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. Barry G.

    My friend,

    We're all facing death.

    Do you really want to abandon the message (the logos/word), which was from the beginnig, for some other ideas?

    "Be faithful until death, and you will receive a crown of life.

    March 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      barry: perhaps his view of the message simply changed.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  2. Aesops

    Jesus is real. The Bible is certainly NOT mythology. This is a conflation of truth. The Biblical text ranges from direct dictation from God (Moses and the ten commandments) to literary hyperbole. All Biblical text is recorded by man, but superintended by God. In other words, it's not the case that the Apostles (etc) were under some strange incantation or trance when they were writing the scriptures. They were certainly influence by the society, culture and and customs etc... Tradition stories from places like Egypt, Babylon and Assyria are considered to by myth. I'm actually not aware of any tradition stories that are unique to the ancient Hebrews and they did in fact borrow various myths from places like Babylon and Egypt. However, the fact that they borrowed myths in the telling of various accounts and stories is indeed a method that was used to point to more important Spiritual realities that were guided by God. So, the Bible itself is NOT a mythology, but the way that the word is transmitted is through methods that were familiar to the ancient world, but superintended by God.

    March 14, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • momoya


      March 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      So, it is literary hyperbole, but it is NOT myth....thanks for making that clear

      March 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Aesops, This is a case of tradition, well, you know what they say when the word tradition is used, this means that a thing may or may not be true in how its done, or what was done, sort of word of mouth. But, in the scripture Amos 3v7, in the book of remembrance named for us in Malachi 3v16, yet we call it the OT, this scripture in Amos tells us that YHWH the Almighty does nothing without His servants the prophets. Also, in Deut.18, the people asked Moses if the Creator YHWH could not speak, for His voice was so powerful that they may die, and YHWH agreed to send other prophets who will be as the prophet Moses was to teach, and reveal, and speak for YHWH to the people what is the truth all the way from Moses on to the last prophet Malachi is how we are to know the true Word of the Heavenly Strong One YHWH. Yes, what is said by YHWH is most important, and must by given, and superintended by YHWH first, and foremost. Otherwise, its just word of mouth, tradition, and is mythical when not said by YHWH through His prophet.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Dzerres

    I never get this point: when someone is miraculously cured of a mysterious illness God gets all the credit however when someone, in this case a high profile religious person, is struck down with a mysterious illness and is going to die, God never gets the blame. Why? How about this: there is no God and this kind of stuff just happens. That's a lot more believable.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • chris

      when you are part of a miracle that there are no other answers for – you know it is God – God doesn't promise us no suffering
      the blind men was blind so others could see gods glory when he was healed. Ed Dobson is right in the middle of God's will. Look at all the people he is touching with the word of God that he would not have had he not suffered this disease. God has an awesome plan for everyone of us. Ed was chosen by God because his faith is strong and he has a close connection to God.
      There is no doubt God calls Ed FRIEND.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Dzerres, What does happen is unforseen occurrences, and this is life. Stuff happens, and who do we blame?, is always the controversy. We are and have been for centuries living in a world out of harmony with the Creator YHWH, just remember this we all want to do what we decide to do, as our hearts desire, written for us in Jeremiah 17v8,9,10.. We were given this choice, for YHWH wants us to be with Him wholeheartedly, and giving us a choice to do what we want, feel, or decide to, and for most it is an act of mercy from YHWH. Just as this video clip said, that there were polynician beliefs of many gods in the beginning, but the prophets came to teach us to know better, that there was only One true Creator YHWH, not yahweh, because in the original languages of Hebrew, and Arabic, consonants were not in existence, so His name is YHWH. With Abraham, he obeyed the law of YHWH, in Genesis 26v5, but many lost there way later doing other gods again, as we all do today, the history repeats itself, for people will be people, right? And YHWH is good to us He gives us the time to get it right, and there has been many mislead as always was in our history, its a process, to come into harmony with YHWH, people fall short, and is why YHWH left for us the scripture Ezekiel 34, where He will save the flocks in His time. Also, there is a future prophecy of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31v31-40, for all nations, again in YHWHs time. The wars of YHWH in our history were only for our good, this was YHWH ridding us of the wicked ones teaching false ways misleading us to where we are today, all gone astray from Him and His law of righteousness, and peace, and living, and eating right, and is why many are ill from not living rightous by ourselves, and others. Having in differences, poverty, hate, greed, etc..etc... and well, here we are now.

      March 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  4. Lorraine

    Momoya, and Hlong, what you Hlong call satan, was nothing but 'pride' that was within Job in Job40v3-12 and Job 42v1-6 of his repent to YHWH. And the sons of God, this is greatly misunderstood, they are the (men) who are of the original linage of Adam, who were of the law of YHWH, just as Abraham was in Genesis 26v5, before there were any written law. Momoya, you tend to think that there is no history in the book of remembrance in Malachi 3v16, its true name not OT, but tell me how does one miss the history of Alexander the Great, killed, then replaced by Ptolemy, then Cyrus the Great, the persian who conquered king Neb. under the command of YHWH in Ezra 1,2, Chronicles 36v21-23, Daniel 9v25, of the Prince, and Messiah and governor of Judah who was Zerrubabbel his slave name Sheshbazar under Cyrus to restore Jerusalem, and in Isaiah 44v28, and Isaiah 45v1-22 of the anointed Cyrus. This all looks like history fulfilled. And, not to slight the book of Danel 7v23, prophesiding the 10 horns of govermental rulers, from Agustus Caesar, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Antiochus, and others, to Constantine, so what part of history are you not recognizing here?

    March 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Aesops

      Momoya is evangelizing atheism and stupidity.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • momoya

      @ Aesop

      I'm unsure why you're so obsessed with me, but whatever it is, it must have really struck home..

      I believe I mentioned this before, but I do not "evangelize" for atheism.. In fact, I most often tell believers to CONTINUE in their silly faith–whatever it is.. I don't recall ever asking any believer to turn away from her faith.. Often, the believer really needs it for one reason or another, and I don't want to see people go without that which they need–even if it's a religion.

      March 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  5. Lorraine

    sam stone, I just said that YHWH the only Redeemer, and Savior, in Isaiah 49v26, and Isaiah 60v16; is no religion, it is the spirituality of our life, the connection of what we all are to one another. The harmony of life when its done by righteousness, and peace, no matter the skin..Jeremiah 31v31-40, a future prophecy. This is not religion made by man, not hardly. We (all) are responsible of our own righteousness, as told to us in Ezekiel 14v14.

    March 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      it most certainly a religion

      March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      You go on quoting a book written by man, whjich serves as the basis for a religion, then claim the religion is not man made.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  6. Aesops

    "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." -1 John 4:17, 18.

    Thank God, that through the gospel plan, love can be perfected (reach it's goal) in your life, thus eliminating that despair and dread of expected punishment (lake of fire, etc...) – and putting in its' place, boldness in the day of judgment! Such teachings in God's Word should be esteemed with the most sober attention and application.

    March 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  7. Lorraine

    All atheist, Well, I do have to agree, that all religions are not of YHWH, YHWH is spiritual, the spriituality of righteousness, in Jeremiah 23v1-8, His movement, and it is in progress, after the bombings on Lebanon, in 2006, it was raised to the public to call, 1-773-874-0325, and YHWH wants us all to connect as one, and do His law, made for us for it is our life in Duet.32v45-47, to prolong it, as said in Isaiah 53v10, of the servant's life as well. YHWH is Not to divide us. And this is what religions do, they divide the masses, and reap off of the gain. Religions are all politics, one way, or another. There is indifference, hate, poverty, and control in religions, and there are some good intentions to a certain degree, but lets face it is this goodness intended for all equally?, much of it is pretense.

    March 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      Of course, Lorraine....YOUR religion is the right one.....

      March 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  8. Charlie

    Very misleading headline to this article. It would make you think Dobson is doubting Christianity – nothing could be further from the truth. CNN, your anit-Christian bias is showing... again!

    March 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      feeling a bit put upon, charlie?

      March 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • hilreal

      Are we reading the same headline? Most people rethink their religion almost every day as our lives, experiences, study,etc. change. Only the weak of mind and spirit would let their spirituality stagnate.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  9. Roman

    So a Christian is being jailed by Muslims and yet all of you bash Christianity? I don't see Christians putting muslims in prison or killing the "non believers"

    March 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • JOEL

      Roman....Your kidding right? guantanamo bay for starters?

      March 13, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • frank

      JOEL - You must be kidding right. Do you know what those people in jail did?

      March 13, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • frank

      When you are young and healthy, life has no ending in sight, then as you get older, you know the end is near.

      March 13, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • sam stone

      When you know the end is near, so you start fearing retaliation from the god you've been taught?

      March 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Your kidding right? guantanamo bay for starters?"

      "You must be kidding right. Do you know what those people in jail did?"

      The funniest part of that statement is that the government doesn't even know what "those people did" and were water boarding taxi drivers and 15 year old kids that did nothing more than resist foreign invaders or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They have admitted as much by their releasing hundreds of them with no charges. I will agree that most of the ones left likely have more ties to terrorism than the thousands sent there under Bush, but that doesn't make it any less true that we were "putting muslims in prison".

      March 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Charlie

      Major differnce here. Iran has sentenced this pastor do death for his faith in Jesus Christ. The people in GitMo are not there because of their faith or belief in Allah or Muhammad.. We provide Korans, prayer rugs, halal meals, etc. I don't think Iran is treating Pastor Youcef with the same level of dignity.

      March 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  10. Aesops

    Life is like a vapor.
    You are not going to suffer forever. YOu can have all of eternity in joy and bliss.
    For the pain and suffering of this world is incomparable to the glory to be revealed.
    Your time is limited. Seventy or eighty years maximum, if you have strength.
    You don't have all of the time you think you have to play with the sin and pleasures of this world. Live for Jesus now. For it is appointed for man or woman to die once, then afterwards comes judgement. Be heavenly minded and do not dwell on things of the earth that shall pass away.

    March 13, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • momoya

      You have no way to know that your belief on those items is accurate or inaccurate.. Since there is no way to prove what you believe, you use faith–which is exactly what every believer of every faith uses.. You have no argument or reasoning that the muslim doesn't also have and use to the same effect.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • sam stone

      do what you feel is right and don't fear the rest

      March 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      "For the pain and suffering of this world is incomparable to the glory to be revealed."

      If you truly believe that, what are you doing here? Is Jesus not waiting for you?

      March 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jon

      @Sam Stone

      "If you truly believe that, what are you doing here? Is Jesus not waiting for you?"

      You are obviously not familiar with the Bible. Ever heard of the Great Commission?

      March 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      I have heard of the Great Commission. Basically, it asks people to go forth and convince others that you know that nature of god, and they should listen to you. I prefer The Great Compromise....great song

      March 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jon


      Yes, but based on hard evidence attested to by thousands of eye-witnesses, not "Here I am! Become a Christian because I said so!"

      The point is, that's why Christians remain on the earth. So don't ask someone why they are still here when you know very well why (whether you agree with it is another issue).

      March 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  11. Aesops

    @Jezebel momoya

    Next time, try to do a better job of ripping of sources such as Richard Dawkins. What you posted is just a bunch of recycled garbage.

    March 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • momoya

      I don't know where the material originally came from, Aesops.. I did give credit to the person who posted it on the belief blogs.. I am not an "evangelist" atheist, and I always tell god believers that they should not give up their faith; my goal is ONLY to increase the level of critical reasoning in the discourse.. My goal is NEVER conversion.

      Would you like to discuss a particular point you found interesting, or would you like to continue to call names and hide your eyes?. I'm good either way..

      March 13, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  12. Aesops

    Just ignore Momoya.

    Momoya is a confused Jezebel that seeks to lead others astray.

    March 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • momoya

      ***The following list is not mine (momoya) but copied and pasted from member "Colin" from the following link

      There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Catholic religion” argument.

      1. At its most fundamental level, Catholicism requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

      While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

      Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

      2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

      3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

      4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

      5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

      6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.a..p.e and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

      7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $eksual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

      Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

      8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

      9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

      Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

      Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • JOEL

      So why the hissyfit on momoya? faith a little wobbly there. Why didnt you come up with something to counter what he said? Ignore his recycled garbage thats the best you could come up with< thats the best you could do? Come on man your letting alot of us down out here. There has been and continues to be a lot of killing out there, for a weak argument like that. Do you realize that you would be taken more seriously if your heros were not multi millionaires, and everything you do picks on the weak and marginalized, your acceptance of every war that comes down the pipe.... I personally would be happy if you got a small sense right and wrong on your own, just baby steps on your way to religious.

      March 13, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  13. Y Siu Hlong


    Maybe when you grow up you will learn some humility as well as the principle that if you insult someone, it makes it harder for them to agree with you. IE, the only thing you do by constantly coming on these blogs EVERYDAY and writing these same trite lines over and over again, is to reinforce the religious persons beliefs. You do absolutely nothing to allow them to see your point. IE, you polarize people to their corners. If your purpose is to strengthen those that believe in Christianity, you are very good at doing it.

    March 12, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  14. Y Siu Hlong

    I really enjoy the vedeo of this short movie. I do believe God wil use each us one of this day to fulfill his purpose, instead of preahing for athousand people, but we have to go one by one to share the word of God is more affectivly and more impotant for God. I agree with the pastor about the decision he made to follow the instruction of God Holispirits called him to do. I really impressed. Amen!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  15. Y Siu Hlong

    How does the presence of Devil Challenge Christian world views?
    From the beginning of the universe there was a good God (the light of the world) and a bad god represents the darkness it was known as devil and devil was named Satan or Lucifer. He was a fallen angel who tried to against God. In the book to Everyone An Answer written by Francis J. Beckwith, WILLIAM lane Craig and J. P. Moreland said “The battle between Good and Evil has already been going on forever and will continue forever in to the future”(p.209).

    Satan is also called the original sin or serpent that deceived or persuaded Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden, the accuser of Job in the Old Testament and keep to in lure all the Christian every single day unceasingly.
    Sa Tan tries to destroy the Christian world view that believe in God loyalty and return back to the non- believer world view loving the material things which we can see touch or smell and left God behind .For example: “In the book of Job, ha-Satan is a member of the divine council, “the sons of God" who are subservient to God. Ha-Satan, in this capacity, is many times translated as "the prosecutor", and is charged by God to tempt humans and to report back to God all who go against His decrees. At the beginning of the book, Job is a good person "who feared God and turned away from evil" (Job 1:1).
    Since job very to loyal to God, Satan asked permission from God to test job put Job for several temptations, but Job never failed or turned away from God. At the end Job was blessed by God and He regained his lost from this example, we could learn that Job had set Good example for Christian today must follow, some time God want to train us for his purposes that we do not know, therefore a good stable Christian what ever happen just say thank God and also pray and ask God for help to deal with all kinds of temptation. “Pray that ye enter not INTO temptation” (Luck 22: 40). The Bible said clearly, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (testing/tempting): for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the LORD hath promised to them that love Him” (James1:12).
    In short, as Christian we must always be prepared, loyal and faithful with God because evil never live us alone the book of Mat26: 41(NIV) “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” Paul also remind us that we must “Be self-control and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for it prey. Resist him, stand firm in your faith, remembering that the strain is the same for all your follow-Christians in other part of the world. And after you have born these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong(1 pet 5: 8 -10(Phi)

    March 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  16. Sue Thom

    One can only rejoice that this evil, arrogant right-wing bigot will soon be pushing up daisies. The world is a far rottener place with delusional religious fanatics like this running around. Hey Dobson, enjoy a nice slow painful death, as the hate you spewed comes back on you!!

    March 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • trav

      you dont know jack

      March 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • David

      You're a real sicko. Who's the one spewing hate? The one trying to show people what they believe to be the way to achieve eternal life or the one wishing death on those who believe differently from them. Just something to think about.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • SaintGenesius

      I could not agree with you more. The people who are defending Dobson either don't know who he is and what he has done or they are of the same bigoted ilk. I'm tired of hearing about how we all need to respect everyone's religious beliefs which are based on fairy tales, myths and nonsense. Dobson was the christian equivalent of the taliban, a fool who wants to take us back a couple thousand years.

      The world will be a better place without him.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Robert

      Careful Sue, be wary of Karma. This guy has survived with a disease for 11 years that takes most in two to three. As an agnostic, some of the nicest people in the world I have met are religious. Why so much hate against religious people such as Dobson??

      March 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Robert

      You're an agnostic warning somebody about Karma?. 0.o

      March 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • JOEL

      Sue you are the only one here who seems to remember what a rotten human being this guy was. I dont wish him the pain you do but when he was healthy he couldnt have cared less about the unhealthy or especially the poor. where these religious types lose it is their idea of what a christian is. Remember no rich guy gets in....drives em crazy.

      March 13, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  17. Carole Lewis

    Why was the headline for this article "Facing death, Pastor rethinks Christianity"??? Pastor Dobson is not "rethinking Christianity" ...he is trying to adjust to a change in his life and figure out how to best cope with the loss of being a Pastor of a large congregation.

    March 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  18. Peter E

    Actually this is in line with Jesus's lessons: being a true Christian is not about constantly self-aggrandizing in front of others, pushing one's beliefs on others, like Rick Santorum does, but rather to be humble, praying privately, accepting the Lord, and whatever God's Love provides.
    Maybe that is the lesson God wanted to teach Dobson... Too bad CNN is ruining it by making it a national new story.

    March 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  19. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    March 11, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      Maybe when you grow up you will learn some humility as well as the principle that if you insult someone, it makes it harder for them to agree with you. IE, the only thing you do by constantly coming on these blogs EVERYDAY and writing these same trite lines over and over again, is to reinforce the religious persons beliefs. You do absolutely nothing to allow them to see your point. IE, you polarize people to their corners. If your purpose is to strengthen those that believe in Christianity, you are very good at doing it.

      March 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • trav

      your right! eligion is dead and man-made. Christianity is a relationship and God made. deal with it cuz it wont change

      March 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      trav: christianity is man made. deal with it cuz it will not change

      March 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      @Caesar, this is just a response to someone who posts the opposite message over and over.

      March 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  20. Lorraine

    Jack Leddy, you, and many are straddeling two sides of the fence, some knowingly, and others unknowingly. It does not help for one to ridicule, and be sarcastic at the same time,. These calamities are from the worldwinds of YHWH being angry with us about our pride, and selfishness against others, and mainly of Him, and His Word. What I pray for is that many will begin to open up to the truth of YHWH, and find their seed, ( find themselves), to stay on one side of the fence towards wisdom, and knowledge, and truth, and above all peace. Until then we are, and will continue to be in a mess.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:35 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.