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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. Gloria

    Being a Christian does not equal a lack of intelligence as so many think. A lot of "celebrity Christians" do act like idiots or jerks sometimes and unfortunately that reflects on us all. You can't go by the preachers who get so much airtime on so-called Christian TV stations, they do not teach the Gospel accuately so please don't paint us all with the same brush. There will always be haters and people who ridicule the Christian faith – they don't know any better (yte). Saul of Tarsus hated Christians and actively participated in killing them until the day that He met Jesus Christ and then he ended up writing a large part of the New Testament.

    January 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Gloria

      oops typo "yet)

      January 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Ironicus

      So have you asked Jesus where he hid the words he wrote? Because nobody's ever heard of such a thing.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Gloria

      The account is recorded in Acts Chapter 9 – Saul (Paul) meets Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul wrote a good bit of the New Testament.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  2. Noah

    CNN-Got anything new for the belief blog other than the s ex/poltics articles recycled over and over again?

    January 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Phil

      It's the same bullśhit and the same dumb fùcking people.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  3. tree beast

    Atheism: A bag of flesh and bone stumbling around without a pupose. Psychologically it sound like low self esteem...True atheism is but a quagmire of excuse, superficial arrogance, self loathing, random tangent thinking and cowardice. Devoid of a sense of honor. The lengths you go to -to hide from God; to giving excuses in order to do whatever you please. Cowards-maybe one day you'll stop running from the TRUTH.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Sweep

      That's not nice.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Observer

      A recent poll/test showed that the average atheist and average agnostic know more about the Bible and have more education than the average Christian.

      Oooops!

      January 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Atheist: understanding that we must do all we can to ensure the future of man kind many thousands of years into the future ... which they know they will never see.
      Theist: Waiting for the world to end so they can get their reward.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Observer & Hasa: points well noted. Yet, as a Christian who attempts to read Scripture carefully, I notice this:

      1) Even those who study it carefully often miss the main point, as Jesus said to the Pharisees (Jn.5:39-40).

      2) At the end of time, we don't 'leave' earth (despite all the Left Behind series stuff). Heaven comes down to a remade earth (Rev.21:2). Biblical Christians should not be looking to escape this existence, but to be a part of seeing it transformed & thriving.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • bobcat

      Thomas Paine • As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of Atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up chiefly of Manism with but little Deism, and is as near to Atheism as twilight is to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious, or an irreligious, eclipse of light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • sam

      christian: A bag of flesh and bone stumbling around without a pupose. Psychologically it sound like low self esteem...True christianity is but a quagmire of excuse, superficial arrogance, self loathing, random tangent thinking and cowardice. Devoid of a sense of honor. The lengths you go to -to hide from reason; to giving excuses in order to do whatever you please. Cowards-maybe one day you'll stop running from the TRUTH.

      See how that works, dumba.ss?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • small penis detector

      sam is a breathing example of a typical atheist. Check out all his post to confirm it.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  4. justme

    Nonimus

    So your saying that as a Christian I should not say anything about what is being taught to my children. They teach evolution, which is a theory, so why not teach creation? My children have a right to learn both sides and choose which they believe.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Observer

      No problem. That is why they have Sunday school.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • haha

      Be ause the scientific definition of theory is different thenwhat you want it to be

      January 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @justme,
      I'm not saying that you should have no say, but, as with all parents, you should also listen to people who know about their fields (not me, but scientists and educators). For example, you say evolution is a theory, which is correct, but a scientific theory is one of the most robust, most well tested, and verified, explanations of how nature works; theories are not promoted to fact at some point, but use facts, laws, and other theories to explain nature.

      Creationism, on the other hand, is not a scientific theory, since there is really no evidence of it occurring. Regardless of what many creationist web sites say, there is no scientific basis for Creationism, which is why it really has no place in the science class. Not that creationism, in some form, is wrong, just that it can't be tested or verified scientifically, so is not considered science.

      Creation and the Bible can (and many Atheists think, should) be taught in schools, not as science, but as literature, social studies, or philosophy maybe.

      Thanks for the question.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Bizarre

      "Creation and the Bible can (and many Atheists think, should) be taught in schools, not as science, but as literature, social studies, or philosophy maybe."

      Yes... along with representative samples of the many, varied creation stories from around the world - Hindu, American Indian, Mesoamerican, Asian, ancient Egyptian, Greek & Roman, Maori, etc.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  5. Observer

    Christians tell us that marriage and s-x is a special blessing from God to his children, except of course for those of his children that he made gay.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • 0BS3RVER

      You mean ghey.. super thanks for asking!

      January 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  6. asdf

    @Justme:

    Much of the more recent research on this subject suggests that he did not. There was a small sect of Jews living in the area before the time of Jesus' existence. They had all the same stories about their messiah (taken from previous god-myths. read up on greek or egyptian gods – virgin births, water into wine, crucified, rose 3 days later, walked on water, the whole bit), and were dying out at the time Jesus supposedly came around. The more likely scenario is that they rebranded with a new name that took better in Judea.

    Also if I had a nickel for every time a religious person misused the word "theory" i'd be a very rich man. Evolution is the basis for our understanding of all of our Ecology and Biology, and you expect people to disregard mountains of evidence because you have a book written by people who could barely read. The next time you have an infection, tell your Dr. that you only want streptomyacin because that's what we used to treat infections with before they EVOLVED to be resistant. The Big Bang Theory was as proven as something could get four years ago by the winner of the Nobel Prize in physics who discovered radiation in our universe on a scale and pattern that could only be explained by a gigantic explosion that created our universe 6 billion years ago. You might call it God or whatever, but it doesn't change the fact that it happened.

    @Awalt

    There is significant debate on this subject. Judging by the time Herod came to power over Judea, and the time he becomes a character in the bible, Jesus could not have died in 33 AD. I forget exactly why, but its because of some mention of him in ACTS that doesn't line up. It's more likely that, if he ever lived, he died closer to the year zero than 33.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • John

      That stuff about there being myths identical (or nearly so) to the story of Jesus going around, in Egypt or elsewhere, is just wrong. You're repeating nonsense. All of it has been debunked by people who know the Bible and the myths the Bible is supposedly echoing.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • asdf

      @John:

      Here's an article about a bunch of gods who were born of virgins:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_births#Egyptian_mythology

      I don't have time to find articles for the rest, but suffice to say the internet exists, so you have no excuse not looking for yourself.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Pete`

      asdf evolutionary biology is not that important to operational science. Its a side issue. The mountain loads of evidence you cite for evolution are not at odds with the idea of intelligent design.

      Also just becuase you can find someone who's willing to come up with theories to discredit the bible it doesn't mean they are credible. Perhaps you could apply the same skepticism to those arguments.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Pete`

      here's an answer to the copying other myths allegations: http://christianthinktank.com/copycatwho1.html

      January 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • haha

      There is not a single piece of objective evidence for intelligent design

      January 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • haha

      Pete.. so infectious disease resistance to drugs (ie evolution) is not at all an important scientific topic

      January 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • RFBJR

      @haha – How 'bout a tree?

      January 25, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Could everyone please stop arguing with a book that you've never even read? When you've read both the entire Bible and every last word of Driscoll's book, then you can complain.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Same goes for evolution... read and understand an evolutionary biology textbook before arguing against it.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  8. Reality

    Dear Pastor,

    Still waiting for your response to the following:

    You might want to spend more time reading about the flaws in your religion.

    To get you started, a summary:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    January 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • ......

      do not read or engage reality in any way hit report abuse on repeat garbage and move on

      January 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • homeschool23

      And you know this because you were there and witnessed all this right? Like all history we have to take the writings found to learn about what happened in history because No One Was There. So You Don't Know. Period. And to pretend to know that Jesus was an illiterate jew makes you sound like a fool. I really don't think you are. I think you are someone who has been hurt or disgusted by some people in your life who hid behind a self righteous religion. The Bible is an ancient text that reveals the beliefs and first person accounts of events that happened to the writers or they are written by historians who record oral history. To say they are fabrication is also saying the writing of Plato are probably false, as are the hieroglyphics in Egypt that tell of dynasties. You don't like what the Bible says: that there is a God and yes He is judging you unless you are a Christian and you don't get to live the way you want and come back as a butterfly. So you discount the Bible and Christ yet believe all other non Christian ancient writings. There is also the little problem of archaeologic proof of the events of the Bible. Google that and see what you come up with. Also, read the Bible as a history book, front to back and see what you think. But don't show your ignorance by proclaiming something that you have No Proof whatsoever and proclaim it as truth. That is rude.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • C'mon Man

      Reality man I want you to examine your logic a little closer. Of course all the statements that you make about current pastors and "profiteers" are going to be made if you throw out "original sin" as some sort of myth. That is the foundation to the entire Christian faith. If you're going to attack something attack why you think "original sin" is a myth and then try to explain why what these pastors do in the forms of adultery and pedophilia are wrong. Are you saying that they're sinning, yet you don't believe in "original sin?" You're trying to cross home plate before you round first.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • John

      If you're going to accuse people of not knowing a certain subject, you should know something about it first! Immediately, you demonstrated that you don't know anything about Jesus. He wasn't illiterate. (Very few Jewish boys at that time would be because teaching boys to read the Torah was part of synagogue life.) Jesus began His ministry by reading out of the book of Isaiah. At one point (in the famous woman caught in adultery story), He is said to be writing in the dust. So you're just wrong.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Reality

      o The illiteracy of the simple preacher man aka Jesus, as per some contemporary experts:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton's commentary in his book, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, p. 99,

      "What Luke misses is that Jesus stood in the synagogue as an illiterate m–amzer (pp. 98-102) in his claim to be the Lord's anointed".

      Note: Luke 4: 16 is a single attestation. No where else in the NT does it say Jesus could read thereby making said passage historically unreliable. (Luke 4:16-24) has been compared to a number of other passage and found to be equivalent with the exception of Luke 4: 16 which is the only passage in the list of equivalents that mentions reading:
      http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=022_Prophets_Own_Country (leave out the hyphen in "t-itle" if you access the reference)

      1) GThom. 31 & P. Oxy. 1.31
      (2) Mark 6:1-6a = Matt 13:53-58
      (3) Luke 4:16-24
      (4) John 4:44

      Professor JD Crossan notes that Jesus was illiterate coming from a landless peasant background, initially a follower of John the Baptist. e.g. The Excavation of Jesus (with Professor Reed), pp 30-31..

      The question of Jesus's literacy has also been much discussed by the Jesus Seminar and others and they note that references in the Gospels to Jesus reading and writing may well be fictions.

      The only Gospel reference to Jesus writing is John 8:6 in the Pericope Adulterae, widely considered a later addition, where it is not even clear he is forming letters in the dust, and the Greek "εγραφεν" could equally mean he was drawing.
      Luke 2: 41-52, the twelve year old Jesus in the temple- As per Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 275, " the episode is unhistorical" (again, a single attestaion). See also http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=433_Jesus_at_Twelve

      It is very unfortunate that Jesus was illiterate for it resulted in many gospels and epistles being written years after his death by non-witnesses. This resulted in significant differences in said gospels and epistles and with many embellishments to raise Jesus to the level of a deity to compete with the Roman gods and emperors. See Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (Luke 4:16 note on p. 237) for an exhaustive review of the true writers of the gospels and epistles.

      Of course, Muslims believe that Mohammed was also illiterate. This way, they can claim that the only way he could have received the "angelic", koranic passages of death to all infidels and Islamic domination of the globe by any means, was orally since he could not read and write.
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      January 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Reality

      From the white board notes of a contemporary Catholic professor teaching a graduate theology class:

      "Original Sin as symbolic of the sins of our origins - in our
      families and in the broader society, both of which affect each person
      profoundly. The "sins of our origins" approach helps to account for certain
      patterns of sin in particular families and societies.

      Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not exist. The old "laundry of the soul," approach to Baptism is no longer accepted.

      Infant Baptism is only a rite of initiation and commits parents and godparents to bringing up the child in a Christian home."

      January 25, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Reality

      Dear Pastor,

      And still waiting for your response to the following:

      You might want to spend more time reading about the flaws in your religion.

      To get you started, a summary:

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      January 25, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  9. Truth

    If the Bible was written solely to control the masses, don't you think they could've made it a lot better? Clearly it's not a book just to control the masses fools. C'mon, there are legitimate discussions to be had, this is not one of them.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • theleast

      It could be used to control the masses if it was obvious that it was intended to control the masses. If you believe, then it will make sense.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • theleast

      "could" should read "couldn't"

      January 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • haha

      Why do you think the romans left out specific gospels...........

      January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  10. DB

    So let me get this straight: this is a column about S-E-X. But if anybody wants to comment on the column, they can't use the word S-E-X because that word is apparently on the "banned" list and the comment will be deleted.

    Utterly insane. If someone is so immature that they can't help giggling and blushing when they hear a word like "S-E-X" or "P-E-N-I-S," they should go see a psychiatrist. They shouldn't be pandered to. THESE WORDS ARE NOT PROFANITY and shouldn't be treated as if they are!

    January 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • nown

      You tell 'em, DB!

      January 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      You can't use the word sex?

      Well fuck me.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • nown

      @SeanNJ,
      Fucking show off, sheesh.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • nown

      😉

      January 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • sam

      LOL Sean

      January 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  11. Just_a_girl

    I've heard his book degrades women. I'd like to know what women have to say about that – conservative or liberal. Any thoughts?

    January 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Anonymous

      A woman wrote half the book...

      January 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Anna

      That's is a pretty broad comment that could be taken a lot of ways, especially not knowing the source- but I can respond with what I do know about Driscoll and his theology. A lot of people that aren't Christians would say that the Bible "degrades women" as it instructs women to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ. This book follows that bent and expands on the theory of complementarian gender roles - where men and women are of equal WORTH and VALUE to God, but created for specific and complementary roles in relationship. Those roles differ in the church, home, etc. More on the broad umbrella of the theology that He tends to support is in this article http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1884779_1884782_1884760,00.html . I hope that's helpful!

      January 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Just_a_girl

      Thanks Anna! That was helpful

      January 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Wife&Mom

      I have read the book and in no way does he degrade women. He is very open about how God created women equal to men and that men and women have different roles in life. I have also heard him speak and he is very vocal on how men who treat women as subservient or abuse women in any way are less than a man.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Observer

      The Bible discriminates against and degrades women. Read it.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  12. John P

    There's only one way to interpret the Bible, and when I say one I mean One: with the Holy Spirit. All other ways, even "religious" are wrong

    January 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      There a 1,000's of contradicting messages in the bible... ie useless or very useful if you want to control people.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • jimtanker

      It's just the big book of multiple guess.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • homeschool23

      Hasa There are no contradictions in the Bible, much less 1000's. Try to know a little about your subject before you comment on it.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @ Hasa A couple of thoughts on Biblical "contradictions" Hold your index finger four inches from your face. Close your left eye and view the finger from the right one. You get one view. Now close the right eye and examine the index with your left. You see a much different view. Are the views contradictory? No – just incomplete. Open both eyes and you get a genuine view because you now have depth perception. Reading the bible takes a great deal of historical, spiritual, philosophical, religious, and human depth perception.

      Some people claim the the Bible is merely made up. Read a novel or watch a drama. In the end, all the loose ends are tied up, the "i's" dotted and "t's" crossed – a sure sign of fiction.
      Once, I witnessed a car accident. Several of us could not agree on the make of the cars involved, the exact time of day, the clothes the people were wearing, or even who was at fault. But we agreed on the kernal of the event, namely, that two cars were in an accident at such a place and general time, and that the authorities showed up. The four gospels may disagree on details, but agree on the important stuff.

      The very contradictions your are interested in may be one of the strenghts of the Bible's authenticity.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • asdf

      @homeschool 23:

      Here's a video with all the citations you need:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

      It's almost 10 minutes of biblical quotes that directly contradict one another. It's not debatable.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Observer

      "The very contradictions your are interested in may be one of the strenghts of the Bible's authenticity."

      Rationalization. Stories about talking serpents, dragons, and unicorns are fine when a book is admittedly fiction.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Observer

      I actually took the time to watch the first few minutes of the above video and it misquotes the bible and takes verses completely out of context. I guess I would say that the video contradicts itself.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Besides the morals it preaches, the Bible is full of errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense due to it being written by man.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  13. Rich

    Say, if all Christians STOPPED having that gross thing called S E U-NO-WHAT, maybe they would cease to be around.

    Hey, Christians! S E U-NO-WHAT is DIRTY, and GROSS, and AGAINST THE BIBLE. STOP DOING IT NOW! Do not reproduce, please.

    Whadda think? WIll that work?

    January 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • George

      How about just saving it for procreation within marriage.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How about not drinking and driving, you idiot?

      January 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • sam

      No wonder George is such a b!tch...he saves it for procreation. $10 says he has no kids.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tom Tom Alzheimer's Sam

      If you want to see what a TYPICAL atheist look like, meet Tom Tom & Sam. OR check out all their garbage posts.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:31 am |
  14. Stacey

    You are helping people mark! I really love Mark Driscoll's heart for people, marriage and singles:). He is not about self promotion, He is about helping people find truth and living that! Keep up the awesome work 🙂

    January 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  15. ben

    Mark, you are a jerk. Plain and simple. The stuff you have said in your youtube videos isn't remotely close to biblical. Stop leading people astray and turning people into ignorant Christians.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Gavin Morris

      To even make the statement that what he says isn't biblical is proof that you have not listened to what he's actually said, or that you don't know what the bible has to say in the first place..

      January 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • John

      examples? I don't believe you can produce any.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  16. TXJim

    I am a Christian but maybe I can help non-Christians understand what we may be saying at least from my one life's perspective

    Christians often see guidance from those who have given their life to God in service in how we should live every aspect of our life. This book, be it good or bad, is one example of what someone who has given their life to God in service.

    Whether you believe in a God or not, think about the few things that are PERFECT in your life. Doesnt it just baffle you why everything cant be perfect in your life? Please dont humor me by saying everything is perfect.. if you are commenting on this column, then you have issues, just like the rest of us.

    The few things that are perfect, we all as humans strive to achieve that in all aspects of our lives, regardless of who you believe in or if you even believe at all.

    Well Christians see Jesus Christ as perfect and strive to live our lives as he lived his. Not in every aspect, but in the same spirit of personal sacrifice to God's laws and treating others as we want to be treated.

    If this book is what some of us see as our guide to be as Christ then its what works for us... you have to find what works for you.. being critical about others' beliefs isn't what works for you... its not here.. you have to find it somewhere..

    Human(not just Christian) nature says that if you try to tear others down all the time.. you are only tearing yourself down..

    January 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Truth

      LOGICAL PERSON ALERT! LOGICAL PERSON ALERT! EVERY ATHEIST RUN FOR THE HILLS! DONT RESPOND!!!

      January 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Ummm

      Don't respond unless you are an idiot with caps lock addiction.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Truth

      @umm,

      Is that the best you can come up with? I do believe you proved my point. Cheers 🙂

      January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Ummm

      Doesn't take much to show that you are an idiot.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  17. WilltheFree

    As many people pointed out, there's lots of bile in all this. As an former Catholic, now more athiest, I can attest to the fact that many Christians are so intimidated by s@x that it's become ridiculous. They are told it's wrong, bad, immoral, limited to marriage – all the things that the churches needed to do to control procreation and get control over people's lives intimately.

    That being said, I think it's great that these guys want to share their experiences and try to get more people more comfortable with s@x. There's no down side to this. And people hopefully will take what they need from it, and not assume the book is all or nothing. You read that s@x is good? I hope this helps! You read that s@x is only for a married couple? I hope you apply a pretty critical eye to that. But that's my opinion, and if you want to believe that or that s@x is a gift from an imaginary being, fine by me.

    Just enjoy the s@x, because regardless of whether it's a gift we should sure be thankful for it.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  18. Dr. Martin Von Winklemeyer, certified PhD

    To all,

    My current thesis on the study of chaotism in regards to the influx of nuclear ameoba into the thatroglycerinanindoid has receive great reviews from the medical community. I invite you all to check it out.

    Thanks,
    Dr. Von Winklemeyer, Certified PhD – Astrophysicist and Nucleaosis Prognosis

    January 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I would appreciate if you could elucidate a bit on the part of your thesis pertaining to the tertiatiary oscillation of the weak gestoncular force in relation to thermionic resonance.
      I don't see how the pherfinational variances can be accounted for...

      January 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Dr Saul

      Dr Martin, How you doin? long time no speak.
      I am sorry to hear it has come down to this and you had to take to the belief blog to elucidate your thesis.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Dr. Martin Von Winklemeyer, certified PhD

      @doc,

      Great question! First, the tertiatiary oscillation of the weak gestoncular force isn't really related to thermionic resonance, so I'm not sure where you got that from. The tertiatiary oscillation (or TO as we like to call it in the medical community), was first thought to replicate via rheumatosis induction, however that theory has been debunked in my paper. The actual replication occurs via the tetrahygenosis process, which lasts anywhere between 1-3 years.

      Onto your second point of thermionic resonance. It's a process that I've studied for the past 5 years in depth. The initial cause of resonance is due to the ongoing ancillary process by which thermodyalysis is derived. As everyone knows, thermodyalysis is made solely of the reminance of the residual astetimine. Although they are not related, they're process is very similar. Please provide any input you may have into this matter.

      Thanks,
      Dr. Von Winklemeyer, Certified PhD – Astrophysicist and Nucleaosis Prognosis

      January 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Dr. Martin Von Winklemeyer, certified PhD

      @dr. saul

      Saul, my friend, long time no see! Are you still studying in the field of receptionology? I greatly miss our wonderful discussions and our joint prognosis of that girl who had debilatating hemoroids, it was a first of a kind in our field.

      Let me know how you're doing ole chap, lets get lunch sometime soon?

      January 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Dr. Conrad Murrey

      Dear Dr. Martin, How very nice to finally hear from you. It is great that you have taken to the belief blog. I still remember those good old days we spent specializing in rattleology. You should come visit me sometime soon. You know where I live these days 😉

      January 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Phil

      @ George

      I'm 38. I've had séx with 7 different women. I've been married for 16 1/2 years. During that time, I've probably had séx over 1,800 times with the same person. "ewww...gross...save it for procreation"...

      You wouldn't be here if your parents didn't fück regularly. Go condemn them.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Dr. Saul

      Dr. Phil- is that you?

      January 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Dr. Martin Von Winklemeyer, certified PhD

      @conrad
      Hey Conrad, how ya been old chap? Lond time no see, how's Michael doin these days? Hope to see ya soon old buddy

      @phil
      Sorry but I know a lot of Dr. Phil's, could you please specify which one? If you are THE Dr. Phil, then please contact my receptionist so we can get together and get some tea and crumpets.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Michael

      I'm having good time wathching your high horses racing towards to the peak of Himalayas.

      But I'm extremely anxious they might end-up in a filthy ditch.

      January 25, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  19. Awalt

    Why must everyone attack Christianity. This is in the belief section of CNN, if you don't "believe" why bother reading stuff in here. If it is too further your knowledge, fine, but if you are just here to bash it, there is a name for that "troll."

    As a Christian, there is nothing to without a doubt prove God, or disprove God. That is why there is a thing called faith.

    One more thing, to the people bad mouthing the writers of the Bible. The earliest book was written in the lifetime of the people. That is why in many of Paul's letters he basically says that if you don't believe the miracles, go ask the people that experienced them.

    Send me the flak, I am ready for it.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Phil

      Science disproves gods. It has for centuries. The christian god is slated for removal within the next thousand years or so.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Awalt

      @Phil Science is the study of this Earth and the principles that govern it. How on can something so focused on what is real and physical hope to comment on the spiritual. Yes Science has proven that god Apollo does not drive the sun across the sky in a chariot. However, in the matters of God (pay attention to the capitalization) it hasn't proved anything.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • WilltheFree

      Bad mouth you? For protecting your right to believe what you want? I might not agree with you, but I wouldn't be an American if I didn't respect your right to your opinion here.

      The only thing I would oppose is if you tried to project your beliefs onto other people (force them, I mean), or if you tried to "convert" someone who was too young or incompetent to think for themselves. One problem I have with Catholicism is that Confirmation – a lifelong mature adult decision – is done at the age of 12....

      January 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • George

      @Phil

      This idea that science disproves God is exactly the reason that Christians oppose the teaching of evolution and the big bang.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • asdf

      Every biblical scholar in the world agrees that all of the Gospels, as they exist today, were written at least 70 years after the death of Jesus (assuming he existed). Mark came first, about 70-80 AD. Matthew came maybe 30-50 years later, based on the language used. Luke came another 30 years or so later. Matthew borrowed from Mark, but Matthew and Luke also borrowed from a previous, unknown book which scholars call the "Q Text". John was written as late as 200 years after Jesus' death, and is far removed from the others. That's why it reads like it was written by someone attending a Greatful Dead concert.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • asdf

      @ George:

      because you are clinging to a reality you know isn't true?

      January 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Awalt

      @WilltheFree I am glad you feel that way. However, not everyone does. I was not talking about the people who discuss in intellectual conversations. But about those who openly attack.

      The thing with conversion is this. As a Christian, we believe in an everlasting Hell. Even though you may not believe in hell, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So we convert to save people from this.

      Penn Jillette sayed, "How much do you have to hate someone, to not tell them about your savior" And he is a very outspoken Atheist. See that how far our belief is, we have to tell about it. It is ingrained in us, we wouldn't be Christians, if we didn't try to spread the Gospel.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Awalt

      @asdf I have to disagree with you. Many believe Mark was written 50-60 AD. Jesus died in 33 AD. So even if it was written in 70-80 AD that would only 40-50, not 70 years later. Jesus did not die at 1 AD, that would be when he was born.

      And to the evolution talk, my main reason against it is: It is not completely proven, yet it is taught in schools like it is. I would be fine with it as long as it is taught along side Intelligent design. Not so far as to say the Christian God, but to say something created us, not primordial ooze and lightning.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • justme

      @asdf

      Faith is a reality, everyone has faith in something, it has been proven that a man named Jesus (Emmanuel) who was followed by many and preached much, did exist. However, the big bang theory and evolution are just that "THEORY", meaning many men have tried to prove it and as of yet have not. Science is a guess, all be it educated it is still a guess.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • DB

      Oh for crying out loud...GET OVER YOUR MATTHEW 5:10 SYNDROME. This obsession so many Christians have with portraying themselves as victims is just so tiresome. You're not persecuted, stop looking for excuses to say you are.

      Complaining about how hard it is to be Christian in America is like complaining about the disabled getting all the best parking spaces. It's a sign that you're totally self-absorbed and you JUST DON'T GET IT.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Awalt

      @DB I am not trying to victimize myself. I am just stating how ignorant it is for Non-believers to go into a Belief section and be surprised that they found people who believe in something. Then they rant about how they don't agree, and how stupid Christians are. It doesn't make sense.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • asdf

      @Awalt + Justme

      My reply is above. forgot to hit reply here first.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Demonhunter

      asdf You are completely ignorant of the Bible. Every Biblical scholar does not agree that all the Bible was written at least 70 years after Christ's death. In fact, you are so ignorant that you don't even know He died in the year 29AD. The first gospel Matthew was written around 49AD, Mark 54-55AD, and Luke by about 65AD. Paul's first letter Galatians was written in 49AD. The "Q" text is a theory with no physical evidence to support it, and is completely unnecessary. Luke used Matthew and Mark as well as interviewing people who were eyewitnesses.

      I think you have attended too many Greatful Dead concerts.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • asdf

      @Demonhunter:

      Some of the points you made about the dates of Matthew and Mark are at least subject to debate. As for Luke and the Q text, you are nuts. First, the fact that two of the books that you may claim are infallible selectively took from one that was left out of the bible is not "unnecessary" or otherwise unimportant. Second, my dates are the one's I took from my class with a pre-eminent scholar at Villanova U (I don't mention it because its prestigious or whatever, just because it's not remotely a left-leaning university). The guy could recite pretty much any passage in Greek or Latin on command, and while this doesn't mean he's definitely right, I'll take his word over yours. I also notice you still have no explanation for how John slipped in there, because it is TOTALLY messed up.

      Finally, the comment above demonstrates how people can be reasonable when debating things, without immediately resorting to insults and name calling, you arrogant jerk.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. Phil

    I'm convinced George is a huge troll or a member of the westboro baptist church.

    Either of those results in the subtraction of 100 IQ points.

    January 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • dzo

      science doesn't disprove gods. scientists just trolled you. rofl

      January 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      dzo is wrong. George is a troll. He's some liberal pretending to be a nut-bag evangelical crazy. His purpose might be noble; his methods are not.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:52 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.