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July 25th, 2010
05:51 PM ET

Status report: Ted Haggard's new church

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2010/07/19/co.haggard.new.church.kusa%5D

Fallen evangelical leader Ted Haggard says the church he founded last month is quickly gaining new worshippers. KUSA reports.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Leaders • Scandal

soundoff (407 Responses)
  1. Nonimus

    brad,
    Human reason, while not perfect, has brought about every advancement in human history. What has religion brought?

    By you logic, whether atheist or not, no one can find God since no one can understand himself. Unless they make him up of course.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • Gary

      Nonimus, great point......religious people created God in their own image. when atheists,agnostics,and even some religous folks create something and use their brain they are being human and not religious. man needs to thank himself for good deeds and accomplishments

      July 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • brad

      Religion has brought many good things. Look at the art and architecture of the high middle ages. When the Roman empire collapsed, the learning of Greeks and Romans was preserved in the monasteries of Ireland away from the barbarians. Also, some works of great literature. If you will read some St. Augustine, you probably still won't be a believer, but you'll know you've been through some serious mental effort. Unfortunately, religion can be used to manipulate the masses for evil.
      And it is my belief that the Creator gave us a brain to discover Her creation.

      July 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      brad, I think you are confusing culture with religion, besides all of those great things you mentioned were done by man, not a deity.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • brad

      Put another way, religion may not have ACTIVELY accomplished as much as science , but it has most certainly inspired serious human thought about who (not what) humanity is.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
    • Luke

      brad – I don't think anyone is going to argue with that. But you do realize you have reduced religion down to its cultural advances, right? If that's the case, what's the point? So we can have pretty art? Sorry, I'll take a pass.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      brad, I agree 100% religion has always and probably always will inspire believers and non believers to consider the meaning (nature) of the human experience.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • brad

      @ JohnQuest: I've enjoyed this. Let's go have a beer. Anybody wanna join us?

      July 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • NL

      brad
      Everything you have listed was something done by the Catholic church. What has protestantism ever done, then?

      July 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  2. brad

    If God doesn't exist, I don't ever expect to find out. But I have some problems with the atheist stance:
    1) The atheist insists on the reliability of human reason. Experience shows that human reason if feeble.
    2) No person completely understands himSELF. Science may one day completely explain the body, but not the PERSON. If man cannot completely understand himself, then the atheist cannot find God because God is closer to the atheist than the atheist is to himself. If that's true, then God is like that irritating itch that one can't reach.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      brad, two things; First, I believe you exist you don't have to preform any tricks or have speacial powers or anything (except communication) you have to let us know you are or were here. And two, usually an itch is an indication that you have been poisoned (think an insect of some kind) or it is time to take a bath to remove all the pollutants off of you. I have never know an itch that was considered a good thing.

      July 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Luke

      brad – You think too much. Are you a follower of Ra? Thor? Zeus? Pan the Goat God? Athena? No? Congradualations, you're an atheist. I just go further, rejecting Yahweh. End of debate. Go home.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • NL

      1) The atheist insists on the reliability of human reason. Experience shows that human reason if feeble.

      Human reason may not be perfect, but it has proven to be the most successful means we have of understanding the universe. At least, developing a logical, universally accepted, understanding of the universe. All myth presents us with are thousands of competing explanations for natural phenomena with no way of judging which best approximates what is actually going on.

      2) No person completely understands himSELF. Science may one day completely explain the body, but not the PERSON. If man cannot completely understand himself, then the atheist cannot find God because God is closer to the atheist than the atheist is to himself. If that's true, then God is like that irritating itch that one can't reach.

      Why do you presume that science will never understand "the person?" Psychology and brain studies are progressing our knowledge of this area at a pretty steady rate too, you know? Besides, if we cannot understand ourselves, as you say, how do you know that your religious beliefs are not a delusion, eh? If the inner workings of our minds are so mysterious then anything that we think we know intuitively becomes suspect, correct?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:35 am |
  3. I.T.

    I have enjoyed reading this entire message board. Luke, I am impressed with your knowledge and scholarship, and I find it comforting that individuals like you are out there. It is also deeply amusing to find the comments section for a story about Ted Haggard to be dominated with articulate and thoughtful arguments against the existence of God. Wholly appropriate.
    These types of exchanges I have always found to be tedious, like trying having a spelling contest with a grizzly bear. Yet the intelligent secular participants of this conversation have remained above the fray, avoiding the temptation to sink into simple mockery and condescension (which I wish I could say for their religious opponents).
    One last thing… For the individuals out there for feel that putting an entire word is capital letters somehow drives home your point any more strongly, I am sorry to inform that you betray yourselves.

    July 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  4. Gary

    women are awesome. very emotional rational...mmmmmmmmmmm not too much all the time.

    July 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  5. DC Dunne

    ID is got to be the most moronic of oxymorons. So I don't believe science, but I advance a psuedo-scienftific theory (which is no theory at all), as proof of what I want to believe anyway. If you have faith, you don't need ID. If you need ID then you must believe in science. If you are going to believe in science you need to educate yourself in what the word "theory" means.

    July 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Luke

      DC Dunne – it's more than that. ID? Are you kidding? How can we be intelligently designed when our teeth do not fit in our jaws. Nearly all of us need extractions at age 20. Those of us with back pain know that we are not supposed to walk upright, instead are supposed to be dragging knuckles like our primate cousins to prevent the aging and painful effects of gravity on discs. I wear glasses too. My eyes are awful! Is it too much to ask for a separate breaking apparatus than were I eat? Think of all of the people that choked! And I'm not asking for too much. Marine mammals have a blow hole. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have one so millions of choke victims are spared? Great engineering, eh?

      July 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Ben

      I bet we're all waiting with bated breath to see the superior life form that Luke has created, since he clearly knows so much about it. I know I am. Either that or I could continue to sit back and take in more evidence that adam's race is, indeed, cursed.

      July 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Joseph MA

      In other words, unless there is imperfect things in the world, how would humans know what perfect means?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • NL

      Or, if you guys consider the universe, with all its many, many flaws, to be a perfect creation then would that mean that an imperfect universe would be without any flaws whatsoever?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • brad

      @ NL: I think that the reason that we recognize the material universe as being imperfect is because some part of us is outside the material world as we've defined it. Spirit maybe? If we were entirely emmersed in the material, we would be too close to it to see imperfection. (Okay. The rest of you can make the Unicorn and Zeus comments.)

      July 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • NL

      brad-
      I think that the reason that we recognize the material universe as being imperfect is because we can identify the imperfections because, as intelligent designers of many things, we can see where things could at least be improved. That's why ID is so completely illogical. Fiction writers can easily construct far more perfect worlds that this.

      July 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  6. NL

    Sure, God could have created this universe from an outside location, and this God could be completely undetectable, but if it can't be detected, measured, experimented with, or modelled then it doesn't belong in a science class, correct? So much for ID then.

    Then again, perhaps you just aren't giving science enough credit. Research has been done on alternate dimensions and the likelihood of there being a multi-verse. Perhaps one day we will be able to detect the source of the God idea, should one actually exist. We certainly are expanding human knowledge from what it was thousands of years ago. Back then, before science, when gods were the only explanation for the complexity of the world, there really wasn't an excuse for not being a theist. Now, however, there is every indication that we will continue to discover the unknown. You can call that having faith, but at least it is justifiable in a measurable sense.

    Next, is intuition always trustworthy? A child's intuition tells her that there are monsters under her bed, and she completely believes that there are, but do we trust her intuition enough to check under her bed with a loaded shotgun every night?

    July 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • Gary

      NL, Great point.....If there is a God he gave us brains. I would suppose he intended us to use them too.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • brad

      The child's "intuition" about monsters under her bed are really irrational fears. I think a better idea of the intuition-spiritual connection comes most often from women. As a married father with three daughters, I know they're more intuitive. Have you ever noticed that at any spiritual gathering, women always outnumber men – who usually prefer practicality.

      July 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • NL

      Yes, irrational! My point, exactly!

      July 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • verify

      Heh, look up the origin of the word "hysteria". Plain old hormones play a large part in fostering the emotionalism of 'spirituality'.

      July 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • NL

      If women prefer practicality then why does my wife have close to 200 pairs of shoes?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • NL

      Gary
      Actually, I think that the story of the Garden of Eden teaches us that, while God did give us brains, he clearly warned us against actually using them.

      Gen. 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

      Clearly, God intended us to be ignorant of right and wrong, but he said nothing about knowing what is true, or real, did he? There is a difference here that most Christians cannot seem to grasp.

      July 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  7. verify

    Truth: "Actually, every athiest I know is either an alcoholic, an abuser or has low self-esteem. Usually all three."

    How much lower self esteem can you get than to have to dream up an imaginary being to love you? ... to kowtow to this being in hopes of favors now and forever?... Oh yeah, and make it a real powerful, vengeful, angry being, so that receiving that love makes you even more special.

    July 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • NL

      Without alcoholism, abuse and self-esteem issues where would Christian TV ever get guest speakers?

      Churches are loaded with people who openly admit to acting badly, even criminally. So, isn't avoiding churches a sensible precaution to avoiding unsavory characters? I mean, if I want to avoid getting sick from an infection I'm not going to choose to spend my free time hanging around hospital waiting areas amongst the sick, am I?

      July 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Gatortarian

      Both of the above posts are on the money, can't say it any better.

      July 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  8. DC Dunne

    Oh, good grief. Spare us the "your so stupid because you don't believe what I believe crap." The plain fact is that people believe in god, or multiple gods, becasue the idea of hurtling through space with no rhyme or reason is a concept to scary to entertain comfortably. Therefore, we need something to hold onto that gives us, or at least some of us, peace. If that is the Christian god, or any other, go with your god and be happy, but don't pontificate. Also, references to scientists who believe in god must be taken with a grain of salt. Not all of those scientists believe in the personal, anthropomorphic god of Christianty.

    July 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  9. thegoodlord

    May all of you be blessed

    July 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Luke

      Thank you!

      July 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  10. brad

    The God propounded by Christians, Jews, and Muslims created the universe and set it into motion. This should tell the scientist that God is not numbered among the things of the universe, but transcends it. Yet the atheist still insists that if God exists, he'll be able to discover it under a microscope. God's existence is intuited, not detected through the senses.
    "Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason." Wikipedia. Read Carl Jung

    July 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Gary

      Brad, fine I can appreciate that explanation of a God and his existence ......That is why all cultures primitive ancient modern have religions ....However It dosnt solve the argument amongst hard core believers who kill each other over who is God or argue over who goes to heaven or hell? example Jews,Christians all the branches hindus,muslims buddists,sun God ect????

      July 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • brad

      Gary, I agree about religious folks tending to kill each other physically, emotionally, whatever. Humanity has an innate ability to mishandle anything. Maybe that's why a TRUE Christian shows "radical" love.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  11. NL

    Wasn't the bible more interested in the wasted expenditure of semen in an activity that wasn't focused on reproduction than the "relationship" aspects of homosexuality? Building a bigger nation of worshippers was YHWH's big concern, right?

    July 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  12. Gatortarian

    @ttwp

    Most atheist, aka blasphemers, understand religion much better then most religious people.

    July 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • NL

      And, if I might add, it's the parts that we cannot understand, because they don't make any logical sense, that lead many people to atheism.

      It's when you REALLY start thinking about how all the parts of a religious belief are supposed to fit together as a system that you start noticing the problems. Most believers are content it seems to just accept their minister's word that it all makes sense.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • ttwp

      No you don't...if you did you wouldn't reject the free gift of salvation. I encourage you to humbly seek God out. He will take you out of your darkness and into his light.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • ttwp

      @NL: No what leads people to atheism is their pride and desire to remain in their wickedness.

      "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19

      I encourage you humbly seek God out. He loves His creation more than you or I can understand.

      July 28, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
    • NL

      ttwp-
      I spent most of my life humbly seeking out God, but after a while you just have to call off the search and get on with living. Many of us atheists started out as believers, but I guess we just asked a few too many questions without getting reasonable answers to keep on believing. If you accept the notion that the universe is just too complicated to try understanding then your faith will probably satisfy you until the end, but some of us aren't afraid of trying, or in accepting that some things remain unknown, for now. Admitting that you don't know something is always preferable to making up an answer, right?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • NL

      Again, does salvation come freely, or are there strings attached? I consider a free thing something given without the expectation of repayment. What Christians are really doing is trading salvation for worship and the following of illogical beliefs. Hardly a free gift.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • ttwp

      @NL: Salvation is free to those who accept it and trust in God. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Eph. 2:8-9

      If you call "repayment and strings attached" giving thanks and praise to Christ for showing his undying love for his creation on the cross...than yes I will be giving Him this repayment for all eternity. God bless and may his Spirit draw you near.

      July 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  13. GI JOHN

    Forgive me for the improperly spelled words in my post. You do not see them until after you make the post:) Doh!!!!!

    July 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • Gary

      GI John ,thanks for long reply. dont worry this is not a spelling b lol . The fact that you are religious dosnt make you a wacko,or even fanatic. 85% or more folks in America believe in some kind of God. 90% of folks in all countries except China believe in some kind of God. I have seen a pole China is around 65%. In all primitive cultures including native Americans nature,sun,rain were considered acts of God or Gods and religions sprouted from tribes........My dad is a devout methodist my wife and kids are devout christians....If God appeared before me now or after I die I wouldnt be completely surprised . I am by no means athesist. I am agnostic very different. I just dont trust humans who lived years ago and the word of God. if you do and so many folks are just like you that is fine. I sincerly hope you have a great life and one day an even better after life.

      July 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  14. GI JOHN

    .@Gary
    ....You have never met God, You have never seen God, You have never heard from God.

    Well actually Gary I have never seen God, I have never met God, and I have never heard from God. However, I have experienced what God promised. Being Born Again. You can continue to call the Bible a book written by man. It is only a book written by men to you because of your denial of God. Therefore when you read it, it has no life and you have no understanding of it. People who doubt will continue to call it a book of fairy tales. But if you do a little bit of investigation you will see the accuracy of this so called book of fairy tales. People are so quick to follow what some man in a white lab coat tells them. They have no understanding of what the guy in the white lab coat is saying but still accept it as truth. They have nothing to go on...they violate there own priciples of science yet somehow explain it away. I have the experience of being Born Again. I have proof of God's existance. Call me a wacko, a fanatic, a fool , a nut, deceived, a believer in fairy tales, one whho needs a crutch in life....cal me anything you want. It just does not matter. I know, without a doubt, God exists. I see it in the change He made in me and I see it in His intelligently designed creation. I am not going to bash anyone if they choose to believe differently. I am not going to sit here and exchange insults with doubters. All I can say is do not discredit God or the Bible because of the hypocrasy you see in preachers, teachers, and "christians". This is all addressed in the Bible and is no surprise. I wish you well Gary............

    July 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Batch

      Well actually Gary I have never seen the tooth fairy, I have never met the tooth fairy, and I have never heard from the tooth fairy. However, I have experienced what the tooth fairy promised. Being given compensation for teeth. You can continue to call the tooth fairy a myth created by man. It is only a myth created by men to you because of your denial of the tooth fairy. Therefore when you hear about the tooth fairy, it has no life and you have no understanding of it. People who doubt will continue to call it a fairy tale. But if you do a little bit of investigation you will see the accuracy of this so called fairy tale. People are so quick to follow what some man in a white lab coat tells them. They have no understanding of what the guy in the white lab coat is saying but still accept it as truth. They have nothing to go on...they violate there own priciples of science yet somehow explain it away. I have the experience of being toothless. I have proof of the tooth fairy's existance. Call me a wacko, a fanatic, a fool , a nut, deceived, a believer in fairy tales, one whho needs a crutch in life....cal me anything you want. It just does not matter. I know, without a doubt, the tooth fairy exists. I see it in the change he left under my pillow. I am not going to bash anyone if they choose to believe differently. I am not going to sit here and exchange insults with doubters. All I can say is do not discredit tooth fairy.

      July 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • ttwp

      @Batch: "But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand."

      July 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  15. God's love

    God loves everyone reading this blog. Jesus loves you irrespective of your choice to ignore Him.

    We will all face Him , either as a child who accepted His free gift of love or face him as a person who rejected His love & free offer of salvation.

    He loves you & maybe this is His way of reaching out to you via this blog. He died for YOU 2000 years back and He LOVES you.

    i leave judgement of his Kids to Him & stay "in my pocket" as no one's perfect and do not want to pass judgement on anyone.

    Bottom line: Jesus Loves you & is inviting you to have a relationship with Him (NOT A RELIGION & TRADITIONS)..

    i pray that you'll accept His love & see for yourselves.. Peace out

    July 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Luke

      No. I reject the invitation. Thoughts?

      July 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • NL

      An example of a free gift is when someone leaves a gift basket on your doorstep anonymously, with no strings attached whatsoever. Not when someone knocks on your door, offers you a basket in exchange for becoming their servant, and then tortures you if you are bold enough to refuse. Your idea of Jesus is more like the Godfather than loving God.

      July 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • ttwp

      "But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand."

      July 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  16. DogmaSucks

    If you don't believe there is a God, why argue the point? What would it matter? Enlighten me.

    July 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Luke

      Because the religious interfere with our lives via politics and education, for example. Have to fight the good fight, my friend.

      July 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Mike Mazzla

      Same reason people argued that the world wasnt flat.. thats how we grow and learn.

      July 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  17. Batch

    I hope we encounter another God some day to compare out ours. Just my observation but our God seems kind of lazy and unattentive. He/She worked for 6 days then took a break and as near as I can tell hasn't done a thing since then. He/she didn't even bother to make sure all of us knew he existed. I'm told God hates gay people all the time and there is great debate about this. Seems to me if I was a God I would send a message. Like maybe a big butt could have appeared out of the sky and shat on Ted Haggard for doing gay stuff. Then I would be like, wow, God really does hate gay people. Instead, nothing. He/she is God for crying out loud, let's see some action here! Created the universe but can't create one releigion on little old Earth. Pretty, pretty sloppy if you ask me. The good news is I saw on the news last night that Jesus is coming back on May 11th, 2011. That should be interesting. I wonder where he'll come back to....will he be able to get a passport to come visit the US? I wonder if he'll view the US as his disciples or more like Romans with all their technology, wealth and sport. I'm sure he'll be busy getting thank you's for dying for our sins.....oh and thank you's for touchdowns, homeruns, Oscars, Emmy's, my sister once thanked him for a video camera my Dad got her as a gift. I think I'll just give him a high five, I like to give the high five and mix it up with a low five every once in a while.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  18. D

    Wait...so the whole smoking meth and having relations with numerous male prostitutes is just overlooked b/c he said that the little magic man in the sky forgave him? But it happened, and you cannot change that no matter how many prayers you say. And why would he change it? He wanted to do it, enjoyed it, and made the choice to continue doing it.

    Why can't he just admit that he is gay, likes doing drugs, and be done with it? I am sure he will get a much larger congregation of tolerant people that can actually do some good than a bunch of sheep being led to mental slaughter.

    July 28, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  19. Mike Mazzla

    You have to give the guy Props for having the balls to set up a church. Turn on your TV sunday morning and you see there is no shortage of uneductated religious bumpkins willig to listen to a crazy preacher/evangelist or whatever you want to call them. So if he can make some money off the ignorant go for it...

    July 28, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  20. cjamesatl

    I take issue with Ted Haggard continually protesting against the fact that he is gay. He was caught with a man-whore, and admitted it. Straight men don't switch-hit with their sexuality. You are either gay or you are not – it is not a choice or preference. Period.

    Now he's got a new church and hundreds of followers? He's a gay man preaching about the wickedness of homosexuality. Just how blind is that congregation? Religion may be for the faithful, but it's also for the weak-minded.

    July 28, 2010 at 9:34 am |
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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.