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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. gary

    When whacky god-nuts follow Luke 18:22 I'll pay attn. Till then, they all need to shut up, wise up, grow up, get real

    August 22, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Elexsor

      Mother Theresa.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  2. hippypoet

    scifichickie – have you seen the page where they show you all the fake qoutes from the bible, i think your on that page!

    Jesus did teach, Let ye without sin cast the 1st stone, Judge not least ye be judged, & love the sinner not the sin.

    just funny stuff!!!

    god, your dumb and i don't believe in you or your son out of wed-lock's lies about heaven.! strike me down if i am to be wrong on any issus reguarding your retardedness and pointlessness of existence!

    i bet ya i post again after this one..
    500 souls to the god who strikes me down first!

    August 22, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • NONATHEIST

      God is not so immature as to be baited. Jesus did not respond to his accusers before he was crucified, either. By the way, notice that I do not condemn you. I just want to explain.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Martin T

      I find it VERY difficult to bait god and jesus, since NEITHER of them is any more than a myth. I tried baiting Zeus and Thor, too... same results.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • NONATHEIST

      Point of fact – Whether you believe Jesus was divine or not, he was a historical person who did exist. Just want that corrected. And now I will depart this hostile fire zone because I will not be baited, either.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Martin T

      Jesus, might have been a man, MIGHT... the truth is, one would think that a "god" like Jesus would have had more written about him than what we find in the bible. Of course, what there is maybe two "other" mentions of Jesus by some questionable authors. I mean, the Romans were very good historians, AND here was a man who could walk on water, heal the sick, raise the dead... seriously, the Romans didn't want this guy, they wanted to crucify a man with that power.. get real.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Martin T

      Don't you LOVE the way theists run from a discussion when they don't feel that they have the upper hand?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • J.W

      The disciples of Jesus and people such as Paul who were early Christians were imprisoned and/or executed. I feel like they wanted to stop the spread of Christianity at that time, so anyone who wrote about Jesus may have been punished in the same way.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Dennis

      Mother Earth, send an 8.0 earthquake over DC today so I know global warming is real! Oh, you mean you don't answer requests for signs? Yeah, God doesn't either. Good luck in the afterlife, buddy.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  3. NONATHEIST

    Oh, TRIPP, you are So Bitter. I am sorry that you are so full of such intense spite and anger. It must be very unpleasant for you. Do you despise me for caring? I hope not.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Martin T

      Pious much????

      August 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Tripp

      The only thing Im angry about is morons like you trying to make a god out of thin air then trying to make everyone beleive as you do. There is no god, only morons who follow their delsuions and try to make others see their delusions by reciting scripture as it were the truth. I notice your god hates the same things as you do. Very coincidental isnt it?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  4. Adrian GMV

    Thank God he doesn't believe in atheists.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • gary

      ha-ha ... There is no god! Just pretend myth. Atheism is myth understood.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  5. aksdq

    10,000 – didn't you watch the Flintstones?

    August 22, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Lacey

      I much prefer ifnoramtvie articles like this to that high brow literature.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  6. Cafeitalia

    "Top Eleven Signs You're a Christian:"

    11- You believe in a book (New Testament) that was written 80 years after your Messiah died by men who never met him and who believed the earth was flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth, but continuously deny modern science books.

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • NONATHEIST

      Your intellectual bigotry is showing.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • bumcheek7

      RELIGION WAS CREATED TO CONTROL THE MASSES WITH FEAR, PERIOD.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • WayOutThere

      Feel superior now? Or do you need to go beat up some kids at Bible Study Camp too?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • JakeW

      Your points are excellent and almost irrefutable.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • terrix2000

      Thank you. I have my own version of Adam and Eve, but I cannot put it in print on this page, but if men are men and women are women, then my story is imaginable.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Newyorker

      One of the few informed posts here. Thank you. I wish there was a Like button.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Sean

      Some Christians here often criticized other religions, including Catholicism... citing they're not the right Christians.. but when they got slammed, they often cried foul. I find some Christians real hypocrites... the reason why they believe is that they're selfish... they're worried that they'll not find "salvation" when they die. The truth is, if you are so virtuous, you should try to save people when you're still alive and not worried about when you die.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • BloomingHere

      Like, Like, Like!

      August 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Martin T

      It's called intellectual bigotry when an atheist makes lists like this, but it's cheered when Christians make a list of ways you can tell if someone is an atheist, and those lists are usually a LOT nastier.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • EZ

      Number 3!!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Monbois

      LMMFAO!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @Martin T

      All the athiests lists i have seen start with false premises and are quickly refuted by athiests in detail.

      On the other hand, i have yet to see refutation to this or Colin's list about Christians.

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

      Bravo! Well said. However, you are shooting at a dead horse. If religion was logical, it wouldn't have been a religion. The point of religion is to defy logic. And the more it defies logic, the better it is – that's why jesus walked on water, cured the dying and brought a dead person to life. I have to tell you though, some of religious folks would be a very bad people if it wasn't for the "fear of god" as they already don't know anything about logic.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Sean Russell

      @WayOutThere
      What? Somebody makes an argument against your religion and that's equivalent to 'beating up church camp kids"? This is what people are supposed to do- debate the issues- NOT resort to violence, which seems to be the MO of most religions. Get a clue and realize that there are people that are going to disagree with your views – that's life. Stop playing the victim card and come up with a real argument for your position. Whiney baby.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, you can’t hide behind your numerous phony handles. Your ridiculous RANTS are all the same. Never DO YOU think every/any thing out to come to a rational conclusion.

      You non-believers detest all forms of civility and sense of fair play until you demand it for your selves. Hating Jesus is the same as hating to have to stop for stop signs/lights on city streets while driving your vehicle because you are in a hurry and need to get to your destination. YOU, YOU, YOU want the right of way, no matter who is on the road, just let you be and go on your way.

      Hopefully, another arrogant non-believer doesn’t meet you at that crossroad at the same time. Both will want their own way and we know crashes in today’s plastic vehicles don’t make as loud a noise when the vehicles were made of metal but the fatalities of recklessness and arrogance for not thinking things through to a logical conclusion are the same.

      Amen.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @Heavensent

      You are mad at Reality for his "ridiculous Rants." Which is weird because i feel that most readers would lump your post in the same category.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Elexsor

      Quick question: Why would being christian mean that other gods can't exist? I'm not familiar with where in the bible it says that they don't. Even the passages in Isaiah are ambiguous at best due to either translation from the original Hebrew to interpretation of the passages themselves.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Truck

      LIKE LIKE LIKE !!!!!!!!! Couldn't have said it better!!

      August 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      @ Elexsor
      Quick Response: The Christian God is referred to numerous times throughout the Bible as the "one, true God". The first commandment of the 10 from Exodus 2 states "I am the Lord your God; You shall not have other gods before me" which is also commonly interpreted to mean that all other gods must be disowned, although it is not explicitly stated as such.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  7. bumcheek7

    I think they were lied to as well !

    August 22, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  8. tb63

    Oh come on. No ma$turbating? Really? Good luck with that.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • bumcheek7

      He'll grow hair on his palms ! Didn't you know? He's probably turn into the next BTK Killer – he was/is a Good Christian too !

      August 22, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  9. Colin

    It would have to have been an amarda of ships the size of the DDay invasion fleet. Quite a lot for Noah and his family to handle!!

    August 22, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  10. UUUMMMM?

    Its estimated that there are nearly 10 – 100 million different animal species... Noahs ark must have been huuuuuuuuuggggggee!

    August 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  11. Robin Bray

    Thank God there is no God.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • bumcheek7

      Religion is mind control – spirituality is completely different....

      August 22, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • aksdq

      Amen.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  12. Cafeitalia

    "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."
    – Mahatma Gandhi

    August 22, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • EvelynWaugh

      How true.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      A wise man, that Gandhi. Unlike so many on this board, sadly.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Worse quote ever, if that was true Gandhi and the rest that agree with him would be Christians. If you like Christ then be a follower of Christ. If you think all the followers are wrong, you refusing to step up to the plate and correct the "wrong" are in no better position.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • GAW

      Meaningful but over quoted piece from Gandhi. Sadly this is what I'm seeing a lot of here on belief blog... A lot of very predictable thinking and group think esp from the atheists.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Newyorker

      @Mike: Just because you agree with someone, does not mean you need to turn your life over to them, and become a "follower". Becoming a follower of a person ironically makes you less like the person you are trying to emulate, because the person you are following is the "leader", and you can never be like them, because you are a "follower". In other words, if you become a follower, you are agreeing to sign over your logic, your mind, and your powers of thinking, your power to love, affection, etc. over to another person, or being. And this means you can never truly be the leader of your own life, or fate. It's amazing how so many Christians fail to see this fundamental irony.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Mike from CT

      I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master... no christian can argue against this, as far as "turning over all logic, your mind, and your powers of thinking, your power to love".. I do not see how you jumped to this conclusion.

      Since you are from NY do you follow a sports team?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  13. EvelynWaugh

    To all Christians why is it that you reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Christian beliefs.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Henry

      Yup, completely agree.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Colin

      That looks familiar!

      Spread the good word Evelyn.....

      August 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Mike from CT

      I cannot speak of other people's rage, but I do not know of any of the thousand other gods of one

      who claimed to be God in the flesh, and backed it up with teachings (as one who has authority), and miracles.
      who after 3-4 years walking with God his best friends said he live a perfect and sinless life. How many people say that about you?
      who has such great harmony throughout history, that is first talked about by the prophets 700-400 years before his appearance only to fulfill what was mentioned about him in scripture.

      Now the outrage usually comes against those who say they can't believe anything on faith but then continue in faith believing things they have been taught. The outrage comes against those who make provoking statements just for the point of being provocative, see any post by Reality.

      You yourself made a claim that religion is based upon by region, however regions are changing Christianity is growing in China, Latin America and Africa, While Islam is growing exponentially in Europe. If your statement was true then religion would be centralized, not global.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • BRC

      @Mike,
      Actually the spread of some religions does nothing to counteract the point that different regions began worshipping different gods, it simply displays the growth of cross cultural communications and reinforces what we already know, that the world is getting "smaller". Even in ancient times you could see this trend occur; for instance each Greek city state began with its own tributary god/goddess, but as commerce and travel between adjoining city states and even surrounding "nations" (Troy, Phoenicia) people began sharing gods and people now had the ability to choose which god they wished to offer to, dependent on their desired aid. Since at the time they were not hard into mono-theism, instead of squabbling about who was right and who was wrong, they simply attributed what they knew best to their local deity. So, someone born in Athens could be raised to praise the gifts of Athena, but if one day that person traveled to Sparta, they would meet people who attributed their strength to Ares. The same can be seen today, people are born into one belief, but have access to all the beliefs of the world around them (the monotheism bent can be attribute to societal changes in the key population centers during some very dark parts of history about a thousand years ago); and it isn't surprising that people would gravitate towards the gods they believe are providing the best rewards. It's a simple display of how people work.

      As for the one god being more valid than any of the other thousands, that things you attribute to him (technically to Jesus), still haven't been proven in anything outside of the bible, which no one of a scientific mind can accept as convincing proof.

      Also, an interesting point. If you read the Old Testament, "God" never says he is the only god. He says he is the "true" god, and the most powerful god, but he never claims to be the ONLY god. That is added later. Wouldn't it have made sense to leave things they way they were, and keep that flexibility?

      August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • JT

      "I contend 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 F Roberts

      August 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Carl

      “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 12:19 pm |
    • Carl

      Opps – sorry JT, didn't mean to copy! I had the page open but hadn't refreshed in a while! That is one of my favorite quotes and I use it often!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "which no one of a scientific mind can accept as convincing proof. "

      So prove to me scientifically that if you cannot prove it scientifically it is not convincing proof?

      Do you dismiss all historical accounts? Who shot Abraham Lincoln? Who won the civil war? Even who won the 1986 world series? You say you have it on tape then prove convincingly that the tape was not altered.

      Finally prove that this is all real and not a bad dream you are having?

      August 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • BRC

      @Mike,
      CNN at my other reply, I'll try to find it. TL;DR version, everything you listed has geomtrically (meaning larger than exponentially) more proof than anything in the Bible. So yes, I accept those things.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Tripp

      @MikeCT....Your an idiot. chrisitans always use that stupid analogy when trying to convince people that their invisible freind is real. If you think all reality cant be proven you are a true idiot just like the millions of other christians.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  14. 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 10:26 am |
    • AndyB

      How about C) A man who has the courage to admit that its natural for his eyes to stray as long as he does not. A man whose body and mind lust as all peoples' do, but whose love is only for his wife/husband.
      You know, someone REAL. Striving for an Ideal can be nice as long as you don't lose sight of what is real. Its very unhealthy to punish yourself for failing to be something that no one could ever be.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  15. Mike

    Perhaps you can point out a community like the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Theresa out there that are providing needed help and comfort to individuals that the world just happens to ignore that don't believe in God?

    August 22, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    How to overcome sins like watching po-rn?

    We need to be set free by Jesus Christ.

    God knows that we are slaves of the original sin by nature. We do things, which we regret after a while. We have a good will, but don't manage to overcome.

    God's solution:

    Jesus has borne our sins on the cross, not only, to forgive us, but also to release us.

    It is not enough merely to accept the historical fact of Jesus sacrifice. This is not yet faith.

    The real faith is caused by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is present in the true Church. Thus, in order to get the real faith, we must attend the real Church.

    The real Church will teach that faith and baptism belongs together. The releasing power of Christ's sacrifice is dedicated to us by Holy Baptism. Before we get baptized, we start to believe in Christ (this faith is caused by the Holy Spirit).

    Gospel of Mark, Chapter 16, Verse 16:

    " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

    Practical hint: Use the Internet solely at public places like cybercafes or libraries. Let us be wise.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Tripp

      Reciting idi*t scripture does nothing but make you stupid and ignorant. Nothing wrong with s3x. S3x is a good thing, not bad. No such thing as "sin" either. A made up notion by moronic men who wrote the bible who themselves could not get laid and thought everyone should be like them, s3x starved. Im 48 years old, never married and currently in a relationship with a very nice woman. ANd guess what, we have s3x. Screw your made up, invisible sky jockey. He is nothing but a delusional part of your sad and sorry life.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Baptism is a call. God calls us to live the Christian life. Faith and baptism become real for us, when we submit all areas of our life to God: S-x, business, handling of people, marriage, possession, etc..

      We should not try to leave aside even one area of life from discipleship, because that would weaken us completely.

      Read the book: "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (he fighted against Hitler).

      August 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Martin T

      One word: Delusional...

      August 22, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Tripp you are correct there is nothing wrong with s3x God invented it and you can read songs of solomon and see that it is a very s3xy book.

      However to objectify woman, to make your mate feel insecure in their beauty, to not understand and be faithful to your vows and the go outside the context laid out for what a relationship should look like is the issue at hand.

      Now as for sin, is it really made up? Do you think there are people out there doing something incorrect, in your opinion, regardless of what they think and should stop doing it? Yes you can think of at least one, so that points to an ultimate authority that exists outside of our opinions. Thus an ultimate authority giver. Anything against this ultimate morality is what we call sin.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Tripp

      Mike your living in your made-up "christian" whitebread world and see everything through rose colored glasses. I hate to break it to you, but there is no eveidence of any "god". The reason we have secular laws keeps people from doing anything "incorrect". Thats why 8 of the 10 commandments are not in secular law. Killing is about it other than stealing. But I have broken all the rest of those commandments without any recourse from secular law. THe only "ultimate" authority we need to worry about are the ones we put into power in our democratic society. I refuse to live under any "biblical" magic book law.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Thankful

      @Tripp according to what you have said adultery is fine as well as dishonoring you r mother and father. Sin is very real, watch the news and you will see it. Walk down the street and you will see it. Look inside yourself and you will see it.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Tripp

      @thankful...Please come back to reality. Yes, I have had s3x with a seperated Woman. I have gotten mad at my Dad and called him a name, but I appolgized and everything is good. We love each other without conditions. Me and my Dad have a real relationship unlike christian families that I know where religion has screwed them up so bad it ceases to be a family unit.

      You live is a fantasy world with gods, angles, demons, and other supernatural idiocy. When you walk down the street you must have your delsuion set to high. All the troubles of this world is a direct result of religion. That includes hate, bigotry, killing in the name of god, etc...

      I feel sorry that you need to beleive in something so outragous and rediculously unprovable only to make your life feel full. A true sad life indeed.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Tripp, so when you cheated on your wife/husband there was no recourse? Thou shall not commit adultery... Tripp but you still live under biblical principals, was not for you to choose. If there is no ultimate authority, why stop Hilter or N. Korea, if it is all realitive then so are your statements and you come off as a intolerant bigot saying that Christians are wrong. Thus violating your own beliefs... sad to see you can't even live out the very thing you claim to believe in.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tripp

      @Mike from CT....No I do not live under your made up biblical prinipals. They are bogus rules setup by the boogeyman. Your Creduilty is really getting the best of you. And assuming that I somehow live under your invisible freind's rules is absurd and is insane on your part. And for the record, I didnt cheat on my wife as I have never been married. Marriage is an idea that has overstayed its welcome. I did have an affair with a seperated woman though, it was glorious.

      God is a myth made up by idiots like you to control stupid people who beleive your stories.

      Whats sad is you needing to beleive in something thats not real to make your life seem full. A sad life indeed.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  17. Tony Zerucha

    The staged photo is offensive. If that was a Koran the photographer and editor would be in hiding. That's a holy book whether you agree with its contents and should be respected as such.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Tripp

      I have no respect for that fairytale book and you have no right telling me I do have to repect its fairytale contents either.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • ThatGuy

      "I have no respect for that fairytale book and you have no right telling me I do have to repect its fairytale contents either."

      That's an exemplary model of the tolerance us bigoted religious folk should follow... /sacrasm

      August 22, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Tripp

      @thatguy....Considering that religious folks think Democracy is bad and we should bow on our knees to an imaginary sky jockey and have him run the government (rick perry), you're not far off.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • ThatGuy

      Tripp, that has to be one of the most ludicrous, uninformed statements I've ever read.

      I hate to break it to you, but everyone believes in a "God." The disagreement is over who it is. In societies and governments in which religion was oppressed, the concept of "god" wasn't removed it simply became the man in power.

      But I won't burden you with reality and let your mind wander in your delusional utopia.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • pacriticalthinker

      Hear! Hear! How dare they show a beautiful Playboy in the same picture with that work of filth!

      August 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • David L.

      I disagree, I think the photo is actually pretty telling of the meaning of the article, with a little bit of humor to boot. If you're offended, that's because you're easily offended, and I think you need to lighten up a bit.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Tripp

      @thatguy..."Everyone beleives in god?" I dont. There are about a billion people who dont beleive in a "god". Saying that everyone has a delusion and beleives in an invisible old man who lives in the sky is absurd and is mentally in need of help. Lets talk about Reality for a moment and specificaly the reality that you and others with this mental delusion suffer from. Your bible is a joke, anyone with any amount of rationality will come to the conclusion its a fairytale, same with the muslim book and anyother Magic book. Its filled with hate, bigotry, contradictions on a massive scale, none-literate interratations that benifit the one interpreting it and the list goes on. Screw your invisible sky-jockey, I'll take reason over faith anyday.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  18. Thankful

    I truly am sorry for those who don't understand the simplicity that is God and his plan for salvation. God loves, sin seperates us from Him, Christ bridges the gap. People waste so much energy arguing their non belief that they miss the simple joy that comes through faith. Christianity isn't about judging one another, it about a relationship, plain and simple. God's grace is limitless and true freedom come through trust in Him. In the same way my children trust me to take care of them, I trust God to take care of me. No need to worry, no need to hate, no need for envy, no need to fear. Sounds liberating, does it not. Gods's plan is simply, faith. It was and is man that has distorted it into something it's not. It is true that The Lord will reward obedience, same way that I reward my children. However, He loves you exactly the way you are, all that's required of you is child-like faith. He will handle the rest. True freedom.

    August 22, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Thankful

      I just wanted to add that it seems like a lot of people are basing their non-belief on the actions and words of people. Go to the source to see what He has to say about it. True Christians aren't judging gay people or trying to force their opinions on anyone. Our job is to love, period. Sure I share the plan of salvation, but then I leave it up to God to water the seed. True Christians are imperfect people that strive to better themselves in the eyes of God, if we worry about someone else's sin we will stumble and fall due to the log in our eye. God love you, even if you hate him.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • russell waesche

      Your message pithy and-on the face of it-very good. Plaudits and encomiums to all who do not ignore God's continuing instruction and endure to the end, including suffering with Christ. Christians: gather with others in small groups. The Lord is in the process of gathering living stones to form the new covenant temple to be located in, not separated by doctrinal-opinion-church-buildings, but the territorial locality whose believers will be one Heart, Mind, and one in judgment, so the leaven of sin may not, cannot, drag others down. Pray for our government daily, and with other believers whom you know to be pure. Please. And say a prayer for me and those who are working for unity and corporate righteousness, sine qua non. The group spirit may be leavened by sin; God will not live, walk, and breathe in a defiled Body. Please remember to pray. Sumus omnes in manu dei

      August 22, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • SciFiChickie

      "Christianity isn't about judging one another, it about a relationship, plain and simple. God's grace is limitless and true freedom come through trust in Him" This is the way I have viewed the concept of Christianity... But can you tell me why is it that Extremist Christians always try to force everyone else to do what they believe is right... Jesus did teach, Let ye without sin cast the 1st stone, Judge not least ye be judged, & love the sinner not the sin.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Martin T

      One would think that an omnipotent, omniscient being would have a better plan and certainly a better way of sharing said plan with the world than a 2000 year old book, written by, essentialy, uneducated men. god Has NO PLAN, because there is NO god... Period.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Bhoss

      Simple? i thought that God's plan was complex, and trying to understand it is like an ant trying to understand algebra. That's what i was told when my mother died and i couldn't accept the "god has a plan" cliche.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • PopeJon

      Thankful, you seem like a well intentioned person. But I don't think Christianity will be seen as good by "non believers" until you look inside your own religion and teach so many Christians that hate and judge so much, everyday on how to live by the golden rule. If you can do that, you'll have people falling over themselves to join you. But until you do that, your religion will only drive people away and create more divide no matter how loud you declare Christianity is all about love. Looking from the outside, its anything but about love......

      August 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Scott

      God or no god, organized religion in any form is the scourge of the earth. It has been used for countless thousands of years to control and direct man, enslave them, endanger them, and eliminate them.

      The bible is merely a reflection of stories from other cultures re-packaged to make them more easily digestible by the masses as things shifted to a new power base. Christmas is a pagan holiday, on a pagan date for the winter solstice, Easter began as a celebration of the pagan god Ester. Noah is dated as far back as the Sumerians, as is the Jesus story.

      Please go research the Sumerian tablets in detail.

      As for true spirituality in the name of all that is good, renounce what someone else tells you is right, and instead try to do what actually is right. The only rule needed is "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Do your best to adhere to that in all its implications, and then you truly are doing your best to be a good, honest, and righteous man. Not sitting in a building on sundays, not praying to any deity, not bashing anyone for your closely held opinion, on either side of the coin.

      Learn all you can from all sides. Then make a educated decision. That is the definition of enlightenment.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Thankful

      @Popejon you can not judge God for the actions of man. We all have the choice of action. People need to stop looking at Christianity as a group of people but as a one on one relationship with God.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Thankful

      @Scott you have just reiterated what Christ said was the most important aspect of life. Love your neighbor as yourself.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Thankful

      @sifichickie you cant control the actions of other only those of yourself. People try to take on more responsibility than they should. God will deal with those as He will, our job is to trust and above all, love.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • PopeJon

      That's what I was saying, the golden rule. people cant look at god threw your religion when most Christians cant live what Jesus teaches, love your neighbor as yourself. You need to get your house in order if you want people to listen and even try and understand Christianity. Otherwise your talking over each other and sending very mixed messages....

      August 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Tripp

      @thankful...Take god out of your "love is what god wants" and replace with "fellow humans" and I might agree with you. Im an Atheist and love and live just like you, only without faith and without a madeup god to take my responsiblity away. There is no god. You use god as a crutch and an excuse as all religious people do. You dont need any crutch. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and live life. Life is what YOU make it, not what some made up god has planned for it.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Fred1

      @thankful: Once upon a time I had that child like faith in god. But over the years I learned that putting my trust in god was an invitation to have my head handed to me (more often by Christians than not). I tried the experiment and god failed miserably and at every opportunity

      August 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  19. CommonSense

    >> admit that you’ve made a mistake,
    This is simply mind control, forcing others to act in subservience. It's one group dominating and manipulating another group.
    Your master is telling you how to act and how to think. Your invisible dictator is telling you that you are bad. Of, course he "speaks" through certain humans who have "interpreted' the dictator's demands, because the dictator is invisible.
    And people still believe this ???
    People would rather be manipulated and owned by someone else, rather than thinking for themselves??

    August 22, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • rufusclyde

      In life's unpleasant situations, some people want to be told the "right" thing to do, even if it's wrong and they're being manipulated in the process. It's called the authoritarian follower personality.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • asrael

      Sounds rather like Stockholm syndrome...

      August 22, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • rufusclyde

      @asrael: Not exactly. I think the personality develops first, one chooses an authoritarian leader next, and affection for that leader follows after that. By life's tough situations, I mean those choices where your damned if you and damned if you don't. Like do you tell one of your best friend their spouse is cheating with another one of your best friends?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • asrael

      @rufusclyde: I was thinking that with Stockholm syndrome, the captured/kidnapped individual eventually becomes sympathetic, even protective toward the person who has asserted authoritarian control. The end result is a dynamic that wards off further instability/uncertainty. That certainly seems similar to religious followers who subscribe to any interpretation that allows them to maintain their particular sense of being protected by their faith...

      August 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  20. Mike

    When one thinks of how many individuals there are in the US ... it's comforting to know that the majority of individuals lean towards some sort of faith in a living God. It's sad to see the few here that are so angry and hateful. There is, sad to say a great many individuals out there who attend churches that give poor examples of their faith … it’s nice to know that in our faith all are welcome and that in time all sorts of hurt, angry and disillusioned individuals join us seeking answers that the world cannot / has not given. Peace!

    August 22, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • William Demuth

      So now faith is peace?

      Faith is at the center of a dozen wars and inserrections going on TODAY.

      Faith killing faith, zealot killing zealot.

      Your delusuons bring WAR not peace, and those of us who reject them are the wave of tomorrow.

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

      Nope. What's sad is that a small subset of Christians ARE hateful, and get all the press, and presume to speak for the vast majority of Christians who don't cram stuff down people's throats, and who are a lot more Christian than the loudmouths.

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

      Yes, all are welcome....except the gays, the liberals and dark skinned.

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

      Religious people have started wars and Non-Religious people have started wars (atheism didn't bring the Russians greater "peace"). The common denominator here isn't religion, but people and their unbridled passions left unchecked. Far from being the problem, religion and faith are the only things attempting to reign in people's lack of self-control.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • rufusclyde

      @ThatGuy:

      >Far from being the problem, religion and faith are the only things attempting to reign in people's lack of self-control.

      Nope, there are lots of social organizations that aren't religious trying to do the same thing.

      August 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • AndyB

      @That Guy: the Communists had forced atheism. Forcing a belief on someone is not even possible without significant psychological damage and should never be attempted. We don't want to force atheism on people, we just want to suggest it very strongly.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
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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.