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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. Call Out

    If you want to sin, then sin.

    You have free will.

    But for goodness sake, don't try to rationalize why it's ok!

    August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Peace2All

      One person's 'sin' may be an o.k behavior for others.

      Peace.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2011/04/why-free-will-may-be-an-illusion.html

      Actually we don't have "free will". It's an illusion. There are a number of neuro-science web sites prove it.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Reality

    FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES ( from Guttmacher )

    Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

    Method
    Typical

    Pill (combined) 8.7
    Tubal sterilization 0.7
    Male condom 17.4
    Vasectomy 0.2

    Periodic abstinence 25.3
    Calendar 9.0
    Ovulation Method 3.0
    Sympto-thermal 2.0
    Post-ovulation 1.0

    No method 85.0"

    (Abstinence) 0

    (Masturbation) 0

    August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • John Richardson

      Actual "acts of abstinence" succeed in preventing pregnancies 100% of the time, but that's a totally misleading metric, You are claiming that a METHOD is 100% effective simply by counting only those times the method worked. The actual method is the abstinence vow and the question is how many people who make such vows get pregnant or make someone else pregnant anyway within one year. I suspect the number is fairly high.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • John Richardson

      Oh, and you left out having gay or lesbian s-ex. 100% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies! 😀

      August 21, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      One name for you John: Bristol Palin.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Jeff

    I don't know why Obama hates Christians and Jews, but who cares. Obama 2012.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • rufusclyde

      Bearing false witness, how becoming.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  4. martog

    I’ll start this by saying that I definitely don’t presume to speak for all atheists, this is just my opinion on the article. To his first point, yes there really are true atheists. What he fails to understand is that atheism is a continuum – just like you can’t lump in all theists together, neither can you lump all atheists together.
    I know quite a few atheists, and none of them would make the claim that there is no god. If you make the claim that there is no god, you must know more about the universe than Einstein, who specifically did not make that claim. I do not claim that there is no god; there is no way that I could *know* if a creator exists or does not exist. However, what I do in fact claim is this: I don’t believe that any god or gods – as we are familiar with them in conventional religions – exist. I contend that we are all atheists; I just take it one god further. When you think about the reason why you most likely dismiss the existence of Zeus or Vishnu, you will understand why I dismiss the existence of Jehovah. There is no evidence for the existence of a god or gods. None. We can continue discussing this point (and I am totally willing to) but I expect that it is pointless, so for now, that is as much as I will say about that.
    He’s wrong about Hitler; he was German Catholic, and Lutheran teachings helped form his worldview (look it up if you don’t want to take my word for it). The “Hitler was an atheist” assertion is very common but historically inaccurate. That’s missing the larger point; these tyrants didn’t do evil things because they believed god didn’t exist – they did them because they were evil human beings. If you argue that had they known the grace of Christ they would not have done such things, look at all of the violence committed in the name of Christianity. That doesn’t work for me.
    He’s right about our axe to grind, but let’s be specific. We (I) don’t have a problem with religious folks. I don’t care what you believe. If believing in a god makes you a happier person, that’s your prerogative. Most atheists (that I know) would agree with that. What we have a problem with is when your beliefs spill over into secular decision-making. When people turn their brains off and vote based on their religious beliefs. This whole WASP-GOP hive mentality. Not believing that anthropogenic global warming is happening despite a mountain of empirical evidence to the contrary because of what was written in a book a very long time ago. Wanting a federal ban on gay marriage because your Christian sensibilities are offended when you think of it – even though once you take religion out of the equation you would have no good reason to oppose it as it literally does not affect you at all. Wanting a federal ban on abortion – same thing. None of us whom are pro choice are saying that abortion is a good thing, only that *I* don’t believe that I have the right to tell someone else what to do with their body. And not wanting to pay for someone else’s healthcare. What would Jesus want you to do? I’m pretty sure he’d want you to sell your possessions and give your money to the poor.
    Religious folk often act as if the world would be filled with depravity if religion didn’t exist, but the most important moral truths are universal – that’s why they are found in the teachings of classical antiquity, Confucianism, Buddhism, etc. These truths would exist independent of religion, and I don’t believe for a second that religion has done the world any favors in that respect.
    With regards to the existence of a multiverse, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Until we have proof, I’m not buying it. Neither are those who can actually talk about the concept and know what they are talking about; Brian Greene (a prominent physicist/author) made this exact point on Colbert the other evening.
    America has gone insane, and Biblical literalism, fundamentalist Christianity, call it whatever you like, IMO, has a lot to do with it. FOX News/the Right are just feeding the machine while making tons of money, and right-wingers are too stupid to see what’s happening.
    If you are a moderate, I have no issue with you; do whatever you like. It’s the fundies that make you guys look bad and get us upset. There’s plenty of reasons why I am a non-theist, but we aren’t mad and starting to be more vocal in our opinions because you choose to believe; we’re mad because 1) we’re tired of having God rammed down our throats and 2) we’re seeing the world go in an unhealthy, unsustainable direction with fundamentalist religion serving as an ever-increasing catalyst.[/quote]

    August 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • martog

      I meant to state that this is a reply to another article, but it has several very valid points in relation to several discussions here and religion in general.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Say What?

      What is a god? If there is anything that you put your faith in for comfort, assurance, peace and your ultimate purpose, if you believe in your skills and that it will make your life and purpose clear then your worship your skills. If you look to government then your god is government. If you look to nature your god is nature. If your purpose is money then your god is money. The one thing I can assure you there are no dead atheist because they know for sure what we will all find out at some point in the future, the truth about the here and after.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • martog

      To SAYWHAT.....what the h-ll are you saying?!?! Can't tell if you agree or disagree your writing is so bad.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Sally

      You have got to be kidding, Martog. His post was one of the most intelligently written, grammatically correct, concise posts I've read yet- and I've been wading through 20 pages of this stuff.

      I guess you just do not have the reading comprehension levels needed to understand a post that uses them thar big words.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • martog

      To Sally....ummmm, you must have missed that my reply was to 'SAYWHAT' and that I AM the one that posted the original long BIG WORDED post. Maybe YOU should brush up on your reading skills .

      August 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    Be clever.

    From the above article:

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

    I have a proposal: Christians should use the Internet solely at public places like cybercafes or libraries. Public places offer a protection: You are surrounded by many eyes. This eyes will help you to keep away from watching po-rns.

    This lines I wrote for believers, having a shame. It is clear that criminals have no shame, and dare to watch po-rns even at public places)

    August 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  6. glenn

    God said "be fruitful and multiply". I only know one way. Have as much s-x as you can! Thank you God!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • John Richardson

      But you can't have that sort of s-ex with a magazine or a computer screen, ya know?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  7. San

    The p**n is hurting relationship, need try to educate people this is giving too much corrput on people's mind. Use your own common sense and choose your path accordingly.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    In the USA there is a basic problem (actually a calamity):

    I suppose there is nearly no accurate teaching about Holy Baptism in the USA.

    What is the mystery of Holy Baptism?

    Everybody, believing in Jesus Christ, receives the power to overcome sin at Holy Baptism. That is the reason, why Jesus said the following, recorded in Mark, Chapter 16, Verse 16:

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    Faith and baptism belongs together. Mere faith is nothing and mere baptism is nothing. First the combination makes faith and baptism effective.

    The gospel: Jesus has borne our sins on the cross. Just believe it.

    The Holy Baptism: After you have started to believe, get baptized and receive the releasing power of Christ's death and resurrection. At baptism your old man of sin dies together with Jesus and you resurrect to a new life together with Jesus. That is according to Romans 6.

    Start to believe and get baptized. Thus you will overcome.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • rufusclyde

      Somehow, all those child molesting priests must not have been baptized, right?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @rufusclyde

      They are yet baptized, but they have no faith. The Holy Spirit, who could cause the faith, has left the RCC.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • rufusclyde

      @Rainer Braendlein S_xual misconduct by the clergy is found in all denominations.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  9. patorioto

    Nothing wrong with lust. If God, or whoever created people, didn't give us lust and hormones we wouldn't be around today would we? The same preachers who crusade against s e x and p0rn are the same ones getting b-lown in the back of the church or fon-dling little boys.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  10. John

    I've fallen and I can't stop laughing.

    Christians wear the crest of fools.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  11. A Non Jew

    Colin – Since you're sooo smart, what awaits us after we die? Oh wait you know! So shut the hell up. Quit pretending that you are soooo much smarter and you know the answer to what mankind has been searching for thousands of years. You were bred by retarded child molstors

    August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • glenn

      Ashes to ashes and dust to dust about sums up waits for you after death.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      For anyone to assert as if it is a 'fact' that they know THE truth out of what happens after death is talking out of their ass.

      Peace.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Colin

      Actually, based on everything we know I have a fair idea. I spent 13.7 billion years "dead" before I was born. It was not at all uncomfortable. I have also never understood the whole idea of "living forever in heaven". All of the plea.ures we get in life come from our biology as humans – the pleasure of $ex and love, of eating, of success in business or sport (intra-species compet.ition). I have never understood what believers think happens after they "wake up" in heaven. Do they sleep, eat, make love, age, how old is a five year old who dies, is his brain further developed, a 90 year-old, do they get their youth back?

      There are no answers to these basic questions, for the simple reason that the whole idea is made up. I suggest you give some good, hard thought to the whole idea of immortality – it gets silly pretty quickly.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • srichey

      Then what is your excuse?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Non-Jew: Colin is way smarter than you. Lots of people are, Get used to it.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  12. OMG!

    How to explain this.... Bible believers "You need to take meds....Nothing is working...."

    August 21, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  13. jed

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

    The biggest lie the devil ever told....

    August 21, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  14. Colin

    Maintaining the Christian belief in the 21st Century is nothing short of silly.

    Think about it. An infinitely powerful being decides it wants to “love human beings”, so it creates the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, waits about 10 billion years, creates the Earth, then waits another 4 billion years, causing life to slowly evolve into ho.mo sapiens, and then, at some point in our evolutionary history, endowed this one species with a “soul” and everlasting life.

    A few hundred thousand years later, it sends its “son” to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East and to save us from an original sin we now all know never happened. While “down” here, the “son” never once demonstrates that he has the slightest idea of anything not already known in the Iron Age Middle East, including about 99% of this favored species.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way, “oh come on” just doesn't quite capture it.

    The whole idea of some creator-god doing this and then supervising us and our thoughts 24 hours a day and recording our deeds for possible eternal burning is pure Dark Ages nonsense. Ever noticed that god always loves the same things you do and hates the same things you do? Every culture has its own god(s) and they always reflect that culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    We need to grow up as a species and shake off our remaining Iron Age superst.itions once and for all.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • matt

      well said

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • What that

      Die and find out 😉

      August 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • surprised

      I need to learn this kind of tolerance...I've been doing it all wrong. who would have thought so many Religiphobes & Christophobes were out there? keep cranking out the objective statements...I need more ideas

      August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Carmelle

      Bravo!

      August 21, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • StevieBoy

      EXACTLY!!! I don't need to add my own comments on all of this archaic silliness now!

      August 21, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Atheist

      Die and find out??? Why wait until the bitter end? No, live and find heaven here on earth while you have these remaining moments.

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

      This is why the whole thing is so irrational... Logically, shouldn't this creator have a creator? It's beginning to sound like a giant ponzi scheme. We have the lowly at the bottom who have little except for their "faith", then you have the guys with a special link to their "deity", who preach to the lowly about all their "sins"...I wonder what's in it for the creator?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well said, indeed.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  15. SadButTrue

    All of these anti christian atheist...all will die one day...we all will. The sad part is when the unbeliever dies, they find out that they were wrong. Its just to late then.....:(

    August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Colin

      This whole "believe or burn" idea is one of the sillier Christian superst-itions. It allows believers to smugly tell non-believers they’ll get their “comeuppance,” like "Sad but True" just did.

      Think it through, though. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to steal, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is refuse to believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a punishment on you an infinite times worse than the death penalty….and he loves you.

      Its silly stuff and obviously made up to keep the gullible in line.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Peace2All

      'Please'... look up "Pascal's Wager" to see how ridiculous your assertion is.

      Peace.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Koseki

      All of these anti muslim christians...all will die one day...we all will. The sad part is when the unbeliever dies, they find out that they were wrong. Its just too late then.....:(

      August 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • glenn

      I can't wait to see the look on Christian's faces when they get sucked up to heaven and God is sitting there with Buddha next to him or he is dressed like an Amish man and asks them why they didn't understand and follow the rules like the Amish did.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • godoftrade

      So you either have a direct line with god (as most christians claim) or have died and resurrected somehow since you're so assertive with your statement.
      Have you looked at yourself in the mirror and said to yourself "I know there's an afterlife" ?
      Go do it, see how stupid that feels.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Toby

      You are demanding belief based on fear of the unknown-because you don't know what happens after deaths anymore than I do, you only CLAIM to know. Further, most non-supernaturalists that I know have nothing against Christians, they only despise the doctrines of Christianity that are incompatible and oppressive to modern society and personal freedom. I support your right to believe whatever you choose to believe, but I do not support terrorizing innocent children and the ignorant and fearful with images of eternal suffering. Regarding your claim that atheists will one day die off, I can only say that because atheism relies heavily on reason, critical thinking, and autonomy of thought it will be always be with us. Besides-athiesm actually predates Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-so it is the one idea that will likely never die out. Peace.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • havingFun

      @Koseki: ...but I do believe.. It's just that I don't believe in your deity. I believe that when I die, I am dead, and whatever is next is next. I may just go mingle my molecules with stardust, or get recycled by bugs, or whatever. I just don't live my life in fear that something in judgement of me will send me to fire or not. On a side note, assuming I have a soul, does the soul feel? Or was that something about the human body?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Atheist

      Don't be sad.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      Were you aware that hinduism predates judaism (which of course is the basis for christianity). So Krishna was zooming around in his Vimana long before your god was even born. Perhaps you should convert to hinduism before you die. Just in case.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  16. glenn

    Instead of preaching to your husbands about p-rn, take care of them in the bedroom and your problem will go away. Oh yeah, you might want to skip a few big macs and instead of sitting on your butt reading the Bible go to the gym too!

    August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • rufusclyde

      So, the problem with Christian men is that their wives don't give them nookie often enough?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Maybe you should watch some p0rn, glenn, in order to get some pointers so that your wife will actually want to have se-x with you. And the Big Mac thing? Goes both ways.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  17. OMG!

    List of things you see in your life.
    Separation Church and state... won.
    Murderers get free jail cards.... won.
    Evolution education... won.
    Gay Marriage... won.
    Greed... Won
    Cheat.... Won.
    Steal.... Won
    Adultery. Oh yeah. Wiener, tiger woods, arnold, kim kardashian, j lo, athletes, celebrities... WON.

    Harold camping... failed.
    bible.... failed

    August 21, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  18. Truth

    You christian haters crack me up!! Your so intolerent sitting behind your computer posting your hate speech....the double standard is overwhelming....go hug a tree or something.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Bill

      the double standard is also in thinking God created what he did and then judges people for variables he himself created.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • godoftrade

      Lol. Sorry but Christians cannot divulge anything about double standards while having factual history behind them.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Johhh

      More people have died in religious wars then all others. Innocent women burned at the stake, gays ridiculed and denied rights, human beings turn themselves into living bombs : all in the name of some "god", undefined, unproven, undistinguished but always worth killing for. History does not side with you rant against atheists....

      August 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Atheist

      You're not all you're cracked up to be, Truth.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Truth, I think your screen name is terribly ironic.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  19. A Non Jew

    Liberals forget that their Prez isn't a disgusting athiest pig sometimes....it's cute. Atheism is a form of brain cancer. Even Darwin and Einstein were agnostics. Atheists say that they KNOW FOR A SCIENTIFIC FACT that there is no God (of any religion or denomination). Right...just like they knew that the world was flat, that pluto was a planet, and that Blacks were'nt as smart as whites.

    Either belive in something or at least be open to the idea (like a agnostic), don't be a close minded athiest. Athiests are pedophiles

    August 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • AGuest9

      Einstein was a Jew. He was offered the presidency of the proposed State of Zion (Isreal). Einstein believed that "God doesn't play dice."

      August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • robb

      Lifelong atheist, no pedophilia here. I am highly offended by use of that pejorative. How Christlike of you, why do all you Christians feel that way?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • mc

      Y'know, your statements seem measured and reasonable – until the "atheists are pedophiles" bit. You're as 'tarded as everyone else around here.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • glenn

      I believe you are an idiot. And I think it was the early Christians who put scientists in jail for trying to convince them that the earther went around the sun and wasn't f;at.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • godoftrade

      Hahaha! Christianity at it's best... fine example.
      It's because of people like Darwin, Galilei, Aristoteles and Einstein that we now know how our universe works, and guess what, Religion was always weary of their opinions to the point of incarceration for heresy. Because religion sells two things and very well masked: faith and fear.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Toby

      Are you agnostic about Joseph Smith being a a god and the whole story in the Book of Mormon? Are you agnostic about the Muslim belief that Jesus was simply a prophet and NOT the son of a god? I find it amusing how Christians think you should only be agnostic about the god THEY want you to believe in. For my part I disbelieve any of these ideas and claims until or unless there is bona fide, testable, repeatable, observable evidence to support these ideas. Until then, I just assume that all these religious ideas are the creation of men who want power over others in the natural world-and every day I am more convinced this is the case. Peace.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Atheist

      Well, A Non Jew [broad category], think of the Tooth Fairy. Do you feel agnostic about her?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • ty

      That is not christian- like. To accuse the president of not being a christian. How do you know? You just passed judgement. It is funny how so call christians make statements like this. If you really read your bible and believe in the word, you would not have wrote this at all. Remember gave us free will. It is sad how people use religion to say and do mean things, and they do it in the name of god. Remember this, sin is sin whether it is a lie, stealing, murder, selfishness, hatred, judging, miss representation of god, etc. You can be a liar and go to hell. Stop making a big deal about certain sin as if is some how the one sin that only can get you their. Judge yourself before you place judgement on another human. Walk in love.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well, golly, you make belief really appealing, what with your kindness and openness to the beliefs of others.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  20. hoth20

    These posts make me sick to see. Poor, poor, people of the world. Lost, Lost, Lost. Shows me the way the country is going.

    I'm wondering how many of these nay sayers against Christ, have once gone to him making a deal, and those prayers where not answered. Sorta like going to Santa Claus and asking for something and not getting it. Thats right you go on downing my Christian faith. I'lll pray for your lost soul. You don't have a clue!

    August 21, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • hoth20

      I take that back you do have a clue, Your super intelligence has you lost.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • havingFun

      hoping to be one of the precious 144000 saved? Kind of selfish?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • mc

      Lucky for us "clueless" types, religion is dying. It will take a few more generations, but at least it's on the way OUT... one more silly, primitive thing that just holds humanity back.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • John Richardson

      No, it wasn't the lack of answered prayers. It was the way my once fellow born againers kept giving testimonials like "I claimed Jesus as my savior and got my IRS rebate faster than ever!" that made me start cringing and the happy worshipping of a cosmic Ghaddafi who would ship billions of poor souls to eternal hell that made me realize the whole thing is cruel and creepy and the very opposite of the sort of spirituality I was craving and still am amenable to.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • You serious?

      Please tell me you're being sarcastic. Well at least you're off on the right foot, you've even correctly compared him to Santa Claus. It boggles my mind how close the truth is to you but you're so stupid you can't touch it. It almost sounds as if you believe Santa Claus is real.

      August 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hoth: If you would like to learn the truth, I would advise you to ask an atheist why they chose as they did. You may find it enlightening.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
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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.