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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. Gary

    no lust = no tumescence = no procreation = no humanity

    therefore, lust is good.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • jeebus

      well said!

      August 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Say What?

      Lust without control is crimial!

      August 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Atheist

      Unfortunately, Say What, the effect of powerful reproductive force is criminal in the fringe.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  2. sybaris

    Why do Christians care so much about what other people do with their genitalia?

    August 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • jeebus

      because they are conflicted with jealousy, frustration and temptation – lol

      August 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • JEM

      Its all about lust for power and control over others. It is the same
      lust which drove Nazi's and Communists.
      Liberty is not a Christian value

      August 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any por'n, even once or twice, is a problem for believers."

      Don't get yourself in a twist, sounds like they are addressing those of Faith not the general public. Goodness you folks scare easily 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Say What?

      Mark from Middle river, it is call conviction just like a child that is doing something they are not suppose to be doing and they get caught so they lie and fabricate to avoid the truth.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  3. Paul

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7wsXmvuP7U&w=640&h=360]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • some dude

      This guy sez...

      "the lord says 'Come'" and "follow hard"

      *giggles*

      August 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  4. jschau

    Let us have a war against christians and all other religious fools!

    August 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Who said Al-Qaeda words can not be Americanized.

      You see Colin,.... this is that "next step" I question folks on all sides. When the talking stops, this is sadly all that is left and its always us in the middle that get the brunt of it.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • M B

      Let's have a war against you, and all those who want to deny our right to religious pursuits...

      You are the real fool. Get used to it. Bring war, and you shall get beat.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Paul

      Oh there will be a war. I hope you are on the right side....

      August 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • jeebus

      war is not the answer. please don't advocate violence.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  5. tree beast

    Respectfully to any an all (My only comment) You who spend so much energy fact finding to prove and disprove the Mighty One. Have you accounted the fact that you're using a tool that is a lump of fat within your skull that never operates beyond 30 to 38% of its playing field? Is it not possible that God actually transcends your very mortal human brain? Were any of you present upon the creation of the universe? Absolutely not. God is God. To see truth is to be humble enough to go through God to see it. Do you believe in death? Death is proven and very certain to believers and non-believers alike. So dear non-believer and false believer(hypocrite) what if upon death the Holy Book rings true? Don't let the spirit of rebellion drown you into the great deception. Self image presentations, becoming masters of pretense, true identety left far behind. The spirit of rebellion mastering you like a helpless puppet blinded by arrogance. Intellectual circles of confusion leading you nowhere, living in disbelief the evil one crouches at your door, patiently waiting to subdue you, becoming another twisted member of his tortured flock. Seek God – the Almighty God, the One and Only, through Jesus Christ. By the way i'm not a fan of mega church,mega church events.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Have you been borrowing Lion's thesaurus again?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • asrael

      Sounds like a great movie script, tree beast: go for it...!

      August 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • jeebus

      your sermon is worse than old tom's bible quotes.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • JEM

      God is not among the things within the world in which we live.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Atheist

      Glad you got off on that one, Tree Beast. Now go find help before another thousand die from condom fear.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  6. Paul

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6uUjcvugBc&w=640&h=360]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  7. jesus

    I don't trust anyone over the age of 18 who does not like por n.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Chris t my grandson is only 12 – puberty comes early these days

      August 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Dave

      Amen!

      August 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • JEM

      Amen

      August 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  8. Paul

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhyX419jbjs&w=640&h=360]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  9. Jethro

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCJ8RRAXWOk&w=640&h=390]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  10. Jethro

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLZxjFiIvVc&w=640&h=390]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Tom

      Do not confuse Catholicism with Christianity because they are polar opposites. Catholicism believes you need their church to to be saved and Christianity believes only Christ for salvation. Catholicism believes in works to make heaven and Christianity believes in grace and not works. The work of Jesus Christ on the cross is all we need and not religion or traditions of men. Catholicism is a man made religion. They have the Pope as their Vicar and we have the true and living God Jesus Christ as our salvation. "There is no other name under heaven and earth whereby we must be saved accept Jesus Christ" and NOT the CHURCH, nor religion. The mother MAry nor any other Catholic saint can answer prayers, but GOD only.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Dave

      Tom: Christianity is a man created myth.......what century are you living in? Educate yourself...you obviously know very little of the orgins of your primitive belief system. I believe in a Creator or higher power but in no way does christianity represent or have any thing to do with God. God could never exist in that fairy tale man created version.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Say What?

      Dave do you believe Islam is a man created myth?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  11. Scott

    I guess its all well in good if you people want to live in fear of your genitalia... but what about those of us who aren't? I mean, sure, some people do dumb stuff like watch p.orn all day and the rest of their life suffers... but it is THEIR life and if they want to do stupid stuff like gargle with drano or quit their job so they'll have more time to play with themselves... why is that YOUR business? And its not sin, its not addiction, its just another thing in life to act stupid with and take too far sometimes lol. But some of us can enjoy a movie without ruining our lives... Some of us can do some pretty freaky stuff without getting stupid with it... And I must say if you could be grown up enough about it and not so insecure, you can have a fabulous time too haha.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      These Christian bags of human crap live to push their insane agenda into the lives of anyone that doesn't spew their brand of dogma. When I see white-shirted zealots coming up onto my porch to try to barf Jesus crap on me, I become one rude SOB.

      Hey Christians. Go away. Far away, like to another planet.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Now who are we going for here – vid 1 or 2?

      August 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Grammar and Spelling Cop

      It's "well AND good".

      August 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  12. Jethro

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUXRhLU2na8&w=640&h=390]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  13. TheyNotHim

    Didn't god make us in his image? In that case, looking at the naked human body would be just like gazing upon the perfect form of god? So...what's the problem?

    August 21, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      God doesn't exist. It's all in the tiny, warped minds of the Christians. Drop trow, bring out the dragon and have at it. Enjoy!

      August 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • asrael

      Haven't you heard? No member of the Family ever had naughty bits. No plumbing, no sinful behavior...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • JEM

      If God "Engineered" the human body, he did a very terrible job. Our teeth rot and fall out, our knees and hips fail, we have a host of organs which are more likely to kill than help us, we are susceptible to cancers, heart disease, .......
      Our eyes are flawed in design as the blood supply of our retina lies over many of the sensors and blocks light.
      The list goes on

      August 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  14. DrJamesWilliamson

    My sperm is sacred.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Atheist

      Then save urns of your liquid not used for procreation.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  15. iusemybrain

    Wow...banning lustful thoughts? Such tragedy! Why is there always a group that wants to take something away? Sugar, salt, now lustful thoughts? It's natural! People put themselves though the ringer for what? Built up aggression and stress? I should have lived in the 70's. This is getting out of control.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      I hope one day there is a uprising of common sense that drowns out the dogma spewed by the Christian a&& Holes.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Dude

      You can't blame lustful thoughts because they always existed. Here's how I can prove i; we're here!

      Some's be doing the bunga bunga I surmise.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  16. Paul

    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Atheist

      What?

      August 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • asrael

      And do remember to sprinkle Biblical quotes when lacking a coherent thought of your own...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      And that ye may fear to whack on thine own meat, ye must maketh everyone else miserable.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Jethro

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8fheDIG_RA&w=640&h=390]

    August 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  18. Paul

    'Just looking'?
    Some would argue that looking at the naked human body is not evil, because God made it beautiful, and Adam and Eve were naked in the garden. However, that was before sin entered the picture.
    "The eye is the window of the soul," as the saying goes. What we look at does affect us spiritually – and can cause us to sin. David "SAW" the woman naked, before he got ideas to sin with her. Jesus said that if a man "looks at a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery with her already in his heart"; etc. The sin takes place even before the action is executed.
    The Bible gives many examples of men being enticed by the sight of a woman. Shechem saw the woman before he ra ped her. David saw the woman bathing before he had s ex with her. Judah saw the harlot before he had s ex with her. It was the same for Samson.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      Is everyone on here a nitwit?

      August 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Antichrist

      And do you know what I think of religion? I think it's a load of BS because it has plagued mankind for hundreds of years causing nothing but war, division and trauma to the human psyche. Science and Philosophy is what will create a better world, not religion.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So what you're saying is that christian men can't keep it in their pants.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  19. Say What?

    Help us ALL! The blind mired in darkness feeling our way for a door we cannot find!

    August 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Tom

      "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Anyone who opens the door and lets Me in I will sup with Him and he with Me and he will live with Me for ever." Jesus is standing at the door, which is the door you say you can not find and now you know.. If you accept Him, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, call Him your Lord, you will live forever, but if you deny Him, He will deny you before the Father. We all have the opportunity to accept Him and ask Him for forgiveness until our last breath, but if deny until death, there will be weeping and nashing of teeth.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      Behold, I am Tom. Christian Loser.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • jeebus

      @tom: hey, can you debate with us instead of resorting to copy/paste of bible quotes? typical christian...can't win with logic so he can only post stupid sermons. blah blah blah.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tom, I believe the word you are looking for is "gnashing". The gnashing of teeth. The "g" is silent.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well, they do say that masterb-ating will make you blind.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  20. Tom

    Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. When we deny Christ who is our only advocate before God, and stand at the judgement thrown when this life passes, everyone will bow. those who accepted Him as their Lord and Savior will live with Him for eternity where every tear will be washed away, no more pain and sorrow and those who denied Him until death will still bow a knee and call Him Lord, but they will do so in the lake of fire where the worm never dies, where there will be weeping and nashing of teeth. Very sad...

    August 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      Your kind are the source of all trouble in this world

      August 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • i wonder

      "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

      This sounds much more like something that your egomaniacal "Satan" character would say.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • asrael

      That would be "gnashing", Tom. And yes, this hour's Smugly Sanctimonious Award is all yours...

      August 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • jeebus

      old tom is outsourcing to scripture again, as if it means anything.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Dave

      Tom: Grow up.....even God is rolling his eyes at you. Christianity is a man created myth. Educate yourself.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • K1nsey6

      If this is the sort of person that I would be eternally in heaven with...then give me hell.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tom

      Please the crowd or please God.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Atheist

      "Every knee will bow"??? Try making a count with the posts here.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:44 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.