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What we may have in common with 'Two and a Half Men' actor
Angus T. Jones, left, in an episode of "Two and a Half Men."
November 29th, 2012
03:12 PM ET

What we may have in common with 'Two and a Half Men' actor

By Michael Martinez, CNN

Hollywood, California (CNN) –In the introduction to the TV sitcom "Two and a Half Men," actor Angus T. Jones morphs from boy to teen before our eyes. Now we're watching the actor venture into adulthood and the complicated moral questions that come with it.

This week in posted Internet videos, Jones announced his ethical and religious awakening by condemning as "filth" the CBS show that made him rich and famous.

Jones isn't alone in facing his crisis of conscience. His experience, though dramatic, is universal in how many job holders struggle to reconcile work and spiritual values, experts say.

"At some level, all of us, probably not publicly, ask the hard question that he's asking," said David Miller, director of Princeton University's Faith & Work Initiative.

"What is the honor and dignity and meaning and purpose of (our) work? Is our work for making a good buck and has no ethical or moral or societal value, or should our work have a more noble dimension to it?" Miller said. "As we look at him afar, he's doing a service by raising the same question."

Clearly, we all can't make such loud declarations about our jobs. But Jones enjoys privileges.

‘Two and a Half Men’ actor’s criticism of show shines light on Seventh-day Adventists

He's a millionaire Hollywood figure on one of television's most successful shows. And he's only 19 years old.

"What he's displaying is the kind of passion that commonly infects the newly converted or those that have just found religion," said Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. "It's also a very easy thing to do in that he's already become wealthy and famous for how long now - nine years."

The hard question

Jones poses a hard question, encountered by all who believe in a supreme being, Miller said.

"Instead of saying, 'What do I want to do with my life?' he's asking, 'What would be pleasing to God?' And that's a very different metric," Miller said.

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Such moral conflicts play out in many professions, with physicians and abortions, pharmacists and the morning-after pill, and financiers and greedy strategies, say ethicists and other experts. In Jones' case, the actor seems at odds with the "artificial environment of show business," Wolpe said.

The answers fall across a spectrum.

"So what do you do?" said Miller, who, before joining academia, was a business and finance executive. "Do you walk away from the question mark, or do you stay and try to change within the question mark?

"Maybe he'll stay in Hollywood and try to find work more in line with his values. Or will Hollywood spit him out?" Miller said.

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The actor has apologized for any offense to the cast and crew of "Two and a Half Men," where he's worked since 2003.

He said in a statement: "I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that."

But in an online video earlier this week, Jones repeatedly urges viewers not to watch the show, in which he plays an only child growing up amid male adult antics in a Malibu beachfront house.

"I'm on 'Two and a Half Men,' and I don't want to be on it," he said. "You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can't. I'm not OK with what I'm learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show. You go all or nothing."

Jones also references "the enemy's" deception, an apparent allusion to the devil, and asserts "There's no playing around when it comes to eternity."

Seventh-day Adventist

In June, Jones joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Protestant faith with 1.1 million members in North America. The church says it's not involved with Jones' online testimonials nor with video host Christopher Hudson of the Forerunner Chronicles, whose website emphasizes Judgment Day and the Bible's Book of Revelation. Hudson couldn't be reached for comment.

It's too early to discern what impact Jones' testimonial will have on the sitcom and his career. Jones won't appear in the two remaining episodes now being taped before the holiday break, sources close to production told CNN. His absence was scripted well before the videos' release Monday, the sources said.

Almost two years ago, "Two and a Half Men" was embroiled in another controversy centered on a prominent cast member: Charlie Sheen, who was fired after public rants that included invectives against producer Chuck Lorre.

Wolpe wonders if Jones went too far.

"Interestingly, that show plays on exactly the kind of immaturity he plays on," Wolpe said. "The show itself has an adolescent, prurient sense of humor.

"This show is deeply kind of misogynistic and very male - it's like a fraternity in there with a revolving door of women," he said. "So it's not surprising that he expresses dissatisfaction and estrangement from the show in a way that was equally immature.

"I don't know if he can recover from this or not," Wolpe added.

Jones' passion reflects how ethics vary among the faithful.

"You have to keep in mind that it really means different things to different people," said Diana Cates, a University of Iowa professor of religious ethics. "Even within a given religious tradition, there's so much diversity. There are people on the edges who identify with one tradition or blend traditions."

Frequently, a conversion or awakening such as Jones' renounces the past.

"In terms of radical conversion experiences, the life that one has immediately, previously led is often denied or criticized severely," said Joseph Price, a professor of religious studies at Whittier College in California. "The life itself is not denied - but the lifestyle is," he added. "It often results from a crisis of conscience or a perceived revelation of some kind."

Price likened actors to athletes and recalled how baseball player Billy Sunday was a "rabble rouser and carouser" around the turn of the 20th century. Then, after a religious experience, Sunday quit baseball and became a preacher who fought to make alcoholic beverages illegal, he said.

"When persons find authenticity in a lifestyle that embraces the good, it often prompts them to make shifts in their own lives in profound ways," Price said. "If that's the case here, we'll be able to see how it affects the long run of his nonacting life and his presence in the series and in television itself."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • TV • Work

soundoff (1,088 Responses)
  1. SDA.and.Proud

    just food for thought... if you were to wager what would make more sense and would be safest to believe in, what would you believe? Believe that there is a God or believe there is no God? it would be safer to place your "bet" that there is a God because what do you gain if you are right and there isnt a God? you die and become worm food and 100 years from that no one will remember who in the world you were. But if there is a God and you placed your bets wrong, you loose everything. Just as if you pick to believe in God and your wrong you loose nothing. think about it. what is a better choice?

    November 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Pacal's Wager. Look it up.

      Don't you think God could tell if you only 'believed' just in case?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • SDA.and.Proud

      thats exactly where i got my statement dude. and yeah your right He can tell, but thats not the point im getting at, its illogical and to no human gain to believe there is no God,

      November 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SDA

      And what if you chose the wrong christian denomination? What if Hindu's are right? Pascal's Wager only deals with a False Dichotomy, and is a fairly pathetic attempt to scare people into believing.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Isn't pretending to believe a sham? I'm going with bearing false witness here.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Akira

      Is that what you think God wants in his followers?
      Somebody hedging their bets?
      Atheists do not believe in God, so they don't believe in the afterlife anyway...and accept their choice.
      That a absurd argument for a belief system.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  2. Satanluv

    he should call Kurt Cameron and see how his career is doing

    November 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  3. jross

    Wow. In what other industry can you badmouth your employer publicly, actually encourage people to quit using the product or service, go so far as to say you don't want to work there, and not get fired. Lucky boy. Lucky rich boy.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  4. Matt

    People on here who defend the belief in faith, stop. Many here have lost it and will not be saved bye people who have it telling them they are wrong. They just don't see how anything can be more powerful than their concious perception of the world...they'll learn one way or the other, i just hope they come to an autonomous realization....

    November 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • joe

      You're wrong.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Yeah I came to an "autonomous realization" ..god is a bunch of silly nonsense that only a person who thinks like a child would/could believe in...autonomous realization..give me a break

      November 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • sybaris

      No, what we have "learned" through experience with religion and the worship of a god and a good measure of critical thinking is that it's all bunk.

      If you had been born and raised in central america some 1000 years ago you'd be worshiping quezoacotl.

      Your faith and the god you worship is nothing more than chance.

      grow up, stop believing in fairy tales and invisible sky daddies.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  5. Nietodarwin

    Murder of women and mutilation of a male penis not enough. How about MURDER OF CHILDREN... AND WAR, (from old testament AND good old JESUS. 11How should you feel when you dash "little ones" against the stones
    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (Psalm 137:8-9)
    (No direct quotes here, but I"m SURE you have a bible for this, and I'll quote chapter and verse just like "you people" do.....
    What did Jesus say about peace? "Don't think that I came for peace on earth. I came to start wars." (Matthew 10:34) (Luke 12:49-51)

    November 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • SDA.and.Proud

      you have no idea how to read a Bible do you. You have to put everything in context. Its like when Jesus was talking about the rich young ruler and said that its easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. You have to take things deeper. Ever wondered why those people were put to death? ever wonder why God ordered Israel to go to war? read on and it will say it. and for your statement that God delights in people dying, you could not be more wrong. If that were the truth, He wouldnt have come down and died for you and all those people that died in the old testament. God wishes that no one should perish but ALL go to heaven. And that mate is in the Bible. I respect your beliefs and all but next time your going to use the Bible to talk bad about a religion, you may wanna do more homework and really see what it says

      November 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  6. hey

    I'd rather know more about that morsel that is sitting next to him in the picture.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • jross

      Heck, that's easy. Google Miley Cyrus.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  7. Roscoe Chait

    He's just a kid trying to find meaning in his life. I mean, didn't you? Didn't you earn $350,000 per week and work only about 20 weeks out of a year?

    November 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  8. Mason

    I think he may mean that it is immorally NOT FUNNY with that ridiculous heart throb who took over. Abs can't make up for brains.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  9. B1981

    If values are what he is looking for maybe he should stop "acting" like a solider and actually becomes one. If you want values stop complaining about it and go get some!

    November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  10. Pingpaul

    There is a period where "true believers" wants to force their ideas on others. Then there are the ones who recall that they did not receive a badge at their baptism. They have no mandate to enforce their beliefs. The mandate is to go into all the world and teach the gospel. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  11. vinster76

    so many of you commenting on why belief in God is stupid. I confess to feelings of pity for your ignorance, albeit intentional ignagaorance. Some of you critique the Bible as myth – here is my challenge to you pseudo-intellectuals. Pick out one, just one item in the Bible and prove it wrong – I dont want your opinion on it, I want proof of its fallibility!!!! You hypocrites love to kick believers in a Deity around, good for you. You have found out something the rest of the 95% of the people on earth who do believe in a deity, seriously envy – the truth! So then, thrall me with your high-powered reason and tell me the errors in the bible – again, I dont want your opinion, or the opinion of some atheist professor who is irrelevant – I want proof!!!! Any takers???

    November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Slavery is no longer acceptable. DONE.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It is your claim to prove since you claim it to be true without evidence. I can give you infinite creations from my imagination for you to PROVE false and you can't. The object for anyone is to prove their claims are true. Atheists do not claim "there is/are no God(s)", we simply have no reason to believe they exist & probability puts that existence at infinitely unlikely.

      My asignment to you (since you're giving out homework) is to study the historical "facts" of all religions around the world since the beginning of religion and tell us why yours is THE correct one.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
      Mark Twain
      In dollars (shekels), how much is a woman worth?
      Half a male. Leviticus 27:1-7)
      What personal sacrifice for "the kingdom of heaven" was Jesus talking about when he told his disciples, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it"? CASTRATE YOUSELF. (Matthew 19:11-12) (No thanks, the BIBLE IS EVIL)

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Mason

      I believe in God, but there are many many things that are wrong in the Bible. An eye for an eye is one. There are also many things that are out of date–in Samuel, it states that in the case of an unsolved murder in a town, the people should sacrifice so and so many goats and chickens to resolve the problem. That is the wrong way to handle an unsolved murder, thus it is wrong, and it is in the Bible. God created atheists, and by God, they are going to heaven. Those who judge God's work harshly, like by judging Atheists, may not be going to heaven.
      In Matt , Jesus states that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. AND NO THERE IS NO PASSAGEWAY CALLED THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE LEADING INTO ANY CITY MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Here ya go vinster76 this one is responsible for the MURDER OF MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF WOMEN OVER CENTURIES
      Your whole book is an INSTRUCTION MANUAL FOR CHILD ABUSE, ABUSE OF WOMEN, AND M U R D E R .
      6What does the bible say about witches? Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." (Exodus 22:18) (More murder in (Leviticus 20:27))

      November 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • chuck

      Do you really believe that Jonah lived in a whale, or Noah actually housed polar bears and penguins among other animals on that small boat?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Ithinkyouratroll

      Do you really believe one man and his immediate family had the capability to built a boat large enough to accommodate two of each animal on the planet along with the provisions for not just forty days but for the months and years it would take vegetation to recover enough to support them?

      How much did you say you paid for that bridge in New York?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • sos

      Sure. Eve was born out of Adams rib .. hahahahaha .. What a bunch of crap!!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • sos

      ooo .. ooo. another one .. virgins giving birth to children.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • tony

      Simple proof: "god" had to hide the Israelites from the Egyptian soldiers with a dust cloud, the night before he parted the red sea and drowned the soldiers. So "god" had no powers to kill them the first day???

      November 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • vinster76

      I asked those of you who do not believe to find an event in the bible and prove it did not exist....know how many I got? wait for it--- that's right, none! I got a bunch of comments about polar bears on a boat and a man in the belly of a big fish – but not one person could prove ANY event depicted in the bible did not happen. I did get one fool who told me I could not prove my belief in a god – yet he offerred me NO proof there is NO God.......so what is going on here? You cant prove there is a god, and I can offer the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.......in the beginning of his ministry noone believed in Him but the few that hung around with him......he is killed for "blaspheming", among other charges.......His followers scatter.....Yet a strange thing occurs......those same cowards become roaring lions out to tell the world what they saw with their own eyes, and they changed the world..........Prove that did not happen – can you explain with your logic and reason why the cowards became lions and were martyred for it???? What did they see that could account for the life-changing behavior of those men? Try this....Saul, the persecutor and murderer of those very same early christians ends up becoming the greatest evangelist for the church of Christ in it's 2000 year history........He died for that very same Christ.......It is history........it was recorded by secular historians of that day...........How do you account for the actions of Saul who became Paul of the church, and for the actions of his disciples.......?????? Tell me how do you account for this?????/

      November 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  12. GAW

    Perhaps he's off to become another type of actor?

    November 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Angus's Mother

      That's just plain gross!!!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • oh god Oh God OH GOD ....

      I hear God p-rn fetches top dollar these days.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  13. GAW

    Of course Fundamentalists need celebrities in order to voice their cause. It gives them incentive to reach and gain more converts. I bet ya Jones is not out of a job yet (Depending on his contract and the executives) He can still make thousands off the faithful as he does speaking engagements nationwide.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  14. dowdotica

    should have kept his mouth shut. I'd sure like a spot on a show making p!ss loads of money and working against my ethic. heck i do that every day i just don't make the dough!lol And hwo 'bout that lindsey lohan twit! Got to love those holly weirdos!!!hyuk,hyuk.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  15. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    If I professed an unwavering devotion to Bugs Bunny® or Batman®, everyone would view me as mentally ill. Those who believe in gods (whatever god(s) they believe in) are no different.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • GAW

      Blar de blar

      November 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      That is OFFENSIVE to me, Bugs Bunny is funny, witty, and MUCH MORE REAL than god. (Plus he helped win WWII)

      November 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  16. Ron Stinson

    Without our creator and his son in the equation -why feign goodness or morals , why get married , why generosity , try as you will to rationalize your reasons for pursuing these qualities there's no compelling reason to even maintain order without recognizing our dependence on god. You have a better idea that will give real hope for an end to suffering together with a hope of unending life in paradise on earth let's hear it. If man or his governments could have solved our countless crisis they should of been able to do it by now !

    November 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Stop trying to project your lack of character on everyone else, you delusional believer.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • GAW

      With or without religion man will still good and evil. To believe otherwise is delusional.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • treis13

      In this country we have the freedom to believe or not believe in what we choose. We also have the freedom to Not be oppressed by another's beliefs. To quote your "how to be a good human" manual, aka, the bible: Judge not lest ye be judged"

      November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      If God(s) could have solved our countless crisis they should have been able to do it by now!

      But to answer your first question ... survival. It's our basic instinct and accounts for everything you've listed, except of course for the, If you just believe I'll give you candy, promise of heaven.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • chuck

      My creator was my mother and father.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  17. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    The hard question is really, "would I believe this nonsense if I had not been indoctrinated?".

    November 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      That really is the hard question!

      November 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Ih horses had gods, their gods would be the Flying Horses of the Apocalypse!

      November 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • jf

      If he found his "salvation" at 19, that is not indoctrination. He went looking for it.. as ill guided as it may be.. Most likely because he felt his life was turning upside down. He does what a lot of people do. Turn to God for that sense of relief that only imaginary friends can give. The truth is a lot harsher for many people to accept.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      jf .. I believe JJJB's question is a valid one for ALL of us, not just Angus. We have all been indoctrinated to a degree just from life in a global community ... friends, family, TV, radio, internet .. etc. We have no idea what it's like NOT to know about religion & we've all been indoctrinated to think it's OK or even normal. The hard part is separating ourselves from it to make a truly individual unbiased decision.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  18. Nietodarwin

    Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.
    Voltaire (Nice atheist quote, but I'm saying "absurd" amount of money, "atrocity" against the producer.)

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. (Another good atheist quote but will this be Angus, after he gets fired.?)
    Unknown

    November 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  19. igoryok

    SO nice of him to find trade one morally deficient thought for another of similar moral detriment. I suppose he will also give to charity all the millions he has earned off that filthy show? What's that? He isn't because being morally consistent and principled is much harder than being a religious hypocrite? Shocking.

    Fortunately I managed to acoid that show before his epiphany and will continue to so after. IIt would have been too hard to watch that terrible show and on top of it see a young boy transform from being full of potential (even if in filthy business) into a brainwashed purveyor of the only truth. Maybe TV does have a bad effect on people after all.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.
    Woody Allen

    November 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • vinster76

      wow – people actually use a Woody Allen quote to help explain the meaning of life........here is a better suggestion for you – Larry, Moe, and Curly

      November 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Matt

      hahahaha, love it. Amazing people pull out a quote and feel it means something.

      if god exists, i hope he has a good excuse.....what does that mean? good excuse for existing? good excuse for our existence.....just doesn't make sense.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      It means.....If "god " exists, I hope he has a good excuse" BECAUSE GOD IS AN A$$OLE Are you all that dim?

      November 29, 2012 at 8:26 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.