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My take: Why Christians are criticizing my Christian marriage and sex book
January 24th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

My take: Why Christians are criticizing my Christian marriage and sex book

Editor’s note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

You try to write a book on marriage and sex with your wife and next thing you know there are a lot of ants crashing your picnic.

My wife, Grace, and I recently published "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together," which quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.

In it, we’re brutally honest about our past struggles, share the lessons we learned along the way and talk frankly about sex. Criticism has ensued.

If you wish to find that criticism, just do a Google search. You’ll find plenty. My intent here is not to name names and pick a fight with my critics, but to provide context on why there is criticism.

We knew before we wrote the book that we’d catch a lot of flak, especially on the chapters dealing with sex. We also knew the criticism would come from every direction, as some people would think we went too far and others would think we didn’t go far enough.

But we wrote it anyway. Why? Simply put, we want to help marriages — and single people aspiring to marry — and we wanted to do so in a way that is practical, biblical and applicable to the reality of today’s culture.

If the book accomplishes that, we’ll take the criticism in exchange for helping people. We don’t think our book is perfect and we tell folks upfront (literally in the preface) to take what is helpful and leave the rest.

The book identifies three ways people tend to view sex: as gross, as a god and as a gift.

Sex as gross

Some people are very uncomfortable talking about sex, even with their spouses.

Many Christians, because of upbringing and past church experiences, view sex as gross and something that should not be talked about in public.

Unfortunately, this view is pervasive in the church. Many couples have honest questions about sex and various sexual acts but struggle to find a pastor willing to teach on these topics.

With nowhere else to turn, these couples find wrong and damaging answers in magazines, television, movies, porn and more.

The practical result is that couples divorce their sex from their spirituality, talking to their pastors about “spiritual” issues and ordering their love life around advice from “secular” sources.

Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, read the headlines on the women’s magazines that are shouting at little kids standing in line with their parents. Our culture has made the wrong answers about sex far easier to find than the church has made the right answers to find.

Those who view sex as gross criticize our book because we speak too openly and frankly about sex for their taste. The accusation is that the private counsel that pastors give to people in the church isn’t suitable to give in a public context.

But many critics tend to want to debate nuances of theology rather than engage head-on the practical realities that many people are facing.

I’ve written systematic theology books with hundreds of footnotes. "Real Marriage" is not that kind of book. It’s a practical book rooted in the Bible.

We call everything a sin that the Bible does and we give directives for married couples to use wisdom and conscience in discussing what they do and do not want to do sexually on matters to which the Bible doesn’t speak.

Because we believe the Bible is God’s perfect and sufficient word, we don’t want to add to it what we want or the archconservative Christian culture wants.

Conversely, we don’t want to remove anything from it just because some people find it uncomfortable.

People in our churches are dealing with the issues discussed in "Real Marriage," and to pretend these aren’t real issues and to avoid talking about them is akin to closing your eyes and declaring that you don’t see the need we are serving. If ministry leaders don’t address these issues in some way, we’re religious cowards who do a disservice to our church.

Before we get to the trickiest sexual questions, based upon what many people are already doing, our book deals with marriage in the context of friendship, men’s and women’s roles and responsibilities and how to deal with sin so that marriage gets better rather than bitter.

When we do get around to evaluating sex acts, we ask three simple questions, based upon 1 Corinthians 6:12 in the Bible: 1. Is it lawful? 2. Is it helpful? 3. Is it enslaving?

Each of these questions leaves room for couples to be grownups and to determine what works for them sexually by allowing them to examine their hearts and the scriptures – and to act according to their consciences on whether they wish to participate in sexual activities that the Bible neither forbids nor condones.

While it may be fun for bloggers and critics to discuss these things, our hope was that couples would instead be the ones having these conversations to build their marriages in ways that don’t pressure, abuse or use one another.

Sex as a god

There are some who think about almost nothing else but sex, treating it as a kind of god. This can happen in the form of addiction to sex or porn, severe promiscuity, adultery or participating in various sexual acts that the Bible speaks against, making personal preference and desire more important than what God says about sex.

This view of sex is pervasive, as many go to extraordinary lengths to fulfill their sexual desires, even when it’s not good for them physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally.

Even worse, this view causes some to do unspeakable acts against others in the form of rape, assault, marital sexual assault, pedophilia, sex trafficking and more – making literal human sacrifices to their god of sex.

Those who view sex as a god criticize our book because it doesn’t go far enough for them. Because we teach that the Bible does call some sex acts sin, such as pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, adultery and more, we are criticized for being judgmental, prudish, antiquated and fundamentalist.

We understand that not everyone will believe what we believe, but as Christians who view the Bible as our highest authority in life, we don’t write the mail, we simply deliver it.

In the end, for conservatives we’re too liberal, and for liberals we’re too conservative. We can’t win.

Thankfully, we’re not concerned with winning. We’re concerned with helping others build healthy, happy and holy, God-glorifying marriages.

Sex as a gift

What Grace and I have found in nearly 20 years of marriage and more than 15 years of ministry is that both the church and culture often get sex wrong.

So we went back to the scriptures to see what they have to say.

The Bible gives us a different way to think of sex. Instead of seeing it as gross or slavishly worshiping it as a god, the Bible teaches that sex is a powerful and exhilarating gift that God gives to married couples.

It is also a deeply spiritual act, bringing together a husband and a wife to be one flesh (Genesis 2:24), binding them together on a spiritual, mental, emotional, physical and neurological level.

As a deeply spiritual act, it’s important for people to understand what the Bible teaches (and doesn’t teach) about sex, to be able to speak openly and honestly with their ministry leaders regarding sex, and to find solid, biblical teaching on sex.

God has a plan for sex: that it is to be enjoyed between one man and one woman in the context of marriage. This means that there are certain types of sex acts that abuse and misuse the good gift of sex that God gave, and that we are to honor God with our bodies by living our sexual lives in a way that glorifies him and honors the scriptures.

In our book, we blow up some common misconceptions about sex (like that the Bible prohibits stripteases or oral sex). We help people understand that it’s God’s intent that we steward and enjoy the gift of sex, like every gift he gives, in such a way that is glorious to him, good for our marriages and a lot of fun.

It is our prayer that you and your spouse would move past any misconceptions of how you’ve seen sex and understand it to be a gift from God. A gift to be stewarded. A gift to be guarded. A gift to be enjoyed. And a gift to be shared together for God’s glory and your good as friends.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Sex

soundoff (750 Responses)
  1. rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy one

    What kind of deluded moron would vote for someone whose name has become synonymous with rectal foam ? A freak who brings a dead baby home to play with ?

    January 24, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      Please, don't feed the Trolls.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • rick santorumtwit... America's favorite frothy one

      Better yet, don't feed the bible thumpers.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • wait....

      Is this what they mean when they say Google Santorum. That is a very interesting site. I recommend a look.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  2. bigot

    "catholic engineer: Yes. God is so vast the universe cannot contain Him, yet fully present on the point of a pin. Wherever God fully is, so is his omniscience – and love. Remember this the next time you're sitting on the john reading your first theology book."

    Care to share the evidence you have suggesting this statement is true? ...and no, bible verses are not evidence.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Dingo

      No evidence required. Just faith, boy. If God would offer hard evidence, then it would defeat the purpose of having faith.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • catholic engineer

      What you want is material evidence. Material evidence only "proves" material phenomena. If a non-material Intelligence exists, science will not discover it. You may also insist on Reason. Religion is not rational, nor non-rational, nor irrational. It is a-rational. Blaise Pascal is quoted as saying, "The highest step the mind can take is to realize that there are infinite number of things beyond it." I doubt you accept any of this. But have you been able to supply a reasonable, material, rationale for all of your personal beliefs?

      January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Great point Dingo ! I love quotes. The Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill said "A god small enough to be understood is too small to desereve worship."

      January 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Philip

      "God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created things by means of the natural light of human reason."

      With these words the Vatican Council points to the twofold source of our natural knowledge of God: our natural reason and created things.

      By "created things" we mean the whole realm of nature and the human soul. The contemplation of nature leads us to believe and hope in God, and to love Him; but from the study of our soul, we derive a truer and deeper knowledge of God than from all the rest of creation, because our soul alone is made according to the image and likeness of God.

      Our natural knowledge of God is indirect, or mediate.

      We do not see God immediately, but only through the medium of His works.

      Our knowledge of God, though real, is only analogical; that is, our concepts or notions of God are taken from created things and applied to God after we have purified them from all created imperfections and raised them into the sphere of the unlimited and infinite. In other words, we attribute every perfection that exists in the world, such as goodness, justice, knowledge, love, to God, but we say that it exists in Him in a manner more perfect than we can imagine.

      For further information, see this link: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @ Phillip "We do not see God immediately, but only through the medium of His works." The same holds true with bigot up there. He cannot grasp all that he is, and neither can we. But we can get some idea about bigot by his self-expression or things he (she?) does.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @catholic engineer,
      Interesting, "religion... is a-rational". Could you expound on that? What is a-rational?

      January 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • afiniti24

      No evidence needed when you experience it daily in a walk with Christ. It's not "just faith", but that is where it begins.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @Nonimus What means a-rational. THe process of reason is an intellectual effort that can take you from point A (an assumption or observation) to a conclusion. Assuming the person's reasoning is adequate of course. A-rational means that the process of reason cannot be applied to the issue in question. Like amoral versus immoral. Amoral means no morality whatsoever.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  3. Observer

    He left out that the Bible ALSO says that the most religious people are celibate.

    How many of these top religious figures engage/engaged in s-x: Jesus, John the Baptist, most of the Disciples, the Pope, bishops, priests, nuns, monks, etc.?

    January 24, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Eric

      As we have found – most do.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • jeff

      Actually, the Bible is silent about many of those figure while others were married (according to the Bible), for example, Peter was married – look for a passage where Jesus helas his mother-in-law. One could also argue that other may have been married just the same. Before they were disciples they had regular lives (for the time period) SO the assumption that none were married is not true. Clerical Celibacy did not become the norm in Roman Catholic Church until the 11th century. So it is basically a matter of interpretation.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Observer

      jeff,

      Maybe as many as a FEW married people and thousands who weren't. "Do as I say, not as I do".

      January 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Mike

      Celibate means you are not married.
      Chaste means you are not s-xually active.
      They are not synonyms.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Diggity

    From reading the comments, it sounds like there's a bunch of cranky atheists that could stand to get laid. Chill out bro's.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Tempest

      Amen brother.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  5. JG

    Free will is a gift from God. We are created in his image (Genesis 1:26) God is a spiritual being who is omnipotent and omniscient. The bible tells us that God has many qualities. However, love is his PRINCIPAL quality. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God IS Love, he is the absolute and perfect personification of love. Thus, love is the quality that governs all his other qualities. That is how free will works, it is not in conflict with God's power and only when we decide to live our lives in accordance to his principles can we find true happiness and purpose in life. Problem is most people do not like to follow the rules, we use free will to go in direct opposition to God's principles. We recognize the importance of authority in almost every other aspect of life (family,school,work,government, etc) BUT when it comes to God telling us what is best for us..we refuse...

    January 24, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Exactly, JG.
      I'm always surprised by how quickly the atheists play the "think for yourself card". The Christian/Jewish/Muslim doctrine is based on the very concept of free thinking for oneself. Sin happens when we think for ourselves and then act badly anyway.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • bigot

      every quote you take out of the bible is a quote written by MAN not god. sorry to burst your bubble.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Observer

      catholic engineer,

      Yep. Think for yourself, but if you don't do exactly as told, you will spend eternity burning in hell. lol.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Jesus Koresh

      The "Think For Yourself" card? That's hilarious! I do get a laugh out of people who say that thinking for yourself is a BAD thing!

      January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bizarre

      JG,

      IF this "God" is omniscient and omnipotent, it would not be possible for it to be such a lousy communicator of its wishes.

      - There are umpty-ump numbers of religions in the world, all of whom say that they have the "true" word of "God" (35,000+ denominations of Christianity alone) - they do not agree with each other. They cannot all be right (but, guess what?... they can all be wrong.

      - People swear up and down that "God" has told them directly to do all sorts of abominable things, or they use their "Scriptures" to justify the most hideous cr@p.

      - IF a god were all-loving, it would communicate its wishes to each and every one of us in individually tailored terms, which are unmistakeable, unable to be misinterpreted, mistranslated, miscopied or misunderstood. It would not leave this ambiguous trail of breadcrumbs, some of which lead right off a cliff to alleged "eternal damnation".

      January 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      We see what they see,taste as they do,smell the roses,feel the heat and hear the sounds but they do not understand when we say we percieve God. I wish they cud but guess if u choose not to hear God allows it. I'm glad for freewill I just wish more will learn God's ways. I love u all as myself.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @Observer Forget religion for a moment. If you don't do what civil law tells you, you'll can end up in prison till the end of your life.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Observer

      catholic engineer,

      Civil laws require immediate punishment unlike the Bible. There doesn't seem to be much point to your comment.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  6. RWESTUPID

    Do you xtian morons think your boogeyman in the sky watches you copulate? Just wondering.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Yes. God is so vast the universe cannot contain Him, yet fully present on the point of a pin. Wherever God fully is, so is his omniscience – and love. Remember this the next time you're sitting on the john reading your first theology book.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • JessBee1980

      I love how so many athiests are even more intolerant than most of the super conservative religious.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • RWESTUPID

      We are Intolerant of your stupidity mainly because we are constantly bombarded with it. Look no further than "catholic engineer's" response above. Don't you see how you're all just being played because of your fairy tale beliefs?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Dingo

      How can you tell who is a real Christian? Perhaps you have not encountered a real Christian.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Ms Galaxy

      Dingo, since they ALL think and say they're "real christians", one can't tell the difference. And that won't change.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Phil

      Boogeyman in the sky?!!??!? How dare you??!!!? Our God is an awesome God, and He will wants to have a close, personal, and intimate relationship with YOU! He is not a boogeyman....He is your Creator, Sustainer, and Hope. ..don't know you, but praying that one day you will know Him personally...

      January 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  7. David

    IF you guys read Chapter 10 it advocates BUTTlove

    January 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  8. F

    Stop trashing Christianity at every occasion, CNN!

    January 24, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • RWESTUPID

      Why/ It's so damn easy!

      January 24, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      This article is a Christian bashing other Christians.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • get over it

      if anything it seems pretty pro-christian to me

      January 24, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Dingo

      @ RWESTUPID. Its really easy to bash anybody. Why do you think politicians would rather bash each other than discuss other matters? Most people that bash others are insecure weaklings with a weak self-image, thus they bash people to feel better about themselves. Christians are an easy target because it is not "offensive" to bash a Christian.

      I didn't see this article as bashing Christians either. I think it addresses very accurately one of the shortcomings of most Churches.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • RWESTUPID

      Dingo-Yes it is very easy to bash xtians, but shouldn't they realize the reason it's so easy? If you believe wholeheartedly in something so ignorant that you are subjected to constant ridicule, isn't it time to wake up and look for something besides blind faith in mythological fairy tales? The pastor who wrote this nonsensical book is just cashing in on xtian ignorance.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  9. Jane

    I'm sorry that you feel so negatively about the church/religion/God. There is a lot of negative stuff out there. There are a lot of Christians that fail to live out the Biblical mandate and fail to love as we are instructed. Not all Christians are in it for a quick buck or to gain power. Its not just a product to be sold, it is also a meaningful relational experience with a loving creator. Obviously you get to choose whether or not you believe in God. But I want you to know that we're not all in it to brainwash people and hurt people. I really believe that this relationship makes life better and helps me to be the best human I can be. That doesn't include hurting others. I hope someday you will have the chance to meet someone that lives that out.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  10. SHH!

    The problem is this – you think that God created your biology, when in reality, it is biology that created your God... this book is nonsensical. Biology rules the life forms on this planet.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Trank

      Biology rulez dood.. So does san dimas high..

      January 24, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  11. Jeepers

    I'll be perfectly honest. I'm one of those who thinks this is gross. A minister discussing what he does in bed with his wife is like your parents discussing it with you. I have that information carefully compartmentalized, thank you very much. I was delivered to my parents house by a stork. Don't try to tell me otherwise!

    January 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  12. catholic engineer

    I wonder how much of the book's criticism come from the 1960's and '70s libertines – the happy-dick, free "love" , wife swapping, mass c*p*ulating baby boomers. Before such folks criticize any religious take on s*x, they should fix the AIDS epidemic, fix the teen prgnancy rate, help the millions of struggling single mothers, fix the divorce rate, slow down the abortion industry. True, the tom cat culture started with the young and naive, but now they need to redress the consequences.

    January 24, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • boomers

      I find a commonality in that I often say the Baby Boomers take credit, but not much responsiblity for what they have done. ... but... that may be were I stop with our commonality.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • AGuest9

      Like everything else, the Boomers have dropped the serious problems on GenX, while they are off on their retirements.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Russell Hammond, Hollywood

      Huh?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • CathEngineer-2

      Oh, man! Ain't that the truth!! You are soooo right.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  13. Brother Maynard

    "God has a plan for s.ex: that it is to be enjoyed between one man and one woman in the context of marriage. This means that there are certain types of s.ex acts that abuse and misuse the good gift of s.ex that God gave... "
    OK I can never understand when x-tians say "God has a plan". I thought that god gave us free will, so that means that our plan trumps god's ... which means that god is not omnipot.ent. He cannot control free will so this means he is not all powerful. Now the x-tian says that we should choose god's will ( "... Thy will be done" ). Well if we do that are we not forfeting free will? the very "gift" god gave us?
    Basically, x-tains say that we have free will but we should NOT use the very thing that god gave us. If god gave us something that we aren't supposed to use ... why did he give it to us?

    January 24, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Greenspam

      Wrong. God never said anything about marriage is about one man and one woman!!!! In fact, during Jesus's time, it was quite normal for 1 man to have multiple wives. The notion that 1 man should only have 1 woman is a Western invention.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Jean Luc

      Wow! Have you ever taken a class on logic?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • free will

      I think you have the dilemma noted correctly.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Trank

      Yes. But what if every choice we make under freewill is already known by god, which is his plan? Hmmm..

      January 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Nic

      Maybe it is his way of testing us. Ever think of that?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • a brother

      you are correct when you mention that god does not have a plan....he has a purpose, which is more complete then a plan.
      you are also correct when you mention that god is not omnipotent, never once does the bible mention that he is omnipotent...he is all powerful, the most powerful being there is. You are correct when you mention he gave us freewill, but incorrect in the context that you use it. We as a species were not designed to choose our own MORALITY which is what this world is and has done. It is exactley what Adam and Eve did, what has gone on since that day is a glaring example and proof that we were designed to be directed in this way....we are unable to "go it alone". We all have the free will and the ability to stand with Jehovah or aganist him, 2Timothy3:1-5 gives examples of what people call free will and clearly states that the ABUSE of freewill would be a sign of the last days.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Brother Maynard,

      You are misunderstanding the concept of free will. God did give us free will; but God also has a plan. Your free will is whether you go along with the plan or not. You don't have to. It has nothing to do with whether God is omnipotent. Could God force us to make a decision, a la mind control? Absolutely. He just doesn't.

      So you have two choices: Go with God's plan or don't. The choice is yours as are the consequences. God wants you to exercise your free will, He just wants you to exercise it in ways that line up with His will. Here's the thing. God wants a relationship with all of us, but it cannot be a genuine relationship if we don't have the ability to walk away from it.

      Think of it this way. If I program my computer to say, "I love you, Damian!" every morning I boot up, does it really love me? No. It's a machine with no free will. It has to follow it's programming. It doesn't have the ability to reject its programming. Therefore, it doesn't really love me. That's what free will is about. If you choose to follow God, it's a true relationship because you have a choice.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • right thinker

      God has a plan for all of our lives. He gave us free will as well. He has a plan we chose not to follow it hence free will. i don't think that is all that hard to understand. You have a plan for your children to act right, do what you tell them and become contributing members of society. However, they have the free will to chose weather they follow that plan or not.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • doG's book

      What I don't get is, the bible was written over 2000 years ago in Aramaic (a dead language). It isn't even a book, just a collections of stories that were writting by HUMANS, the books that were added to the bible were chosen by HUMANS, the bible has been translated into hundreds of languages and retranslated and retranslated by HUMANS. I've even read about Christian groups wanting to literally change the wording in the bible. So, now, how can this book be the word of "God" if it was written, compiled, printed, translated, reprinted, retranslated, altered and retranslated again ALL BY HUMANS? To me, that means that the bible IS NOT the word of god, but a collection of myths and legends from thousands of years ago and if the bible isn't the word of god, then the whole thing IS NOT REAL.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Jonathan

      Our 'free will' is nothing more than either choosing to obey God or not. Your illusions of control of your own life is merely a dillusion.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Andrew B.

      As a Christian hopefully I can help you understand what free will really is. Free will is having the ability to do whatever you want, when you want, how you want. It is the ability to sin ( promiscuity, lying, cheating... etc.) or follow God's will. God's will is that we first accept that he is all God and Jesus Christ is his son that lived on earth, died for everyone's sins, and was resurrected. Once we have completed the first step God's will is that we all try to leave a life that is pleasing to him. Understand me when I say this living a life that is pleasing and acceptable to God is not living a perfect/mistake free life. It is living a life where your desire and actions display that you are in a constant process of trying to turn from your bad ways. Now you should know that first God is real, and second God is everywhere (omnipresent). He also has a plan for only your life, but also the world in its entirety. God had a planned mapped out for you individually before you were even born, as far as who He wished for you to be. God also has a plan for the world as far as who we are collectively, and when Jesus will come back to earth, the end of the world, etc.... I dont want to get to detailed in this comment but I really hope this helps. I do not mean to lecture you, but I felt I needed to try and help you understand more about what being a Christian means.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      right thinker sez:
      "You have a plan for your children to act right, do what you tell them and become contributing members of society. However, they have the free will to chose weather they follow that plan or not.'
      You are proving my point. So basically you are saying that god has NO power over. IF that is true god is not omnipotent. Just like I am not omnipotent.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Bizarre

      Andrew - "God had a planned mapped out for you individually before you were even born, as far as who He wished for you to be."

      IF that were true, then "God" knew even before 'he' created some people that they would be damned for eternity - and 'he' created them anyway?! The god you have conjured up is a monster.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Dknight sez:
      "You are misunderstanding the concept of free will. God did give us free will; but God also has a plan. Your free will is whether you go along with the plan or not. You don't have to. It has nothing to do with whether God is omnipotent. Could God force us to make a decision, a la mind control? Absolutely. He just doesn't."

      See here is the catch 22. God gives us free will. Free will give me the power to trump gods will. Therfore god is not omnipotent. CAN god force me to make a decision ? You say "YES" ... if that is true then I do not have free will, therefore I can be held responsible for my actions.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Andrew sez:
      As a Christian hopefully I can help you understand what free will really is. Free will is having the ability to do whatever you want, when you want, how you want. It is the ability to sin ( promiscuity, lying, cheating... etc.) or follow God's will.
      BM sez:
      RIGHT, so MY will is stronger than gods will. God is not omnipotent.

      Andrew sez:
      God's will is that we first accept that he is all God and Jesus Christ is his son that lived on earth, died for everyone's sins, and was resurrected. Once we have completed the first step God's will is that we all try to leave a life that is pleasing to him.Understand me when I say this living a life that is pleasing and acceptable to God is not living a perfect/mistake free life. It is living a life where your desire and actions display that you are in a constant process of trying to turn from your bad ways.
      BM sez:
      So to be in gods graces we have to voluntarily forfeit the thing that god gave me, my free will.

      Andrew sez
      Now you should know that first God is real, and second God is everywhere (omnipresent). He also has a plan for only your life, but also the world in its entirety. God had a planned mapped out for you individually before you were even born, as far as who He wished for you to be. God also has a plan for the world as far as who we are collectively, and when Jesus will come back to earth, the end of the world, etc....
      BM sez:
      God wishes? sorry if you have to 'wish' for something ... then you are NOT incontrol of said thing. Therefore NOT omnipotent.

      Andrew sez:
      I dont want to get to detailed in this comment but I really hope this helps. I do not mean to lecture you, but I felt I needed to try and help you understand more about what being a Christian means.
      BM sez:
      Fair enough and I want to help you understand that because you believe in this you are not YOU. You are this other being that cannot appriciate all that life is becuase you live a life that is a lie.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Maynard

      You're misunderstanding again. Your free will does not give you the ability to trump God's will, it gives you the ability to trump His plan for your life. That's because He gave you the free will to walk away from Him and do your own thing.

      Could He make you walk around like a puppet on strings? Yes. But He doesn't. There's no catch 22. You're stating two separate things. Potential and actual occurrence. The difference is could and does.

      Look at this way:
      You have the ability to punch a police officer. You choose not to. Does that mean you no longer have the ability to lift your arm, ball up your fist and strike him? No. You're choosing not to. Same thing with God.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      DKnight sez:
      "Your free will does not give you the ability to trump God's will, it gives you the ability to trump His plan for your life. That's because He gave you the free will to walk away from Him and do your own thing."
      So god's will is not his plan for my life? He has a plan ... but that isn't his will?

      January 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      -sigh- You're splitting hairs here.

      You do have the ability to completely ignore God and ignore His plan for your life. That is absolutely, 100% your right and while that makes God sad, He gave you the ability to make that choice.

      But that's not saying He's not omnipotent. He gave you free will so you could make that choice. Could He MAKE you love Him? Absolutely. He could "flip the switch" and you would fall head over heels, bowing down and worshipping Him. But then is that really love? No, because you have no other choice. Look back at my example regarding programming the computer.

      God wants you to CHOOSE to love Him. But with that choice, comes your ability to reject Him and only you can make that choice. But like with all decisions, there are consequences, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. But hey, at least you have a choice, right?

      January 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      I have the power to ignore His plan for my life. Then I'm more powerful than god! His potential to MAKE me love him is no greater than my potential to NOT do his will. IF I'm more powerful or at minimum I can make him 'sad' then he is NOT all powerful.

      God want me to CHOOSE him ... right god wants me to forfeit the gift he gave me. By Choosing HIS will .. I cannot exersize mine.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Stormfront

      Some of you people are downright stupid in your desire to worship yourselves. Ain't a one of you worth a d-a-m-n, nobody cares about you, and nobody will miss you when you're gone. Whether you're right or christians are right or hindu are right it doesn't matter to me, because I'm just going to keep thinking, feeling, and believing what I want. You athiests. so freaking crazy.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      @Stormfront
      I'm not sure if you are directing that to me or not ... I'll assume you are.
      I'm not really sure how you can equate me questioning the omnipotance of god to worshipping my self, especially since I'm using the example that christians give. THEY say that "GOD HAS A PLAN" I question that, therefor I'm worshipping my self? hmm don't get it.
      Also I actually have NO problem with you believing in what you believe, as long as you don't start stepping in on my rights ... have at it.
      You call athiests crazy because we demand empirical evidence for your claim of the exisitance of a being outside of nature that affects your/ my / our lives daily. Sorry ... I think that demand is anything BUT crazy

      January 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Do you understand what free will means? It means the ability to make a choice. That's all it means.

      If you have no choice, you don't have free will.

      When people submit to God's Will, it's actually the exact definition of free will. We are CHOOSING (there it is, free will) to follow God's Will. Agreeing with someone and doing what they want isn't a lack of free will, in fact, it's the expression of your free will. It doesn't make you "more powerful" or "more right" than another person, it's simply exercising your free will. Just because your actions illicit an emotional response from someone doesn't make you "more powerful" or removes their omnipotence. You're giving yourself more credit than you're due.

      If you run a stop sign, does that make you more powerful than the government?

      January 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      AH I get it ...
      It is like volunteering to join the Army. you FREELY choose to let someone else dictate what you do everyday

      January 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Nii Croffie

    Why CNN do not have an atheist blog, or do they? I always find the way atheists abuse what they do not understand very funny! I think all of u seriously up in arms shud take it easy. The best thing for u is to remember that freedom of religion and speech are meant to enlighten not destroy!

    January 24, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • jimtanker

      And you should go to school and learn how to write english.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Typical ignorant post. Most atheists were once theists who came to realize just how stupid their beliefs were. But as far as allowing people the freedom to believe whatever they wish, we have no issue with that no matter how ridiculous. The problem is when they try to enact or enforce the tenets and dogma of their religion on people outside their faith. Like attempting to insert religion into the school system, stymie medical research aka stem cells, restrict a woman's reproductive rights ...etc.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • LinCA

      @Nii Croffie

      You said, "I always find the way atheists abuse what they do not understand very funny!"
      Questioning the sheer idiocy of beliefs in gods isn't abuse. It's a plea to the religious to get a grip.

      You said, "I think all of u seriously up in arms shud take it easy. The best thing for u is to remember that freedom of religion and speech are meant to enlighten not destroy!"
      Very few will try to prevent you from believing the nonsense you obviously believe. But pointing out that it is utterly ridiculous to do so is fair game (under that same freedom of religion and speech).

      If you have an argument in favor of your beliefs or religion, I encourage you to present it here. It is almost a certain that someone will try to enlighten you.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • captain america

      What is more ignorant than a foreigner injecting himself into another countries issues? A canadian has no relevance to American thoughts or issues, they have no vote and contribute squat to our way of life. Why don't canadians attend to their own countries business? There's your sign

      January 24, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mirosal

      Then by your own logic, the US needs to pull ALL of its military from everywhere in the world, confine them to US borders only, close ALL embassies, recall the diplomats home, get out of the U.N and seal the country like a drum.. is that what you really want?

      January 24, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • captain america

      You claim to be an American? We rule the world and we do not need the advice or opinion of third world flunkies to do it. There's your sign

      January 24, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • AGuest9

      @Mirosal – that would solve the immigration fiasco , unemployment and both deficits right off the bat.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Nonimus

      "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 Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero."

      I.E. NOT just for believers.
      I.E. NOT just for Americans.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Nonimus

      @LinCA,
      Well said.

      @Nii Croffie,
      "The best thing for u is to remember that freedom of religion and speech are meant to enlighten not destroy!"
      I disagree, perhaps they are intended to improve the nation as a whole, but that doesn't mean each exercise of freedom needs to be deemed worthy, or enlightening, by someone else.
      In addition, in many cases, enlightenment requires destruction. Think of the saying, "in order to learn x, you must unlearn all your bad habits," or take the Hindu concept of Shiva, god of both creation and destruction (oversimplified, I'm sure.)

      January 24, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Andrew B.

      We live on a planet that is truly beautiful. And to imagine that it is only a small particle of dust compared to the rest of the universe. I won't ever understand how people could actually believe that something so massive, complex, and beautiful was actually started by some magical chance of a random explosion, and that humans somehow evolved from some small celled organism that happened to be created out of the explosion. I will not disrespect you for your beliefs but if you ask me all the evidence you need is around you... And if that's not enough hopefully you can find it in a Bible.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Andrew B.

      You said, "We live on a planet that is truly beautiful. And to imagine that it is only a small particle of dust compared to the rest of the universe. I won't ever understand how people could actually believe that something so massive, complex, and beautiful was actually started by some magical chance of a random explosion, and that humans somehow evolved from some small celled organism that happened to be created out of the explosion. I will not disrespect you for your beliefs but if you ask me all the evidence you need is around you... And if that's not enough hopefully you can find it in a Bible."

      You are the puddle of water that can't comprehend how the earth beneath it is so perfectly formed that it fits perfectly.

      The simple fact is that if the universe and earth and evolution didn't happen to have turned out just as they did, we wouldn't be here to witness it. There may very well be billions of concurrent and/or previous universes that may, or may not, have had the right stuff for intelligent life. Who is to say that this is the only one? Odds are that we're not even the only intelligent life form in our universe. The sheer vastness of the universe and the mind boggling numbers of galaxies, stars and planets, make it a very real possibility we're not the only ones.

      Not knowing or understanding how it all started should not be reason to say some magical dude did it.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 24, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      TROLL-Where exactly is the indisputable evidence for this???

      January 24, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Mirosal

      there is none 🙂 and 'it' knows this. That's why it will never debate with anyone, or answer one simple short question.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons already know and are terrified

      January 24, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Mirosal

      so what imaginary fears terrorize imaginary demons?

      January 24, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @bringoutyourdead: please attempt to provide evidence that demons exist. You keep spewing the same mumble but never back it with evidence...time to own up to your claims you delusional moron!

      January 24, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Nope

      We've been praying that you stop posting this crap, yet it continues, proving prayer doesn't work.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • just sayin

      nope you were already told why your prayer won't work.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      you post the evidence every day

      January 24, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Nope

      Just keep proving prayers don't work since you keep trolling and we keep praying you'll stop, therefore prayer doesn't work.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Nope

      "nope you were already told why your prayer won't work."

      And you've been told why your opinion is WRONG.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Rev. Parson

      The fear of demons is because they know God and fear judgement. Demons have seen what awaits them. Demons will attempt to deceive as many humans as possible in the futile attempt to avoid that day of judgement. The punishment they face was not designed for mankind and as such no man should ever want to face it. Jesus spoke of avoiding that judgement at all costs.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • YeahRight

      "The fear of demons is because they know God and fear judgement. Demons have seen what awaits them. Demons will attempt to deceive as many humans as possible in the futile attempt to avoid that day of judgement. The punishment they face was not designed for mankind and as such no man should ever want to face it."

      January 24, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • YeahRight

      ""The fear of demons is because they know God and fear judgement. Demons have seen what awaits them. Demons will attempt to deceive as many humans as possible in the futile attempt to avoid that day of judgement. The punishment they face was not designed for mankind and as such no man should ever want to face it.""

      FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

      You have no proof of demons.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Rev. Parson: OOPS-WRONG!! You have to provide the evidence that god exists and then provide the evidence that demons exist. You just used the most futile christard threat on us...there is no judgement...that is only the christards feel good measure to make them feel good. So unless you can provide evidence backed by the scientific method, you have no valid argument.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Rev. Parson

      bringoutyourdead said it best you post the evidence every day.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • YeahRight

      "bringoutyourdead said it best you post the evidence every day."

      More excuses no proof, typical Christian.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • LinCA

      @Rev. Parson

      You said, "The fear of demons is because they know God and fear judgement. Demons have seen what awaits them. Demons will attempt to deceive as many humans as possible in the futile attempt to avoid that day of judgement. The punishment they face was not designed for mankind and as such no man should ever want to face it. Jesus spoke of avoiding that judgement at all costs."

      Are you 5 years old? Are you trolling? Nobody in his right mind will believe the sheer nonsense contained in your statement.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • rick

      Rev. Parson: You are a slave preaching fear to other slaves. Free people do not fear your bronze age comic book hero

      January 24, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • prayer

      Prayer changes the prayer... and that's all it changes. If that is changing "things" then I'm happy we agree.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Stormfront

      Athiests.. as bad as n-i-g-g-e-r-s... constantly think you are owed "proof". Nobody owes you anything. Now go die.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Stormfront

      You said, "Athiests.. as bad as n-i-g-g-e-r-s... constantly think you are owed "proof". Nobody owes you anything. Now go die."

      Man, you've got issues.

      Asking believers for evidence (never proof) of what makes a believer believe isn't because we think we are owed any. It is simply a request to the believers to back up their claims. You see, without any evidence in support of the claims that believers make, there is absolutely no reason to accept them.

      While you are free to believe whatever nonsense you want, unless you have some evidence and solid reasoning behind it, you are no different from a 5 year old who still believes in the Tooth Fairy. That put you a few notches behind kids that still believe in Santa Claus, or people who believe in the Abominable Snowman or Loch Ness Monster, as there is at least some evidence these creatures exist, or have existed.

      Stupidity isn't illegal, racism is. Please refrain from using racist remarks.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  16. DUMBAtheiStS

    @Mirosal

    You said and I quote, "ALL living things on this planet have three basic insticts ... take in nourishment .. se'x (or reproduction), and survival."

    As a human being we have so many distinct advantages over other living things. One of which is our "rationale". Our ability, capability, and capacity to defy instinctive traits.

    I will not take away your right of thinking that you came from monkeys. But by your way of reasoning, it seems to me that you haven't evolved yet.

    I would love to see you jerking-off your wife on the streets to reproduce.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • sam

      wut?

      January 24, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      So we have to defy eating, se'x and survival?? Says who?

      January 24, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      It was me, didn't ya hear it, did ya?

      Defying something doesn't not necessarily mean defying everything. But YES, you can defy hunger through fasting; you can defy se.xual urges by celibating; and you can defy survival by living a comfortable and happy life. And unlike animals and other living things, we have the capacity to do that. If you don't, it;s cconfirmed that haven't evolved yet.

      Nonetheless, I stand myself corrected. The term should be used is "control", my bad.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • The Bobinator

      >>> It was me, didn't ya hear it, did ya?

      >>> Defying something doesn't not necessarily mean defying everything. But YES, you can defy hunger through fasting; you can defy se.xual urges by celibating; and you can defy survival by living a comfortable and happy life. And unlike animals and other living things, we have the capacity to do that. If you don't, it;s cconfirmed that haven't evolved yet.

      >>> Nonetheless, I stand myself corrected. The term should be used is "control", my bad.

      Fail troll is fail. You need more practice. Plus, trolling atheists is shi* tier level dude. U MAD?

      January 24, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • rick

      No one is claiming we came from monkeys. Get a clue

      January 24, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Always the bashing of evolution from those who haven't the foggiest idea about what the theory actually demonstrates. If they even bothered to do any research into evolution that didn't come from a Christian apologist site they would see how dumb their arguments really are. Evolution is fact, backed up by multiple scientific disciplines, and only willful ignorance is portrayed by naysayers.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Trank

      Athieststeve. Evolution is not a fact.. At all. Pretty much everyone smart enough to study knows that. This is what you sound like from the other side "we came from aliens, its proven. Its a fact. Ayone who says otherwise is idiotic". And actually, as comical as it sounds, we actually have MORE viable proof that we did come from aliens, than we do that we evolved from apes..

      January 24, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Trank,
      "And actually, as comical as it sounds, we actually have MORE viable proof that we did come from aliens, than we do that we evolved from apes.."
      What? First science doesn't deal in proof, that's mathematics. Second, what evidence is there against evolution? None. Third, I have yet to hear any evidence for an extraterrestrial alien origin, please present some. (There is evidence of possible extraterrestrial life, i.e. precursor chemicals, but not sentient aliens.)

      January 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @Trank

      "there is more proof that we came from aliens than apes."

      That is the most insane statement i think i have ever heard on this blog. I'm almost at a loss for words. All i can ask is that you continue to make these things up and post them as often as possible. You are the greatest tool any Athiest can use to expose religion for what it is.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "Athieststeve. Evolution is not a fact.. At all. Pretty much everyone smart enough to study knows that."

      I thought lying was wrong. Oh well.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  17. Fookin' Prawn

    It's just too carnal. lol

    January 24, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • griz5106

      Trank: No scientist ever said that we evolved from apes. Evolution clearly indicates, however, that humans and apes shared a common ancestor. That is a fact.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  18. Brak

    How many times are they going to reprint this here? This is like the fourth time for this book on here, isn't it?
    Hey CNN go f–k yourself and shove this book up your collective asses!

    January 24, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • Zorak

      There is not one but two crappy books on Christian sex being pimped here repeatedly. Yes, that's two scoops of fresh stupid for the cross-suckers to eat.

      Oh by the way, don't forget that I am the Lone Locust of the Apocalypse; Think of me when you look to the night sky.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:15 am |
  19. bwana

    I don't need the religious establishment, particularly pastors flogging their books from the pulpit. Wasn't it Jesus himself who threw the money lenders out of the temple?

    I realize Christianity has become big business with a lot of pastors/ministers raking in the cash BUT this was not the original meaning of Christ's ministry!

    January 24, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Isn't that just you defining how you personally feel that the each church should operate? After years of those outside of the Christian Faith define all Christians as cloistered now someone inside of the community writes a se-x book and folks are up in arms again.

      January 24, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • xians

      nothing like different points of view in the xian church to make me want to join up. and then vomit.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  20. Jesus is short on cash again. Give generously or go to hell.

    There sure are a lot of Pastors out selling books recently on Jesus and sex. Cashing in on Jesus, with a "sex sells" angle. Have a "bed-in" on the roof to chum up the yokels into buying their book.

    And for all the titillating talk about sex, all you get is another dreary rehash blithering of banal biblical quotes.

    I could NEVER be a Christian: it's way too fucking boring!

    January 24, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • The Phist

      Not only boring, but it expects you to believe in the worst garbage ever written, much of which has been proven wrong by itself in that it's loaded with contradiction. Imagine wasting years of your life believing in this idiocy and trying to get others to believe. I'm sure chad and george will come prancing in any moment to pretend they aren't into each other really hard.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Mirosal

      Se'x was around for millions of years before anyone decided to worship this current 'god'. To think these pastors can think they see fit to regualte our lives in the bedroom is pure arrogance. ALL living things on this planet have three basic insticts ... take in nourishment .. se'x (or reproduction), and survival. What gives these purveyors of modren mythology the right to tell ME that I must follow their ideas about my life, and call it 'god's law'? Tell this 'god' of yours to come on over, grab a microphone, and explain these laws in person. Then I MIGHT listen .. after 'god' is detained by the authorities for a full psych exam of course.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • rick

      Religion is just another product to be sold. I get a kick about watching all the preachers begging for money. Donnie Swaggart is my fave

      January 24, 2012 at 8:23 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.