, or of one another, and peace of mind is not what you somehow get in the end of this so called living a life that we have drawn out for ourselves, and our children, full of vanities, and deceit, and above all the pride of selfishness. This is not life, this is the robbing of truth, and righteousness towards each other. Creating all these in differences, and hate, poverty, and greed, false religions to divide us. This is what we live now, not 'life' as was taught to us by YHWH through Moses, but pure might, not right. The might hits us all young, and old, rich, or poor, its just not right. So, many perish, and many appear to be living, but its all the same, and lonely in the end, we are not living the truth of togetherness, what YHWH wanted us to, but we choose to do the wrong, and then want to blame YHWH for it, not taking the responsibility of our own hearts desire as told to us in Jeremiah 17v5-10. Yes, YHWH made the good, and the evil, for this is how He knows to tells us what is good, and what is bad for us, as His law of righteousness does, it brings us goodness that we continually run from, and try to do it on our own, Jeremiah 10v23,and the results is what we got today, and have had for many centuries now, over 2000 years of long suffering, hardship of what we call living a struggle for life, and this trouble we made for ourselves leaving YHWH. He still wants us to return as He says in Isaiah 44v22, to His law of righteousness, and peace, His hand is always stretched out to us.

    March 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Town Crier

      Lorraine, you are nothing but the best...when it come to using 400 words when no other words will do.

      March 3, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • ted

      Lorraine, you certainly have a lot to say which no one will bother to read. May I suggest you take up knitting.

      March 3, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Lorraine, there is ONLY one way to YHWH, and it is through His son Yeshua, the Messiah, whom He sent to declare Him and explain Him. Where does He fit in your presented gospel?

      March 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Prism

      You never answered my question:

      Why is god so horrible that he needs to save us from himself?

      It sounds pretty stupid, really. God sacrifices himself to himself in order to save mankind from himself. If he weren't such a do.u.che he could have just not gotten mad in the first place, or he could just forgive us. But no... Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins so.... love god or burn. What a freakshow!

      March 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Lorraine
      I've read one of your post in it's entirety, just to see where you are leading with it. The rest of them I didn't need to read. You are in deep error, lady, and unless you allow God to show you the way you are going with your error, you will find yourself standing before God whom you think you know without covering for your sins. I am the Way, through and the Life, Yeshua said, no man comes to the Father but through me. You'll find out the hard way what the cost of pride in your heart does for your soul!

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      @ Momoya
      I feel no need to answer any of your questions, because I've seen your posts, and sense your motives. I have written posts, here and to other articles. You can read them and find quite few answers if you want them.
      But you will never understand God – His nature and His character, unless you humble yourself before Him and cry out to Him, seeing your need for Him. Until then, your heart and your mind will be veiled in darkness.
      If you read the Gospel of John, and keep reading the rest of the Epistles of the New Testament, you will find many answers if you are looking for truth. If you are looking to disprove God, the things you read will only sear your own conscience. It's really matter of your heart, and what's in it. And God's Word is the sword that cuts through all surface, facade pretence, and exposes what's in it! That's' why so many who chose their own ways HATE it.
      It's your responsibility befor God to examine youraself whate you stand. So is also foar every human being, na none will have any excuse.
      I think there is nothing else needed to be said to you!

      March 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      P.S. correction tosome words...
      It's your responsibility before God to examine yourself where you stand. So is also for every human being, and no one will have an excuse when they will face their Creator!

      March 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • momoya

      Wow, Lorraine and I are BOTH

      March 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • momoya

      wrong? Who would have guessed? How many people, across the world, are worshipping correctly according to "the truth" you have special insight into, Prism?

      March 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  19. ja

    the hypocrisy was the moral majority concept, it was more like the mean majority, it is amazing when life comes full circle, may God Bless you despite, man elevation of himself, God will humble us

    March 2, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  20. tepeters

    The attempts to reconcile the existence of evil, both natural and man made, with the existence of an omnipotent/omnisicent, and supposedly benevolent deity has never been able to be adequately explained though various religions have tried many ways from pure fatalism to the existence of a devil, to the free will argument but they are all logically inconsistent. The Epicurean proposition is still powerful; "If God is willing but not able to prevent evil, then he is not omnipotent; if he is able but not willing then he is malevolent (so much for the free will idea); if he is both willing and able then why is there evil; and if he is neither able nor willing, then why call him god."

    March 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • John

      Simply put, good cannot exist without evil. God is both good and evil. The devil is God's son. I know this to be true because I am both good and bad, and everyone I've ever met shares both good and evil trailts.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Lorraine

      tepeters, Why, well because since He is the Creator, and the Almighty YHWH of the heavens, earth, and the waters, and of all of life, this means that He has been a great King to us, and has only asked of us to do the law of life in Deut.32v45-47, for us to choose life, and to live righteously, with peace for (all) no matter the skin, of having no in differences, and no hate, nor poverty, and greed among many other wrongs in this world. With our free will we did what we wanted to, and He's forgiving, and waits for us to get it right all of us. But the evil, and wicked yes He does kill them, and many of us go to their faith as said in Jeremiah 17v4-10, and even when the innocent dies much of this is from turning against YHWH, and His law of righteousness, and goodness of His spirit, this world is out of His spirit, out of harmony, and we have brought this all upon ourselves being selfish, and full of pride, doing wrong by, and to one another, one way or the other. And, in the book of Daniel in chapter 11, all of these religions were prophesied to come in the latter days, of the future generations of the people today, and in the 4th kingdom, (now), and they are all idolartry, and have caused nothing but division, and control of our world causing suffering and mayhem. YHWH the Creator is our Maker, we are not His, and He made us for His own sake, this is not about us, we are to know Him, and honor Him, but we don't we have forgotten Him, and He begs for us to return to Him, in many scriptures, such as Malachi 3v7, and Isaiah 44v22, and here He lets us know that He has forgiven all sins, just come back to Him, and the law of peace and good, and do the law of righteousness, all through the so called OT, which it is truly called the book of remembrance, in Malachi 3v16, that He left for us to remember, but still we do not. In the OT He asks us to return over, and over but we are hard hearted. We have gone into religions of idolatry, and gone astray instead of the spirituality of kindness, and love among each other, and this is evil to YHWH, and against His righteousness, His law, or of those who says nothing is what He is our Creator, walking in their own steps thinking that they are doing it themselves, all proud, in Jeremiah 10v23, and many are putting for centuries now these idols over Him, as He says in Isaiah 40v18, who will you liken, or compare Him to? YHWH is great, and His love is patient. And until we return wholeheartedly to Him, we will continue to have mayhem sickness and troubles until the day that He chooses to return to sanctify His name, in Ezekiel 36v22,23, and Isaiah 52v1-9, as He tells us for all the nations to know Him again, we are in the end times as prophesied in Daniel 12v4, where we are today running to, and fro with increased knowledge, but the time of YHWH is His its not for us to say when or why. Nor to question YHWH our great King, as He said in Malachi 1v7-14, when the people were doing this same thing even from then until now, and not seeing what we are doing to ourselves, this is what got us in this mess of our world in the first place.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Lorraine

      To add to my last post, I hate to say it, but from all of us leaving YHWH this is why Mr. Dobson is rethinking Christianity (religion), and yet he does have the greatness of his work within him. The son of the Creator YHWH is in Exodus 4v22,23, and it says it is the chosen people "ISRAEL,' they, are the son and the firstborn of YHWH and are to be the light unto the nations, but they too left YHWH, so here we all are, and until we return to HIM, and His law of living and eating right, and doing righteousness, and peace to (all) no matter the skin, no in differences, no greed, no hate, no poverty then we will suffer greatly, for He did not change this law as He says in Malachi 3v6, that He changes not, not His law, statues, and ordinances, we are not to do any other idols before Him and this is our fate, sorrow and the hardness of life, the law is the choosing of a good life, as did Job, Noah, Abraham, and Daniel did they were no exception they too had to do it, in Ezekiel 14v14, people are running away from YHWH, and the right way to live doing religions, and idolatry. The popes, priest, pastors, elders are all misleading the flocks, prophesied in Malachi 2, Jeremiah 23v1-8, Ezekiel 20, and other scriptures, from YHWH telling us this truth, and in Ezekiel 34, YHWH tells us of what He will do in the future and in Jeremiah 31v31-40, of His new covenant for us the sheperrds need to teach this truth to the flocks,otherwise there will be suffering.

      March 1, 2012 at 10:12 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.