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.


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. John

    I reallly want to know what it was that most christians have done that they feel that they must be saved by a human sacrifice. Must have been some really evil things that they did.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • aka415

      Actually that's the best post I've read on here from an atheist all night, although I'm sure it was just intended to mock Christians some more. At any rate, the answer is yes, we have. We have done something very evil. The best of us have not tried to hide that fact.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Spiffy

      What have you done that is so evil that it needs someone else to die for you?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Naomi

      John, it was a divine sacrifice. Jesus died for all because all sinned. Only Christians honestly admit the human guilt and express gra-ti-tude by faith. God accept honest humans alone – namely Christians. You'll be punished because you still cover up your crimes. Say sorry to God as you should.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Spiffy

      So God sacrificed himself to himself in order to forgive the sins of the people he created.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Bizarre

      "God" could have imposed a tougher atonement assignment on Jesus than death. He could have had him go and live with Naomi for a few years.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • John

      @aka416 Do please share with us the horrible sin that you have committed. You say you are no longer hiding it, so spit it out. What exactly did you do? Should you be in prison for it or was it just a flogging the dolphin kind of thing. I still can't see how shaking hands with Abraham Lincoln could be a bad thing. I know that the Jergen's corporation is highly in favor of playing your own fiddle. It increases the hand lotion sales nearly as much as the interweb itself. Slip sliding away...

      August 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Auwq

      Hey, Spiffy, appreciate your efforts at trying to get these Christian dolts to reason, but as I'm sure you know, sustaining their religion means they have to put even whatever weak reasoning abilities they have aside.

      The whole scapegoat gig is just too funny. The uberpowerful god for which sacrifice is impossible needing to sacrifice something it can't lose to make something happen when it allready pulls all the strings is just so off-the-charts absurd that the stupid Christians should be tweaked about it at every opportunity.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      @John – "shaking hands with Abraham Lincoln"??? really???


      October 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Pope Jon


    Thou shall not kill. No if's and's or but's on that commandment. Thou shall not kill. No exceptions anywhere mentioned in the entire 10 commandments. So why has not every freaking christian that says they believe in god, love and Jesus been marching in the streets every day for the last 10+ years against the 2 wars we've been fighting in? How many thousands of real human beings dead? I want an answer, no a bunch of biblical scripture fairy tale talk. I want a real adult answer. And hurry up I need to go to bed its late...

    August 22, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Let me help you out so you can get some sleep. The response can be easily made of Old Covenant, where "thou shall not Kill" comes from. Christians are new Covenant, through Jesus. You question should be aimed at Jewish posters.

      You can hit better with the "cast the first stone" verse for Christians.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Naomi answer my question please

      So the 10 commandments don't apply to Christians? So why do you want to plaster it all over public buildings if you don't follow it or believe it? I smell one big fat hypocrite. Yell at everyone else to follow something you conveniently can just ignore because its in the old testament. Really?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Answer from Naomi

      Jon, OT has more than 600 commands and NT has more than 1,000 commands. "Thou shall not kill" do not apply in the last resolve of self-defense, combats in war, and lawful executions. Every command has a context. The Bible message is plain but it requires more insights and wisdom than in interpreting US laws.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • nacholibre

      5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

      Mark 13 : 5-8

      August 22, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • PopeJon

      I just love how you have an answer to do what you want and an answer to tell everyone else what to do... So why plaster the 10 commandments all over public buildings if at the end of the day you can justify breaking them?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Frustrated Christian

      Do a word study of the Hebrew language pf the ten commandments. It does not say "kill" in Hebrew. It says "murder". Learn what it says before you try to quote it.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • PopeJon

      Oh please.... Just admit to being a hypocrite....

      August 22, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Frustrated Christian- I remember that “murder” vs “kill” argument. I forgot all about that.

      August 22, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Fred1

      So if though shalt not kill really means no killing why did god tell mosis to kill so many different people? After all Mosis is the one god gave the commandments to

      August 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  3. Antoni

    Good luck with that.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  4. Pope Jon

    Thou shall not kill. No if's and's or but's on that commandment. Thou shall not kill. No exceptions anywhere mentioned in the entire 10 commandments. So why has not every freaking christian that says they believe in god, love and Jesus been marching in the streets every day for the last 10+ years against the 2 wars we've been fighting in? How many thousands of real human beings dead? I want an answer, no a bunch of biblical scripture fairy tale talk. I want a real adult answer. And hurry up I need to go to bed its late...

    August 22, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • PopeJon

      Well I guess non of you Christians can answer my question which shows I already knew the answer. You are not marching in the streets because your just a bunch of hypocrites at the end of the day.... You wonder why everyone questions you. your silence to my simple question is your answer as to why so many don't trust you....

      August 22, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • JT

      Because even this single commandment can be twisted to fit a Christian's world view.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Fred1

      But god commanded people to kill

      And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

      Exodus 32:26-27

      When the LORD your God delivers it[city] into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.
      –Deuteronomy 20:13

      However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them
      –Deuteronomy 20:16

      August 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  5. trixen

    God bless роrnоgrарhу! 🙂

    August 22, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  6. MrPragmatic

    When I was in college I used to take dates to the church to which I had keys. It was a great late night make-out place. And on the ocassions when things progressed past just making out, there was not a better place to be when the shrieks of "Oh God!" were uttered by my date. Truthfully, it was quite a spiritual experience that I still recall fondly 30 years later.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • aka415

      Wow. So I guess you have no problem with people of faith disrespecting your beliefs? Or do you not believe in "give respect if you want to receive it?" Or are you just an utter hypocrite, like most atheists?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Okay, so you've been repeating this same story all night. We're really impressed that you got lucky in a church. You had the keys. You made out. You went farther than making out. We wish we were you. Are you happy now?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • JT

      Are the pages of your bible stuck together?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  7. Jesus_is_Lord

    Tiger Toe, what do you mean by 'we cannot let any religion destroy the world'. It sounds like a childish blurt!

    August 22, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Naomi

      He meant atheism. Take a look at North Korea. The most accurate atheistic nation on earth.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • trixen

      Atheism isn't religion.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Pope Jon

      Thou shall not kill. No if's and's or but's on that commandment. Thou shall not kill. No exceptions anywhere mentioned in the entire 10 commandments. So why has not every christian that says they believe in god, love and Jesus been marching in the streets every day for the last 10+ years against the 2 wars we've been fighting in? How many thousands of real human beings dead? I want an answer, no a bunch of biblical scripture fairy tale talk. I want a real adult answer. And hurry up I need to go to bed its late...

      August 22, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • aka415

      Atheism isn't a religion? We should tell all of the atheists to stop worshipping themselves, then. They don't seem to have heard it's not a religion!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Spiffy

      I'm an atheist and I don't worship myself. There goes that lie of yours.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • aka415

      Oh no! You caught me! Awe, you atheists are just too good at "enlightening" us silly primitive cave-folk!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Spiffy

      Was that supposed to be an intelligent response?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • aka415

      Well, I added quotation marks to help you catch onto the sarcasm since you missed it in the Tiger Toe thread, so really I dumbed it down a bit.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Spiffy

      But you didn't at all rebut what I said. How is that an intelligent response?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • aka415

      I'll let you figure it out. It'll be like homework! How fun!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Spiffy

      You're right. Instead of actually trying to justify your failed attempt at trying to label Atheism as a religion it is better to ignore it and focus on being a troll instead.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • aka415

      Oh no! You got me yet again with your unyielding wit! I'm melting!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Spiffy

      Your stupidity is hilarious.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  8. len

    After I read the article all I can say is boy, Christians are weird. Neither of the things they are trying to solve is a problem. One is a normal biological function and the other has been around since man could draw. Anyways I have always thought that Christian morals were strange, since they mostly come from pagan roots. But if they are successful the population of Christians will drop and that is always a good thing.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  9. gods priorities

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IKkfBKLApY&version=3&hl=en_US%5D

    August 22, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  10. JayG

    Jennifer Wright Knust's book is research and argument thin, akin to what an embittered co-ed would have written as a senior thesis to graduate from her religious studies department. Knust shows absolutely no awareness of Biblical exegesis, hermeneutics, genre, social and historical context, or even a rudimentary understanding of what's prescriptive or descriptive text in some of the historical Biblical narratives.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Ben

      But that's OK, because even far brighter and better educated minds think the bible is a load of cr-ap too. Which it is.

      So, Jay, ever wonder why your "god" left his divine book of quackery so open to so many interpretations? Seems your big guy is a bit weak in the marketing department up there. Can't get on message and get a consistent message out.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  11. gods priorities

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IKkfBKLApY&w=560&h=345%5D

    August 22, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  12. mean

    I don't understand this article. To Christians it's yesterday's news; to non-Christians (summarizing some of the opinions voiced here) they either get indignant, disgusted, or outright offended. Either that or they don't care. So what's the point?

    I mean, it's not as if CNN has a stand in it, right? An overly long article describing how the devout struggles over something no one cares about, and a professional opinion from BU telling us that these religious nutjobs are taking things way too seriously.

    “'There is no certainty,' she says. 'It’s interpretation.'” Apparently 34 pages of interpretations following this article, of irreligious nutjobs taking things way too seriously.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  13. Alex

    I'd like to see a Christian crusade against priests attacking little boys booty holes....somehow I've yet to see them speak out against that one.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yep, the day all the Whites speak up every second of their day ...I mean from sun up to sun down.... against the kid who ran over the African American man and killed him with the pickup truck.

      Now to be fair I guess I need to speak up.... every second of my day about the African American youths and flash mobs.

      Geez Alex, the current Pope has already spoken against this along with multiple Bishops. So are we all supposed to apologize for others actions ..... wait ... phone is ringing .... umm... Alex it is Iraq and Afghanistan asking us about the prisoners that we as Americans are holding in Cuba without trial .... They say that Obama was supposed to free them and they want to understand the American concept of "change" 🙁

      I guess its another thing we need to speak out against ...

      August 22, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Spiffy

      First off what are you on Mark? Also I do not think the Church has done enough to stop pedophile priests.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Ok Spiffy … Will break this down for you. Priest and Bishops have been turned in to police and the Pope has ordered the church to work with Law Enforcement on this issue. A issue that groups pressuring the Catholic church have admitted involve somewhere between a half of a percent to three quarter a percent of Priest.

      Alex did not say what you said. He said : “....somehow I've yet to see them speak out against that one.”

      Everyone and their mother have been speaking out against what happened but, ...somehow Alex must have been under a rock or a bridge.

      The point of the rest of my post is that all you have to do is turn on the cable news stations and they will always have some person declaring that folks are not devoting every second of their waking days to this cause or that cause. Most of them, we all agree on but some folks want you to wake up and go to bed thinking of just their cause.

      I grow tired because I know I can not.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Spiffy

      The Church knew and allowed pedophile priests were doing what they were doing. I don't think they can ever do enough to stop pedophile priests if their own choose to ignore their own laws and regulations.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Bizarre

      Mark, "Priest and Bishops have been turned in to police and the Pope has ordered the church to work with Law Enforcement on this issue"

      I'm sorry, but the self-proclaimed pillar of morality, touting a freakin' pipeline to the "Almighty" should not be in need of a nudge by Law Enforcement. This breach of law and morals would never have been brought to light without serious scrutiny by outsiders.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • JT

      FYI...the word "black" is still ok to say just as you say "white". The PC police have invaded your thinking.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  14. Kane

    Fudge packers of the world unite.....look out, they're thoooo thcary!!!!

    August 22, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  15. Javier

    You write about this like this therapy is new. Actually, it has been around for over ten years. It is only now that people are starting to open accept it.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  16. Chris

    HAHAHAHA! I don't know where to begin with this. America, get over yourselves for christ's sake.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  17. tony

    A good many ethical and good individuals are here to try and expose the hypocrisy and power seeking addiction of "christian elders" to continuously "grooming" young impressionable children into their subjection via the vile evil that is belief in religious fantasy..

    August 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  18. Van Dela

    LUKE 19:27 "But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and slaughter them in my presence."


    August 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Fred1

      How about this one. Is it a parable too?

      "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household."
      - (Matthew 10:34-36)

      August 24, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  19. Naomi

    Having the same passion and similar inclinations, the difference between Christians and non-christians: Christians expose the problems and fight against the flesh's improper desires and evil, and many of them overcome as a result and establish good laws. Non-christians dwell in their filthy desires and attack those who try to do what is right. Many of them turn out as broke and wreck their lives.

    August 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Scott W

      Oh please, mainstream Christians are among the most evil people in the world. Open your eyes. You are responsible for much of the pain and suffering going on in the world.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Naomi

      Scott, you are wrong. Christians always rescue and liberate anyone everywhere. Christianity drives people to do what is right and what is merciful. Secularists corrupt the world and atheists massacre people.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Steve

      Oh please. I would never trust someone who advertised themselves as a Christian the keys to my business. Those people are the worst.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Spiffy

      Noami, you are wrong. Atheists always rescue and liberate anyone everywhere. Atheism drives people to do what is right and what is merciful. Theists corrupt the world and Christians massacre people.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Naomi, Scott, Spiffy and Steve ….. yall all are idiots if you think that only one group saves all or causes all or most suffering. We all have both messed up society and been there to put the pieces back together.

      Folks like yall' are the worst.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Naomi

      Spiffy, immigrate to North Korea. Leave USA to Christians alone.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Naomi , Somewhere there is a Native American that wants you and me to be on the next plane or boat and get off their continent.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Spiffy

      @Mark I was just rephrasing Naomi's sentence in an attempt to be humorous. I do not blame all the of world's problems on Christians although there is a lot to blame on them.

      @Naomi why don't you try living in a theocracy. Try Iran I am sure they will fit your needs. Plus if you have ever done any research on NK you would realize they basically worship Kim Jung Ill as a god. I would prefer to live in the U.S where I can believe whatever I want and still tell you that you are arrogant.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Naomi

      Spiffy. No, read the American do-cu-ments and anthems and Canada's. Atheists should be shipped out of N. America.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Pope Jon

      Thou shall not kill. No if's and's or but's on that commandment. Thou shall not kill. No exceptions anywhere mentioned in the entire 10 commandments. So why has not every god dam christian that says they believe in god, love and Jesus been marching in the streets every day for the last 10+ years against the 2 wars we've been fighting in? How many thousands of real human beings dead? I want an answer, no a bunch of biblical scripture fairy tale talk. I want a real adult answer. And hurry up I need to go to bed its late...

      August 22, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>> "Christians although there is a lot to blame on them. "

      I will challenge that pretty much most of the problems you blame on Christianity, I would gamble I can show a Christian or many fighting against it. Sorta like when Atheist say Christians hate Gays while ignoring the Gay Bishops, pastors and Gay friendly churches.

      Christianity is not a lock step grouping, which is why we have multiple sects and denominations.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Naomi answer my question please

      Naomi answer my question please,

      Thou shall not kill. No if's and's or but's on that commandment. Thou shall not kill. No exceptions anywhere mentioned in the entire 10 commandments. So why has not every god dam christian that says they believe in god, love and Jesus been marching in the streets every day for the last 10+ years against the 2 wars we've been fighting in? How many thousands of real human beings dead? I want an answer, no a bunch of biblical scripture fairy tale talk. I want a real adult answer. And hurry up I need to go to bed its late...

      August 22, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Spiffy

      @Mark I get what you are saying for the most part and admit my mistake. I would like to know what you define as a Christian though. The bible the holy book of Christianity says that h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y is an abomination. How is that debatable? Why don't all "Christians" hate gays then? Why should "Christians" pick and choose what to believe?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  20. Tiger Toe

    remember American is a country not a religion we cannot let religion any religion distroy the world

    August 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ...including those of the Atheist Faith.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Naomi

      Atheists would make the whole world like North Korea – a living hell for everyone.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • aka415

      Let's just hope bad spellers don't distroy the world first.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Spiffy

      You spelt destroy wrong.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • aka415

      Hahaha. I'm aware I did. I was pointing out that Tiger Toe had spelt it wrong first. Try to keep up, sport!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Spiffy

      If you were trying to correct his spelling why did you do the same spelling error?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • aka415

      Sorry, that's beyond you, isn't it?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Spiffy

      Well if it was supposed to be funny you failed.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:34 am |
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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.