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November 28th, 2012
02:25 PM ET

‘Two and a Half Men’ actor’s criticism of show shines light on Seventh-day Adventists

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Alabama-based evangelist Christopher Hudson has posted online videos promoting his Seventh-day Adventist faith for years, but none generated the response of the one he posted a few days ago, featuring “Two and a Half Men” actor Angus T. Jones.

The video shows Jones, the CBS sitcom’s “half man,” describing the show he has appeared in for nearly a decade as “filth” and discouraging viewers from tuning in - which has attracted a crush of media attention.

Hudson, who flew to Los Angeles last week to tape the video with the 19-year-old actor, says his phone has been ringing off the hook ever since he posted the video online on Sunday.

Suddenly, reporters and plenty of others who’ve tuned into the wildly popular “Two and Half Men” want to know about the Seventh-day Day Adventist tradition, which Jones says in the online video he has recently joined, connecting his conversion to his new outlook on the show.

“I just kept learning the basic messages of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Jones says in the video, telling of stopping into a Seventh-day Adventist Church with a friend recently and finding himself gripped by the pastor’s message. “I just loved it.”

“Some of my family was like, 'Oh, he’s joining that SDA church – those cults' …  and tried to get me to get out of there,” Jones continues in the video. “But I didn’t feel like I was being fooled. I could study it for myself.”

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In a statement released Tuesday, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America says Jones joined one of its Southern California congregations in June.

“Recently, Angus made some statements concerning his spiritual journey and expressed his views concerning the television program Two and a Half Men,” the statement says. “These comments are of a personal nature, reflecting his views after having undergone changes during his spiritual journey.”

“We welcome him with open arms to the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church family and are excited about his commitment to God through his recent baptism at his church.”

Religion scholars say they were not surprised by Jones’ comments deriding “Two and a Half Men,” speculating that his remarks might speak to the zeal of a new convert and to some of the particular tenets of Seventh-day Adventism.

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“Seventh-day Adventism has traditionally sought to practice a purity of life in all its expressions - leading a healthy lifestyle in all ways,” says Dell De Chant, a religious studies professor at the University of Southern Florida. “For Seventh-day Adventists, the body is God’s temple.”

“Everything from bad food to bad jokes would be considered a religious violation,” he says, referring to the raunchy humor that is a hallmark of “Two and a Half Men.”

One explanation for the abstemious Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle - which includes avoiding meat and alcohol - is a belief that we are living in the end times, and that Jesus Christ’s return is imminent.

The Seventh-day Adventist faith, part of the Protestant Christian tradition, emerged in the mid-1800s among a group of Americans who were anticipating the end of the world in a very real sense.

After the predicted date came and went - an event known to history as the “Great Disappointment” - the visions of a leader named Ellen White led to a reinterpretation of biblical prophesy and gave birth to the Seventh-day Adventists.

The tradition, which claims 17 million members around the world, takes its name from its observance of the Saturday Sabbath.

It still has an apocalyptic orientation. Hudson, the evangelist who taped the Jones video, is fond of citing the Book of Revelation, which revolves around the end of the world.

“We are sharing the gospel to hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ,” says Hudson, who contacted Jones through a California-based Seventh-day Adventist ministry.

Speaking about “Two and a Half Men," which was in the headlines last year after the very public departure of star Charlie Sheen, Hudson says, “We don’t want anything debilitating our natural capacities in our mind.”

“We have to cast off the works of darkness, from fornication to drunkenness to the things that may be a part of pop culture,” he says.

In its statement on Tuesday, the Seventh-day Adventist Church alludes to Hudson, saying the person who hosts the media ministry where the Jones interview was posted is not a Seventh-day Adventist pastor.

Hudson, for his part, says he was born into the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was baptized in the year 2000, describing himself as an evangelist who “travels around and shares the message of Jesus.”

His ministry, the Forerunner Chronicles, posted the video on its website.

On Tuesday, Jones released a statement apologizing for possibly offending the cast and crew of “Two and a Half Men” in the video.

“I have been the subject of much discussion, speculation and commentary over the past 24 hours,” Jones says in the statement. “While I cannot address everything that has been said or right every misstatement or misunderstanding, there is one thing I want to make clear.

“Without qualification,” the statement continues, “I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family. “

The statement does not mention Jones’ newfound faith. But Hudson says he talked to Jones on Monday and that “he is certainly maintaining himself quite well.”

“I really have a great deal of respect for this young man,” Hudson says. “He is mature beyond his years.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • TV

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soundoff (543 Responses)
  1. Cris

    Weird how Charlie Sheen received so much support as a crazy, drug addicted, morally corrupt individual but this young man is being torn apart for getting off of drugs, finding God and wanting to lead a decent life. You cant hate someone who chooses a particular path for themselves. You may not agree with his personal decisions just like he or others may not agree with yours. Would you want to be so horribly judged by people who do not know you, know your journey and constantly tear you down for your own personal life decisions? This is America. We have the freedom to believe in God or not, have a religion or not. If you choose to not believe in God or a church so be it. Shall we throw stones for your non belief. Would you want to be so harshly judged? Probably not.

    November 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Cris,

      who is picking on Angus T. Jones here? He's basically still a kid. A child actor no less with all the problems that seem to come with that.

      The problem here is Christopher Hudson using him for propaganda and potentially destroying his career.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't remeber Charlie getting alot of support, I remember people making fun of him being a crazy nutbag that blew a good gig. Same thing here.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  2. Evangelical

    He's right. That show is filth. However, I cannot understand why he continues to work on such a filthy show.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      because, like most christians, he is a hypocrite.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  3. Pastor Jeremiah

    As a Seventh-day Adventist minister let me state that Hudson does in no way represent the beliefs of SDAs. In fact to the contrary we believe in Salvation through Jesus Christ, not paranoia of the kind that Hudson spreads.

    With that said I praise God Jones has given his life to Christ! The best decision someone can make!

    November 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • nlang

      It totally represents the true beleifs of the SDA Church. True grace transforms and changes life so that the image of Christ can be reproduced in the followers. That TV show is really not appropriate for a Christian.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Eyes of Reason

      Mr. Hudson did not say anything in the video. AT Jones spoke his heart. Lets not attack the guy that simply says what others are not willing to say. If Mr. Hudson is of the devil then his ministry will fail. Lets be glad that Mr. Jones has dedicated his life to Jesus...lets just see how he'll work this out with his contract.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Eyes of Reason,

      but what Christopher Hudson did was release this video.

      This video has a very strong chance of destroying this young man's career. He used Angus T. Jones' naivete to promote his own propagandist agenda with no thought regarding the consequences to an individual who is too young to understand that his celebrity was being taken advantage of.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • SDA Christian

      As a Seventh-day Adventist christian let me state that PASTOR JEREMIAH does in no way represent the HISTORICAL beliefs of SDAs. In fact to the contrary WE HAVE ALWAYS believed in Salvation through Jesus Christ, AND WE PREACH CHRIST THROUGH THE PROPHETIC WORD WHICH IS NOT paranoia of the kind that PASTOR JEREMIAH ACCUSES Hudson OF spreadING.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • SDA Christian

      I respect Angus' comments about the moral decay of this show.
      Hudson's videos sicken me. I would never call him an evangelist. Christopher Hudson is a conspiracy theorist.
      Some news sources are calling him an Adventist Pastor. I don't know him personally, but when I search the http://www.sdayearbook.org website his name does not appear as having credentials or that his "ministry" has any affiliation with the SDA church.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Hansmojo

      I know nothing about what the guy who interviewed Angus believes or teaches, however, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has stated that he is not a minister for the church and I think it is critical that people realize this. He apparently has his own independent ministry (I have no idea what it teaches I haven't listened to his videos and only found out about this guy when the news about Angus came out). I would recommend to anyone that wants to know what the Adventist church teaches, that you go straight to the source. Anyone can claim to be a member of any church or organization and make a youtube video and post it on their website. But when that organization then makes it a point to officially state in the media that the guy doesn't represent them...well that should tell you something.

      What I do know is that I will be praying for Angus as he seeks to serve the Lord in his life. God bless you Angus!

      November 29, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  4. David Ouellette

    Angus has found a new religion and is being over-zealous. He's young, he'll learn. In the meantime, you never go against your best interests – being publicly critical of the hit show he's on is a mistake. Never hit the goose that lays the golden eggs. Maybe someday he will get into a more sensible religious belief system.

    November 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Zargoth

      "...get into a more sensible religious belief system..."

      But there is nothing sensible about any religious belief system, by definition, because it insists upon legitimacy wth out any proof.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • HNBC

      I might be inclined to give attention to his comments if he had quit the show before making them. As long as he is still connected to the show, his words have no meaning or validity.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Hey prayer-bot, did you show up on the 'pay-per-pray' to win the lottery thread yet.

      We've been expecting you.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Eric

      Then why is it that Atheists make up nearly 20% of the population outside of prisons and less than 1% in? But don't worry about these mere facts – you can still believe in yout 2000 year old zombie god.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Eric,

      in all fairness, atheists are much less than 20%. The 20% number is 'unaffilliated' (or nothing in particular) which includes people who are non-demoninational Christians and people who consider themselves 'spiritual but not religious' without having a specific religious affilliation, in addition to the atheists + agnostics who now count for 5.7% according to Pew.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and in all fairness, the actual atheist/agnostic prison rate is .02% - still a fraction of 5.7%. which proves his point - atheists commit less crime than christians.

      also, in all fairness - the rate of christians going to prison is higher than the population in this country - which is more proof to the above point. when you look up the statistics of religious affiliation in prison, keep in mind that most of the muslims were christians when they entered prison - converted while there.

      these statistical facts show that christians don't have a higher sense of morality/ethics than the non-religious, though they like to pretend they do. it shows you can be a good person without religion.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  6. Nancy

    He's right. More people should speak up like he has, but no one is willing to take the flack. It's sort of like "look! the Emperor has no clothes on!" True, but no one is brave enough to say it. (Maybe because of atheistic trolls....)

    November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Answer

      An education wouldn't hurt an idiot like yourself Nancy...

      You do know your (particular) religion is all bs right? And if you peeps all died tomorrow it will be a glorious event for mankind.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, nancy, he sure is a brave hypocrite. he spoke up, even as he lives in a giant mansion and has earned millions from the filth he decries - none of it which he is offering to give back. he also came out and apologized and recanted his statement about the show being filth. so looks like his greedy side won out over his pious side.

      if you don't like the show, turn the channel. the math is simple. stop crying.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  7. End Religion

    Kiss your millions goodbye. The church will gleefully take it all.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  8. SDA.and.Proud

    @Ken Margo Dude when Jesus was on this earth, The pharisees went to Him and asked Him for a sign and then they would believe, Jesus didn't give them a miracle right at that moment but He told them of the sign that they had been waiting and studying for years and the pharisees ans Sadducees before them and generations before and they ended up getting it anyway and they still didnt believe! Dude your doing the exact same thing. And if your looking for a manual, its called a BIBLE man it has all you need to know, I highly recommend you read it.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      The bible is one of the main reasons I'm an atheist.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Is this the same bible the republicans read? Lets see... Pro-life. Yet is against gun control. Pro-life. Yet want to cut/gut programs people with children need. Pro-life. Yet is against healthcare reform. Is that the bible you are talking about?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • SDA.and.Proud

      @hawaiiguest your not an atheist, you cant be, How big is the universe? there are thousands upon billions of galaxys out there and your wanting to tell me that you know EXACTLY there isn't a God in at least one of them? you would have to be an agnostic by default because you can't disprove the very existence of GOD

      November 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @SDA.and.Proud,

      why do you and believers like you insist that atheists believe in the non-existence of God?

      Theist: I believe in God
      Atheist: I don't believe in God.

      This is different to "I believe in the non-existence of God". No one can prove non-existence.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • SDA.and.Proud

      @ Ken Weather it be the same or not, the way the interpret it is their business, im SDA and i believe they interpret the Bible the best way out of all the other religions that claim they follow the Bible, Granted i could be wrong and I respect other religions but all you have to do is put the time into and just read it, and if you look at Adventist beliefs, youll see that we are mainly pro life, we are against abortions, we are against taking active duty as combatants in the military, we are pacifists. Just because a certain group claims they read the Bible and do something else thats against the Bible doesnt mean the Bible is wrong

      November 28, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      OK, I am going to give you a sign that I am God. It won't happen right away, but when it does it will be quite a spectacle, and you'll know then what I was talking about. Let it be know then that I speak truth and am you Lord. Praise be to me.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Wow so apparently you get to decide what I am and what I'm not? Here's what's wrong with your statement.
      1) I'm not asserting there is no god, I don't believe there is one.
      2) I'm also agnostic, because I don't make a claim to knowledge when it comes to if there is a god or not.
      Belief and knowledge are two different things, and are not mutually exclusive.

      Next, the lack of knowledge of all the universes and what's in them, does not automatically make "god exists" correct without corroborating evidence. That's just called an argument from ignorance.
      Learn some basic logic, etymology, and how the burden of proof works, then come back and you might be able to have a decent conversation.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • lex

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV no sir, that's not what the word means. atheist's are those who specifically believe God does not exist in any form. you're confused with Agnostic just as SDA.and.proud already stated. Agnostics are the one's who simply dont believe in a God, but dont rule out the possibility.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The key word in your reply is "interpret" Having one's own opinion of what they are seeing or reading. That is why the bible is not worth reading. Everybody has their own ideas concerning the bible. How can YOUR version be picked over someone that doesn't believe.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @lex

      My reply to SDA would apply to you as well.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @lex

      No, you're completely wrong. Hawaii guest is absolutely correct. I state the exact thing.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @lex,

      I'm really not confused between agnostic and atheist. The word atheist really does mean someone who does not believe in God however much you want to overload the definition.

      Arguably the term 'agnostic atheist' is relevant and @hawaiiguest has already detailed the particulars.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @lex

      Think of the words "typical" and "atypical." You see how the prefix "a" means the same as the prefix "not?"

      Now:

      Theism = belief in a god
      Atheism = not belief in a god
      "Not belief" does not mean "there are no ___"
      You are an "atheist" to the god Zeus, if you don't believe in Zeus.

      Gnostic = spiritual/esoteric knowledge
      Agnostic = not spiritual knowledge
      An agnostic does not claim to have knowledge of any spirits or spiritual realms or experiences.

      Most atheists not only lack belief but also do not claim to have any spiritual knowledge, so they are agnostic atheists. It's similar to how a woman can be a wife and a mother, or just one of the two, or neither.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Let me clear this up. THERE AIN'T NOBODY UP THERE.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SDA and lex

      Here's where think the problem may lie. Dictionaries can be very misleading at times, especially with words that have a long history. Dictionaries reflect common usage and change accordingly. The reason I specifically said to learn about etymology would be because theist (from the greek theos) is belief in a god/gods, and the prefix a- means without, or lack of. Hence atheist (atheos) is without or the lack of belief in a god.
      Now, in terms of knowledge, knowledge is a subset of belief, this being because you can believe something but not claim to "know" (in keeping with practicality we are not talking about absolute knowledge, because that's a whole other can of worms) something. On the other side, you cannot claim to know something yet not believe it to be true, that just can't happen.
      When taken to the god claim, this creates four basic stances

      gnostic theist = believe in a god/gods and claim to know that one exists
      agnostic theist = believe in god/gods, yet does not claim to know for sure
      gnostic atheist = does not believe in a god/gods and claims to know that none exist
      agnostic atheist = does not believe in a god/gods, yet does not claim to know that no god/gods exist.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually, they're right, no matter how many simple non-believers want to claim the word. You can't twist the English language that far.

      the-ist : Believer in god
      a-the-ist : Believer in no god
      a-the-ism-ist : Non believer in theism

      If you're an atheist by standard etymology you believe there is no god. An atheismist is one who doesn't follow theism.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      here's the way the online OED defines the word:

      atheist, n. and adj.
      A. n.
      1. One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.

      The operative words are 'disbelieves existence' not "believes non-existence". The distinction is very, very subtle, but relevant here.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Saraswati

      Wow you really have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Does it make you feel good to ignore basic etymology? Not to mention the meaning of the prefix a-.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      If you don't believe in G-od, Nothing else matters. If you think he may or may not exist or don't care, or don't want to know is irrelevant. You're splitting hairs here.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ken,

      it's usually the believers that want very specific definitions of atheism.

      Other than in context of a discussion with believers who want to label and pigeon-hole degrees of belief or unbelief with taxonomic semantics, it really doesn't make a difference to me.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ken,

      by the way, why do you systematically hypenate the word 'god'?

      November 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we are all born atheists. no one believes in god until they are indoctrinated into one of the various religious cults.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @bootyfunk

      I wouldn't go as far as that. I view it more as babies do not have the cognition to really say such. In any practical sense, it doesn't really apply, at least that's my thoughts on that.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it leads into the fact that babies/children have no religious beliefs except the ones taught to them by their parents.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      It doesn't post what I write when I use the correct spelling of G-od.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ken,

      the WordPress filter does have some weirdness, but it does permit the word God.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Believers shouldn't give a rats azz about the meaning of atheist. They need to be more concerned about catholic schools closing than the "correct" definition of atheist. The more schools close, the more marginal religion becomes.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      God. If you see this. your right.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Ken

      "It doesn't post what I write when I use the correct spelling of G-od."

      It's just kind of funny because this is very similar to how devout Jews write G-d so the first reaction on reading your posts is that you are very religious.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Excuse me, you're.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @bootyfunk

      While I don't disagree with you that they have no religious beliefs, I would disagree that that needs any kind of label. We don't bother labeling political affiliation when it comes to children, so I don't see why we would need to put theist or atheist on them either. I say wait until they make the decision on their own, or at least until they are, arbitrarily on my end obviously, say 13-14 or something like that, and ask them what they identify as.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The dictionary is correct in including the definition claimed by self-described "atheists", because it is about use and certainly a lot of folks calling themselves atheists use the term this way (though no one else does). However, the believers (of which I am not one) are right in asking that you stick to the standard language use used to describe ideas and beliefs. "ist" is a suffix used to describe those who have a positive belief in the ism of the preceding word part. A Marxist has a positive belief in Marxism, a Buddhist has a positive belief in Buddhism and a socialist has a positive belief in socialism etc. By this logic an atheist follows or has a positive belief in "no godism"."

      When you talk about atheism the same applies, in that we are talking about the realm of ideas and beliefs and so the most logical step for an English speaker to make is to assume that we mean the "ism" of belief, and not, as atheists would like to claim, the alternate ism of something as obscure and unrelated as an "astigmatism" (not to mention that calling atheism a state is pushing definitions even further out of the realm of normal language).

      I don't believe in a god or gods, but when I see people trying to stretch language this far beyond standard usage I have to agree that atheists are just trying to pi.ss people off. You can fall back on the claim that every belief system has the right to label itself, but then not only have you called yourselves a belief system (which you really don't want to do to defend the term) and have opened up the idea that anyone call themselves anything they want, no matter how misleading.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I'm as religious as a bag of hammers. I only go to church for weddings or funerals (some would say, isn't that the same thing) 🙂

      November 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ken,

      I would agree. But they see people who do not believe in God as a threat. Partly because they cannot comprehend the idea of not believing in God they want a definition that corresponds to what they interpret to be a foolish or illogical position.

      They like to use circular arguments and shift the burden of proof to 'prove that God doesn't exist' rather than explain why their God is "the" God (with demonstrable evidence of existence) and why it is necessary to both love and fear God simultaneously. which is something I find more and more incongrous.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Ken,

      "Believers shouldn't give a rats azz about the meaning of atheist."

      I think it's fair that they do. First because some believers are just genuinely curious. Many have studied religion intently and are interested in the definition of atheist in the same way they are interested in the definition of Buddhist, and for that I give them kudos. Second, I think (as I've stated in other posts) that the word atheist implies by its construction that there is no god. If those who used this term overall genuinely did just lack a belief in gods, they might be able to carry off this atypical usage. But when you come on a site like this you see over and over self-declared atheists (not all, but enough to get in the face of believers" saying "there is no god". Further, even some of those who never say this certainly give the impression that they are far and away convinced that there is no god and that those who think there is are pretty silly. People come here asking the Christians and Muslims to define their terms and I think it's fair to expect the same in return. Lastly, I think, again by the etymology, that this term implies a belief system, and that is then open to the same requests for evidence as any other system. Yes, I know that's not how a lot of atheists see it, but that's how the Christian community, I think justifiably does see it.

      The fact is, in my experience, few who simply lack a belief in gods bother to call themselves atheists. Protestations aside, most "atheists" are about 99% sure there isn't a god...of any sort. The rest just call themselves agnostics or non-believers (another problematic but less offensive word). So if one meets someone who says he or she is an atheist by simple odds I think it's fair to assume (with a chance of being wrong) that they are pretty darn sure of the non-existence of god.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @hawaii guest
      i'm pretty sure it's the christians that like to label their children as christians. all i pointed out was that children don't believe in god - which is true. all children are born atheists, which just means no belief in a deity. you just looking to split hairs?

      November 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      I am going by the Oxford English Dictionary definition here.

      I understand what you say regarding the 'understanding' of the word (particularly by believers) being most frequently in the sense of expressing positive belief in non-existence. This is not the literal definition – nor should be necessarily be the accepted one, since it is not really required.

      Subtle meanings (as distinct from literal meanings) of words do change. Atheists are a minority. It is not unreasonable for subtle changes in the general understanding of the word to take place as more people embrace atheism.

      I sense a growing consensus here (which you see from @hawaiiguest and @Moby Schtick) that the focus of the word is on disbelief. I think there is pretty strong consensus on the idea that you really can't prove non-existence of anything.

      Focusing the definition on disbelief remains accurate and consistent with the literal meaning.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      This: " So if one meets someone who says he or she is an atheist by simple odds I think it's fair to assume (with a chance of being wrong) that they are pretty darn sure of the non-existence of god."

      is probably a fair statement, (and remains very consistent with notion of what constîtutes disbelief) but I will add the modifier that it doesn't insist on a claim to prove it.

      Saying 'I don't think/believe there is a God' is meaningfully different from the categorical 'there is no God' in the context of a discussion with a theist.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP

      "Subtle meanings (as distinct from literal meanings) of words do change. Atheists are a minority. It is not unreasonable for subtle changes in the general understanding of the word to take place as more people embrace atheism."

      I agree that words meanings do change and that should always be kept in mind in understanding a term related to beliefs. I don't think, though, that individual words (as opposed to whole sets of words) often change in meaning away from that defined by standard morphology. As a minority (not in my own sphere, but in most of the US) it is particularly important to use terms that are neither confusing to the general public nor create animosity and conflict. I realize I'm not going to win this one talking in comments on a CNN blog, but the amount which the relatively use of the term “atheist” has slowed political progress in the US compared to a country like France, where the grip of the Church was mostly left to dwindle.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP

      "Saying 'I don't think/believe there is a God' is meaningfully different from the categorical 'there is no God' in the context of a discussion with a theist."

      Very much agreed. For me it is just a matter of the terms used. To stick to standard English and call yourself an agnostic I have found to be much more effective in such discussions (and yes, I have done both, calling myself an atheist for a while many years ago). Believe me, I know the objections to the word agnostic inside out, but if you run into a theist who cares one bit I'd be mightly surprised.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I can understand your replies. I try to keep it simple for those that try to impose their beliefs on me. I usually tell people I'm not religious and leave it at that to keep from having a conversation about being an atheist.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      there's somehing missing in your last sentence – I couldn't follow what you meant here:

      "the amount which the relatively use of the term “atheist” has slowed political progress in the US"

      I think the usual suspects of fear and ignorance contribute more to the problem than semantics. I chose to focus on the aspect of disbelief because it is less threatening.

      It is not my mission to convert the believers to Godlessness. Live and let live works perfectly well for me. I am content for them to continue to hold their beliefs – except where they attempt to legislate inequality or undermine science education.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      "Believe me, I know the objections to the word agnostic inside out, but if you run into a theist who cares one bit I'd be mightly surprised."

      Here they care mightily about the distinction between agnostic and atheist – I suspect largely because of the interpretation of atheism as "positive belief in non-existence" that we have discussed at length.

      Which is precisely why I focus on the notion of disbelief. I feel like it is an opportunity to demonstrate that the existence of atheism does not threaten belief.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP

      Sorry, that should have read "the amount which the relatively agressive use of the term “atheist” has slowed political progress in the US"

      I was actually referring to general political progress and the fact that many Christians tie up abortion, gay rights and social services programs with their fear of the small but vocal group of atheists who are disrespectful towards them.

      "It is not my mission to convert the believers to Godlessness. Live and let live works perfectly well for me. I am content for them to continue to hold their beliefs – except where they attempt to legislate inequality or undermine science education."

      It's not my mission either, to convert anyone away from belief. For many this is an important part of life which increases their happiness. I think, however, it is wise to support beliefs that are most consistent with modern scientific understanding.

      November 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP

      I had written "Believe me, I know the objections to the word agnostic inside out, but if you run into a theist who cares one bit I'd be mightly surprised."

      And you replied:

      "Here they care mightily about the distinction between agnostic and atheist – I suspect largely because of the interpretation of atheism as "positive belief in non-existence" that we have discussed at length."

      What I was actually saying they didn't care about was the atheist objections to the word agnostic to define themselves. When a Christian cares about the difference you describe it is precisely, as you say, because they interpret atheism in the predicted manner. I think a lot of time gets wasted talking about nit-picky definitions of atheism that could be wholy avoided if an "lack of belief" atheist called themself an agnostic. I know there are reasons you may care about why not to call youself this, but the Christian doesn't care at all. Just call youself an agnostic, or use no label, and that's hours of debate (and a whole wall of opposition) out of the way.

      "Which is precisely why I focus on the notion of disbelief. I feel like it is an opportunity to demonstrate that the existence of atheism does not threaten belief."

      The thing is, you really don't have to focus on "disbelief" at all. In fact,using the word "disbelief" is going to get you into every bit as much trouble as the word atheist becuase disbelief doesn't, in normal discourse, mean what you want it to either. If I say "Bob told his story about the crash and Jane, sitting on the jury, regarded him with disbelief" most people are going to assume Jane didn't believe Bob, or was at least very, very skeptical. If you just stay away from terms like this altogether and call yourself an agnostic or state that you don't have religious beliefs there's really nothing more to discuss, unless you're out to convert someone. If you do just want to discuss ideas, why not discuss them in the language which is comfortable to the majority?

      November 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    christian hypocrite. he won't give up a dime. and his church doesn't want him to. i'm sure he's donated lots of that filthy money to the church. and churches always take in more and get more members when someone famous goes there. the church probably called him and said, "we love filthy money - now be a good mind slave and go apologize immediately!"

    November 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  10. Hansmojo

    As a fourth generation Adventist and a previous overseas missionary for the church, I can tell you with confidence that the SDA church does not teach salvation by works. Salvation is a gift from God and no one can earn it or even add to it by their works. However, Adventists do agree with James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. In other words, if you are "saved", you will naturally be doing good works (i.e. loving God, yourself, and others and all that that implies in Christianity). Desiring to do what is right and good is the automatic result of having God "in your heart"....of having a living faith. This is of course a very personal experience and is between God and the individual soul.

    Having said that, not all people who claim to be SDA, accept/follow what the church teaches. There are clearly Adventists who believe in/practice salvation by works. This flies in the face of what the church teaches, but then again, I doubt that there is any organization on Earth that is immune to this type of situation. Thank God we have the freedom to disagree.

    Let's all remember that it is important to respect each other despite our differences of opinion and beliefs (religious or otherwise). Peace.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Cher

      As the daughter of a SDA minister and a product of 16 years of Adventist private schools...this is just NOT TRUE. I realize that many Adventists would like to believe this but it is simply not an honest belief of the church that endorses Ellen G White as your prophet. I have to speak out when I hear people state salvation by grace as a core belief. I challenge you to find a church that does embrace grace. I only hope and pray that Angus Jones does the same.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Hansmojo

      @ Cher

      I'm so sorry you feel that way. We'll likely have to agree to disagree. I too attended Adventist schools for 16 years. Both of my parents were teachers at Adventist schools and long-term overseas missionaries. My wife has been a teacher in Adventist schools for 20 years. While there are people in the church(including pastors) that have and do live and promote legalism, this is simply not the official position of the Church...thankfully. I have been very blessed to be an Adventist and I'm sad to hear that you apparently had a very negative experience in the church. It sounds like you are still a believer though and for that I am grateful.

      May God bless you Cher as you journey through this life and in the life to come. My hope is that you have found peace and happiness and that this experience continues for you. Aloha.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  11. hushasha40

    I think Angus should walk away from the show and return the money that he has earned from that show, as well as give up royalties to such filth.

    November 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  12. Kell

    Adventism is about living every day like it's your last day. Having no regrets. None of us know when Christ will return, but we can still love one another, do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We can help others, we can reach out.

    Adventists are also big promoters of health principles. Not all members are vegetarians, some do eat meat, however there are certain meats mentioned in Leviticus as unclean that we stay away from.

    Adventists believe in Salvation by Grace alone. Meaning it's a gift, we believe in Christ we've received this gift. All of us have access to it, nothing we do can change that. We must accept that gift.

    When Christ returns He will come unexpectedly, I for one have never lived my life in a doomsday mode. I have however lived my life to the fullest. I've attempted to forgive others, to not hold grudges. I've tried to live life to the fullest.

    If today was your last day, how would you live?

    November 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      "Adventism is about living every day like it's your last day. Having no regrets."
      So is Buddhism and a host of other Eastern religions. 'Sky fairy not included'

      November 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Kell

      Yes, there are other religions who do the same thing. I would never dispute that, nor do I condemn those religions. I simply align myself as Adventist. I'm not here to judge, judging people gets you nowhere, it gains you more enemies than friends. More shut doors than listening ears.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Kell,
      Forgive my ignorance, but you guys 'speak in tongues', right? I went to a 7DA church in high school and I believe that was part of the experience.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • SDA.and.Proud

      they dont speak in tongues, your getting us confused with the pentecostals bro,

      November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • lex

      @GodFreeNow no, Adventists do not speak in tongues. one of the cores of SDA belief is that the Bible is to be taken literally. the Bible's mention of speaking in tongues is not of some magical language nobody else can understand, it's of the apostles speaking in greek and the crowds from all over hearing them as if they were speaking different languages so that all could understand.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Hansmojo

      @GodFreeNow

      I'm not Kell, but I am SDA and I can answer that question in case Kell does not return to the forum. The short answer is no, Adventists do not speak in tongues in the sense that you are likely thinking.... To us, speaking in tongues simply means speaking in the tongue (language) of the person we are speaking to. Speaking in tongues is not a part of our regular worship experience.

      In other words, let's say I am an English only speaker and I am attempting to present the Gospel to a Spanish only speaker. If the Holy Spirit chose to give me the gift of tongues at that moment (it would have nothing to do with me, my abilities, or be for my own personal edification), the Spanish speaker would understand me...in their own language...even though I don't know Spanish myself. If this were to happen, it would be a gift of the Spirit and would be for the purpose of bringing the Gospel to the hearer.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Candy Taylor

      I wish people posting on this would have some respect for peoples beliefs. As a Christian I am offended by the remarks which make light of my religion. I respect anyones right to ba a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddist, Atheist, Agnostic or whatever. I will not mock yur beliefs. Can you please give me the same courtesy? We need some civility in this culture. I for one am sick of rude hateful comments which do nothing to move us forward as human beings.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      you have to excuse us, with all the various cults and their sub-branches it is tough to keep track of any particular one's absurdities.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Thank you all for helping me understand the religion better. Ignorance is the enemy of us all.

      @Candy Taylor, I think it's great that you choose not to mock other people's religion. Though by choosing one, you cannot deny that you think your religion is superior to theirs. Otherwise you would choose the one you found to be superior. Is this not true?

      Mockery is just an outward expression of a feeling you harbor and keep to yourself. Socially, this may be more comfortable, but how can you know how people feel about your religion if you don't listen to them? If you don't care what they think, then why listen?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Candy.....................Republicans do more harm to your religion than anything that is posted here.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Cher

      Your comments contain what I now recognize as spiritually abusive beliefs. I spent 40 years in the
      Adventist church and your comments do NOT reflect my experience or the beliefs of the church and the writings of your prophet, Ellen G White. When you trust in a Graceful God it is not necessary to live a doomsday day-to-day living. I am so saddened by Christopher Hudson and his strange beliefs. But, when thinking about it, realize that most of the foundation for these beliefs is found in Adventist literature, somewhere. Believe me...I KNOW.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Kell

      @GodFreeNow

      No, we do not speak in tongues. That's never been a part of our faith.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  13. samuelwrites

    It tough to take public journey through spiritual discovery while your in the public eye. I applaud Agnus and repect him for his candor. Just because most people don't understand it doesn't mean it's not valid at least for him.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Yes, I think most of us went through a phase like this when we were young. I just hope he grows out of it eventually and finds the truth of that spiritual journey, and not become stagnated in his growth like most religious followers become when they become content because they believe they've found the truth.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  14. Tom

    Just another arrogant, spoiled, little fundamentalist!

    November 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • dt

      O for god sakes. HE IS A KID! What part of being a kid has you confounded?

      November 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  15. eddie57

    If Agnus doesn't like the show he is appearing in, why is he still in it. I guess it the money. I guess the money is more important that standing up for what you believe it. He has morals but the money is pretty good too. I never like the guy so if they replace him I will not miss him. They can find a thousand actors that can do a better job. He has an unlikeable personality and this has not helped him.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  16. BOb thd Prairie Dog

    NO ONE knows what happens when we die and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a LIAR who probably wants your money, or in this case a free ride on the coattails of fame.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  17. USFAlum

    Del De Chant is an instructor at the University of South Florida (not the University of Southern Florida).

    November 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • USFAlum

      *Dell De Chant

      November 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  18. pooooop

    im going to create a religion. my religion is right and all others are wrong. every person who believes different goes to hell. oh and the earth is not as old as science proves.. and dinosaurs are just there to test our faith... and people didn't come from apes obvi.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • defender

      Jesus died for what he believe and created Christianism. His disciples died for their faith. Would you? i don;t think so. But you will surely die. FOOL.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since when is there anything called "Christianism"?

      November 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      It's right there with "Whack Jobism" & "Nut Jobism"

      November 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  19. pooooop

    Christianity and all religions are cults. honestly who would believe in something so stupid.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • you

      I wont believe in you... You are surely ignorant

      November 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  20. Gura

    The boy is correct. That show is filth. Perhaps he will find a real job now. Let see how he survives with minimum wage like the rest of us.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Yeah, don't watch the show. For really good filth, read the bible. There is some really sick stuff in there.

      November 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
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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.