February 18th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Facing death, a top pastor rethinks what it means to be Christian

Editor's Note: The short film accompanying this story, called "My Garden," comes from EdsStory.com. CNN.com is premiering the latest installment in the "Ed's Story" series.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Ed Dobson is not afraid of dying. It’s the getting there that really scares him.

A former pastor, onetime Christian Right operative and an icon among religious leaders, Dobson has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. When he was diagnosed, doctors gave him 3 to 5 years to live.

That was 11 years ago.

“I am a tad happy to be talking to you right now,” joked Dobson, whose voice has deteriorated since his preaching days, in a phone interview. Speaking with him feels like being exposed to a brief moment of clarity. He speaks slowly, but with an understated confidence and authority.

As pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he held for 18 years, Dobson would regularly preach to 5,000 people or more on Sundays. Back then, Dobson said he looked at himself as a man filled with lessons, proverbs and, most of all, answers.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

After retirement six years ago, the massive crowds went away.

“I went from 100 miles an hour to zero miles an hour overnight,” Dobson said. “That was a shock to my system.”

Dobson says the answers vanished with the crowds.

“I know that sounds a bit lame,” he said. “I know that that I should have all the answers, but the truth is, the more I live, the fewer answers I have.”

And yet the people Dobson comes in contact with – those who call him dad, husband and friend, or those who have read one of his 12 books and watched his short films, don’t agree with that assessment. To them, the last six years of Dobson’s life have led to a remarkable ability to put life into context. To them, Dobson is a man filled with lessons.

From 5,000 to 1

In the 1980s, Dobson rose to prominence as an executive at the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell's evangelical political organization, which had influence with the Ronald Reagan White House. Dobson’s rise continued when he accepted the pastorate at Calvary Church in 1987. He cut a national profile, with Moody Bible Institute naming him “Pastor of the Year” in 1993.

After being diagnosed with ALS, Dobson suddenly felt unsure of himself. At times, he said, he didn't want to get out of bed. After years of intense Bible study, Dobson said this is not how he thought he would react to news of his own mortality.

“I thought that if I knew I was going to die, I would really read the Bible and if I really was going to die, I would really pray,” Dobson said. “I found the opposite to be true. I could barely read the Bible and I had great difficulty praying. You get so overwhelmed with your circumstances, you lose perspective.”

Eventually, Dobson regained perspective. But feelings of listlessness led him to take his preaching to a more personal level. He now meets with congregants one-on-one. Sitting with them in their homes or offices, Dobson provides whatever help he can. “Most of the people I meet with have ALS and basically I listen," he said.

“When I meet with someone and look into their eyes, it is like I am looking into their soul,” Dobson said. “We are both broken, we are both on the journey and we are both fellow pilgrims.”

Going from 5,000 congregants to one at a time was a big change for Dobson, forcing him to reevaluate his job as a pastor. “I am trying to learn that one-on-one is just as important as speaking to thousands,” he said. “I reemphasize – I am trying to learn that.”

During his one-on-one meetings, Dobson says he remembers Adam and Eve being charged by God to work the Garden of Eden. For years Dobson’s garden was Calvary Church – the baptisms, weddings, the Sunday preaching.

“Whether it is preaching to 5000 or meeting one on one, I am trying to take care of the garden,” he said.

The wind knocked out

One way Dobson strove to tend the garden is by writing a book about dealing with serious illness. In 2007, he wrote “Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness.”

Dobson’s son Daniel read the book while deployed in Iraq. After returning home, Daniel made it his mission to turn the book’s stories into videos.

He pitched the idea to Steve Carr, the executive director of a faith-focused production company called Flannel. “When I met Ed, when he came to our office, something really spoke to me,” Carr said. “Not too long before that, I had been diagnosed with Leukemia.”

“I thought that this guy, he has been where I am right now and he has somehow mastered it,” Carr said.

So far, Flannel has released five Dobson films, available through the company's website. There are plans for two more. Though the films range in topic, from loss and forgiveness to healing and growth, all are centered on lessons Dobson learned through his battle with ALS. The videos toe the line between a dark look at a dying man's life and an uplifting glimpse at someone who exudes clarity.

"My Garden," the most recent title in the series, centers on Ed’s struggle to deal with ending his preaching career.

Dobson talks about the films as if they are his swan song, his last words of encouragement to a group of supporters he has inspired for decades.

“My desire is that people who have had the air knocked out of them, whether divorce or losing a loved one or illness, that they will get a sense of hope by watching the films,” he said.

Surviving (with help)

The series’ first short film opens with Dobson explaining what it was like to be told he had ALS. After lying in bed, Dobson gets in the shower, brushes his teeth and starts the day. Even he would admit, however, it is not that easy.

Dobson has lost much of the function in his hands and is seen struggling to brush his teeth, his frail body using two hands on the small brush. Though he is able to do a lot, including drive, Dobson wouldn’t be able to make it on his own, a fact he is keenly aware of when about when describing his wife, Lorna.

“She is my right hand, my left hand, my left foot, my right foot, my heart and my brain,” Dobson said. “Without her, it would be impossible to go on.”

Standing in the kitchen in one video, Lorna helps puts Ed’s belt and gloves on. The two don’t speak on camera, but their love is obvious.

“Our love has grown each year of marriage,” Lorna said. “I didn’t want to just wither in the sorrow of how our life was changing. It took a while to get used to what our life was going to be like but I realized that I needed to be more available to him.”

Dobson says he is also more available to her.

“I am no longer a preacher,” said Dobson. “Today, I would say I am a Jesus follower. Period.”

Lorna said she continues to learn from her husband. Throughout their life together, she said she learned by being in church with him, by raising three kids together and by loving one another.

The last 11 years, however, their love has changed. Dobson's illness has taught her to focus on the important things, she said, primarily their kids and five grandkids.

After tending the garden for decades, Dobson is now being tended himself, largely by Lorna. “ALS forced me into a situation where I grew in understanding of what it means to obey Jesus,” Dobson said in the latest film.

“It took me quite a while to find an alternative purpose," he said. "But the good news is out there – there is a purpose for everyone.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Death • United States

soundoff (3,195 Responses)
  1. Hikerstud

    In courts all over the country, throughout history, over many countries and cultures....a witness is accepted as proof. I am one witness of the absolute truth and trustworthiness of Jesus Christ and the Bible truths. There are millions every week in churches throughout this country, the world, books about it, and people executed for it for centuries all the way back to the romans and the time of Christ.

    February 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • reason

      There are even more "witnesses" belonging to other religions that believe Christians are going to hell.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Personal experiences are subjective and, as such, cannot be directly shared, only anecdotally shared. The issue here is that an individual can only offer an account of their vision. The vision itself isn't available to others for reevaluation. All others just have to take that individuals word for what they saw. This can lead to challenges as to the legitimacy of the evidence.

      (Taken from ironchariots.org)

      February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • jimtanker

      In other words, NOT evidence.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      I guess you don't get the news where you live. Over the last several years there have been many instances of DNA evidence exonerating people who had been convicted on eyewitness testimony. Science tells us that you're subjective experience is not to be trusted. You're a witness for a fairy-tale.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You apparently don't watch much TV or see many movies, dear. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.

      February 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • RagingLamb

      Reason, JT, SD, TomTom – if we are going here, defining what is considered evidence, then tell us: what is your evidence of Evolution? Let's start here. But go to the beginning.... the very beginning.

      February 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Raging twit, I don't need to reiterate the evidence for evolution (which, by the way, is not capitalized). It's there for you to see if you choose. If you want to remain ignorant, that's your business. As for you simple-minded admonition to "go to the beginning–the very beginning", can you do the same without using the Bible as your 'evidence'? If not, you're no further along the path than anyone else. None of us KNOW what occurred at the "very beginning", whenever and whatever that was. You just believe you know. I admit I DON'T KNOW, which puts me far ahead of you.

      February 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • RagingLamb

      TomTom – Sounds like I struck a nerve with you. Your reply sounds like those with religious convictions. I'm just showing you that your mockery of others for their faith can be applied to you. I am well versed in the teachings of evolution and familiar with the arguments. I was inciting you to react. I know that you don't know what happened in the beginning. You take it by faith. But if you were to detail it out, you would realize how silly it sounds. Just like you asking Christians to explain their faith.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  2. stella

    can't find the comment I posted yesterday. I'm not sure it posted. Has anyone has that problem?

    February 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • reason

      Comments seem to disappear without any rhyme or reason.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "can't find the comment I posted yesterday. I'm not sure it posted. Has anyone has that problem?"

      It could be that it never posted.

      CNN uses automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. My guess is that your post had had a forbidden word in it.

      Repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      February 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  3. maf5454

    I agree with you. While people believe they are somehow superior to other ceatures on the earth they are in fact exactly the same. We all will age, grow cold, and die. It is just that simple. I am NOT afraid of death, I won't be able to tell when I am. It's the pain while it happens I want to avoid. Therefore, my wife and I have agreed that a very large dose of a powerful sedative is the final wish.

    February 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Bible Clown

    If you are going to live in a country with religious freedom, enjoy it. Nobody makes you go to these weird churches.

    February 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  5. basketcase

    "The more you know you know you don't know sh!t."

    February 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Very eloquent

      February 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • reason

      According to Pew Research the more people know about religion the less likely they are to believe. Jews are the exception. They are the only religious group to know more about religion that agnostics / atheists or the irreligious.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • reason

      If anyone wants to know more you can take the quiz yourself here:

      February 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      The more you know about God and how marvelous His creation, design, His control, timing and laws of the universe, dna , etc the more you marvel and realize how awesome He is to care about us and communicate with us and how powerless and out of control we are. Then you realize He knows everything and we so little. Our knowledge has increase and it should now be evident that a Supreme being is worthy of our awestruck worship. Christ is the soon coming King. He will reign on earth and so will peace.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Sue

      Hikerstud, way to not get the base post. Wow.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  6. Bible Clown

    "The death of a mother is not necessarily evil." I hope yours dies hard and soon, if that's your idea of comfort.

    February 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      I hope your post is not a reply to me as I don't think I said that a death of a mother is not necessarily evil. Death is evil but it unfortunately it is common to every living thing on this planet. But humans have eternal spirits and the real tragedy or evil is not the end of this short body life but eternal death(separation ) from all this good, light, music, joy, comfort, etc. and by choice. Willingly choosing to not face our situation and call out for God to reveal Himself and have mercy on us. He does not have to but He chooses to because He is love. Most of us don't call.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Death is completely natural, a part of life. There is nothing evil about it.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Lets see your evidence that a soul exists. Waiting......

      February 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Hikerstud

    This isn't in the bible but "there are none so blind as those that refuse to see" might apply to many of us. We just want to be left alone. Even if it means we do not have the truth of existence or future fate. It is cowardice to not seek the truth until you know for sure as much as you can. What about your children and family and friends? There is a separation from the body at death. There is seperation from God's presence. In this life we can experience both. In the next we will choose to enter absolute goodness, joy, satisfaction, and the light of love etc or most will ignore, be fooled, or just plain deny or rebell and will choose absolute separation, regret, and being alone in darkness. This is what is called hell and torment. God did not choose that for us we ultimately are free to choose. He does not force you to accept the truth but it is the truth that Christ is the door. He is the way the truth and the life and no man finds the Father without entering through Him. I know you don't like it but buddha and mohammed etc were just men and Satan gets us off track with false religions and then we doubt the real truth but you have to deal with it.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • momoya

      You don't know those things, you assume them. The truth is that nobody knows what happens after death. We don't have to "deal with it;" we have to "deal with" people like you who claim to know "the truth" but can never demonstrate it as more than their opinions.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "It is cowardice to not seek the truth until you know for sure as much as you can."
      What's the cliche, "fools rush in."

      "...then we doubt the real truth but you have to deal with it."
      But how can you say it's the real truth, when "you [don't] know for sure as much as you can?"

      February 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      Actually Jesus Christ promised many things. I in good faith tested His promises and found them to always be true. Promises like "you can know you have eternal life" You can have peace not like the world gives but that I give you" "The Holy Spirit will live in you "" The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you". It is no longer faith for me it is evidenced in everyday life. You are the one with the little bit of faith that I am trying to encourage to pursue the truth. There is a fairy all right it is that a loving God exists and will give us peach joy faith, love, mercy, and mostly immortality. Too hard to believe for most of us but you must start somewhere. Do not rely only on your self. At least pick up the new testament and ask God to reveal truth to you.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • plucky

      You have tested these things, really? OK, why don't you post here and all over the internet a street corner in your home town, and a time that you will bet there to test and prove these things to the world. Some of us will show up to "see the light".

      Don't be alarmed by the men carrying the straight-jacket.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • jimtanker

      But you dont know wether or not your jesus even lived. You were told that he did and you have read about him but you dont KNOW. You are just hoping.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • David

      You are a moron if you think you know what happens after we die. No stupid book has any answers, either.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Cleareye

      My 'creator' and father liked to play around with other women than my mother but still admired Jesus as a historical character. I too would join a heathens for Jesus group.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Nonimus

    "As you described it seems a little difficult but at the core the message is we were doomed and He intervened."
    Not sure your version sounds any better: He created us, we are doomed, and He intervened.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "He created us, we are doomed, and He intervened." Sounds like god screwed up and has been trying to cover his ass ever since.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      " He created us, we are doomed, and He intervened" Right, He made us and condemned us to death for something we never did, then He gives us a "chance" to escape from Him. Sounds like "The Most Dangerous Game" to me, with God as General Zaroff.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      In legalese we are seperated from God and so doomed to despair because He is where light, love, power, beauty, creativity, music, joy,etc is from. He is complete and needs nothing from any of us. Fully satisfied. Whole. But he still intervened and made a way for those that choose to swim against the current. It takes a search for real truth and an honesty and tenacity and I quote "but to them that recieved Him he gave them power to become the sons of God and is not ashamed to be called their Father".

      February 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • jimtanker

      More insane ramblings?

      We're still waiting for your evidence.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • plucky

      You are totally, and completely arrogant. You have special powers, in your own mind.
      You could learn a lot about modesty from a scientist. Have you ever seen one?

      February 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  9. Hikerstud

    reply to Lucifers evil twin.

    I believe Satan / Lucifer to be one of the 3 most powerful messengers / angels mentioned in the bible. A being of immense knowledge, beauty, and experience. We are way overmatched in sparring with him. He was the angel in charge of worship of God. When mankind came on the scene I am not sure but I believe pride and envy caused him to decieve mankind and doubt God's good intentions towards us and we followed the pied piper to our own destruction ever since. I am protected from Satan and so he is not a concern for the most part. But my selfish evil nature I have to deal with and rule through my spriritual strenght promised to me by the indwelling Holy Spirit or God Himself. These online discussions about God's existence and which religion etc etc are comical to me in the sense that I know God as a person without a shadow of a doubt. However it is not comical because mankind is blind and decieved to the truth. Much like the movie the matrix.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • reason

      Where does Santa fit into all this?

      February 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      First, there is this little gizmo called a "Reply" button so that you can answer in your own post. Second, LET's Law #1 applies to you more and more with every post you make.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bizarre


      It sounds like you would be right at home at the World of Warcraft site! Fantasy is quite entertaining and seductive... but to live there full-time is not an authentic way to exist.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "...in the sense that I know God as a person..."
      This is obviously hyperbole, unless of course He is a person, in which case you should be able to present Him.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "I know God as a person without a shadow of a doubt." Have you met his talking snake? It's pretty cool! And those bears that he keeps around to kill small children are hilarious. I wish he'd stop killing people all the time, though.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • jimtanker

      There is no satan just like there is no god. Live a good life and enjoy it. Why do you thumpers have to ruin everything?

      February 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • David

      The more I hear you spouting this bible stuff, the more I KNOW it's nothing but BS. You live a life of wishful thinking. You are BSing yourself basically because you decide to believe what you WANT to believe is true.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • David

      So this guy is re-thinking christianity. I thought maybe he finally came to his senses and realized that it's all BS. I'm amazed that people are still believing all of this religion nonsense.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Cleareye

      Satan is a punk!

      February 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Valieree Brecht

    Re: the newest Ed.Dobson video. I am a minister who for health reasons have had to stop my ministery as well. Listening to '
    Ed talk about his feelings was as if I was talking about myself. It brings hope for which I am grateful. It is good to know that someone knows how I feel because they have been there. Thanks for talking about your feelings both your emotional and spiritual thoughts. I am indeed grateful – you have helped another pastor to get back on her feet. Thanks again. Valieree

    February 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "you have helped another pastor to get back on her feet" Run for your lives, gay people. Another lynch mob's coming.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  11. God is the Answer

    Christians should be thankful God has graciously bestowed on him a slow death so that he can inspire and spread the Word.

    God is truly the answer to everything. You can answer everything with God:


    February 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Why do you keep posting this stupid video? A great and loving god wouldn't of inflicted the kid with cancer in the first place.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • God is the Answer

      You obviously did not watch the video, otherwise you would not think it is stupid or ask that question.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • reason

      It is a great video, and short. Everyone should watch it.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Let's see?
      "What is the most popular irrational thing to believe in the 21st century?"

      Answer to everything: God

      By gum, it does work? 🙂

      February 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      @God is the Answer

      You said, "You obviously did not watch the video, otherwise you would not think it is stupid or ask that question."
      I'd have to agree with Lucifer's Evil Twin. It is truly a moronic video. It claims that "gawd is good", in any of the 4 scenarios, without establishing and correlation to any actions of this "gawd".

      Just because there are multiple possible outcomes when rival gangs shoot each other up, doesn't mean there are any gods. The kid in the Crips gang colors should have know better than to go into Bloods territory. Dumb kid. No god required.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      No thanks, it looks stupid and juvenile without even clicking on it. So I assess that it would be a waste of my time.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You said, "No thanks, it looks stupid and juvenile without even clicking on it. So I assess that it would be a waste of my time."
      It is. I lost three minutes of my life that I'll never get back. But if I can save one person from having to sit through that nonsense, it won't have been a total waste.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @LinCA – I acknowledge your sacrifice good sir/ma'am.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "A great and loving god wouldn't of inflicted the kid with cancer in the first place." No cancer. He gets shot at, and (a) not a scratch! God is good. (b) wounded, but recovers. God is good. (c) paralyzed and retarded, but alive. God is good. (d) dead, and in heaven. God is good. See? Everything happens for the best in this best of all possible worlds, as Dr Pangloss reminded us.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Amused

      If God is the answer, then what was the question?

      February 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • reason

      LinCA, you completely missed the entire point of the video. The point is that no matter how tragic an incident Christians will always rationalize a way that everything happens because God is good. When someone is shot at but escapes injury it is because "God is good",.when they are seriously injured it is because "God is good", and so on.

      No matter how tragic something is Christians will always rationalize God is in control and he is good. The video points out how ridiculous that is. How did you miss that?

      February 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • LinCA

      OK, it looks like I missed it. I neglected to read the original post. Missed the sarcasm. Must have been the thought running through my head that if anyone things that "god is the answer", they must have misunderstood the question.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  12. Menthu

    Truth is like looking through a prism from multi-faceted sides. The truth is wired in your brain and if all the religious materials from thousands of years were thrown out someone would arise again to write it down. I hear a lot of people here talking for God….you are fools.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  13. Hikerstud

    For SD Frankie.
    We have all failed morally in some way. We have chose to hurt others intentionally, deceptively etc. Even in jr high school with parents or dates etc we have behaved rebelliously. Rebellion is the ultimate human condition. We do not want any rules or a judge. Even you decided to be your own judge in stating you lead a good life. Does your judgement and life allow you to enter into the presence of the Spiritual being who designed and created all the laws of physics, morality, design, thermodynamics. The ultimate being of all power and all laws of space and time? He wants us to choose to be His children by adoption but we too often choose self desire, self rule, self etc.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • bff

      You claim to know an awful lot of things you can't possibly know. Did your parents bring you up to be so arrogant?

      February 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiousity Law #1 – Using words and phrase like "Spiritual being who designed and created all the laws of physics, morality, design, thermodynamics. The ultimate being of all power and all laws of space and time? He wants us to choose to be His children by adoption but we too often choose self desire, self rule, self etc."

      Then you are definately mentally retarded.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "Does your judgement and life allow you to enter into the presence of the Spiritual being who designed and created all the laws of physics, morality, design, thermodynamics. " Yes, it does. Given the tools, it's not difficult; any C++ programer could design a universe, and any philosophy student could design a moral code. God's no smarter than a human if He exists, He just has better tools and the ability to threaten your existence at will.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      If there is such a god as you suggest, he's a psychotic tyrant. He created me without my permission to do so. I don't feel like being his little lab rat. He created me just exactly as I am. If he's got a problem with me then he has a problem with himself. When I do a lousy job I don't blame it on the job. You'e philosophy wouldn't make sense to a third-grader.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  14. Hikerstud

    This is for Nii Crofee.
    "Jesus said if you live in me spiritually and my words live in you then your joy shall be full." God / Christ promises " In the presence of the Lord is fullness of Joy". Satan is a creature who brings about death, destruction, deceitfulness.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Satan" was invented by man right about the time "God" was invented. So what's your point. "Satan," doesn't cause evil... human nature (in all its flawed glory) is the root of evil.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Hikerstud the only reason why we pray is to concede our will to God. If men had no will we will not be responsible for our sins. As Christ told de Pharisees,"If u were blind u will be blameless but your sin remains cos you claim u see". We will God in2 our lives just as much as we will the Devil 2o

      February 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • jimtanker

      The only reason that you pray is that you think that it is really doing something. Just a psychological placebo effect. Nothing more.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  15. Christine

    Beautiful- what a wonderful example of someone living out their life with honesty, integrity, determination, and authenticity. I wish more Christians were showing God's love through such humility and compassion.

    February 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      I agree. The superficial parts of our lives are like layers of an onion and when these majore shaking events take place we find the real fruit of love, joy, peace, humility are underneath.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "God's love through such humility and compassion" He spent his life urging Christians to hate their brothers. Do you know who this man is? Save your pity for someone deserving.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Hikerstud

    The bible teaches all of us believe in God and that His power, creativity, goodness, and judgement is evident nature. The unseen God can be known in that sense acccording to the Bible. But whether we say we believe or do not is sort of irrelevant. Only turning your life around and willingly following God's ways will provide a relationship with Him and eternal life. Then no amount of disease or rant by atheists etc even matters because as an individual you have been given absolute assurance and the down payment of truth and eternal life by the gift of the Holy Spirit inward filling. Happened to me first over 30 years ago and daily I witness His guidance and impact in my life. Even as I type I believe He is helping me to tend the garden of others reading this. He is real and loves you too. There is hope so pick up a bible.

    February 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      I lead a very good life without god. I help others. I'm honest. Why do I need to turn my life around?

      February 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The 'I am good but X'tians think I am bad' fallacy.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      My life is great without your imaginary friend, why do I need to turn it around? besides, most believers when they get all "religiony" start sounding like they are mentally retarded. I say again, why would I want to become like that?

      February 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • reason

      Croffie's 'Give every concept a name and call it a fallacy to cover up not knowing what you're talking about without actually saying anything' fallacy .

      February 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      There you go... a prime example of "start sounding like they are mentally retarded" the Nii Crofi whatever character

      February 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Me

      Religion is a tricky drug. It is soothing, and brings serenity to most who use it. For others however, it is counterproductive, and can even be lethal.
      With that said, nobody know what God wants of us, or for us. Confusing the words of men for the words of God is a mistake. If you cannot decide what choices to make based on your own internal sense of right and wrong, then religion can be a good thing for you, or at least for those whom you would otherwise rob.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  17. Mel

    The teachings of Jesus is love. Love for your neighbor, love for your enemy, love for your fellow man. To love your neighbor as yourself and to do unto others as you would have done to you. So what are all the atheists on here so up in arms about? Is living a life where one loves his fellow man such a bad thing? How come a man who goes around teaching love and helping others make you so angry?

    February 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • govspy

      Really, you don't get what makes atheists and non-Christians so angry? It's not the existence of Christianity as a religion that makes others angry, it's the way many (not all) of it's followers are extremely hypocritical, domineering, and generally non-Christ-like. The idea that so many Christians want to either convert every non-Christian, and if they can't convert them, they want to make everyone follow Christian law by making the government adopt Christian law and enforce it, which is exactly what the founding of this country was against.

      So many Christians could learn from "judge not lest ye be judged," and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

      I don't claim to be a Christian, or an atheist. I just want my family and I to be able to live our lives without Christian interference. I don't wish Christians hardships, or any difficulty in practicing their faith. I just want them to do it in their homes or churches, and not in my kid's public school or where I work.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      ... as long as you don't love someone of your own gender, or love knowledge over allegory, or love your neighbor's choice?

      February 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      "Neighbor" means fellow Jew, and "enemy" means the enemies of the Jews, but where did Jesus say to love everyone?

      February 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Amused

      Mel "Is living a life where one loves his fellow man such a bad thing?" If Christians actually exhibited such behaviour, that would be comdendable, but in my experience most do not! Most so-called "Christians" tend to use their words of faith as weapons to put down, tell people what they should and shouldn't do and generally criticize others with without ever applying ANY of it to themselves! Remember, you should clean the speck out of YOUR eye before attempting to clean it out of someone else's eye...

      February 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Amused

      Ooops!, I meant "comendable" NOT "comdendable"...

      February 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  18. SDFrankie

    Why do so many people say that the problem with Christianity is it's imperfect followers or misunderstandings about it, as if it's core somehow makes sense. How does a God cloning himself so he can be a blood sacrifice to assuage his own vengeance rather than torture us forever make any sense? How is that a good story in any sense. It's not misunderstood. It's obscene.

    February 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Hikerstud

      As you described it seems a little difficult but at the core the message is we were doomed and He intervened. We cannot be self righteous as we cannot earn or pay for eternal life by dedication. Also He gives us free will not as a dominanting ruler but as a creator. Asking us to choose the unnatural selfless life instead of the self centered. But we choose good vs evil. Love over malice.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The 'I don't think it is right for a human to have a conscience' fallacy. Followed by the 'Bible I do not read but I misunderstand' rant. Even the Bible makes more sense than this.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • reason

      Croffie's 'Give every concept a name and call it a fallacy to cover up not knowing what you're talking about without actually saying anything' fallacy.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Me

      Why would God need to create a clone, then have him murdered, to save us from the sins of another? It makes no sense.

      Jesus was a wise man, and his teachings of love and understanding should be remembered forever. What Christians don't seem to understand is that by embellishing the story of his life ("virgin" mother for example), they make his story less believable than if they stuck reality.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  19. reason

    Nobody knows for certain what the truth is. Deluding yourself in organized religion does nothing to change the reality of whatever the truth actually is. If there is a just god and an afterlife atheists will be more likely to go to heaven than those who rejected reason and lied to themselves and others about religion.

    February 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The 'God in my head is the x'tian God' fallacy followed by
      suffering(God's will)=Joy (Satan's will)
      Suffering(Satan's will)=Joy(God's will)
      leaving out Gen2
      Suffering(Man's will)=Joy(Man's will).
      Take charge of ur life. Don't blame the X'tian God. Love ur neighbor as urself.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • reason

      Croffie's 'Give every concept a name and call it a fallacy to cover up not knowing what you're talking about without actually saying anything' fallacy.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Rant of so-called Reason.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Jiimtanker is exhibiting the 'I know the Bible though I do not understand it' fallacy followed by the 'Only memory verse I know' rant.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Funny! I'm pretty sure that I know the bible better than most preachers out there.

      It doesnt take much to understand the bible and why it was written. You people are just reading too much into it.

      Now if you had any evidence that what you say is true then it would be a different story.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Jiimtanker exhibits the 'I think I understand the Bible after reading it once' fallacy followed by the 'Only memory verse I know' rant.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The DOLT Theorem
      If God(the X'tian one not the African animist one) was good. Then humans will not suffer because God's will is imposed on Man.
      Wrong. Genesis 2. Freewill for Man. MAN is responsible for the Good and Bad that happens to him.

      February 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  20. James Kimble

    Jesus Christ is God's gift to the world. He is also the ONLY hope. If you plan on going to heaven on your good works or deeds, you will never have done enough to satisfy God. God took it upon Himself to provide the solution. Someone to pay for our sins. Only one person who has ever lived could satisfy that demand. This is Jesus Christ. Abandon yourself to Him and to God's plan for your salvation. It has nothing to do with ego or how righteous you are, or how deserving you are. Sin has to be dealt with, and it has been. Accept God's solution and abandon your own.

    February 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • God's Forgiveness

      God sure did take care of sin, didn't he?


      February 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • bff

      ...and how do you know these things? I'm not going to believe a word you write until you satisfy that question.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • reason

      You sound exactly the same as the Muslims, the Jews, the Hindus, and so forth.
      The problem is that there is no rational basis for any of it.

      February 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The rant of a confused reason

      February 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Menthu

      Brain washed no dought.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
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.