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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. centsless

    I'm not addicted to masturbation . . . I just enjoy the HELL out of it!

    August 21, 2011 at 5:13 am |
  2. 66Biker

    Remember all those preachers who were against being gay yet had a string of boyfriends? Eddie Long, Paul Crouch, John Geoghan, etc. How about all those Catholic Priests that have been accused of molesting children, most of whom you know darn good and well actually did what they have been accused of. And we surely can't forget Daddy's little secret, can we? Those who are screaming the loudest (or should be) against anything are always the ones who are into it the most.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • Liam Ray

      Yeah, they are monsters but believe me, they will be held account with God. They will not go unpunished. There are some heavy-duty scriptures regarding that. My advice to you is to not look to man for their faults, look to God for salvation. Search for yourself and don't let other lives dictate your decisions. God is perfect and man isn't, not by a long-shot.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's easier to be perfect when you don't exist.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Rick

      liamray: why should we believe you about those people being punished?

      August 22, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  3. Ran

    Interesting that CNN has launched a crusade against Christianity.

    Funny people only believe what the media shoves down their throats. Enjoy your reading.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Pablo Escobar

      "Crusade" against Christianity? Good one! LOL

      August 21, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • Bioartchick

      Since when are ideas immune from criticism? Sorry you don't like it, but you're only defining your position as being on the defensive. Just because an article is published doesn't mean you have to read it. And lastly, you bring absolutely nothing to the conversation, so you're welcome to leave your shallow input at the door.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:27 am |
    • levend

      There is no crusade, Christianity has to clean up its closet and its messy. The Vatican still protects pedophile priests, which gives you an indication whose side it protect.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's interesting how some christians like to play victim. I guess they do it because it's easier to pretend to be a victim than it is to accept the fact that not everyone agrees with them.

      August 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Rick

      Feeling a little put upon, Ran?

      August 22, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  4. Clint

    "Dude, I'm not sure if you've read the Bible"

    Dude, you've been brainwashed, and your post only further proves what he said.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:02 am |
  5. David Griebel

    Disgusting religious hypocrites. Every one of you make me sick to my stomach, and if I somehow could, I would vomit on every one of you.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • montyhall

      What's up David, why so angry and vile?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:15 am |
    • cosmicsnoop

      You mean angry with bile.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  6. Rst

    What a bunch of BS. We all have an 'addiction' because 'god' overloaded us with hormones. Good luck to him and his family once he stops masturbating, he's going to be one very happy man, even more so then now. It's sad how the church screws with some people.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • montyhall

      This article isn't about a "church" it's about what's right for me as a Christian. In my opinion your statement is a worldly view of what Christians attempt to overcome – it's my struggle too.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • Bioartchick

      Monthall, what about what is right for you as a human being? In a relationship with another human being, and likely raising children? Have you ever thought for one second that your religion just might not be good for you, the people around you and your psyche? Repression is a rather dangerous thing you know...

      August 21, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • montyhall

      Bioartchick – what am I repressing? My lust? There in lies my problem – I can't "repress" anything I've tried and failed. Only He can remove the lust from me. Is that your point? I choose not to repress anything from my family only to fill us more with Him and less of the world. That's where me and my family choose to be – you can choose what is right for your family. As for me and my house – we'll follow Him.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:37 am |
  7. TheBossSaid

    The picture should have the caption: "To begin this service, let's open to Playboy, August Edition 2011, Page 10..."

    August 21, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • Smokie

      I might actually attend that church..... just saying

      August 21, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  8. keylargo

    Scam of the Month, no matter how many times Christian church leaders are exposed as child molesters, thieves, ponzi scheme operators, etc etc, some people still get all "holier than thou" and trot off to give their money and support for the Christian establishment.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:41 am |
    • montyhall

      My judgement is you've already been duppeed and don't even know it...

      August 21, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • keylargo

      hey monty, how much did you donate to the scammers lately? OH! you better watch your children at church!

      August 21, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  9. Ferit

    every Sunday a bible article. What has CNN become?

    August 21, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Bioartchick

      A conversation starter?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:31 am |
  10. Lexi Belle

    Like, this could be bad for business. Thank goodness for atheists. Mmmm.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • John

      Ive seen your movies, dont worry you will always have fans.

      September 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  11. someGuy

    OMG EVERYONE I THINK IM ADDICTED TO MASTERBATING

    seriously though, the word addiction gets thrown around alot these days.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Joleen

      Just one more way not to be accountable. OMG I'm addicted.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:40 am |
  12. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Religion gives people infallible guidance on what OTHER people should and should not do...

    August 21, 2011 at 4:32 am |
  13. mocha moore

    when I say christian overload, I mean every time I turn on the tv the discussion is about Islam, or Christianity, War, Hate, Religion in politics, evangelical churches or some pastor that is charged as being a pedophyle. I get so angry I have to shut off the tv. I don't watch much tv now. I get too angry.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • someGuy

      religion itself is frustrating to me just because it gives people a reason to think their opinions are infallible, and they can apply that reasoning to almost anything. An idea invented by a human can be wrong, but an idea from god not only cannot be wrong but it is wrong to even question it.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  14. The light

    Fools say in there heart ..there is no God....This an awesome post very enlightening of the struggles that many go thru. May Jesus open your eyes to see the light.He's the way the truth and Life.May many pastors thru Gods help liberate many people who have various strong hold of addictions to be set free

    August 21, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Clint

      To see a fool, look in thine mirror.....

      August 21, 2011 at 4:47 am |
    • Dustin L. Hopper

      There is no god. Better a fool, than a complete idiot.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your bible says that people who don't believe in the god it promotes are fools. Wow. That's compelling. Did it ever occur to you that the bible says that because it's authors didn't wish you to ask questions?

      August 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  15. P.A.

    Give them a reason and they'll launch a 'crusade' or at least a war. Any reason backed by opportune interpretations of an old collection of books and pamphlets will do. In fact, such backing is not even needed. Any reason will do for a crusade. Three is one for every season, but the crusade is the same: repress and vilify whoever begs to differ.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  16. Moz

    Fools say in there heart ..there is no God....This an awesome post very enlightening of the struggles that many go thru. May Jesus open your eyes to see the light.He's the way the truth and Life.May may pastors thru Gods help liberate many of all the strong hold of addictions they go through.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  17. Wrecked Em

    I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I could really go for some "Interracial Facial" right about now.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • P.A.

      Well said.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Smokie

      A'men

      August 21, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • Bioartchick

      Yummy...

      August 21, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  18. Santino

    DO YOU KNOW WHERE I CAN GET HELP FOR MY ADDICTION TO RELIGION??? IT'S RUINING MY LIFE!! HELP!!!

    August 21, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  19. prankster

    Hey-let's hear it for Thor!

    August 21, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • Jenny

      Right on :p

      August 21, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • tallulah13

      There's only one god, he is the sun god! Ra, Ra, Ra!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Donaldbain

    These charlatan "counselors" are just collecting your money, suckers. Just like the televangelists and all the rest of the religion purveyors. They prey on the weak and foolish and take control of your lives, and your wallets.

    August 21, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • prankster

      Donaldbain! Telling it like it is!!! Yes!!!

      August 21, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • Wrecked Em

      Exploiting people's insecurities and fears for money. Welcome to Christianity.

      August 21, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • montyhall

      Faith and Christianity are different than religion Donald. Sorry you feel that way. My faith works for me.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:20 am |
    • Bioartchick

      Montyhall, what exactly is the difference between faith and religion? I'm interested in hearing how you would explain it, because it probably starts with something about the organization of religion, when I would assert that the only thing worth discussing is how BOTH give people, sometimes good people, bad reasons to do things when there should be good reasons available.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • montyhall

      Bioartchick – since you asked. Keeping in mind it is nothing more than my "oppinion" and the saying around that is: An opinion is like an a**hol* everyone has one. : – ) Religion was created by man and unfortunatley man has a way of perverting anything and everything. Faith is God given, it lives in my heart (and in my opinion yours too) that is why it is key for me to protect my heart for it is where Faith and He lives. That's my 2 cents.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:48 am |
    • Frogist

      @montyhall: This constant redefinition of terms helps no one. What you practice is religion. Christianity, faith(the way you have redefined it) is still a religion.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
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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.