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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. pop

    Tiger Woods did it. Wiener did it. Everyone followed. More people followed the wrong God. Sick people paid million dollars to make people to commit adultery and worship satanism. You know the world's economy is collapsing. There's mayan 2012.

    I read the book of daniel. It's a jewish bible unlike christian bible. The book of daniel is scariest book. The book of daniel talked about Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was more like hilter, stalin, genghis khan. He would be man who makes oven to burn to human beings for God's favor. He killed dozens of people and burning people those who committed crimes, adultery, etc. From rich to poor. His army was strong. God made the quest for him to destroy merchant of greed and false of God.
    This was real history.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • TheSelfRighteousShallBeDamned

      Jesus loves tin foil hats too – they're quite comedic

      August 21, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • rufusclyde

      Oh good grief. Adultery is everywhere and always has been.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • SCAtheist

      wow that's deep man – or just a bunch of rambling trash

      August 21, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • pop

      Prophet Jeremiah told the city not to commit adultery,gays, worshipping luxury God statues, greed, etc. People didn't listen to him and laughing at him. Prophet Jeremiah was thrown in jail. Nebuchadnezzar's warrior came to destroyed city with flames. It was God's orders. The Jewish holy temple was destroyed. After that it was romans, barbarians, etc. After that there was crusades, muslims, etc.

      MAYAN 2012... Is it real? I think it is.... I study hopi rock. There's symbol of christ on the rock. It predicted mega ton earthquake that would swallow the city.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  2. Jim

    We are oft to blame in this, - Tis too much proved – that with devotion's visage and pious action, we do sugar o'er the devil himself

    August 21, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  3. Sam

    I LOVE to see athiests on Christian blogs trying to proselytize by spitting and sputtering about how foolish Christianity is. Goes to show you that despite their arrogance and repeated affirmation that there is no God, they still lay awake at night wondering, and it still bothers them enough to keep them comming back here to tell everyone just how unconvinced they are. They claim it's all fairy tales, but fairy tales don't bother people that much.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • rufusclyde

      I love to see these preemptive strikes against atheists, who posts you've not even read.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Colin

      Sam, I am a dyslexic atheist. I lie awake in bed at night, pondering whether there really is a dog.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • NeuroNurse

      I didn't seek this blog out. It was on the front page.. I'm just having a little fun with my am coffee.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • TheSelfRighteousShallBeDamned

      Jesus doesn't love the overtly judgmental

      August 21, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Jim

      I sit up nights worrying about Ra, one bad dude if you ask me.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      One of these nights the Flying Spaghetti Monster is gonna wrap his noodley appendages around your neck while you are sleeping and squeeze really hard because you are just too stupid to acknowledge his wondrous presence. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  4. AnnieM

    If God is really love and Jesus really said "Do until others as you would have them do unto you..." Why is it that religionists (all flavors) hate and condemn and non-religious people are the ones who preach consideration and tolerance? Dear God, protect us from your followers...
    ..

    August 21, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Mark

      God and Jesus can't make you do anything. Everyone has free will, what don't athiests get about that? Humans are not perfect and are sinners that is the whole point of jesus is to forgive our sins because as humans we can't help but sin. That's the whole point how do you not understand that.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • SL

      hi AnnieM, don't confuse tolerance with love. If you see a person drowning, would you be tolerant to stand to the side and watch? No, love would jump in the water and rescue the person. Same thing, if you see your best friend's marriage being destroyed by p0rn, would you just stand aside, be tolerant, and do nothing? No, love would take action to restore the marriage. Christians don't hate, they just don't confuse tolerance with love.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Frogist

      @SL: There is a slight difference between swimming out to help a drowning man and sticking your nose in your friend's marriage where it was not invited and where it does not belong. Christians of your ilk need to learn the difference.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  5. Me

    You know what it takes to break these kinds of habits? Self control. god has nothing to do with it.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Or you just keep watching til you're tired of it (or ejack u lated).....then pick it up again tomorrow

      August 21, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • SL

      tell that to some one who wants to get free from cocaine. See how much self-control works for them. God works. Do some research on Christian drug rehab programs and you'll see that they have much higher success rate than secular drug rehab programs.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      They're not "habits" for such is of the nunneries,,, Po-rn is but an Ism of relative-isms unrelated to Chrisden'dumb'isms

      August 21, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Frogist

      @SL: I hope we do understand the difference between an addiction and a casual use of pr0n... we do, don't we?

      August 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  6. john

    Why would a god that created the entire universe with literally trillions of planets and stars, worry about some naughty things a person thought?
    What a petty control freak it must be.
    Luckily for everyone, a prude god is just made up by some frustrated desert dwellers.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • rufusclyde

      ...who want to control their women?

      August 21, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      john-E-Boy, there of untold of number of universes out among the places of oute space. I just canoot understand a person's blindedness in saying there is but a single solitary universe. Science is but a butt-headed nincompoopie of awkward relativisms inabilities to see the Cosmos as being full of untold numbers of celestial universes

      August 21, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  7. Fnordian

    “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
    THIS ALONE condemns every straight male Christian to be an adulterer. Created sick, commanded to be well.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • SL

      Actually I know plenty of Christian men who have not looked lustfully at women. It is actually a rather easy commandment to obey. I think you are confusing the word "lust" with "attraction." Jesus did not say you can't be attracted to women when you look at them, He said "lust." It is perfectly ok for men to look at women and be attracted to them. You should do a study on what Jesus meant by lust.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Sally

      SL- presuming that the lust is "in their hearts" then how would YOU know whether they have ever looked lustfully at another woman? OH because they say so? Because Christians never lie, right? Like all these guys in this article who were caught red handed by their wives m-a-sturbating, who LIED to their wives for years and told them they were the only one for them?

      Hmmmm.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      Again, a little help? What is the difference between lust and attraction in terms of pr0n and mast-urb-ation?

      August 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  8. Michael R.

    Typical. Hungry people all over the world, war, disease, you think the Church would have more to worry about than what you're doing with your Mr. Henry.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  9. dewittL.

    cnn is not a real news organization. Look at this, this is the top news story, not the 10% unemployment or the war in Libya...haha.. good work CNN...

    August 21, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • rufusclyde

      Yet here you are increasing CNN's revenue with every click of your mouse. LOL.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Michael R.

      When's the last time you opened up a newspaper? Did you know all those pages inside have stories other than war?

      August 21, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Steve - VA

      It's Sunday?

      August 21, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  10. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    Wowreally?

    Once again we see how CLEVER cnn can be. I agree with a previous post...if this was a picture of the Moby Di-ck book and a Hus-tler Magazine..there would be an outrage! Also, why doe the Monotheist who professes to believe in nothing but themselves always come on these message boards posting against something they dont believe in ?? I say , if you are an Mono-nucleotiedist.....go enjoy ur life...stop being intolerant to those who believe in Gods plural! You dont believe in gods as many do see there being many Gods from GOD who did build from "the ground up" the GOD who is creation and not the created!

    August 21, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  11. Al-Suq A'Kweer

    Oh Lawd-DUH!

    Won't you buy me, a Mercedes Benz?

    My friends all drive Porches, ah must make a-mends.

    Tried hard all my lifetime till quarter past thee

    Oh Lawd-DUH...won't you buy me, a colour T V.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Steve - VA

      LOLOLOL – And a Playboy

      August 21, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  12. Isaac

    The censor on this site is ridiculous. The article itself says the word "p orn" multiple times. So why can't we type that word without doctoring it somehow?

    August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  13. ReligionIs4Dolts

    Why does one have to seek god? Why is god hiding?

    August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • dewittL.

      let me guess..your god is Barak Obama. he's your hope in this crazy world isn't he...and he is a strong leader..haha...

      August 21, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • NeuroNurse

      But.. but.. hide and seek is the sky-daddy's favorite game!!!

      August 21, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • rufusclyde

      @dewittL: Let me guess. Bearing false witness is OK, if it's directed against atheists.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • John Pedant

      "Why is God hiding?"

      A devastating question if we think of God as an old man in the sky with a long white beard, and (if we think in those terms) we can go still further and ask 'why not hide from the irascible old eccentric on the mountaintop when he threatens to burn you alive for all eternity if you don't believe in him?' If God is like that, HIDE (but he'll find you, if he exists).

      But what if he is not like that? Psalm 19 says that 'the heavens declare the glory of God,' and even atheists and agnostics agree that the stellar universe is glorious. If you see the universe as a creation (though only a moron would now argue that it was created 6,000 years ago), it is possible to argue that God is not hiding at all. Giordano Bruno was burned alive in 1600 for daring to suggest that every star is a sun with its own planetary system. Bruno also implied that the universe itself is God. If Bruno was right, or even nearly right, God has not been hiding at all.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      John Pedant asked "Why is God hiding?"

      You sorta did sum it up JP Except GOD is more then just one universe. GOD is an untold an/or immeasurable number of universes within the outer spaces of the Cosmos. 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • MacWhoDat

      does that make god Waldo?

      August 21, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  14. The Devil

    They should just stick to worrying about the economy. Leave people alone.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  15. ReligionIs4Dolts

    What's the matter, can't pray p0rn away? Must be you really want to see it after all. Maybe that's because it is just plain old, no-strings-attached, nothing-wrong-with-it, human nature, DUH!

    August 21, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • SL

      actually the issue is that people get hurt from other people's addictions. Also, a murder can claim that it is human nature for one person to kill another person. Survival of the fittest, right? But in every country in the world murder is outlawed. Many people have been angry enough at another person where they want to kill the other person. If it's human nature why not just do it? We don't commit murder because we know it is wrong to do it. Same thing with addictions. We know it's wrong. It destroy lives. This is why we need God. We need God to set us free from addictions, to help not to do things that hurts others.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Sally

      good lord, SL, are you seriously comparing watching a couple of consenting adults have s-e-x to murder?

      If you can't see the difference here then I'm afraid there's no hope for you.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  16. Isaac

    That picture is pretty funny. Only a prude would confuse Playboy with p orn.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  17. john

    If we were made in gods image, then why arent we invisible?

    August 21, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • tim

      i can shoot lighting bolts from my ass, so i'm ok.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • SL

      because Jesus wasn't invisible =)

      August 21, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  18. Jeff

    Instead of targeting individual freedoms they should go after what they preach. Be fruitful and multipy or is that pollute. Christians have no problem with that passage to the point where we're destroying the earth. I got an idea for the Christian church out there, put a limit of how many kids should be born per couple. ONLY 2 each. Hypocritical church's will never recommend that.

    August 21, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • SL

      actually overpopulation is not an issue. Mismanagement is. Check out overpopulationisamyth.com The issue here is not about violating individual freedom, because when you participate in an activity that brings harm to others, that activity has to be regulated. In no country in the world is there individual freedom to murder or rob another person, because the other person is being harmed by your activity. In the same way p0rn need to be eradicated because it hurts and harms others.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Frogist

      @SL: You want to outlaw pr0n because it hurts others??? Really? You want to explain that one to me? Should we outlaw cars because people get run over? Or donuts because they make people fat?

      August 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  19. Love

    For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Stephanie Grey

    August 21, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • SCAtheist

      But I LOVE the part where 50 billions souls burn in terrible pain forever. Your particular god is a sadist at best.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • SL

      SCAtheist, your assertion is actually not true. Since the history of the earth there has not been 50 billion humans on this planet yet. The human population of earth is estimated to be 7 billion right now, and that's the most it has every been at one time. And guess what, there are more people who are Christians right now than at any previous time on earth! And if you do some research, you will find that Christianity is the fastest growing faith in the world right now. As this trend continues, you will realized that the majority of people from history past to future will be saved and be in heaven, and only a minority will choose to reject God and choose separation from from Him.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  20. T12345

    SCAtheist:
    It's people like you that want to take In God We Trust off everything our Founding Fathers built that gave praise to God in which made our country great! Can you not see the crumbling beginning??? Open your eyes and heart!

    August 21, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Ken

      I can see plenty of crumbling and it has come at the hands of zealots who have abused the system by intruding religion into the govt where it does not belong. I also see if from politicians, Republicans well included, who have lied and corrupted the country with thier prejudices. Get off yoru high horse. Americans past was great, but it was also full of prejudices and racism.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Too much Fake News Channel – find yourself a real history book.

      August 21, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • AGuest9

      Here we go with the Founding Fathers. Do you know that many were Deist, like Jefferson, and later, Franklin? How Christian was George Washington, who ordered the extermination of the Six Nations in upstate NY after the Cherry Valley and Susquehanna Valley massacres, akin to the Nazi "Final Solution"? Franklin "found God" right before he died, and was an atheist for most of his life. Jefferson rewrote the bible (the NT) to remove "the supernatural".

      August 21, 2011 at 10:51 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.