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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. Nietodarwin

    “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
    _ Christopher Hitchens
    (POOR ANGUS DOESN'T HAVE ROOM for "more stupid"

    December 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • JM

      Charlie Sheen messed up his life. Ashton Kutcher married an actress 16 years older than her and then, of course, dropped her.

      Angus appears to be more aware than either of these two.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      How exactly did either Sheen or Kutcher mess up their lives?

      December 3, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  2. Nietodarwin

    “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
    _ Thomas Jefferson

    December 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  3. Nietodarwin

    If god created man in his own image, how come I'm not invisible?”
    _ David Powers

    December 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    “[The Bible] has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies.”
    _ Mark Twain

    December 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  5. Nietodarwin

    “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullspit.”
    _ Richard Pryor

    December 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  6. LOVE

    F.A.I.T.H. H.O.P.E. C.H.A.R.I.T.Y. P.R.U.D.E.N.C.E. F.O.R.T.IT.U.D.E. M.O.D.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. J.U.S.T.I.C.E

    RADIATE BEAUTY

    December 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @LOVE

      Do you have anything to contribute, or are you merely spamming this comment section?

      December 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  7. Mac

    The justices' decision will likely resolve an ongoing battle between scientists who believe that genes carrying the secrets of life should not be exploited for commercial gain

    December 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  8. Sandra

    I, too, am a Christian, and I enjoy Two and a Half Men. I find it has the perpetual redeeming quality that no one else seems to have discovered: all the men on the show, and Bertha, as well, suffer mightily, over and over again, because they either refuse to commit to the women they are chasing, or because they are in some other way trying to "get away with something." Witness Alan suffering, each week, because he refuses to marry his girlfriend, whom he loves, and he refuses to conduct his business (chiropractic) in a real, meaningful way. We see him broke and dependent on a rich benefactor (Walden) who he keeps trying to get more things from. The only really good thing Alan did was help Walden when the man was down and out emotionally. And from that good comes his ability to stay on in the house while paying no rent.

    Over and over, anytime these men try to or succeed in bedding women frivolously or try to get something for nothing, they lose. Every time they do some good in the world, either for each other, as when Walden bought Bertha a car and gave her healthcare benefits for being his housekeeper, they win.

    I think these stories show very direct Christian values. Kindness to others, and the penalty for not living by loving and kind traditions. Not every story has to be pious to reflect Christian values of love and hope or kindness to others. Otherwise, the book of Job wouldn't exist.

    December 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • lol??

      Job lived in real time, not Prime Time.

      December 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Oh Really

      "Job lived in real time."

      Prove it.

      December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Yeah, the men, all two and a half, are clearly oafs who are their own worst enemies. There's no endorsement of their dude-bro lifestyle; they stall in their own muck over and over. But if they wised up, there'd be no show.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  9. Reality

    Angus obviously believes in things like the Trinity, the resurrection, unconscious state of the dead (how does that work?), and the investigative judgment, a unique Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, which asserts that a divine judgment of professed Christians has been in progress since 1844.

    In the 21st century, all of this is absurd making Angus even dumber than his character Jake on Two and 1/2 Men.

    December 1, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • lol??

      Dissing your old friends at 21st century real estate, again?

      December 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  10. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    November 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Akira

      Pretend I'm blind, and describe ANY color to me...thank you.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      This is my experience... Thank you.

      MY personal testimony.
      A thought to consider without an ego response

      I Accepted LSD onto my tongue. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
      The world denounces truth....

      Accepting LSD onto my tongue resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  11. Brian

    This article has some very good points, but it lacks a broader perspective. I don't believe in one supreme being, but I have these very same moral questions about what I'm doing in life, this isn't a problem one who just met religion faces, but one all of humanity does; do we do what's best for ourselves or everyone.

    November 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  12. VanHagar

    @Guess...if you think the story of Job is simply "sh!t happens," then read it again.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Brimstone

      The story of Job can be summarized quite easily.:

      Sh!it happens, but if you pretend that some mystical good guy is causing said sh!t to happen in order to prove a point to some mystical bad guy then maybe you'll feel better about said sh!t happening to you.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • VanHagar

      No, I don't think that was it.

      November 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Kay

      Actually, the story is even worse.

      We're not just told that God makes a bet with Satan that Job won't lose faith, no matter how bad Satan makes things for him.. And that then, to prove he's right, God allows Satan to make Job's life one of abject misery after another.

      We're also told that it's OK, for example, that Satan killed Job's 10 kids because...hey...God gives Job more kids later, so no big deal. Yeah. No harm. Right.

      We're told the meaning of the Book of Job is "Why do the righteous suffer?"

      Well, according to Job, apparently people suffer because God is a self-absorbed twit. After all, God shows absolutely zero redeeming qualities in the Book of Job. God merely shows a very human ego by needing to "prove" to Satan how strong Job's faith is in Him. Excuse me??? A true almighty God would just dismiss Satan as a jerk and tell him that He doesn't give two hoots what Satan thinks because He knows the truth. But nooooooo.

      If *you* want to worship that kind of god, be my guest. I'm gonna opt for Brimstone's version..."Sh!it happens".

      November 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • lol??

      @kay, God is Spirit and eternal. You and Job's children will exist in the spirit realm for a lot longer than you live in the flesh. Go ahead, figure it in percentages.

      December 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Amniculi

    Boohoo! I'm a whiny, overpaid, teenage Christian actor! Whatev, dude. Get over yourself and be grateful for what you have.

    November 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  14. Reality

    In case you missed this on p. 21:

    Angus is not too bright considering the following:

    "The Seventh-day Adventist Church[2][3] (The Great Disappointment) is a Protestant Christian[4] denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday,[5] the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming (advent) of Jesus Christ.

    Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to Protestant Christian teachings such as the Trinity and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive teachings include the unconscious state of the dead and the doctrine of an investigative judgment.

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church formed out of the movement known today as the Millerites. In 1831, a Baptist convert, William Miller (until then a Deist), was asked by a Baptist to preach in their church and began to preach that the Second Advent of Jesus would occur somewhere between March 1843 and March 1844, based on his interpretation of Daniel 8:14. A following gathered around Miller that included many from the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Christian Connection churches. In the summer of 1844, some of Miller's followers promoted the date of October 22. They linked the cleansing of the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 with the Jewish Day of Atonement, believed to be October 22 that year. By 1844, over 100,000 people were anticipating what Miller had called the "Blessed Hope". On October 22 many of the believers were up late into the night watching, waiting for Christ to return and found themselves bitterly disappointed when both sunset and midnight passed with their expectations unfulfilled. This event later became known as the Great Disappointment."
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    November 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Akira

      “The Seventh-day Adventist Church[2][3] (The Great Disappointment) is a Protestant Christian[4] denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday,[5] the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming (advent) of Jesus Christ."

      The church itself is not known as the Seveth Day Adventist (The Great Disapointment).

      That was how people described October 22, 1844, after Jesus didn't appear...same way the Mayan doomsdayers will describe December 21, 2012.

      November 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • lol??

      "Sorry! The word "unconscious" doesn't occur in the KJV."

      December 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  15. MissB58

    I'm really proud of this young man. It is hard to stand up for what you believe in. I also don't watch television anymore and chose what I watch from old films, old tv series and other sources. I don't have subscriptions to magazines I find offensive (lots of ads, women who have been photoshopped into unreality, promotion of wrong life choices, etc). The cable company is even astonished that I turn down their "free" month subscriptions to hook up to their services. That may seem weird to others but there are some of us that believe that to do the right thing in life can be hard but is ultimately rewarding, whether or not you believe in a higher authority or not.

    November 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Religious dogma makes people mindless slaves to ridiculous fairy tales!

      Continue sticking your head in the sand...that will show them!!! sigh

      November 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Akira

      If you don't watch TV anymore, why did you have cable hooked up?

      November 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  16. EndTheFed

    My "radical conversion" came at the age of 20 when I stopped watching TV.
    It feels so good to be free from whatever someone is trying to sell me, it makes me think of myself.
    I visit corporate media websites from time to time to try to enlighten others; there is a life outside of TV.

    November 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • sam

      You seem fun.

      November 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Lol.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Kay

      Sure you do.

      November 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  17. gulpoff

    Real world and TV world clash even in Today's world:-)

    November 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  18. bill constantine

    The brain is funny. Let him go ou and elp legitimate homeless people..Service to mans is the best...Athe adventists are too extream..Like the Jews and Moslems..Welcome to te world of religious nuts..

    November 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  19. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    Becoming christians is a self imposed mental illness

    November 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Sharon

      Quite true! I don't like the deity. Why would anyone worship something that would do that to Job?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Sharon...ask Job! In fact, why don't you tell us how the story ended. Do you that the story has influenced countless millions (which is perhaps why God allowed the trials to visit Job in the first place).

      November 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Sorry, that should have been: "Do you doubt that the story..."

      November 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Van Hagar
      Michael Jackson iinfluenced countless millions...was he god?

      November 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Religious dogma makes people mindless slaves to ridiculous fairy tales!

      All religions involve brain washing...

      November 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Bring 'em...thank you for the non sequitur.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Guess What

      That ol' SH!T HAPPENS! sign has influenced lots of folks too.

      VanHagar, Your fantasy god is a monster. It's a good think that he is imaginary!

      November 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Religious...thank you, too, for the unsubstantiated conclusion.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Religious dogma makes people mindless slaves to ridiculous fairy tales!

      @Vanhagar ... 2000 years ago ...millions believed the earth was flat... did that help make it true? Dâmn! you religioûs nûtjobs are certifiably wâcko!! men wrote those stories...they are not history...they are paraboles and myths!

      November 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Guess...if you think the story of Job is simply "sh!t happens," then read it again.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @Religious...spoken like a true man of knowledge. Job could very well be a parable...but the moral of the story applies equally whether it happened or not.

      November 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Kay

      It's fascinating how VanHagar keeps arguing that things like Job's 10 children being killed by Satan resulted in 'no harm, no foul' because...hey...God gave Job 10 *more* kids later on. I'm sure *we* wouldn't have a problem with losing *our* kids, either...as long as we got more. Yeah, right. Sure.

      The Book of Job reveals VanHagar's god to be weak and puny. I mean, what *real* God would give two hoots what Satan said??? He'd just blow him off.

      November 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  20. godoflunaticscreation

    So the kid joined a cult so he can get laid by his cult member girlfriend. Why is this news?

    November 30, 2012 at 1:28 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.