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.

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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. Michaelwg

    Hey everyone! Does death have you down? Are you a little scared of the unknown? Just try the God-O-Matic! That's right folks, the God-O-Matic, for just 10% of your annual income, collected on Sundays you'll have the answers to all lifes questions...without cracking open a book! The God-O-Matic**, you don't even know what your missing! But with the God-O-Matic, you will! You'll know you were missing something, and it'll be filled with the Jesus-hole-filler (made in China). You didn't even know this hole existed until I told you about the God-O-Matic, but now that you do, you better fill it! Order now while supplies last! first 100 callers get 1 prayer answered, get a pass to hate gay people, AND you'll feel a thunderous sense of moral superiority! By golly, you'll just want to tell EVERYONE!!

    **Batteries not included

    February 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Thomas

      Good one mate!

      February 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • mommatocharlie

      Sounds like you need to visit a real church, not one that doesn't teach God.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |


    February 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • satan

      You're an idiot, god doesn't exist. Go pray to the easter bunny or santa claus while you're at it follower.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Enlightened

      So if I kiss your gods ass, I have to be in the same place as Jerry Falwell for ETERNITY? Thanks, I'll pass.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You're an idiot, god doesn't exist. Go pray to the easter bunny or santa claus while you're at it follower ______satan

      Well, well!
      You didn't even bother to hide behind many of your fake names! you and your unholy demons have been telling this to dumb gullible souls for a loooong time

      February 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Thomas

      Wow, you actually believe that guy is Satan because he typed those letters in the "name" space? Exactly what's wrong with most of this country. Hey, don't forge the tooth fairy, pray to that too.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Thomas
      Those who are in the grip of satan's hand are his servants, and he expresses himself through them. So to address him here directly is totally legitimate way to do. I know what I'm doing, but you have no idea.
      As for your other remark, anyone who compares the God of universe whom we who know Christ honor with an tooth fairy, is not much better off then the one who doesn't mind using "satan" as his name..And lastly, the reason this country is tn the shape it is, is not because the society and its people in it honor God, but because it has cast out God from it's midst and has declared it's independence from Him.........
      Because it is written " Blessed is the nation whose GOD is the Lord." then where does it leave the one that has honored Him, but then in it's own arrogance forsook Him... the only word that fits it is "cursed" So if you have any wisdom at all left, go figure !

      February 26, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      meant to say:
      ......" the reason this country is in the shape it is, is because the society and its people in it do not honor God, and because it has cast Him out from it's midst, declaring it's independence from Him........".

      February 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  3. Hey guys

    I love how militant and spiteful you athiests have become. Reading a Christian article just so you can troll it. You're no better than the religious extremists who have shoved religion in peoples faces, you just go in smashing faith instead of trying to offer comfort in something or kindness. Maybe their lives are better when they think or know in their heart that they will see their family again and everything will be good after death. You don't brand all Muslims as terrorists, or all Jews as money-grubbers, you try to defend them when people say so I bet. But these Christians just take it from you guys and you keep at em, they don't try to kill you for bashing their faith like some other religions (unless you are a doctor who performs abortions, they hate those poor people). Why brand all Christians today like they were the ones in the Crusades? God never said go on a murderous rampage in the name of your faith, man did, the king did. My parents and grandparents are wonderful people of faith and I would never try to take that away from them like you people do. Would you really sit down and tell your grandma that God isn't there and we have nothing to look forward after all we have been through on this Earth? I wouldn't, thats cruel and shows that you are no better than someone trying to force their faith on people. Another thing is that there are bad people in all spectrums of life, not all Catholic priests bugger liittle kids, not all pastors are out to get your money, just like not every black person wants to rob you or that not every Mexican is lazy. Do you see where I'm going? Not everyone who has faith is a religious zealot who is just dying to shove it down your throat. Stop with the negativity and stereotyping you angry, bitter, backward humans. You are becoming what you hate.
    Pots and kettles people. I don't know what I believe, but I know a bunch of hypocrites when I see them. On BOTH sides.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Thomas

      "Militant"? Funny, I've never heard of an atheist army, there sure have been plenty of x-tian armies though.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • dirtyrottensaint

      Nice response ... too bad the atheists are really like angry children unable to think beyond the concrete and material. Full hate, intolerance and bitterness is no way to live. Now watch them immediately accuse Christians of what I just described them as being. They literally have NOTHING positive to contribute.

      February 27, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  4. Leucadia Bob


    February 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Worthless crap!

      February 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  5. gary

    Xtianity is a silly ancient cult, god is pretend. Religions are myths. Silly Xtians worship ideas that came from the lands that today they hate; the sand lands for primitive peoples. It's all BS.

    February 26, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Jim

      Mocking the existence of God, or the Reality of faith, is an indication of being unable to comprehend the world
      around you. Look up at the night sky, or the ordered and balanced human body and mind. Or the exquisite consistency
      and order of the DNA, and the laws of nature that reveal natures God. The bible teaches that this is spiritual blindness,
      and there is only one remedy for it. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel
      to the poor (in spirit) He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recover
      sight (spiritual sight) to the blind, to set the captives free (bondage to something). " Open the door, and say yes to
      the Lord of the Universe,

      February 26, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Alejandro

      You sound no better than the christians that say you are going to hell for not believing in God. It's correct if you don't believe, but you also have to aknowledge that God fulfills people spiritually and helps them in their darkest hour. Religion is good, it's just when use as a form of control when it's evil.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Gary, unless you humble yourself and allow the Spirit of God to show you in what a wretched condition you are and how much you need Jesus Christ whom you now ridicule, you will find out that Christianity is NOT a myth.
      Those who did the same as you do now, who have met their day of Appointment, would give anything in this world, just to hav a chance to recant their presumptuous worlds an their mockeries. If you go on in your present ways, you'll do the same...because the FOOL has said in his/her heart "there is no God"!

      It is Christ, who IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life who said that the light has come into the world, but men LOVED DARKNESS rather then light, BECAUSE their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) This is the main reason for their rejection of Truth and for their blasphemies.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Alejandro, you miss the point...
      Jesus Christ never comforted the wicked, but gave them stiff warnings. Only those whose hearts are humbled before Him, to THEM HE gave comfort and consolation. There are far more Scriptures of warnings of Hell in the Word of God then promises of Heaven.. Because God KNOWS HUMAN NATURE!

      February 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bird612

      It hurts my heart to hear you say things about our Savior. Our God. Our Jesus. Jesus did comfort, he does. If it weren't for him I probably wouldn't be here today. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be the same person I am today. He lifts us up on wings like eagles. God created the Heavens and the Earth. How do you compete with that? I know you don't believe it, but just takea moment and ask yourself, what if it is true? What if the testimonies from lives He has changed are true? Then where does that leave you? To endure hell forever? To me, that's just wasted time when all around you are the signs that God exists! Just try for a moment to see that instead of ruling it out immediately.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  6. LibsDestroyAmerica

    Most of the meanest athiests here will be following this man in death sooner than they think........perhaps they will be as mean loney lost then when facing thier inevitable and deserved end?

    February 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • momoya

      Do you fear that you'll go to hell because you haven't yet converted to Islam?

      February 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Cechaz

      Just because Atheists don't share your beliefs and are tired of your overbearing nonsense doesn't make them "mean."

      February 26, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Seadrew

      I tend to conquer with you, as Atheist thinks with half brain and see thing with one eye open. No wonder, Atheist don't agree on astonishing facts, laws of physics, unthinkable balanced system........around us which we observe, use, and benefit from them. I may congratulate the preacher that he reached to the conclusion that, "Today, I would say I am a Jesus follower. Period.” I think, being an scholar of teaching, he compared Christianity and Islam, and found that, the preaching of Jesus were same what Quran teaches and corrects it wherever it fell short or run into conceptual difficulties. At the end he seems struggling him to be called as Muslim (for reasons), but to call him self "follower of Jesus (not the follower of Paul!).

      February 26, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • MikeW

      What still fascinates me is how atheists and other mockers are drawn like flies to articles about faith, seemingly for the purpose of badmouthing faith and those who practice it. Mahatma Ghandi was allegedly puzzled as to why atheists fight so hard against something they don't even believe exists. They don't even seem to be seriously considering the article in question–only that since it's a faith-related article, they claim the right to troll and use it as a forum for their views, regardless of how off-topic and inappropriate (and obnoxious) their approach is. It's pretty inconsiderate of those of us who actually benefit from the article and would like to share insights with those who are like-minded. Such boorish behavior belies to me the atheist claim that one can be "good without God".

      February 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  7. LibsDestroyAmerica

    He will soon be where athiests wont..................although some of the meanest ones here will be soon behind him

    February 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Wormfood

      He will be worm food, just like all those "mean atheists". Difference is that atheists lived a full life while Dobson worried about pleasing Sky Daddy.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "He will be worm food, just like all those "mean atheists". Difference is that atheists lived a full life while Dobson worried about pleasing Sky Daddy"
      You go on wishing it that it's so! But you'll find out that it's not.
      As for atheists living a full life... How can those who are lame and blind live a full life? Such persons DON"T KNOW what the fullness of life is!
      And lastly, the "sky daddy" you sarcastically call God, your Maker will be the One whom you'll face when your wretched soul which you denied stands naked and barren before Him, without covering for your sins. Your own mockeries will haunt you the rest of your eternity. That's no fairytale, and you'll find out soon enough.

      God does not strive with man forever... you still have time...
      It is written that "If you this day hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in provocation... "

      You may not have tomorrow.

      February 26, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Michaelwg

      Prism. I have been both a Christian and an Atheist. And yes, my life is more "Full" now than it ever was a Christian. You guys need to open your eyes, you'll be happier.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Thomas

      Find a brain somewhere please.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Since you have known both ways, as you claim, the path you have taken clearly defines who you are.
      For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and SHARPER THAN ANY TWOEDGED SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
      You can hide behind any pretense your mind can invent, but you can not hide what is in your heart, because that will determine your path and who you really are. That's the end of the line!

      February 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Bruce

    People always say we shouldn't argue about politics or religion but, in truth, those are about the only things worth arguing about. Most other things can either be proven one way or another (meaning one side is always wrong) or are strictly matters of opinion and who cares? Politics and religion actually have a right and wrong, but none of us know for sure, hence the need to argue.

    February 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Linda

      You are so right Bruce. We go on and on and on about topics that are completely insignificant and avoid discussion of religion and politics. I am NOT saying that daily chit-chat, a good sense of humor, the ability to not take oneself so very seriously, working, playing, etc. are not important....they ARE! However, the very reason religion and politics are avoided like the plague is because we seem not to be capable of listening and considering others' viewpoints on the very topics that are the most important to our total well being. A discussion inevitably disintegrates into an argument (or worse) and we are all much the poorer because of it.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  9. Stella B Star

    I didn't know he was Eastern Orthodox! 🙂

    February 25, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • mommatocharlie


      February 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • LMP

      He's not.

      March 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  10. Schatze

    I have an idea: you atheists stop trying to evangelize us religious people to your faith that there is no God, and we religious people will stop trying to evangelize you to our faith that there is. Live and let live Is what I believe it's called.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • plot

      How has an atheist ever evangelized anything to you?

      Do they come to your house on Saturday mornings to preach the word?

      Stating your case on a CNN board isn't evangelizing.

      Why are you equating your precious religion to atheism? Doesn't that make your great faith kinda ugly? Is there nothing special about it? If all it takes is to NOT believe in something, in order to believe, then religion has no meaning at all.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • kenny

      The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. Those who have faith need no proof because
      they have lowered their standard of evidence.
      Faith does not enhance reason, it replaces it.
      A scientist drunk makes more sense than a preacher sober.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jesus Christ, are we still talking about this?

      We're not preaching to you, I am saying you all are dumb for blind faith. Atheists as a group are more educated about religion that MOST Christians. I have taking multiple courses studying the bible, the Koran and Judaism. Ive read the entire New Testament!! The authors of the New Testament NEVER MET JESUS!!! the stories were written down decades after Jesus lived and DIED. The book has been interpreted, rewritten, translated into multiple different languages, interpreted again and again, AND STILL Christians believe every word written in it. LEARN ABOUT THE BOOK YOU BASE YOUR LIFE ON!!!! Thats all were saying, THEN you can live and let live.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Michaelwg

      I don't have a faith to evangelize.
      I have a personal relationship with reality.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • mommatocharlie

      Religion is not what we seek. We seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe

      February 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    So I guess buggering those little boys wasn't such a good idea?

    Rot in hell you bigot.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Matt

      Let me just tell you, he has far more moral integrity than most people in the world will ever dream of! Just because one religious group (the Catholics) believed theologically that the priests should not marry thereby perverting and abusing the natural system of intercourse doesn't mean that all Christians think that way. I'm very offended that you would brandish all us Christians with the same brush. The second thing is this, don't joke about hell if you don't know anything about it. I can't offer you any other proof than what the Bible says, but that should be enough for you. The Bible says that hell is a place of fire where, "Their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched." Hell is not a place for righteous people but for sinners. John 3 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved." William, let me tell you that God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. He loved us so much that He gave up His only Son for us. Now, what would you give up for someone you loved? I bet it wouldn't be your son. I bet you would never voluntarily sacrifice your life for someone else. Yet, Jesus Christ did that. The thing is this. We have all lied, stolen, cheated, blasphemed and have been adulterers. We have all done terrible sins, and we all deserve to go to hell. "But God, who is rich in mercy" (Ephesians 2:4) provided the way for us to be saved from our sins. All you have to do is recognise that you're a sinner and then trust Him for forgiveness of those sins. Then, and only then, will you be saved. That's all I have to say.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Matt 🙂
      May our Lord shine His face upon you and surround you with beauty of His Presence!

      February 26, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  12. Jokesterer

    Dobson should try praying to Tebow.

    February 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Michaelwg

      At least Tebow could actually answer the guy

      February 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  13. mickey

    GOD: God is the Creator of the universe in all its dimensions and the source of Knowledge in all sentient beings.
    God has sent a New Revelation, a Teaching and a Pathway to rekindle humanity’s relationship with the Creator as we face living in a declining world. The New Message comes with the Will and Power of God to unite the world’s religions, to end our ceaseless conflicts and to call forth the greater gifts that each person has brought into the world. The New Message is the largest Revelation of its kind ever to be given to humanity.
    We stand at the threshold of Great Waves of environmental, economic and political upheaval and change which will alter the face of Earth. Humanity must unite to prevent collapse from within and subjugation from without.
    Each of us has been sent into the world for a greater purpose, waiting to be discovered. This greater purpose resides beyond the realm and the reach of the intellect, in Knowledge that lives deep within us.
    KNOWLEDGE: Knowledge is the core reality within us, a deeper mind beyond the intellect, and is our direct connection to God. Knowledge represents the part of us that has never left God. Instinct and Intuition are at the surface of Inner Knowledge.
    We live in a Greater Community of intelligent life in the universe for which humanity must prepare.
    We live in both a mental and physical environment. The mental environment contains forces that affect our thinking and emotions and that can dominate us until we become strong with Knowledge.


    February 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Time to up your dosage, your lunatic side is showing again.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Ah, what will lucifer do just to convince the stray ones to join him, saying man doesn't need Christ Jesus the Messiah, the ONLY One by whom man(kind) may be saved, but that any ole "god" will do?!... and all religions united they'll make it.... The old slime still does the same as he did with out first parents...spews deceptions to snare human souls!....
      he knows exactly what rebellious human nature desires: world without Christ Jesus the King of kings and LORD of lords, where there is no holy standard, no such thing as sin, and man is god to himself! Not a new story, all's been heard before!
      But you have swallowed the bait hook. line and sinker, as multi-tude others have in their desire of independence from true God their Creator and Maker of everything that exists.

      Go and do yourself a favor.... Long time ago there was a man named John Bunyan.. He wrote a short, little book, named Visions of Heaven and Hell. It'll do everyone of you some good to read it. If it doesn't convince you, at least it will decide and define who you really are! But you won't be able to say you didn't know, and no one told you!

      February 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • momoya


      Why is god so horrible that he needs to save us from himself?

      It sounds pretty stupid, really. God sacrifices himself to himself in order to save mankind from himself. If he weren't such a do.u.che he could have just not gotten mad in the first place, or he could just forgive us. But no... Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins so.... love god or burn. What a freakshow!

      February 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dear soul, Is your mind so twisted that you cn't discern between God and the devil... Yes indeed, the enemy of your soul has pulled dark veil over youar heart, mind and all youar soul, that you can't see for the darkness that's enveloping you!
      Yet you spew your frivolous and presumptious words, and have no fear of hurling blasphemies against God whom you do not know, and so eagerly want to deny! But all youar raging inside of you, and outward attempts to disceedit Him of WHO HE IS has no effect on the TRUTH that HE is the Lord God who gave you life, and to whom you will have to account for it.
      You can't do away with fact that you have an apointment to meet, and then you will find out that the very One you made sport for yourself in mocking Him, He is the very one you needed, and He is the only One who would have kept you out of that place of the damned called Hell, which is the destination of alt those who rejected Him.
      You have only one life, only one chance. Don't think that you have it forever.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • momoya

      So... no answer then?

      February 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  14. A Guy

    I'm sincerely interested in knowing what this man thinks he would do if he did not have his wife. Surely, he's very fortunate to have help, but I wonder if he truly thinks about what his faith would be like if he didn't have health insurance/ people to care for him. Does he praise God for choosing him to experience how "fearfully and wonderfully made" the human body is?

    Along those lines, I'm always astounded that religious people thank God for the diseases God created and apparently allocated them to experience. I wish I understood that phenomenon (is it just Stockholm Syndrome?).

    February 24, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  15. Susan

    There seems to be so much hatred towards Christians and I feel great pity to those who have it in their hearts and feel the need to say nasty statements on sites such as these. You must deep down be hurting from some incident in your past to do that. And you are so far off the mark. The Christian message is one of love and hope, for a purpose and meaning in this life and a life in heaven thereafter. We are able to have a relationship with our maker, which is an amazing thing for those of us who are saved, who know first hand. those who dont know and have not had thier eyes opened I pray that you will. We are not trying to push evil, or a hurtful opinion, we are trying to show those of you who are lost, that there is more to life and that you can have such joy, peace and healing if only you would ask for it. There is no ritual, or prerequisite, no one is too sinful to apply. Its free. Why would you say that it is evil. Man left alone chose eviul and invited it into this world and just look at the mess we are in now. How much pain and suffering and evil there is and it is all of US. Thats your evil. Mankind, not God. You dont see it because you are ignorant of the truth the bible says. Well I pray Pastor Dobson. At the end of the day we are still all human (in the fesh) and we still all go through hard times. The chirstian road was never promised as being an easy one. He needs to fix his sights on his eternal reward and his stored treasures in Heaven. Satan will attack us and try to discourage us and bring us down, but he can never take us from the clutch of God once we are saved. We can therefore have a supernatural Hope through Jesus Christ. I pray that Pastor Dobson is comforted and at peace, ultimately he will spend eternity with the one whom he has served so faithfully these past years. God Bless!

    February 24, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • A Guy

      Your logic is fundamentally flawed. In your model God created man who created evil. The root creator of evil there is God, who created man. According to the Gospel of John God created "all things." God created evil and sin. Obviously evil and sin are a part of God.

      I don't hate Christians; I hate the way they abuse themselves and others.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • NickZadick

      We don't mean to belittle you or insult you bt mocking organised religion... We just want to bring you in the moden age and accept that there is no afterlife and you should live this life to its fullest because it's the only one we have! Bronze age fairy tales should not run your life...the fact that the general message of organised religion is love and understanding changes nothing... I, as a non-believer of ancient myths, am very considerate, friendly, generous and a lot of good qualities. I do not need to be promised Disney Land in the sky to behave like a descent person! I am sorry ALL organised religions are just stories made up by humans and there is no one watching you and rating your score of good deads... the fact it brings you peace is not important.... I regurarly ridicule believers here, NOT to mock you...but to try and make you realise the truth...WHY????? because I refuse the reality of this planet that most of it's inhabitants are gullible enough to beleive in stories that make santa claus seem factual!

      February 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You are crazy, we are same.

      It's not that complicated. Your God exists only in your twisted little mind.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Susan, your post was loving, sincere and one to touch a lost sheep's heart. But we are not all "sheep". There are those who are "goats" . Christ spoke of this. He also said that the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) This is the main reason for their rejection of truth and their blasphemies. They will also trample the treasure that you bring out of your heart as swine trample whatever is in their way, not discerning it being a treasure!
      God bless and keep you, dear soul!

      February 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • LibsDestroyAmerica

      Athiests are not all bad people but most of the worst people are all athiests...............

      February 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Reasongal.

      To LibsDestroy: You state that most of the worst people are atheists – please cite some statistics to support that. I do know that prisons are full of Christians and very few atheists. Atheists value what you do, family, love, freedom, equity for all – we just don't believe in a deity, any deity. You disbelieve in all deities except one (and of course you have lots of "reasons" you believe he is the only/right one, however, you have no way to establish that, and if you were born in a Muslim country, you would be a dedicated Muslim.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ Reasongal
      No, not all atheists are going around doing evil things, and many of them live decent lives, believing in right principles, hating the evil deeds that are done by those who disregard other human beings and treat them unjustly. But they believe that their view of life, good life they live and what they are is out of their own goodness, and they ascribe all this to themselves.
      It is also true that many religious people have been deceived into thinking that their belief and acknowledging existence of God makes them qualified to be part of His Kingdom in the world to come.

      Both of these groups of people are very mislead!

      February 26, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • mommatocharlie

      actually, this is a response to Nick. You don't know the truth, and you can't stand the truth.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  16. Shrim

    I feel sorry for this man or anyone afflicted with a similar disease. Too bad there's probably no god around to miraculously heal him.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  17. Jim Davis

    Religion is Evil. Those who push it are Evil doers. There's a special place in Hell for those "money changers at the Temple" who sell God and I will be stoking the fires to keep them warm. LOL!!!!

    February 24, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • Robert

      Evil is evil, and has nothing to do with 'religion.' If I steal, murder, lie, etc. that is wrong, plain and simple. It's sad when people can't even show compassion to a dying man.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Ron Ford

      Do you plan to stoke the fires of hell from inside that place of horror? I sincerely hope not.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  18. Asherah Akrudakrud

    Religion is a work of love, and a work of understanding. The Jews and Christians and many Muslims and the Buddhists and the Hindus understand that. The pagans did, and the neopagans do, as well. So what this pastor does is quite a mitzvah, for his religion. Cool.

    February 24, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Bhavana

      Hey Tim:I'm curious what your views on Satan are. Do you beviele such a being actually exists or do you see Satan as a man-made myth, man's attempt to explain evil? Miss you at work. Stop by when you come to play racquetball.Dan

      November 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  19. Kat

    Our thoughts determine our lives

    February 24, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  20. yneemee

    His only regret should be his getting involved with Jerry Falwell and the so-called Moral Majority – big mistake – those guys were as far away from true Christianity as you can get... short of being Muslim that is

    February 24, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • momoya

      Shoot! The bible is has waaaaaay more magic and flying horses and zombies and such than the Koran. The christian fairy tale is much more crazy than the muslim fairy tale. Maybe the Koran needs to add a little more magic to make more even.

      February 24, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Momoya u were part of the flying-horses-and-zombies gang for 50yrs and now u put that tag on everybody else. Unfortunately the modern X'tian is not. Most start with science rather than theology. The concept that religion esp X'tianity and Science r hostile is a myth promoted by your new religion!

      February 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      I could see u were on song yesterday but my net went down so I couldn't respond. You still have not read your Big Bang Theory have U? I also wonder what Church u attended and ministered for? You never say! Is it that it won't be accepted as X'tian if u do?

      February 24, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Asherah Akrudakrud

      yeah, Falwell is a bit of a nut. LOL.

      February 24, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • A Guy

      Or short of being an internet troll.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:27 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.