Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors
Parishioners often build a firewall around a pastor hit by scandal, a Christian author says. But when does loyalty turn unhealthy?
May 27th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The streets that were once choked with traffic are now bare. The church's sprawling parking lot is half full. Inside the stylish sanctuary, ushers sway to choir music in front of empty seats.

On a typical Sunday morning, New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta would be hopping. But on a recent Sunday, the sprawling church complex looked half-deserted and the mood seemed flat.

Six months after a sex scandal involving New Birth's senior pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, became public, the megachurch no longer packs them in. Yet there are loyalists, like C.D. Dixon, who have not joined the exodus.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Pastors

soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. T-party

    Theory of evolution is all but fact now. ....anyways why do folks stick by evil wrong doing preachers? easy answer weak minded cowardly brainwashed religious folks have no backbone or any common sense..

    May 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Calling someone brainwashed just means that the person refuses to bend to your will and continues to believe differently. 🙂 To them chances are you are the brainwashed one.

      Folks arrogance in believing that anyone who believes different must be something negative. Can't they just believe differently?

      May 30, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • T-party

      Mark from middle river ..hello thanks for the reply...safe Memorial day to you and your family...question was why folks still back all the numerous high profile preachers once they do not practice what they preach. I did not attack them for having different beliefs I just stated facts why religious fanatics stay faithful to their crooked leaders..

      May 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  2. JasonAle

    It's simply because these are the same delusional people who still believe in the fairy tales they were told as children. What can you expect from this lot.

    May 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • JasonAle

      And by fairy tales, I mean all the religious hocus pocus and other nonsense.

      May 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Adelina

      American Christians are good AND intelligent.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • doctore0

      Brainwashed sheep/slaves.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Every One is brainwashed. It just depends on who is making the claim.

      May 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Free

      I'd have to disagree with you in 'everyone' being brainwashed. The term has, however, been used in reference to the 'new religion/cult' phenomenon, and several seemingly 'mainstream' Christian sects have been proposed to fall into this category, including the rapture ready.

      The rapture ready, of which the Camping following is only a slightly more pronounced case it seems, are thriving on the same 'Culture of Fear' which is a method of brainwashing. There are people in our society who their achieve political goals by inciting fear in the general public, and a great many of them are religious leaders. Pat Robertson blaming Katrina on gays, for just one example, but there is a greater use of fear and war imagery within mainstream groups as well. As Hermann Goering put it:

      "The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

      Goering knew how to manipulate the German people with a good persecution tale, and it seems that plenty of Christian leaders have put it to use as well.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Brent

      I'm guessing you believed in that fairy tale of Obama.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  3. david


    May 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  4. Adelina

    It's because pastors are like human fathers. You don't give up on your human father instantly just because he became a criminal. As more details emerge, people will take appropriate actions. Christians pray that Mr. Long will repent and be renewed in God's grace. Every one of us needs repentance. Christians know looking at a person with lust is same as committing actual evil deeds. We will all stand before God and every hidden thing will be revealed. Jesus is the only defense against our own sins and He is the only One who can change us from foundation.

    May 28, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Free

      Like a human father ... that you support monetarily, who actually works for you, right? Pastors provide a service and parishioners pay his salary. The only really close parallel is like a parent who manages a child star. If the parent proves to be unfit for that job, isn't it prudent for the child to fire the parent and hire someone better suited to do the job? If he feels so a part of these people's lives what's to prevent Eddie Long from quitting his position as their paid pastor and simply joining the rest of the 'family' in the pews? Is there a limit to how much forgiveness and support you give a pastor before you let him go?

      May 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Adelina

      Free, I'd leave on the initial outbreak, but give more time to his congregation. We don't know everything yet. He may have shown genuine repentance and they may be praying for his restoration. He needs to refrain from ministries for some time in order to be biblical, among other things.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Free

      Well, if Long did have se.x with underage kids from his church then they need to remove him from having contact with kids altogether. I'm not sure if the role of 'pastor' in his church would allow such a restriction. If it doesn't, then they really ought to fire him. If they can't control his contact with their kids even with this, they should kick him out altogether. Redemption and Prodigal Sons are fine concepts, but if there is a risk of his 'backsliding' the kid's welfare comes first, wouldn't you say?

      May 30, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  5. KingdomCome

    @ John Richardson
    What has surprised me most through writing to others......is that by quoting reasons for my faith/beliefs I have solidified those convictions I hold dear and justified my reasoning. My faith grows as I ponder what the Bible says against what atheists think. I'm truly thankful that I stumbled into this blog-o-sphere and had a chance to hear atheists' voices/reasonings. It has been a time of great personal growth as a Christian. L'chaim 😉

    May 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Shonuff

      I keep seeing the same post by you. Please do not spam us with the same message over and over. It makes you sound disturbed and desperate.

      May 28, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • KingdomCome

      I posted it in the wrong section

      May 28, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  6. Evan

    Third Option Men nailed this subject in a recent post: http://www.thirdoptionmen.org/blog/who-amongst-us/

    May 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  7. David Johnson

    I blame the boys and the parents of the boys.

    If money makes the problem go away, then this has just been an exchange of goods. Right?


    May 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      At sixteen, I think you can blame the parents but this guy, I think, as of today, should shelter about 99% of the blame. He said he was going to fight it, the young men said they wanted their days in court.

      That both sides settled is, forgive me for saying, BS.

      How about this, as soon as a charge such as this is made and police, or the court system gets involved... one of two things happen. If only if, there is a out of court settlement then part of the settlement is that either the accuser gets charged for false reporting of a crime or the accused should be placed on the se'xual predator list and take on that ti'tle for life. Take the money, then take the jail time for filing false charges or take the negative ti'tle.

      I know folks are charged falsely all the time but these “out of court” settlements were stupid back with Jackson and they are stupid now. I have never been accused but I currently of the thought that I would rather go to jail and too my grave than to carry the mark of a pedophile.


      May 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      I hear you but disagree. These kids came from broken homes and the mothers looked to the pastor to provide father-like guidance. In my book, the blame squarely goes to the one who welded the power. Long!

      May 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      “These kids came from broken homes and the mothers looked.....”

      Steve, I gotta still agree with David, there is a part of this that has to fall on the mothers and if you add in the homes with the absent fathers then I would beg to say that those fathers really should share in this blame. If all the fathers are deceased then that is one thing but if any are still alive then they should also take some of the blame for what happened. That the mother of your child had to go searching for a “Father figure” should make them ashamed of being fathers.


      May 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  8. Karin

    Religion has its days numbered. As we evolve these beliefs become more and more ludicrous!

    May 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • KingdomWork

      Amen to that, Karin!
      Let's usher in TRUTH... the Bible states that TRUE religion is taking care of widows and orphans... I say it's having a back & forth relationship with God, myself...

      May 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • JohnR

      Hey, the holy rollers are showing up now! Things'll get more entertaining in a jiffy!

      May 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      Thank you! Keep it Rolling!!!

      May 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • JohnR

      Did someone remember to bring thr snakes?

      May 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Zeb

      @JohnR – You must be using a new definition of the word "interesting" that I have never heard of before.

      May 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Zeb

      I meant "entertaining"...sorry.
      They ARE the snakes, i think...

      May 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Fred

      "the Bible states that TRUE religion is taking care of widows and orphans"

      That's why there are hundreds of thousand children just in the US waiting to be adopted. Christians are really taking that line to heart. LOL!

      May 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Free

      " say it's having a back & forth relationship with God, myself..."

      And adding clergy into the relationship makes it a 'three_some', right?

      May 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      Like I said on another blog somewhere... Religion is dead... Legalistic points are dead... we are free to follow where we are led

      May 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ Free-dumb

      Wow! That's interesting!

      May 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      Wait, I'm supposed to be the Snake, right? I'm the CRAZY holy roller, right? Then why is it that you guys are making the off color comments? Hmph!?!

      May 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Free

      Off color?

      Maybe you just have a dirty mind? 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      Point proven... we're not ALL saints, right Eddie Long?

      May 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Free

      Even the saints weren't saints. It's an impossible ideal! I know, I grew up catholic! 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Know What

      KingdomWork: "I say it's having a back & forth relationship with God, myself..."

      I too used to think (feel) that I was communicating with the divine. I eventually discovered that I was talking to myself. There is no-one up/out/over there.

      May 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      When did you discover that you were talking with yourself? What switched your thought process?

      May 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Know What

      KingdomCome: "When did you discover that you were talking with yourself? What switched your thought process?"

      Good question. I do not have a short, pat answer.

      It took many years to finally admit it. Learning some psychology and physiology of the brain and brain chemistry's effects on physiological processes factored into it. I noticed that what I thought that "God" was saying to me changed as I changed opinions on certain things. "God" did not tell me anything that I hadn't already learned, been exposed to, or that I couldn't figure out using my imagination along with that previously learned information. I could cause the quickened heartbeat and other physical effects just by concentrating.

      I don't have time to describe the perhaps 20 years of the process; but it entailed much reading, listening, discussion and thought.

      May 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Snakes are off color? I was TRYING to make a mirthful "snake handler" allusion!

      Man, I hate it when you have to draw pictures to explain your jokes...

      May 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Zeb No, the Holy Spirit contingent bring a real element of High Weirdness to ANY theological discussion. Ivan Stang would understand!

      May 27, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ Know What
      "God" did not tell me anything that I hadn't already learned, been exposed to, or that I couldn't figure out using my imagination along with that previously learned information."

      I am so thankful that you wrote this... because you've given validity to my convictions... You see God has shown me things and taught me things that I am not capable of knowing on my own... He HAS shown me things that I couldn't have known without a supernatural encounter... No need to elaborate... as those experiences are also too detailed to express in a blog setting.... but I appreciate your honesty....
      Psst....I am not telling you this to try to change your beliefs 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      Dang. Did he just admit the whole multiple personality thing up there ?
      We actually have a bet going here about this. I think I just won. Oooh Oooh Oooh.

      May 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  9. ScottK

    Fool me once using religion or faith, shame on you. Fool me twice using religion or faith... no really, go ahead, fool me again because it's obvious I can be taken advantage of due to my weakness for wanting to believe i'm super special and that my soul will never die and that invisible beings that no one have ever seen before watch over me... sham on me...

    May 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  10. AtheistSteve

    The part of this story that bugs me is where it says that some credit the pastor for helping them to overcome some failing on their own part. Like somehow the pastors "fall from grace" is a reflection of their similar tribulations. Hey I'm all for getting/giving a helping hand or councel to assist in overcoming some hurdles. The only issue I have is when supernatural forces are the recipients of that credit. Hearing "If not for God's help I couldn't have kicked my alcoholism"..for instance makes me spit out my cornflakes. Maybe your belief and faith play some psychological part in your recovery but ultimately it was because you actually pulled up your socks and did something about your situation that turned the tide...not the intervening hand of intangible forces. If you fail to recognise your own strength in your triiumphs then you are destined to repeat the failures.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • CW

      @ AtheistSteve,

      Christians who give ultimate "credit to God" are only doing what is right. Doing this is no different than giving you giving credit to mom and pop when you graduate for always staying up and helping you with homework. You see....from your standpoint you can't "believe" or put "faith" in Almighty God.....that is your choice...but for those of us that have "FAITH"...God IS the ultimate guide in our lives so we give thanks for him leading us.

      May 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thanks for demonstrating my point. My parents actually did something tangible and real to help me reach graduation. The same cannot be said of your God.

      May 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • gozer

      CW, you attempt to speak for all with your grand general "we" but you don't speak for me. However, even in your case, giving attribution to a sky fairy for what you have done is misplacing both credit and blame. This is one of the biggest problems with religions, including yours. Here's to the day that humanity gets past idiotic superst-tions such as Christianity.

      May 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Free

      It's the difference between believing they are giving credit to a real God, and their actually giving credit to their belief in God. It's the belief that they hold that does all the work, not some outside force impressed by this belief granting favors.

      May 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Free – Excellent points there! Consider me a fan. I am glad there are people like you on the internet. And I'm jealous, too.

      May 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      The distinction you provide is minimal and still misdirected. The credit should properly be recognized as products of their own determination, will and effort. The real issue is pride. For some bizarre reason pride is seen a sin and so they feel guilt associated with self-actualized improvement. The flip side is equally poisonous. Human faillings are often viewed as falling victim to deceitful evil forces. So if things are going well then God is guiding you and if things are going badly then the devil is at work. This one degree removal of personal responsibility can only hamper a persons ego and reinforces dependence on faith. They truly are the meek.

      May 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • JohnR

      @AtheistSteve No, Free is right on this one. The psychological effects of attributing to a higher power, greater cause, whatever are real and not usefully denied. But this in turn doesn't mean that this sort of attribution to something supposedly great is necessary. When I quit alcohol many years ago, I was directed to AA meanings, but quit them in a jiffy as I saw they "god neediness" of the members in some ways more toxic than the alcohol addictions they were overcoming. Their prediction was that I would for sure relapse. Their prediction was false.

      May 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      A parent is tangable but if a person says that his actions to do in a community is because it is what he or she feels is a testiment of a parent then why not a person say the same thing for God?

      May 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Mark – Because there is no god. A fake god does fake things. There is enough proof of your god's non-existence to make a serious case for fraud where religion is concerned.
      Parents are tangible, yes. And so are other people. Not so with your "god". No actual physical or mental results can be attributed to any "god", so your analogy breaks down at that point.
      Analogies are like that, though. I avoid them when I can.
      Merely pointing to your god without proof is silly. It's just another assertion without proof.
      Why not quote the Bibble? It would make just as much sense, or nonsense rather, as your bare assertions do without proof.
      Believing something is so does not make it true, no matter how much you want it to be true or how comforting it is for you to do so.
      Made up stuff remains made-up stuff.
      Your beliefs do not have the power to change the truth of reality.
      All you can do is modify your beliefs to better reflect reality – or not.
      Reality is as real as it gets.
      What is fake remains fake.

      May 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Free

      Mark from Middle River
      But people actually do have parents that can be real influences in their lives. From my experience people don't have a real God influencing their lives. What they have is all in their heads. They got caught up with the 'idea' of God being real and this 'idea' has either had a positive affect on their lives, or a negative one.

      God, then, is like a goal that people strive for. For other people it's becoming a professional athlete, a celebrity, or some other measure of success that drives them forward and gives their lives a framework. Sometimes, people actually carry this goal all the way to personal success, and then they're able to say that they (themselves) had a dream and they made that dream come true. In a very real way then God is just another dream, a dream of becoming a better person and becoming successful (getting into heaven.), Like the millions who strive to become rich and famous some people can take the God dream and really make themselves into moral people, but most fall short.

      May 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ Zeb
      Can "peace" be proven? Without God there is no peace.

      May 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -King C...

      You Said to @Zeb...."Can "peace" be proven? Without God there is no peace."

      I would suggest that you are confusing 2 different things that are on differing logical levels and acting as if they are connected.

      When one is talking about the word..."peace"... it is a word/label that we attach to certain physical/bio-chemical reactions in the brain/body... we label...'peace.'

      You then go on to assert that without God... an as yet, unproven 'intangible' (concept) that there 'can't' be these said bio-physiological processes that actually do happen in our bodies, that we 'label' peace. So, you are incorrect in your not only connecting of the 2 but, assuming one is dependent on the other.

      So... 'peace' is a label. No God necessarily needed.



      May 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ Peace2all
      You r smart..

      May 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      “From my experience people don't have a real God influencing their lives.”

      Well if you have not experienced it and declared that others do not experience it then I guess you alone at the touchstone for every soul on this planet. 🙂

      Zeb, you say there is no God, I would love to go on a point to point debate asking you to prove your claim, since you made it. We have seen the arguments and those that hold Athiestic beliefs, I look upon some as the same as people o Faith. All beliefs are written in stone and just that you came to this blog and dare to post... I doubt that any will be shaken from his or hers beliefs.

      My argument holds. If two people have a choice to make and one says, I am a good person and I will base my choice on that I do not want to shame or dishonor my parents and the other says I will do such as to not shame my God or Lord, then to me it really is no difference.

      Unlike you I can only speak for myself and will not go and put my own beliefs into others I have never met based on the small amount of people I have met in my life. 🙂

      L'Chaim 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Mark – You quoted someone else's post (in this case "Free's" post) at the beginning of yours, so I hope you weren't getting us mixed up.
      As to a preponderance of evidence that your god does not exist, one has only to ask a Christian for proof of their god and they are always lacking that one thing. As to more proof, one has only to examine every religious claim and test it to see if it holds up under scrutiny – and we find that the Bible is adulterated BS, the Koran is BS, and every other religion out there is BS.
      I am confident that if you were to objectively test any religious claim to see if it could prove your god's existence, you would find the same things as the rest of us non-believers.
      A complete and utter lack of proof, added to the complete and utter lack of anything even suggesting that such proof might exist, is pretty much proof that your god does not exist.
      But don't let that stop you from being a good little mind-slave. Bliindly following the words of other people like yourself is just what this country needs as cannon-fodder on our front lines. Have you enlisted yet?

      And I wasn't speaking for anyone else but myself, so I'll ignore that part of your post, which I assume was directed to "Free".

      As to your argument, it holds only so far as it goes, which isn't very far at all.
      You seem to be saying something like "if someone makes good choices, it doesn't matter why"
      Isn't that like saying "the end justifies the means"? That's a slippery slope isn't it?
      I'm not saying you can't believe in your nonsense. But I am also free to scoff at your nonsense.
      Just because it helps you to make a good choice once in a blue moon, does not add any legitimacy to the thing at all.
      People should not need hallucinations and delusions to guide them into doing good things.
      But since our brains are vulnerable to this sort of thing, I don't expect much in the way of progress anyway.
      I hope that my explanation helps you to understand my viewpoint a little better, as you seemed to be misunderstanding me a bit or maybe getting me confused with someone else..

      May 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Free and John R
      Maybe I'm a bit out of my element here...psychology isn't my forte like the physical sciences are but I did acknowledge the psychological effects in the opening part of this post. I don't for a second believe that supernatural forces are at work but believers do. Free was correct in identifying the motivation as you say but what I meant was that the belief itself is one unnessesary step removed from the actual steps required to affect change.
      Now quick...someone change the subject so I can rail on about the Big Bang.

      May 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ->“one has only to ask a Christian for proof of their god and they are always lacking that one thing. ”

      The thing is that you stated there was no God so the burden is on you to prove it to me. 🙂

      ->“As to your argument, it holds only so far as it goes, which isn't very far at all.”

      The distance that the argument goes only as far as the person listening to it goes. That you state that to you it does not go that far is noted but not shocking for someone in opposition.

      Also, I did not limit it to good choices. When I stated this I was also thinking of those that go out and kill others that are different than them because they feel that's what their parents wanted are not that different from ones of Faith that say they want to beat up a gay person because this is what they feel God wants them to do. Sorta Westburo type of thinking. In both cases the actions can be something that they think someone or something they have placed above themselves will absolve them or approve their actions.

      -> Cool, you are the one stomping your feet God does not exist God does not exist. 🙂 Gotcha..I get your concept. Disagree with it, but I get your belief.

      May 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      -> "Now quick...someone change the subject so I can rail on about the Big Bang."

      Can you explain String theory 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Mark From Middle River
      Whats to explain? String Theory is theoretical physics. It's main goal is to reconcile the two fields of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a theory of everything. The current holy grail of science is to try to bring the science of the very big and the science of the very small into synch with each other. Gravity is the sticky point here and String Theory is but one of many attempts to incorporate gravity at the quantum level to merge the two fields.

      May 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @AtheistSteve The act/state of believing in a higher power, greater cause, something BIG is indeed neither necessary nor anywhere near sufficient, but it has proven efficacious for many. The rather dire downside, however, is the obvious one: something irrationally believed in is credited as THE critical element and, in the mind of the believer, the irrational belief is deemed not only rational, but fully vindicated. I believe that this may be THE single most potent mechanism in the persistence of irrational belief, from the relatively benign (eg belief in crystals and dream catchers and all sorts of silly new age goo) to the horrific.

      May 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ Atheist Steve
      "So if things are going well then God is guiding you and if things are going badly then the devil is at work."

      On the contrary, Steve, in the Christian faith, I thought the general consensus was that you should suffer for Christ... we shouldn't think it's strange when we are persecuted for our faith....we should EXPECT it..... isn't it said that we are not above our teacher, Jesus...

      May 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Free

      Mark from Middle River
      "Well if you have not experienced it and declared that others do not experience it then I guess you alone at the touchstone for every soul on this planet."

      Well, I'm not a woman either and I've never experienced the love some women feel for the men who abuse them, but I know enough that there is something very wrong with the whole situation and that what they call 'love' is some kind of twisted mental state. Same goes for women in 'plural' marriages where the husband forbids them from having multiple partners, and dozens of other situations. So, you see, you don't have to actually experience a thing to know that it ain't right.

      May 27, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Been waiting to see some of your NLP an-alysis that you were talking to FP about I wish I had time to take a class in that. Any "best book" suggestions ? I have a sus-pi-cion it's the answer to many of our ills, if they only defined their terms, they would never just throw around such ridiculous notions.

      May 28, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Free

      "but what I meant was that the belief itself is one unnessesary step removed from the actual steps required to affect change."
      Let's put it this way, often people don't have the willpower to affect change for themselves, but they will summon enough willpower to affect change for a loved one, yes? Can't stop smoking on your own, but one look at your newborn and suddenly you have the motivation you need, right? 'God' is the ultimate loved one to affect change for because he can be loved to a degree only limited by the imagination... and he rewards you for doing so. For God you can act selflessly and selfishly both at once! No wonder it's such a compelling belief.

      So... How about that Big Bang? It sure was... Big, wasn't it? 🙂

      May 28, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Free


      “Does anyone know...does the Christian persecution complex have an expiration date? Because...uh...you've all been in charge pretty much since...uh...what was that guys name...Constantine. He converted in, what was it, 312 A.D. I'm just saying, enjoy your success.” Jon Stewart

      May 28, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • KingdomCome

      Keep-em coming... love the insults... maybe I'll earn a sparkly crown for all your attacks...lol

      May 28, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Free

      Insults? Being a bit sensitive, aren't ya fella? Christianity being the top ideology in our society since Constantine is just the reality of the situation. You are the vast majority. It's nobody else's fault that many of you have a persecution complex and can't take any criticism.

      May 28, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  11. David Johnson

    I always knew Brother Eddie would make things right.


    May 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  12. JohnQuest

    They are sheep and will follow anyone that (they agree with) to He-ll. See Ar(NOTE: No I do not believe in He-ll, that's just a descriptive term for a negative).

    See Adelina comments for an example.

    May 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  13. Stevie7

    I find that people's sense of self can become so intertwined with another that to reject that person would be a rejection of the self. People just dismiss, deflect, and ignore that which is uncomfortable or painful. This certainly isn't limited in any way to the religious as we see it all the time with spouses, families, and friends of those who commit heinous crimes. People like to stay in their comfort zone, unhealthy though that may be.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Stevie7 – Good points there. I have plenty of comfort zones myself. I find them to be very comforting. Heh.

      May 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Stevie7


      Well played, sir

      May 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Really?

      People also tend towards denial because they feel an attachment for the criminal not unlike that of a family. The acts of the criminal also bring a sense of shame for being tricked, affecting their own self esteem, so people sometimes refuse to acknowledge it even to the point of being irrational. This situation is similar to what occurs if the staff of a school, or sports & social club mentors are accused. It also occurs in families & communities, where relatives & friends will choose sides & either vilify the victims, or shun the abuser. It actually does not matter whether the molestation occurs in a religious organization or not, because religion has nothing to do with this phenomena. Mothers have thrown their own children out of their homes, denying the abuse occurred with someone the parent trusted.

      July 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  14. Reality

    These "loyalists" are either on the payroll or they suffer from the very common ailment called the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their religion.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  15. Adelina

    He should repent and learn how to behave from scandal-free preachers such as Dr. Billy Graham.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Free

      Billy, Nixon and their opinion of Jews, all on tape. 'Nuff said!

      May 27, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • CatholicMom


      For me, a preacher should come from the lineage of the Apostles, the men who were sent out by Jesus Christ.

      My reason being: Jesus Christ said that He was sent by the Father [with Authority] and that is how He sent His Apostles out…with His Authority. John 20:21 He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. John 13:20 ‘Amen, Amen I say to you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.’

      When Jesus said ‘do this’ [in memory] He was speaking to His Apostles. What did He want them to do? Take this bread and wine, His body and blood, and eat it, and do this in memory….after His death…continue doing it. This is the moment Jesus Christ inst!tuted the Holy Eucharist and He gave the power [ordained priests] to continue with transubstantiation after His death to His Apostles and their successors. John 6:52 ‘If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

      I have listened to Dr. Billy Graham on tv as he is quite a likeable man but has he said anything about this? Or this?:

      Acts of the Apostles 2:38 ‘But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’.

      It seems I heard him say that what we have to do is say the sinner’s prayer and we will be saved; I cannot find that prayer in the Bible. Now I know I have not listened to every one of his programs and I could be way wrong about what he mainly emphasizes.

      Scandal-free is a good thing, yes; my neighbor may be scandal-free but does he preach the Truth?

      May 28, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Free

      Jesus sometimes spoke clearly, but also used flawed characters in parables to illustrate his points, yes? If all Christians are sinners then all are flawed characters, and any pastor's failings can be teachable moments, as we say. Of what good is a perfect pastor? Indeed, the prodigal son model seems for Christians to favor people who struggle with their faith far more than the steadfast pew regulars. So, wouldn't something like this give Long more 'street cred' amongst Christians?

      May 30, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • CatholicMom

      We are all called to be saints which means to be perfect. Only with Jesus Christ working through us do we have a chance at it. Once Baptized we can persevere to that end.
      Matthew 5:48
      Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    So long as there are people looking to fill a void in their lives with supersti.tion, there will be crooked shamans to take advantage.
    Faith is not a virtue. It is a willful suspension of critical thought.
    If you purposely shun skeptical analysis, you will eventually fall prey to one con-man or another – and there are plenty of religious charlatans out there.
    Beware of anybody who offers salvation and then asks for money.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Doc, I was about to post, but you pretty much captured what I was going to say. So, my post is "Yeah, what Doc said".

      May 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Agreed. I've lived my life by two rules that have never steered me wrong:

      1) People always act in their own self-interest.
      2) If you're going to park it there, may sure you can back it out again.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Doc V.

      Well said...



      May 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      "Beware of anybody who offers salvation and then asks for money"
      Doc, I tremble as I write this but this was actually really good and I agree! Of course the first half of your post was shaky but as far as the 2nd half goes! SWEET!

      May 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Zeb

      Love me that Doc Vestibule!

      May 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  17. Finger Puppet

    Great job Mr.Blake.
    Finally, CNN allowed an analytical piece.
    I also wonder if the settlement of the civil law suit, also ends the possibility of criminal charges against Mr. Long, or are they still pending, (or never considered), and if not, why not ?

    May 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  18. Zeb

    Kudos to John Blake for this well-written and always timely article. Thanks, dude!
    I agree with "Free" all the way down the line, too. Good points there, Free.
    Now if anyone had any solutions to these problems beyond getting rid of religion, I'd be glad to consider them, as the separation of church and state is constantly being ignored from a legal standpoint in these cases....

    May 27, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Zeb

      Does anyone know why these posts are going up in reverse order??

      May 27, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Reality

      The moderators have had significant problems with chronological placement of comments. Putting the last comments first is a significant improvement. Some blogs give commentators a choice.

      Keep in mind also that the moderators also continue using a secret word filter. This may have something to do with the last comment being listed first.

      To wit:

      • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.

      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.
      okay words that you might not expect to be filtered....!!!

      Here's a word to add to the banned list: co-co-on
      whether it's c-oc, or co-on, this is ridiculous.”

      To wit

      May 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Reality – Hi there. I see you are still using some of my older lists. This reverse order thingy will take some getting used to.
      I'm going to have to go back and find the last one I posted. I lost the originals out of my computer when I lost the internet weeks ago. Thanks for reminding me, even though that may not have been your intention. 😛

      May 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Zeb

      Here's the newest one I could find, but it is missing a new word or two....please, Reality, would you update your list?
      I went to alot of trouble to put these in alphabetical order you know...!
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      Allowed words / not blocked at all:

      raping (ra-pe is not ok)
      shat (sh-@t is not ok)
      The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

      May 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Zeb

      I should also add to the list this link for the curious:


      May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Reality


      Somehow I missed your original listing. My standard warning has now been updated. Danke Schoen!!!

      May 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      You can add ; "an-al-ysis", if it's not there.
      Appreciate your efforts.

      May 28, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Zeb


      May 28, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Zeb

      How silly of me, "anal" is listed as a word that works okay. You bad, my bad too. I should have looked closer at the second list.

      May 28, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Zeb, you asked, 'Does anyone know why these posts are going up in reverse order??'

      So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen. [Matthew 20-16.]

      May 28, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Zeb

      @CatholicMom – Thank you! My first good laugh of the day! Very funny indeed!

      May 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  19. CW

    Its called forgiveness...Its called "judging him not lest they be judged". If this pastor did it...then he will get punished one way or the other...Our Lord always punishes those that do wrong.

    Whether he did it or not....none of us will know...only these men that accused him and the pastor do.

    May 27, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • JohnR

      But it seems as though Long wants to settle out of court, admit no wrongdoing and be seen as exonerated. He isn't even asking forgiveness. A little contrition would go a long way.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Frogist

      @CW: If your religious leader and or church is involved in something you know to be wrong, but you return everyday and give them donations and don't speak up about your objections, I think you've already done the judging. You've decided by your actions that the organisation is A-OK with you. But you're also rewarding that organisation through monetary and psychological support. The people who return and don't confront the issues surrounding Bishop Long have already judged him to be fine with them.

      May 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -CW...

      I'm going with @JohnR & @Frogist's postings here. They make some really good points that you 'may' want to consider.



      May 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      CW, My brother, I have to disagree with you. Here is why:
      1. Paul chastises the Corinthian church for taking disputes before secular judges. He then asks them why they cannot judge matters for themselves.

      2. The judge not scripture everyone seems to like to quote concerns hypocritical judgement. Judging some one for doing the same thing I am doing. that is what that scripture address.

      3. if it were me, I'm outta there!

      4. I would forgive him BUT from a distance! Meaning he would no longer be my pastor! He would have to repent , step down, and seek counselling!

      5. I have agreed with Frogist once and Doc V twice today. I"m scared! 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Steve(the real one)

      Steve... *breathe*.... It's o.k my friend, we have been slowly 'converting' you for quite some time now. Just go with it... It will be all o.k. ! Remember the famous line from the 'Borg'...."Resistance is Futile" ... LOL !!

      You're a good sport -Steve... 🙂



      May 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  20. Free

    Very good article, explaining how many factors may be at play in this. I particularly liked this part from the full story:

    "There is a suspension of common sense, a refusal to put two and two together," Thompson said. "For a lot of people, this is the man who gave them the keys to a whole new way of living. They can't separate the good they received from the man himself, so they feel it would be a betrayal to turn on him now."

    They feel a loyalty for the change in themselves they credit to their pastor. It's the same dynamic people face when they are confronted with the evidence against God being real. They can't separate the positive influence that religion has had in their lives from the this reality either.

    May 27, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Free: But for the vast majority of people you can show them physical proof of the wrongdoing of their pastor etc and they would admit that they were wrong. You can't do that with their god since there's no physical proof of their god.
      I often wonder what it would take to convince people to become an atheist. I mean so many people on the blog are non-believers... maybe it would be helpful in the quest to explain our position to others to examine how we all got that way.

      May 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Zeb

      @Frogist – Please, not another round of "what-happened-to-me" stories!
      Non-believers giving "testimony" will just be ignored the same way we ignore their "testimony"...but it was a nice thought.
      What would work would be simple de-programming, but the resources needed to make it a positive experience would be somewhat prohibitive, I think, even though it can be done easily enough given the right conditions beforehand.
      Psychology, real psychology and not the pseudo-scientific sort, would make it go very smoothly, but their madness is legally protected to some extent, even though it is basically fraudulent.
      We suffer from a lack of accountability and lack the willingness to address these problems in the first place.
      "Comfort zones" is what someone else was talking about. We all have them and want to protect them as they are often the only comfort we feel comfortable with, if that makes any sense...
      With an "intervention", there must be support for it, and we don't have much of that right now. Sorry.

      May 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Free

      "maybe it would be helpful in the quest to explain our position to others to examine how we all got that way."

      You mean stories of how we got 'saved'... from religion? 🙂

      Actually, kidding aside, I suspect that we each would have a personal story to tell in how we came to the atheist conclusion, similar in spirit to the classic evangelical tale however different the end result may be. You're right about trying to convince people. The problem with trying to disprove God is that each believer holds their personal definition of God in their heads and they chose what they consider 'proof' of his existence for themselves as well. So it's really up to them to discover the disproof for themselves as well.

      So, don't take it as a failure if you are unable to convince people. I don't believe that it's our job to convert people to atheism but, if you feel the need to, all you can do is throw out reasons and hope that one matches what the believer needs as disproof.

      May 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      I would love to hear "testimony" for your athiest beliefs... I grew up only knowing and believing one way... though my beliefs have grown upon evolving concepts that I hold true

      May 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Zeb

      @KingdomCome – Nothing fancy here, just a search for truth. Religion has no truth. Simple, really.

      May 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      "Nothing fancy here, just a search for truth. Religion has no truth. Simple, really."

      Does relationship have truth? I have a question for everyone... Why is it when someone mentions "Jesus" the conversations become malicious, venomous or passionate? Why does it seem as if Christianity is ruthlessly attacked, prevented and scorned? Why don't we see other faiths/beliefs attacked to the same degree or to an equal level?

      May 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Kingdom Come: Oh, I've scorned many a faith in the day. The particular discussion we are currently a part of is about a Christian miscreant and there are a lot of Christians on the blog in general, hence a lot of debate between those particular believers vs non-believers. But one of my own more memorable internet battles against credulity was me versus a whole bunch of wild-eyed Terrence McKenna toadies. I even had a bunch of George Carlin fanatics go totally nuts on me when I said that I found one of his skits unfunny, stupid in conception and more than a little mean-spirited. One of his fan boys actually said that if I like ANY of Carlin's humor (which I do – quite a bit, in fact), I MUST like ALL of it. How's THAT for noodleheaded defense of orthodoxy?

      May 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @ John Richardson
      Okay, I had to google Terrence McKenna... would you equate me to a toadie , a Christian miscreant, or a Carlin fanatic? HA! I hope none... I just like to read and question others' beliefs...

      May 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @KingdomCome: Well, I certainly have no reason to suspect you of being a miscreant at all, let alone at the level of Bishop Long, and so far, your demeanor has compared quite favorably to the McKenna-ites and Carlin-ites I encountered. And that's the amazing thing. You'd think that mushroom ingesting neo-hippies and comedy fans would be amongst the least shrill in their beliefs (especially since the McKenna-ites in particular aspire to having no belief system at all), whereas you might think you'd be treading into rough neighborhoods taking on Farrakhan supporters or even Noam Chomsky disciples (political far left types of a rather specific sort hard to define in a few words), but debates I've had with them have tended be be remarkably civilized by any standard and enormously more civilized than the exchanges I had with these particular McKenna and Carlin adherents. The world of ideas can be an amazing place, full of surprises.

      May 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      @John Richardson

      What has surprised me most through writing to others......is that by quoting reasons for my faith/beliefs I have solidified those convictions I hold dear and justified my reasoning. My faith grows as I ponder what the Bible says against what atheists think. I'm truly thankful that I stumbled into this blog-o-sphere and had a chance to hear atheists' voices/reasonings. It has been a time of great personal growth as a Christian. L'chaim

      May 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Zeb

      @KingdomDumb – You sound more like you're trying to convince yourself of something. Like maybe saying it will make it true, but reality doesn't work that way. Sorry.

      May 28, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • KingdomCome

      Remember there are two kingdoms within this world, Zeb!
      In my mind, I'm good with inferring that which is around me.... Happy to have atheists make my beliefs more concrete, that's all!!! Are you irritated by my happiness? That's not peaceful.

      May 28, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Peace2All

      @John R.

      BTW- I had noticed your thoughts about Chomsky (political views). Political views aside, he is a major contributor to the field of linguistics, and cognitive psychology, among others.

      We'll forgive him for some of his political views. 😀



      May 28, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Zeb

      @KingdumCome – How silly of me. I was thinking you knew what you were talking about.
      Well, I've been wrong before...oh, well....

      May 28, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • KingdomCome

      That's the best you could do?....

      May 28, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • KingdomCome

      We are all getting tired I suppose, it's okay... I forgive you

      May 28, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • Zeb

      @KindofDumb – What sort of response would you prefer? Another "meh" to add to your growing collection?
      Really, if you just want to talk to yourself, feel free. We're not here for you. Or at least I'm not. I have no use for you at all.
      You say totally batshlt-crazy stuff with plenty of sincerity. That doesn't make you correct, it just makes you appear to be oblivious to your own mental illness. I'd have more fun arguing with Adelina, to tell you the truth. Sorry I'm not the sort to shoot an unarmed man in a battle of wits, but I really do have other things I could be doing you see.
      I'm just drifting around bored at the moment, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered posting this at all.
      There. Better now? I am limbering up my typing muscles. You are wasting your time. I will help you that much at least....

      May 28, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Free

      "Happy to have atheists make my beliefs more concrete, "
      So, does that mean that if we atheists weren't around your beliefs would be less concrete?!?

      May 28, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Free

      "though my beliefs have grown upon evolving concepts that I hold true"
      What a pleasant treat to hear a Christian who is not afraid to use the word 'evolve' correctly, and without the venom that usually accompanies it's use in this blog. Thank you!

      May 28, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • CatholicMom


      When KingdomCome said, ‘though my beliefs have grown upon evolving concepts that I hold true’ maybe he was talking about the ‘fullness’ of Truth that we can expect from the Holy Spirit as we can bear it.
      This is Jesus talking to His Apostles:
      John16 12:13 I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth.

      May 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Peace Linguistics is where I first encountered Chomsky. Without question, he revolutionized linguistics and cognitive psychology for the better in terms of aims and goals, but his own actual nuts and bolts stuff has often been less than convincing. Oh, and I saw you are into NLP. My best friend's partner is deeply into it and I know that one of its founders, John Grinder, was a generative linguist back in the day whose work I was at one time quite familiar with. I maintain marginal contact with the field at best, though I did present at a conference a few years back for the first time in a long time. Interests come, flourish awhile and then go, eh?

      May 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • JohnR

      @KingdomCome FWIW, I think I understand why you feel debating others makes your faith stronger. I would expect that having to articulate your beliefs would help make them more coherent. I have sensed a real benefit to at least those somewhat debates in which the issues themselves remained the focus. Sometimes I find myself having to change my mind a bit, other times I've felt that while my basic position is unchanged, I actually understand the issues better. I would imagine the same or similar could happen in the case of articulating one's faith in the course of debate.

      May 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Very interesting John, that you know about Grinder in relationship to NLP. Good to know !! And...you are probably also aware, that some of the basic foundations were modeled after some of Chomsky's work, yes...?

      I'm curious... I am not clear as to what conference you are referring to...? Also, do you have any certifications in NLP...? If so, who have you done your training with...?

      Always interesting to learn a bit more about the people here on the blogs, yes...?

      Anyway, catch ya' on the flip...

      Peace brother...

      May 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Free

      You're Catholic, yes? So, it's OK for you to appreciate a remark about evolution, you know? You don't have to automatically disagree with me just because I'm an atheist.

      May 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • CatholicMom


      The dictionary states that evolution is an ‘unfolding’, a ‘growth’, and lastly, a theory about animals, plants, and such. Since KingdomCome was talking about his beliefs and concepts, we know he wasn’t referring to a theory about animals. I wasn’t disagreeing with you, as you said, because you say you are an atheist…didn’t know I was disagreeing and didn’t know you were atheistic. Just thought I could shed some light on how it is we can evolve in beliefs and concepts…that is receive fullness of Truth as time evolves.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Free

      I think you are confusing the 'Theory of Evolution' with the more common usage of the word 'evolve'. KingdomCome was relating how his thinking has changed over time which is a correct use of the word 'evolve.' I was merely making a joke about conservative Christian's repulsion in using that word in any context, and you've apparently proven my point. Thank you!

      May 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      No, I think you did not think KingdomCome should so freely use the word ‘evolve’ because you ‘think’ conservative Christian’s are repulsed by the word and because you think only atheists can use the word properly. But as you see, the word merely means just what the dictionary says it means…and no one, not even you, should be repulsed by its use.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:04 am |
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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.