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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. Usaywha?

    The problem is the churches preach against people being true to themselves and try to make people go against instincts that we have naturally. Trying to be someone else and trying to live up to expectations put on you by a Pastor or church moral police is what leads people to sneak to do things and feel guilty about doing the things that make them happy. Be yourself, have your relationship with God and live your life, you will find yourself to be a lot happier being yourself.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      The problem with church is religion.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • David in Corpus

      Stories like this make me so sad for religious people. They really just beat themselves up over the silliest of things. The guilt and shame over things that have nothing to do with guilt or shame.
      If you christians want to be ashamed of something, feel ashamed of all the people murdered in the name of your religion not playing with your meat and wanting to have relations with other people.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • RH

      Do what comes natuarally? Are you an idiot? So when I "naturally" get mad on the freeway I should just run people off the road? When I see something I want but cannot afford I should just steal it? A lot of our "natural" desires are harmful and we should not just go with them. To be a rational adult we must understand and try to control many of our natural inclinations. I may be easy to just go with our "natural" desires but they rarely lead to long term happiness.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • asrael

      RH: so asking "are you an idiot?" is your way of showing how to be a rational adult?...

      August 22, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • DamianKnight

      You bring up interesting points, Usaywha. The thing is, we are required to live outside our instincts every day. Think about it. Someone is rude. Our natural instinct is to pound them into eternity. It's a dominance issue. We have an instinct to relieve ourselves when we have to go, but we control this and wait until we get to a restroom. The difference is, we aren't animals. We have societal norms that require us to act in a certain way, contrary to our instincts.

      The Bible teaches many of the same things. Ignore your instincts for a greater good. Deny the pleasures of the flesh, to have pleasures in the spiritual. I do not agree that clergy should be the "morality police" but they do have a responsibility, as leaders of the church, to instruct what the beliefs of that church are.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  2. The Jackdaw

    If these morons spent as much time worrying about their child molester priests as they do bashing their views into other people, people would respect them and they might actually do some good.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      Way to much common sense for the cult members to embrace!

      Playboy is evil, but priests buggering little boys is ignored, covered up and rationalized.

      The double standard is profound.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • ThatGuy

      If people spent more time striving for the ideal instead of complaining and rationalizing their weaknesses, this world would be a better place. Simple question, which situation is better: (A) A husband with no control over his impulses and desires any woman that remotely catches his interest or (B) a faithful and devout husband who has eyes only for his bride?

      You can justify poor behavior until their blue in the face, but you'll always fall short of the ideal and what will truly satisfy. What's keeping you from greatness?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      My publicist is keeping me from greatness.l

      August 22, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  3. Roger

    It's a lot easier to deal with addiction without the "sin" factor.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  4. Rationalist

    I read this article and thought one word. "Propaganda." It's so sad that Christianity fights against so many aspects of human nature. People lust. It's totally normal.

    I'm not saying we should be unfaithful to our spouses but honestly, a little bit of pron isn't such a bad thing.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Tony

      What if that was your daughter in there?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      I agree. There is nothing wrong with pron. Repressing ones S3xual desire is the reason why you have Catholic Priests molesting children.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  5. Dave

    All the religious f@$# ups are out in force today! Yay god, go god!

    August 22, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Dave

      hoo ahh!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  6. Ryan

    Oh look another Christian trying to force everyone into believing what he does without any consideration of our personal freedoms.I haven't seen one of those in about 20 minutes.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Ryan

      My comment was not ironic in any way. Its not like I'm doing this.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Mr Trololol

      Oh look another Athiest trying to force everyone into believing what he does without any consideration of our personal freedoms.I haven't seen one of those in about 20 minutes.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • AGuest9

      Gee, Mr. T – I've never gone into a Christian school and started teaching big bang cosmology. However, I've had religious nuts try forcing their dogma to be taught at my childrens' public school. Cuts both ways.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Oh look humans getting defensive and trying to kill each other over garbage. I haven't seen that in about 20 minutes!

      August 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • leelanau

      @AGuest9, The difference that nitwits like you fail to realize is that it is THEIR public school too. Unless you paying your share of the freight at the Christian School, it isn't yours. Classic liberal misconception.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      YES, let your hate FLOW through you!

      August 22, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Know What

      leelanau
      "The difference that nitwits like you fail to realize is that it is THEIR public school too"

      Then it follows that the citizens and taxpayers who are Muslim, Hindu, American Indian, Scientologist, etc. should have THEIR creation stories taught as fact also. They are all interesting, albeit fanciful, and can be introduced in perhaps multicultural sociology classes, but NOT in science class.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  7. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    Once the secular Atheists rid this nation of most of its' Christianity will you by chance have the power to rid the US of A of upcoming Muslim-isms arrousings?

    August 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • William Demuth

      WHAT?

      You are such a trip! Do you like give yourself stigmata?

      WHACKO!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • KlausVos

      Atheists don't necessarily want Christians to disappear so much as be quiet and leave people alone.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  8. someGuy

    hahaha seriously though that itch isn't gonna go away. It's not like poison oak, the more you itch the more it spreads, then it bleeds, swells up and gets all gross. It's more like an itch on your nose, try and ignore it and you'll just focus on it even more until you can't concentrate on anything else. But if you just scratch it you can go about your business. Course I guess there's always that guy who itches it like 8 times a day, yea then you may have a problem, but it's not the itch that's the problem it's your lack of self-control and/or lack of other stuff to do.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Unless you're home with a cold. Then 8 times a day is normal.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  9. William Demuth

    The Bible is just Gay crank mag from the Bronze Age.

    I just saw a crucifix with a Jesus mounted on it that had blonde hair and blue eyes!

    I mean the guy was Palestinian, not Swedish.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • William Demuth

      Oh crap, I forgot my medication this morning.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • AGuest9

      The Little Golden Books Children's Bible featured a blonde, blue-eyed Jesus. I don't know if they are still in print. There doesn't seem to be any book stores left.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • William Demuth

      AGuest9

      If you do find one, the sheets will be stuck together from the Chrisitans Holy Cement they splattered all over his holyness!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • AGuest9

      William, LMAO.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  10. Michael

    Being a Christian is NOT about getting into heaven. The notion of heaven that most Christians have is a half-baked construct that comes out the art and literature of medieval Europe, one that bears little resemblance to the heaven Christ talked about. If eternal life is the main reason you've accepted Christ into your life, then, as so many others have, you have missed the point of Christianity. It's not about YOU. It's about THEM.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      You are right.

      It is about being in a cult!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  11. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    Christendom is upon the world and many know not its' Truths. Many were as doubting Thomases proclaiming not to know GOD and GOD's Gods, while many were and are still in want of Cesear-ian-ism's continually cle-a-ving to issues of worldy continences. Blessed are the poor and live life in daily spiritedness for they are consoled and they will be made righteous in the Eternalness of Life being the abundancies in measured amounts throughout all Times.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • William Demuth

      The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Gods gods? Now you spiral down to polythiesim? Perhaps next you will worship the SUN?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      William Demuth did respond to my aboveness post stating, "Gods gods? Now you spiral down to polythiesim? Perhaps next you will worship the SUN?"

      It's GOD's Gods not Gods gods!!!!! I am aspired to be as you state, a Polytheist and yes I know of the Sun God named Ra or is it spelled Rah. For the King of all the Gods created by GOD is the God Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior and Redeemer of godly men, whose rigtheousness in Word and/or in Deeds will bring to them an abundancy of living many lives within the mainframes of the eternal 1st Domain, that is called by us as being the Atomic Cosmos.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • William Demuth

      The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Do you have any idea how paraonid and delusional you sound?

      Gods Gods, or GODS gods, Or gods GODS are ALL the same thing.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • SDFrankie

      Speak Engrish, prease!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Constructive Criticism

      People – seriously.... Successful troll is successful.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

      August 22, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Ryan

      wow...you are crazy. Religious nuts scare me more than ANYONE out there

      August 22, 2011 at 10:13 am |
  12. Adrian GMV

    I find it funny that the religion blog is one of the favorite places for atheists to hang out. You talk about Christians being hateful and you throw out ancient events like the Spanish Inquisition and The Crusades as your proof that ALL of us are bigoted, hateful, bible thumpers with the sole intent of annihilating all who don't believe. But you guys are the ones doing the preaching here. And your message is more hateful and venomous than anything myself and any of my Christian friends would ever wish upon anyone.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • AGuest9

      When the "Christians" stop pushing their agenda on my school board, with their made-up pseudo-science and lies about "theories" like evolution and the big bang, then I'll leave their "Belief Blog". I don't want the next generation of doctors and scientists to not know how basic immunology really works because they have been brainwashed into beliefs over scientific experimentation and theory. I don't give a damn what these people do on Sundays, just keep it out of my kids' schools!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • rufusclyde

      How about we throw out Constantine and his pals excluding books from the Bible that teach how to develop a direct personal relationship with God, rather than submitting to religious authority?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • William Demuth

      This is a belief blog.

      It is our beief that your religion is evil, and you are at best an idiot, and at worst dangerous for believing in it.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Constructive Criticism

      @Adrian – how can you make a statement such as that, having read the tolerant, enlightened, and civil responses such as the ones above?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • jimtanker

      WD, You da man!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • leelanau

      Again, @AGuest9, perhaps the solution first and foremost is to understand that public education belongs to the public at large, not just YOUR kid. Yer a dik.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • AGuest9

      I'm not sure that with the already abysmal state of education in this country, why I should be expected to be tolerant while my children are taught falsehood and belief as fact, especially while my tax dollars are funding this education. There seems to be this "small" provision for a separation of church and state in this country. When the church starts dictating the state's educational criteria, we have a REAL issue.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  13. Say What?

    I pray for the same mercy and grace that God has shown me for each of you who judge and are being judged. Romans5:20-21
    20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    NKJV

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

      Why not practice what you preach, and stop judging already?

      August 22, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • AGuest9

      "Like a man travelling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them." – Benjamin Franklin

      - Your book provides you with no more clarity than anyone else's. -

      August 22, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Rick

      Your scriptural citations are valid ONLY for those who accept the authority of such a book

      August 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Sue

      Say What?, "mercy and grace" like demands for cruel animal sacrifice and burning that your bible demands? -and that's not even getting into the nasty stuff that's in there, in both testaments.

      Come on, the book known as the bible that presents your (man-made) god is simply a big steaming pile of horse dung. It's a hodge-podge of frequently erroneous and contradictory stuff by many authors flung together and revised and retranslated so many times that it is not a viable reference for anything.

      Get over your sick religion, and grow some courage to live the life you have well, without your ficti-tious fairy in the sky.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Fred1

      When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
      –Emo Philips

      August 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    my point is simply this, people who believe in an after life are as sad as those who believe in santa...if your good you get an after life... your kidding right, grow up! stop living in a childs fantasy. just live, how hard is that, to just live. be happy your alive and with (hopefully) people that love you... get your head out of your @ss and the clouds, when we die the bugs and other creatures eat us, there is no such thing as a soul. Thats make-believe, like the easter bunny. And like the easter bunny, it also sells things. Great marketing scheme pope! if the soul is a real thing i am offering it out now to the highest bidder, start the bidding at more then your have and end with more then i'm worth...GO! AH THE CATHALIC WAY, screw all over equally! good stuff.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • William Demuth

      Much better!

      Welcome to the battle!

      August 22, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Scott

      lol,,,so I am to take your advice? From a hippy? Oh please, you probably don't even have a job. Most hippies I know are losers that do nothing but smoke dope and refuse to bathe. No thanks,,,and by the way, reading your post shows you are ignorant and have severe authority issues.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Carl

      I finally felt free when I gave up my silly beliefs in God . . . “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
      Stephen Roberts

      August 22, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • RJL80

      Man that is sad. You don't even know you have a soul!?! Open your mind bro....you are part of something much larger than yourself.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • jeff

      If there is no such thing as a soul, there is also no such thing as true love.....if life is simply a biological state, it too is semi-meaningless

      August 22, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • AGuest9

      @Jeff – DING DING DING!!! We have a winner!!!

      That is correct. There is no meaning in life. WE create the meaning by creating the context. Either we do that, ourselves, or we let someone/something else (like a church/religion/god) do it for us.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Rick

      Scott: You have severe credibiilty issues.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • FN

      You must be a very sad person HippyPoet 😦

      August 22, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • leelanau

      Mean people still suck, Hippypoet.....yes you.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Ryan

      Jeff-

      EXACTLY right! There is no meaning. But people always need some fantasy story to run in repeat in their head to help "guide" them. Some are honest with how things REALLY are and some choose to close their eyes and believe in a magical story.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  15. Historian

    The angel Gabriel said "Nothing is impossible with God" period.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • William Demuth

      Then let him create a stone so large he cant lift it, and then have him lift it, and drop it on the Vatican

      August 22, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • William Demuth

      We need to kill the Christians before they do anything violent. Violence is bad.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      So one fictional character vouches for the omnipotence of another? That's compelling. Does Gabriel have anything to say about Voldemort?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    If I had lived at Muhammd's time, I had killed him.

    Muhammad was a murderer like Adolf Hitler or Stalin.

    Dangerous individuals must be exterminated!

    August 22, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  17. Say What?

    Where did Jesus use force against non believers?

    August 22, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  18. Frogist

    I agree with Blankenship and the therapists who say there is too much guilt associated with se-x in the Christian community to trust in this type of therapy esp when they are mis-using the word "addiction" and not using proper therapy techniques.
    It is always interesting how women are seen to be at fault for this type of behaviour. In the article it felt like the only solution would be for Christians to start wearing burkas. Se-xual repression and anger towards women cause this type of guilt and fear, that all these Christians are saying is "sin". Truth is there is nothing wrong with mas-tur-btion or pr0n. Most studies find that it is a harmless stress-reliever which when understood by men and women in relationships enhances rather than breaks them down.
    It's really a shame that this country is turning so Taliban on us all. The more pressure we put on monogamous, one-way-is-the-only-way se-x, the less likely relationships are going to function properly. And the more confused people are going to be about how to be honest about their desires and needs.

    August 22, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      This is why the wives of evangelicals eventually end up in bed with a heathen like myself.

      It is ALSO why the evangelical men usually end in in bed with little boys.

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

      Congrats William, on only being able to get pent up, desperate women to sleep with you. Quite and accomplishment.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Jonathan

      did we even read the same article? You're right, these things aren't sins unless you say you're a follower of Jesus and that changes the whole framework.

      August 22, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • William Demuth

      Nick

      One robs banks because that is where the money is!

      Leave your Chrisitan woman lonely for love, and I shall gladly fill it. (as long as they aren't fat or nasty looking)

      August 22, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  19. Say What?

    Where did Jesus against non believers?

    August 22, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  20. mort

    The fact that it is a multibillion dollar industry should signal these people that there is nothing wrong with it. So many people enjoy p0rn in a healthy way that it can't be "bad". Any addiction that negatively affects your life (ie: locking yourself in a room and ignoring your family) is a problem – but the item that a person is addicted to is not necessarily the problem or even the cause. Most people don't have addictive personalities and can enjoy something without becoming an addict. These people can have their morals but in Actual Truth, nobody is being harmed by viewing p0rn.

    August 22, 2011 at 8:54 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.