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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. 877-why-pone

    Call 877 why pone to find out why pone is harmful to Mankind!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • jeebus

      actually, i like johnny cakes 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Happy Believer

      Corn pone, hush puppies, fritters ... how could anyone possibly say that's bad stuff?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  2. Bo

    ============DogMan2:11================ Perhaps you are not aware of some natural phenomena. You ought to know what you are talking about before you make statements. As for the Red Sea parting, it is a fact that this has happened at other times other than the record in the Bible. I happens just as discribed in the Bible; a stong east wi nd blows up and can part the waters. And did you know that there has been found cherriot wheels found in that area of the sea? As for the burning bush, there is a certain bush in tne Arabic desearts that will spontainiously ignight and it is comsumed. However, the bush that that Moses saw was not comsumed. =====================================

    August 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • J.W

      post using the 'Reply" button please. People cant follow the conversation when you do it like this.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mark Upshaw

      If only your beloved myth were true and to happen today. May your warring G-d come and take all of you awaiting whatever form of rapture you believe in and let the earth rest from all of your bloodshed in the name of your various gods, that the meek (non religious) may inherit the earth.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • disgust

      and who said that? When was it written? We all know the story variant.. One person is told the story and is told to repeat it to someone else. Once it reaches the 10th person, that 10th person must tell it to the originator. In the end, the story became flawed to the point it lost all.

      Now imagine 1,000's telling a story, for not just a day but many years.

      There is your bible, pure nonsense.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Happy Believer

      Yes, the partng of the Red Sea really happened. Just like getting two of every animal on earth onto one boat really happened.

      Trying to read the Bible as though it is literally true, word by word, is just silly. Any Biblical scholar will tell you that the Bible is not just translated, it is INTERPRETED.

      Many words have multiple meanings. As a result, many statements that we believe are clear when we make them, turn out to be unclear or ambiguous to the listener or reader. In literature classes and in academic writings, there are great debates over what an author meant in particular passages. And this happens when books are written in modern English. And frequently the debates continue even after the authors have provided additional guidance, believing themselves to have cleared up the ambiguity.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Happy Believer

      With the Bible, we have a collection of books written in languages that no one understands. The words are ambiguous. So Biblical scholars make their best guesses at proper translation. Those best guesses have changed over time, as experts become better at translation. But some fundamentalist religions are stuck on the idea of using older translations, made by people who simply were uninformed or uneducated. That's unfortuate. They should look to someone like Thomas Jefferson, who was a great Christian. But he did not believe that any portion of the Bible was literally true, nor did he believe that Jesus was the son of God, born of an immaculate conception. He believed that Jesus was a great preacher, perhaps even a prophet who had been spoken to directly by God. And he believed that the Bible had been written by men, in the style of their time, with great embellishment and use of allegory and mythology both for emphasis and interest.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • disgust

      Thanks for the excuses, happy believer. Problem is that they weren't that bright when they wrote the cra-p. Different writers all got together, many not from the same period, to write stories that had multiple meanings. They all said, let's write a book that people will question and then they will realize we had some hidden purpose.

      Tooooooooooooo funny.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • nonterrorist

      Regarding the accuracy of the Bible, it has been handed down in WRITTEN form, not ORAL form. The scribes were so careful to retain its accuracy, that they even counted how many words were in each sentence, and marked the center of each sentence, to be sure that no word was omitted. Manuscripts copied hundreds or even thousands of years apart have only a very tiny percentage of discrepancies, and those generally don't affect the meaning of the text. The Textus Receptus (Received Text) is probably the most accurately transcribed text in human history.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  3. Bo

    ============DogMan2:11================ Perhaps you are not aware of some natural phenomna. You ought to know what you are talking about before you make statements. As for the Red Sea parting, it is a fact that this has happened at other times other than the record in the Bible. I happens just as discribed in the Bible; a stong east wi nd blows up and can part the waters. And did you know that there has been found cherriot wheels found in that area of the sea? As for the burning bush, there is a certain bush in tne Arabic desearts that will spontainiously ignight and it is comsumed. However, the bush that that Moses saw was not comsumed. =====================================

    August 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  4. God is a POS

    Stop fooling yourselves, guys - every Vatican folk beats off! Wanna bet? 🙂

    August 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • disgust

      Many are gay, except for those who are the pedo-philes

      August 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  5. Laurie

    Nonsense nonsense nonsense!!! The addiction claim....the new excuse for sin. It is only an excuse temporarily until judgment day. Then all truth will be exposed and there will be no excuses....

    August 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The first three words of your post aptly described the last two sentences.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • J.W

      Everybody meet Laurie! She is the one sinless person on earth today.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, Laurie speaks the truth in this context. If you accept that this a general day of judgement for a specific person, e.g., a Congressmen who gets caught emailing pics of his parts, and claims that it is due to an addiction, it is nonsense. Otherwise the whole "line up on ether side of the Throne on The Last Day to be judged" is nonsense, as well.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  6. Bo

    ============DogMan2:11================ Perhaps you are not aware of some natural phenomna. You ought to know what you are talking about before you make statements. As for the Red Sea parting, it is a fact that this has happened at other times other than the record in the Bible. I happens just as discribed in the Bible; a stong east wi nd blows up and can part the waters. And did you know that there has been found cherriot wheels found in that area of the sea? As for the burning bush, there is a certain bush in tne Arabic desearts that will spontainiously ignight and it is comsumed. However, the bush that

    August 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Did you realize that the Egyptians had boats? Did you consider that things being transported in boats (like chariots or wheels) might be on the bottom of a sea because a boat sank or perhaps disposable things were thrown overboard to prevent a boat from sinking? Did you ever consider that the most practical answer is generally the correct one?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  7. JeffinIL

    asd

    August 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  8. rgvg

    Just a thought.. All of you here who slam folks who believe what the Bible says, There is something one should consider, If one should chose to follow the teachings of Christ They are normally good folks, take care of their family, work hard, pay taxes so on-I know some screw up so hold the slams–If they are wrong they have lead a good life and die never knowing they were wrong , You are dead you dont have a way to look back and go crap I blew that!. But if they are right and you that slam them saying they are full of it believing in all the nonsence, when you finally kick the bucket and end up standing before that , God who you spent your life bad mouthing, Your prospects of an eternity slowcookin' dont look so good. Just a thought. Theres an old saying Better safe than sorry!! Also freedom of speech dosnt mean one should go out ones way to upset others. CNN the pic at the beginning is wrong. You wouldnt to it to the muslim holy book so you shouldnt do it to the Bible.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • News Flash

      Pascal's Wager. Again.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • jeebus

      i reject your fear mongering.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Magic

      rgvg: "when you finally kick the bucket and end up standing before that , God who you spent your life bad mouthing, Your prospects of an eternity slowcookin' dont look so good."

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century.

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • rgvg

      Newsflash you are correct, but truthfully how many of these trolls here have ever heard of it! lol Good catch btw

      August 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Dog Man

      And it is the exact fear you describe, that keeps many otherwise logical people wrapped up in the nonsense called religion....just in case....better be safe and "believe".

      August 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • thinky

      Figuratively speaking me thinks as they show in the picture a person is hiding dirty mags under the Bible or is living a double life...

      August 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Christians should stop slamming Muslims, because when they die, they might find themselves having to account for their acts before Allah!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I don't believe in god and if there really is some supreme being who can read my thoughts, I don't think lying about that belief is going to get the job done. So I'm just going to continue living as I do, as a useful, decent member of society. If there is a supreme being it's not likely to be the christian god, so I think we'd all be in the same "slowcookin" boat.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • J.W

      If hell is really a pit of fire where everyone burns for eternity, why didnt Jesus sit down and say look here is what happens to non-believers when they die?

      August 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  9. Cancer

    Now this is a GOOD Crusade for Christians to be up against this cancer called p o r n..

    Wishing all success!!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I find it terribly ironic that you call yourself cancer.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  10. ProgressiveMike

    Sorry, but there is no reconciling Christian faith with rationality. Just reading these posts, you can see it. Honestly... atheists are apes and christians are "divine"? Really? That's what your faith tells you to believe? You're going to heaven and all non-believers are going to hell? Seriously, that's what you think? News flash – you're deluded. And, your "faith of love and peace" plays out every day, LOUDLY, in the form of intolerance and plain old nastiness. Your spokespeople sound anything but loving and peaceful. And, you relentlessly campaign to foist your beliefs on the rest of society, when the rest of society isn't interested, doesn't want it, and can see the silliness of it. You people need your own "christian caliphate", away from the rest of us. I recommend Alaska or Texas as great places to establish that. There, you'll be able to control your environment, and stay the hell out of ours. Please, hurry.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  11. LaPlut

    We have morals "built in", we don't need religion tell us something that we already know.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Dog Man

      Normal people have this. It is called self control. Those who do not have self control, who are too weak to take responsibility for their own life and actions, turn to invisible spirits in the sky. Most have turned away from such silly things in these modern times, but not all. As humans embraced science you see, they learned things, such as the fact that lightning is not caused by a lightning god, thunder not by the thunder god, the sun is not a god, on and on. Yet some, are still so F'ing stupid that they think everything is controlled by a god. They never evolved. Sad, but true.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • S101

      Religion provides "normal" people an avenue to pacify their irrationalities. The mind throws up all kinds of trash based on fear, scarcity etc. "Normal" people can squash this without problem, "abnormal" people are unable to. Religious belief is no different.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • DNKing

      Really? How well did that work out in Rwanda, Cambodia, China, Nazi Germany, Armenia... and so on. Left to our own devices we kill one another. All of these examples were "Lord of the Flies" in the non-fiction version.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Religion doesn't stop destructive and evil behavior. It just tries to sanctify it.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  12. J.W

    People really need to hit the reply button and post under the person that they are replying to

    August 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      What does this have toi do with dinosaurs?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • nonterrorist

      Reply to J.W.: You can click on the reply button, and your post can still be posted as a main entry, depending on your privacy settings or whatever. This is a technical issue.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  13. stanton

    ANNE COULTER IS A FRUSTATED STORK ON SPEED!!!! IV'E TRIED TO PRAY THAT DITZ AWAY FOR YEARS!!!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yeah, well, you don't want her becoming a SATISFIED stork on speed, now do you?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Happy Believer

      A-men, Brother!!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  14. jesus

    instead of spending all this money and time on something like this can't these christians use these resources on something like stopping pedophiles, rapist, murders or feeding the poor. think what they could accomplish.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • I'm Gonna Rot in Hell But at Lease I'll Have a Lot of Company

      Thank you, Jesus. Anyone who reads this article and isn't flabbergasted at the absurdity of it's content is a HYPOCRITE. Amen.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  15. Jesus Is Lord

    @NotQuiteRight

    You Said:
    "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."

    Go to youtube and paste this link:

    watch?v=dve3wZKL5n0&feature=feedlik

    August 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  16. disgust

    Religion provides the excuse to harming others.

    August 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  17. J.W

    I sometimes am tempted to look at por n, but I am single so it doesnt cause any harm

    August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow. It sounds like you may just be a normal human being!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • satan

      Good job my boy!, you earned your candy for the day!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL what are you trying to say talullah? You seem to be implying something but im not quite picking up on it.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • S101

      Religion = Socially legitimized irrationality through custom and traditions.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Dog Man

    Q: Why aren't dinosaurs in the bible? A: Because the bible is a story written by men who didn't know that they existed.

    If it was an accurate story handed down by God it would have included them no?

    August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • J.W

      Humans and dinosaurs never lived side by side. Why would it need to say anything about dinosaurs in the Bible?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Dog Man

      J.W. – Never existed side by side? Uh, yeah, because according to your insane beliefs all animals and people were created in the first freaking week, and there was never any mention of dinosaurs was there? Did they come into existence and then go extinct in the first 4-5 days in Genesis and that just wasn't mentioned?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • J.W

      You think that humans and dinosaurs lived together and you say I am the one with the insane beliefs?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • IceT

      J.W. ... because the bible describes what God created in the beginning. It seems to be a glaring omission & the DogMan has a valid & obvious point. I have yet to meet a priest, pastor, clergy who hasn't said "all the answers are in the bible".

      August 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • God is BS

      god has selective memory – s/he forgot when s/he created Satan/devil/etc.! 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Dog Man

      I DON'T believe they existed side by side. I believe what science CLEARLY shows, which is that dinosaurs were created long long before humans. That they lived and died long long before humans (yeah, more than a week apart). I also believe the fact that they comprise a much larger segment of history than humans do, and that it is insane that they would have been left out of the bible if it were really the "truth" passed on by an all knowing god.

      Now that being said, the whole silliness of believing the world was created in a week ruins any logical discussion of the bible right off the bat, now doesn't it?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • J.W

      How would the people who wrote the Bible know of dinosaurs? Scientists didnt even discover them until fairly recently.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • J.W

      I never said that the world was created in a week. I dont know anyone who thinks that.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • TheNobleSirWolf

      Dinosaurs are not mentioned in the bible because the term did not exist until the 1800's. Prior ot that, dinosaurs were simply termed dragons, or reptiles, which are in fact mentioned in the story of creation in the Bible.

      Thinking in scientific terms: since time is in fact relative (a day on Jupiter is not the same as a day on Earth), is it possible that the week in the Bible is not a literal week but a metaphorical week? If this is the case, then the creation story bears a much closer resemblence to the scientific time line that most scientists would care to admit.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • nonterrorist

      The Bible was written to tell you who Jesus is, and what he did for you. Dinosaurs are not relevant.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  19. Bo

    ============@DogMan================== Why do yoy supose that Einstine, a reknowned athiest died belivieng inGod? ====================================

    August 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dog Man

      Because he had not yet come to understand what people later learned about quantum physics. There was much he did not understand, such as dark matter, dark energy, on and on. Besides, many have death bed conversions "just to be safe....in case".

      August 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • disgust

      How do you know? His studies never were completed.
      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly."

      August 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Fredo

      why do thousands of scientists die every year and they don't believe in god neither? einstein was not the best in history. That didn't answer the question about why dinosaurs aren't in the bible.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Because that's simply not true. It's just another lie perpetuated by christians, rather like Darwin's deathbed refutation of evolution, or the lies about Pat Tillman's behavior before his death in Iraq. There are christians out there who are willing to bear false witness in order to elevate themselves and their beliefs.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please provide support for your claim that Einstein died believing in god.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Fred1

      This is just another example of where the bible says it's ok for christians to lie and so they do

      "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" Romans 3:7 (KJV)

      August 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  20. Keith

    Why not a Playboy in a Koran? Why not a story about how muslim men are raping white women in Norway and Sweden?

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

      muslim/xtian, all the same. Doing harm to the innocent while brainwashing their children.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:14 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.