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What we may have in common with 'Two and a Half Men' actor
Angus T. Jones, left, in an episode of "Two and a Half Men."
November 29th, 2012
03:12 PM ET

What we may have in common with 'Two and a Half Men' actor

By Michael Martinez, CNN

Hollywood, California (CNN) -In the introduction to the TV sitcom "Two and a Half Men," actor Angus T. Jones morphs from boy to teen before our eyes. Now we're watching the actor venture into adulthood and the complicated moral questions that come with it.

This week in posted Internet videos, Jones announced his ethical and religious awakening by condemning as "filth" the CBS show that made him rich and famous.

Jones isn't alone in facing his crisis of conscience. His experience, though dramatic, is universal in how many job holders struggle to reconcile work and spiritual values, experts say.

"At some level, all of us, probably not publicly, ask the hard question that he's asking," said David Miller, director of Princeton University's Faith & Work Initiative.

"What is the honor and dignity and meaning and purpose of (our) work? Is our work for making a good buck and has no ethical or moral or societal value, or should our work have a more noble dimension to it?" Miller said. "As we look at him afar, he's doing a service by raising the same question."

Clearly, we all can't make such loud declarations about our jobs. But Jones enjoys privileges.

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

He's a millionaire Hollywood figure on one of television's most successful shows. And he's only 19 years old.

"What he's displaying is the kind of passion that commonly infects the newly converted or those that have just found religion," said Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. "It's also a very easy thing to do in that he's already become wealthy and famous for how long now - nine years."

The hard question

Jones poses a hard question, encountered by all who believe in a supreme being, Miller said.

"Instead of saying, 'What do I want to do with my life?' he's asking, 'What would be pleasing to God?' And that's a very different metric," Miller said.

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Such moral conflicts play out in many professions, with physicians and abortions, pharmacists and the morning-after pill, and financiers and greedy strategies, say ethicists and other experts. In Jones' case, the actor seems at odds with the "artificial environment of show business," Wolpe said.

The answers fall across a spectrum.

"So what do you do?" said Miller, who, before joining academia, was a business and finance executive. "Do you walk away from the question mark, or do you stay and try to change within the question mark?

"Maybe he'll stay in Hollywood and try to find work more in line with his values. Or will Hollywood spit him out?" Miller said.

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The actor has apologized for any offense to the cast and crew of "Two and a Half Men," where he's worked since 2003.

He said in a statement: "I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that."

But in an online video earlier this week, Jones repeatedly urges viewers not to watch the show, in which he plays an only child growing up amid male adult antics in a Malibu beachfront house.

"I'm on 'Two and a Half Men,' and I don't want to be on it," he said. "You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can't. I'm not OK with what I'm learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show. You go all or nothing."

Jones also references "the enemy's" deception, an apparent allusion to the devil, and asserts "There's no playing around when it comes to eternity."

Seventh-day Adventist

In June, Jones joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Protestant faith with 1.1 million members in North America. The church says it's not involved with Jones' online testimonials nor with video host Christopher Hudson of the Forerunner Chronicles, whose website emphasizes Judgment Day and the Bible's Book of Revelation. Hudson couldn't be reached for comment.

It's too early to discern what impact Jones' testimonial will have on the sitcom and his career. Jones won't appear in the two remaining episodes now being taped before the holiday break, sources close to production told CNN. His absence was scripted well before the videos' release Monday, the sources said.

Almost two years ago, "Two and a Half Men" was embroiled in another controversy centered on a prominent cast member: Charlie Sheen, who was fired after public rants that included invectives against producer Chuck Lorre.

Wolpe wonders if Jones went too far.

"Interestingly, that show plays on exactly the kind of immaturity he plays on," Wolpe said. "The show itself has an adolescent, prurient sense of humor.

"This show is deeply kind of misogynistic and very male - it's like a fraternity in there with a revolving door of women," he said. "So it's not surprising that he expresses dissatisfaction and estrangement from the show in a way that was equally immature.

"I don't know if he can recover from this or not," Wolpe added.

Jones' passion reflects how ethics vary among the faithful.

"You have to keep in mind that it really means different things to different people," said Diana Cates, a University of Iowa professor of religious ethics. "Even within a given religious tradition, there's so much diversity. There are people on the edges who identify with one tradition or blend traditions."

Frequently, a conversion or awakening such as Jones' renounces the past.

"In terms of radical conversion experiences, the life that one has immediately, previously led is often denied or criticized severely," said Joseph Price, a professor of religious studies at Whittier College in California. "The life itself is not denied - but the lifestyle is," he added. "It often results from a crisis of conscience or a perceived revelation of some kind."

Price likened actors to athletes and recalled how baseball player Billy Sunday was a "rabble rouser and carouser" around the turn of the 20th century. Then, after a religious experience, Sunday quit baseball and became a preacher who fought to make alcoholic beverages illegal, he said.

"When persons find authenticity in a lifestyle that embraces the good, it often prompts them to make shifts in their own lives in profound ways," Price said. "If that's the case here, we'll be able to see how it affects the long run of his nonacting life and his presence in the series and in television itself."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • TV • Work

soundoff (1,088 Responses)
  1. YouMayDisagree

    Religion and entertainment business are similar in respect that both make people feel good. Only the entertainment business doesn't claim to be the absolute and only truth.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  2. YouMayDisagree

    All anybody on this earth knows about religion, comes from books written by men who clim it to be the word of god, that is why it's called belief and not knowledge.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Catori

      You're talking about theistic religions. There ARE non-theistic religions in the world.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • YouMayDisagree

      Calories: it doesn't matter if its written or retold, the point is, that any religion starts loosing ground as soon as it stops claiming to be the absolute truth in which you have to believe.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  3. Nietodarwin

    I used to just be a "live and let live" atheist, and feel sorry for deluded xstians and keep may mouth shut and move along. We as a nation can not continue to allow this psychological and intellectual harm to be done to our young people Somebody on this story, and several on the Pat Robertson story just COULD NOT BELIEVE that such a HUGE percentage of people in this country are actually so ignorant as to believe that the earth is 6-10 thousand years old, (see the Marco Rubio story from last week) We CAN'T JUST SIT AROUND AND LET THESE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE CONTINUE TO FVCK UP OUR KIDS. I mean it Deborah Parker, and all you other 'BELIEVERS" YOU NEED TO SHUT UP. Go pray at home, and be quiet about it.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • STL Pastor

      Attacking delusional members of a faith group is a cheap shot. Nobody on here is attacking delusional atheists which could be done equally. What most atheists don't understand is that the Christian Bible makes NO claims about the age of the earth. Please, if you want to slam a group, do it in an educated way.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Deborah Parker

      There ya go....see you just told a beliefnet to shut up...hmmm what would God think of you when you die...you might be eating those words one day....don't tell me to shut up again it I'll sick GOD on you...humph!! I have freedom of speech just like you do....so go get a real god godly life....hey, I'm not perfect, none of us are....I have heard and seen and disgusted it ask with people, we are all a lost cause if we don't believe, so wether do YOU THINK you are going when when you die? Yes, dust to dust, but the living soul in your body will fly if to somrwhere

      November 30, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Miguel

      Better the religious crowed "fvck up" our kids than the Jewish atheists who control our media and government....

      November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Practice what you preach

      Debroah Parker has as much right to speak about her beliefs as you have a right to speak about your beliefs.

      Like it or not, but Atheism is becoming a religion in and of itself.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • David

      I also used to be a live and let live atheist. Then I was a very anti-religious atheist, as you appear to be leaning toward.

      Now, I'm softened. I'm a scientist who also appreciates the comfort that prayer gives me without burdening myself with dogma. And I've begun to ask more interesting questions like "What is the evolutionary advantage of religious behavior"? Because that question is the big one....if you feel evolution is the right theory, then it has to explain why so many people are religious. It is a small field of social science, but one that tends to receive no serious attention.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      You mean to say you will "sic" god on me, (like a dog) I am already very "sick" of god. Pull your head out of that bible and take a high school biology class, or one at a community college, or just use the internet to inform yourself of some spelling, and science.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  4. OBAMA PHONE

    I didn't think I'd ever see Kirk Cameron sitting next to someone who is dressed so liberally.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  5. Deborah Parker

    By the way, I have worked hard for my money ask of my life, but still kept my beliefs, you can't imagine what I have been through in this life, I won't trek you her unless you want a whole book to read, but I will say that god is real, believe in him or you will be one if the two left behind, I just hope and pray that he find me worthy to take with him, none if us know that until the very end..that was my brother-in-law who passed yesterday...rest in peace with God while you sleep...

    November 30, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • STL Pastor

      God doesn't save people based on how worthy they are. We are not saved by the quality of our faith but by the quality of the savior in whom we trust. When you trust in Jesus as God and Savior there's no question about salvation at all and that's a really really good thing. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  6. liz

    I feel for the guy making $15.00/hr who is working for a real schmuck, a dishonorable person when they have a family to support and nowhere else to go. Angu$ T. Jone$ i$ making $350K per epi$ode. He can walk away at any moment and be well off for the re$t of hi$ life. He ha$ the mean$ to choo$e to not do what he'$ doing, where he'$ doing it and for whom he i$ working. $ympathy for him i$ non-exi$tent.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  7. STL Pastor

    1) I'm very impressed with this young man who has realized that he is not living for himself but for something greater-that takes alot of courage

    2) Sadly however, there is a misconception in this and other articles which believe that the Jehovah Witnesses are Christians. The JW movement is not part of the Protestant faith or the Christian faith because they deny the divinity of Jesus!!! That's kind of like the most important thing about being a Christian. This is a cult.

    3) So while I'm happy for this young man, I'm also disturbed because he's going from a life of do whatever you want to a life of restricting rules and legalism that lacks true grace. He's the proverbial pendulum that has swung too far in the wrong direction. Lawlessness to Legalism. I hope that he realizes that living for God is less about perfect law following and more about what God has done for him!

    November 30, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • YouMayDisagree

      All anybody on this earth knows about religion, comes from books written by men who clim it to be the word of god, that is why it's called belief and not knowledge.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sybaris

      Yup, religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

      November 30, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  8. Nietodarwin

    Dear Deborah Parker, You need to STOP preaching to young people. Freedom of religion does not give you the right to go around brainwashing children. You have the right to your deluded beliefs. (I guess he is legally an adult, but I'm sure you don't care about that , you would speak the same way to a 5, 10 or 15 year old.) Religious delusion is ending in this country, and people of reason and science are quite fed up with the likes of you lowering our test scores and harming our young. The heat is off of Angus and his story, because even PAT ROBERTSON now admits that some of the bible is inaccurate, and all the religious commenting is over on that story. Here's a quote from THAT bible thumper

    “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded. (They probably will lynch or KILL him, that's how christianity has survived for over 2000 years, by MURDER.)

    November 30, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Deborah Parker

      I agree..being a Christian and a Baptist, Jesus is the only way to get back to God through baptism of the Holy Spirit, ironically, my fiancé family is JW, so I have my work cut out for me here, to show them there is a Christ who died on the cross for our sins...God will and is helping me already with this one....

      November 30, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  9. rockysfan

    Another lame excuse for bad behavior. You want to believe, fine. But don't rant about your employer being "filth" while still working for them and cashing their checks. Can you spell hypocritical? Apparently Jones can't.

    November 30, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • liz

      exactly

      November 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  10. Deborah Parker

    He did see it coming, he just regretted that he had done it in his anger, same as we human beings do, since we are made in god likeness, yeah, we have to have money to live, but there are ways to make money that don't interfere with our beliefs. God will take one and leave two standing

    November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      If your god is omnipotent and omniscient then what you just said makes no sense.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  11. SinnerMan

    Let us show him some respect and leave him alone. If everyone would simply read and study the Bible for themselves accepting its authority, we would not be having this conversation. Enjoy the following verses and have a good day:

    Romans 3:23
    King James Version (KJV)
    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

    1 John 1:9
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Philippians 2:5
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

    2 Peter 3:2-4
    King James Version (KJV)

    2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

    3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

    4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I can quote nonsensical bible quotes too.

      Ezekiel 23:19-21

      19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prost itute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
      (NIV 1984)

      November 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      “If a man’s testicIes are crushed or his pe nis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”
      –Deuteronomy 23

      November 30, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      “All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”
      –Ezekiel 4:12-15

      November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • 1Jesus1Way

      Amen!! Good for him for standing up for his beleifs and morals and being true to God !! We should all be such an example

      November 30, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Jim

      Angus brought this on imself with his own action and broadcasting them to the world. If he is serious then he should leave the show and walk the walk he talked. If Angus is like most teens (and unfortunately far too many 'adults' nowadays and was spouting off without wisdom (which requires thinking), then he should apologize and ask for forgiveness.

      When you do something for public consumption, you are subject to that same public's reaction whether you are a follower of Jesus or not. I happen to agree with Angus on the show being nothing but filth but, he is on the show and should be more respectful when speaking about the show. One doesn't need to avoid speaking the truth as one sees it, one must choose his or her words carefully or he/she ends up in the place that Angus finds himself in now.

      Here are some additional biblical references that apply in this discussion;

      Proverbs 21: Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

      James 3: For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. ...So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

      James 1: If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • pp

      God is allegorical. The danger of religion persists when people believe otherwise. If seen simply as a symbol for "greater good" then religion serves a productive function. Just like belief in santa serves to temper the misbehavior of adolescents.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sybaris

      Well SinnerMan, ya know we have to slam religion because people like Presidents do things, terrible things, because of it.

      Why did Bush use his military to invade Iraq and murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians?

      Because he believed his god told him it was the right thing to do.

      No, religion shouldn't get a pass. It's the source of a lot of corruption and death.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  12. Mac

    Kid's a waste. BRING BACK SHEEN AND DITCH THE DORK

    November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Mr T

      Dats right!

      November 30, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  13. NOT MY CHAIR

    "true god-fearing person" why worship a being that wants you to fear him?

    November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  14. Deborah Parker

    To finish, I will say, you do God's work Angus T.Jones and do it passionately, for I had a chance to do great works for him and the adversary stored me through my x-husband..my lesson, NEVER LET ANYONE STOP YOU FROM DOING GOD'S WORK, because the adversary will be after you, to stop you, make you question yourself, you pray to God for strength, so you say, every time, "Satan, get thee behind me"..it works! Death comes to all of us and what do YOU want God to see about you or me when it's our time to go? Don't let others dictate that, you dictate your own life...Standing for God is the hardest job there is on this earth..I an proud of you. I lost a dead bridge-in-law of 45 years yesterday and he had to face God yesterday morning, I wonder how it went for him

    November 30, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • sybaris

      You need help, professional help

      I've seen a lot of people like you who have done or experienced something bad in their lives and they all latch on to self-help or new age or spiritual or religious dogma to drown that experience.

      It doesn't work because it doesn't address the root of the issue.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  15. Danimal

    Although I kind of admire him for speaking his mind, I also think he may regret this in the future. He's 19 and all 19 year olds think they understand everything. I recommend he do some soul searching and yes, give all his money to charity. He is blessed after all being a millionaire at 19. Why throw away this job when you could use the money to help others?

    November 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • sam stone

      all his money to the poor?

      why should he do this?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      i agree if he is so passionate about how disgusting this show is he should give away all his money because its the devils money

      November 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  16. GreggEsq

    I've never seen the show and am only faintly aware of it due to Mr. Sheen's antics of a few years ago, but it would seem to me that if Mr. Jones is truly unhappy working for the show now due to his religious awakening, he can resign. Perhaps he has a contract with a plenalty clause of some sort for his unilateral termination of the employment relationship, but I would presume it would be a small price to pay so that he no longer has to work on such a "filthy" show.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  17. Todd

    It is easy to be critical when you have enough money to live well for the rest of your life. When you are struggling to make it every day you are more concerned about how can I make tomorrow easier than today. So if you have a job that isn't in the direct service of God, it doesn't bother you that much because you need to eat. Now as Jesus in the Bible pointed out. The Poor people who give service to God are much more holy. Because they are risking a lot more than a rich person who can afford to take days, weeks, months, years from work to perform charity.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • lol??

      The Beast has shown us there is never enough money.

      December 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  18. Deborah Parker

    The mighty dollar more than God....God is a being we should ask great and love and strive to do good in his image because his wrath could be unleashed on the world and it would be terrible, but he promised NOT to do that again after he flooded with the Noah story....it hurt him to kill his people, so he decided he would let us destroy ourselves next time and this is exactly what we are doing.....we ask need to stand up as one people, believe in His and fix the entire world before it is too late, so yes, Jones believe in Good, for he is all we have left, the rest of the world is in bad trouble but just go right along as if nothing is ever going to happen, it will, God said it, I believe it. Read Revelations people and get the fear of GOD in you and make a difference in this world....if you help just one person God says it was worth it...God be with us all...

    November 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I believe in the dollar because I can see and feel it. Dollars have power that can be demonstrated by buying things and using those things. Your god cannot be demonstrated to exist.

      Dollar > god

      November 30, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • sybaris

      "it hurt him to kill his people"

      Really? Your omniscient god should have seen it coming.

      Stupid religion

      November 30, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • sam stone

      deborah: how do you expect those who do not believe in (your) god to fear (your) god?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • indermand

      Fear of GOD... really, that's your argument for believing in a loving, all knowing GOD. Even if such a GOD exists, which no one has EVER been able to prove (NO, no one has)... why should I follow a GOD who will me send me to HELL for not believing in him? That sounds nothing short of disturbing to a law abiding, charitable, loving, caring, peaceful secular human being (I do drink though, Sorry GOD). Enough said. Go stick your 'holly' book somewhere else.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  19. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Why does that tard in that picutre have a 3rd ID combat patch but no unit patch? Have they no shame? Just spit in the face of every person who has ever worn the uniform why dont you?

    November 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • sybaris

      Relax, it's just pretend

      November 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  20. Lindsey

    So let's see Jones give allllll those millions he got from being on that TV show to charity to please Jesus.

    Ahhh. Thought not. Hypocrite.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:36 am |
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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.