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The church of porn and football
February 1st, 2011
08:00 AM ET

The church of porn and football

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Nevada pastor Craig Gross counts professional quarterbacks among his friends. The same goes for porn stars and child porn convicts.

And he’s relying on friends from both camps in preparing for Sunday, when Gross will use the Super Bowl as a way to get churches around the country talking about pornography, a subject he calls “the elephant in the pew.”

He is dubbing the effort National Porn Sunday. Gross is the founder of XXXChurch, a Christian group that he says helps people battling pornography addictions.

The Quarterback

Gross recruited NFL players to join the effort, taping a video that he says will be shown at over 300 plus participating churches.

Matt Hasselbeck, who led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2006, is one of the video’s stars.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

Although he said he has never had a pornography addiction, Hasselbeck signed up for the free XXXchurch tracking software called X3watch.

“If I go to a site that’s questionable, a teammate gets an email and my wife gets an email,” Hasselbeck told CNN. “I thought about adding my mom too but decided against that,”

“It just keeps you accountable,” he said. “You know there’s a short term consequence to anything you do.”

He says the software added a layer of trust to his relationship with his wife.

“My email password is known to my wife, my voice mail password is known to her,” he said. “I’m still a guy married to a girl. In this country what you read, what you watch, and how you interact with other women can cause insecurity with your spouse.”

Gross says his campaign is about personal responsibility.

Craig Gross the founder of XXXChurch.com

“If the church stopped consuming [porn], we would put a huge dent in it,” he said, referring to individual churchgoers.

The 35-year-old Gross, an ordained pastor, founded XXXchurch in the early 2000s after hearing stories from teens in his youth group getting involved with pornography. Today he runs the site full time from Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I never had this crazy run in with porn,” says Gross, who came of age in a time of 56k modems, when the internet was just catching on.

“I could count the amount times I encountered it,” he said. “You used to have to work hard to find it. Now you have to work hard to avoid it.”

For Gross, the Bible is clear on the issue of pornography. He says it falls into the category of a sexual sin, pointing to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, in which he tells the church to “run away from sexual sins.”

With XXXChurch, Gross has probably done more to reach out to the porn community than any other pastor in the country. Several years ago he began attending porn conventions and it was there he met legendary porn star Ron Jeremy.

The Porn Star

“It’s exactly what Jesus would do if you think about it,” Jeremy told CNN. “He went right to where they were drinking and gambling and said, ‘folks this is no good.’”

Porn Star Ron Jeremy

“[Gross] didn’t go just to a church and preach against porn, he goes right to the porn conventions,” Jeremy said. “He gets booths and hands out Bibles to all the porn stars that say, ‘Jesus loves porn stars.’ No one else does that.”

Jeremy and Gross became fast friends and started touring the country, debating porn on college campuses in front of big crowds.

Jeremy, who has starred in more than 200 adult films, said there is no problem with pornography when it is consumed recreationally and responsibly. He says couples tell him all the time they use pornography to spice up their relationships.

“If you’re a really religious Christian and you follow the letter of the law with the bible, you should not watch porn - I agree with Craig on that one,” he said. “I like what Craig does. He tries to keep people out who don’t belong in porn and don’t belong watching porn. It’s not healthy for them - maybe they’re getting addicted to it.”

Jeremy says porn is a lot like alcohol - what works for some doesn’t work for all. “I don’t want people to get addicted, either,” Jeremy said.

The child porn convict

When FBI agents showed up with guns on his lawn one day, Bill Hartman Jr. knew exactly why they were there. “My addiction took me to a place of no return,” Hartman said.

Pornography began for Hartman as an escape and ended with a 63-month sentence in a federal prison for child pornography.

“You think you’re going down a road and never think you’re going to make that last turn and yet you do because you have no control over it,” Hartman said. “You lose your sense of everything.”

Bill Hartman Jr. in a photo posted on the Ohio Attorney General

Hartman was married, working as a corrections officer and regularly attending a Seventh Day Adventist church, but Hartman says he was living a double life.

He says his first exposure to child porn came via email. “A normal person would have seen it and said this is wrong,” he said.

He tried to break his addiction on his own. “I was praying to God, ‘You’ve got to help me,’” Hartman said. “I thought he wasn’t listening. The FBI showing up was the answer to prayer.”

Hartman was convicted of possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution.

While he was awaiting trail he met Gross. XXXchurch staff members were at Hartman’s sentencing and went with him when he surrendered at the federal prison in Massachusetts.

He believes a judge drastically reduced his sentence because he quickly admitted guilt and began working with XXXchurch.

Hartman is four months out of prison, divorced, and a registered sex offender. He hopes his story will help others from making the mistakes he did.

“I think the problem with pornography in general is anyone who is viewing it is using it as a block to deal with people,” he said. “I used it to block my feelings or communications with my wife. I don’t even think it’s OK for the single guy. It’s a roadblock in your life. I don’t think there’s any good that can come out of it.”

Prevention

Jeremy argues that it’s unfair to indict the entire porn industry because of someone involved in child porn.

From a medical health standpoint, a possible addiction to pornography and getting involved with child pornography is apples and oranges according to psychiatrists.

Currently there is not even a diagnostic standard for pornography addiction according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which mental health professionals turn to when treating patients.

An overuse of pornography is sometimes treated as a compulsive behavior or viewed as a symptom of a broader issue. The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is currently in its 4th edition. There is some speculation among clinicians that pornography addiction could be included in the 5th edition under a sexual addiction umbrella.

Gross said he knows not everyone who consumes pornography will graduate to child porn but said that there’s often other kinds of collateral damage.

“I don’t believe this is going to be helpful in your relationship,” he said. “I’ve seen more fallout because of this. When it’s done secret, eventually you don’t cover up your tracks. You’re going to get found out and women automatically go to, ‘what’s wrong with me.’”

“Even if it’s a small percentage, it’s still millions of people who are struggling with this,” he said.

Gross hopes that churches will put the issue out in the open.

“Just talking about this once isn’t going to solve your porn problem,” he said. “A lot of churches feel like they’re not equipped to handle it.”

“When the wife confronts the husbands… then you’ve got the church dealing with the fall out,” he continued. “A big part of what (Sunday) is about is prevention. Let’s talk about this ahead of time.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • United States

soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. David Johnson

    Well, I have a meeting. Back later!

    I loves me some my fundies!

    February 2, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  2. David Johnson

    Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Jesus, coming in the clouds!

    Oh, Oh! A 747! Watch out Jesus! OOooopsie! Can you say: "SPLAT"?

    Hmmm... I'm in a good mood today!

    Cheers!

    February 2, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  3. Prove This

    Where is the beginning and end of this: O

    Can you show me where it begins, and where it ends?

    February 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  4. pat

    women who care enough to know whether their men are having an affair should care enough to drain him regularly so he doesn't.
    men are not complex creatures, the maintenance plan is actually quite simple.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • David Johnson

      @pat

      You said: "men are not complex creatures, the maintenance plan is actually quite simple."

      That hurt! I'm complex! Besides $ex, I need beer, poker and football, to be fulfilled.

      You made me feel cheap!

      February 2, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  5. ChibiD

    Before I begin I would like to state that I only read roughly a third of the posts. However, what I did read irritates me. I live in the Bible belt. My town has no less than three churches on any given street. I can state, without a doubt, that 90% of the 55,000 population go to church of some kind and they are ALL hypocrits (spelling?). As far as the p0rn issue, my boyfriend and I watch it from time to time. I see nothing wrong with people watching p0rn. I think this "new" church, if you want to call it that, is a load of bull. It is just a way for a greedy preacher to line his pockets with money from people who blindly believe anything he says. All because he is a man of god. I went to church as a young child, so I know the stories, but as I grew older I found them quite lacking. At 21 years of age, I find that people are more greedy and care less about what others think. If you want to push your judgements on to others you should think about what you are really trying to do. P0rn is yet another thing that the church is trying to control. It is getting out of hand.

    February 2, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • David Johnson

      @ChibiD

      The Texas history books are rewriting history to give the conservative slant. The objective of all these efforts, is to create a Christian Nation, a theocracy with Jesus as head. A huge campaign is underway, to convince the American people, the founding fathers never intended a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson's role as a founding father is played down. In some cases Jefferson is smudged.

      Expect an attack on the 1st Amendment. The founding fathers will weep.

      Most of your Tea Party are for a Christian Theocracy.

      The Republicans are the puppets of the Religious Right.

      You will see an amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. Gay rights will dwindle and die.

      Roe Vs. Wade will be reversed. Women will once again be forced to seek back alley remedies.

      Stem cell research will stagnate. The hopes of damaged and sick people will be dashed.

      P_ornography will be illegal. The Religious Right will decide what is p_ornographic , as well as what is art. You will watch television programs approved by the Evangelicals.

      Creationism will be taught in school, most likely alongside evolution rather than instead of, but no guarantees.
      Little Johnny will believe in talking snakes and trees that bear knowledge and everlasting life giving trees. *sigh*
      The rest of the world is spending their time learning real science and math. Good luck Johnny. Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?"

      Prayer will be back in school, but only the one true god, the Christian god, will be given homage. The non-Christians will be allowed to put their heads down on their desks, during the morning worship. They can contemplate their damnation, for not accepting Jesus.

      $ex education will consist of abstinence only. Studies have shown it is a worthless concept. Ladies, cross your legs!!!

      Jesus will be the Head of State! And only the Evangelicals will be able to hear His voice. They will tell the rest of us His will.

      So yes, it is out of hand. I am afraid. Very afraid.

      We will be a slave to a make believe god. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

      Cheers!

      February 2, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  6. 425

    I challenge someone to support the idea that s3x is immoral WITHOUT using the words, "Bible", "god", or "Jesus."

    February 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • 425

      Btw: By immoral I mean s3x for reasons of lust and not "just to have a baby"

      February 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  7. tallulah13

    Of course Hasselbeck is only involved because the 'Hawks lost in the playoffs.

    February 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Steve

      Zing!

      February 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  8. Steve

    I'm not sure I understand the stance people are taking that "p-orn is not a problem." That is an absolute statement, and I think absolutes need to be dealt with carefully. Saying something like "p-orn is not a problem" suggests that there is nobody who struggles with p-ornography addictions and nobody who has lost their family due to it. Obviously, this is not true, as we see in the case of Hartman.

    I'm impressed that Ron Jeremy is NOT saying "p-orn is not a problem" but acknowledging that some people have trouble breaking free from their computers long enough to have real meaningful relationships with people and to live their life.

    I feel as though a lot of the naysayers to the issues that p-ornography is causing now that it is so easily accessible, and as Gross said “You used to have to work hard to find it. Now you have to work hard to avoid it", are basing their absolutist statements on an isolated experience. I would liken it to playing Russian Roulette and saying "Well I've played it and my wife has played it, but it has never done anything to us, so what's the big deal?" Short-sighted and uninformed conclusions.

    February 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve

      Society can't protect everyone who might become "addicted" to a thing, by making that thing illegal.

      Let's look at a list of addictions:

      •Alcoholism
      •Drug
      •Food Addiction
      •Gambling
      •Internet
      •Nicotine
      •Prescription Drugs
      •$ex-P_orn
      •Shopping
      •Work Addiction

      Would you make each of the addicting things illegal? Force everyone to do without, because some in society can't handle them?

      For each of the addictions I listed, there is a treatment. Let's concentrate on getting help to those that need it, and not on taking away the rights of Americans.

      The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Const_itution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the pet_itioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Steve

      @ David Johnson

      Did I ever suggest making anything illegal? Did the article drive home that p-orn should be banned? The answer to both of these is no. Preventative measures are just as important as treatment of addictions. Therefore, being well informed about possible dangers of p-ornography (s3x, alcohol, drugs, shopping, internet, work, gambling) is an important matter. I do not think saying "p-orn is not a problem" is the answer.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve

      You said: "I feel as though a lot of the naysayers to the issues that p-ornography is causing now that it is so easily accessible, and as Gross said “You used to have to work hard to find it. Now you have to work hard to avoid it", are basing their absolutist statements on an isolated experience. I would liken it to playing Russian Roulette and saying "Well I've played it and my wife has played it, but it has never done anything to us, so what's the big deal?" Short-sighted and uninformed conclusions.

      If as you say, looking at p_orn is like playing Russian Roulette, then how can Russian Roulette be played safely? I think the only way would be to ban the game. – Right? Or will you argue, a game with the intention of killing the loser can be safely played?

      I don't see the fundies having a food glutton Sunday, or a Shopaholic Sunday. It is because it has to do with $ex and the idiot Evangelicals freak out about $ex.

      Cheers!

      Making p_ornography illegal is on the agenda of the Christian Right. As is gay rights, abortion etc.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Steve

      @ David Johnson

      "If as you say, looking at p_orn is like playing Russian Roulette, then how can Russian Roulette be played safely? I think the only way would be to ban the game. – Right? Or will you argue, a game with the intention of killing the loser can be safely played?"

      Precisely. It is not safe. So ban Russian Roulette, but that doesn't mean you should ban guns. So why should we not make people aware that p-ornography can be addictive? Being aware of the dangers of a subject is not saying it should be banned outright.

      "I don't see the fundies having a food glutton Sunday, or a Shopaholic Sunday. It is because it has to do with $ex and the idiot Evangelicals freak out about $ex."
      – Not seeing it does not mean it does not happen. I have attended churches and heard of others that encourage healthy eating habits and even have regular meetings to discuss how to live a healthier lifestyle. There is also a very famous course by Dave Ramsey that discusses ways to budget responsibly and avoid being a shopaholic and uses a Biblical basis for finances. Not to mention Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

      These topics may not get mainstream media attention or perhaps they are not seen as radical enough to garner attention. But they are in place. It is ignorant to suggest that not seeing it means it does not exist.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve

      You make no sense.

      You want to ban p_orn, because you think it is sin. You know it. I know it.

      Bored now.

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Steve

      Ha, I never said to ban p-orn. O well. I do not believe it would be OK for me to impose my personal beliefs on the masses of people in the U.S.

      Whether or not I think it is sinful to indulge in p-orn has nothing to do with whether or not I think there are people who are struggling with an addiction to p-orn (it is impossible for p-orn itself to be a sin on its own). It would influence how I would personally deal with it and how I would counsel others who are struggling with it.

      February 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  9. NRPJim

    I have but one small post here. There is no doubt that most of the horrible things that happen in the world are related to religion. Therefore, if you posit that you are unqualified to belive in god, then you tacitly support every one of these religous activities adn nutjobs. Is it ok for Hamas and Isreal to attack each other? H-ell no and yet they continue to do so. Every person that says "well I can't say who's right cause I can't prove that this spritualistic mumbo jumbo is not true", is another person that allows this kind of hatred by pleading ignorance...Unaccepatble, if you don't believe the BS then quit hedging your bets and stand up for what you believe in! The religous wack job that is trying to blow up peolpe in Bagdad is certainly standing up for his or her beliefs, come on get off the pot!

    February 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  10. mac

    Bob – By your logic, it would seem we are also unqualified to specify the criteria by which to determine if God exists. It would then be pointless to speak of the subject of God's existence in terms of probabilities. As would be derivative arguments concerning our perception of what an existent God would or would not permit to happen or be done by man. Basically, your conclusions invalidate the premises on which they are based.
    So let’s look at this. Your premises:
    1. God allows people to do wrong, so he is doing a poor job of revealing himself to us.
    2. There is more than one religion, so no religions are right.
    Your conclusion: we cannot know Him or his qualities.
    Is not your first premise based in part on some knowledge of God, yet you use it to support the opposite point of view? Interesting. It is based on an assumption (which you later conclude we are incapable of making) that what God allows people to do is his methodology for revealing himself to us. Is this based on knowledge of God that He can reveal himself to us only through the actions of people and only if all actions by all people are good? Where did the ability to determine this about an omniscient being come from given our lack of omniscience. What if we do not accept that premise? How do you support it?
    I think if you look at number 2 you can see the folly there. Does the lack of unanimity logically prove all points of view incorrect when arguing any topic? Or to more closely mirror your logic, does it preclude the existence of any criteria by which to distinguish any truth amongst the various positions?
    Then using the conclusion that we cannot accurately portray God’s qualities as a premise, you conclude it is improbable that God exists, since after all, if we, in all our non-omniscience have no basis for assigning a “confidence value” because it is beyond our perception, it must be unlikely.
    Wow – and you call other arguments harebrained (“hairbrained” to quote). You are basically saying that since you cannot assign a probability, you’re assigning one anyway, choosing low, “based on history and what we can perceive” …

    February 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @mac

      Does God strongly desire that everyone, or almost everyone, believe that he exists?

      Curious

      February 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  11. JRC

    @David Johnson

    @Bob

    I say there is no god, with the same conviction that I say there is no Santa and no Easter bunny. I have come to the conclusion that there is no god, based on a preponderance of the evidence.

    Cheers!

    February 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    _________

    Dave, I hate to inform you and other non-believers, but something made all of your surroundings and the sun and your blood vessels and hair on your skin and eyes. The Big Bang "Theory" I think not, its a theory, a what if or could be. If you do you math, its simple, life is not complicated. Nothing plus Nothing equals NOTHING. So something had to make the nothing into something, which is impossible. So God or the creator, if you like, always was and always will be. You don't need to see with your eyes. all you have to have is common sense. You cannot make anything from nothing if nothing was there to make it happen. Something made this earth, something made you, the stars and water and oxygen. You think is all started with a magic pill out of nowhere huh. Nowhere means just that. So something had to make it and that Something is the supreme being that we call God. Like it or not, there is a God and if I were you, I'd place my money on God, because you stand to lose everything about yourself when you do come to know. Your choices and your life.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • NL

      JRC-
      "The Big Bang "Theory" I think not, its a theory"

      A scientific theory is not just a guess, but a reasoned explanation for something that accounts for the evidence. 'God', on the other hand, isn't even a theory, but just a notion.

      "So something had to make the nothing into something, which is impossible. So God or the creator, if you like, always was and always will be."

      Actually, I don't think that physicists are suggesting that the universe came out of 'absolutely nothing' as you suggest. Recently Hawking stated that the presence of gravity made it possible for a universe to be self-generating. 'Ex nihilo', out of nothing, is a religious idea which is probably why you see it as being impossible. Scientists do too.

      February 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JRC

      You said: " I hate to inform you and other non-believers, but something made all of your surroundings and the sun and your blood vessels and hair on your skin and eyes. The Big Bang "Theory" I think not, its a theory, a what if or could be."

      You should hate to inform me. You are ignorant. The Big Bang happened. The evidence is overwhelming. The Big Bang explains how the universe came to be. It has nothing to do with life. That would be abiogenesis and Evolution. Abiogenesis, to supply the first spark of life and Evolution to provide the diversity of life on our planet. No god needed!

      You said: "If you do you math, its simple, life is not complicated. Nothing plus Nothing equals NOTHING. So something had to make the nothing into something, which is impossible. So God or the creator, if you like, always was and always will be. You don't need to see with your eyes. all you have to have is common sense. You cannot make anything from nothing if nothing was there to make it happen. Something made this earth, something made you, the stars and water and oxygen. You think is all started with a magic pill out of nowhere huh. Nowhere means just that. So something had to make it and that Something is the supreme being that we call God."

      You claim, "Nothing plus Nothing equals NOTHING. So something had to make the nothing into something, which is impossible."

      So, who made god? And then, who made whatever made the ent_ity that made god etc. ad infinitum. ?

      You can't have a rule that applies to everything, except God. What proof do you have that God is exempt? If there are exceptions to your rule, then your "rule" is just a guideline. It becomes meaningless.

      So, I claim the exception for my universe! My universe always was and always will be!

      You said: "Like it or not, there is a God and if I were you, I'd place my money on God, because you stand to lose everything about yourself when you do come to know. Your choices and your life."

      Golly, JRC! Your arguments are really, really persuasive. But I think I will wait and get a little more evidence before I embrace religion. I will ponder what you posted. I can tell you have a lot on the ball and aren't just a typical non-thinker.

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      February 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • sonofireland

      If you can't create something out of nothing, where did God come from?

      I already know your answer is "He always existed".

      Assuming it's possible for God to have always existed, why is it impossible for the universe/multiverse to have always existed?

      February 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sorry that you don't understand science. You can believe in a supernatural superpower, I'm fine with that, but I have seen enough evidence (and have had enough explained to me by really, really smart people who has seen the evidence) to believe absolutely that given enough time, and any matter, anything can happen. And we've sure had a lot of time...

      February 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @sonofireland

      You asked: "Assuming it's possible for God to have always existed, why is it impossible for the universe/multiverse to have always existed?"

      'Cause, it f@!*$ up the Creationist stupid argument. Their god is the unmoved mover! The first cause! Creator of all things.

      And they don't have any proof that anything they believe is actually true. In fact, all the evidence makes the Christian god (all gods) really, really unlikely. About as likely as Santa, except Santa comes back once a year. Jesus never does.

      Where oh Where has my Jesus gone? – Me singing.

      Cheers!

      February 2, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Well, the Big Bang is unproven because we don't have enough facts, or maybe any way to get them. Imagine tiny fast-living creatures who have built a civilization on the head of a burning match; what can they know about the match before it was struck? Was the Big Bang the beginning, or is the Steady-State model true? Are they both true, and local big bangs happen from time to time? How about the new colliding-branes theory? You believers have had to admit over and over that the Bible does not describe the real world, which is NOT flat or square, and you still believe, so just take it on faith. The Bible didn't predict iPods or shoelaces or toilet paper or contact lenses, so please quit telling me "All the answers are there." Do you believe in God, even though He never mentioned potato chips or cars? Then let me have faith in the things that actually exist, please, without telling me that I must be a bad person or immoral.

      February 2, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Buster Bloodvessel,

      Who said all the answers are in the Bible?
      What we do know though, is that Jesus Christ promised the Paraclete to the Apostles who would safeguard His Church and bring them into remembrance of all that He had told them, and would also bring them into the fullness of Truth when we can bear it…..
      Now don’t go bursting another blood vessel…..

      February 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Reality

      CatholicMom,

      What passage of the NT notes a promised paraclete? John 14: 16? John 14: 26? Most contemporary NT scholars have concluded that said passages were inventions of John and not uttered by the simple preacher man e.g. http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=062_Spirit_under_Trial

      February 3, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Anglican

      Reality. Again, the "most NT scholars" you quote are those asso. the Jesus Seminars Please consider NT scholars such as Jimmy Dunn, and Tom Wright. Many others exist on the other side of the aisle. Peace. I am sleepy. Must work the next four days. Good night.

      February 3, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Reality,
      As you see, Anglican has pointed out something you may have over-looked….if you prefer to listen to modern day ‘scholars’ to scholars of the past 2000 years or so that agree with the Church….that is your choice. All of histories doc-uments and scholars who are in agreement with the Church out-weigh your ‘short stack’. Any ‘scholars’ of today siding with heresies of the past will most likely die out, too, because of ‘dead end’ ideas.

      February 3, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  12. Marty

    I highly recommand Brian Head Welch the ex-Korn member book "Save Me From Myself" & "Stronger".

    February 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  13. Reality

    Let us cut to it. Legal p-orn can easily lead to mas-turbation, one of the few methods of practicing safe and inexpensive se-x so those in need, go for it. You won't go blind!!! Studies have shown it is also good for a healthy prostate. It also calms the nerves and beats sleeping pills "hands" down (or is that up? or away? or up and down?) according to Charlie Harper 🙂

    February 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Aw, beat it, Reality. Wait, I mean-

      February 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Donald

      Reality, you prefer your 'bird in the hand' to one in the bush? Obviously, It's so much easier – you don't have to take your hand to dinner, or to a bad play or movie, you don't have to listen to it talk endlessly about other hands, your hand doesn't care about jewelry or fashion, and it's always ready when you are, no excuses about headaches or bad days – unless you slam it in the car door. But then again, you always have a spare.

      February 2, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Reality

      All bow to the Hand !!!! 🙂

      February 2, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • some emo kid

      fap fap fap

      February 2, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  14. Chris

    CNN get out of the religious business. You are a news organization, not a religious professor. These articles have shown me enough of that. They are ridiculous. Either you are trying to make Islam look good or make Christians look stupid trying to push a secular agenda.

    February 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • tommas

      I don't think any organization can make christians look any stupider

      February 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Chris

      @Tommas,
      Easy enough for you to say. I bet the majority of people you know are Christians. Are they stupid too?

      February 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I think CNN does a good job with the religious blogs.

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Chris, you are practicing selective perception. I have seen positive *and* negative portrayals of both Islam and Christiantiy on this blog, as well as articles that give portrayals whose positivity or negativity depends entirely on the point of view of the reader. This blog makes no particular effort to make Islam look great or Christianity look foolish. The commentors, of course, are an entirely different story.

      February 2, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  15. Anna

    Oh my God! It baffles me how one could possibly think that adult po-rn and child po-rn are even remotely the same thing. My boyfriend and I watch po-rn separately and together with only good effects on our relationship. We laugh at the stupid platinum blondes with fake b00bs and discuss how much hotter the girls with real b00bs and curvy bodies are. Then we take the "inspiration" to the bedroom and express our love for each other as a monogamous couple. Neither of us has the desire to see children naked or to have s3x with children because that's sick and wrong!

    I grew up Baptist but when I entered the real world religion just stopped making sense. Lust and s3x drive are instinctual urges just like hunger. To suggest that one should attempt to "shut them off" is preposterous. Besides, if God supposedly created us then he must have created our s3x drive too right? And according to you, God doesn't make mistakes.

    February 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Steve

      "Besides, if God supposedly created us then he must have created our s3x drive too right? And according to you, God doesn't make mistakes." Definitely true. I don't think God ever says to shut down s3xually, but the Bible does put it in context, and I think for good reason. If you do not have s3x outside of marriage, a lot of issues can be avoided (STDs, unwanted pregnancy, etc.). Part of the wonderful thing about s3x within the confines of marriage is the married couple can explore s3xual possibilities with each other and don't need p-orn to fancy things up.

      Also, you are correct in saying child p-orn is a whole other world of inappropriateness. The danger is that adult p-orn can lead to child p-orn fairly unwittingly:

      "P-ornography began for Hartman as an escape and ended with a 63-month sentence in a federal prison for child p-ornography.

      “You think you’re going down a road and never think you’re going to make that last turn and yet you do because you have no control over it,” Hartman said. “You lose your sense of everything.”

      I do not think there is a problem with warning people of the dangers of p-ornography whether it is fueled by religious conviction, cold hard science, or psychological studies.

      February 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Near as I can tell, the believers bring up child p_orn, because they know it is disgusting. They all bring it up really quickly.

      They want to equate it with all p_orn.

      It is an easy straw man to create and knock down, compared to adult p_orn. No one is going to defend harming children and they know it.

      The pro-lifers do the same by equating abortion to murder, even though abortion is legal. You don't see the uproar over casualties of war or even capital punishment (Catholics do protest this).

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Steve

      @ David Johnson

      For someone who struggles with p-ornography it would be important to equate all forms of it. Even a normal movie that millions in the general public have seen that includes a s3x scene could send them into a downward spiral. It really is not all that different from other addictions.

      I would also argue that there are many people, regardless of religious conviction, who are pro-life are not only against abortion, but are also protesting war and capital punishment. It is somewhat foolish to make an absolute statement that pro-lifers only cause an uproar about abortion. Perhaps this is because of media portrayal.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve

      You said: "It is somewhat foolish to make an absolute statement that pro-lifers only cause an uproar about abortion."

      Your statement is the foolish part of this conversation.

      Note:
      If someone is pro-choice, it means they are in favor of allowing a woman the right to choose if they will abort or not.

      If someone is pro-life, it means they are NOT in favor of allowing a woman the right to choose if they will abort or not.

      A person who is pro-choice would not be protesting abortion. It would be self-defeating. Right?

      ONLY one more time... ONLY those that are pro-life would be protesting abortion.

      Cheers!

      February 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Steve

      @ David Johnson

      You left my quote incomplete. "there are many people, regardless of religious conviction, who are pro-life are not only against abortion, but are also protesting war and capital punishment. " I'm saying that there are many people who are pro-life that protest abortion, war, and capital punishment. You suggested they only care about abortion and ignore the latter two.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Anna,

      Your whole post was mainly how you and your boyfriend use po-rn to increase your desire to fornicate.

      Why not get married? Or do you realize that it isn’t love you have for each other, just lust and s3x, and you are smart enough to know for marriage you need love not lust to hold a marriage together?……

      God didn’t make a mistake with His gift of s3x for the married man and woman…but some make a mistake in thinking it is a gift for them.

      February 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  16. Jaded

    It is not the usage of an object that creates addiction within a person, it is the person using the object that has an addictive personality.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  17. Amused

    Mention God and the haters come out of the woodwork. Thanks for strengthening my faith!!

    February 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Buddha

      Hmm, if everyone who replied had been pro-God, would your faith have weakened? That IS amusing!

      February 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • NL

      Why do you see all criticism of your beliefs as hate? Are they easier to avoid thinking about that way?

      February 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • TheTrue1

      Amen Amused. Does the same for me. Its easy to not believe in someone you can't see on TV or the web. Its tough to have faith in Christ especially the way the world is today. All those who deny Him will be denied and I imagine you will be the first ones to cry out...

      February 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      "the way the world is today" The world is in many ways better off today than it ever has been; doctors are saving lives every day, and improved communication gets help to places like Haiti in hours instead of weeks. Was it better when the One Church ruled over the Dark Ages, and heretics were tortured and mutilated in secret dungeons? Come on, this is a Golden Age of Christianity! Why would it try your faith? Also, does it comfort you to imagine that we'll all be crying out? Enjoying the suffering of one's enemies is unChristian.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Homer

      TheTrue1: "Its easy to not believe in someone you can't see on TV or the web. Its tough to have faith in Christ especially the way the world is today."

      And yet you have faith in Christ. Why is that? If there's a lack of evidence for something, that definitely makes it difficult to have faith in it. But if you go ahead anyway and have faith, then that's not a virtue at all. That's an indication of gullibility and weakness.

      Since I'm an adult, I don't have faith in Santa. And I would assert that it's very tough for adults to have faith in Santa. But if there's an adult out there who does somehow believe in Santa, would you admire his faith? I doubt it - you would consider him quite foolish. In other words, if something is difficult to put your faith in, you probably should trust your instinct.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Homer, think how many kids have great faith in Justin Bieber. But who finds that admirable? Kinda creepy, really.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • NL

      Homer-
      I suspect that if you took away the reward aspects (heaven, being amongst the select few to possess 'secret' knowledge, having your enemies punished, ...) from belief in God, reason and common sense would likely prevail. Remember the old saying that you can't cheat an honest man? Well, an 'honest' man would admit that all we can be sure of having is this life, and he would be content with what he has, while only a greedy one would desire to have more than this life could possibly provide. Thus, the greed of wanting heaven and the other rewards that come with having a powerful being on your side clouds people's better judgment, and they allow themselves to be deceived.

      February 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Yeah, but I wanna know how come Amused finds his faith strengthened by evidence that others don't believe.

      February 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • NL

      Buster Bloodvessel-
      "Enjoying the suffering of one's enemies is unChristian."
      Interesting how close this idea of enjoying others being tortured is to S & M erotic fantasy, eh? I say that it takes genuine ti tulation not to be horrified by the very idea that a monster would do such a thing.

      February 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Flora

      NL:

      100% not true. I do good things because of the personal satisfaction I feel making people happy, and forgive my enemies because I know that it's the right thing to do. Heavenly rewards has nothing to do with my desicion making process, ever.

      If you really think about it, it's not really a reward as much as it is compensation; living the pure life may get you cheated/harassed/abused at some point in your life, so it's kind of like God's way of saying "Thanks for sticking with it".

      February 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • NL

      Flora-
      You can do these things just out of personal satisfaction and knowing that it's the right thing to do, and so do I, but you still see a future 'compensation' for yourself coming from this that I don't account for. You feel justification for being compensated because living the 'pure life' is so difficult. I would argue that it is just as difficult for an atheist to live according to their principles and respect for truth amongst the enormous societal pressure to conform to some faith. If you deserve some compensation for 'sticking to it' then so do we. Question is, would you still do it even if you lost your faith in this extra 'compensation' and, if you did, what would be separating us really?

      February 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Just so you know, the often offensive and nonsensical replies of some of the religious folk here serve to reinforce my atheism. I guess the street goes two ways.

      February 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • some emo kid

      tallulah13 seems to be a very sensible person

      February 2, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  18. Matthew

    I just want to say that there are still plenty of people who view marriage and physical intimacy as sacred. It is a beautiful expression of love between wife and husband that loses its meaning when flaunted and objectified. I know that many people disagree and that's okay. I used to buy into society's idea of s-ex and it left me feeling unsatisfied and hollow. Thankfully I have found my way back and am able to enjoy a relationship with my wife that brings me joy and satisfaction on all levels. If you find yourself in the same situation, always chasing after a fantasy that doesn't make you happy, it's never too late to change your outlook and begin enjoying the truly good things in life.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • BR

      10-15-20 plus years into marriage and it's unreasonable to expect it to be that way every time. I won't degrade it with the pizza analogy but the real fantasy is to presume that it's so black and white. "Either' it's a sacred, beautiful expresion, etc. or it's flaunted and objectified. This is a false dichotomy. "Society's" idea of s_x isn't one singular idea but an entire array of things...just as p^rn is. Somethings are for you, others aren't, others are genuinely and literally criminal. S_ex isn't meant to be the same thing to everyone.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Matthew

      BR – You are definitely right that it takes work to keep the love alive and well in a marriage. Every night won't feel like your honeymoon again. Also, I agree that there is a whole range of views about the meaning of s-ex. I just think that p0rn is at the shallow end of the spectrum, and it robs people of having a much more meaningful experience. I still have to work at keeping my desires and motivations pure, but it is definitely worth the effort for me.

      February 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Steve

      Well said, Matthew.

      February 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Rod

      Matthew
      I am really happy for you. No,really I am. I'm not trying to be trite here. I don't know what your religious affiliation is, BUT, I don't understand why Christians or YOU for that matter feel a need to foist your values on others. I find that offensive.
      After two marriages I find myself in a third. My wife is also in her third marriage. This is the best marriage for both of us. We are experiencing the most spiritually and emotionally intimate and $exually fulfilling relationship either of us has ever had. And guess what? P0rn is an open and balance part of our relationship.
      Sometimes it is about the sacred love and sometimes its just hot animal $EX.
      My wife told me that she's had more 0rgasms in the first year of our relationship than she's had in her entire life.
      All I have to say is; THANK GOD FOR P0RN!

      February 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Dan

    I can't believe the Hasselback had to give his passwords to his wife! She must be one insecure neurotic chick! And he is not the kind of "man" that anyone should look up to if he really is that whipped!

    February 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Luke

      You do realize who his wife is, right? She's the lonney tunes cartoon on The View. Make sense now?

      February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Dan

      Ahhhh, that explains a lot. Thanks!

      February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Rod

      You can tell they have a mature marriage based on mutual trust. The minute I felt I needed that type of surveillance in my marriage would be the moment I would need to leave it.

      February 5, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  20. BR

    Big shock that that little Pomeranian yappy-dog Elizabeth Hasselbeck put the screws to hubby's sack for all those things. P^rn monitor, e-mail password, voicemail password. I'm sure Elin Nordegren thought she had all the info as well.

    February 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • iamtroymcclure

      Elisabeth Hasselbeck is married to Matt Hasselbecks brother Tim Hasselbeck. Imbecile.

      February 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • BR

      A simple, "Wrong quarterback" would have sufficed.

      February 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Yeah, what's all this "imbecile" and "moron" stuff today? Did you all have the Stupid Meal© for lunch today?

      February 1, 2011 at 3:33 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.