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Amid Bachmann controversy, many Christians cool to conversion therapy for gays
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus, who says his counseling business uses conversion therapy for clients who request it.
July 18th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Amid Bachmann controversy, many Christians cool to conversion therapy for gays

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - When presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, addressed accusations that his Christian counseling business encourages homosexual clients to try to change their sexual orientation, he appeared to play down the role of so-called conversion therapy at his clinics.

"Is it a remedy form that I typically would use?” Bachmann told Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper. “It is at the client's discretion.

"We don't have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone," Bachmann said, noting that such therapy was not a focus of his two clinics.

Michele Bachmann officially quits her church

Bachmann’s seeming ambivalence about conversion therapy - sometimes called reparative therapy - after a week’s worth of news stories that raised questions about whether his clinics promote the practice may illustrate a broader trend in the conservative Christian subculture.

While many evangelicals once viewed conversion therapy as key way to deal with homosexuality, many of the religious movement's leaders and organizations have cooled to the practice in recent years, as more science suggests that homosexuality may be innate and as new therapeutic approaches have emerged.

“Evangelicals, in quiet ways, are shifting to this position to where there is just not a lot of support for the change paradigm,” said Warren Throckmorton, an influential voice in the world of Christian counseling, referring to so-called change therapy.

“In the late 1990s, the debate was clearly, ‘Could gays change from being gay?’ and the focus was on orientation, and it was a big part of politics,” said Throckmorton, an associate professor of psychology at Grove City College, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

One sign of that shift, Throckmorton says, is the influential evangelical group Focus on the Family’s 2009 decision to stop funding a program teaching that “transformation is possible for those unhappy with same-sex attractions." (Focus, which said the move was due partly to financial pressures, handed the program off to another Christian group.)

The head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, meanwhile, a leading conservative Christian, has recently chided some evangelicals for characterizing homosexuality as a choice that’s relatively easy to change.

“We have spoken carelessly and unknowledgeably in the past to just say, ‘Just change. Just decide right now your pattern of attraction is not homosexual but heterosexual,’ ” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler said. "We have to know better.”

“We understand that sexual attraction and a profile of someone’s sexuality is a complex of factors, some of which are certainly not chosen,” he continued. “It’s not just a matter of choice. It’s not something that’s turned on or turned off.”

Exodus International, the national Christian organization that promotes "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," has de-emphasized conversion therapy in recent years as more of the counselors in its network have abandoned the practice.

“In the 1980s and '90s, the counseling emphasis was heavier than it was today,” said Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus. “Transformation in Christ is possible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will never be tempted or completely move beyond a certain struggle that we might have.

“But we can live through the filter of our faith and abide by that most, and leave behind all sorts of things that have power of us,” said Chambers, who once identified as gay but who says he no longer does.

Most conservative Christians point to biblical passages that condemn homosexuality and believe the Bible teaches that sex is to be reserved for married men and women.

The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution condemning conversion therapy in 2009, saying that “mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.”

But the same resolution also encouraged therapists to consider the religious beliefs of clients who say such beliefs are important to their views of homosexuality.

Some Christian counselors have moved away from reparative therapy and have adopted a therapeutic approach that Throckmorton describes as a “congruence paradigm.” The model encourages counselors to appreciate a client’s wishes to harmonize their values, often shaped by religion, and their sexuality.

Under the congruence approach, a religious person who considers homosexuality sinful could attempt to square their beliefs and sexuality by trying to remain celibate. A bisexual client who perceives a similar conflict could try to focus on heterosexual relationships.

But under the congruence model, it’s up to the client - not the therapist - to decide how to view his or her sexual orientation. “If they say 'I think being gay is OK and it’s what I want to pursue,' we’ll work with them to do that, too,” said Throckmorton.

Evangelical re-examination of conversion therapy is part of a larger conversation under way among conservative Christians on how to respond to homosexuality at a time when more gay people are coming out, when there's a new awareness of the bullying that many young gay people face and when the gay rights movement is making some big strides, including, in some states, legalized gay marriage.

“We’re silly to think that there are not gays coming to church, part of our congregations,” said Marcus Yoars, the editor of Charisma, a popular Christian magazine. “It’s the elephant in the room. Its ridiculous that we can’t address it in a manner of love first, which doesn’t mean watering down biblical teaching.”

For the first time in years, Charisma put the issue of homosexuality on the cover of its magazine for the July issue, in a package that includes a story of a woman who says she was “rescued from lesbianism.”

But Yoars said that conversion therapy should be seen as only a small part of the Christian response to homosexuality.

“We have to realize that reparative therapy is a fraction of what’s out there, especially in Christian counseling,” he said. “When it’s reduced to sound bites, it gives (the therapy) a bad rap and falls into the stereotype of all Christians feeling that this kind of therapy is what all Christian counselors should use.”

Another factor behind the new evangelical conversation around homosexuality and conversion therapy is a generational shift on attitudes toward the issues. Recent polls show that young evangelicals are much more supportive of rights for gay partners than their parents are, even as they mirror their parents' opposition to abortion.

"Retaining young people is crucial, and a more accepting generation will not tolerate business as usual when it comes to the debate over homosexuality," wrote Jonathan Merritt, a young evangelical leader, in a recent opinion piece. "Pastors need not compromise their convictions, but they can expect congregants to call for a more accepting, forgiving message – a more Christian message.

"If Christian leaders can’t make that transition – and quickly – instead of an awakening," Merritt wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, "evangelicals may be facing an exodus."

–CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • Michele Bachmann • Politics • Uncategorized

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soundoff (2,293 Responses)
  1. brizzolata

    They're in a big meeting right now, trying to figure out who the can hate next.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Bob

      So let me get this, If you consul someone on something you believe is wrong, you are a hater. Did your mother, father or teacher ever consul you not to throw sticks or stones at another person because it was wrong ? The World is just sooo full of haters !

      July 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  2. how

    A lifestyle that was created out of Rebellion.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Patrick

      How ignorant.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Patrick

      I spent half my life trying to "pray the gay away", years and years of celibacy, dating the opposite gender and trying to do anything I could come up with to actually generate a genuine attraction to the opposite $ex and fit in and be happy and make my parents happy and you have the nerve to say:

      "A lifestyle that was created out of Rebellion."

      You're a total unfeeling jerk.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Patrick

      And if there is an afterlife, and I believe there is, you'll get everything you're due.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • what

      Hard to believe?, look at the amount of cuss words they use to prove a point.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Patrick

      Which cuss word did I use?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Paul in Louisville

      Really, Bob? Watched Fox News lately? The right-wing has cornered the market on intolerance and hate. To pin this on progressives is, in a word, hilarious.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • stejo

      how – you prefer a lifestyle built out of the Empire?

      July 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      says the non gay person. I don't personally know any gays who are rebellious but plenty of straights who are.

      July 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  3. jimbo

    Tsk-tsk.... This is amazing in that instilling fear and hated of gays in the church-going population has essentially been a HUGE fundraiser for the church for eons now. They're gonna have to invent another boogeyman to scare the dollars out of the pockets of their flocks! Maybe they'll target Muslims or immigrants next?

    July 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • PandoraDoggl

      Christianity isn't about fear; it's about freedom. Do you know what it is that churches do with that money that their congregants put into their plates? We feed the hungry. We clothe the naked. We heal the sick. We visit those in prison. And we do all those things voluntarily, without a government twisting our arms to do it. The purpose of the Church is to be Christ's body on Earth – to realize the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth – where there is no sickness, no pain, no death, no need unmet. It is a desire to make these things real that fuels giving to the Church, not fear. It seems that your ideas of what goes on inside a church are more well informed by the Simpsons than they are by actually having been there or read a Bible.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • LThomson

      Pandoral, what you're describing isn't religion, it's community. Religion is just the set of rules a particular community goes by, or a defining boundary for a community. But you do away with all the hocus pocus and keep the rules that are universal both to all faiths and to the best interests of collective behaviour and presto, you still have the community.

      That's what religion is all about.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bob

      I thought Christianity was about forgiveness. The only fear and hated here now adays is the intolerence of political progressives towards anyone that doesn't fall lock step in line with their point of view.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • rebuker

      no matter how much you claim, that Christians are haters, the word of God says Roman chapter one is very clear on what God thinks about Gays, and chapter two speaks on people who have pleasures in the acts that are committed by the ones in chapter one, the word of God is the judge, you shall know them by their fruits, Gal, 5, the Christians need to stand up. Jesus is holy and anyone who claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ will live according to his word, he did not die on the cross for people to remain in theirs sins or remain gay, john 3, says you must be born again, and if someone comes to jesus and still remain the same, they didn't get it. and need to go back to the altar, no matter what man says God has the final word, and it's not going to changed, just because people don't believe, he's not going to change his word to suit our purpose, neither is he going to lower his standards just to please us,or come down on our level because people get angry over his ways, he all ready has come down to our level in the form of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, so no way is being Gay is good,and accepted with God, Hell awaits those who don't repent and change their ways.The word of God is sharp, and powerful as a two edged sword, the truth hurt, the word of God cuts, that's why people get angry when you tell them about their wrong doings, no where in the bible does God endorse sin or wrong doing, call it judging if you want to ISA;48, cry loud and spare not show my people their transgression.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      "It is very clear what god thinks about gays" Um.. No it isn't. God didn't write that, man did. god loves gays, because he created them and everything else.

      July 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  4. factsOnly

    These two Morons are a great match.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  5. johnutah

    The Gays hate this talk "Conversion therapy"
    The bottom line is that a man is not supposed to stick his piece into another mans anus. A decent and moral society will never tolerate such behavior. When immorality reigns that is when the world is one day closer to the end.
    Hate the sin but not the sinner, I can live with that. All human beings are born free of sin, they choose to go astray.
    The devil just whispers, its up to us if we respond or not.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ooops

      hey john – SHADDUP already – f'n clown

      July 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • sbp

      Look, I think gay acts are gross, but I think fried grasshoppers are gross. But they are both considered a delicacy in Thailand. How are you the authority on what the "bottom line" is as to what a person should or should not do, and what is moral and tolerable? Why is sticking your piece into a man's hoohoo intolerable but a woman's wooohhooo is OK?

      Oh, right, it says so in a book. That is your entire argument, in essence.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Patrick

      Was the mouth made as a receptacle for $exual organs? For that matter, why did God make men with nipp1es? Questions? Comments?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Matador

      Who are you to decide this? Some dude in Utah? Get your mind out of other peoples' bedrooms pervert. I don't tell you you can't have 5 wives.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • stejo

      sbp – I'm heading to Thailand, and it ain't for the grasshoppers, lol.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • jjbay

      What in Psalm 51, when David said I was born in sin, followed by Calvin and Luther's Protestant Reformation doctrine of Total Depravity?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Jakey

      Yeah, like ancient Rome! Oh, wait, no, it didn't fall until after Christianity became the official religion and being gay became punishable by death. Okay, bad example.

      Oh, but China! In ancient times they allowed unions between two people of the same gender, and THAT culture has hardly survived throughout...oh, right. Okay, not them either.

      Ah, but Denmark! They were the first country in modern times to legalize gay marriage and have had it for over twenty years now. When it was put on the books, about 75% of Danish clergy protested that society would be destroyed. And NOW that number has risen to almost 90%...oh, no, wait, that's almost 90% of the clergy who now agree that it has concretely improved life in Denmark for everybody.

      I'm sorry, I guess I'm stumped. It seems there's no evidence that approving of gay relationships destroys society. No evidence at all.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Ozymandias71

      "Hate the sin but not the sinner, I can live with that. " Of COURSE you can – you're the one doing the sin-hating, sinner-loving, right?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616122106.htm

      July 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Norton

      Your fairy tale god doesn't exist. FYI the world is a tad older than 6,000 years, it doesn't take much critical thinking to come to the conclusion that all of the world cults are a based on nothing more than the ideas of misogynists.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Al

      Why then did your God make so many gay men, and gay animals? You sir are a d*uch.

      July 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Ancient Marinator

      john, this therapy can also cure you of being so mormonic, but only if you really want to change.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  6. Ozymandias71

    John Paulk. Michael Johnston. Wade Richards. Gary Cooper. Michael Bussee. John Evans. Colin Cook. Jeremy Marks. Phil Hobizal. Christopher Austin. These are the names of but a fraction of those who once led, established, or became 'poster boys' for the ex-gay movement. What do they all have in common? All of these men either a) renounced 'ex-gay' therapy as a hoax or b) were caught red-handed being intimate with other Gay men.

    There's an ever-growing number of ex-gay survivors coming forward with their testimonies – thousands (if not tens of thousands) of men and women standing up and speaking about what they experienced.

    Of course, to the fundie crowd it doesn't make any difference – they just stick their fingers in their ears and yell 'Yada yada yada!' because it doesn't line up with their ideology. They'll point to the few public 'ex-gay' figures and just assume that all the testimony to the contrary doesn't matter (while the rest of us wait for these poor folks either come to their senses or get caught in another scandal).

    Being 'ex-gay' may work for a while... even for years... but eventually a human being can twist themselves into emotional pretzels for so long. Naturally when a prominent 'ex-gay' comes to their senses and renounces their former 'lifestyle' their names just disappear off the 'ex-gay' rolls and aren't talked about anymore.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  7. Jakey

    Aw, Patrick you beat me. I was unaware that the word r@pe meant your comment wouldn't show up. But yes, the lesson to be taken from that story is that offering your underage daughters to be assaulted by an entire town of strangers is very Godly. Maybe we shouldn't give this story so much credence as a life lesson.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Jakey

      Ha! And this was supposed to be a reply in the thread about Sodom and Gomorrah. Thanks, constantly loading comment page.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Cindy

    I'm also wondering why the clinic's conversion therapy didn't seem to work on Marcus.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • jjbay

      Is Marcus gay?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Matador

      Because he's.....Super, thanks for asking. All things considered he couldn't be better he must say!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Cindy

      Have you SEEN Marcus speak and move?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • saaly

      not sure about marcus but anderson cooper is gay

      July 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Grammar and Spelling Cop

      saaly, you really ARE obsessed with Andy aren't you ?

      July 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  9. Cindy

    And so the next step is to check Bachmann's clinics for Medicare/Medicaide billings for conversion/reparative therapy??? What a snake oil salesman!

    July 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Chaz

    There is sin. That is why we have Jesus Christ to save us!!!!

    July 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Patrick

      How can you say that when you were born a girl!!!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • wgage

      I am not a sinner. You might be but not anyone I know.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  11. Dave

    As Michelle always says "run away, run away!"

    July 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  12. Patrick

    I bet I could meet some really cute guys at these 'Convert a Gayathons.'

    July 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Patrick

      Dude no, seriously, when they let go and cross that line they go crazy and there's no telling what can happen. I've seen it before. It can be great but it's a huge crapshoot. They can be dangerous, start trying to strangle you and stuff. Their crazy repression makes them totally nuts and dangerous.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • stejo

      oh man – memories! I once had one of those dudes tell me, "If you had "s'd" my "d" one more time, I would have had to stop you."

      July 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  13. mike

    Considering that Christians have imaginary friends, and seem to be in denial about prayer not working, and have enough cognitive dissonance to pray to an all-knowing and all-powerful alleged god in the first place... maybe Christians are the ones that need conversion therapy.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      No doubt.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  14. Bruno

    Wow, these people are charging headlong into the nineteenth century! What's next?

    “We have spoken carelessly and unknowledgeably in the past to just say, ‘6000 year-old-Earth' "

    July 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  15. crucified

    Love God enough to Change! Repent! Jude 1:7

    July 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Patrick

      Love God enough to change? PRAY – without assuming you already have all the answers.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Dennis

      How do you know of this being? What are your proofs? Do you have the same low standards as others when making your god claim?

      Me 7:18

      July 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Patrick

      Love your slave enough to set them free or even just not to viciously beat them?

      Exodus 21:20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @crucified

      You said: "Love God enough to Change! Repent! Jude 1:7"

      Prove your god is real, before asking anyone to change.

      Cheers!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • crucified

      @david here is your proof: E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)

      July 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  16. John

    Hey Al. Speaking of intolerant hate. Your comments:

    Al @ I've said many times that as go the gray hairs, so goes religion. It's too bad that you can't change ignorance... you just have to let it die off.

    Al @ You believers are immensely dense

    July 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Kyle

      I fail to see how those comments conveyed hate.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Jakey

      Ah, the ever-popular "being intolerant of intolerance is INTOLERANT, HYPOCRITE" defense. It's not going to suddenly work now, sorry. I see one statement about old, hidebound ideas dying off with the generation that has them the most, which is true (albeit put snarkily). The other is simply calling people who use Scripture as a basis for this issue "dense," which is certainly an insult, but with a hand over my heart I can't call it inaccurate either. And stop being such a delicate flower; I've heard far worse in my life, from this very board AND people standing right in front of me, because I'm gay. A couple of guys were beaten (one to death) not long ago in my own neighborhood because passersby (mistakenly, as it turns out) thought they were gay. When you can say the same has happened to you because you're a Christian who tries to illegally dictate other people's lives on a religious basis, then I may have some sympathy.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Ancient Marinator

      So he called you ignorant, and you call him a hater? Sounds like you need to apologize to him.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  17. liberal christian

    If you read the Bible with an open mind and open heart, you will see that JESUS WAS LIBERAL!

    July 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yeah but his father was a staunch conservative. Yet they're the same person. Go figure.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • crucified

      you sound methodist.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Chad W

      There is no such thing as reading this book with an open mind. The lack of open-mindedness in your religion shows itself by being a speed bump in every attempt at social progress that we face. Slowly, but surely this relgiion is becoming more and more irrelevant everytime it's followers bully minorities around!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      He was indeed a Liberal.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Nadine

      Yes but that's the probem: all this political pollution of religion. Naturally Jesus was in favor of loving (and helping) your neighbor and reminded us about throwing the first stone, but so much of fundamentalist doctrine doesn't seem to come from Jesus at all, but rather from their own tribal histories–hence the politics. It's like some Muslims demeaning women because that is their tribal history; Muhammed himself advocated no such thing. It's really very similar. I'd like people to accept the message of Jesus' love and reject all this judgment and terror.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  18. Ihantotta

    If you don't like Gay Marriage, don't get Gay Married.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ancient Marinator

      You hit the nerve, buddy. They find g ay people dangerously attractive, and they can hardly hold themselves back, and they assume everyone else feels that way. Actually what most of us feel is YUCK! Live and let live, ok?

      July 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  19. Freddy

    This man is gay.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  20. Joe B.

    So of course so many of you enlightened people are waaaaay beyond believing in some god and his son, and all that talk of resurrection and sacrifice and sin and forgiveness and all that.

    So it goes without saying that I'm one of those fools who's been fooled and hypnotized or whatever by "religion" and a promise that the creator of the universe knows my name and gave me a soul, and He wants to know me personally because I'm his adopted son, too, made one with Him through the sacrificial death of His son, who supernaturally became flesh and dwelt among men to fulfill the law and bridge the gap that I am unable to bridge due to my sin nature, which now makes me righteous before Him because when He looks at me, I am clothed in his righetousness (not my own self-righteousness).

    And more than that, I am filled with His Holy Spirit, which His son promised would come as a "comforter" to those scared, confused disciples 2,000 years ago and still flows into His newly adopted children today – a couple of billion of us to date, who have been transformed by His touch, if I had to hazard a guess.

    Did I leave anything out?

    And so you enlightened fools want to lecture us about what is good and what is evil, when to do so you have to defend an act so sick and vile that surely you would puke if you saw it happen in front of you.

    That out-of-date fairy tale book you like to ridicule said in the Last Days men would call good evil and evil good. Your own definitions of what is good, and what is hate, and what it tolerance only point to one more promise – He is coming soon.

    July 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • sbp

      At least you acknowledge that you are a fool. That is the first step to recovery. The second step is to recognize that your belief is based on words written in a book. This is going to happen because it says so in a book. That is going to happen because it says so in a book. You are wrong and I am right because it says so in a book.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • sbp

      "He is coming soon?" I thought he came on May 21. That Camping guy sounded awfully CERTAIN. And he claims to be much more Christian than you.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Adam

      SBP thinks he's special because he's writing on a webpage? Too funny. I bet he loves what Dawkins and Hitchens write.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • sbp

      Good comeback. They teach you that at Jesus Camp? Were you one of Ted Haggard's "special" students?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Adam

      Always nice to see they never have substantive arguments back when you expose their lack of logic.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ryan

      ummmm....no one is coming. Sorry to break that to you. Dieties have been said to be "coming" for hundreds of years. nope...they don't. And that is because they are not REAL!!!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • sbp

      Lack of logic? Science is based on science. Religion is not. At least have the FAITH to admit that you can't logically explain your religion, but don't care. If you think you can "prove" religious "truths", you are either ignorant or gutless. The Bible does not stand up to the scientific method. You can't prove the world is 6,000 years old or that man lived alongside dinosaurs (like many of your kind DO believe), but it can be disproved scientifically. You would do much better to embrace that and say you don't need science, only faith. It's "magic", but magic you believe in.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ryan

      "Always nice to see they never have substantive arguments back when you expose their lack of logic."

      I read it....ummmm what logic are you referring too? There was nothing there of any importance to note. Same song and dance. Provide some data and you have a conversation. I warn you though.....scientific data of evolution is, well, quite large. Good luck building your data!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Brian

      I doubt you have even read the bible that you worship cover to cover. And I am positive you fail to live your life in which the book instruct you to.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Jakey

      "And so you enlightened fools want to lecture us about what is good and what is evil, when to do so you have to defend an act so sick and vile that surely you would puke if you saw it happen in front of you."

      LOL, you've got your finger on the pulse all right. Not only do I watch this act (pretty sure I know which one you mean, and it's not hot girl-on-girl action) but I do it, and it is delightful. Especially when you're in love.

      Nonetheless I'm quite sure I would never want to watch you, Joe B. and your wife committing any "acts." In fact it's safe to say I would find it disgusting. Of course, I would know that's not because it *is* disgusting, or you two are foul or doing anything wrong, but simply because different people have different tastes. Something doesn't have to turn me, Jakey, on in order to be deemed "not disgusting." I certainly wouldn't try to ban you from committing said acts for life; whatever it is you do together in that department, it doesn't affect my own life a whit. I mean, I had to think about it just now to type this out, but that's it, and it was not very tough. How about extending the same courtesy, eh?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Joe B.

      You said: " the creator of the universe knows my name and gave me a soul,"

      Theists believe in an immaterial soul. They believe this soul is our ident_ity or mind. It is essentially, "who we are". The soul is said to leave the body when we die. God decides if our soul will go to Heaven or Hell. Evidently, our souls are given a physical body, that we might enjoy eternal bliss or torment.

      There is no evidence for a soul. Our obviously material brains contain all that we are. All that we have experienced, all that we have learned, all of our perceptions. When we die, our brains cease to function. We no longer exist. All that we were, is no more.

      Evidence to support this argument, is that disease, drugs, and injuries affect our ability to think. Our personalities to change. If our mind and personality was immaterial and separate from our physical bodies, our thinking and personalities should not be affected.

      Our brains are constantly generating thoughts. Brain chemistry determines our emotions. We can't really tell, that these thoughts and emotions originate in our brains. It's easy for Believers to perceive thoughts and feelings, generated by their brains, as coming from outside themselves. *sigh* Jesus? Is that you? LOL!

      Cheers!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Adam

      There are plenty of good arguments in support of God's existence and Chrstianity's truth.

      Cosmological argument
      Teleological argument
      The evidence for Christ's resurrection and post mortem appearences

      But my favorite to at least qualify that there is a God, whether it's the Christian God or not, is the moral argument.

      Morality's obvious and transcendent existence in humanity is the greatest evidence for God's existence. Without God, there is no logical reason for morality's existstence. I believe in morality's existence. Therefore I believe in God.

      It's when we try to wag our finger towards God's "immorality" that we find ourselves in a pinch when arguing against God's existence. You, as an atheist, can't say God is immoral or unjust, because there can be no such thing logically under your worldview.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ozymandias71

      Personally, I don't care about your religious beliefs... but when you try legislating discrimination and bigotry into law in the name of your religion as long as your own rights are left intact... well, the word 'hypocrite' comes to mind.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • GizzyN

      @Joe B. – Have you considered that perhaps the "last days" that were foretold by the men who wrote the bible was actually an awareness that beliefs and doctrine would have to change with the times?

      It may very well be the "last days" of evangelical Christianity... as a species and a society, we evolve... our needs change, including our spiritual needs. Clearly God's expectations change as well. The entire transition from Old to New Testament is one long story of those changing expectations... from animal sacrifice to the sacrifice of Jesus... not to mention the cessation of practices like stoning disobedient and disrespectful children, etc.

      The bible is one long story of the evolution of society and its relationship to its deity. The problem is that there are people in the world today – including yourself, apparently – who think that all of that change suddenly came to a screaming halt when the bible finally showed up as a cohesive work around 400AD.

      It's funny... you refer to the physical manifestation of a loving relationship between two consenting adults as "sick and vile," stating that we would puke if we saw it happening in front of us. Yet there are millions of us who are not gay or lesbian who don't find it sick or vile. I find actions attributed to God in the bible much more sick and vile – slaughtering children, instructing a man to give his daughters over to be gang r@ped, testing a man's loyalty by taking away everything he holds dear and torturing him for decades, telling a man to sacrifice his son to prove his loyalty...the list goes on and on.

      I find those things MUCH more sick and vile than two men or two women being in love.

      You might ask yourself what is so twisted in your heart that you would blindly accept into your life and your heart a cruel and capricious deity... while condemning with disgust two people bringing more love and joy into our world. What does that really say about you, Joe?

      July 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Bruno

      "That out-of-date fairy tale book you like to ridicule said in the Last Days men would call good evil and evil good. Your own definitions of what is good, and what is hate, and what it tolerance only point to one more promise – He is coming soon."

      Well, hornswaggle, it SAID it!

      Dust your hands off, Joe.

      QED!

      Just watch those atheists abondon the field, tails tucked! You've routed them, sure as Shinola!

      July 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Ryan

      Morality is not an argument for a diety to exist. Why do people always feel like they need to relate morals to a diety?

      And the arguments for a god, the ones you mention, still fail to provide strong enough evidence to be hold up against more solid arguments for the nature of evolution.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ryan

      "The evidence for Christ's resurrection and post mortem appearences"

      Are you serious? No, I'm sorry.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Matador

      I have no problem with your religion. I just ask that you keep it out of my life. I'll decide what is ok for me and mine, not you.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Adam

      Ryan, you obviously haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about. 99 percent of philosophers throughout the course of history have agreed, theist and atheist alike, if God exists than that is a reason for morality to exist. And likewise if God does not exist than morality cannot exist. It takes more than just saying "eh those arguments aren't as good as mine". You need to give arguments back to tear down mine and build your own. Evolution isn't an answer for where the universe came from (the Cosmological argument). Science shows the universe is not eternal. Science also shows something doesn't come from nothing. So me believing God was the cause of the universe is more scientifically sound than you having to choose from the other two options (universe is eternal or something came from nothing).

      July 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • fred

      Matador,
      Have you read the Bible? It is great start to help you understand why you are so proud of what you think is self-determination.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • in his grip

      I am a believer, and this entire thread points to the passage that states “don’t cast pearls before swine” ( no insult intended, it simply means Christians in this setting should not throw out our Holy truths to those who won’t, or don’t want to hear it).
      This topic is clearly dealt with in the Bible… Your problem isn’t with Christians, but with God. A true believer cant selectively pick what they believe in the bible… it’s not an ala’cart type deal… it’s all true… or its all false.
      I hope someone someday will speak truth to each of you who don’t know our Lord in a way that might make sense, and that might truly help you know Christ. Until then know that all true believers do care about you and as said earlier “we love the sinners, but hate the sin”.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Adam

      "There are plenty of good arguments in support of God's existence and Christianity's truth."

      Cosmological argument – refuted : http://godlessons.com/2009/12/06/the-cosmological-argument-refuted/

      Teleological argument – refuted MANY places including : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument#Complexity_does_not_imply_design

      The evidence for Christ's resurrection and post-mortem appearances – No there isn't ANY EVIDENCE.

      "Morality's obvious and transcendent existence in humanity is the greatest evidence for God's existence."
      -- No it isn't. Take an anthropology course. It is useful to societies for reasons that have nothing to do with a deity.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Adam

      Bucky,

      The argument wasn't that you have to believe in God in order to be moral. The argument is that if morality exists (seems like you're saying it does from what you said) than God exists.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Adam

      Bucky,

      I read the Cosmological argument article you poste. The problem with the author's arguments is how he presupposes God works or doesn't work. He first says just because something caused the universe doesn't mean it had to be an intelligent being. That argument doesn't at disprove God's existence. It merely tries to assert that it's possible that God, or the creator of the universe, isn't of high intellect. Completely not an argument against God's existence. He then tries to say that it's somehow scientific for something to exist uncaused. He says it may be possible so we can't completely rule it out. Well we also can't rule out the external world even existing so I guess we should leave that up in the air also? Give me a break. It just shows how desperate atheists get to back their belief. Never, not one time in the history of the world has there ever been evidence of something being uncaused. I'll go on that pile of evidence until I see otherwise instead of being unreasonbly skeptical. Third he concludes by missing a critical point. He says since nothing can be uncaused, God must have a cause also. He misses that the Cosmological states "anything that has a beginning must have a cause". God does not have a beginning, therefore needs no cause.

      On to the Teleological...

      July 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Adam

      You said: "There are plenty of good arguments in support of God's existence and Chrstianity's truth."

      Cosmological argument – Cosmological Argument, says that everything has a cause, and, since we supposedly can’t have an infinite series of causes stretching into the past, a god must be the first cause — an uncaused cause.

      Ans – If everything must have a cause, then god must have a cause. Otherwise your everything must have a cause rule, is reduced to just a suggestion.

      Teleological argument – The teleological argument assumes that because life is complex, it must have been designed.

      Ans. – Actually, the Big Bang and evolution explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of organisms better than design by a god.

      The evidence for Christ's resurrection and post mortem appearences

      Ans. – According to Luke 23:44-45, there occurred "about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."

      Yet not a single secular mention of a three hour ecliptic event got recorded. 'Cause it didn't happen!

      Mathew 27 51:53
      51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
      How come nobody wrote about zombies running through the cities? 'Cause it is all b.s.

      If you can't even believe the crucifixion story how likely is the resurrection account to be true?

      But my favorite to at least qualify that there is a God, whether it's the Christian God or not, is the moral argument.
      Morality's obvious and transcendent existence in humanity is the greatest evidence for God's existence. Without God, there is no logical reason for morality's existstence. I believe in morality's existence. Therefore I believe in God.
      It's when we try to wag our finger towards God's "immorality" that we find ourselves in a pinch when arguing against God's existence. You, as an atheist, can't say God is immoral or unjust, because there can be no such thing logically under your worldview.

      Ans – There are no set rules for behavior that cannot be changed. No objective morality. All morality is relative. Subjective.

      Our morals evolved along with our intellect. It is part of the survival of our species. We began to feel empathy for our fellow creatures. Sympathy for their misfortunes and pain.

      We learn our morals and our religion from our parents.

      Society stamps every individual with its concepts. If you were born in U. S., you have many Christian concepts whether you are religious or not.

      The people of Iran have Muslim concepts.
      If you or any of the fundies were adopted by Muslims when you were babies, you would be followers of the religion of Islam. All children are born atheist.

      Nothing is always right or always wrong. War, killing, is wrong, but if you have a Hitler in the world, it is not as wrong as allowing him to continue killing.
      Abortion is wrong. But it is less wrong than giving birth to a baby conceived in in_cest or ra_pe. Or to a mother who has no means to provide for it.

      Society must decide what they will allow and not allow, based on that action's effect on society.

      Gay marriage has no bad effect on society. It should be allowed. Murder has a very negative impact on society. It should not be allowed. Polygamy, for the same reason.

      Notice how god is not needed for any of these decisions?

      The Christian god cannot be the moral lawgiver. He is not moral.

      It is said: "By your fruit you will be known."

      Let's look at your god's "fruit".

      God directly or at His insistence, murdered men, women and children including babies. This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. Afterwards, He decides He won't kill everything again, because man's heart is evil from his youth. This isn't evil? Is this moral? An all knowing god didn't know this BEFORE He murdered everyone on the planet? OOOooopsie!

      God had a man believe he was going to sacrifice his son to Him. Do you know how traumatic that would be for a father and his son?
      If you had the power would you do this? Would you be so insecure? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.
      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God sent a bear to kill a group of children, because they had teased one of His prophets.
      Did the children deserve to die, because they teased a bald man? This isn't evil? Is this moral? Is this a just god?

      God allowed a man to sacrifice his daughter to Him, for giving the man a victory in battle. Human sacrifice! This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God created a place He can send people to be burned for all eternity. Could an all benevolent god construct such a place of misery?

      If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second? I couldn't do that. Not to a puppy. Certainly not to a human. I am more moral than the Christian god, and I am not omnibenevolent.

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:

      Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

      Luke 6:43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

      1. A god who is not evil, can't do evil things!
      This is established, by Jesus' testimony.

      2. The Christian god is guilty of horrid crimes against humans
      Evidenced by the atrocities recorded in the bible and the Christian god's own admission:

      Isaiah 45:7, KJV says the Christian god is responsible for at least some evil: "..I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

      3. Therefore, god is evil. He bears bad fruit.

      Read the examples of god's behavior again. Tell me in what reality or under what circ_umstances, these actions would not be evil?

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      July 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      "The argument wasn't that you have to believe in God in order to be moral. The argument is that if morality exists (seems like you're saying it does from what you said) than God exists."
      -- That's NOT what I said. I said, (implied), that you don't need to to posit god to come up with good reasons for morality, and that's why I suggested you read some anthropology, as it can explain that to you.

      "Never, not one time in the history of the world has there ever been evidence of something being uncaused. "
      -- Yup there is. Google virtual particles.
      -- The jump from "I don't see how this happens" to "God did it", is only one of your many options, and may be "premature" .

      July 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Ryan

      Adam-

      Your right. You do need to have points. I get burned out of the discussion most of the time and usually too much to right on here.

      Lets make it simple. People always and (no, not atheists) use the argument that morals has to do with a surpeme being. False. Think about why we as a culture have "morals". The reason anyone does this or societies do is to help it run. Religion is designed for that same purpose. To help govern a group of people.

      Saying that, there is no such thing as true alturisum. You have an species do things, even if you dont realize it, to better your position for your off srping or to help spread your "seed". We do things in hope of always benefiting from it in the long wrong.

      Again, why do you feel morals have to do with a diety? Unless you don't understand why dieties were inviented in the first place. It has always (and still used today in that same fashion) as a tool to control people. Really no need to go into philosophy (they don't stack up against most hard data anyways).

      July 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Ryan

      Adam-

      The point is....that there is really no solid evidence or good supporting data to suggest such a being exists. What you mentioned is not. Especially the last one about his resurrection. If it was, don't you think it would make better headlines? Never does. And Dawkins.......read some of his books, and I'm pretty sure your tune would change a bit.

      Proof is in the pudding. Strong supporting data is what your belief group would need to provide to stand a chance in public debates on this matter. Until then, people like Dawkins, can publically destroy ideas like this (which he does every few years with scientists who believe in a diety).

      And space and cosmos are extremly vast....and a hard one to use in a debate since we are always learning more about it. But before we could explain what that hot round circle was in the sky (the sun) I promise you that we attributed that to a magical being as well. It's all relative. Good luck with the data though....you will need it. As would I if I believed in the lockness monster.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Ryan

      We will NEVER be able to explain everything. We could go on and on forever. But for the things that we have YET to explain, please do not attribute it to a god. There is an explanation behind EVERYTHING.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:57 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.