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.


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. Brarhopper

    God doesn't believe in atheists. He said in His Word that there is no one who is unaware of Himself. He has placed within each person an intuition of His existence. There has never been found in the darkest jungle of Africa, the Amazon, or any other place on earth the smallest tribe or clan that was not aware of the existence of God.
    The problem with the atheist, or I should say wannabe atheist, is that they do not like what they know about God. Namely, that He is just and holy and being holy, He cannot allow sin to remain unpunished. If God would allow sin to remain unpunished He would no longer be holy and therefore would no longer be God. That intuition continually inhibits the joy of the atheist wannabe in fully enjoying his depravity and therefore he sets about to convince himself that there is no God. That is why he has such a loud, vulgar mouth; he believes that if he could but convince some other person that there was no God it would somehow convince himself there is no just and holy God. Nothing encourages a coward like the booming of his own gun into the darkness but as we see below; they are without excuse.
    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • EddyL


      August 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • ironage

      ....or not.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • ben

      Well then, as usual...your fake god is wrong. Atheists do exist, I am one of them. There is no evidence of any gods, including yours. One day I hope you read a book based on facts, instead of your primitive previously pagan mythology.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • havingFun

      I guess then if I don't believe in God, we're even?

      August 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • yosemite

      Brarhopper: It's ridiculous ramblings like that the has pushed me away from the church. I am not vulgar and I don't live a life of depravity. Why are you so close minded and ignorant? How many non-believers do you even know? You talk of all peoples believing in GOD. You need to rephrase that statement. It should read "believe in A GOD" Why do you pass judgement on somebody that doesn't believe? Well now I'm gonna pass judgement on you. You're a close minded,hateful,ignorant,racist simpleton.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • yosemite

      Jim Jones would be so proud of you Brarhopper.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • News Flash

      You are absolutely full of crap.
      You cannot justify god by using a book you say he inspired. It's circular reasoning. How about something objective ?
      I have NO intuition of it's existence. Those who believe in a deity all have very different ideas about what they are. I am not a wanna be atheist, I AM an atheist. I know nothing about what you say. It is not holy and it CERTAINLY is not just. The evidence for that is all around you, jusr open your eyes. Why can't sin go unpunished, if it is all powerful, and merciful ? Atheists are not depraved, in fact the best people I know are atheists, they volunteer and feed the poor and give away their money. How much of THAT have YOU done this week ?
      Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
      19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
      20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
      August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse | Reply

      August 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  2. EddyL

    So is addiction to religion a sin? All these bible thumpers cause more problems than they solve.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Lisa

      I pray for your soul. Do not judge what you do not understand.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • disgust

      never a war in the name of atheism. Hitler was a devout catholic and stalin had a model xtian upbringing.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • EddyL

      Same to you. Shut up and mind your own business. Stop trying to cram jesus down everyone's throats.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hmmm... 'Maybe' it is 'you' who does not understand. Maybe it's your unquestioning of your beliefs that allow 'you' to judge what is and is not appropriate for someone to comment on.


      August 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • ben

      Lisa, that is very rude. You use prayer almost as an insult. Some example you are setting. "oh yeah, I think you're wrong, I'll pray for you, buddy! F-You!"

      August 21, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • nofed

      Dont be ignorant as what you call christians

      August 21, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  3. OMG!

    Holy bible is becoming more like J,K ROWLING'S HARRY POTTER BOOK and LORD OF THE RINGS BOOK. Face palm*

    August 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  4. Colin

    It must suck being a Christian, believing that some cosmic stalker is looking over your shoulder 24 hours a day, and even reading your mind, so it can decide whether to make you burn for all eternity or not.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • nofed

      Your a Christian. Unless your an immoral criminal. your Christian because you follow certain moral code. As far as death is concerned you dont know what its like so dont make any assumptions religious or non religious.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Sue

      Indeed. Being Christian seems as self-centered as mast-urbating, and arrogant too, in that one's own personal edification and benefit is of such high importance in the vast universe.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Jamie

      It's not a matter of burning or not. It's about becoming a better person. Addiction isn't good for anyone.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • thomas

      Your statement shows that you really dont understand Christianity.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Jamie

      Sue – Becoming a better person helps you better help others. It's about avoiding selfishness. So yeah, becoming a better person is a good thing in that it's a means to the greatest thing, which is helping others.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Sue

      thomas, care to try to back up your accusation? I doubt that you can. Atheists generally understand Christianity better than Christians do, and know the bible better.

      See here http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0928/In-US-atheists-know-religion-better-than-believers.-Is-that-bad

      August 21, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • ben

      Jamie: unfortunately being a christian doesn't make you a better person. Usually it makes you a worse person. COmpate the percentage of christians in jail to atheists, or divorce rates, or any 'moral standard'. Those who claim christianity dont do so well.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  5. Drooling Idiot

    combating fantasy with fantasy... sure, what could go wrong?

    August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Sue

      Too funny.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  6. yosemite

    This is one of the most bizarre articles I've ever read. Are these people for real? When I read things like this it pushes me further into not believing,I'm an agnostic. I'm really at odds with believing in a "God" because the people I know who do believe are just so sketchy and uninformed. They seem to be the people that are most racist and close minded. I try to be the best person I can be, not because I'm worried about where I'm going to go when I die, but because it's the right thing to do. But, the main reason I don't believe is because where is the proof? And which faith's God is the all-mighty? Islam?Christian?Did they all co-excist? And all the lives that have been lost in the name of religion sickens me.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Colin

      Yosemite – read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion". You will understand a lot of the nonsense that underwrites religion. I'll bet you're an atheist by the time you finish it.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Sue

      I second Colin's recommended reading. Also recommend The End of Faith and Letter to A Christian Nation by Sam Harris.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  7. Sam

    Confuse Sin and Addiction? Addiction is Sin.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • ben

      dude, what are you talking about? please quote where the bible says "Addiction is sin". You dont get to make this up as you go along, pal.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  8. disgust

    Without fear, religion wouldn't exist. Deny it's fear, you have the makings for a terrorist.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  9. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an infinitely-old, all-kowing bieng, powerful enought to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my $ex life.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief if silly.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Sue

      Thanks for reminding me of that one. Love it. Have a good morning.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • House

      You can't just make stuff up moron. Christianity is the act of trying to be more like Christ. Atheism is for people that want to be right about everything and can't admit there might be more to life than their limited perception of the world.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • JJ

      Amen brother! 😉

      August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • JJ

      Very Christian of you House...calling others morons.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • lordpet

      atheism is for people who don't have a need for having the mysteries of life be explained by whatever religion is the fashion of the day.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • ben

      House, you seem very angry, immature, and unaware of others. I guess there is no God, as clearly 'he' has not softened your heart, or opened it. See how easy to prove your god is a myth? I just have to point out YOU as evidence.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Peace2All


      " You can't just make stuff up moron. "

      Now 'that's' funny. You Christians,(as a general rule), do that 'constantly' with your unverified myths.

      You guys have no business telling someone that they "can't just make stuff up"... especially you 'believers.'

      "Atheism is for people that want to be right about everything and can't admit there might be more to life than their limited perception of the world. "

      Case in point on the "making stuff up bit " *see your comment directly above*

      Oh, and the 'moron' comment didn't help your argument at all. If anything it undermines any credibility in your argument.


      August 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  10. TricknWV

    I wouldn't wish religion on my worst enemy. What a farce! Can you believe humans still believe in these fairy tales in the 21st century? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH

    August 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  11. william

    I imagine this is just about as successful as "rehab" for pot smokers. Take a non-addictive substance or belief, throw in some religion, and poof!, the problem goes away. Just put in in a little Jesus bubble and blow it away..... Ergo, the religion must "work".

    August 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  12. Mom of 4

    Yes, we have a human nature with a desire for s*x. However, we also have the gift of self control, which most people today don't use anymore. We live in a society of "me me me", thanks in part to teaching our kids the fallacy of self-esteem. Our movies, TV, advertising, all are geared to satisfying self. It's no wonder p0rn is one of the fastest growing internet industries. I know people who have gone through Christian counseling to combat their p0rn addiction, and it has been 99% affective. It all comes down to choice, and understanding that we make choices every day. Modern psychology treats most things as "addictions", therefore removing personal responsibility for choices we make every day. No one forces a drink into an alcoholic's mouth – they choose to drink. No one holds a gun to the head of a man and says look at p0rn. It is a choice, and if we feed those choices, then we are doomed. Yes it can become an addiction, but it is a result of choice. Christian counselors using the Bible discuss this, study this, and people realize that we are responsible for our choices and must make the choice to change. These programs work most of the time, as I have seen as a marriage and family counselor for over 30 years.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • havingFun

      So it's religion that makes people see that they "choose", and without religion, they won't?

      August 21, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • nonterrorist

      Reply to Mom of 4: Very well put. You are exactly right.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  13. EddyL

    Just mind your own business and stop trying to change the world to your narrow jesus view.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • OMG!

      Christians go change your views aboutl "book of daniel".. Explain Harold Camping believer why your bible isn't working.

      People got sick and can't be healed.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • ACody

      You're right, the Jesus view is extremely narrow, but isn't all truth. It comes down to rather or not you believe it to be true. It is either true or false, being narrow has nothing to do with it.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  14. Tom

    Addiction is sin. If you are married and lust for another women that is sin (Thou shalt not commit adultery). If you say you can't stop yourself, you show a lack of discipline and are still sinning. Jesus came into this world to set the captive free and heal the broken hearted. Labels given by science only justify adult behavior without Jesus rather than the adult taking responsibility of their behavior. We are a weak generation of people who need to be healed, positioned in Jesus. Without that, we are hopelessly bound in this life and the next. On a side note: Crusaders were Catholics and not Christians. Peace

    August 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • OMG!

      Only Jewish bible...

      August 21, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • havingFun

      So..... lack of discipline is a sin.... And hard work is not...Does my hard work at m@sterbating offset the sin?

      August 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Sue

      Eating shellfish is also a "sin". As is not regularly sacrificing and burning animals to please god.

      Really, get past your sick, stupid Christian supersti-tions and get with the modern world already.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Tom

      The Old Tesiment is law and the New Tesiment is Grace. Christians are not bound by the law. If you sin, your sin is covered by Grace in Jesus Christ (we all sin) if we sin under the law, our sin is condembed and there is no justification for sin. The law is there to show us that we are sinners and can not save our selves without a Savior and that Savior is Jesus Christ.

      Peace and love

      August 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • havingFun

      Huh? "Crusader were Catholics not Christian"? Are you for real?

      August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • yosemite

      "Crusaders were Catholics not Christians" What the? You're kiddin me right. Thats like saying a German Sheppard is a herder not a dog.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Tom

      That common understanding is that Catholics are Christians. Catholics are not CHristians (in a Biblical sense that is)because they place the Pope as the Speaker for Christ on earth. The Pope is just a man and not a diety. Christians do not bow or serve any other god, man, ritual, tradition, etc only the Living God where we are place here to give Him all of the Glory. There is no purgatory according to Scriptire and Mary nor any other Saint can not answer prayers only God answers prayers. Catholics follow and teach false doctrine believing that the church saves. Christians believe that Jesus saves and not the church. It is not by any work we can do because the work was completed on the cross of Jesus. He took all of our sins past present and future. Catholics believe that you have to belong to their church and take their sacraments and maybe be good enough to make purgatory. Christians belive that all works was finished and there is no more sacrifice for sin. If oyu have to work and do good works to earn your salvation you are not a Christian. Cathlics were and are Crusaders and CHristians were and are not Crusaders.If you care to know the truth, the best way to find it is in the Bible and not on a talk show, tv or in most cases, the church. You can never do enough work to be good by going to church taking the sacrament,, etc.. the works is complete on the cross if you ask Jesus to forgive you and make Him your Lord.. Man or religion always points the glory to themselves and throws God in here and there to make it look like the real thing but it is false.Peace and love...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  15. House

    Happy Sunday from CNN. We cater to everyone and provide nothing.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  16. PhilG.

    Why try to think about this.

    It's your life-if you find a way to live it that does'nt hurt people-then live that life.

    People trying to tell other people how to live their lives without living what they preach is truly the road to Hell.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Chris

      But all religious people do that...so in a basic form religion is hell.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  17. MI Don

    If you want to believe and practice your beliefs go ahead as long as they do not harm anyone else nor endanger another freedoms. Problem is self styled "Born Again" Christians cannot do that, they have to stick their noses in other's business and impose their beliefs note: I am not saying Christ teachings) on others. It strikes me though that people like Perry only take part of Christ teaching and they pollute that. When it comes to mercy, forgiveness, charity, non-judgemental, etc... they flee. Why? Cause they got the "word" straight from their "god".

    August 21, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  18. Pete

    What I find fascinating about religion (aside from the impossibility of discerning a hypocrite from a true person of faith) is their utter lack of inner discipline. They take no credit for their hard work, nor do they take responsibility for their shortcomings. "It's god's will" is such a copout! Or maybe it's their lack of civility towards those with differing opinions or beliefs.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  19. paganguy

    Real po.rno: a priest molesting a boy or girl

    August 21, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  20. univeralsunset

    I wish religion would just go away

    August 21, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • OMG!

      How about going to China. They ban religion over there.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • AGuest9

      Wait! I hear they have jobs over there, too. A win-win!

      August 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • PulTab

      Amen, univeralsunset.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • xnay

      One day at a time.....

      August 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
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.