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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. Tom

    Ever who set up the photo for this article definitely has no respect for the Bible.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • jeebus

      i'm not sorry that you are offended. get over it.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Tom

      It's amazing how many Jesus hating leftist post on these boards.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • jeebus

      @tom: you overplayed your hand. you assume that all jesus haters are leftist. i'm not a leftist and i don't hate jesus. i despise jesus lovers that try to tell me what to believe.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Fred1

      @Tom: I don’t hate jesus. It’s just all of you refried jesus wheezers that I can’t stand

      August 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  2. failed.

    People wasted a lot of money for promoting this and not create jobs.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  3. heliocracy

    Yes indeed, God created the entire universe, yet one of his chief concerns seems to be whether a bunch of violent apes on a speck of dust orbiting an ordinary middle-aged star in an unremarkable galaxy are touching themselves. Makes perfect sense, no matter how you look at it.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • susyc

      Now, now Helio. Keep your common sense to yourself. 😉

      August 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  4. Bo

    ===================================== There is no addict that can be helped unless they want help. Religion can't be shoved down the throats of any adult that does not want to hear it. They listen by choice! ====================================

    August 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Fred1

      Maybe, but, that dosen't stop christians from trying

      August 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  5. talezspin

    ------------------------------

    HOW DARE CNN USE A PICTURE WITH A PLAYBOY MAGAZINE ON A HOLY BIBLE??? WOULD THEY DARE DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR WITH THE QURAN?

    Offending Christians is a fair-game for CNN.

    ----------------------------

    August 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • John Richardson

      JUst because lots of Muslims have an idiotically idolatrous att-itude towards their "holy" book doesn't meant Christians are obliged to. Grow up a little and maybe someone will actually start respecting you.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • jeebus

      that is correct. it's called free speech. get used to it.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • David Griebel

      Boo hoo. Get over yourself.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are right! CNN should apologize to Playboy!!

      Cheers!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • rgvg

      You are correct. Its ok to say or do whatever you want to christians but its an absolute SIN to disgrace the so called holy book of the islamist. Maybe turning the other cheek needs to be rethought.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • john swanson

      People just remember,over the1000yrs so many men wrote and rewrote the bible that it is not truly the original bible.Every one who wrote the bible put in there own thoughts.Plus people who are overly two religious are really the true (SINNERS)Forcing there own views on others.Plus its all for money any way to collect from the poor two build bigger and bigger churches. AMEN

      August 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  6. satan

    Gotta love my children who are living the life I have tricked them into..wink...wink

    sd.,
    Satane

    August 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  7. say no

    Say NO to temptation translation bondage,
    YES to FREEDOM

    August 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Fred1

      But how can I be free if i can't say yes to temptation?

      August 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  8. ucheson

    God is great,he is a miracle to me

    August 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • jeebus

      really? you met god? does he have a beard? why do insist on believing god is a boy? i think god is a girl, hah!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Rob

      Jeebus. Why so bitter? I don't really care what you believe, why do you care what I believe? If I'm wrong, and I'm an idiot, how does that impact you?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • jeebus

      @rob: i'm not bitter, i am an optimist. i would like to think that god is a pretty girl instead of a grumpy old man. you are trying to impose your beliefs on others and that is wrong.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • AreYouSerious?

      Hey Rob, how about by restricting abortions for women, that's affecting me. And what about stem cell research? I want some of that but you people won't let me. And I'm gay, so you won't let me have the same rights as you, because you're special and gifted above me. Hell yeah, your stupid beliefs are affecting me.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Liam Ray

      (Replying to Jeebus)...what do you care about what ucheson believes, really? Why do you mock others for their beliefs if you think God doesn't exist? "Oh, they are the ones that caused most problems in the world today", "They are psychos". So what? What is the bottom line? If what you believe is right, it really doesn't matter, doesn't it? Let the people blow each other up, cause chaos in the world, and screw everything up, but in the end when we die, we won't exist anymore, right? Why do you care? What is your fear of other's beliefs? Just shut up, drink your beer, and enjoy life when you can? Life is short, right? Or is it you have nothing better to do than to make fun of others?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • jeebus

      @liam ray:

      it's not right to impose your beliefs on others. and don't tell me to shut up. i will only come back with another scathing condemnation of your simple minded hypocrisy. i do not fear your sarcastic, smarmy remarks. i will expose them as illogical. done!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • i wonder

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."
      — Thomas Jefferson

      August 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Rob, how about STEM and biology/medicine? If we allow the loonies to force our school boards to teach religion instead of science – like evolution, we fall farther behind the rest of the industrialized world. Then the next generation of doctors will deny concepts such as antibiotic resistance because they don't understand evolution.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  9. lolsigh

    Just like everything that christians have done even this crusade is a failure.
    Why anyone would follow a book that has been responsible for the most attrocities in the entire world is beyond me.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • jagulor

      how can book be responsible ? no wonder wisdom is beyond you...
      people might be responsible for their actions ,
      can a cookbook or whoever wrote it be responsible for someones diabetes?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • shayne

      secular humanists always conveniently forget that more people have been murdered by evolutionists in the last century than then entire dark ages put together, i.e.: Hitler, Stalin, Mao

      August 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  10. 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 1:56 pm |
    • itsjustme

      Isn't this more or less what Jocelyn Elders was getting at? Don't forget lessening one's exposure to HIV.

      NO contraceptive is failsafe. Condoms break, BCPs fail for various reasons (interaction with antibiotics is one reason; antibiotics nullifys the pill's mode of operation).

      August 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Once again, every time you decide to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of s-exual intercourse, you will indeed have produce no babies. But the abstinence METHOD of eschewing contraceptives and relying on an "abstinence vow" is a method that can fail and does fail.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  11. Fab

    The BU professor who offered the opinion that “There is no certainty, It’s interpretation”, just fell into one of the biggest philosophical pitfalls that it's a wonder she's still teaching/publishing. If there is no certainty, there must not be any absolutes either, huh?

    August 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • jeebus

      um, no. that is not a logical conclusion. you are absolutely wrong...there it is.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Rob

      I don't mind that Jeebus believes in moral relativity, but it really bothers me when Christians fall into that trap

      August 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Rob

      You said: "I don't mind that Jeebus believes in moral relativity, but it really bothers me when Christians fall into that trap"

      I assume you believe the Christian god gave us our morals? If so, then do you think god gave us these moral commandments because they are good or are they good because He gave them?

      Curious in Az.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  12. m

    dr. kevorkian, who was my personal hero said it best. my only regret was being born.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • jeebus

      hmm...not sure i agree with that, but i see where you're coming from. this world is not very pleasant sometimes, especially when religious people try to tell me what to do. i'm an optimist though. i think we are coming close to the point of singularity, where we have the technology to extend our lives indefinitely so that we may become wiser and better able to cure our problems. that's way better than the second coming.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  13. IceT

    @ Jesus Is Lord, what you actually did was give up on finding the answers. You were struggling with answering a simple problem then saw a show about something you had no answer for & decided to give it up to God. Religion is psychological self help, you gave up & the unanswerable became easy again, God did it, simple. If that works for you then good, but that doesn't make it true.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jesus Is Lord

      Not really sure I followed everything you were trying to say, but I will disagree with your assessment about religion. God says that "good" religion is looking after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep yourself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27) God also commands us to gather together on a regular basis (church) – that's in Hebrews 10:25.

      Jesus Christ is the answer. Are you ready to meet Him?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • IceT

      I understand that you hold your beliefs as strongly as I hold mine, but circular logic (the bible is true because the bible says it's true) does not make for a rational discussion.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jesus Is Lord

      What proof do you have that Jesus ever existed?

      Cheers!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  14. Bo

    =============@KerryBerger============= How do you know theses theriapist are not licenced? =====================================

    August 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Liam Ray

    There is a reason for their "addiction"? The only reason they are "addicted" is because God gave them over to their reprobate minds (it's in the book of Romans). Basically what that means is if you don't stop doing these things, God says, "Okay, is that what you desire instead of desiring me? Go ahead, have it your way.", then He lets you go. All of the sudden, you're in a tailspin to whatever your heart's desire is, you can't stop unless you're in desperation to end the addiction and the sin that separated you from your relationship with God. As for those who are atheists, well, I have nothing to say because it doesn't matter. There is no need for hope because you believe when you die, you will no longer exist or come to nothiness. You can do pretty much whatever you want. Enjoy your life while you still exist here on Earth. There's a saying, "If you're (atheist) right, I have nothing to fear but if I'm (Christian) right, you have everything to fear".

    August 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • jeebus

      i'm not buying your fear mongering.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo...

      August 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • h funk

      exactly – why are you living a life according to your fears?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Except, religion is also an addiction. The afflicted became delusional.

      Cheers!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Liam Ray, good post.

      Addiction, the ultimate in carnal thinking, believing and doing.

      Amen.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  16. careful

    "Be careful little eyes what you see"

    August 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  17. jeebus

    my name was jesus, but people kept calling me lord. so i changed it to jeebus when i saw a simpsons episode. religious people are strange. it's ok to believe in god. however, believing in god does not make someone religious. religion is made to control people and that is wrong, wrong, wrong. read all the christian's comments and they quote the bible as authoritative. it's a bunch of ridiculousness. martha stewart must be spinning in her grave.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Paul

      Why are you living in deception?

      August 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • jeebus

      @paul: i'm not living in deception. you are living in delusion.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Paul

      You said: "Why are you living in deception?"

      Tell me how not believing in a sky daddy is deception? LOL

      Cheers!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  18. dkm

    We're animals people...just more intelligent ones (as some would say). All these religions and the Gods associated with them were created by man to gain power and control the ignorant masses and put some order into societies which were dispersed throughout the planet. This is the 21st century and we still believe in the boogeyman... time to evolve!

    August 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Paul

      People are not animals. You are blinded to the truth and your understanding is darkened. Learn what the gospel is so that the glorious light may shine on you.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Matt

      Uh sorry, people are animals. That you are denying this fundamentally basic fact, illustrates the harm religion inflicts on the human mind.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      I was in marriage counseling, and I said "We'll, we're all just animals, ya' know." The counselor got really upset and tried to tell me, "No, no, god made the animals separate". I told her if she mentioned anything about her stupid religion again, I was going to another counselor. It never came up again.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Paul

    You need to get delivered from your sin and get born again in the Holy Spirit! It is the Holy Spirit who empowers a believer to not sin. If you haven't been born again then you are still dead in the trespasses of your sins!

    August 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • itsjustme

      Suppose I'm a Pagan? And I believe in the God and Goddess?

      August 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • jeebus

      how do you know that? did you read it in a book or something? or did h. spirit breathe it into you?

      August 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well, Paul, you are certainly enti.tled to your opinion.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      I reject and despise the holy ghost. How is it that you idiots ended up believing in ghosts, by the way?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  20. mako

    ALL religious people are mentally ill on some level, the more "devote" you are to your brand of crazy fantasy, the more dangerous you are to other humans.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Paul

      The devil is the father of all lies and what you said is a lie!

      August 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • NotQuiteRight

      Religion is just like someone with a cancerous tumor on their face who thinks it's a beauty mark. They go around telling everyone that it looks good, and they're glad they have the tumor, and then just go on living with it, instead of seeing it for what it really is and having it fixed. This is how I see all religious delusionists that I meet; like a big, cancerous, lump lodged in their skull. We're trying to tell you people that you're sick, and you won't listen.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Therese

      I think you meant "devout" or "devoted". But gee, so Dorothy Day, the SCLS and Martin Luther King and all those religiously oriented people who restrain their baser impulses, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take in children no one else wants, seek justice for those society devalues in the name of money, power, or maintaining the hold of the class in power – all based on their beliefs – are dangerous to society and mentally ill? If this is insanity, give us more of it!

      Oh, and didn't the former Soviet Union designate as insane anyone who went against the governing philosophy of its day? Let's be a little careful in throwing those labels around, my friend.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Paul, if the devil is the father of all lies, he's the father of your faith, which is built on a pile of politically motivated fabrications.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • S101

      People follow religions because of custom and tradition. Customs and traditions can be altered by invasions. People use religious means for political ends. Not news.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:23 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.