Editor's Note: Shannon Ethridge is an advocate for spiritual and sexual integrity. She is a counselor, speaker, author and certified life and relationship coach. Her 19 books include the million-selling Every Woman's Battle book series, "The Sexually Confident Wife" and her latest book, "The Fantasy Fallacy," a response to the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon, a discussion of the roots and role of sexual fantasies.
By Shannon Ethridge, Special to CNN
(CNN) - When a friend alerted me to the "Fifty Shades" trilogy in April, none of us had any idea it would sell in excess of 40 million copies within months, or that sales of whips, chains and other BDSM paraphernalia would skyrocket as a result, or that a European hotel would replace its Gideon’s Bibles with "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Many legitimate possibilities have been offered for the seeming success of “mommy porn.” Women are more sexually liberated than ever before. Couples are longing for ways to spice up their sex lives. Many women have a deep inner longing to be dominated by a man who’s absolutely obsessed with them.
While there might be some truth to each of these theories, I think the real force behind this "Fifty Shades" phenomenon is that our society is clamoring for closeness. However, in the absence of genuine sexual intimacy (best defined as “in-to-me-see”), we settle for sexual intensity: erotica, pornography, an office romance, an extramarital affair or whatever strokes the ego and provides the sexual high we crave.
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I suggest that sexual intensity (such as that experienced between the lead characters of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy) is simply not the same as intimacy. If it were, then prostitutes and porn stars would be the most emotionally and relationally fulfilled people on the planet. That doesn’t seem to be the case.
Does the entangling of arms and legs and the exchange of bodily fluids scratch the human itch for intimate connection? Or is sex just the closest thing we can imagine to what we’re really craving: a deeper spiritual and emotional connection, both with our Creator and with His creation?
When I explain through my writing, speaking and life coaching that I am an “advocate for healthy sexuality and spirituality,” some assume I’m insane. Why would someone even use the terms “sexuality” and “spirituality” in the same sentence? I do so because I believe they are basically the same thing, or at least two sides of the same coin.
Regardless of gender, age, race, political views, economic status, etc., all humans have two things in common: We are both spiritual and sexual beings. And behind every sexual longing, I believe there’s an even deeper spiritual longing.
So we have much to learn about God through understanding our sexuality, and there is much to learn about our sexuality through a deeper exploration of God.
Looking at sexuality through a spiritual lens, and vice versa, is not a new concept. In the Song of Solomon, a man's and woman’s desires for healthy sexual intimacy are celebrated. In the book of Hosea, God uses the analogy of a husband’s relentless pursuit of a sexually unfaithful bride to illustrate the depth of His own passion and commitment to His people. God obviously knew that “sexual metaphors” would teach us about ourselves and about Him.
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This brings me back around to the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon. I don’t believe that fantasy is evil, even sexual fantasy. But when we divorce physical pleasure from emotional connection, such as when we selfishly strive for orgasm through pornography, masturbation or illicit sexual encounters rather than cultivating sexual ecstasy with our marriage partner, sexual ecstasy is only “half-baked.” Love and relational intimacy are the “yeast” that allows our sexual ecstasy to rise to its highest level.
My counseling experience shows me that we often seek healing for our deepest wounds via sexual encounters. Our minds and hearts believe we will “get it right” or “find the love I need” via an intensely satisfying sexual relationship.
If deep and spiritual intimacy is what humans seek, then relational or sexual intensity can never satisfy our deepest longings or heal our oldest wounds. Christian and Anastasia (for all the "Fifty Shades" fans) won’t discover heart-deep intimacy in whips, chains, pain and sexual intensity. Their deep wounds will be healed by sacrificial love (of which Christ is the incarnate example) and intimate relationship (both human and divine). Soul-deep intimacy is what we seek, and it’s ultimately found in the God who created human sexuality.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Shannon Ethridge.
We can find out how delusional you are with fewer words.
Antichrists are big on delusion."2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:" That's their form of worship.
They lie when they claim their temple is empty and swept clean.
Donner, don't think I've forgotten about your part in leaving me out of all those reindeer games! Watch your back!!!
This is my experience... Thank you.
MY personal testimony.
A thought to consider without an ego response
I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
The world denounces truth....
Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.
Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.
The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.
Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.
We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .
Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
See the truth...
do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..
Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .
Trancsend the temporal world.
Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .
Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.
Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.
Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....
Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.
You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.
Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.
I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .
Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?
Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.
once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it
You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.
exclusive to what?
Se*x therapist? Wouldn't be cheaper to find a randy priest. like you do Huebert?
If you are that worried about se.x, and rejection you might want to look into a se.x therapist.
Got a question for the ones who say god doesnt exist otherwise known as atheists. If you dont believe then why do you insist on proving it is a myth if you dont believe quit trying to prove us believers wrong because I would rather believe in something that doesnt exist than to not belive in something that does. Think about that.
Too deep for me. Plus, all the gramatical errors makes it difficult to understand what you are trying to say.
Because ignorance can be dangerous. Ever hear of the Spanish Inquisition?
I would rather believe in something that doesnt exist than to not belive in something that does
So we should believe everything, no matter how preposterous, just to make sure we're covered.
"I would rather believe in something that doesnt exist than to not belive in something that does"
1. Fine... just don't go around trying to enact laws and public policies according to your unproven beliefs, and do not castigate those who do not believe what you believe.
2. You'd better believe in EVERY other god and every religion and every afterlife scenario ever dreamed up by people, then... you really might "not believe" in "something that does [exist]"!
The difference being that we will not come down upon you for believing that their is a god and that we will burn you at the stake for your foolish belief. The atheist may rail against your foolish belief and ask you to use reason and logic to review your beliefs, no punishment for not agreeing.
Okay, I figured it out. "crhist_child1991" is not saying that you should believe everything. That would be ridiculous. He/she is saying that unbelief is willful and therefore sinful, since his/her God is the true one. Implicit in the argument is:
1) He/she is correct in their belief
2) you, as an unbeliever, are actively opposing God and are therefore worth of eternal damnation.
Kinda warped, but that's how these people think.
"Got a question for the ones who say god doesnt exist otherwise known as atheists."
Well, Atheists generally don't say that god doesn't exist. They generally say they see no reason to believe that god exists.
"If you dont believe then why do you insist on proving it is a myth if you dont believe quit trying to prove us believers wrong"
Because believers use their beliefs to influence our secular laws and deny others their civil rights.
"because I would rather believe in something that doesnt exist than to not belive in something that does. Think about that."
Like you don't believe in every other god that man has envisioned? Think about that....well, to the extent possible
Where would we be today if the people who didn't believe that rhino horn was an aphrodisiac simply chose to keep quiet out of some "respect" for other people's beliefs? The basis for Christianity is the belief that other belief systems are not only useless, but will lead people to eternal pain, and that anyone choosing to follow their own way and not theirs is wicked enough to deserve this. That's abusive, and a crime against the rest of society. Do you wonder now why we must speak out against this?
We non-believers aren't trying to prove anything. We are searching for the truth and would rather you believers start doing the same. Part of having blind faith is being blind. You accept, without evidence, preposterous claims that contradict accepted scientific and physical principles. Wake up and start using the brain you believe god gave to you.
I have, and I care about what is true over what is comfortable. If you would rather live a delusion that is your issue. It is sad truth means so little.
If you would truly rather believe in something that doesn't exist why don't you convince yourself you have a million dollars buried in your backyard? Wouldn't that give you comfort?
CC1991: Do you really think that your god is so dense that he would not realize that you are believing as a "get out of jail free" card?
Christianity has presented it's case that their god exists, etc... but we have found their case lacking, so we reject the claim. Where in all of jurisprudence do you see precedent for the jury having to do the work of disproving the position of the defence?
Tell me, did you have to "prove" that any and all of the other gods don't exist, or that fairies, elves, or unicorns don't? Did you have to prove that reincarnation, fortune telling or astrology don't work? I can't say that you don't believe in some of these things as well, but chances are that you have dismissed similar claims without having to "prove" anything yourself, right? Why is it so impossible for you to see how we apply the exact same thing to your claim?
If so many people are searching so desperately for God, why are so few finding him?
Because he's unfindable (doesn't exist).
erik, I would conclude that people are not desperately searching for God. That's a great reason for not finding something. When you don't look, or you don't desperately look in the case you are trying to make, you won't find much....
And for "Athy" I would ask if you have ever seen wind? I mean, you imply that you don't want to believe in something that you can't see, but you certainly believe in the wind even though you can't see it. You see trees moving becaues of wind, but you can't see wind.
There's a difference between looking for something and honestly not finding it, and being told to keep looking until you do find it. People who do the latter, and I think this includes many, many Christians, just end up assigning any old thing as their personal evidence that God exists. It is completely subjective what one considers "their sign", isn't it? Basically, you can just pick (or be coached to pick) the most poignant or desperate moment in your life, and we all have something like this, and some Christian will tell you that this was God trying to communicate with you. It is just ridiculous. It's like telling someone that the best day of their lives is proof that Lady Luck is real.
And, by the way, we can measure the wind which is why we know that it's real. If your analogy made any sense then blind people, who cannot see anything physical, wouldn't believe in things like walls, tables, and food, right?
Brett, is the wind analogy the best you can do to prove god? Wind is easily seen if it contains visible moisture or smoke. You need to come up with something a little more appropriate.
Cause he got lost on his way through the last big bang. See our big bang sling-shotted his ass so fast, he wound up going down a black hole, so he's stuck in some other parallel world. Quite simple, really.
Yup, wind is best seen when it's full of pollution and poisons, and most easily experienced when it's destructive like a hurricane, or a tornado.
Hey, maybe God really is like the wind! Full of crap and out to destroy. :-)
If so many people are searching so desperately for God, why are so few finding him?......Why would you state this lie?
"Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Do you have to WORK at being an antichrist, erik?
Ok, lol??, where's your definitive proof for the existence of your god?
Zillions of antichrists? They must believe He exists. What's the point of the war?
LOL?? = troll = ignore
Troll to you, fisher of men to GOD. Dude there's a big whale behind you lookin' for lunch. Circle the wagons and you'll be safe. Or an easier meal.
Thank you for the article. I love reading the responses. There are so many uncertain people and so many people that hate religion and God. I am shocked to say the least. As one of God's children, though, I would like to apologize for any judgement or hatred that you have experienced from anyone in the name of God. God is love and if someone claimed to be of God and not treat you with love, then they have fallen short of being like God...which we all have at some or most point in our lives. Please do not hate your Father because his children fall short of His glory.
Well, if such "haters" are created in his image well, then...
You can't hate something that doesn't exist. You just don't get it, do you?
God's son: We cannot hate (or like, or fear) beings in which we do not believe.
Another religios freak, that does not understand the history of the christian religion, I guess their is no point, so sad, the murderous histort of the christian faiths. glory, glory...
If you believe what you just said, do yourself a favor and get some therapy.
Which demigod are you? Heracles, Abhimanyu, Orion, Gilgamesh, Theseus, Māui, Perseus ...
Athy, I think the hate mentioned here is the hate that athiests/agnostics are displaying toward people who say they believe in God. So, your answer is actually good. Because of that I'll ask you a smiliar question: Why do you hate someone who believes in something that you don't believe in? Why not just leave them alone? I know, the pat athiest answer is because Christians' beliefs are harming little children's minds or something like that, but, really, if you really believe that you wouldn't be concerned with how little children's minds are "harmed" because, according to athiestic belief, we all end up not going to a heaven or a hell. So, what is the harm is believing anything? Your faith philosophy, and it truly is faith to believe what athiests believe, that there is not God, leaves too many holes. Some athlests usually resort to, or digging up, Christians burning people at the stake because they wouldn't believe (a reference to Christians forcing people to believe, so therefore believing must be bad). Hey, I disagree with that, too. But if you want to bring up people being burned at the stake in the 1,200s or 1,400s or 1,600's or whatever to show that Christianity is bad, I guess it's fair for me to bring up Stalin (an athiest) and his torturing of and killing of Christians as a way to show that athiesm is like that, right? Of course not. So, quit using that tired argument because there are plenty of examples on each side....
@Brett, I definitely hate the ignorance. I try to keep that from spilling over onto the person. However, people who refuse to deal in reason and evidence-based analysis can be pretty annoying and they tend to trigger frustration in atheists. Most of us have highly religious people in our family and we don't hate them.
For the record, Stalin didn't kill people because they refused to become atheists. Hitler was a self-proclaimed christian, but few atheists will claim it was because he was a christian that he decided to kill jews. There are crazy christians, atheists, jews, and muslims who do crazy things.
Brett, I didn't say I hated anyone.
SonOfToothFairy: "...so many people that hate religion and God."
That'd be like hating Dragons or hating the Tooth Fairy. Do you hate Bigfoot?
"As one of God's children"
Absolutely amazing that grown humans need to feel that special.
"I would like to apologize for any judgement or hatred that you have experienced from anyone in the name of God."
Thank you for your consideration.
"God is love"
Read over 1300 instances of cruelty and violence in the bible. God is more like an abusive boyfriend/spouse:
• you have to fear him to receive his love
• you are unworthy of his love
• you are nothing without him
• if you do not love him he will hurt you
• he doesn't want to punish you – it's really your fault
• he threatens you if he thinks you might break things off
• at all times he needs to know where you are, what you're doing and thinking so he can control your thoughts and behavior
"Please do not hate your Father because his children fall short of His glory."
God is imaginary and no one's father.
I know that you guys keep saying that "God is love" and all, but why do so few of you actually show it? All we ever get usually is finders pointed at who's a sinner, protests against equal rights, dumb statements about popular books and music, thinly veiled political lobbying, se x scandals, infighting over who gets to call themselves real "Christians", unintelligent attacks upon science, maneuvering to make this country a theocracy, threats of eternal hellfire, doomsday fear mongering, and a bunch of other unpleasant things that are more a strain upon society than a benefit. Where, exactly, is the love?
Criticism, even mockery, is not the same as "hatred". Granted, I do hate many of the things the Christian Right does. The bigotry against people who believe differently, the propaganda against science, the fighting for political power, the judgemental sanctimoniousness, among others.
To borrow somewhat from one of your own sayings most of us usually don't hate the Christian, or God; just the harm you do in God's name.
I don't care if you inculcate your child with christian mythology. I want you to keep your christian mythology the F out of our secular laws.
My heart is saddened by those that can't or won't hear the voice of God in their lives and see his goodness and beauty all around. So, if there is no God, as you say, then this all happened by chance and your existence is by chance and you live for what reason???
God's son, we're still waiting for a real shred of evidence for your, or any, god. If you cannot provide same, you are mentally ill, a liar or both.
@Sam – This country and it's founding fathers believed in the truths of God. This country is founded on the actual beliefs of Christianity. Now, I am not using Christianity to refer to a religion. Christianity is from Christ (Jesus) and from God not a "religion". Any time man has changed or used God's laws for his own selfish purpose or any purpose at all other than God's purpose is where things go wrong. I agree that no "religion" is perfect here on earth because people are involved and people are inherently evil. There is a quote that goes something like the following: "Even if I found the perfect church/religion, it would not be perfect the moment I joined." I do not promote a "religion". I just try and follow what God and Jesus want me to do and because we are all evil and naturally pull away from God, then it is a daily struggle.
@Dionmithjesu – You are looking at how man destroyed God's will, not what God's will is intended to be for man. If you view God or religion from how evil (all of us) people act, then you will never like it. You need to look at it from how it was intended to be by God and try to live that life so others may see you shine.
@0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls – Until you are ready to open your eyes and truly see, then you will not believe any evidence I could provide. This happened in the days of Jesus. Many saw and still did not believe.
God's son: Blah, blah, blah. We are all evil. Blah, blah, blah. What bullshit! Please seek help for your mental illness.
@PaulB – I agree. People that claim to be followers of God should act more like God wants them to...myself included at times. We are sadly only human and are not perfect and prone to many many mistakes. Following God does not mean we are any better than anyone else or can and should look down on others. People have done a lot of bad things in God's name in history and I doubt God is happy about that. I wish people that follow God, including myself, were much better and that the moment we chose to follow Him that we became an amazing loving better person, but it is a process and it doesn't happen overnight. Love is the answer, but people don't show it too well all the time.
Love does not require a god.
We may not see life on this planet, and our lives in particular, as the "special loving creations" that you fancy them to be, but that's only because we don't see any evidence to suggest that this may be true. Seeing yourself as so set apart from the rest of nature either requires, or tends to give people rather inflated egos. This gets in the way of environmental stewardship, which is actually hurting the planet, and carries on to having an elitist atti tude when dealing with others. I see no value in it.
Finding purpose in life is a personal thing, and people find it in such diverse things as raising children, teaching, being good spouses and friends, creating art, seeking adventure, helping the needy, and caring for the planet, among other things. Why would you even suspect that some "purpose" was handed to you by something else?
" if there is no God, as you say, then this all happened by chance"
This statement cuts to the heart of the matter. It shows that you have purposefully choseen to be ignorant about science. It's what happens when you choose to get your "sciency" information from the "Pastor Dave's" of the world instead of actual science sources. The problem is that "Pastor Dave" is just as ignorant about science as you are.
You statement also shows just how out of touch you fundiot nutters are with your fellow Christians. Of the 2 billion Christians on earth, 90% of them belong to sects whose position is that there is no problem with a faith in your god, and an understanding that evolution is a fact. It is only amongst the remaining 200 million fundamentalists that we see this problem. And unfortuately for us, the vast majority of you live in the US.
God's son: Why do you feel that you need a "reason" for existence? Also, what of those who see god differently than you? Do you feel sorry for them, too?
@0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls – God is love. All forms of it. You are correct that you do not need God to experience love, but you will feel a love like no other once you choose to be loved by God. Please feel free to berate my comment instead of engaging in an intellectual discussion.
@Primewonk – I do not feel there needs to be a debate between creationism and evolution. The earth is no doubt old. People miss the point with science and God. God created the universe and the earth and everything on it, therefore, He created science. These concepts are not opposites, but are very intertwined. Science does not disprove a God, but proves His existence. All science does is gives us an understanding into the mysteries that God created.
God's son, until your or some god is proven, it is not possible to have an intellectual discussion with a believer because they are not grounded in reality. An intellectual discussion cannot start with "yes, we admit there is no proof for our silly religious beliefs, but if you would just set that aside for a minute, what do think about. . . "
"This country and it's founding fathers believed in the truths of God."
First of all, not all the founders were Christian.
"This country is founded on the actual beliefs of Christianity"
Like slavery? Like women being unable to vote?
"Christianity is...not a "religion"
Yes it is. It has a sacred text, it has churches....if it is not a religion, are you willing to have churches give up their tax free status?
"Any time man has changed or used God's laws for his own selfish purpose or any purpose at all other than God's purpose is where things go wrong."
Who then determines "God's purpose"?
"I agree that no "religion" is perfect here on earth because people are involved and people are inherently evil."
Based on what?
"...we are all evil and naturally pull away from God, then it is a daily struggle"
we are all evil? based on what? perhaps we don't naturally pull away from god, but pull away from those who purport to speak for god.
believe as you wish. DO NOT use those beliefs to deny others their civil rights
@sam stone – I do not need a reason for my existence. I have felt God in my life always and He has always been there as He is for anyone that draws near to Him. It was not my search for existence that led me to God, but God that called me to Him.
I would not begin to generalize others and would speak with them about their feeling and beliefs.
So, if Christianity doesn't make someone any better behaved than not being a Christian why do Christians presume to be authorities on what is right and moral for everyone? Whatever happened to the American ethic of just minding your own business? If more Christians did that they might be surprised that fewer people would react to them with such harsh criticism.
The other saying about throwing rocks while living in a glass house comes to mind. A religion that can be criticized so easily and thoroughly shouldn't be in the business of criticizing others unless it has a very thick skin and, judging by how often the word "hate" is thrown against its critics here, Christianity's skin is paper thin.
@0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls – Proof is everywhere around you. You just need to open your eyes and really see...for the first time. I pray you are able to find God before you pass from this world. I will pray for you.
If proof is everywhere you will have no trouble itemizing it and providing supporting evidence for it – please proceed. More likely you will continue to supply lots of words with no meaning or substance.
The declarations of this country are somewhat in line with God and some that man threw in there. People are not perfect.
People are not perfect.
Christianity is from Christ, Jesus. It is not something that man created. Calling it a religion takes away it's perfect message of love and allows people to distort God's message for their own evil means.
God's purpose and guide to this world was given to us as the Bible.
Based on the Bible.
The Bible states answers to all your questions, my friend.
I do not claim to deny anyone anything. Civil or otherwise.
God's son: INDIVIDUAL faith can be a very good thing. Preaching shows incredible arrogance as it presumes that the preacher has any authority to speak for god. Also, as I have said before, don't use your faith to deny others their civil rights. You said earlier that this country was founded on Christian values.....how many of the Ten Commandments are reflected in the laws of the land. From my admittedly uneducated perspective, I count 3, and I don't know that any of those are unique to Christianity.
God just wants people to love each other and treat each other right as He treats us. He wants us to understand what love is and how much He loves us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice that none of us would ever do...His son, Jesus.
The problem is that many of God's people try to point fingers and shove things in others faces. This is not the right approach. All God's people need to do is show others love and kindness...even those that do not treat us right. We also need to share what God has done in our lives. This is the beginning of God working in others lives. Preaching to others about how bad they are and saying everything as God's follower is perfect and we never suffer is misleading and not true. The difference is that when we go through a struggle, we have hope and a God that will help us through any hardship we may encounter.
I agree that God's people should not be criticizing others at all. God's people should be the best example of God that they can...and not just in public, but also when noone is watching.
@0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls –
So the following are chance:
– the universe
– our cellular structure
– our minds
– our hearts
– all living creatures
– a perfect planet to sustain our life
– a voice inside of us that tells us when something is wrong (call it a moral compass or the Holy Spirit)
– the moon
Yes, all explainable by science, but God created science. So proving these proves God.
"Christianity is from Christ, Jesus. It is not something that man created."
Yet, it's sacred text is something man HAS created.
As far as denying others rights, would you support equality in marriage?
"God just wants people to love each other and treat each other right as He treats us."
So, God wants that people should be punished for the crimes of another?
@sam stone – Who are you referring to as preaching? Is this based on a person experience you had in the past and from your interactions with people. As I said before, people are not perfect like God and do not always handle things the best way. If someone pointed a finger at you and preached, then that was not the right approach for you was it?
I am not denying anyone civil rights. If you are referring to government, this is not of God. Even though one side of the political parties claims to be of God...none truly are.
The Bible is a big leap for some people that they just can't get over. Some believe it is just a book...I believe, as well as true followers of God, that is is the inspired work of God. This is tough for some people to believe...especially if a person feels there is no God.
Once the concept of a God is allowed in one's thinking and they can see the evidence around them because god has lifted the veil covering their eyes, then it is easier to understand how if God was able to create the universe and earth and everything and you, then He could easily put the right people in the right place to write His words down on parchment.
"Who are you referring to as preaching?"
Anyone who claims to know what god likes or dislikes
"Is this based on a person experience you had in the past"
All my personal experiences are in the past
Do you support marriage equality?
"So, God wants that people should be punished for the crimes of another?"
– Not sure where this came from...can you elaborate for me so I can answer appropriately.
"Anyone who claims to know what god likes or dislikes"
I do not claim any knowledge of my own, just what the Bible tells me.
"Do you support marriage equality?"
I feel that marriage is a term that is completely tied to God in the Bible. I do feel that people on this earth should all be treated equal with the same rights. I also believe that the country wants separation of church and state so this needs to occur here also. The country needs to recognize unions of all kinds (for equal rights), but God will recognize a marriage.
"...it is easier to understand how if God was able to create the universe and earth and everything and you, then He could easily put the right people in the right place to write His words down on parchment."
How do you make the logical leap from a creator to a "God"?
" Not sure where this came from...can you elaborate for me so I can answer appropriately."
Adam and Eve
"How do you make the logical leap from a creator to a "God"?"
God IS the creator...you can call him Bob and talk to him each and every day, but he is still the same God that both you and I share.
"I do not claim any knowledge of my own, just what the Bible tells me."
The bible was written by men, edited by men and translated by men.
Obviously, you attribute the words of man to "God"
"Adam and Eve"
Ah...Adam and Eve sinned with the help of the serpent (devil). God does not like sin nor can He tolerate sin (in the Bible). Blood must be shed for sin, hence the banishment of Adam and Eve from paradise and all the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. But God is also a loving and forgiving God and He sent His only son down here on earth to live for 30 some years so He could be sacrificed...The Ultimate Sacrifice... that would take away our sin and allow us to some day enter heaven. If that's not Love, then I don't know what is.
"The bible was written by men, edited by men and translated by men. Obviously, you attribute the words of man to "God""
I attribute the words of God to God and the hands of men, as instruments of God, to men. Remember that nothing is impossible for God...even writing a book called the Bible. So, universe creation is possible, but book writing is not?
"God IS the creator..."
Which one? Lots of belief systems have creation stories. Creation is (at best) evidence of a creator, not a "God".
"but he is still the same God that both you and I share."
what makes you think we have the same god?
Typical circular believer illogic. Multiple scientists have proposed, and had their theories publicly peer reviewed, how the physical items in your list came about with no god(s) required. You need to break your circular self-jerk off session and clearly establish the existence of your god, or admit that you are mentally ill, a liar, or more likely both. In short, nothing on your list is evidence for any god – it is just another wishful unsupported assertion..
We all have the same God...
I always love the saying...Do you believe in the devil...well, he believes in you. The same goes for God. Even if you don't believe he exists, he believes in you.
"I attribute the words of God to God and the hands of men, as instruments of God, to men"
No, you interpret the words of men to God.
If the hands of men were the instruments of god, then God is pretty inept with those tools. How many different interpretations of the bible are out there?
"I always love the saying...Do you believe in the devil...well, he believes in you. The same goes for God. Even if you don't believe he exists, he believes in you."
Your belief does not prove anything outside of itself
I'll agree that you do not know what love is. A loving god would not banish a person to hell for eternity for refusing to believe in him, especially, when he attempts to hide his presence.
@0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls
The big bang theory, right? Have you read Genesis book in the Bible. God created the world in 6 days. He created the earth and heavens on day 1...BANG!
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day."
There are many translations of God's word, that is true.
Abraham would have sacrificed his son, and you cannot tell a parent of any soldier fallen in any war that they did not sacrifice their child, but was Jesus really a "sacrifice"? He was God as well, right? Immortal being putting on the guise of a human for the express purpose of dying as some kind of demonstration. How is that any different than a video gamer creating a special avatar of himself just to kill off in a game as part of a demonstration?
You have your belief to help you through hardship, and others have different things, like family, exercise, music, poetry, literature, nature, friends, or other things to get them through their difficulties. Some even have different faiths, philosophies and beliefs that help them get through the bad patches. All appear to work as effectively so, again, I see no real advantage in being a Christian.
Love and kindness are great, and so is the wish that Christians not criticize others. Will you then join demonstrations against efforts by misguided believers to keep equal civil rights away from gays, or to take reproductive choice away from women like many Christians do?
You ignored the most important part – no god(s) required. Now all you have to do is prove (not just repetitively state without supporting facts) that your god existed before the universe came into being and was the cause.
"There are many translations of God's word, that is true."
So, was the word not clear?
"I'll agree that you do not know what love is. A loving god would not banish a person to hell for eternity for refusing to believe in him, especially, when he attempts to hide his presence."
Our God is a loving and forgiving God. He is also a God that does not like sin. He will give people every attempt to find Him and come to Him, but He will only tolerate it for so long. This is consistent with the Old Testament and New Testament in the Bible. Hell is the just punishment for sin.
"So, was the word not clear?"
No, the Word was not in a language understood by all, hence all the interpretations.
I need to go and do some work now. I have enjoyed our conversations and will pray for you.
"Abraham would have sacrificed his son, and you cannot tell a parent of any soldier fallen in any war that they did not sacrifice their child, but was Jesus really a "sacrifice"? He was God as well, right? Immortal being putting on the guise of a human for the express purpose of dying as some kind of demonstration. How is that any different than a video gamer creating a special avatar of himself just to kill off in a game as part of a demonstration?"
Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac was a test of faith by God. Jesus was a sacrifice because He came here to experience what we do. Life, pain, suffering, happiness, etc... A video game does not feel anything.
"You have your belief to help you through hardship, and others have different things, like family, exercise, music, poetry, literature, nature, friends, or other things to get them through their difficulties. Some even have different faiths, philosophies and beliefs that help them get through the bad patches. All appear to work as effectively so, again, I see no real advantage in being a Christian."
The difference is that God gives eternal life to those that want it. You examples do not.
"Love and kindness are great, and so is the wish that Christians not criticize others. Will you then join demonstrations against efforts by misguided believers to keep equal civil rights away from gays, or to take reproductive choice away from women like many Christians do?"
My friend, as I have stated before I do not claim to affect any civil rights.
I have enjoyed our conversation today and must go to work now. I will pray for you and have a great Christmas.
"Jesus was a sacrifice because He came here to experience what we do. Life, pain, suffering, happiness, etc... A video game does not feel anything."
I'm guessing you haven't seen Wreck It Ralph? :-)
For all we know we could be living in the equivalent of an advanced video game. All it would take is enough computer power and a pixel rate higher than we can perceive. Besides, why would the omniscient God almighty need to become human just to know what it feels like?
"The difference is that God gives eternal life to those that want it. You examples do not."
Other faiths have their version of an afterlife. Some proven REAL ways include living on in the memories of our friends and families. Some people's methods of fulfillment get recorded for prosperity, as in the case of those who write, or perform to get themselves through the hard times. Even some notable Christians have written books and recorded songs that have been remembered long after they have died. C.S. Lewis, for example. So, again, I see no real advantage to your faith.
It's been nice chatting with you as well. So pleasant not to be told that I'm "bad" for pointing out Christianity's flaws and doomed for hell because I did.
Have a great Christmas as well. Take care.
"No, the Word was not in a language understood by all, hence all the interpretations."
So, this omniscient god put his word in a language few understand, knowing there would be all these erronious traslating, and then desires to punish people for not believing it?
"I need to go and do some work now. I have enjoyed our conversations and will pray for you."
I need to go do some laundry now. I have enjoyed our conversation and will think for you.
@SonOfToothFairy: "My heart is saddened by those that can't or won't hear the voice of God in their lives and see his goodness and beauty all around."
Yeah, my heart is saddened you can't hear the moans of Bigfoot in your life and see his piles of doody all around you.
"So, if there is no God, as you say, then this all happened by chance and your existence is by chance and you live for what reason???"
Life is imperfect, therefore cannot be designed by anything inerrant. While there are some elements of chance, life is not 100% random either. Each iteration informs the next.
Why do you need a reason to live?
@SonOfToothFairy: "This country and it's founding fathers believed in the truths of God. This country is founded on the actual beliefs of Christianity."
1) you're talking about people that, however intelligent, still only had access to facts that are today likely possessed by the average 10th grade high school student. Of course many of them maintained the ancient fear of gods; the fact of evolution hadn't been discovered yet.
2) many of the founders were not bible thumping Christians but Deists who did not believe in jesus, prayer or miracles.
3) the U.S. is NOT founded on beliefs of christianity. "All men are created equal" is not in the bible – in fact the bible advocates for slavery. A "Creator" does not necessarily mean the Abrahamic God you worship. Our first amendment calls specifically for the SEPARATION of church and state.
"Until you are ready to open your eyes and truly see, then you will not believe any evidence I could provide."
You don't have one single tiny scrap of evidence of the existence of a god. Not one.
"you will feel a love like no other once you choose to be loved by God. Please feel free to berate my comment instead of engaging in an intellectual discussion."
Is that your best stab at intellectual discussion? "you will feel a love like no other once you choose to be loved by god"? Really? Have you performed any studies on this? You surely have data on this immense love which can be felt no other way? Don't you really mean you just prefer a comfy emotional discussion, one that doesn't challenge your ridiculous assertions?
"Science does not disprove a God, but proves His existence. All science does is gives us an understanding into the mysteries that God created."
Were you the same guy who wanted intellectual discussion? In case you didn't smell it, you've stepped into a big pile of dog shit here. Science has provided no proof of any god's existence. You are aware that "bearing false witness" is a sin, right?
"Some believe [the bible] is just a book...I believe, as well as true followers of God, that is is the inspired work of God. This is tough for some people to believe"
We understand what constitutes the bible are fictional stories passed off by the relatively ignorant as the "inerrant word of a god", some apparently the ravings of zealots the religious refer to loosely as "eyewitnesses", some others outright polished pre-existing myths, which were watered down word of mouth for decades if not longer before being written in a language no longer spoken, then translated any number of times and again "polished" by other men who got together to decide which "inerrant words of god" they personally liked best and which were tossed out.
These people involved in early religion have barely the body of knowledge an average 10th grade student has today. We're not talking stupidity here, we are simply talking about access to facts of our reality.
Then come the cult sects who base their life upon this book. The truly ludicrous impossibly claim the entire thing is, in its current state, still the inerrant word of god. The more moderate among adherents somehow claim "it's just allegory," leaving it open to interpretation and the inevitable clashes over who's right in a book that is supposed to be the word of a god. Savor that for a moment. An all powerful omniscient god, who demands all of mankind's devotion upon pain of eternal torture, supposedly feels some papyrus scrolls with writing in a language no one speaks, which is open to further interpretation, is the best way to communicate his needs.
"There are many translations of God's word..."
No, there are many translations of MAN's word....... since man wrote the bible
ain't that The Truth.....
Living within the physical eternities the spirited soul of tendril nothingness does aberrantly conjure up being a significant nothingness form deviating from God's Great Seas of the Holy Spirit of Absolute Nothingness! Our body's soul of nothingness woven into one's physical being does, when one is cremated, become unwoven from the body's physical semblance by the fires pillars of the crematory. It is very pleasing for God's Holy Spirit, the Great Seas of Absolute Nothingness, for any soul being bound with and of celestially significant physical beings to be fired up in cremation and then be a soul to be unwoven from their physical bodies and to once again become part of the wholesomeness of the Nothingness Seas in a Holy Matrimonial Oneness once again!
Much evil soon high in hope do view. Out may few northward believing attempted. Yet timed being songs marry one defer men our. Although finished blessing do of. Consider speaking me prospect whatever if. Ten nearer rather hunted six parish indeed number. Allowance repulsive sax may contained can set suspected abilities cordially. Do part am he high rest that. So fruit to ready it being views match.
And boxes add vorps at some fangles, but only tivytely.
@athy.......... I've heard that said!!
It's "Spoorbie." Why don't you know that?
That's the way they say it in Alassippi.
P-ssy ain't ever free...
Well that solves one mystery, lol?? was obviously dropped on his head many times as a child.
"The rule God created is if you reject Gods plan you suffer the loss of eternity with God. What more could God possibly do to save your soul than take away your sin?"
ummmmm, how about just change his own behavior and quit screwing things up and the blaming us, as you said he is the "potter" the potter doesn't blame the "pot" for being a sh!tty creation.
You chose, dude. You don't like sweatin' blood, cuz you a girly man.
lol?? is a perfect example, it is not completely his fault he is an ignorant troll, your god has some responsibility for him.
Blessed are the Cheesemakers
oh, so God needs to adapt a plan for mankind that looks like yours? That is the age old problem of why man fashions gods to his or her own image rather than accept God. This has its roots in pride among other sins.
I have yet to see plan from anyone on this site that is better than the one we are living out.
"That is the age old problem of why man fashions gods to his or her own image rather than accept God"
Isn't it the pious who claim that we are created in god's image?
Are you the dumbed down version of Chad when the Chad hasn't got the time to refer to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry? An inquiring mind wants to know.
Other fred: you still lack the courage to present even a shred of evidence for your god or for the myriad insane claims of your religion. I'm waiting. You know what they say: put up, or...
* or ability to...
No fred, your god is a figment of your imagination so I expect nothing from you non-existent god. I am just pointing out how absurd your concept of your god is, your analogies make no sense. You claim the "potter" should be able to destroy its creation, then when I point you your creator is blaming his creation you claim I am making demands of your god....get a better argument or don't get mad when it is shown to be fallacious.
" We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes." Gene Roddenberry
Well done, Ms. Ethridge. Blarg, why did you even click on this link and or read this article if you have that kind of vitriolic response to anything God. Was it so that you could vent?
Because making light of christards is easy and fun.
And they're such easy targets.
Divorce is for the RICH. Give it to the lower classes and you get bangers. COURSE, when da rich do it you get world wars. Ain't chimp life fun?
Mikey Jackson to Wizzbutt Taylor, "I know you're sweet on me, Wizz, but the little boyz can't fake it like you." Beast approved.
Yeah? Strap a bomb on and go for your 72 virgins. What they don't tell you is tHat they're virgin camels, you dolt.
Actually, se'x can be a religious experience .... how many times can a woman say "oh god!!" during the act? :) If your "oh god" meter looks more like an odometer reading, then you are doing it right ;)
You don't likee Beastieee version of marriageee?
So true but, as I might say, people is not ready to understand this kind of reality... they are just so blind, narcissistic, superficial and non-spiritual to get it... :(
W is that you?
Get off CNN with this trash. People like s.e.x. and g.o.d. is dead.
Sex, among consenting adults, is natural, normal, fun and good. There never have been gods, not even just one, so "god" cannot be dead, but religion is evil and should be dead, or at least treated as being equal to astrology.
Saying Religion is evil is like saying the United States military is evil. If you want to just focus on the negatives or the positives then you are bias one way or the other. You are are bias towards the negative while trying to make folks believe that Religion and people of Faith have never done a positive thing for society.
It makes you no different than those that feel that Religion has only done positive in society.
Time to let it go dude, you will have good and bad in all insit'tutions. Only a person blinded by hate chooses to only see one side of a issue.
Also, you have proof that there is not a God or Gods? I am interested when folks make statements such as yours. I have been away with school and I was wondering if Atheist such as yourself who evangelize have finally found proof.
It isn't up to the Atheist to provide any proof. We don't make the claim. All we hear from you thu'mp'ers is "god" this and "god" that ..... ok, show us "god". It's just that simple. Put up or shut up. We don't need to make a case for the negative. The burden of proof lies with you, as you claim there IS a "god" of sorts. Ok then, show us your "god", or ANY "god" for that matter. We're waiting .... oh.. and your little book of fables (you call it a Bible), is not accepted as evidence by ANY means of the word 'evidence'. As you cannot provivide the verification of its source, it amounts to nothing more than hearsay, which is not regarded as having any evidentiary claim.
I grant that there is a small, virtually zero in my opinion, probability that some god may exist. That being said, there is insufficient evidence for any god to warrant continuing to live as if there is a god. Everyone is free to believe what they want but that does not imply credibility to their beliefs. There is as much evidence for astrology as there is for any religion yet no one would take an astrologist seriously in public. Religion should be given the same due – a quaint custom, good for a laugh, but of not much use. I choose to believe that people do good deeds despite being indoctrinated in a religious cult, that people are basically good and can, and often do, rise above the insanity of religion.
Mark From Middle River
There have indeed been many thousands of gods, including God, throughout human history. Almost all of them have been reconsidered over time by the vast majority, including Christians, to have always been myth and figments of people's imaginations. Was "proof" of this necessary, or did people just realize it the way so many are realizing it today about God?
And now some words of wisdom from 1000 CE:
"The Two Universal Sects
They all err—Moslems, Jews,
Christians, and Zoroastrians:
Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
One, man intelligent without religion,
The second, religious without intellect. "
, born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .
Al-Ma'arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer. He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm
>>>>"It isn't up to the Atheist to provide any proof. We don't make the claim. "
Actually, on November 27, 2012 at 2:16 am..... 0G did make a claim of God's non existence. Should he or she be required to prove this claim ..... Or is it that the Atheist side of aisle is not required to follow the same rules as the Faithful side?
When a Faithful person comes in and states that there is a God , then he or she is making a claim of Belief. The same is held to the Atheist who comes in and uses basically the same statement except for a single word changed.
>>>"There have indeed been many thousands of Gods, including God, throughout human history. "
Sorry, I am not what some would call a Bible thumper because I am open to belief that they all might be the same God.
Mark from Middle River
The same god, or just the same psychological need to create gods?
Is the lorax real cuz there was a book written about him?
In other words, let's not focus on the times that God has lost it and done something like kill innocent babies. We should look past that and focus on the times that he has done something good. No one is perfect and occasionally God cracks and commits and evil act. It can happen to the best of us. Right? Open the prisons I say. Forgive and forget. God will protect us. Unless he's having a bad day of course.
God does not exist until proven so.
Enough proof that there is no god????
The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)
The Muslim Conquest of India
"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "
Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*
1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")
2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)
3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)
4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)
5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)
6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)
7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)
8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)
9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C
10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)
11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)
12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)
13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C
14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C
16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)
17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)
18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)
19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)
20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C
My claim is in reaction to those that claim there are gods. I've repeatedly written previously that it is shorthand for "I do not believe claims for any gods because those claimants have never produced a single bit of physical, factual, independent, verifiable or objective evidence for their claims." You could require me to write this out every time I say "there are no gods," but then you would then also have to require believers to write something like "despite claiming the existence of gods for several thousand years, and not having a shred of evidence for any gods and our related claims we believe gods do exist and therefore . . ."
I interpret Mark's comments as a request to return to past practices of not discussing (challenging!) one's religion and beliefs in public, as a way to allow religion to continue more or less unchallenged. I'm good with that provided all behave equally. The mentally insane can have their cults, but the instant they bring their beliefs into the public domain, I reserve the right to comment on, and ridicule, them – just as anyone would do if anyone used astrology as justification in public for anything. There is no more actual foundation for gods and religion than there is for astrology so the two should be treated equally.
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.