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My Take: Let's protect religious counselors amid 'conversion therapy' debate
December 11th, 2012
02:35 PM ET

My Take: Let's protect religious counselors amid 'conversion therapy' debate

Editor's note: Gabe Lyons is author of "The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World" and founder of the Q, a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society.

By Gabe Lyons, Special to CNN

(CNN)–Can gay people become straight? Is human sexuality modifiable? Are we really still discussing this?

Yes, according to U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb, who ruled last week that three licensed psychotherapists have the right to practice therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientations of gay and lesbian minors.

In a culturally counterintuitive move, he ruled that First Amendment rights of mental health professionals who engage in "reparative" or "conversion" therapy outweigh concern that the practice poses a danger to their clients. This ruling, albeit temporary, adds a new plank to the debate over gay rights, traditional American liberties and what constitutes good therapy.

At the heart of the controversy over sexual behavior modification is the idea that same-sex attraction is not a permanent and inborn condition but rather an aberration that's often rooted in childhood trauma. As Erik Eckholm of The New York Times writes, “Homosexuality is caused, (conversion) therapists say, by a stifling of normal masculine development, often by distant fathers and overbearing mothers or by early sexual abuse.”

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Today, of course, providers of this persuasion tend to be outcast into the wilderness of the discredited. Most agree that those who once practiced masturbatory reconditioning and genital shock therapy have no place in modern psychology and psychiatry.

But what the Shubb ruling tried to do is carve out space for the non-crazies, the still controversial but credible practitioners who want to help patients who desire to do so to understand the nature of their sexual identity and expression within a larger religious framework. It's a framework that, in its fullest conception, contains psychological appreciation that is at once deeper, more supple and more holistic than the reductive sexual identity assumptions that anchor mere sexual therapy, be it one of conversion or acceptance. If a client asks for help, why would we tie the hands of a professional counselor to provide whatever help they can?

Therapists from this tradition accept that same-sex attraction is not merely a flip-the-switch choice but rather an individual-specific, complex issue that must acknowledge the mysterious interplay between nature and nurture. Because their faith dictates that adherents strive toward a particular sexual ethic - one that confines sexual relations to those between a husband and wife and requires celibacy in all other circumstances - they seek to help patients manage sexual impulses through “cognitive behavioral change.”

Few of these therapists promise that gay and lesbian patients will emerge from their programs “straight.” Rather, they seek to provide guidance, counsel and tools to help reframe desire, its nature and its ends. Such therapy exists to help clients understand the place of their sexuality in the broader conception of who they are.

For example, some Christian therapists might help a client who believes that they are made in the image of God explore what role sexuality ought to play in understanding their full identity: Is it everything, nothing or a piece of the greater whole? These conversations may lead a client to decide how dominant of a role sexual desire will play in their life. Others might counsel a client to abstain entirely from sexual relations. But in doing so, the therapist would seek to help the client find fulfillment, identity and purpose outside of romantic or sexual relationships. There is a long tradition of Christians - from priests to nuns to laypeople - who have chosen celibacy as a higher calling toward spiritual fulfillment.

Whether you like conversion therapy - or these particular outcomes - isn’t the point. Protecting the religious rights of providers who help patients make sense of their sexuality in light of faith is fundamental. And these rights are under attack. Just last week, four gay men filed a civil suit in New Jersey against a prominent counseling group who provided a form of conversion therapy, charging it with deceptive practices under the state's Consumer Fraud Act. If other states follow California's initial ruling, restrictions on religious-based therapy could become the norm.

Gay activists deplore the existence of such options, claiming that it shames patients and represses their natural desires. Yet proponents of civil liberties support it, believing the greater threat is limiting a client's right or the religious therapist’s ability to administer sound judgment in full integrity as she helps her client achieve his/her goals.

Conflicts like this are likely to keep the debate hot and fractured. Here are three big reasons the LGBTQ community may continue to oppose the rights of clients and religious-based therapists and why the religious community must persevere:

Allowing “conversion” therapy to go forward acknowledges that change is possible.

The roots of sexual attraction are hotly debated in both the scientific and psychiatric communities. No one has discovered a “gay gene,” and neither has anyone proved that same-sex attraction can be credited solely to nature and not also nurture. Research and opinions on the matter are evolving.

Credible therapists do not claim that sexual-orientation change therapy turns people into ex-gay, happily married heterosexuals. Although some who participate in this type of therapy do not experience the full transformation they hoped for, others claim conversion therapy helped them achieve the results they sought.

Dr. Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association, stated, “In my twenty years at Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization, 67 percent of the homosexuals who sought help from therapists for issues such as ‘the transient nature of relationships, disgust or guilt feelings about promiscuity, fear of disease, (and) a wish to have a traditional family’ experienced various levels of success obtaining their goals.

“In some cases … individuals who initiated therapy not seeking to change their sexual orientation, actually did so through the process of working through other psychological issues,” he said.

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Everyone possesses attributes we’d like to change: behaviors, character qualities, temptation patterns. Therapy, of all kinds, can help us stare those down and create the life we desire to live. Some may learn to accept these attributes and even embrace their greater purpose, while others seek to minimize or eliminate that characteristic.

If someone is distressed over his or her sexuality, they deserve the opportunity to explore the distress in a safe, well-resourced space. It is up to the individual and the therapist to gauge how that process will best happen.

If altering sexual orientation is possible, the “born this way” ideology has to face a trickier reality.

Acceptance of sexual behavior modification presents a difficult challenge to the gay movement. Much of the ideology surrounding the civil rights defense is built on the premise that sexuality is inextricably tied to identity, just as a person’s race, gender or country of origin is. Thus, because sexuality is assumed to be an inborn trait, it requires civil rights protection. Anything else would be unjust.

To suggest that sexual orientation may be intertwined with nurture, trauma, experience or desire is to complicate the victories the LGBTQ community has won using this civil rights argument. But to ignore these mysteries not only undignifies that community, it limits another constitutionally protected class: the religious.

So we must learn to make room for both religious freedom and personal choice. The LGBTQ community can still fight for the rights it desires while conceding that not every person with same-sex attraction is at peace with their sexuality.

It may not agree with the ways an individual may seek to resolve those tensions, but the gay rights movement must respect individuals’ decisions to pursue their own paths.

In the same way, religious leaders who oppose gay rights must accept that gay Americans are afforded the same religious liberty protections. Human sexuality is a complicated spiritual, psychological and physical issue. Everyone — gay or straight — as minors or adults, deserves the right to wrestle with their sexuality in the manner most appropriate to their needs. Saying so shouldn’t become an impediment to civil rights.

Limiting choice for anyone seeking personal change restricts a fundamental human right.
Any person seeking change — whether behavioral, relational, physical, sexual or emotional — has a fundamental right to pursue it. This must remain a basic freedom for both a licensed therapist and her client to explore all possible options in the privacy and confidentiality of their relationship.

We all have friends or family members who have experienced sexual or psychological childhood trauma. This is a reality for both gay and straight individuals, and such trauma often shapes one’s view of life and the world. While not every individual or family would choose to pursue therapy that is open to the idea of questioning the innate good of one’s sexual impulses, it is a valid avenue to help adults, teenagers and families seek understanding, gain clarity and take action to live in alignment with their values.

In the same way that this therapy should not be forced on anyone, it should also not be forcibly removed. Doing so goes against our Declaration’s insistence on every American’s right to “the pursuit of happiness” and a parent’s right to help his/her child.

Any debate touching on issues of sexuality is complicated, emotional and intensely personal. But each one presents an opportunity for each of us to wrestle with how best to live alongside one another, despite deep differences. Instead of treating these debates as zero-sum games where the winner takes all, we should fight to protect the rights and opportunities for each citizen to seek out truth and wholeness. Because if that freedom goes, so do the rest.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gabe Lyons.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    It is interesting that 'pray away the gay' centers are often staffed with 'converted' gay men. I understand the 'zeal of the convert' and I am sure that they feel they can credibly relate that a 'cure' is possible.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/04/us/california-gay-therapy-ban/index.html

    U.S. District Judge William Shubb ruled Monday that the ban Gov. Jerry Brown signed earlier this year could offend the First Amendment rights of therapists to express their opinions about hömosëxuality. Three plaintiffs filed the suit, arguing that the ban was unconstïtutional.

    The plaintiffs are a licensed marriage and family therapist who is also an ordained minister; a medical doctor and board-certified psychiatrist who works with people over 16 years old; and a man who was sëxually attracted to other men but who wanted to practice conversion therapy to "help" men like him.
    ...
    David Pickup, a spokesman for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Hömosëxuality, believes conversion therapy is valid and should be used.

    "We do competent therapy, therapy that truly works," he told CNN in October, adding that he'd undergone the treatment himself and was treating others.

    I remain skeptical.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_International

    Michael Bussee, one of the founders of Exodus and Gary Cooper, a leader within the ministry of Exodus, left the group to be with each other in 1979. In time, they divorced their wives and participated in a commitment ceremony in 1982, exchanging rings and vows. Bussee and Cooper lived together until Cooper's death from AIDS-related illness in 1991.

    Odd behavior for people who can 'cure' orientation.

    December 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The weirdest part is the couples that are arranged by some of these groups, where a lesbian and gay man are introduced and get married and sometimes even have kids. I've met two such couples experience, and while they weren't miserable and obviously were bound by a shared (if very weird) experience, they were in absolutely no way normal hete'rose'xual couples. I don't want to put down anyone's family life and these people had shared experiences and a deep friendship, but to claim it was anything more than that is just not true. These folks were molded and had agreed to conform, but they weren't converted.

      December 12, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  2. Apple Bush

    I dreamed about the end of the world last night. Not unusual for me, but this one was very interesting to me. Books were targeted by the nothingness. During a festival of music and fun, three destinies that were juxtaposed realized the perfect storm and caused the end of the world. But there was a leak, and by re-calibrating our watches, we saved ourselves just as despair was about to claim me. God seems to work in multiple dimensions and without bias. At least according to my dream.

    December 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Did you eat some spi cy chili before you went to bed?

      December 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira, my dreams are killer.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Akira

      And I thought *mine* were epic!

      December 11, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  3. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    In this piece Mr. Lyons essentially posits that a psychological therapist should be allowed to treat someone who is unhappy with feelings they have – in this case feelings of orientation – when they contradict a set of strongly held beliefs.

    OK, there is nothing wrong with that – for an adult. An adult that wants to work through issues they may have with the conflict between a belief system and their own personal feelings regarding orientation is just fine – so long as that therapist is competent.

    Competence is not exactly the perception I have formed regarding 'pray away the gay' centers.

    Firstly I question the notion that 'pray away the gay' centers are staffed by qualified psychologists.
    Secondly, I think the bigger question pertains to minors.

    Yes, parents have the right (and the responsibility) to help their minor children who are struggling with ident!ty issues. While an adult has the right to determine the best course of action for themselves, what rights do minors have and who can protect them?

    The question here is whether these 'pray away the gay' centers harm more than help. This is compounded by the image of quackery and charlatanerie that these establishments engender. I don't see a compelling case that they should be protected only to damage young people who are struggling with issues around who they are and who they feel that they are supposed to be.

    December 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  4. TheVocalAtheist

    People struggling with se*xual ident*ty are struggling because of what society has told them. They have been told they are freaks of nature, they are sinners, they are just downright filthy heathens, they are not normal, there's something terribly wrong with them and God hates them. Society is broken not the people who were born differently. We are the wrong ones in creating and demoralizing a segment of our species.
    The only therapy these people need is acceptance and understanding. Understanding that the only difference between them and you is a se*xual preference. What is the big deal about that? You know why? Because of some made-up BS morality brought-on through fear and ignorance and a belief in an unproven, unseen deity. What really got me in this article is the "Christian therapy" thingy. Wow! Talk about going down the wrong path for help. Let's get real first and then help. You cannot help anyone if you yourself are delusional and yes, a fraud. Fraud you say? Yes, absolutely 100%

    December 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Yup, and if people would just mind there own bidness we woudl be fine. Christians are so pre-occupied with sex they can't stand it. Hey Christians, live a little and enjoy life. Mind your own business and so will we, okay? If we see you at the bar, we won't tell!

      December 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      TheVocalAtheist,

      Which is more natural? Male to female? Male to male? Female to female? The apple crates are awash with many a delicious varieties but not one is any different than the other one. Only in other crated culminations are found other varieties culminated differences. The journals are wrote and the juries are still out.

      The unnatural attributes will win over the more natural commodities giving Pandora's Box an opening up of and can no longer be righteously shut! Live one's life appropriately and without societal masquerades and for Christ's sakes try to never ever wantonly influence others toward living as one does in unfavorable conditioning mannerism for God's sakes!

      December 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lionlylamb Translator:

      I do not understand the impulses and needs of the human mind, but I am willing to guess and say it is true.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      lionlylamb is just some poor old guy that let alcohol ruin his life and then he found God. It is hard to discern, however, which damaged his brain, the alcohol or God. I would bet its God.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • sam stone

      lionlylamb: how do you define "more natural"?

      December 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      lionlylamb is a (former) drunk? well, looks like he found a more satisfying drug.....jeebus

      December 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    My Take: Let's protect religious counselors amid 'conversion therapy' debate
    translation:
    My Take: Let's protect the christian monsters that are torturing young g.ays

    December 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Leo

      Booty, How many "Christian Monsters" have you really met in your life? Come on man you act as though you have been beaten and abused. Is that really the case or do you just hate them for what they believe?

      December 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Akira

      I have personally known a family that put their 10 yo through 'conversion therapy' because he wasn't athletic enough, and they thought he was gay.
      I have personally known another family who threw out their 15 yo daughter because she came out.
      I have personally known another family who beat the living sh!t out of their 16 yo son because he came out.
      You want more?
      Another family forced their daughter to wear the skirts of their faith, and beat her constantly because she didn't want to, and after telling her family that, at 15, was old enough to make her own choices on whether to attend church and youth group.
      Another kid at my kid's school committed suicide because of bullying the "good Christians" put him through.
      These are just who I personally know of...yeah, these Christians are monsters in every bloody sense of the word.
      Don't *ever* doubt that these "people" aren't out there...they are.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      My Take: Let's protect the believers because we know god hates gays
      *wink* *wink*

      December 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Leo, some of us have life experience. Our opinions are based on reality.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    Only an abomination and that is all LBGT is. Deer hunting is in my eyes an abomination but nevertheless it continues on just as the gays will never die out yet remain an abomination in godly felt eyes. Society makes room for the abominable creeds and societies will reap said creeds justices.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • End Religion

      Tell us how you feel about Jews as well, please.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      In all socialisms are many factions meanderings. Whose society is any better than another? Are not creeds any more better than another creed? The so marked equations of solemn equalities will ever bear the abominable issues of race and creeds alike.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Akira

      You speak with a forked tongue.
      You SAID the other day you didn't care if people were gay, ll.
      Now, suddenly, when it gives you a chance to write more gobblyjunk, you do.
      Hypocrite.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Akira,

      My stance remains unfettered and though I write about the abominations it is within the eyes of the god fearing where the abominable deeds are made. I care not any less or the more about this world's constellations within social credence parlors of lack lustered debonair virtuosities. One day I find myself for and the next day against. Catch me on a pleasant day and I will approve but catch me on a bad day and,,, ? Today is a good day to be me. And you Akira? Is today a good day for you?

      December 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lionlylamb Translation:

      I am a stupid old fuck.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Akira

      You change your mind a lot, depending on the way the winds blow, is that it?
      All right.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Akira,

      If I can change my mind then cannot others change theirs or are their options set in stone deep within their brain-yards of fallibility in treasured troves of wanton s a v a g e r I e s so left over as being morsels to feed others with?

      ("H I t c h h I k e r s Guide to the Galaxy")

      December 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lionlylamb Translation:

      I am showing my true colors.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Akira

      When you change it on a daily basis, depending on whether it's a "good day" or a "bad day", it looks as if you are dependent on whatever is popular at that moment, and have no real opinion of your own.
      Being swayed, over time is one thing, but daily?
      Meh.
      What is it YOU said about straddling picket fences?

      December 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      godly felt eyes? how incredibly fvcking pompous.

      petty vindictive punks find comfort in a petty vindictive punk god. it comforts them. lionlylamb is yet another example of this vermin

      December 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • sam stone

      lionlylamb: your empty proxy threats are amusing. if it makes you feel all godly, have at it. it just makes you look (more) like a moron. get back on your knees and beg, punk

      December 12, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  7. lol??

    Bubba in the Big House wants your hubby for a wifey, shrink approved. Socies win!!

    December 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sorry lol, but what is "Socies" ?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • lol??

      ": a transitory ecological society of a developmental community : a seral community comparable to a society"

      December 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Never heard that term.

      Interesting analogy though!

      December 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  8. Moby Schtick

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

    December 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  9. Too many Christians, not enough lions

    Snake oil like "conversion therapy" should already be in the ashbin of history.

    December 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      Can you imagine having that on one's resumé and not even realizing what an embarrassment it is?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  10. Billy D

    I believe in freedom. Obviously most on here do not. People should be free to be who they are and also free to change themselves. Freedom is not a one way road with only those you agree with.

    December 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      As far as I know there is no evidence to support conversion therapy. I know for example the supplement industry make generally unsubstantiated claims but conversion therapy seems a whole more potentially damaging than a few unnecessary minerals and vitamins. I think it's a whole diffferent level of deception. Do you feel that loan originators have the right to sell loans that they know are toxic? Would that apply if you were a victim of said practice?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Billy D

      There isn't a lot of evidence to do many things in this world. Then there is contradictory evidence for almost EVERYTHING. There isn't a lot of evidence for acupuncture to make you healthier, There isn't a lot of evidence that moisturizer makes you look younger, or certain shoes make you run faster, ETC ETC. The point is, whether you agree with it or not, there should be freedom. Especially when you are talking about a personal choice someone makes where they are not inflicting harm upon another. If someone wants to be gay, there is freedom. If they decided they want to try to change, that's for them to decide. Not anyone else. I don't think people should take out a payday loan, but if you need 600 bucks in 10 minutes and can't get money from a bank, who am I to stop you?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • chubby rain

      "...have the right to practice therapy that attempts to change the se-xual orientations of ga-y and lesbian minors."

      The keyword in that sentence is "minors". I haven't been keeping up in this debate but from this article, it seems that what's at stake isn't the right of adults to chose to undergo conversion therapy, but the right of parents to have sole control over their child's healthcare. And in this area (think alternative medicine vs mainstream cancer treatment), the precedent is that certain critical medical decisions maybe made by an accredited doctor. If there is enough evidence that conversion therapy can be harmful to a minor's mental health and insufficient evidence that it is beneficial, then it should not be allowed.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The issue is really when we're talking about minors, or about people who've been so sheltered they really don't understand the hard research out there that doesn't support this stuff.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  11. Theodoric of York, Medieval Conversion Thera.pist

    First, I shall bleed him, then I shall apply the leeches, then I shall give him conversion therapy, then I shall flay the gayness demons out of him. Then more bleeding and leeches, just to be sure.

    Trust me: I know what I am doing.

    Wait a minute. Perhaps I've been wrong to blindly follow the medical traditions and superstitions of past centuries. Maybe we barbers should test these assumptions analytically, through experimentation and a "scientific method". Maybe this scientific method could be extended to other fields of learning: the natural sciences, art, architecture, navigation. Perhaps I could lead the way to a new age, an age of rebirth, a Renaissance!...Naaaaaahhh!"

    December 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Sam

      Thou speakest like a fascist hypocrite.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  12. kindness

    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

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "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.

    Truth is..exclusive

    December 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Alvin

      A chad by any other name is still as stupid.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • fred

      Thanks for that wonderful testimony!
      The view from truth and the view from the world’s perspective remain in stark contrast. I was saved by a miracle a few years back and you are right as to the difficulty of attempting to explain the contrast. With all that God has done for me I still stumble and find how easily the dark cloud of the way of the world can obscure the truth. When my vision starts to cloud up this verse in Philippians is out of focus:
      8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  13. Portland tony

    Since the fields of medicine, psychology or psychiatry do not recognized "gayness" as a physical or mental condition/abnormality, who certifies these councilors and where do they obtain their accreditation? I'd hate to guess!

    December 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  14. JWT

    Quite a few people on here say it. Including those that say being gay is a sin.

    December 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Observer

      JWT,

      Working on the sabbath is a sin. Having a tattoo is a sin.

      Ever hear Christian HYPOCRITES making an issue of them?

      lol.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  15. Chad

    @Chad- I contend we are both conservatives, I just believe that one fewer societal behavior is proper than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible societal behaviors as being legitimate , you will understand why I dismiss your pet one(same sex marriage).

    @Chad- I just live with one more delusion than you do. When you understand how you recovered from all of your delusions, you will fail to understand why I have not recovered from mine.

    December 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • End Religion

      How's that lithium holding up?

      December 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  16. Akira

    What I think is all religious types are WAY too interested in the s e x lives of others, and always have been.
    There is nothing wrong with being gay; it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

    December 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira exactly.

      Gay, abortion, tea or coffee, whatever. Mind your own business and it is not an issue.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Akira & Apple Bush: two problems with your position...

      1) you say it's private ("mind your own business") but you want it publicly affirmed. You can't have it both ways.
      are you a radical individualist or do you want community affirmation?

      2) the entire discussion is to the ethical legitimacy of ho.mo.se.xuality.
      no amount of scientific studies can determine "good" or "evil."
      that is a metaphysical, presuppositional question – or to put it bluntly: faith-based.

      SO...
      it's "none of my business" but you want to make sure I & the rest of society accept it?
      and evidently it's wrong for me to impose my beliefs on you, but you should be free to proselytize?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Akira

      The problem with your position is that you want to deny a segment of society equal rights because of who they sleep with, based on your religion.

      Would you feel the same way if your religion was outlawed?
      I do not care if one believes in God or not; but when you deny equal rights, and indeed, try to legislate your belief into law, it IS my business.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Akira: you're missing my critique.
      where do you get the notion of "rights"? upon what basis do you make such a claim?
      it's entirely based on your metaphysical convictions... i.e., your *faith.*

      this is a faith-based disagreement. your rights are derived from your faith.
      it's not "equal rights" vs. faith, because your appeal to rights is based upon you *believe* you are enti.tled to.
      but that's the very subject of the conversation. you are presuming the debate is over in your argument.
      in other words, you are attempting to silence my faith's objection to your faith's conclusion about rights.

      you are assuming your conclusion in your argument.
      it's self-referential, and is preventing us from actually dealing with the substance of our disagreement...
      our differing faiths (or metaphysical presuppositions, if you prefer).

      December 12, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  17. hal 9001

    I'm sorry, "Atheist Hunter", but, for the month of December, you have already surpassed the maximum number of posts allowable that have less than a 5% truth value assigned to them. Please refrain from further posts until January, 2013. Thank you in advance, "Atheist Hunter".

    December 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  18. lionlylamb

    The aberrantly caustic natures of deviant s e x u a l s m s conjure up the sedentary dilemmas in contriteness disregards of man and woman relationships. Many are thusly leveraging upon social prosperities another stumbling blockage for societal uprightness issues. Dire commonly held belief systems of the commonalities wealth withholdings declaring civil liberties as becoming the accursed longevities in popularized cynical s e x I s t agendas wants and abrogates are meant to discombobulate societies generally inclusiveness framed originalities preferential wisdoms.

    December 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lionlylamb Translation:

      Being a male in America can be confusing these days.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B. gets a 'D',

      Your talking about gay males then? I in my "heteralist" nature could care less what mismatched folks find alluring to their emotionally dysfunctional predications. Live one's life however one sees it to so be!

      December 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Mr. Lamb, the translator has been calibrated and is working as designed. However, if you do not trust it, perhaps you should speak English so as not to be minunderstood?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    I really think we should all pitch in and get Atheist Hunter some therapy before he goes on a shooting spree! Psycho!

    December 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Akira

      There is something intrinsically wrong with a person who condemns a whole segment of society...who is really the "sinner"?

      December 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      When I was in middle school, I used to get bullied by a jock every day. He tortued me and even injured me. Turns out he was gay. He came out as an adult. Keep in mind this was in the bible belt during the early eighties. From what I have read, this acting out is common among latent homosexuals. Hmmm....Atheist Hunter do you have something to tell us?

      December 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Akira

      I have found that the biggest bullies are usually the ones who come out later.
      My theory is that their parents tried to "beat the gay out of them" and are paying it forward.
      Either that, or they suffer from bulge inequality and are compensating.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      LOL Akira, thanks for dusting that one off!

      December 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Akira

      ;)

      December 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      Did you know that there is a strong correlation between homophobia and arousal by homosexual imagery. Could it be that Atheist Hunter and most, if not all, of these homophobes are actually gay and just trying to hide that fact?

      Smart money says they are.

      See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014

      December 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      As long as the shooting spree involves only himself, I have no issue with it. In fact, I encourage it

      December 12, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  20. hey, look! Robert Brown/Atheist Hunter/chad/just sayin/pervert alert/herbert juarez/ etc etc etc etc is failing at trolling again!

    GET A LIFE, YOU FAIL!

    December 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
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About this blog

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