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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. hamish

    Kelli i think what you are trying to say is that complete spiritual healing comes through christ.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Anon

    Welcome to America the land of the Christarded moralists.

    December 31, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • DAVE

      LOVE THAT SKIN LOL

      February 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  3. richard michaels

    I would bet monies that people that have addictions of the mind, do not renew their minds as Romans 12;1-2 talks about. The Word was sent to heal and PURGE our thought life of ALL the ways of the world. If it is true that 90 % of Christians do not even open the Bible, then who is to blame? Abraham gave a tenth of all that he was given. That meant that He ministered 10% of his time also each day unto the Lord. I live by that and spend 10% if time throughout each day in the Word that purges and temptations, distractions of desires of this world and/also keeps me in a listening mode of prayer. Mark 4 talks about the world choking out the Word. Prayer is good, but the Word is where the power is to stay clean out of reverence to a Holy God, our Father. Would any of our earthly fathers accept these behaviors? How much more does our Heavenly Father give us a way out, through His marvelous thoughts that purge the thoughts of the past to live unto a pure future? We are sanctified by not just prayer, but by the Word of God and prayer, which is the will of God. I have been where others are still struggling and this process works marvelously. It is all about bathing ones spirit, daily, in the water of the Word. The spirit in our minds that needs purging, cleaning and needs holiness which without that, none will see the Lord.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  4. Brian

    This is a real problem. I have many people visiting my blog at http://newlifehabits.com looking for help. Glad there is more awareness even if it does take a celebrity to create the awareness.

    December 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  5. Bernard

    Thank God

    December 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  6. Samuel Romero

    Helene, on December 7th, Said that in Catholic Mass she learned that we 'earn' our place in heaven by doing works. Nothing can be further than the truth. We can't "earn" heaven, we don't deserve it, and doing good works will not get us in. In Ephesians the bible says, " by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of your self, it is a gift from God, not by works so no one will boast." We are saved by grace, we don't earn heaven through good works. NOw scripture does say that faith without works is dead. So works are good and we do them to bring glory to God. But our works aren't our ticket to heaven. Our works are the result of our faith.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • n3kit

      Samuel, it's true we will not be saved by our "own" works Eph 2:9 but if you continue to read to Ephesians 2:10, the verse clearly said that we are Christ's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. There is good work God has reserved for us to do under his supervision that is required for salvation. Afterall, faith without works is dead.

      January 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  7. Nickie Segota

    Your article is intelligent, well-written and compelling as far as I'm concerned. I've enjoyed reading and reviewing your viewpoints. Thank you for representing your informational content in an interesting way.

    December 3, 2011 at 5:36 am |
  8. Kevin

    My comment doesn't appear but I get this?!! Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!

    Why?

    December 2, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  9. Luce De Seiz

    iThis is specifically to all the Elitists that hide behind Christianity and not so much Christianity as a whole. If human's are born sinners, Christians are quite a select group of sinners. You sit around with your smiles pretending to care about your fellow people judging us, but on the inside you writhe and struggle with the same human emotions everybody else does. You would stab your brother in the back if the bible said so, you'd turn on every one if it means that YOU get to be saved. Whether if God and Jesus are real or not. It's the people that refuse to take responsibility for themselves, and their believes and actions that say and do ignorant, terrible things. Jesus could rise again tomorrow around prime time on Fox News and CNN and nobody would believe it. We are more comfortable denying human responsiblity and believing in what we can't see. Christianity is one of the most selfish religions there ever was. They shun people based on a scripture that has been twisted and rewritten by greedy men for ages, to reach salvation for themselves they'd turn their backs on their brothers and sisters. If that is what PURE enlightment is, or to be saved? I think we're all damned and should be. That doesn't sound like heaven, it sounds like a prison.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Mfundisi Kitchen

      I disagree to an extent. I understand and agree that there are many christians that don't take responsibility. I understand that there are many christians who shun other people. But many times we see that Christians don't follow the word the claim to follow. In actuality, the bible does mention these kinds of christians. but it would be unfair of you to simply judge all christians that way. I know christians personally who really do care about people, who will look out for others interests over their own. I can assure you that there are people out their who are really understanding the positive within the Bible and then show that in their own personal lifestyles. It all starts out with self-examination though. I agree with you there.

      December 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • hélène

      I have to say I'm shocked that anyone could feel that way about christianity.
      I'm sorry that you have only met christians who shun others and refuse their responsibilities.
      I myself am a Christian and when I go to mass every Sunday I am taught that our place in Heaven is earned by helping others in need (to clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, feed the starving etc), Jesus was a man who shunned nobody and welcomed everybody who was willing to follow him. As Christians we must try to live according to Jesus' creed and of course we are human and far from perfect and we will stray from the path. Maybe all the Christians you have met pretend they are perfect but in that case you haven't met a lot of Christians because I know a lot and some pretend to be perfect and hide behind their "faith" but these are a minority. The article for me is even proof that more and more Christians are able to come to terms with their problems and face them rather than hide them and be ashamed as many would have done in the past.

      As for saying that Christians will do any thing the Bible tells us to do regardless of whether it is right or wrong (ex:stabbing one's brother in the back): a) the bible doesn't tell us to do such things which actually go againt Jesus' n° 1 commandment "love thy neighbour as thy friend" b) and the Bible allows for interpretation and study and examine it critically everywhere we must ask ourselves what is Jesus' message here we do not blindly do everything it tells us to.

      You must have a very good reason for thinking what you do about SOME Christians but please avoid generalising this to ALL Christians because it's actually insulting to the majority of christians.

      December 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  10. The commenter

    How do you feel that your wife has remained "pure" her whole life for you? Or your husband, not seeking lust of everyone he meets?

    November 1, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Stefan

      Of course as a paernt you should teach your belief in your child. I do not know what age a person can, however, swallow the idea of ​​the devil into hell. The material is a little scary.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Ignorant

    My dear fellows, whatever our faiths are, either Christianity or Atheism, we have to be extremely careful and thorough in our faiths and beliefs because It is only one life we are going to have in this world. I would advice all of you to open your brains and humble your hearts and watch this link of extreme importance. The link is "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xSKfjIT45Y&feature=related".
    It solves the mystery of Christianity as well as of Atheism. Please advice or suggest if you disagree. I am open to your comments.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  12. ibenitbhp

    QxsgPh uxuncrpgmnzh

    October 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Eel

    I actually found this more enettraninig than James Joyce.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  14. Mariposa

    I'm glad the evangelical church of Christ is addressing this monster, perhaps more needs to be done!!! By the way...the bible is clear and there is certainty in it, and there is also only one interpretation, thank you very much!

    October 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      So, before jesus was cruxified, what was the colour of the robe that the soldiers put on him? and please be certain about your answer...

      October 3, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  15. brewtownpsych

    ugh, the world has so many problems and people worry about fairy tales they were told by someone when they were kids so they think is real ... your "belief" is really just based on what some human being told you, who in turn was told by a human being, and so on, going back 2,000 years. and if you say god has spoken to you directly, well, you are either lying or hearing voices. think about it, if somebody on the street said that "zeus" spoke to them directly, you would think they were crazy. if you can understand that, you can understand why we think your belief in a magical man in the sky is silly. no need to offend, just my honest and quite realistic and justifiable belief. if your only answer is "well, its my belief" then there is no hope, because by that reasoning ANYTHING can be claimed to be real, and that's no way to have a society.

    October 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Jadaski

      Assuming that you're addressing Christianity, which is the subject of this article, then our "belief" is guided by a set of well defined rules of conduct. The manner in which a Christian must act is completely devoid of selfish and evil acts, with the most important rules involving showing love for all others. If society was based on this, can you tell me how bad such a society would be?

      October 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ Jadaski,

      when your belief states that all others are wrong and invalid, it is not good for society. This is what christianity does to Islam, Hinduism, budhism, atheism etc. (actually, the big three monotheistic religions all do this and to each other especially).

      Christianity preaches against abortion because they "value life", yet they are the biggest supports of the death penalty (see the state of Texas)... abortion is wrong, but killing doctors who provide the legal service of abortion is looked on, by some, as mandatory. Now, if christianity actually practiced what it preached, there would be little problem... love your enemy as you love yourselves, but christians can't do that... 'believe what i believe or you're going to hell".

      October 3, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • Tony

      I agree that the reason for faith cannot be "well, it's my belief." Are you open to scientific proof? If so, read the book, Starlight and Time by Dr. Russel Humphries

      October 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  16. REhab is for quitters

    You gotta be kidding me...........if they showed the Koran with a playboy or penthouse..the world would end...but its ok to do that to a bible? CNN really shows there true colors sometimes.

    October 2, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • jb

      i am a Christian and i agree: people who claim to be Christians sit back and watch people but their nuts off while Muslims pick up a gun and put fear in the peoples' hearts. Why have Christians become so tolerant?

      December 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  17. AvdBerg

    History has already proven the subject question. The big question is does Christianity have anything to do with Jesus Christ or a false Christ (Matthew 24:24)?

    For a better understanding of the Mystery of the Word of God and what mankind must do to be able to understand the Word of God and what it means to be a Christian, we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    October 2, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • NoṠhitSherlock

      Spam. Just click report abuse

      December 9, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  18. azereta

    Abolish war, greed and religion and the world will be a better place for all.

    October 2, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Lee

      Sounds like you really thought that one out.

      October 2, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Jadaski

      It is impossible to abolish war and greed without a force that helps us counteract human nature. Guess what that force is.

      October 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • kace47

      abolish religion, and the other two go away automatically

      October 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  19. james

    Its time to ditch the fairy tales and grow up. jesus/god arent real

    October 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • REhab is for quitters

      You can sit in your ignorance and laugh at others, its your right. Just know that when u sit and laugh at us believers, we are sitting down laughing at you right back 😀 Have a good day

      October 2, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • franko58

      O.K. There Anti-Christian Liberal, we'll do exactly as you say, after all, this is what the anti-christian president of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WANTS.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Observer #2

      To quote many, I would be much obliged if you could prove it, sir.

      October 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  20. Kelli

    It is only through Jesus Christ that people can be helped with anything. Anything good comes from Christ. You can deny it all you want, but healing comes from Him.

    October 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Jadaski

      People can do good things without Christ, including kicking alcohol abuse, but they can only be saved through Him.

      October 3, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Rich

      How on Earth do you know that? You sound like you've been brainwashed. This is why I rejected Christianity (not God), how can you as a religion be so absolutely obtuse? If your child were sick and you knew medicine was at the store across the road, would you refuse to get it simply because it was at a store other than the one you choose to shop at? Can nobody see how Christianity, Judaism and Islam is all different limbs to the same damn tree? In such modern times can we be so naive to say that "Healing" comes from him? What about your family and friends, do they not nurture you with kindness and support, or that only through healing are they even capable of it? That through only Christ does good will exist? Again, how can you folks be so obtuse? You all act like the person in the group that thinks there's an elephant in the room, but you can't figure out that the elephant is in fact you. I apologize, I don't mean to be harsh, I just can't understand it at all.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Miclovin

      I agree with Rich full-heartedly Jadaski and Kelli u 2 are brainwashed im sorry grow up and stop being scared

      December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • hamish

      Rich the difference between christianity and other religions is that christianity is based upon a relationship with god, something there is not present in other religions making them completely different.

      i would like you to tell me if this story is pure coincidence.
      On this line I want to tell you about Willie Burton, who is laboring for God in the Belgium Congo. Brother Burton is a mighty man of God and is giving his life for the heathen in Africa. He took fever and went down to death. They said; "He has preached his last; what shall we do?" All their hopes seemed to be blighted, and there they stood, with broken hearts, wondering what was going to take place. They left him for dead; but, in a moment, without any signal, he stood right in the midst of them; and they could not understand it. The explanation he gave was this, that, when he came to himself, he realized a warmth going right through his body; and there wasn't one thing wrong with him. How did it come about? It was a mystery until he went to London and was telling the people how he was left for dead, and then was raised up. A lady came up and asked for a private. conversation with him, and arranged a time. She asked, "Do you keep a diary?" He answered, "Yes." She told him, "It happened on a certain day that I went to pray; and as soon as I knelt, I had you on my mind. -The Spirit of the Lord took hold of me and prayed through me in an unknown tongue. A vision came before me in which I saw you laid out helpless; and I cried out in the unknown tongue till I saw you rise up and go out of that room." She had kept a note of the time and when he turned to his diary he found that it was exactly the time when he was raised up.

      God bless you Rich

      January 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
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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.