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

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A crusade is born

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

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different interpretations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXX churches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achieving “sobriety”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A crusade’s critics

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

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

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

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

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham’s family tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. Matt V P

    You might want to consider posting my comments also. It is not nice to post only some analytical comments.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Replying seems to work better, not sure

      August 21, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  2. The Realist

    Stop fighting it. You won't win against p0rn. It is too appealing to our s3xual nature. I suggest adaptation.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  3. The Realist

    I really hate this comment system. Never sure if the posts are going through =)

    August 21, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • SCAtheist

      I know – I'm moving to WaPo

      August 21, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  4. Christian

    The evidence of God is all around you; you have no excuse. Romans 1:18-32

    August 21, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • SCAtheist

      I dunt sea nuthin.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • john

      thats nice, an ancient mistranslated texts says something. does that make it true?

      But they are right, germs and cancer do seem to prove the existence of the petty jealous deity of the bible.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Rick

      Have no excuse?

      August 22, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  5. Malaka


    August 21, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • Atheist


      August 21, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  6. Albert

    If there is no God,then there is no us.The universe did not create itself out of nothing.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Malaka

      Then who or what created 'god'?? GOTCHA!

      August 21, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Yeah, so god created itself out of nothing. That's the dumbest fallacy in Philosphy 101.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • john

      would a god that created the entire universe care about what s e x u a l things people watched, if they rub one off or even what position to screeew in? What a petty, worthless totalitarian deity.

      We are all lucky he doesnt exist 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • Andre

      Listen to yourself. You seem eager to declare that the universe did not create itself from nothing, yet you are able to accept that God was able to exist without any universe existing to support him. Lame. Illogical. Moronic.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • Dude

      Look at most of the responses here. Your not going to win with that kind of posting. We all come from a puddle of goo, formed cells and Bam here we are. Much more logical than the all mighty god lighting a match and farting a universe. all though, that's a hell of a party trick.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • Atheist

      How does Albert know?

      August 21, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Kate

      What about God then? How come he could create himself but universe couldnt? Get a brain!

      August 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Andrew Melc

      I am who I am. That is what God said to Moses. Jesus Christ said I am also.
      When someone says to you like i noticed on here, well who created God,
      answer with response
      God says I am who I am
      He is He was He will always be
      To the glory of the Lamb
      No other name but the name of Jesus no other name but the name of the Lord no other name but the name of Je-e-sus
      is worthy of glory is worthy of honor is worthy of power and all praise
      no other name but the name of Jesus no other name but the name of the Lord no other name but the name of Jesus

      August 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Rick

      Albert: Explain to me how a creation means that the creator is one to judge human interaction.

      August 22, 2011 at 6:17 am |
    • Frogist

      "Iam what I am"? Isn't that waht Popeye said too? Does that mean Popeye is God?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Unanimous300

    No masturbation. I'd rather go to hell. You can quote me to god on that. . .when you see him/she.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • TDJ

      No worries. You'll have the personal chance to tell Him yourself. You'll need no messengers, no go-between, when you stand before Him.


      August 21, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Atheist

      TDJ has a real illusion going.

      August 21, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  8. john

    not sure what is wrong with p0rn, now my wife and i enjoy watching it together. fun stuff. I guess the prudes are missing out.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  9. john

    For some good ancient raunchy deprived p0rn the Bible is where it is at.

    1. Lot gets wasted and screeews both of his daughters,
    2. god commands Onan to screeew his sister in law but he j1zzes on the ground during c0itus, god gets angry at him
    3. Judah (a man of god) buys a h0oker, who he didnt know was his daughter in law
    4. Solomon was a bre@st man in Song of Solomon 4 and 5. also "My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him".

    Praise jesus for bible p0rn!

    August 21, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • SCAtheist

      And the biggest hero of them all killed a man to screeew his wife Bathsheba. She must have been hot, eh?

      August 21, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • john

      yeah, Including gods warriors like david. And the wisest man i history (supposedly solomon) had I dont know how many wives and a massive harem to satisfy himself.

      there was so many verses of "and he came unto her..." Most of which were not the dudes wife.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • Two Witnesses

      You are so correct. The only thing missing is the pictures!

      August 21, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Atheist

      No 2 Witless. Haven't you seen the hot pics of Eve in your family Bible?

      August 21, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  10. Eric

    So belivers are to refrain from gratification (even self grat.) until marriage and then only use it to create a child, meaning "it" takes place every 9 months or so. Got it.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  11. montyhall

    As a Christian man recovering from the effects of lust addiction – I can attest to and agree with what much of this article says. I'm no different than a alcoholic – they can't stop at one drink and I can't stop at one "look".

    August 21, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Why stop, enjoy yourself

      August 21, 2011 at 6:09 am |
    • montyhall

      SCAtheist – That is indeed a worldly comment, your name fits you well. You enjoy your life and I'll enjoy mine. We'll get along fine...

      August 21, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • john

      why would the god who created the entire universe worry what you thought? a petty totalitarian being he must be

      Luckily for everyone he doesnt exist.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • montyhall

      John I don't knock your opinions – why do you knock mine? Appearently you are a VERY famous person though, everywhere I go – there's a room named after you (my apologies – that's just rude – funny – but rude).

      August 21, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • john

      well i think i was named after the prophet who foretold the messiah coming, and jesus' disciple.

      maybe that is why that room is named so. 🙂

      August 21, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • montyhall

      Excellent retort! I apologize to both you and my Father for mocking. Thank you for pointing out someone in your family has faith, I'll pray for my selfish pride and your faith be restored.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • Frogist

      @montyhall: Not to be rude or anything, cuz you seem like a fairly nice person, but you must pray a LOT. There seems to be so much restraint, so much fear if you have to go pray about some joke you made on the internet. I actually feel bad for you. What you're doing. it just doesn't seem like you're being honest or kind to yourself. I know that's personal, but I really feel for you.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  12. Todd

    Religion is a lie. Wake up people, youve been had. If you feel you need an imaginary friend to tell you to be honest and respectful to other human beings then so be it, but quit trying to make every one else believe in your imaginary friend too. I don't need to believe in some made up book to be a good person. Most religious people I know are borderline criminals.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • montyhall

      I'm just asking Todd – please don't be offended. Is your parapgraph really speaking "good"? I beleive you too when you say "most of the religious people you know are boderline criminals" after all didn't Jesus hang out with gluttones men, drunkards, tax collectors and sinners? 😀 I know my church is a hospital for the broken and not a sancturary for saints. ;-D

      August 21, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • road

      Wow, Monty, you seriously need to look at your spell check. Those red squiggly lines? Means the word is pretty much spelled wrong.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • montyhall

      Road: I'll admit my spelling is bad – I have no "squiggly" lines on my side. It is 5:42 AM where I am so I'm overtired and not really caring about my spelling – to much work to copy/past into a doc for spell check... I'm not getting paid to do this.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • Frogist

      @montyhall: This is a common excuse made by Christians. "Christians aren't perfect, Christians are all sinners too". But the truth is, Todd's not referencing what Christians were before they became "Christians", he discussing hypocrisy of Christians who say they are acting like Christians while judging others, not caring about the poor, persecuting minorities etc etc. Christians don't get a pass for being hypocrites. And no amount of "we're not perfect" excuses it. Furthermore, if their Christianity does nothing to prevent such hypocrisies to a large degree then there is no benefit to your fellowman from you being a Christian which makes the whole religious endeavour a selfish, pointless one.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  13. RichardSRussell

    Well, interestingly, this article is about s e x u a l r e l e a s e, but CNN's nannybot apparently is disinclined to post comments using that phrase.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:01 am |
  14. Don H

    We have all sinned, no ones has escaped Gods eyes. The original words were that you were to cut your hand off, cut your eye out if you sinned with it. It has been changed by man, so think everyone has done wrong accept the children.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • SCAtheist

      That sounds like a crazy rant to me, but on another note, when is it going to rain in Texas, so they can stop drinking urine?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:52 am |
    • Rick

      Don: Some of us do not accept your god. Therefore, we cannot fear retaliation (or judgement) from a being in which we do not believe.

      August 22, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  15. Zia H Shah

    Islam can do better than Christianity in curing any addiction. Partly because the Quran is literal word of God. unlike the Bible. Try my articles organized in different groups in Google knols.

    I know Islam has had a good track record in Alcohol Anonymous.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:41 am |
    • doctore0

      SPOILER: There is no god.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:43 am |
    • john

      dude, islam is as fake as chirsitianity. If both worship man made imaginary friends, how can one be more true than the other?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:43 am |
    • Dam

      Why did not cure the pedaphile Mohamed?

      August 21, 2011 at 5:45 am |
    • TomTom

      YES A GREAT RECORD with mullah's ****ing young kids in the hujrah (special place for muslim priests). Old hacks getting married to girls as young as 7 or 8 yrs old. Islam is not an answer to anything it is organized crime in its own self, with one criminal protecting the other and killing or threatening to kill any whistle blowers.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • Zia H Shah

      All the Islamophobes are gathering around my comment. How can the Bible which is half forgery according to Prof. Bart Ehrman can do any better than the Holy Quran, which is genuine teaching about One God and the awe, respect and discipline that truth inspires compared to make belief.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Wrong

      Wrong wrong wrong. The Quran is NOT the literal word of God. It was plagiarized by Mohammed who wrote it from a copy of the bible and other codex's from the region, while he hung out in a cave in the desert and suffered from heat stroke.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • TomTom

      why don't you explain who was mohd's first wife , she was a jew and his first wedding was conducted by a Rabbi because there was no islam at that time and she was a practicing jew. He later plagerized the old and the new testament to come up with his hybrid version and said as i was hiding in cave of hira this book just dawned on me. Tell me what is the punishment for insulting Mohd in islam. What kind of a peaceful religion are u offering us.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Bob

      "the Quran is literal word of God"? Prove it!

      August 21, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • Know What

      Zia H Shah,

      There are *some* pearls of wisdom for civilized, peaceful behavior in the Quran (as there are in many religion's scriptures). It cannot be a.ssumed that because of these few practical bits of advice, that all of the myth, legend, science fiction, fantasy and superst.ition which pervades the majority of it, are anywhere near reality.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  16. SCAtheist

    Jesus turned water into wine. Quit believing and enjoy life.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • john

      yup, his first miracle was his most impressive i thought, lol

      August 21, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  17. Christine

    Another great resource is the book series "Every Man's Battle" by Steve Arterburn.

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

      AMEN and GREAT BOOK!!!

      August 21, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  18. djlockerthebrain

    Religious people are nuts. No pun intended.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  19. TomTom

    Freedom of speech or hate speech? I want you to do the same piece and replace Christianity with Islam and i want to see the reaction of all these guys and don't forget the hate mail, and muslims suing the network plus death threats. GO FIGURE. I am not a big fan of organized religion myself but sometimes it's the choice between better evils.

    August 21, 2011 at 5:26 am |
    • montyhall

      Just a guess here but I think the reason the article is written is because Christianity is one of the largest religions in the WORLD – therefore attracting a potential larger reading audience. Belliefs on Islam wouldn't be as topical – just a guess, I don't know why CNN posted the article I'm just glad they did.

      August 21, 2011 at 5:58 am |
    • Frogist

      @TomTom: I agree with monty to an extent. It is the most popular religion in the US, not really the world. I think this is meant for Christian audiences. But the entire idea that CNN should write an article about something specifically related to Christianity in a western point of view where religion is mixed with therapy is a bit ridiculous. I doubt Islam (the Middle Eastern cultural versions which is what I suspect you want) has any kind of western ideas of applying religion as a form of psychotherapy for the benefit of eradicating mast-urb-ation or pr0n from those who self-identify as se-x addicts. You are talking about two distinct cultures and there is very little overlap.
      I do have to say one thing more. This idea that if there is an article where Christianity is criticized we must have one that demeans Islam is as unChrist-like as it gets. You can't handle anyone telling you there's something amiss with your religion so you throw up "bias" as a distraction instead of actually discussing the article at hand. But it won't work. This puritanical Christian movement to banish healthy se-xual practices to the darkness won't work anymore. We've all come too far. We're not going back.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  20. gnash

    Evangelicals always have to have something to wring their hands about. And at $175 a pop, their "counselors" welcome the opportunity to "cure" whatever created issue ails them. Gotta sell those books!!
    Then again, times are tough, where can I sign up to be an evangelical counselor??

    August 21, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • Ijiwaru Sensei

      That's only $25 a day. That's less expensive than any hotel, less expensive than any private college, less expensive than a therapist.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:19 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.