My Base Instincts and God’s Love

Seven years ago, I sat down on a curb near my home, sobbing, and asked God to help me. I … Continued

Seven years ago, I sat down on a curb near my home, sobbing, and asked God to help me.

I had just had surgery for throat cancer. I still had a trache in my throat. I had been told that if I didn’t stop smoking and drinking immediately, I’d die. I desperately didn’t want to die. I adored my wife and children.

But I knew I couldn’t stop. I’d started smoking when I was twelve and drinking when I was 14. I was now 57 years old.

I cried and begged God to help me . . . and He did. I hadn’t prayed since I was a boy. I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings. And now, through my sobs, I heard myself asking God to help me . . . and from the moment I asked, He did.

I didn’t at first understand why He did. I didn’t deserve His help, I thought. I was unworthy. I ignore Him for forty years and then suddenly I ask Him to help me and He does? It took me some time to understand that God helped me because He loves me. Because even though we don’t deserve God’s love, God loves us – all of us.

Not only did He give me the strength to be able to defeat my addictions, He saved my life. My throat surgeon, Dr. Marshall Strome, told me seven years after the surgery that I am “cured.” Not that I am in remission, but that I am cured. That my throat tissue has regenerated so remarkably that even a doctor examining my throat wouldn’t be able to tell that there was ever cancer there. Dr. Strome, who had removed about eighty percent of my larynx, called this “a miracle.”

I call it that, too. Why did God save the life of a man who had trashed, lampooned, and marginalized Him most of his life? Why did He take the time and the trouble to save me? It certainly wasn’t because I had written Basic Instinct and Showgirls, right? Was it because my wife and I had four little boys we were trying to raise? Possibly.

Or was it God’s divinely impish sense of humor? “Who, you? You’re praying? After everything you’ve done to break my commandments and after every nasty, unfunny thing you’ve written about Me and those who follow Me – now you’re sobbing? Praying? Asking Me to help you? Hah! Okay, fine, I’ll help you. But if I do, know this: My help will obliterate the old, infamous you. You’ll wind up turning your life inside-out. You’ll wind up stopping all of your excesses. You know what will happen to you? You’ll wind up telling the world what I did for you. You’ll wind up carrying my cross in church. Yes, I make all things new – and you will be new, too.”

Well, I thought I heard God saying all those things to me . . . and then all of the things God said would happen . . . did. My life has turned inside-out. I have stopped my excesses and replaced them with prayer and long walks. I am carrying the cross as often as they’ll let me at Holy Angels Church in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. And I have written a book as a thank-you to God. Not just for saving my life, but for saving me.

I am witness to and the beneficiary of God’s love for all of us. Am I am witness, too, to the fact that His love is so strong that it was even able to open my rusty old closed heart.

I will thank Him forever because He gave me new life and a heart which is truly able to love for the first time in my life. His love is mine.

Joe Eszterhas is the author of a new memoir called “Crossbearer.” He has written the screenplays for sixteen films, totaling over $1 billion in box office revenue. His blockbusters include Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Flashdance and Showgirls. A former senior editor at Rolling Stone, he is the author of five previous books – the second, “Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse,” was nominated for the National Book Award.

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  • Robert B

    Your story is an inspiration….thank you for sharing it.

  • Ray Hollenbach

    Mr. Eszterhas:I rejoice with you in God’s immeasurable grace, crazy grace, scandalous grace. If you are still writing, now comes the greatest challenge of your career: to portray the goodness of God in a compelling manner to our society.

  • Stantheman

    A great story of personal redemption and if believing in god helped him turn things around then good for him. But to an atheist this raises interesting questions. For me, it was the BELIEF in god that made the difference, not god. Which really means that it was not god at all; it was something that came from within a human being. But that something was a kind of humility that derived from the recognition that he was not alone, and was responsible for people other than himself. I think this power of humans to effect great changes in their lives is a big part of where religious belief comes from. (But remember that there are also people who pray to god to save them and who still die of cancer.)

  • spiderman2

    My question is why after being saved, he chose to attend a Catholic Church which never preach about “salvation by grace”?He needs to transfer to a church which preaches the kind of salvation he experienced. Catholicism is FALSE RELIGION. It does NOT teach the kind of salvation he went thru. It’s an Evangelical type of salvation.He should correct this error coz he’s not serving God unless he plans to change his church’s wrong views.

  • deflag

    As a smoker and drinker and general hellraiser I can relate to this. In the end we are all just trying to get home. It beats a mortgage and all the trouble with that mess. The thing about being single is that when you get home it’s just a house. When you leave it’s just empty and then you empty another bottle and the big wheel keeps turning. Politics keeps spinning things out of control for the illusion of control. People tell you how to live and you know what you want. You can’t always have it, but you get what you need. The American Dream can’t be bought. You end up with your Freddie in your Fannie pack problems and everybody is bailing, like your home is a prison. Do a good deed and good deals can’t help but to happen. Do fraud and do time. The American Dream is timeless. You have to live it and you can’t live it alone. The kids will get it next, so don’t lose it mom and dad.

  • khefera

    god may be able to forgive basic instinct and showgirls but i can’t.and if you want to thanks someone for your “miraculous” recovery, how about all of those medical professionals who labored over you.

  • deflag

    I hear trees falling and there is the chainsaw. Works to do, so have fun and love your work. Back to the basics.

  • DoTheRightThing

    Joe Eszterhas wrote, “I didn’t deserve His help, I thought. I was unworthy.” Your thinking was and is correct – you (and me and everyone else) are unworthy, BUT He loves us ANYWAY! That’s how great He is.

  • asking the obvious

    Why did God put the alcohol and cigarettes in your way in the first place? All of life is some kind of test by an invisible puppeteer who’s deciding how to torture or reward you?You should thank the scientific method and your doctors that created and delivered your effective treatment. I’m glad you’ve beaten your addictions, it’s something you should be proud of. You’ve saved your life, now it’s your obligation to do something meaningful with it. Don’t turn your life from being owned by a bottle to being owned by a church.

  • Wayne

    God didn’t help you. You’re body recovered through something called an immune system. Other people pray to gods and they die anyway because their bodies lost the battle.

  • spiderman2

    My question is why after being saved, he chose to attend a Catholic Church which never preach about “salvation by grace”?He needs to transfer to a church which preaches the kind of salvation he experienced. Catholicism is a FALSE RELIGION. It does NOT teach the kind of salvation he went thru. It’s an Evangelical type of salvation.He should correct this error coz he’s not serving God unless he plans to change his church’s wrong views.He’s a BORN-AGAIN believer but the head of the church he attends to, who is the pope and the priests , are NOT. He should be the one teaching them. To CHANGE the whole Catholic system inside-out.

  • Wayne

    So I can be completely evil my whole life and ask god for forgiveness and go to heaven. Sweet! Let the sin begin (continue rather – but that doesn’t rhyme).

  • deflag

    The guys up the street are making deadwood. Hollywood is making dead souls out of stars. You get another $50 million for acting like the president. The average family can’t make the load of monthly bills heaped on them. It’s like all the bad movies ever made and they got rich off of the misery they caused. Now it’s all we are sorry, we’ll make this right with God. Power to the family. That’s where the good is and the rest of them can go to hell with their own kind in short order. You need to think long-term. You need to think period

  • Thanks

    Thanks for sharing your testimony of how you came to know the Lord. And you are right. None of us deserve His love. But God is love. It is His nature. And He said He would be found by those who seek Him. You sought Him and found Him. Like all of us that know Him.

  • artistkvip / b.keith vipperman

    i enjoyed reading your words, there are many people who walk the earth that have come back from [places unimaginable and unexplainable, i know a few personally , i might be one myself….though i have done no great deeds except try to be the best person like the voice in my heart had always told me to be.. abraham lincoln said the words that have explained some of it to me… many times i have ben ,,,,driven …not pushed , not smashed, not destroyed, not anighalated but driven to my knees by theoverwhelming conviction … that i… had no where else to go….i’ve heard it said a person has to lose themselves to find themselves, that seems to make sense to me because sometimes when i know that i dont know then i actually know more than i have ever known before. and there come a freedom when doesn’t have to be responsible for running the world successfully.. that one only needs to do thier best and the results are gods.. it is my opinion some times people free will wwwhen they are playing God and placing conditions upon others in matters that are meant to be gifts then they screw up Gods will. there is a difference between employing somone and giving a gift. once you have been driven to your knees i think in y opinion that is when i first truely understood what a gift was. many of lifes stesses and hardships sem to be caused by thinking yo are giving a gift to someone when you are offering them a job or in most cases i see an attempt to dominate another human for finacial reasons. work is a fine thing but people i think too often confuse and intermingel the meanins of the two,, i appologize for the many errors sure to be here i am dyslexic and even when i proof read i have many imperfections but maybe you can get the general idea of my thoughts i have a message i need to read enjoy your life i think that is the point make the world a little nicer or better or at least dont screw it up worse

  • spiderman2

    The Bible doesn’t lie. What it says happen. “For by GRACE are ye SAVED through FAITH; and that NOT of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)It happened to countless many a people including this author. Here’s another Bible verse which unbelievers should WORRY about.”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which AFTER he hath KILLED hath power to cast into HELL; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:5)To the unbelievers, God does not only kill, but he burns them after he kills. He is a merciful God but he can be unforgiving to the proud. The Bible doesn’t lie. IT WILL HAPPEN.Fear Him.After this life, there is NO more grace AVAILABLE.

  • Rick Mills

    Your story causes me to have a better appreciation for a song written by the late Mark Heard. Also recorded by Bruce Cockburn and Daniel Amos:Strong Hand of LoveStrong Hand of LoveDown peppers the rain from a clear blue sky Up struggles the sun from a wounded night We can laugh and we can cry Young dreamers explode like popped balloons Time marches away like a lost platoon We can laugh and we can cry

  • grashnak

    One thing I will never understand is why people are willing to praise god for intervening on their behalf when they pray to be healed but are unwilling to blame god for failing to intervene on behalf of the much larger number of people who pray to be healed but die anyway.If god is capable of helping one person in need, they presumably (being god) he is capable of helping everyone in need. His failure to do so is either mean or arbitrary, and either way it doesn’t seem very loving.A personal god who can intervene on behalf of individuals must, by definition, be responsible for the consequences of failing to do so.

  • grashnak

    “To the unbelievers, God does not only kill, but he burns them after he kills. He is a merciful God but he can be unforgiving to the proud. “If your god sends people to eternal torture because they are “proud”, then I think maybe “merciful” doesn’t mean what you think it does…

  • sam24368

    Hi,Sufferings, illness and death are sure for all of us in this life. Facing these put many of us in to extreme mental states. Not just our sufferings, but even the sufferings of near and dear ones.In such times, We draw mental comfort, strength , courage by appealing to a God who exists in our minds. The God in the mind gives comfort to our mind than any Doctor Or Medicine can give, in times of uncertainty. For sure. For a mother who lost her baby, only God in her mind can give her the mental comfort that the baby is safe with the God.But can the God in the Mind do what an antibiotic can do to the body? Will you take a child affected with pneumonia to Prayers alone (that the child’s and our mind need) or will you give it the antibotic that the child’s body needs as well.Looking forward to your comment

  • spiderman2

    grashnak wrote “If your god sends people to eternal torture because they are “proud”, then I think maybe “merciful” doesn’t mean what you think it does…”Good reasoning but why be proud when it is eaiesr to be humble? Why challenge God? What’s the point?

  • Anonymous

    God is great. This is just another story of God’s living, breathing love for us.

  • Fate

    I dunno. A remarkable story for sure. I’ve heard many many others that are similar. Overcoming alcoholism is very hard. The body actually changes metabolically. Nicotine addition is even harder and has been compared to heroin addition. In either case, a person cannot do it without outside help and a willingness inside to change. That willingness usually requires fear. Fear of losing a job or family (love) it usually what it takes to find the determination needed in these people (e.g., hitting rock bottom). What is interesting is that impending death or loss of money is usually not the reason these people make a recovery. Its losing your lifestyle that matters and fear of the impending lonliness that we know would follow the loss of a job or family.In this man’s story it seems the threat of death was important, but there was probably more. Fear sure seemed to be the main driver though. They say that religion is the last resort of fiends and scoundrals. Its actually a last resort of those who have no where else to turn, which includes those who are told they will die. And this man probably did not realize he had no where to turn until his doctors told him where he was heading. Cancer, alcohol and nicotine are a deadly mix. The fear came from the reality of a doctor’s warning, something we rarely ignore. Turning to God followed that, which is expected from anyone raised in a religion. Had he been raised Muslim, Allah would be answering his prayers as Allah has answered the prayers of others in similar circumstance.God is a father figure, a figure most of us no longer have once we become adults. Even our own fathers, if still alive, are not the threat they used to be and while we may respect them and love them, we do not fear them as we did as children. God however continues to be that father figure, with rewards and punishments as real today as when we were 5 years old. The same ability of a child to respond to a father’s council and fear, and change from being a bully to being kind, from being a bad student to being a good one, etc, still exists in us. When we believe God is there, as helper or warning us of consequences, we listen like children and can muster the same determination we had as children, and can change. When God is speaking, we are as children again and not the old dogs that cannot be taught new tricks.The one question we need to ask is whether this type of “miracle” only happens to christians who believe in Jesus, or does it also happen to jews, muslims, buddists, hindus and the many other religions which all believe in somethng larger and more powerful than ourselves, something we can believe councils and orders us as our parents used to. If only Christians receive miracles like this one, then you may have a point, but we hear of miracles all over the world. You only need to hear the miraculous stories that came out of Sichuan Provence after the earthquake to understand that belief in God is not needed for a miracle, but it may be needed for a person with little ability to change on their own to gather the determination that comes from the respect and fear of a father telling you to change.As another poster noted, it was belief in God, not God, that made this miracle. We all have the ability within us to make our own miracles. That is the lesson to take from this, not God’s power but our own, not to make us turn our life around, but to turn it ourselves, to understand that no power comes from the outside but within us is a power we rarely use but exists in us all. And we just need know it is there so when needed we can perform our own miracles.

  • Jason

    God bless you Joe! Thank you for sharing your testimony of God’s unconditional love for us. We are here on earth to grow through our experinces, and to seek after the the Lord through trying circumstances. I applaude you for humility and faith.Jason

  • V~

    Joe:What a wonderful story of mercy, love and redemption. God is good all the time; all the time, God is good.Welcome to the fold, my brother!

  • Tim

    When I read your moving testimony it reminded me of a story in the New Testament. I’ve been a Christian all my life and I am now and have always been grateful to my Savior. You know his grace and mercy better than I do after a lifetime of being a believer!Luke 7:36-46One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

  • Bill

    I am very glad and thankful that your cancer is in remission. I am also very sad that you have fallen for the silliness of religion. But each to his or her own.

  • Robert B

    Bill, be prepared to tell Jesus how “silly” he is.

  • Thomas Baum

    JOE ESZTERHASThank you for your story.You wrote about God loving ALL OF US and this is true. This is why He came up with the Plan that He came up with.His Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom which will come at the dawning of the seventh day. Actually, God is a Being of Pure Love and I thank God that after meeting God the Father by His coming into my heart that it is pretty obvious that some of the people that know His Name, know nothing else about Him.Some think of God as a puppeteer whereas this is not even close since He gave us free will. Some people can’t even give the idea that God Is not only Real but a Being of Pure Love a chance and for at least some of these, it is the fact that we have free will that is a major stumbling block. One of the things that I have heard said, “Why would God allow … to do what … has done?”, free will is the answer.Others seem to want to tell God how and what He can do in the unfolding of HIS PLAN.How God works in other people’s lives is God’s business not mine but part of God’s workings in mine was to meet the Trinity and also to meet satan, as I have said it is GOD’S PLAN, I am just a messenger.Hang in there and one thing that I can tell you for a fact, satan is not nice at all even tho he can try to come across as mister nice guy, and not only is satan a liar and a thief as Jesus told us but satan is also a loser, a sore loser.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Jamaal

    I don’t really get it. Did God ignore all the people in this world who were suffering from cancer, prayed for forgiveness and help, but still died? Did he desert the six million jews murdered during the holocaust?It’s unfathomable that people can talk about how amazing God’s love is for them when they recover, and then look the other way as others suffer brutally from the same diseases.If God is so powerful and all-loving, why would he allow such pain and suffering?

  • Timothy

    Careful Grashnak-Joe E. has said in his post”I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings.”You do see where Joe now finds himself (a devout follower of Him he ridiculed) – and yet you post here as an embodiment of his former self. You may provoke the Great Lover to seek you out until everywhere you turn to avoid Him- there He is.Life is a gift. Bon voyage.

  • Anonymous 2

    I experienced a luminous encounter with the undescribable holiness of Christ.Yet the questions of unbelievers and skeptics are quite good. For example, one retorts that some people pray and still die, and then goes on to attribute all outcomes to the strength of the inmune system. Yet it is not understood scientifically why some inmune systems recover and others do not, even in otherwise healthy, vital and young people.Further, if God’s purpose was only to heal bodies, Jesus would have healed everyone, but he did not. Indeed, he would have eradicated diseace from the human race, but did not. I believe His purpose is obviously of a higher order, eternal in essence. It may or may not involve an extension of life on earth, for that is secondary. His purpose, I believe, is to bring us to real life.

  • grashnak

    Timothy: “You may provoke the Great Lover to seek you out”I remain astounded that you guys keep using the words mercy and love in relation to your god who – as I mentioned – intends to torture me eternally simply because I don’t believe in him.I detect neither love nor mercy in that plan.

  • Fate

    Thomas Baum wrote: “Hang in there and one thing that I can tell you for a fact, satan is not nice at all even tho he can try to come across as mister nice guy, and not only is satan a liar and a thief as Jesus told us but satan is also a loser, a sore loser.”So, your saying satan is a Republican? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  • felix

    I’ve often noticed that addicts change gain control over one particular addiction by substituting another in its place.I’ve noticed many drunks can successfully become addicted to jesus … it’s still and addiction buddy. Grow up.

  • 2late4god

    Joe E:Any possibility that your doctors knowingly or inadvertently took the right steps and cured your type of cancer???? Your life has been good: success, wealth, family. What kind of god would take the time to extend your life when millions around the world are living from day to day without enough food. Surely, they too are praying to some god, for some time, and yet receive no “miracles.” What kind of mean, uncaring, random god are you praying to? If you must believe in the god thing, perhaps you’ll want to give away most of your “god-given” money so as to avoid the whole rich man/camel scenario mentioned in the mythical book. Certainly making more money would not be atonement for your “miracle”.

  • Jamaal

    It would be laughable if all these people weren’t so darn serious.If you pray to God and he saves you, he’s showing his overwhelming love.If you pray to God and you suffer and die, he has ‘greater plans’ for you.Give me a break. How much suffering must there be in this world before people wake up and realize that there is no God?

  • natman

    “Don’t view God through the lens of your circumstances, view your circumstances through the lens of God.”“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” “Often we say we’re trusting God, but instead of trusting for His best, we’re looking for Him to provide a particular outcome to our experience. And when we trust Him for a specific event to occur or a circumstance to happen, we really aren’t trusting at all. We’re hoping, wishing-but not trusting. We’re telling God what to do instead of asking Him for His ultimate goodness to be revealed.”

  • 66 Above and Beyond

    Hollywood has drama. New York City drama plus. It’s because of a special lady and she lights the way. Hollywood has a big sign though. A Big Apple a day keeps the doctor at play. So it works out and the city never sleeps. It’s always going up and reaching up. Hollywood seems dull by comparison. There are no crossroads out here. No blvd. of broken dreams. We have a big shooting range so if you can read this, you are in range. Keep shooting for the stars and your dreams will fall into place and keep shooting at the terrorists and we’ll be sure to send more ammo. Stay well regulated and on target.

  • v

    They argued over this back in the 17th centure. If god is omnipresent, omnibeneveloent, and ominiscient how can he allow all the suffering we see in the world.The dance the believers do to avoid having to blame their god for all the harm it does is an obsequiousness like none other. Those who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

  • Anonymous

    Bite the Big Apple. With practice you can avoid biting your hand. Walk and chew gum.

  • Thomas Baum

    GRASHNAKYou wrote, “I remain astounded that you guys keep using the words mercy and love in relation to your god who – as I mentioned – intends to torture me eternally simply because I don’t believe in him.”You have never met God and neither have some of those that know His Name.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • common sense

    Joe, thanks for sharing your experience. People have been explaining such biological (and other) mysteries as the work of God for countless millenia. But as other posters point out, the horrors that have not been prevented by God are his doing as well. Devotees of God will of course disagree. God gets the credit for miraculous interventions, otherwise humans get the credit for their own endless misery! In reality, God is merely the Other, and the face of the Great Unknown. This only makes sense – although religion and religious beliefs are typically not the least bit logical. If we’re spared suffering that seems to be inevitable, we are bound to be thankful to something or someone. It’s a short leap to God in such cases. In truth, one man’s experience doesn’t translate well into universal truths. And while God is a convenient explanation for the mysteries of life, He has yet to explain anything to anyone that I know of. The ‘revelations’ that I trust least come from prophets, fortune tellers and hierophants that claim to have direct contact with God – because, one man’s experience …. well, you know the rest. Best to you …..

  • grashnak

    Thomas Baum: “You have never met God and neither have some of those that know His Name. Take care, be ready.”You are right, I haven’t. On the other hand, I’m still not clear on exactly why that means I should be eternally tortured.Perhaps you could explain that?

  • Anonymous

    “Why did God save the life of a man who had trashed, lampooned, and marginalized Him most of his life? “He saved your live because you asked him to, that’s why he saved you. It is as simple as that. And the promise is the same for everyone. How much easier can it get than this, just come to God and confess your sins, repent and ask for Him to come into your life, and he will. That is a promise you can count on!Those who don’t ask, well they only have themselves to blame. It is not God’s fault it is your fault for not asking when and if you end up suffering now and for eternity. You condemn yourselves. And you try to kill God by saying he does not exists. That is foolish. You can not kill God. Man already tried that when he put Christ up on that cross. But Christ rose from the dead and He rules forever and forever, Amen.16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

  • Ed

    God doesn’t shy away from the universality of his control. He sends the storms, brings the rain, gives blessings, and will judge everyone. Why is one life short and another life long? We’re not given that information.God really is there …But, God is also holy … and patientAll of us deserve seperation from Him forever.No one deserves it.And yet, he is patient with us.Suffering is a foretaste of what is to come … if we can doubt the reality of judgment living in a world with suffering, how do you think you would respond to this message if life had no suffering in it? Warnings of coming storms are hard to take seriously on a sunny, cloudless day …Suffering, as bad as it is – and it is truly evil – is a necessary part of the grace of God to wake us up from our fantasy world …The question is not, “How can a good God allow suffering?” but rather “How can a Holy God be patient and not make us suffer every moment?”Arguing that you wish 2+2 was not 4 does not change the reality of truth. There really is a Holy God and we are accountable to Him – and there is no hope other than Christ.But He will not turn any away that come to Him and follow Him.I praise God for working in this man’s life.Mercy and Grace are never deserved, by definition.

  • common sense

    Terra – the Pentacostal snake handlers in Kentucky and West Virginia ‘speak in tongues’.They also get bitten frequently – and a few die. Does that stop the faithful from repeating the same practices over and over? Certainly not – they trust that the Holy Spirit is controlling the entire operation. It’s something similar to the early American Puritan practice of determining a person’s guilt or innocence once accused of witchcraft.You throw them in a lake with their hands and feet bound – if they float, they’re guilty as charged and hung without further ado. If they sink, then praise the Lord for their innocence! In real life, it’s ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ – for most of us.

  • ws

    why do people spew their doctrine on these pages? I wonder, are you doing this to help yourself remain convinced? If you say it often enough, it becomes more real?if it walks like a duck …

  • Grashnak

    Ed:”But, God is also holy … and patientYour all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present god, inventor to all things including polio, ALS, and a host of other horrible diseases which he freely inflicts on people of all faiths and temperments seems anything but merciful.You all keep saying he is loving and merciful, but seemingly have no problem with the rest of your doctrine where he eternally tortures ALMOST EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER LIVED, most of whom are guilty of nothing worse than not following his religious doctrines.The fact that you can maintain those two ideas in your brain simultaneously ought to be investigated as a miracle of psychology.

  • ws

    And think of all the poor idiots who chose to be born in a country that worships other gods …What about the people born before 0 A.D, what about the ancient mesopotamians, what about all those people in meso-america. Are they just screwed by bad luck?What a crock, how can anybody buy this stuff?

  • Anonymous

    WS, we do it for these reasons:1. Jesus gave us the great commission to do so. So we do it to obey Christ.So, WS, you now know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because you know you will stand before the throne with no excuses. You won’t be able to say, “have mercy on me because I just did not know … nobody told me.” In your case we know that this just won’t be acceptable, will it?19 ¶ “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

  • Outlaw Torn

    I am glad the writer of this article has overcome his cancer.While I am an atheist, I firmly believe in the power of God. The author attributes his healing to a true divine power — I attribute his healing to the power of myth, AKA the placebo effect.Who am I to judge him if he needed a little extra inspiration to get him away from smoking and drinking?Now, if we can all just talk about how we can help each other live and let live in peace….

  • Grace

    A wonderful story of conversion and God’s Grace. I am amazed that more people are not posting. Just goes to show how far left most of the bloggers are that visit here.

  • ws

    Anonymous, that’s all crap, and here are the reasons why:1) alksdja;lksdja[ aspdoiasdiojfa;sdlkj;alkI hope that’s clear.

  • orf

    Grace, the only thing dumber than a christian is a left wing fool.Since you assume all you disagree with you must be leftwing, you are more of a fool than even they are.

  • Anonymous

    WS, God will provide for all others. That is His problem. I only do my part and today my part is to explain the gospel to you. Anything speculation beyond that on my part about how God will take care off others or if He will is presumptuous and may even be offensive to the Almighty. God gave you free will and to question the creator of the Heavens and the Earth may give you satisfaction; but its kind of like throwing mud in your bosses face.

  • TERRA

    Common Sense The “snake handlers” are not pentecostals- they believe denominations are ‘man made’ and carry the Mark of the Beast.Glossalia has a long history.Check it out before you launch into another misinformed rant:Twentieth-century Pentecostalism was not the earliest instance of “speaking in tongues” in church history; rather, there were antecedents in several centuries of the Christian era, e.g.–150 AD – Justin Martyr wrote “For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to this present time.” and “Now, it is possible to see amongst us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God;” This is by no means a complete history- but is a good place to start your study.And thanks for posting.

  • ws

    thanks Anonymous, I haven’t had such a good laugh this month!

  • orf

    you people are sick, but there’s so many of you won’t ever know it.After you’re dead and rotting in the ground, you won’t know how wrong you are then either.What a perfect scam. And you’ve fallen for it hook line and sinker.I suppose you don’t care, but since we have to put up with the doctrine spewers here today as well – this is why we laugh at you.

  • silence dogood

    Mr. Eszterhas,Romans 10:13I did what you did at 14, at 29 and at 45. Each time the Lord was faithful to the earnest prayer.Praise God, may other eyes be opened so that others may believe.

  • Anonymous

    Anytime

  • Jamaal

    A person cannot make him or herself believe something. As much as I tell myself ‘God exists,’ I can’t force myself to.So then am I damned to torture in Hell forever? If I lie and tell Jesus I believe he is the son of God and he should save me, will that fool him?Religion is a drug.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Ed, Ed, Ed,God had nothing to do with it. It was that Pagan get-well spell your girl friends purchased for you. And besides God being a fair God would have to cure all of the sick not just some “party-time Joe” like you.

  • Jon

    I think it’s fantastic that there are so many comments by nonreligious readers. I keep thinking “Why do they even care enough to post a message?” a) Are they mean? I hope not.I’d like to know, what makes them tick. If they really believe religion is as silly as they make it sound, not only why do they bother, but why with such passion? Especially since the article was about one guy’s experience and I don’t think he ever encourages anyone to follow him. Doesn’t he just say, “This is what happened and I believe it was God?” I see nothing there worthy of the angst I see in so many of these posts. Let me know your motivation. I’d appreciate it. If atheism is pursued with religious fervor, then isn’t it really just a religion?

  • Regan

    So you didn’t love your wife or 4 boys before your cancer?

  • common sense

    Terra – I wonder if Irenaeus spoke in tongues himself, or merely found it admirable that early Orthodox followers were known to do so – of course the heretics mentioned were various and assorted Gnostics of the day. Another early Church Father, Origen of Alexandria, was considered to be the most formidable thinker in the early Church, and he neither spoke in tongues nor was antagonstic to the Gnostics. He was an extremist in his own way though, and underwent self-castration in order to waylay temptations of the flesh. I wonder if the ecstatically inclined Cathars spoke in tongues as they were burned at the stake in droves for heresy by Pope Innocent III. The later canonized St. Dominic and his Dominican order led the charge in the early purgative days of the Albingensian Crusade, wherein the Church slaughtered many thousands of ‘heretics’ just in France alone. Was the Holy Spirit helping or hindering the process, one wonders? The question remains – is glossolalia naturally or supernaturally induced? What would psychology say? Could this be the result of self-induced hynotic suggestion triggered by a highly charged religious environment?? Were the early saints similarly effected during their ecstatic trances? I’ve never read that Theresa of Avila spoke in tongues, although other Carmelite nuns have been known to do so.It seems likely that those who experience ‘speaking in tongues’ have come by the talent through role-modeling in a particular religious environment – you don’t find this behavior much outside Pentacostal churches and possibly modern-day Quakers, these days.The Shakers were similarly overtaken by the Holy Spirit during their ritualistic dances between males and females – but of course they have died off by prohibiting sex among their converts. The ecstasy to nowhere, so to speak! Most mainstream religionists would find this spontaneous and highly unorthodox behavior ‘unseemly’.But back to the snake handlers – you’re saying their experience of ‘speaking in tongues’ is not genuine, whereas more ‘legitimate’ Pentacostal church members experience the real thing? That is, channeling the Holy Spirit…..As long as our next wannabe Vice President is doing it, it’s got to be the real thing, don’t you think? PS. Sorry to steal Joe’s thunder here ……

  • Stantheman

    Jon, an interesting post. To answer some of your questions from my perspective as an atheist:1. “Why do they even care enough to post a message?” We all live in a society in which religion plays a huge role and are interested in the practical questions of how to live with it as well as they philosophical and metaphysical ones assocated with belief. Not believing in god does not mean not being interested in religion (on the contrary, most atheists are fascinated with the phenomenon of belief). And these forums would be boring if they were only peopled by Christians saying “Amen brother” to each other all the time.”a) Are they mean? I hope not.” “b) Concerned for “misguided” religious people? I hope so! But if they are, they seem a little aggressive and hurtful…why do they sound so hostile? I thought it was supposed to be the religious people who were intolerant and judgmental?”"c) Would they really like to be religious and are jealous because it doesn’t work for them?” I think some atheists may envy religious people some aspects of what their religion provides – an easily defined sense of purpose, a sense of peace, having presidential candidates reach out to them – however misguided they may believe these to be. But mostly, probably not.Mostly, I think atheists are tired of living in a world where an imaginary world of gods and angels and mythical beings – that no one has ever seen and for which there exists no shred of what in most circumstances we would require as evidence – is accepted as reality, and wielded as evidence of patriotism and good character. I think we believe that most people would not believe in this world if they would just overcome their fear and guilt and laziness long enough to really think about it, but because they don’t, we (atheists) are forced to live with the surreal. Thanks for asking.

  • Fate

    Jon wrote: The same reason you do.Jon wrote: “a) Are they mean? I hope not.”Mean? Is it mean to point out when someone says something you disagree with? Or is it politically incorrect to question someone when they tell you their faith performed a miracle when there are more logical reasons?Jon wrote: “b) Concerned for “misguided” religious people? I hope so! But if they are, they seem a little aggressive and hurtful…why do they sound so hostile? I thought it was supposed to be the religious people who were intolerant and judgmental?”They are. The difference is atheists are willing to debate. Atheists are willing to take in new information and based on reason add it to their bag of truths. Religious people need weekly indocrination. They do not debate, they pontificate. The say people like me will go to hell. Believe me, that is hurtful, but in the same breath they say they love everyone, which I doubt. When a believer is willing to sit down and have an actual debate on the existance of God, I might consider that the religious are not hostile. Any takers? Remember, you must be willing to lose the argument, meaning you must be prepared to admit God does not exist. The fact that so many cannot do that is where the problem lies especially when you consider there is no proof of God’s existance.Jon wrote: c) Would they really like to be religious and are jealous because it doesn’t work for them?”Hahahahhahahahahaha, oh that was good. Yes yes, atheists are jealous of those who believe in spooks. Hahahahaha.Jon wrote: d) Have they been so hurt by religious people that they feel they need to lash out against what they see to be the root of evil?”When you hear from people who say that they believe in loving other people but say things like: ‘You will burn in hell for eternity, its not too late, just believe, just give in, just think like me!’. After a few of those you get a little hurt, not much since I know they are deluded, but there must be some hate if they tell people they are worse than them and they will be rewarded while you will go to hell no matter how you lived your life.Jon wrote: I’d like to know, what makes them tick. If they really believe religion is as silly as they make it sound, not only why do they bother, but why with such passion?”When you leave your delusions at home and your church there is no problem. It when you bring them into politics, government, my kids schools, and try to put “believers” into the courts so we have a theocracy. That’s when your delusion goes a bit too far. Atheists have no problem with your religion until you actively try to make it their religion. Maybe if atheists were knocking on your door once a week asking to come in and explain why God does not exist. Would you appreciate that?Jon wrote: “Especially since the article was about one guy’s experience and I don’t think he ever encourages anyone to follow him. Doesn’t he just say, “This is what happened and I believe it was God?” I see nothing there worthy of the angst I see in so many of these posts. Let me know your motivation. I’d appreciate it.”Well, if the guy had just found a pot of gold in his backyard after seeing a rainbow and wrote in the Washington Post that he had an epiphany that leprachauns existed and he found their pot of gold, you might role your eyes and say there is a better explanation. Nothing this man went through has not been done without faith. I’m not saying his faith did not assist him, I’m sure it did, but there are many people of faith who do not pull out of the tailspin this guy was in. Many people of faith, my mother included, die while in the middle of prayer. But religions win either way. In Joe’s case God saved him. In my mother’s case God saved her by bringing her to heaven. Just what does God ever do that is wrong? I wonder if God was too busy with Joe to notice the earthquake in China that killed thousands, or Pakistan that killed hundreds, or Katrina that killed hundreds, or 911. But I guess Joe was more important than those people, or my mother? You tell me. I’m sure you’ll have an explanation you learned from your Sunday indoctrination session.Jon wrote: “If atheism is pursued with religious fervor, then isn’t it really just a religion?”Oh my … God! What is wrong with believers? Is everything belief to you? Is nothing real? Is life just a movie we are all living, trying to be real good, just like before Christmas so we get a big reward? Here is what I propose Jon: Find a bird nest near where you live. Watch it, real hard. See how they live, daily, struggling, fighting, raising young, having eggs stolen by crows and defending the nest with their lives, and having young die. Notice how they do not cry, get depressed, or pray. Notice how they live life to the fullest, taking it in stride, the good and bad. Notice how some are mean, chasing other birds away from a bird feeder full of food for hundreds of birds. Notice the care and hard work they perform to build a nest, raise babies, and form bonds between mates.After doing that I want you to ask yourself what the purpose of that bird is on earth. Will it go to heaven? Does it believe in God, and why would God put that bird there, and all the billions of others? And I really do not want to hear thet its all part of a plan, because that just means you have no clue. After you do this we may be closer to being able to discuss the real world, and not a world where everything is based on belief and fantasy.

  • Terra

    Common Sense-Settle yourself. In your post you swing a plethora of arguments hoping you will hit something with one of them. You should shake off your complacency and open you eyes.There is a long history of glossalia. It is a truly unique Christian phenomena as documented by Dr. Newberg’s work. It is not comparable with “snake-handlers”.Did you read my first post? I think not. Try reading it and get back to me.

  • Robert B.

    Fate –You wrote, “Atheists are willing to take in new information and based on reason add it to their bag of truths. Religious people need weekly indocrination. They do not debate, they pontificate.”If you are so open to new information, perhaps you’ll take some from a lowly theist like myself.The VAST majority of religious people are not stupid sheep seeking to be led. We are not the enemies of reason; rather, we use reason where it is appropriate and rely on faith for the rest. To claim otherwise is to merely set up a straw man to knock down for your own amusement.You don’t like being told you’re going to hell for your atheism. I don’t blame you for that. I don’t like being gratuitously insulted by you and others because I believe in God, especially when I have never claimed that your damnation is imminent (that knowledge is, as the saying goes, above my pay grade). There’s a basic moral principle that two wrongs don’t make a right. If you and those who believe like you do must vent your spleen at those of us who believe, can you find a more constructive manner of doing so? Otherwise, those theists whom you hope to enlighten will merely tune you out.Conversation starts when rage is put aside…

  • Anonymous

    JON:Atheists are members of the Church of Self-Obsession of the Immature, Sarcastic, and Annoying. : )

  • stantheman

    Anonymous, your comment: “Atheists are members of the Church of Self-Obsession of the Immature, Sarcastic, and Annoying. : )” doesn’t appear to contribute anything to the debate, or make any sense. Is it ironically self-referential? Can you elucidate? Thanks.

  • stephen8

    I have found it best to ignore people who are nearly 60 and had been drinking since age 14 and smoking since 12. Just proves there’s a role model out there for anyone.

  • Scott

    I am really excited to hear God’s work on Joe’s life…but I am leery because I didn’t him say anything about Christ’s sacrifice, Christ’s blood, Christ’s forgiveness of his sins. I hear too many testimonies that mention God and yes he is the father, but it was the work His son did on the cross that saves us. Please someone talk to Joe and make sure he doesn’t feel good about what he and God did, but that he truly accepts what God did through His son on that cruel cross and that there is no way to the Father accept through the Son. Please Joe Make sure

  • common sense

    Terra – I read your post and am familiar with your ‘references’. Perhaps we should just say that ‘speaking in tongues’ is anecdotal evidence of conferring with the Holy Spirit and leave it at that. Said evidence historically speaking seems to be second-hand at best. What I don’t understand is why more famous Catholic founders, theologians, saints, and Doctors of the Church didn’t possess the grace to ‘speak in tongues’.Why have the Pentacostals cornered the glossolalia market, so to speak? Another mystery….. On the other hand, if glossolalia is not a global experience across all religions and faiths, then we have to doubt it’s authenticity to some degree. Why would contact with the Holy Spirit be limited to Christians only? Are they special people in some way? I do know that certain Shamanistic practices among so-called ‘primitive’ peoples can generate very similar experiences. So, it may not be limited to Christianity after all. Clearly this whole business requires much further study – beyond the blog, as they say. PS. Don’t you know that Terra is a Pagan Saint? How about ‘Mary’ instead?

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Joe Eszterhas looks like Deflag. Without the cowboy hat of course.What a coincidence.

  • Paul B.

    Joe, I’m happy for you. I look forward to reading your book. He does work in the most peculiar ways, and the darker the situation the more contrast to His grace, and the more glory to Him.Check out the classic hymn “And can it be that I should gain” if you don’t know it. Amazing words.So many of the comments here are trash. Guard your pearl of great price.GB,

  • Lucy

    Paul B.: “Joe, I’m happy for you. I look forward to reading your book. He does work in the most peculiar ways, and the darker the situation the more contrast to His grace, and the more glory to Him.Check out the classic hymn “And can it be that I should gain” if you don’t know it. Amazing words.So many of the comments here are trash. Guard your pearl of great price.GB,What sound advice that is notably caring for your fellowman. We all could learn from your position, a good trait to see in a man.

  • Rose

    I really did not see or hear any regret by Mr. Eszterhas for the filth and corruption he has promulgated. I believe at one time he was a part of the Jesus Seminar and that would really take some explaining to God and the Christian public at large. This is about selling his new book. Mr. Eszterhas claims his book is a thank you to God? Where will the proceeds go, to what charity? When he joins a campaign to end kiddie porn or speaks against abortion I’ll really believe he’s rehabilitated and loves the Lord.

  • Thomas Baum

    GRASHNAKYou wrote, “You are right, I haven’t. On the other hand, I’m still not clear on exactly why that means I should be eternally tortured.”It doesn’t mean that at all, just because many have twisted what “Christianity” is a part of, doesn’t mean they know what they are talking about.If the True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God was even remotely like what some of the people that know His Name say that He is, then one would be to say the least, heartless, to have anything at all to do with Him.First off, calling oneself a “Christian” does not make one a “Christian”. Knowing God’s Name does not make one a “Christian”. God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof. There are people that are “Christian” in their hearts that don’t even believe that there is a God.”Christianity” is part of God’s Plan that He has had since before creation and His Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom and His Plan will come to Fruition.Some people that call themself “Christian” do not believe that ALL are included.Some people that call themself “Christian do not want ALL to be included even tho they themself want to be.”Christians” are called to “PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS” which is that God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable. Not the ‘good enough news’ as in as long as I get to the “good place”, seems rather self-centered and uncaring to put it mildly.God knew in giving us free will that not all would take responsibility in this lifetime, you could say to repent of whatever wrongdoing someone does, no matter what. That is why He came up with His Plan, it seems like quite a few people are ticked off with God for including all but that is their problem, not mine, I am just a messenger.I may add more later but I am running out of time for now.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    God being a fair God would have to cure all of the sick not just some “party-time Joe” like you.

  • spiderman2

    Ryan Haber wrote “His Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom and His Plan will come to Fruition.”What’t the difference between this statement and the Devil’s ? NONE. Catholicism is the Devil’s Church. These people invent things straight from the Devil’s mouth.******The Bible doesn’t lie. What it says happen. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)It happened to countless many people including this author. Here’s another Bible verse which unbelievers should WORRY about.”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which AFTER he hath KILLED hath power to cast into HELL; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:5)To the unbelievers, God does not only kill, but he burns them after he kills. He is a merciful God but he can be unforgiving to the proud. The Bible doesn’t lie. IT WILL HAPPEN.

  • spiderman2

    Sorry for the mistake. It’s Thomas Baum who said it and not Ryan Haber.

  • Thomas Baum

    SPIDERMAN 2You wrote, “Ryan Haber wrote “His Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom and His Plan will come to Fruition.”I could be wrong but I do not think that Ryan Haber wrote that, but I do know that that is exactly what I wrote and I stand by it, as a matter of fact I stake absolutely everything on it.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Anonymous 2

    This ia the best of all possible worlds God could have created.Yet some complain it does not meet their standards. The onus is thus on them to specify what exactly they would change in its architecture. I’d be interested in seeing how they would have edited the blueprints.

  • Thomas Baum

    CONCERNED THE CHRISTIAN NOW LIBERATEDYou wrote, “God being a fair God would have to cure all of the sick not just some “party-time Joe” like you.”Still trying to tell God what He can and can’t do? Did you let Him know how “light” you made your version of the bible?Don’t worry CCNL, God’s Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom and it is not about “religion”, it is about God and His Plan.Be ready, take care.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum

  • Anonymous

    You challenge directly the words of Jesus Christ (Luke 12:5). You make Him a liar by your claim.The only explanation for that is you serve a different God. Jesus Christ (God) and his children speak the same words. You are NOT his child. It is only in your imagination.If Joe Eszterhas didn’t find Christ, he would roast in hell. Don’t call yourself a Christian coz you are not.

  • spiderman2

    Hell is real so take care and ready yourself. God doesn’t lie.

  • spiderman2

    You challenge directly the words of Jesus Christ (Luke 12:5). You make Him a liar by your claim.The only explanation for that is you serve a different God. Jesus Christ (God) and his children speak the same words. You are NOT his child. It is only in your imagination.If Joe Eszterhas didn’t find Christ, he would roast in hell. Don’t call yourself a Christian coz you are not.

  • Thomas Baum

    SPIDERMAN 2You wrote, “Hell is real so take care and ready yourself. God doesn’t lie.”Actually, I know hell is real, it is not a belief.Jesus won the keys to hell and spiritual death and He will use them in due time, God’s Time.When Jesus said, “Simon thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build MY Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”, what do you think that He was saying?Besides Him telling us in that statement the whole mission of THE CHURCH, He also told us that the “gates” shall not prevail, did He not?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • stantheman

    Spidey – breaking news! I just had a visit from God, who said that he’s been thinking about hell and decided its just not right to punish people for all eternity for beliefs they cannot control, so he’s decided to do away with it. No more hell! Isn’t that great news? So he said you can stop with the grim forebodings and all that. Oh, and he said it’ll be in the Bible soon, but in the meantime just take it from me as the vessel of God’s word. Boy, these comments should be much more lighthearted places after this news!Stan

  • point of view

    Who would ever have thought that we’d be seeing Thomas Baum and Spiderman2 grappling over the word of God? Who will win, who will earn eternal damnation, and who will be ready? I’m voting for Thomas Baum, because he’s actually a decent person. Will God usher the ever-obnoxious Spiderman2 or the ever-gentle T. Baum through the pearly gates?And who wins? God I or God II? That is the question…….

  • spiderman2

    Where else can unbelievers cling to except thru the hope that LIES give them. Jesus said that there is Hell and he prove those words by walking on water. Unbelievers say there is no hell and they prove it by sinking in water.How can you teach a fool? For a God to allow Himself to hang on the cross is beyond comprehention. The message must be too important that He has to visit earth despite the knowledge that he’d be crucified. If you guys have some neurons on your brains, you would know why God bore the pain on that cross. Those who give warnings like Noah always get ostracized including Christ. Don’t worry guys. Once the burning begins, there will be no more preaching. If hell is not real, everybody can mock God but you guys have no idea how terrible a situation you’re in.

  • spiderman2

    “upon this rock I will build MY Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”The gates of hell are the unbelievers and false religions and “MY Church” are the true believers of Christ — the people who believe in Ephesians 2:8 like Joe Eszterhas. The unbelievers will not prevail over the believers coz as the prophecy had said, the SAINTS will rule the earth.Doomsday is coming and the doom is for the unbelievers and false religion worshippers. For a while the children of hell will rule this earth preceeding doomsday. But ultimately, they will be vanquished. Here’s a verse from the apostle you quoted. “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1Peter 4:18)

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Thomas, the god-talker, the trinity man, and Moses of the NT, Baum,”Fools are those who have read only the bible. God cannot be proud of such lazy creations ( e.g. T. Baum and Spiderman2!!!!”But did Jesus really say “Simon thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build MY Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”????No, he did not according to many historic Jesus exegetes. Again the problem is in the history. Did this simple preacher man, an illiterate rabbi at best, establish a church? No, based on the lack of historical proof e.g. “Thou art Peter” (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel.” Matthew, whomever he was, was therefore a part founder/”necessary accessory” of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary Magdelene, Mary, Joseph and another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles and Pilate. It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest “necessary accessory”.

  • point of view

    God should have got it right the first time, and then he would never have to to endure all that suffering to save his creation – and neither would we. Practice makes perfect.By the way Spiderman2, absolutely nobody in the entire universe is the equal of your stupidity. You are in a class by yourself. God loves even his complete failures. You’re very lucky….

  • spiderman2

    Point of View first CORRECTS God and then he DEFINES God. How can we teach a fool? They know everything.

  • Stantheman

    Spidey – again with the gates of hell and the doomed unbelievers? Didn’t you see my post earlier? I told you, there’s been an edict – God said no more hell! Really – its OK now. New system: Everybody will either go to heaven or just rot back into the ground and be eaten by worms. He’s still working out the details, but anyway, it doesn’t matter – the point is there’s no more hell! God told me himself. So there’s no more need for fire and brimstone and apocalyptic rumblings and all that. Seriously, you can rest easy now. Peace be with you.

  • spiderman2

    Point of View wrote “You’re very lucky…. “Yes, Iam coz I admit and accept my failures while you don’t. That makes you VERY UNLUCKY. Correcting God instead of correcting oneself. What a funny man. An idiot.

  • spiderman2

    Stantheman, here’s a better news for you coz it’s within our reach. There is a coming war with Iran. If that happens, here’s another news. Unless you repent, you will burn after you die. So pay attention with that first prophecy coz the second is as credible as the first.

  • point of view

    I happen to know God Spiderman2, and you are not his favorite. He is not optimistic about your fate, because you are blaspheming his One True Apostolic and Universal Catholic Church – your immortal soul is actually in mortal danger and you know it not. Now how stupid is that?You are indeed the fool of all fools – buy yourself a Tarot deck and get acquainted. Only the Fool can save himself – check yourself out in a mirror. OK – now the work begins. What a pluperfect idiot you are! You are in no position to instruct anyone on anything.

  • stantheman

    I think the whole repentance thing is on the block too, actually. It’s all just peace and brotherhood and loving your neighbor now. Tra la tra la. Oh well. Don’t say I didn’t try to tell you. I hope you won’t feel that all that stern Christian rectitude has gone to waste when you learn that you wouldn’t have burned in eternal hellfire anyway! Hoo boy, that God, he does like to keep us on our theological toes – hell one minute, eternal bliss and heaven for everyone the next.

  • spiderman2

    “you are blaspheming his One True Apostolic and Universal Catholic Church “Here’s good news for those who thinks that Peter was a Catholic. This is what he said :1. “Being BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)2. “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1Peter 2:10)3. “…who shall give account to him that is ready to JUDGE the quick and the dead (the righteous and the unrighteous).”He doesn’t sound like a pope, does he?

  • harold

    Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.“they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not”There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life”That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!“Woe unto them that call evil good”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,“But there went up a mist from the earth”And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.“The Lord standeth up to plead”Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord:“And Abraham gat up early in the morning”Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.“The Lord standeth up to plead”Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.“The LORD is good”Romans 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:“But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good”Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.“I find then a law, that, when I would do good”Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.“Abhor that which is evil”“cleave to that which is good.”“Be not overcome of evil”Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.“let us do good unto all men”1Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart”“For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure”Then Job answered the Lord, and said,“Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:“I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord”1Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;“But we know that the law is good”1Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.“Let him eschew evil”There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.“Job; and that man was perfect and upright”And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:“I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord”“Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”“lest I deal with you after your folly,”Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;“brimstone and fire”The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.“Upon the wicked he shall rain snares”Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    “Fools are those who have read only the bible. God cannot be proud of such lazy creations ( e.g. T. Baum and Spiderman2 and now Harold the Thumper)!!!!”

  • Anonymous

    THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANTIt was six men of IndostanThe First approach’d the Elephant,The Second, feeling of the tusk,The Third approached the animal,The Fourth reached out his eager hand,The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,The Sixth no sooner had begunAnd so these men of IndostanMORAL. So oft in theologic wars,

  • Jeff Taylor

    Stantheman:

  • Marc Moody

    I met Joe Eszterhas at Ohio University in 92 when he came and spoke as I was a graduate student in screenwriting. I cornered him in the parking lot before he left that night, asking if he could help me. He seemed like a nice guy. He gave me his agent’s name (of course I’m still waiting for that agent to call) but, again, he seemed pretty nice and gave a good lecture.But what is disturbing about this article are the comments.If I post a comment, does it mean I’m like these guys?…If so, I’ll never blog again.

  • tully monster

    I don’t know why I bother reading the incoherent, wacko, and just plain mean comments in the religion blog. But here goes.I’m glad Mr. Esterhazy’s cancer has disappeared, that his wife and little boys have their husband and father back. If he believes that God is responsible, has given him a second chance, and that’s what has compelled him to become a kinder, more thoughtful, reflective human being, then there is some good in religion.As a religious humanist who doesn’t believe in a personal God, I think it could be argued that something divine worked through the doctors and hospital staff, through their dedication, skill, and compassion, to save Mr. Esterhazy’s life. I’m sure he has already thanked them profusely–cancer survivors do.You know, he’s not attempting to convert anyone here, simply sharing the religious experience that made him a better person. Give him a break. Would that we’d all have some kind of epiphany that would bring out our better selves.

  • J. Mester

    Greetings my brother in Christ! It is early morning in Budapest (which is where I now live) but over the years I’ve barely acknowledged you as a fellow Hungarian. The world celebrated you, but you were so much like the world that it colored your works enough for me that I did not want to know about them.Now, by the grace of God, you are a brother and it happened to you the way it happens to all of us who CHOSE to hear His voice – when we are the most unlovable, yet we seek Him. You know, as you, I used to enjoy saying ‘i’m beyond saving’ and thought you had to be born with genes to become a believer. :) Turns out, we are all born with the genes but pride gets in the way.Not only am I happy for your own salvation, your family but for the witness you can hold to others as you are in the public eye. May your witness be recognized by others who are desperate and willing to seek Him. We all want unconditional love – but it is so overwhelming and unlike us, that when we find it, it is easier to mock than accept.Happiness comes from recognizing all the miracles we can be thankful for on a daily basis – I believe, you are finally, truly happy! This makes me happy for you. Agape,

  • donnolo

    This is such rubbish. We don’t hear testimonials about God’s love from the poor fools who sat sobbing and praying on curbs and then died six months later, do we?Why is that?

  • robert26

    Aw, come on Joe, stand up on your own two feet and hold your spear like as titan, god is the delusionary trap of the weak and the ashamed. Maybe that’s the problem.

  • Rev. Hank Bates

    Thank you Joe Eszterhas for sharing your great blessing from God. Your “faith the size of a mustard seed” was all that you needed. God loves us all .. unconditionally .. but some of us need testimonies like yours to believe it.

  • Jeff

    I don’t understand? You (anti-Christians) believe that there is no God because there is extreme suffering. The reality is that apart from God there would be NOTHING BUT suffering. It’s only in his mercy that he’s elects for some to join him, by His grace. He’s not the one who sinned against us. All we (Adam and Eve) had to do was stay away from one fruit tree, when there were clearly hundreds of foods to eat. One simple command. Broken. He created us…he can do whatever he thinks is right. The potter can mash the clay if he doesn’t like what he’s creating. The clay doesn’t get a say in the matter, and neither should it. I’m thankful that God has made a way for me to someday be free from suffering. Jesus is that way. You don’t have to like it. But if you think that there is no God but that it’s only “God in the Mind” then you must also believe that a tree that falls in the forest makes no noise. God is real, but he only makes himself clear to those who have “ears to hear”. Maybe you should try asking for ears to hear…the trees really do make a sound.

  • Anonymous

    i am so thankful for your testimony about God’s mercy and power. As another poster wrote, many of the comments here are garbage and judgemental. don’t let them discourage you in your walk with God. I am so glad you found strenght and meaning in Him. It’s beautiful to read about God’s redeeming grace.

  • cj

    i am so thankful for your testimony about God’s mercy and power. As another poster wrote, many of the comments here are garbage and judgemental. don’t let them discourage you in your walk with God. I am so glad you found strenght and meaning in Him. It’s beautiful to read about God’s redeeming grace.

  • Humble Pie

    I’m so glad to see someone from Hollywood fame and with so much success not be too smart to understand that God’s love is life at it it’s fullest. Everyone reaches out to God, few people do it before they have been given an affliction, diagnosis or addiction or even some jail time. Why not enjoy his love and spread his truth while you still have time like this article did?

  • Richard

    Appalling. Another deathbed conversion. I suppose now you can commune in spirit with Sarah Palin. Why is it that those that fall in love with yahweh through a Faustian bargain in the face of impending death, inevitably thank him/her/it so profusely for a reprieve from having to go see his/her/its glory and wonder up close so soon!Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die!

  • J. Mester

    The article was uplifting, then I made the mistake of reading the 119 comments before me and….well, the arrogance of fools never ceases to amaze me – but it is a ‘downer’ every time.

  • chasemonster
  • harold

    therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may liveMy righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.“Will he delight himself in the Almighty?”Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them;”We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.“Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain”Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.“Be patient therefore”I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.“I love them that love me”“Job sent and sanctified them,”The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.“The fool hath said in his heart”See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;“See, I have set before thee this day life”In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.“I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God”Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.“there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands”Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.“Simon the Canaanite”And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.“compel one Simon a Cyrenian”And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.“not be ashamed before him at his coming”I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you”Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.“Upon the wicked he shall rain snares”Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

  • Fred

    Mankind is to god what bees are to my honeypot. I need them, give them some flowers and sugar to keep them going. But I don’t love every single one and certainly have no idea of who is who. I just keep an eye on the broad picture, the overall objective of having these critters for my sweet tooth. Another way of putting it is the asian favorite way of torture (the enemy being eaten alive by rats). The rats needed the human flesh but there was absolutely no connection. God and mankind is like that.

  • Pat Gilfillan

    Dear Mr. Eszterhas: I just want to thank you for posting this, and for your memoir. I attended a WGA event in LA where you were discussing your last book a year or two ago. You mentioned this balance you had found in your life, perspective. I had a hunch you were talking about faith in God without saying so. So during the Q and A I remember asking how writers could find that balance early on, wondering if you’d mention faith. You hesitated, and said something kind of noncommital, like you were still working on it.

  • Leon Fainstadt

    Dear Mr. Eszterhaus,

  • Colin

    So why does God love some aging, self-abusive director of bad movies more than the thousands of children who die tragically early deaths every single day throughout the world?

  • Jon

    Stantheman and Fate:I do think Stantheman got my point maybe a little better…without respect and a willingness to listen to the other side there can be no discussion or debate. Most of these posts are just rants for or against a side…it has about as much content as a campaign speech. But with a willingness to hear where the other person is coming from, then we can learn from each other. I think we all gain more by being thoughtful and respectful to each other.I may be different from the majority of religion pushers that Fate has come across, as I am completely open to discussing the possibility of being wrong. However, the evidence of my own personal experiences would probably force me to believe that the best of logic is somehow flawed. There are great arguments on both sides, but my experience trumps them all, as yours does for you. I don’t believe I can argue anyone into faith…it just doesn’t work that way. Ultimately, I do believe that true atheists have just as much faith as the religious, they just place their faith differently. I think it was Pascal who described faith as a wager: If there turns out to be no god, what have I lost? Nothing. But if there is a god, then there is a great deal to be gained. On the other hand, what gain is there in being an atheist? I don’t believe atheism unlocks anything extra rewarding in this life. However, if the atheist turns out to be wrong and there is a god, there is a great deal to be lost.Thanks again for the quality of your responses.

  • Anonymous

    hi

  • Brent Mack

    Thanks for sharing such a great story!Congratulations and may God continue to bless you and yours.

  • Joe Shea

    Thanks, Joe! I know God exists only because he creates so many miracles in my life in response to my prayers. I don’t know any other way of really knowing He does exist. I hope your conversion won’t mean that you pull your punches in your articles, books and screenplays, and that you’ll be as successful as ever in Hollywood. You know that Hollywood’s film culture can be terrifically degenerate, but there are people like Ed Harris also making new films full of fresh hope, like his new, unreleased “Touching Home” – films that can inspire and elevate us all not only to a better understanding of the human condition but to a personal knowledge of God’s incredible love for each of us in particular. I don’t think God is even mentioned in that film, but it is a film that can lead us to Him. I hope you get to make some of those!It’s not all evangelism, or even organized religion, and especially not the rules and dogma, but the personal knowledge of God caring for us that transforms our lives and changes our behavior. Good luck to you!Joe Shea

  • Joseph D

    One of the most amazing testimonies of God’s love and response to the cry of desperate repentance.

  • Bill Tetzeli

    “I didn’t at first understand why He did. I didn’t deserve His help, I thought.”Because the second sentence fulfilled the first precondition of the first sentence, that’s why.Folks, try to see this as the humble story of personal redemption that it is – don’t twist it with through the prism of personal resentment to somehow identify him with Palin et al. It makes you guilty of the very intolerance you identify with religion.

  • chris

    Self-destructive people sometimes need a device, something that will transform their internal failings in order to avoid death. I also know a ‘born again’ self destructive person; they actually bark like a dog sometimes, but the barking is within their religious framework. They need to give over their sicknesses to some form of redeemer; I’m sure ancient people had pre-christian redeemer deities; it’s nothing new. The pretense is that these people are ‘cured’; They remain sick, damaged people you don’t want to know. This person I know is constantly prostelitizing, but, you see, it’s their way of attacking people in a new, ‘holy’ way instead of beating them up.

  • Anonymous

    “When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a might wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze.And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said unto him: “What doest thou here, Elijah?”Kings 19:9 11-13God comes to us all in different ways. He came to me in a sweet wind. But I liked Joe Eszterhas’s story and I will read his book. To all you who are still looking, keep searching: seek and you shall find.

  • Frank

    Joe, you give yourself too little credit. God didn’t do any of it. You did. God is a creation of man, an idea invented by man long ago to try and explain the unknown and the unknowable. The idea can sometimes be a powerful one for focusing our own powers of self-control and renewal. You really only have yourself to thank, and the people who supported you, so be proud of yourself, and them.

  • Anonymous

    PS, Like Joe, I was a lapsed Catholic when I prayed to God to send me a sign & then felt that sweet breeze and knew the Lord was beside me. Like Joe, I returned to the Church, the one place I knew the Real Presence was. When I did return, when I did reach the place I had started from, I recognized the Church for the first time. I had returned home.(But I haven’t done any of the things Joe has, it wasn’t necessary for me. God gave me a gentle, little life and I thank Him for it.)

  • Mark

    Thank you, Washington Post, for printing such a poignant testiment to the movement of God in the lives of mankind. There may be many who feel that such belief or conclusions such as those reached by the author are an affront to their intelligence but as an intellectual who believes, I present that it is just that, our intelligence, that leads us to more fully grasp the reality of God’s love.I am amazed as I review

  • mike

    Lame. Cocaine is a hell of a drug

  • Anne L

    The funny thing, to all those who might say I just projected previous belief into my situation is that I had never read that passage from Kings. I knew almost nothing of the Hebrew Bible. I had not been in a Church for years and when I had been there the readings I recalled were only from the New Testament.Still when I did read it, after I had returned to the faith, I could only smile and shake my head in wonder. I love that passage. That is why I quoted it.Again, thank you to Joe Eszterhas for writing this article. I am looking forward to reading your book.

  • John Huey

    As a recovering alcoholic with 21+ years of sobriety (and despite being lifelong Atheist) I view Joe Eszterhas comments on his personal “miracle” with great respect and fully understand, through personal experience, the vale of despair that is the end stage of the addictive condition he describes.

  • GK Chesterton

    Coincidences are spiritual puns.

  • Anne L

    I was also struck by these lines:”Or was it God’s divinely impish sense of humor?I also experienced God’s humor. My first reaction was that His coming was just coincidence, so (oh Lord, I am so sorry), I asked him to blow that wind from a different direction.

  • AJY

    A beautiful witness to the reconciliation of the God desires communion with us – and who has the power to make all things new! I’m so delighted to hear this story! It is truly amazing grace that is free for us all.

  • blackmask

    Isn’t it interesting how many of these miraculous transformations happen when it is best for the person themselves, NOT when it would benefit the greater good or all those you screwed over on your way to salvation. I just hope thew holy roller set remembers that:Christ only entered a church after he was an adult to KICK ASS! Because they are so full of lies and posers!

  • Frank Gerber

    I think it would be instructive for Mr. Eszterhas to count the number of self-referential pronouns in this article, words like “I,” “me,” and “my.”

  • TRIZnik

    Joe, thank you for sharing your inspirational testimony. Praise God for His amazing grace.

  • Anonymous

    Very heavy. I wonder why God dind’t warn the 250,000 lost souls in Indonesia about the Tsunami on Christmas a few years ago.

  • bob

    Thank you. This has touched me thismorning.

  • kathryn

    God bless you Joe and thank you for sharing this. We all come back to what is most important in our lives in our own way.

  • hartman_john

    Whatever floats yer boat!

  • Mr D

    The author is a self absorbed egotist. He wants us to believe that he is better now that he has asked god into his heart and helped heal his irresponsible behaviour…….pathetic BS!

  • Jack Peel

    Interesting.

  • dorthea b. kirby

    This post has absolutely made my day…What a wonderful peace you must feel and what an inspiration to the rest of us.May the rest of your days be filled with happiness and contentment knowing that you are now the man God wants you to be.

  • Jim

    Joe,To further complicate things I was diagnosed as historically paranoid schizophrenic and that I would kill or be killed and spend the rest of my life in trouble and jail.That night I fell down on my knees in my cell and prayed for God to take the anger from my heart and soul. I did not pray for freedom or forgiveness because I just wanted to be free of anger. When I woke up the next morning I was a changed man, I felt at peace.Not only was I set free less than 30 days after praying, the fellow that I hurt made a full recovery.I was 21 when this incident occurred. I was arrested at least 7 times prior to this incident. I am now 66 years old and I have not been in trouble since praying that night. I feel wonderful each day. God does do miracles. I am a living testament to that fact.

  • Jimbo

    This is the “On Faith” blog. Would the faithless please refrain from making snide comments?

  • Alan

    I hope you have the courage for what you’ve apparently signed on with.I read someplace that in the beginning people ask God to come in a clean the carpet, but then they get nervous when He starts to replace plumbing, tear down walls, rip out wiring, unhinge doors, toss furniture onto the lawn, install a new kitchen, and generally shake the entire hose at its foundations.I’m glad the Washington Post printed this. It’s good to be fair and tip to both sides once in a while. Tomorrow you can print something to piss the other side off.

  • Dwight

    You were the son that left and has come back…

  • dan krischke

    Frank Gerber said:Unless you have gone through such a moment or period of time, it is impossible to understand the introspection a person goes through. You have to do this to try and ferret out all the demons, large and small, from the nooks and crannies that have been gnawing away during the time of drugs, alcohol, etc. I semi-understand, as I spent 30 years after Vietnam in a powdered and pickled state of mind. I likewise asked God to either help me or take me away, most likely to Hell; I didn’t care, as I just wanted some relief. He helped me and I am grateful. The VA got me sober, I met and married a wonderful girl and I embrace my Catholic faith as never before. There are many atheists and agnostics who will believe none of this; that’s your choice and you live with it. If we all adhered to Christ’s teachings, we wouldn’t have rich televangelists and priests who break their vows and hurt other people and etc. There is plenty blame to go around. Living a lifetime according to Christ and Scripture is one of the most difficult paths of life a person can take. Very few people attempt it, and very, very few come close to accomplishing their original task. To all, let others live as they see fit, as there is very little we can to to change their opinion. I pray that everyone will one day see God. I also think God will help all those who ask Him, though sometimes He seems to take His time about it. Peace and God bless.

  • J. Parsons

    Dwight– That doesn’t make any sense. How might he be a returning son when he’s neither been where he now is, nor been a son?Didn’t the son from the story actually have a life with his father, leave it, then return?You pastor must be some kind of dolt.

  • Jim

    There is a subtle miracle that God performed that encourages me when those that do not believe in God attempt to disparage those of us who believe. There is a power greater than man at work here. 2008 years ago a carpenter was crucified because he claimed to be the son of God.God rewarded his son for his sacrifice by stopping time as we knew it and restarting time as we know it. Many efforts have been made to alter what God did without success. We all recognize BC to mean before Christ and AD to mean after the death of Christ. What we cannot seem to recognize is that time had to stop and restart to effect that change.Many great men and women have come and gone but only one, the one that claimed to be the son of God and was crucified for saying so, is talked about everyday and had time stop and restart in his honor.As a side testimony, God said we would pay Tithes (taxes) and die. Ever heard the term “you can’t stop death or taxes”?

  • Monty Keeling

    When I was a junior in high school my little brother died a horrible death from Leukemia. We were a pastors family that prayed, our church prayed, other churches prayed, but he still died in unbearable pain. For a long time I was angry after that. But now, after having been a pastor myself, I live by what I know and have experienced. That God indeed is a creator of overpowering love. But I also believe that love is not always the kind of caring we can understand, or even appreciate. After all, what kind of God would send his son to die on a cross? So things don’t always work out as we hope. But I do rejoice whenever God answers prayer and another person is given life. For I do believe that is the work of a loving God.

  • Bill

    To those of faith, this story is a reaformatiom of your faith.To those of the world, it is like burning coals heaped on their heads.To those of faith, I say, do not be upset with the worldly people that mock God. Many of us were once like them. Instead pray for them. Pray that they may one day know the peace that you know. Pray that one day they will know the freedom that comes from service to God. Pray that the day will come for them like it came for you when they will be released from their fear of death. Pray for them and love them even though they are enemies of God because, after all, We were all enemies of God at one time.

  • Sheridan

    What are you saying, Joe! Of course God saved you because you wrote Showgirls. God loves each and every one of us, but he loves Showgirls even better. Perhaps God is not only merciful but gay.And God’s love is undoubtedly boundless, provided you’re a white millionaire hack with access to the best chemotherapy money can buy. But as others pointed out, it’s not necessarily great enough to reach the starving dark-skinned poor people on the other side of the globe. Those people will just have to hope that one day, the white, bearded, wealthy people – who look just like God! – will decided to share some of their fabulous wealth. And maybe then God will share a little of his love, too.

  • Mike M.

    I truly thought J.E. had died, and frankly I had not shed a tear. After reading this, if he died tomorrow, I would pray for him. The recognized presence of God in his life should not have changed my opinion of a fellow human being. God just sent me a reminder through you. Thank you Joe.

  • Elliott Shannonhouse

    Thanks for the post, Joe. I related to your story very much. You described your spiritual experience in a very moving and powerful way, and I hope your story helps other people who are suffering discover the power of prayer and faith. I pray God’s will for you is to continue to use your talents to carry this message for many years to come.

  • Fate

    Robert B. wrote: “There’s a basic moral principle that two wrongs don’t make a right. If you and those who believe like you do must vent your spleen at those of us who believe, can you find a more constructive manner of doing so? Otherwise, those theists whom you hope to enlighten will merely tune you out.”You miss the point Robert. I’m not venting my spleen at you at all, or at all believers. But when someone claims that a miracle happened, and then tells me that without a belief in God these miracles will not happen to me, and eventually bad things will happen to me (hell), that is sort of getting in my face. No one likes to be called a bad person, but that is what I am hearing based solely on not believing in God. Atheists have also had miraculous medical turnarounds. I myself beat cancer myself. But I am not saying to you that I’m better than you and that beating cancer is proof of some supernatural power I can call upon and you can’t.The point I was making is that believers are not willing to debate their faith, which is based on little to no evidence. Their faith must be reaffirmed through weekly repetitious chanting of “I believe…”. I know believers of various faiths who avoid people of differing faiths, people who will only vote for people or *their* faith. Then Jon comes along and claims atheism to be a belief, like it has doctrines and its own belief system. That is both idiotic and insulting. When it comes to Hinduism, Jon and I are probably both equally atheistic about that religion, yet Jon’s non-belief in Hinduism for some reason does not allow him to understand that an atheist doesn’t believe in all those he does not believe in or his religion either. This level of ignorance coupled with the insults and promises of hellfire are more than enough justification for a spleen to be vented, though I don’t think I’ve vented any of my organs so far, and this type of forum is the perfect venue for this discussion.

  • anon

    I am tired of reading the medical memoirs of rich individuals with the best care that money can buy.

  • Hal Smith

    Given the arch of my life, not dissimilar but blessedly not as challenged as Joe’s, I’ve come to the conclusion that my Guardian Angel used to write for Mel Brooks. But then Joe’s already figured out that out: God does have a huge sense of humor…which makes sense doesn’t it? If He truly made us in His image then where did we get our sense of humor? Obvious isn’t it? Our comedic sense is His.

  • Griffin

    What makes this egomaniac think that “God” saved him, just because he sat down and cried about his fate? He just didn’t happen to die that time; next time he might, regardless of any begging of the cosmos on his part. Plenty of people have besought whatever god they believe in to save them from their particular circumstances; some come out okay, some don’t. When it’s a person’s time, blathering about it to a void is pointless; whatever happens, happens.

  • 66

    It looks worse on paper. Pediatrics pays $125,000 for starters and radiology $350,000.

  • Fate

    Jon,I’m glad you are willing to discussing the possibility of being wrong about your faith. One thing you should understand is that many atheists once had faith. They did not “lose it”, they came to understand the contradictions and lack of any evidence for their faith. I have had many experiences in my life that a believer would call miraculous, beating cancer, beating massive internal bleeding due to an unknown ulcer, decising to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get a college education when I was facing poverty. That does not make them miracles and none required a belief in God. Nothing in this article points to a supernatural event happening nor an event that has not happened to many other people in other cultures and faith, yet it is described as a result of faith. I see it for what it is, a result of the fear of death, a great motivator, but for some reason believers do not believe man has it within him to improve himself when faced with fear even though the evidence for doing that is everywhere. You speak of personal experiences that lead you to believe in a God. I’m sure each one has a reasonable explanation. But what I’ve always been surprised at is the leap people make when they come across an event that does not have an obvious explanation. But like those who see alien spaceships with little green men aboard instead of unexplained lights in the sky, believers are just too accepting of the supernatural coming into their little corner of the world and causing something bebeficial. It is delusion, pure delusion. I do not mean to be insulting by that. Delusion happens to us all. I know many people who think their kids, who are brats, are the best kids in the world. I know people who think Bush has been a great president even though the stupidity of his policies is obvious. I know people who cannot vote for Obama because he is black. I know people who believe having a 17 year old daughter become pregnant is not only normal but a badge of honor (this is a recent delusion they have picked up). So delusion is everywhere and man is very suseptable to believing in gods, fairies, leprechauns, flying saucers, you name it. Once you understand that belief in the supernatural is part of man’s make up, you begin to realize your belief in a God is just as delusional as a child’s belief in Santa, Tooth Fairy, ghosts and goblins.If you want to debate whether God exists then you’ll need to start with some evidence since I know of none. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and so far the evidence for a God is less than the evidence for alien visits to earth in flying saucers. But if you have something I am willing to listen.As for Pascal’s wager, I think you ignore the other aspect of Pascal’s wager for believers. What if your religion is the wrong one? What if the Muslims are right and you are in infidel heading toward hell? What if God only allows Catholics into heaven or only Lutherans or only Jews, His chosen people? Pascal’s wager really means you must be a member of all religions, following all edicts and supporting them all. This cannot be done. Pascal’s wager only works if not belonging to other religions has no consequence, but they all do. So Pascal’s wager is as much a wager for the believer as for the non-believer. Something to think about.

  • Larry Welsh

    Praise Jesus for Joe being able express this miraculas change that God has made in his life. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.”

  • Tom Weaver

    Fate:The proof for a believer rests in our hearts. We have delusions about things about which we have no personal knowledge, but end up being true, or we experience radical changes that we were unable to accomplish by ourselves, or we suddenly find ourselves with talents that we didn’t have before we fell under the delusion of Christianity.So if they are delusions, keep them coming – for the quality of life of a delusional Christian increases amazingly once they step forward in their delusional faith… I feel sorry for all those ex-humanists like myself who come to the faith later in life – there’s so much that they are missing for so long.

  • Jay

    Wow! Incredible testimony. How inspiring. Just goes to show there’s hope for all those who consider themselves hopeless.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    God being a fair God would have to cure all of the sick not just some “party-time Joe” like you.So maybe there is no God afterall???Or said God started the Big Bang and Gnab Gib and the rest is up to us??

  • EgoNemo

    Mr. Esterhas has had a pretty typical thing happen — he lived a guilt-free life, then came to regret it. In his hour of self-pity, he realized that he wasn’t such a bad guy.But American piety is not Christianity, even though it uses the same words and symbols.Here’s a recent example from an American piety believer:This is a false statement.

  • Jo

    Fate:Speaking as a believer, I want to address one of the greatest issues–brought up time and time again–in the On Faith blogs.I don’t think there is anyway to “debate” religion vs. atheism. This is not to say that I don’t think it’s possible for a mature, open-though-differently-minded group of people to discuss their faith or lack thereof. But I think that to debate something, as you said, one must bring evidence or proof of some type to the table. With faith, this is nigh impossible.What Mr. Eszterhas brought to the table were experiences that served as evidence *for him*. But again, as you said, most of these experiences have been replicated in those without faith or those practicing a different faith. What we’re then dealing with is subjective evidence–proof which must be interpreted. And I think we can all agree that evidence submitted (be it in a debate or in court) ought to be profoundly objective, leaving not a trace of doubt.I think that any complete definition of faith must include a nod to the fact that, by and large, it is illogical by nature. Anyone who’s read Freud (or simply taken some time to think critically about it) could affirm this. But faith is a very private matter (as it should remain) and, believe it or not, some of us have made a conscious choice to continue “sipping the Kool-aid”. It is my hope that my decision to have faith would not cause you or anyone else to think less of me, just as I don’t think less of you or anyone else who doesn’t believe (or believes differently than I). Certainly I understand the myriad arguments against faith and religion (two very different things).As a self-professed academic, I used to struggle with the idea that reason and faith were on opposite ends of the spectrum. How could I, knowing what I know and having read what I have, willfully join the flock (of sheep, lemmings, what have you)? But eventually I came to the conclusion that my reason and my faith do not have to compete. Reason can inform my faith, just as my faith can inform my reasoning. I can acknowledge the role of faith in my life without trying to force it on anyone else. Trust that I don’t require the affirmation of others to believe that God exists–the proof lies within me. Likewise, I can recognize the God within you, even if you don’t recognize Him/Her/It yourself.

  • Craig

    To read these comments is to venture into some vast, bizarre zone of hatred and confusion. “On Faith” has become a giant outlet for bashing Christianity, trashing George W. Bush and conservatism, and annoying lefty lecturing. Folks, this town is full of a lot of rage. How do I know? I read On Faith.

  • nighthawksoars

    Yeah, I definitely want Joe Eszterhas making theological determinations about the existence of God for me. Let’s see, his equation is: I was an atheist; I got scared; there is a God. Quit whining, Joe, and just crawl off under a bush somewhere and smoke a joint. Everything will look better…just like the old days.

  • Vince Porter

    Why do we have to suck up to god before he helps? Why did he allow the cancer to afflict you in the first place? Though you had been such a shmuck all your life, god “possibly” helped you out because you love your wife and you had four little kids to raise? Perhaps a truly loving god would have focused on four little kids living in destitution somewhere rather than on four little kids who already had it all. You’re just a weak, pitiful, person revelling in your weakness. Grow up! Be a man!

  • LaShawn Coates

    AWESOME!!!!!

  • alex

    I hate it when people like Joe feel that they “owe” God, because their debt entails our suffering. Joe, you were addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. You quit, just like millions of others do everyday. You got sick. Your body recovered. It happens. Millions of years of evolution have made the organism amazingly capable of recovering from illness. Your attributing all this to God’s personal attention and intervention on your behalf is extremely self aggrandizing, egotistical. You want to help people? Quit spouting this nonsense and go volunteer at a homeless shelter. Become a Big Brother. Do this and don’t talk about it. Then people might actually admire you.

  • Mia

    WHat a great testimony. I’m sure you’ll find more peace in life and your family will be glad to have many more years to enjoy together. Serving the Lord has always been exciting and fulfilling without resorting to sin, so don’t let some of the other posters scare you into thinking you were better off before. What they think really doesn’t matter. I hope you find the strength to continue on your faith journey with great happiness and without looking back at what used to be.

  • Grashnak

    It is useful to recall that tales of people who prayed to be saved from some horrible terminal disease are not in fact representative of the broad spectrum of people.These tales are, by definition, told by people who in fact recovered. The much much much higher percentage of people who pray and then died, don’t have much opportunity to write blogs about god’s failure to heed their prayers.

  • Dennis McHugh

    Joe: thank you for this. May I suggest that that impish-acting God has gotten you, in the telling of this, to be an agent of enticement to others to turn themselves over to his love, maybe before they have nowhere else to go? God bless you-again, and, maybe, again. Dennis McHugh Rockville, MD

  • stantheman

    Jon – thanks for the kind words. I’m sure I have made my share of sarcastic jabs in the past – there are some people on these threads who bring out the worst in one. I resolve to be more gracious in future and do my bit for the quality of civil discourse on this forum.I do think it is a valid point that atheism is a *kind of* faith. We can’t prove there is no god any more than believers can prove there is one. For me, raised as a Christian, as I grew up and learned and thought more about the world, the more it came to seem impossible that could be a god. There are just so many things that are incompatible with that belief – undeserved suffering and pervasive injustice, the enormous age and size of the universe (why would god pick this little planet to send his son to, and why did he wait so long?), the existence of so many different faiths and gods, the fact that the Bible has all the hallmarks of a flawed human endeavour (it has been chopped and changed and translated endlessly by fallible humans – how can we know what it really says?), fossils and other evidence of evolution etc etc. So at some point I suppose I did have a kind of epiphany and realized that it was OK not to belive in god, and to shake off all that fear and guilt that well-intentioned but thoughtless teachers had instilled in me. So to the extent that I can never prove there is no god (the scientific method doesn’t work that way) I suppose it does take some degree of faith to be an atheist, although one supported by a much larger body of evidence. It takes some faith to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow – I don’t KNOW that it will – but given the weight of evidence (it has so far risen on schedule every one of my 15,000 or so days on this planet), inductive reasoning tells me that it is pretty darn likely that it will.If there is a god, I’m sure he is secure enough in his omnipotence to understand my choice. I looked at the world and made the only choice that made sense with the mental apparatus I was “given.” If it really so important to him that I believe in him, why would he leave it up to little old me to make that decision when he is all powerful god? And leave so many false clues lying around? For better or for worse, the phenomenon of “faith” affects us all, from everyday realities of living in the United States to the larger philosophical questions of existence and meaning. That’s why (to anser those who wonder why the faithless post on On Faith) you will continue to see atheists posting here. We are all part of the story.Stan

  • Wayne

    Life and time are illusions. None of what you’re experiencing or have already experienced is real.

  • Eli

    Thank you, Joe! I have learned so much humility since I became sick and I am so grateful. I am grateful even for my disease because it allowed me to walk with Him so much more closely. To say I am independent would be like saying the Rolling Stones are a moderately popular rock group. I needed God but never wanted to admit it. As a result I am glad I got sick. I am a happier, more peacerful, and mentally healthier person for the experience. Thanks for giving Him the glory.

  • GingerAle

    Thank you, Joe, for your story. There are a lot of hateful comments on this forum, so thank you for being willing to put yourself under attack for sharing your wonderful story.I cried when I read your story, not because my story is the same as yours, but because it reminds me that God is “not slow, as some count slowness, but patient, wanting all to come to repentance.”

  • harold

    Quoting Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” do you know JudasThese things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.“He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous”Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.“And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood”Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.“Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn”And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.“behold, your eyes see”Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:“Joseph is a fruitful bough”And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.“And the Lord said unto Moses, See”And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.“this is the blessing of Judah”The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life”And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,“Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples”Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,“Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood”And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?“Moses said unto the Lord”And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:“Then Peter opened his mouth”But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.“That it was needful to circumcise them”He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.“The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom”Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,“David the son of Jesse said”I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.“he hath put a new song in my mouth”My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.“For dogs have compassed me”And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.“not be ashamed before him at his coming”“He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous”Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.“If I had called, and he had answered me”When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.“I looked on my right hand”That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.“That thy beloved may be delivered”That thy beloved may be delivered: save with thy right hand, and answer me“had answered me”So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.“but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh”And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.“Jacob blessed Pharaoh.”Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.”Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother”

  • Bob

    Rarely do I find inspiration in the pages of the Washngton Post. This morning I awoke late and gave in to the temptation to skip my normal morning prayer – again. Then I read this and remembered that God doesn’t love me because I give him a few minutes of attention in the morning and at night when it fits in my schedule. He loves me “even though I don’t deserve God’s love;” He just loves me. And the time I give Him in prayer should not be something to check off on a “to do” list but something done because I want to at least try to love Him in return, however imperfectly. Thank you.

  • T.

    God always works in strange ways and his love for humanity is endless. If Joe Eszterhas has indeed experienced divine intervention and is living a cleaner life – this is a good thing. Whenever anyone bears witness to a loving God we all benefit. Why would someone deny this reformed man the piece of mind he is enjoying. We are all sinners and will be judged accordingly. To parse his words is petty and small minded. He has come to the Cross and is willing to bear witness to God with honesty and humility. I applaud that!

  • Stantheman

    Harold – what is your point with these long posts? That you can type? You know how to cut and paste? These huge gobs of random text contribute nothing to the debate and obliterate the thread for others. Please desist.

  • Paula

    Great testimony! I love it!

  • R. C. wood

    Why are we always surprised when Jesus does what He said He will do? “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation . . .

  • Henry

    Some people on this board are living in the dark. And Fortunately, some are living in the light. Joe you have found light. Peace to all and God blesses.

  • Muleboy

    I find it interesting to note that you called on “God” to help you at the same time that you determined to stop drinking and to stop smoking, (and at a time you reflected on how difficult the task would be). Good job on stopping smoking and drinking, not so good on ascribing it to a nonexistent entity.You couldn’t have done it “yourself,” except that that’s exactly how you did it. And your fiction is, ultimately, inconsequential. Inaccurate, but perhaps necessary for your sobriety and survival. All in all, a small thing.One reason I pint this out is that there are lots of smokers and drinkers who are atheists, and who can also quit smoking and drinking.Glad “God” helped you, Joe.

  • Dee

    Thank you for this testimony.

  • Troy

    GOD is good.

  • Dee

    I really appreciate this writing from Mr. Eszterhas.

  • Charlotte

    JoeI have just read your testimony/editorial and I am thrilled that God saved you, redeemed you, healed you and is now using you for His work.God is a magnificent, loving, ever present God who willing gave His only son to save us (you and me)– think about giving up one of your children –I only have one son and cannot imagine giving him up–so we in return could give Him love and fellowship and share our spiritual life with others.Keep up the good work Joe, and try always to remember that God will always love you (and yours)and never, ever forsake you, even though it may look like it at times.Praise God for you Joe!In His love, Charlotte

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous: Everyone has to pick their battles in life and choose what it is that they think is worth fighting for. Some battles are not worth the effort and therefore are not worth someone fighting for. Some battle(s) we are facing now are not worth the fight, they have not proven themselves to be worth the great efforts put forth, let them go and never look back. Today, I will be letting go of a couple of those battles and will never look back.AWESOME, IS RIGHT!!!!!

  • Willie Wong

    God’s Basic Instincts

  • James R. Pool

    And what justification is there that God in fact had anything at all to do with Mr. Eszterhas’ remarkable recovery?

  • Observer

    Joe,

  • 66

    What if the Muslims are right and you are in infidel heading toward hell?A bunch of people growing no crops and fasting can’t be that right. Ask an American farmer about it. Read an almanac. These idiots would fly your crop duster into the side of a barn and call it a holy war against your horses. A lot of horses and even more crap out there. I got beer for the horses and whiskey for the men.

  • artistkvip / b. keith vipperman

    hi, i appologize for posting twice i iuseually try to be content with once unless i make a mistake that could be misunderstood for meanings i did not mean… that is not the case here i just feel at least to myself, you have brought up some very important issues which i think in my opinion in life atre misunderstood and perhaps manipulated by other people not being god who would try to capitlize upon for finacial, powerr, or even at times sexual reasons forsomething which is a gift… from .. God…. i had to run and get a message but the point i was trying to make was the difference between gifts and jobs, or even enslavement in the guise of duty or expectation not of God …. my point was that when diven to the point in life to which self sufficiancy is not enough to sustain ones emotional or physical well being then at time people reach out to God and have fundimental changes and miracles actually happen in thier lives…i think this is when i first knw what a gift really was when this happened to me personally.. it has taken me many years to understand the nuance of what a gift is to me.. it comes with no conditions even if granted by God i think.. i think he places in the heart of each individual what it is that … they as an individual should do… ithink this may be express in a wide avariety of behaviors and moral standard with the consitant features being the honesty and sincerity of the held beliefs and theat thier actions and conduct cause no physical or emotional consequences that were predictable or premeditated by a normal human being with decnt cognitive abilities…i myself see nothing wrong with basic instic to portray life as it actually is does not neccessarily glorify it. i think show girls showed people that htey themselves face a split moral personality by what they demand and get with thier money in real life but abhorr and shunn when it is portrayed semi-relistically where other people can and do watch the reactions of thier neighbors there by maby making a seeming monetary unsuccess for an artist expression that was successful init portrayal.. motive are nebulous things at times even by ministers and good christians. when one looks at core possible reasons for actions and tries to make only pure actions on pure motives my … sincere attempts at this placed me in a position where i was frozen unable to do anything… i dont know all the time what is the correct thing Gods will is and undoubtetly nothing is at times the corret action i dont think in the majority of human actios that is what God or jesus actually taught and jesus actually taught to trust and pray to God not him only using his name and claiming his sacrifice as the ticket for ..Gods grace.. i may be incorrect in my studies of the bible but that is my understanding of the actuall words in thier complete context.. i wil close with giving an example of what i am saying and how iwould actually apply it to a real life example useing mysef and you as the figures involved. say you were a big honcho at rolling stone magazine and you had power to recomend people for employment you could do that and that would be in all instances consistant with the rules of jobs and getting good emplyees that had skills which could perhps help your magazine. and you could put in a word for me to be hired as a reporter or photograper if you so chose… in another situation you could be finacially blessed and wish to give the gift of money with no strings to an artist to use to produce his art or relocate to anoter part of the country wher he fit in better and could be more productive. or pay for a civikl right lawyer to blow the doors off some people maybe. these would be gift which you let go of the moment you gave and would have no reflection upon you as a giver even if the person squandered the opprotunity . a gift would not even say you agreed with the art only the general idea of fredonm of speech and expressionin the arts. or god could direct you to chukle at my example and do nothing. its in your heart and what God has maybe asked you as an indiviual in the world to actually do.. and the good point is if we are not God we can actually make mistakes and he can fix them lol enjoy your life its a gift from God

  • Wayne

    “The art of writing lay in thrift” You shouldn’t have to post a five page essay to get your point across. Or for that matter, cut and paste an inane bible passage to a message board.

  • Tryann Delaney

    Wow, what a testimony. Very encouraging to see someone stepping up to give God the praise He deserves.

  • dcp

    Glory to God! Not just for Joe’s miracle, but also for the fact that there’s an article that’s actually about faith in the Faith Section! Hallelujah! I guess someone recognized it was time to stop letting politics dominate every corner of the news. Especially since WaPo’s not-so-silent endorsement hasn’t been working recently. Glory! The Faith Section is back!

  • cpwdc

    Thanks for sharing your story, Mr. Eszterhas.It’s curious how some people dismiss your healing and new way of living as either unrelated to God (“atheists get healed, too”), or a sign of God’s unfairness (“why you and not everyone else”). That really misses the point. The truth (meaning a priori, not a posteriori; to head off any squabble about proofs and such) is that we can indeed overcome Sin and Death if we trust God’s love. Sin is everything that separates us from God and from each other, and God’s love redeems it.

  • Marlene

    Joe, glad to hear you are doing all right. However, there was no need to ask God to save you. You were saved 2000 + years ago on a cross in Jerusalem. Jesus died so that we may live.

  • Fate

    Jo wrote: “But faith is a very private matter (as it should remain) and, believe it or not, some of us have made a conscious choice to continue “sipping the Kool-aid”.”I agree with your entire post but I mostly agree with this part. As an atheist I have many “beliefs”, many of which come from my Catholic upbringing. One is to not every hit anyone in anger. I learned that from the nuns in grade school who used violence to enforce “discipline”. I learned from buddists to respect all life. Being trained in biology, I understand that a bug and a human are not so far apart, and killing a bug should not be done. The killing of an animal must be justifiable, just as animals that kill other animals usually have a good reason (food) behind it. It makes killing a human that much more repugnant. So even though I hold these to be truths in my character, some might call them “beliefs”, none have to do with a God. So I get a little flustered when believers say atheists are devoid of belief. What is different is that beliefs atheists hold have reason behind them, not simple fear of punishment or not getting a reward. I find that sort of morality much more enlightened then blind belief in scripture.

  • Scott L.

    Dear Joe:You place credit where credit IS NOT due. You, and only you, found the strength within yourself to change. You had what is called a “moment in time” when the clarity of the issue is front and center. This time, unlike the others, you found the strength to change.The human brain is capable of magnificant things. Give yourself all the credit for overcoming your weaknesses. There is no God, there never was one, and there never will be. Period, end of story.

  • Thinker

    Each of us believes what we find works for us. There’s no need to condemn Islam or any other religion because each is based on faith. None of us has concrete proof that — in the end — our belief is any better than another.

  • Bonnie Eaton

    God softens the hardest hearts. I had a similar experience with God. The trick now is to realize that you were never unworthy. You just didn’t know who you were. And yes, how He loves to perform miracles so that others stand and gape. Who would have thought…Joe. :-)

  • Robin

    At least you had the decency not to conflate G-d with Jesus. Thanks for sharing.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “I find that sort of morality much more enlightened then blind belief in scripture.”As if atheists understands the scripture. They claim to know how life began and yet they can’t explain how DNAs linked together and obtain intelligence.

  • Lou Galian

    I suggest to tune in to: Family Radio, Oakland, CA 94621 For biblical answers to your questions, listen to or call the “Open Forum” a live call-in program (800)322-5385 or (800) 543-1495 On the Internet: hhtp://www.familyradio.comGod Bless you.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “I find that sort of morality much more enlightened than blind belief in scripture.”As if atheists understands the scriptures. They claim to know how life began and yet they can’t explain how DNAs linked together and obtain intelligence. No wonder God calls them fools.

  • Billy Calzada

    I sit here; in silence reflecting on the things that you have experienced. I will have a thankful heart today.

  • spiderman2

    Robin wrote “At least you had the decency not to conflate G-d with Jesus.”That is one thing I found sorely lacking. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name

  • Fate

    Tom Weaver wrote: “The proof for a believer rests in our hearts. We have delusions about things about which we have no personal knowledge, but end up being true, or we experience radical changes that we were unable to accomplish by ourselves, or we suddenly find ourselves with talents that we didn’t have before we fell under the delusion of Christianity.”Joe’s radical change has been acomplished by many. My cancer was taken out, over 5 years ago, and I’m still here. I never smoked, well once and coughed for an hour, enough to convince me of the stupidity of smoking. I drink, but in moderation. Who did God save? Joe or me? And what talents did you acquire magically, or acomplishments that you could not acomplish without God? Tom Weaver wrote: “So if they are delusions, keep them coming – for the quality of life of a delusional Christian increases amazingly once they step forward in their delusional faith… I feel sorry for all those ex-humanists like myself who come to the faith later in life – there’s so much that they are missing for so long.”If you need a Santa to keep your kids in line is that good for the kids? Or is it better to teach your kids about the reality of being bad and the consequences that result? Your argument says to keep the delusion of Santa going because of the results; good kids. But we know that Santa does not make kids good all the time nor make them into good adults. Knowlege of good and evil, concepts that are real, is what makes for good kids. If they learn it in a church, synagague or mosque, fine, but it can be taught anywhere. But if it requires hellfire or rewards of christmas gifts or heaven to maintain the good in a person, then you’ve done a bad job of raising your kids.Delusion is not good solution for maintaining morality. It is at best a short term solution. You only need to see the number of people of faith in prisons or lying on TV to see that faith does not equate with morality. But those who KNOW good versus evil and its real consequences, they are the ones who do not lie and are generally good people. They may be of faith or not, but faith is no substitute for reality. Delusion is no substitute for substance. For example, someone who believes they can take a calculus course because they prayed to God hard is not going to do as well as the realist who goes in knowing it will take hard work. Joe’s article points to his faith in God as helping him kick addiction. Delusion can help, but what I find troubling is his lack of faith in himself, in his own ability to kick his addiction, that he had the strength and always had it and will contionue to have it. If he relapses who will he blame, himself or God? What happens if in the future he believes God abandoned him, as many people do in dire situations and as Jesus did on the cross? Will Joe give up since he does not believe he has the strength himself? That is the problem as I see it. Delusion has real consequences even though you can point to some success stories. Joe is a strong person, only he does not know it.

  • Richard

    Too bad that god doesn’t do these kind of wonders for the kids that get killed in war, for instance in Iraq.Are they worse than you? Oh, they are Muslim, right.You folks always blame the good things on god, the bad things go unaccounted.Or was the devil in the little Iraqi girl shot to death?Is that what you are saying?You are still drunk.

  • spiderman2

    Ftae wrote “Who did God save? Joe or me?”Fate, life is but a vapor. Ask that again once you die. Salvation refers to the afterlife – who would burn and who would not.

  • Fate

    66 wrote: “A bunch of people [Muslims] growing no crops and fasting can’t be that right. Ask an American farmer about it. Read an almanac. These idiots would fly your crop duster into the side of a barn and call it a holy war against your horses. A lot of horses and even more crap out there. I got beer for the horses and whiskey for the men.”I assume you are a Christian, people of that religion drove a contenent of people into near extinction through genocide. Christian people are responsible for the holocaust in Germany and the mass killings in Kosovo/Bosnia. Christianity is as violent if not more so than Islam.I find all people of faith too ready to kill, many times for reasons of faith. This is part of the consequences of delusion I am trying to point out, and the delusional revisionism that 66 offers here. He ignores the fact that 1 billion muslims are not flying planes into buildings. He ignores the fact that American christians fill our prisons while crime in muslim lands is much lower. But the delusion is so strong that 66 will never relinquish the notion that Christianity is all good and little bad, that Christianity people would eat their babies and kill one another for a loaf of bread. His religion blinds him to the reality of his religion and even allows him to believe he can prayer and divert God’s attention to his own mostly petty wants.

  • Fate

    Hey spiderman, did you ever figure out how the kangaroos hopped off the ark and made it to Australia? Still waiting for your answer, one that makes sense anyway.

  • Ihor Mychkovsky

    I can bear witness to a similar situation in my life. I cried tears of joy as I read how God had restored not only Mr. Eszterhas’s physical but also his spiritual health and in the process totally turned his life around. I hope others who lack faith in God will take notice how HE has given grace and shown incredible mercy to someone who had achieved much fame and material success at the expense of denegrating the very Being that ended up saving Mr. Eszterhas. The love and mercy of God is indeed without limits.

  • Patricia D.

    I have read a lot of the posting and the amount of venom in them has been incredible. The series is called “On Faith”. This means that the writings will concern religious beliefs, which are unprovable by scientific methods. It seems that atheists want to convince believers that there is no God. However, I don’t understand why you care whether other people share your views. My personal belief that God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins does not directly impact your right to believe that all of this is a mass delusion. If this is what gives me (and Joe) comfort, then let it be.Joe’s conversion experience is personal to him, but the editors decided that it would interesting for him to share it. Joe did not indict unbelievers–he, instead, talked about the experience that changed his life. It seems the biggest problem the atheist who are posting here have with the article is that they lost a fellow comrade.

  • dpb

    I’ve made a similar request.

  • spiderman2

    The same foolish question as if you understand creation and how the flood occured (what were the circumstances).Which came first? The flood or Australia. There are new Islands in Hawaii which formed just this year. 1000 years from now, people like you would say it was there 1 million years ago.

  • Timothy H. Fisher

    What a great story…only God of grace is willing to give us new life. Thank you for printing this story!

  • spiderman2

    Fate, you ask the same foolish question as if you understand creation and how the flood occured (what were the circumstances).Which came first? The flood or Australia. There are new Islands in Hawaii which formed just this year. 1000 years from now, people like you would say it was there 1 million years ago.

  • Anne L

    There is a large element of spite in these atheists’ remarks. But I guess I understand why. Suppose you were completely tone deaf and someone else, similarly deaf, suddenly was able to hear & wrote about the glory of music.That must be what it is like. They can’t hear it. They think their silent, music-less world is as it should be. So they are angry. And they seek to ‘persuade’ the music lovers that there is no music. But Joe knows different. So do most who posted their thanks for his sincere article. We can hear it. We can see it. The glory.

  • Richard

    We can all bless God. The Holy One saves us each day, and indeed every second. Were God to remove His presence from us, we would all cease to exist.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s see…I haven’t written anything worth a damn in two decades. How to make money… How to make money…Ooh! The Evangelical crowd is a sure-fire audience for all this “God saved me” crap. It’s worked for Anne Rice. How about I give that a shot.

  • M. Burke

    For Spiderman2At least the scientist understands something about the causes of disease and mental illness and does not have to treat the latter with exorcisms.Strange that humanity can believe in superstition, ignorance and primitivism that was prevalent thousands of years ago.God help us all…LOL

  • Anonymous

    spiderman wrote: “Which came first? The flood or Australia. There are new Islands in Hawaii which formed just this year. 1000 years from now, people like you would say it was there 1 million years ago.”But there won’t be any kangaroos on that new Hawaian island will there spidey? And the reason is they cannot swim or fly there.If Australia came after the great flood the question stands, how did the kangaroos get there? You call it a stupid question yet after months of asking it you cannot answer it since the question points to the bible being flawed.A perfect example of how logic flies out the window when a delusion MUST be supported no matter what.

  • Alan Lockett

    Wow. What a powerful story. Too bad Fate and his fellow evangelists for the atheistic faith want to have their interpretation of Joe’s life trump Joe’s experience. They really think that Joe’s larynx regenerated under its own power – in a 57-year-old man. Now that’s some faith. Of course, I guess they would go to any stretch to equate the concept of a personal God with their imaginary Flying Spaghetti Monster. That’s no surprise.

  • Reflekshun

    I am truly BLESSED to hear about your new found life in Christ. I’ve learned as well through hard ships and just life itself that we can not do anything save for Him and believe me I tried…sometimes even successfully, so I thought! It is a blessing to see you reaching out to others and sharing your wonderfully inspiring testimony. I am making a mental reminder to myself to pick up your book “Crossbearer” I pray that God will continue to keep and sustain you and that no matter what may come that you’ll continue to be steadfast and unmovable in HIS word! May God continuously bless you and your beautiful family!!!

  • spiderman2

    Anon, the point is nobody understands creation so it is pointless to ask such questions. Start asking first where lions began before the flood. That would make you sane if you have an answer to that.

  • Dr. Metaphor

    You can metaphorically thank God for your new life.However, you are more probably the beneficiary of a randomly bestowed statistically rare genetic background that allowed your immune system and biological tissue repair system to overcome the malignant cells that arose due to the insults you presented to your throat. This fortunate biology was of course aided by advanced surgical techniques. What is there beyond the facts of biology and statistics that lead you to believe that there is some supernatural “Divinity”, in a universe that is 13 billion light years large in every direction, that personally cares about your miserable existence?

  • spiderman2

    M. Burke wrote “At least the scientist understands something about the causes of disease and mental illness “While Christians build hospitals and universities, I still have to hear an atheist build one. Maybe a dog house?c ya later guys

  • Nancy

    Awesome! If we are wondering who God is, this testimony surely speaks volumes.

  • Anne L

    Fate is so, well, funny! Funny fate! Such original material. His joke about medications. After his joke about Joe E. curing himself. Such insightful writing!How about some atheology, just for fate?“The belief there was nothing(Makes perfect sense to fate! Fate is so smart.)But I feel sorry for you. Poor little fate. Tone deaf in a world of music. Colour blind in the garden.

  • Michael Butler

    Can you help me too, to see the path. Not from a religious viewpoint but from a God’s calling viewpoint.Michael Butler

  • Ano-nym-ous

    It’s a nice story… Nothing surprising in its genre, but it’s a nice story nonetheless. What I hardly ever hear in born-again stories is the tale of God saying, “NO!” What would happen if God said, “I’m sorry, but part of the responsibility of being Almighty is allowing some people to die. You are going to die; not for your sins and not because you ridiculed me, but because I chose you to die.”If something like a cancer cure causes anyone to reform their sorry life, that is wonderful. If that person chooses to give God the credit for the cure and the new-found life, all the better. But, equal credit should be allowed for people who, through their own strength, cure themselves of ills both physical and mental, and choose not to give credit to God.

  • Kert

    I’m hearing a lot of questions about why God doesn’t heal everyone or every situation, like: why didn’t God heal my Mother or Why does God let people around the world suffer. These are some great questions and I’ll give them a shot.The basic reason that people suffer is because of sin. I’m sure we all know about Adam and Eve and that they blew it. In fact we all did. None of us is without sin and that brought suffering in this world (disease, pain, war, etc). We could stop virtually all suffering if humans would stop sinning but that is like asking for a perfect world. Humans are simply incapable of it. The truth is we all deserve this suffering for rebelling and sinning. The fact that we all aren’t condemned is the amazing part. That is why God sent his son to die for us. He didn’t let us stay in this state but gave us a way to eternal pleasure with him if we accept his gift. Most of the saved (Christians) stay on the earth for awhile and we try to do the best we can with the understanding we can’t make ourselves or the Earth perfect. Hopefully Christians are making the world better with the time they have.So why are some people healed and some are not? I think the best way to think of this is by thinking about it from an eternal standpoint. The truth our bodies with only truly be healed when we die and get our eternal bodies. Any earthly healing is very temporary and pretty much like fixing the punctured tire. Everybody dies eventually. God heals some to show his mercy to us, that he is willing to heal totally. Guys like Joe then get to tell us what God did. So God’s ultimate healing, in Heaven, is available to all people, in every situation. Truely God has provided the greatest gift for mankind. Some may choose not to accept but you can’t blame God for this. He has done everything but make the choice for us.Let’s just remember that God ultimately knows what he is doing. If God were to heal all people we would never die and just be stuck on this planet getting healed over and over. Not a great situation when we know Heaven is just on the other side. Our official residence (for Christians) isn’t on Earth, which is corrupted, but in Heaven with God. Let us use our time down here to proclaim that fact so everyone knows.

  • Terrils

    These sorts of stories always bring to mind all the people who prayed to God to be saved (and who didn’t write “Basic Instinct” or “Showgirls,” and therefore could be described as more deserving) and weren’t. What about them?I can’t help seeing nothing here – “I wrote these movies that I have to get a plug in for, despite their irrelevance to my point! And God SAVED me!” – but ego.

  • Fate

    Alan Lockett wrote: “Wow. What a powerful story. Too bad Fate and his fellow evangelists for the atheistic faith want to have their interpretation of Joe’s life trump Joe’s experience.”I think Joe’s experience is amazing, but not supernatural. Everything that happened to him has a natural explanation, yet believers quickly jump to supernatural intervention because Joe decided that was the case. The rush to bolster Joe’s belief, and thus their own, is not surprising. I see it every time I hear of a UFO sighting, and UFO “believers” are all abuzz about how its just one more proof of alien visitations.Alan Lockett wrote: “They really think that Joe’s larynx regenerated under its own power – in a 57-year-old man. Now that’s some faith. Of course, I guess they would go to any stretch to equate the concept of a personal God with their imaginary Flying Spaghetti Monster. That’s no surprise.”When are outside in a cold rain for hours and later get the flu you probably understand that it was your immune system that was impared by the cold weather that allowed the flu to take hold, yet Joe, an alcoholic and addict, developed a cancer in a very immunologically weakened body. After the cancer surgery and treatment, and stopping the alcohol and drugs which impared his immune system, he recovered. About as spectacular as a you getting better from the flu once in a warm bed and good food. But since this story feeds your belief you jump to the supernatural explanation, as you might about getting better from the flu, but you again ignore the natural explanation in order to feed your belief.I’m not saying Joe’s recovery was due to his strengthened immune system, just that you ignore the more obvious explanations to bolster your faith and challenge anyone who disagrees with your interpretation. I used to work in cancer research and watched people die every day since we worked with people with advanced stage cancer. One day I watched a woman with advanced melanoma start to get better. Few if anyone at that stage of the disease should survive, maybe see things shrink, but not a complete recovery, but she did. She was jewish. If she thought God had anything to do with her recovery she kept it to herself. She did however throw a party for the hospital staff to show her gratitude for those she knew had saved her life. I hope Joe threw a party for those who saved him, a non-alcohol party of course.

  • Ed

    Notice he has not written a kids movie, nor an inspirational movie nor has he invested his own money in a “come to Jesus” project. But he’s glad to try to make money off his conversion by selling a memoir to all born-again readers.I call this a conversion of convenience.

  • Anne L

    PS You might try reading some CS Lewis. He was an atheist from 12 onwards who converted to Christianity at about the age of 26. Try “Mere Christianity” or “The problem of pain”, well, all of his works are pretty wonderful. But they were not what I was reading at the time. I was reading Heidegger, (who I’m not sure I would recommend), and watching the films of Terrence Malick,(who is very much influenced by Heidegger) especially “The Thin Red Line”, . Maybe God was trying to spare me any more pain as I was wading through Heidegger. He can be extremely dense.

  • Fate

    Anne L wrote: “Fate is so, well, funny! Funny fate! Such original material. His joke about medications. After his joke about Joe E. curing himself. Such insightful writing!”Well *now* who is angry?Anne L wrote: “How about some atheology, just for fate?I see you never took a science class nor understand how the world works. Ignorance must be bliss. But maybe you can tell me how kangaroos got from the ark to Australia. No one else of faith seems to know, but the bible says it happened.Anne L wrote: “(Makes perfect sense to fate! Fate is so smart.)”I generally find the more people believe in God the more angry they can be. Maybe when your world is not real, keeping it together can be stressful.Anne L wrote: “But I feel sorry for you. Poor little fate. Tone deaf in a world of music. Colour blind in the garden.”I’m sure you do Anne, I’m sure you do.

  • Philip McCutchen

    JoeLoved your story. In the midst of all the political wars that seem to turn on religion like never before it’s nice to read a story about simple grace of God. Thanks for sharing. I would love to have you tell it to my congregation some day.RespectfullyPastor Phil

  • Anne L

    I do fate, I do feel sorry for you.I wonder why in the world you’re hanging around here, mocking those who believe, those who have seen something different, those who have met God, those who are still seeking the path. There you are smug and smart in your belief there is nothing and that it is all coincidence. You like to trash those for whom science’s ‘how’ is simply empty, just not enough. Man needs a ‘why’ and how can someone like you provide it? You live in a world without God’s redeeming grace and I feel bad for those that have to live like that.PS The “atheology” actually came from an atheist website! That is what atheists believe.

  • Bruce

    I’m not sure why God gets more credit than the doctor who actually did the surgery. A real miracle would have involved no intervention by modern medicine.

  • Cletus

    If God actually existed, you’d have to conclude he is a real pr*ck. Saddling all babies born with an original sin. Designing an everlasting wok for those babies to stir-fry in just in case they choose the wrong tenets.I was raised a Catholic, and eventually, as an adult, I realized it was all a fraud that the clergy probably don’t even believe in, but merely professed for the opportunity to sodomize children without consequence.

  • Tom Galvin

    Dear Mr. Eszterhas:Years ago, I read an interview with you in which you said American writers can’t write from a women’s POV very well. I feel I do now because of my change of heart, compassion and gratefulness I have for each day. Your story is a wonderful testimony to the healing power and mercy of the ALL, which I also received. Thanks for your honest and heartbreaking story of redemption and healing. May the Light of the world be with you always. Tom Galvin, Rochester, NY

  • Lu Franklin

    Isn’t it just like God to save you, in particular, and allow hundreds of thousands (much less worthy ???) people die in misery.

  • mike k

    Simply beautiful – thanks Joe

  • Monty Keeling

    I think the most important beliefs in Christianity is forgiveness through grace. Not from God, because such forgiveness is always available, but from one person to another.I wish those of you who have been burned, or just don’t believe, in faith and God would forgive those who have harmed you. You are being held captive by your own anger. And from of tone of some of these posts I think it’s eating you alive.monty

  • Fate

    Anne L wrote: “I do fate, I do feel sorry for you.”Of course you do Anne. Your postings show just how much love you have in your heart.Anne L wrote: “I wonder why in the world you’re hanging around here, mocking those who believe, those who have seen something different, those who have met God, those who are still seeking the path. There you are smug and smart in your belief there is nothing and that it is all coincidence. You like to trash those for whom science’s ‘how’ is simply empty, just not enough.”All I have done Anne is propose that what Joe did was nothing supernatural. Joe’s story is not unique and not unique to any religion or no religion. But once Joe, someone you do not know, makes a claim of supernatural intervention, you jump in not only with support but anger at those who suggest Joe may be wrong in his interpretation of what happened. Is it so bad to suggest that Joe himself should get credit for his recovery instead of giving it to God? Anne L wrote: “Man needs a ‘why’ and how can someone like you provide it? You live in a world without God’s redeeming grace and I feel bad for those that have to live like that.”Why? The why is provided by science. When you get sick where do you run, the hospital or church? Joe ran to a hospital but claims the church cured him. I’m just pointing out that Joe had other help which he does not seem to think was a factor.Anne L wrote: “PS The “atheology” actually came from an atheist website! That is what atheists believe.”Oh my. You are either not careful or you are outright lying. The “atheology” can be found on any number of “christian” websites where they use this as a definition of “Atheism”. I guess the one in the dictionary was not good enough to add their belief in atheism’s stupidity. Yet right now a machine in Europe that cost billions is being started which may tell us, for real, how the universe came to be. Are you afraid of knowing how it happened? What will you do when physicists can explain with certainty how the universe came to be. What will you do when scientists toss into a beaker inanimate chemicals and life results. What then Anne? In the past religions followed the following path: Deny it, suppress it, modify faith to include it.And be careful Anne. There are many out there who will lie to support a christian doctrine. There are those who will tell you science is not only wrong, but a conspiracy against God. Ask yourself why science would conspire against God. Ask yourself why some would tell you all the animals on the earth came off the ark, then never answer how the kangaroos got to Australia. Its not a flippant question, but the reaction to that question from believers tells me much about the nature of what they call belief, a belief that requires lies to be maintained. That is not a belief anyone should be a part of. Reality truly is a wonderful place to exist, and I feel sorry for those who must make up stories and deny their own eyes in order to continue to believe. Joe is a lucky man, as am I having survived two life threatening situations. Joe’s story is remarkable, but need not be supernatural, unless you need it to be so to maintain your belief.

  • Cletus

    There is virtually no credible evidence that Jesus even existed, and a lack of historical evidence for a whole slew of things that allegedly happened in the bible. A book, by the way, that instructs parents to stone disobedient sons and kill daughters who were raped. Next to the Bible, “Showgirls” is like “War and Peace.”

  • Jackie Martling

    Below is a good example of why religion is inherently divisive and sometimes evil: “ROBIN: At least you had the decency not to conflate G-d with Jesus. Thanks for sharing.”Robin, I’m a decent person so allow me to conflate everything and tell you authoritatively that no god, no Jesus, no whatever would be so evil as to intentionally promote bad spelling–yet this is exactly what you have been taught by your (Jewish, I’m assuming) elders. Don’t conflate decency with religion, nor religion with tradition, OK?

  • james mccartney

    joe who?

  • cosmo1116

    It’s interesting that this piece appeared the same day the print addition featured a front page story on a man who died in a septic tank trying to save his son. The poor guy, who died what must have been a horrible death drowning in sewage, was a devout Catholic who went to Mass every day, had a son who was a priest, etc. So why did God let this person die while saving Eszterhas? Because we can’t fathom his will? No, because the whole concept is ridiculous, and if Eszterhas wants to think he was saved because he prayed for the first time in 40 years, well, it’s no wonder so many of his movies have bombed.

  • Fate

    Monty wrote: “I wish those of you who have been burned, or just don’t believe, in faith and God would forgive those who have harmed you. You are being held captive by your own anger. And from of tone of some of these posts I think it’s eating you alive.”Oh but as an atheist I do accept the principle that forgivness is a good thing. I just wish christians would show it more. I agree it relieves you of the anger that naturally builds up in certain situations, so I do practice it. But I don’t do it to keep out of hell. I do it because it produces good results. I also don’t kill bugs or animals out of a respect for all life. Its not that I consider a fly to be equal to a human, but by respecting the fly I respect people that much more. That phylosophy comes from buddism, but I’m not a buddist. I do it because it produces good results.

  • Cletus

    I wish all the people who believe in god, and spread their hate throughout the world, would reconsider the source of their pain. Maybe you had alcoholic and/or abusive parents. I feel the pain of believers on this board, and feel sad. Your hate does you no good. Come to rationality and throw away the crutch of an invisible fairy in the sky. For the rest of you, love the superstitious, hate the superstition.

  • Paganplace

    Interesting, I suppose, the level of *dures* implicit in this story, not to harsh on anyone’s spiritual experiences… But one has to wonder why one starts drinking and smoking at that age in a Christian environment in the first place.How much conditioning are kids subjected to to trigger all those self-destructive instincts, with the implicit narrative behind it that when sick and in pain, one will turn back to the same story, the same sense of ‘unworthiness’ that leads to self-destructive behavior in the first place, and all?Many Christian preachers practically *gloat* about these stories. Use them as weapons to perpetuate and even *validate* these cycles of abuse. The notion runs pretty deep in the ‘recovery’ movement and such. And they try to use it with somewhat less succcess in the ‘ex-gay’ ministries. Load people up with shame and self-hatred, then all you have to do is ‘break’ and feel a rush of ‘salvation…’ From all the nast they conditioned in in the first place. Cynical? Yes. But. I suggest taking all that new-found ‘grace’ and looking very hard where it came from, and if you really want anyone else to go through that kind of ‘object lesson.’ You might get a better world out of it. :)Blessed be. :)

  • Thomas Baum

    SPIDERMAN 2You wrote, “3. “…who shall give account to him that is ready to JUDGE the quick and the dead (the righteous and the unrighteous).”The quick and the dead in the above statement means those that are still physically alive and those that have already physically died. So this statement means that we will all be judged whether we have physically died or not.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Jon

    Fate and StanTheMan, again, great stuff. Fate, on the kangaroo issue, come on, bro…if God could make the things in the first place then there should be no problem with him distributing them however he wishes. He could have teleported them, angels could have carried them, the flood may have predated continental drift, he could have evolved them there. Granted, none of those are intellectually satisfying to me, though. However, I would point out that once one acknowledges that there is some kind of god, then door opens to possibilities. These aren’t helpful in the same practical way that asking these questions scientifically is, but you see, once god enters in, this kind of question becomes insignificant. Does the fact that I don’t have a better answer to the kangaroo question prove there is no god? Of course not. I don’t think you think it does…it’s just one darn good question. But let me throw you one…how did the eye evolve when it needs all of its components to be in place in order to work? The eye is a whole unit and only functions as a whole. There are no building blocks. I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest that several non-functioning structures happened to be in the right place and mutated into a functioning eye. I don’t believe this proves that God invented the eye, or that it disproves evolution…but I’ve not heard a satisfying answer from a scientist on this issue. By the way, I think we agree that it is wrong for politicians and policy makers to manipulate religion for political purposes, whether it is by playing up to the religious or the non-religious. I don’t have a problem with voters using their faith to determine what to do, but I HATE seeing politicians play up to it.One more quick thought…especially in light of your respone on Pascal’s wager (an awesome respone I wish I could give more time to): I believe one of the fundamental failures of most religious people is the assumption that their understanding of God, holy writings, and doctrine are infallibly correct. I think you may judge all of religion, especially Christianity, based on the doctrines that you are familiar with. I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • Paganplace

    “But let me throw you one…how did the eye evolve when it needs all of its components to be in place in order to work? The eye is a whole unit and only functions as a whole. There are no building blocks.”Two words. Horseshoe crab.

  • eduardo

    Why is it that God only seems to reveal himself to those who are drug addicts, alcoholics, prisioners, terminally ill, and others who are on a path to destruction?I am agnostic, and somehow I have managed to overcome a troubled adolescence to build a very happy life, wonderful (and monogamous) marriage, and successful career – all because I had faith in myself, worked very hard and set goals, and didn’t do anything too stupid. I would love be able to credit God with everything but quite frankly, feel I owe more to my shrink and his ability to diagnose and cure my adult ADHD than any higher power.I once pressed my born again Southern Baptist uncle as to why he was so religious. He confessed that he smoked some pot laced with LSD while in the Army and while on a bad trip he made a promise to serve God if he managed to make it through. Most others I know who “found God” after childhood have similar tales.So my question is this: If I want to truly experience God, do I need to suffer first so God will show up to take the pain away?

  • Paganplace

    Basically, Jon, *all* of these Creationist arguments that evolution of one structure is impossible have in fact been debunked, just cause they keep saying it doesn’t change the facts. They’re just trying to bewilder people who don’t happen to haven’t researched every single structure, and appeal to those who want a ‘sciencey’ ‘confirmation’ for what they want to believe anyway.

  • Paganplace

    “I once pressed my born again Southern Baptist uncle as to why he was so religious. He confessed that he smoked some pot laced with LSD while in the Army and while on a bad trip he made a promise to serve God if he managed to make it through. Most others I know who “found God” after childhood have similar tales.”You can’t smoke LSD.

  • Alex

    “So my question is this: If I want to truly experience God, do I need to suffer first so God will show up to take the pain away?”Not at all. Your viewing your idea of God through a very narrow window. Just because the stories you seem to hear and your Baptist Uncle tell you that their expereince in “finding God” was based on suffering, doesn’t meant that’s the case. I gave my life to God in high school and have gone through many ups and downs in my faith. There is no one right answer when it comes to serving God. I know many Christians preach this, but it’s simply not true. God is a true God of grace and love meant for all. He does not require us to live in a box. He calls us to love and serve Him and others, not because we have to so we can get fire insurance to avoid going to “hell,” but because we want to because of His grace and mercy in our lives. I’ve never had the expereince that the author of this article rights about. I never did drugs, drank beer, or faced death. I was just a middle class kid growing up in Portland Oregon when I discovered the truth of who God is. He is no old man in the sky staring down and condeming us all. He is the creator and lover of the universe, ready and waiting for us to fall into His arms. If you want to truly expereince God all you have to do is ask and open your heart up to receiving him.

  • eduardo

    >OK – a) I wasn’t there and b) I don’t know much about drugs so it may have been something other than LSD. In theory, if he pressed a joint to his lips and that end happened to have LSD on it, it could have gotten absorbed through his skin. Whatever it was, it scared the hell out of him and turned him into a Bible thumper the next day.

  • Kimberly

    Dear Joe -Thanks for the reminder of how awesome God’s love is. And it’s available to everyone. For free. All we have to do is ask.Best wishes to you, Joe – Kimberly

  • Fate

    Jon wrote: “Fate, on the kangaroo issue, come on, bro…if God could make the things in the first place then there should be no problem with him distributing them however he wishes.”I agree, but the bible says they simply walked off the ark. And creation happened once, in the beginning. No mention in the bible of God creating new animals or redistributing them. But this is what I always hear from believers, some twisted explanation to explain what cannot be explained. Its right up there with God laying fossils everywhere just to confuse us and test our faith, or dinosaurs missed the ark, except the bible says ALL animals were on the ark.Jon wrote: “However, I would point out that once one acknowledges that there is some kind of god, then door opens to possibilities.”Oh yes, once you have absolute power and control of the past anything is possible. And believe me I have heard many very twisted explanations to keep the faith from being exposed as flawed. But an atheist deals in reality. We cannot just make stuff up and hope, expect, demand, that it be believed just to maintain the faith. There are people who built a museum showing man and dinosaurs living together. All the evidence says that could not have happened, but its consistent with the bible so reality goes out the window and fantasy replaces it. Joe feared death and overcame his addictions and beat his cancer thanks to modern medicine. But asking God for help just makes it all sound so much better.Jon wrote: “Does the fact that I don’t have a better answer to the kangaroo question prove there is no god?”No, it proves that you cannot support your faith.Jon wrote: “Of course not. I don’t think you think it does…it’s just one darn good question. But let me throw you one…how did the eye evolve when it needs all of its components to be in place in order to work?”Please read:Jon wrote: “The eye is a whole unit and only functions as a whole. There are no building blocks. I’m sure you wouldn’t suggest that several non-functioning structures happened to be in the right place and mutated into a functioning eye.”Read the article and other scientific articles. Considering the importance of the eye in survival its high level of evolution is not surprising. The eye did not just appear one day. there are many primitive eyes even into animals today. Evolving from a light sensitive patch of tissue to a human eye is not hard to believe, especially when you watch an eye develop in a fetus.Jon wrote: “I don’t believe this proves that God invented the eye, or that it disproves evolution…but I’ve not heard a satisfying answer from a scientist on this issue.”Read the science, at least three published articles. I know the eye’s evolution is used by creationists to deny evolution but the eye’s evolution is pretty well documented in the fossil record and other studies.Jon wrote: “By the way, I think we agree that it is wrong for politicians and policy makers to manipulate religion for political purposes, whether it is by playing up to the religious or the non-religious. I don’t have a problem with voters using their faith to determine what to do, but I HATE seeing politicians play up to it.”Actually, the politicians are manipulating politics for religious purposes. By pastors playing politics they make themselves, and the religion, that much more important. Jon wrote: “One more quick thought…especially in light of your respone on Pascal’s wager (an awesome respone I wish I could give more time to): I believe one of the fundamental failures of most religious people is the assumption that their understanding of God, holy writings, and doctrine are infallibly correct. I think you may judge all of religion, especially Christianity, based on the doctrines that you are familiar with. I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”Oh I don’t toss any of it. Most scripture is the thoughts and phylosophies handed down that survived generations. Bad ones have disappeared (an eye for an eye) while others, like forgiveness, have survived. If you really want to see how christianity has changed, read the bible, read it hard, and see how much of its phylosophy is ignored to day and how much is retained. Catholics have tossed a 6000 year old earth and accept evolution. And forgivness is something I do not see universally practiced by christians even though it is a central tenet of the faith. Christians in America did not forgive the American Indians, the French, the British, the Germans, the Japanese, nor al Qaida when they attacked them. Christians lined up to kill the enemy every time. And today christians practice and defend torture. Before asking atheists not to toss all of christian teachings, ask youself how many christian teachings christians have tossed out.

  • eduardo

    Alex: I know many people have faith and commit their lives to God without suffering. But how many of these people have actually “heard” from God? Not just believed in Him, but actually heard a voice or felt an undeniable physical sensation that says “I am God, I am real, and I want you to serve me”.For an agnostic like myself, what is it that flips the switch for absolute, undying faith? I have read much of the Bible, spent plenty of time in church, and I always go “Wow, nice stories” but that’s about it. Suffering seems to be the common thread for those who have a truly genuine mystical experience.After all, people can serve their fellow man and lead very moral lives without adhering to any religion or blind faith in the supernatural.

  • John

    Dear Mr. Eszterhas,Thank you so much for sharing your personal story about how God transformed your life. Several years ago God also helped me overcome an addiction and my life has never been the same. Your life is a powerful testimony of His grace, love and healing power, and will most definitely bless others. For Jesus Christ came “that [we] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).May God bless you wonderful and the plans He has for you. (Jer 29:11)Sincerely,

  • Louie Johnston

    I am elated at the printing of this wonderful conversion story about the one true God America was founded on, we put our Trust in, and the only God who still performs miracles every day. Only God can deliver such a “Heart and Mind Transplant” as those of us who have received them know!This is the Truth few in the Beltway will know.

  • Thomas Baum

    POINT OF VIEWYou wrote, “Who will win, who will earn eternal damnation, and who will be ready? I’m voting for Thomas Baum, because he’s actually a decent person.”I wouldn’t exactly say we earn hell what we do is build our hell and not only will we know we built it ourself but we will know that we have no one else to blame but ourself.Actually, what I wrote is: God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable and that means ultimately we all win, that is what “Christianity” is about. God’s Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom and “Christianity” is just part of God’s Plan which is unfolding before our very eyes. God won the keys and He will use them in due time, God’s Time. I have not said that hell and spiritual death are not real but that God won the keys to both and will use them, as I said, in His Time.We have free will and it is our choice how we use it, we will all be judged but Divine Mercy and Divine Justice goes hand in hand.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Nora

    Thank you Joe. God bless you for sharing your story with us.I’m afraid the atheists will take over from here. Pay them no heed. They’ve appeared in force, the usual anti-Christian malicious nasties, unfortunately the blog is infested by them. It’s not called “No Faith” for nothing. Before they, in their anger and frenzy, completely take over, let me say I look forward to reading your book.And again, God bless you.

  • Me 2

    He saved me too. I had prayed to him all these years, but I didn’t really know that He was real and that Jesus were real. Somehow I kept thinking that abstinence before marriage was not really God’s law. I definitely didn’t believe in the consequences for continuously breaking this law that everyone seems to ignore (or question–). I always thought that a relationship and such things are expected and natural when you love someone. But then, His majesty showed me in a very very raw way that His laws are true, that He is watching, that He and Jesus are lining up their army, and that true love is in something greater which in a relationship between a man and a woman proves itself in marriage. I was lost–but now I am found and I too am doing my best to tell the world how He saved me.Thank you God–for everything. –Me 2

  • Fred

    Joe, can you give me Elizabeth Berkeley’s phone number?

  • Paganplace

    “I know many people have faith and commit their lives to God without suffering. But how many of these people have actually “heard” from God? Not just believed in Him, but actually heard a voice or felt an undeniable physical sensation that says “I am God, I am real, and I want you to serve me”"In the Christian paradigm, all the rather Dystopian psychology I mention below aside, the whole *weekly ritual and thought-system* is based on ‘no one comes to the Father’ except through a certain ritualized suffering. It’s set up so the rest of the world, including one’s own body, is a ‘vale of tears’ and with enough suffering one will be ‘saved’ in a way, however that’s consciously-negotiatied. It’s a hazard of the monolithic model, one which is often exploited… though it’s so familiar few really see what they’re looking at or taking in. But part of the prefrontal mind can’t tell the difference between what we see and what we *do.* It’s how we learn things and why most of us like watching sports and also part of our empathy, …but. It can be abused. In some ways, certain forms of ‘atheism’ are in fact setting the conscious mind *against* that conditioning, without ever acknowledging that conditioning can *happen.* Cause that’s bloody scary. We aren’t the animals that cannot be conditioned, humans. We just have the opportunity to choose our conditioning. And also should take care how we attempt to condition others, particularly children. Thanks to some pretty …interesting circumstances in this life, I was able to kind of observe the process while it was happening to me, though it’s taken years and years to think I begin to understand. Now, I’m not an atheist, and I could tell you some spiritual stories of my *own* if it was the custom of modern Pagans to do so, or… not just plain too personal. But the role of pain and suffering of various kinds in the narrative that too many try to induce, (ironically enough to think they’re ‘saving’ people from the very ‘suffering’ they subliminally fear for others,) ..well, that’s clear. It’s just so *cliche* that no one really looks at it. People either *embrace* it cause they want to be similarly-’saved’ or *reject* it out of hand as part of the general complex they’re trying to fight in themselves. Some say this sort of thing validates their ‘righteousness,’ ….I say it only says what we all should know about torture by now. If we can face that. Any God worth the genuflecture ought to be OK with that.

  • Nicholas K.

    Dear Joe,Good story. Do you think there’s a chance for me? But I don’t want to fall as low or wait as long as you did. I wouldn’t mind meeting the Master, though.Nick

  • Anonymous

    John, John, John,Don’t you find it odd that the passage you quoted i.e. John 10:10 only appears in John’s gospel? Such important utterances should have been also noted by P, M, M and L !!! They didn’t and therefore many contemporary historical Jesus exegetes have concluded that John 10:10 was added by John to embellish the life of a simple preacher man aka Jesus. e.g.

  • Tim

    “I know many people have faith and commit their lives to God without suffering. But how many of these people have actually “heard” from God? Not just believed in Him, but actually heard a voice or felt an undeniable physical sensation that says “I am God, I am real, and I want you to serve me”"=======John 20:26-31 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.=====People, I have heard God and I hear him almost every day. Read God’s word, the Bible if you want to hear him. That is how he speaks to us today. If you want to know God, then read the Bible. This is not about feelings or emotions. It is about logically listening to God speak through His words in the Bible. All this complaining about wanting some touchy feeling experience is just a bunch of whiners who want to tell God how He should be or what He should do. Look at the Heavens and the Earth and the own complexity of your own body and you can see the infinite God every day of your life. God sets the rules and you do not so stop your whining and complaining and get on your knees and thank God for all of his many, many blessings.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Paganplace,You noted: “Often people respond to these internal conflicts with drugs or alcohol or other self-destructive things, just to keep away from those things… “You should have noted that others simply whip out a spell and all is better!!!! Sure is cheaper and safer!!!

  • wcol

    “Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.” (Baha’u'llah, The Hidden Words)

  • Anonymous

    “All this complaining about wanting some touchy feeling experience is just a bunch of whiners who want to tell God how He should be or what He should do.”"God sets the rules and you do not so stop your whining and complaining and get on your knees and thank God for all of his many, many blessings.”Boy, you really aren’t doing your God any favors by getting defensive and calling people names when they try to ask honest, intellecutal questions about faith. “God is everywhere, so shut up and obey” is exactly the type of attitude that pushes thinking people away from faith in the first place and it certainly won’t bring anyone back.

  • MC

    Sounds like GWB he repented and was awarded by God’s calling.

  • Paganplace

    “You should have noted that others simply whip out a spell and all is better!!!! Sure is cheaper and safer!!!”Well, if you think it’s *that* easy, Concerned Christian, maybe you should give it a whirl. OCD sure can’t be the most efficient way for you to be going about it. :)

  • common sense

    Thomas Baum – we’re really not so different, you and I. However, you tend to see ultimate realities as Divine Persons, while I tend to take the transpersonal view. That means that there are no such everlasting divinities in my cosmology. The cosmos is without beginning or end, as is it’s vital twin, consciousness – combine the two, and we have our own kind of human reality, in and of the present moment. Since all things are forever interconnected and co-dependent, there is really no determinism, no cause and effect, and no karma – although there certainly appears to be in a relative sense. Additionally, there is no good and no evil, other than the presence of compassion as compared to the absence of compassion in the presence of ego. These condition all behavior. My view is very much Buddhistic, whereas your view is clearly informed by your own inner experiences based on Christianity. I can’t say I’m an atheist in the material sense, but neither can I say that I’m a theist in the Thomas Baum sense.In my world, we are always ready, but are very seldom willing and able – to see reality as it is. And that is what takes an eternity to master.

  • Amanita

    Why did God save Joe Eszterhas’s life? Well, even God makes mistakes sometimes.

  • spiderman2

    Amanita wrote “Well, even God makes mistakes sometimes.”While people burn their garbage, God does too. Aren’t you afraid you are a mistake? (You made yourself a garbage in the sight of God)

  • spiderman2

    If there is one very complex kind of science , it is biology. Biology is the study of life. The problem is life cannot be defined so well because it’s so complex. DNAs still remain a puzzle. There are many dark areas about this study but many biologists claim to have understood all these dark areas. Only fools can claim they can see in the dark. That’s the main reason there are so many evolutionists biologists because many of them are FOOLS. Fate claims to be a biologist. No wonder she thinks like a fool. Unlike Engineering, you don’t see formulas in biology. All you have are OBSERVATIONS. They conclude that men came from monkeys becasue they OBSERVE that their bones are similar. What a bunch of wachos.

  • jerry rubin

    I just read a story that I find quite appropriate.You know the stories about how Obama is only a community organizer and Palin is a governor.Think about all those that laugh and how Palin is repeating this over and over.Jesus as I recall was a community organizer and Pontius Pilot was a Governor of Judea.Think hard about that! Finding some humor……

  • spiderman2

    Fate often repeats this question “How did the kangaroos hopped to Australia?”Nobody understands creation so how sure are you they even hopped from the Ark? For people who uses their brains, this is an invalid question. There is no account that kangaroos were present in the Ark. They don’t understand that “ALL” means differently at the time of Adam and now. In his time ALL means just one. Himself.

  • Anonymous

    Spiderman2 is a writer for Landoverbaptist.org

  • paul c

    CCNLYOu wrote: Don’t you find it odd that the passage you quoted i.e. John 10:10 only appears in John’s gospel? Such important utterances should have been also noted by P, M, M and L !!! They didn’t and therefore many contemporary historical Jesus exegetes have concluded that John 10:10 was added by John to embellish the life of a simple preacher man aka Jesus. e.g.My response:

  • Cletus

    Another reason form the omission of the John 10:10 passage from the others is that, traditionally, only Matthew and John are even claimed to be eyewitness accounts. Luke was allegedly written by a companion of Paul (himself not even an eyewitness); Mark was said to be a follower of Peter.Of course, any claim of Matthew being an eyewitness account is undercut to my mind by the fact that he apparently copies a bunch of stuff from Mark pretty much word-for-word. My personal opinion is that they were all allegorical fiction (witness all the other gospels that did not make the cut, Peter, Thomas, Mary Magdeline, ect.), and there never was a historical Jesus.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Paul C,With respect to John’s Gospel and John’s epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in epic reference book, An Introduction to the New Testament, 878 pages (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple. First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel. From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus, From

  • paul c

    Cletus:CCNL: As you know, I am not impressed with your new age scholars because their course of study is circular. they start out saying that every reference to Jesus’ divinity must be false because we’ve never seen anything like it. And then they say, “well we’ve already discounted all the references to Jesus’s divinity , so there is nothing left to prove it.” Your statement that John’s Gospel is not used as a reliable source denies the fact that it has been a canonical part of the bible since the beginning and as such, has always been considered reliable by the Catholic Church and its Protestant offshoots

  • Paul Eldridge

    The narcissism in thinking that god would save you when innocent children die dreadful deaths from cancer every day would be laughable if it weren’t offensive. Please give credit where it is due, to the oncologists and other medical professionals who treated you. By using your logic can we then assume that when you do die of cancer that it will also be god’s decision? Will it be an abandonment then, or will it still be a blessing?

  • paul c

    Paul Eldridge,You are thinking in very human, very secular terms in your critique. What you are seeing is the saving of the physical body, which is of course temporary, since all of us will die. What you are missing is the saving of the soul, which is permanent in the eternity of heaven. Sometimes God uses physical illness to save the soul and in some cases he uses physical cures to do the same thing. You may or may not be able to relate to this, particularly if you’ve personally closed off all avenues to God’s grace. We all have the choice to search for God or to deny his existance. During life, there will always be tests and opportunities laid out before you to foster that choice. Sometimes the same event can be a test for some and an opportunity for others. For example, your illness question. Some people will curse God if they become ill and others will turn toward God for strength and help. That same illness can drive the loved ones of the ill person to find incredible love and support in their hearts as they tend to their sick friend or family member. Others will never find that love but only bitterness. If the person gets better, some will thank God, others will be bitter that they got ill in the first place and will turn further from God. Monetary success is another. When confronted with wealth, some people will see it as an opportunity to help others. For other people that same wealth will drive arrogance toward others who were not blessed with the same wealth.

  • Jessie

    “The narcissism in thinking that god would save you when innocent children die dreadful deaths from cancer every day would be laughable if it weren’t offensive. Please give credit where it is due, to the oncologists and other medical professionals who treated you.”Paul, you make the classic mistake of placing yourself above G-d. This makes you sound like an insensitive, bitter and arrogant fool. It is your prideful caustic demands of G-d to behave as you expect that defies the existence of a G-d outside your prescribed constraints. Paul who can constrain G-d? He will not fit inside the small box you have made for Him.Your blind faith in the healing powers of an oncologist and medical professionals (who themselves call Joe’s spontaneous healing “a miracle”) is illogical. If Joe’s life experience is unexplainable to you- why not say you have no idea what precipitated Joe’s very positive outcome. Why feel compelled to speak against G-d by placing your faith in an equally unprovable “elsewhere”? Or maybe it is a human tendency to believe and have unquestioning faith in “something”.

  • Anne L

    To Paul E:You might try reading CS Lewis “The Question of Pain” for an answer to your question, basically why did God save Joe E’s life and not save the lives of better people than Joe E, innocent children?I would answer it this way (this is not in CS Lewis which is a mediatation on God’s love and man’s fall): we are animals, matter, we live in the material world, which God made, and which is perfect for His purposes and thus must be for ours. We are integrated with this world and, as such, will suffer the fate of other animals and of all living things. Pascal wrote of our situation it is if men are chained to each other and one by one, each one is unchained and shot. And each man knows that this will also happen to him. And there is no escape from this terrifying fate. Except, except, through God. Through Him, and in Him, and with Him. The children are already saved, Joe E, however, wasn’t. That is the story behind Joe’s story.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “Fate often repeats this question “How did the kangaroos hopped to Australia?”Right, and I won’t stop asking it until you answer the question or admit it proves the bible to be flawed.spiderman2 wrote: “Nobody understands creation so how sure are you they even hopped from the Ark?”Because according to Genesis only things on the ark survived the destruction of all life on earth. If the kangaroos were not on the ark, they would not be here today. Do I need to quote the scripture? And if they were created by God *after* the flood, then you claim a second creation event that is found no where in the bible. In other words, you are making stuff up.spiderman2 wrote: “For people who uses their brains, this is an invalid question. There is no account that kangaroos were present in the Ark.”99% of all animals alive today are not mentioned being on the ark. But the bible makes it quite clear, all life was placed on the ark, down to the smallest of creepy crawly creatures that walked on earth, and all life on earth was destroyed, except that on the ark. And when the ark landed after the flood, the pairs of animals repopulated the earth. How, after leaving the ark at Mt. Erarat, did the kangaroos get to Australia? This question is only invalid for those who want to ignore a flaw in what they consider a perfect bible.spiderman2 wrote: “They don’t understand that “ALL” means differently at the time of Adam and now. In his time ALL means just one. Himself.”Do you purposly babbal? I guess I need to quote the scripture:Genesis 6:17: “I [God], on my part, am about to bring the flood (waters) on the earth, to destroy everywhere all creatures in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish.”Please tell me where in that scripture you interpret something different from “everywhere all creatures” and “everything on earth shall perish”. Or are you are claiming the bible is up for interpretation and may actually be flawed?

  • Fate

    Jessie wrote: “It is your prideful caustic demands of G-d to behave as you expect that defies the existence of a G-d outside your prescribed constraints. Paul who can constrain G-d? He will not fit inside the small box you have made for Him.”Then why do you pray? Prayer is an attempt to petition God, to do *your* bidding. Talk about “prideful demands”!Jessie wrote: “Your blind faith in the healing powers of an oncologist and medical professionals (who themselves call Joe’s spontaneous healing “a miracle”) is illogical.”Doctors use the word “miracle” a lot. But when you consider Joe’s bad shape and weakened immune system made stronger by kicking the addictions, it makes sense. Joe defied the odds, but that is all he did. Many people of faith die horrible deaths every day. No miracles there. I’m sure there are many other miracles like Joe’s all over the world, in other religions and cultures, but to take just this one and hold it up as proof of God when others of faith die daily and other miracles of equal stature happen to jews, muslims, hindi and atheists, your argument is the one that is illogical. And I know firsthand. I’m an atheist who defied the odds and survived a gastric bleed (a burst vein in an intestinal ulcer). If it wasn’t for my strong heart, which the doctors called remarkable for my age, I would have died of a heart attack. My pulse while laying unconscious was 110. My blood pressure dropped very low. I lost 4 pints of blood (more than half in my body) in 4 hours. My doctor did not call it a miracle. He understood that 30 years of jogging made my heart strong enough while fluids and a blood transfusion were put back in me, the ulcer clamped, and drugs were given to stabilize my condition. Other possible effects such as kidney failure did not happen. Again I beat the odds. But my doctor says he sees people who lost less blood die every other day from gastric bleeds. Am I, an atheist, a miracle? Did my non-belief save me? Did the doctors have nothing to do with my recovery? Jessie wrote: “If Joe’s life experience is unexplainable to you- why not say you have no idea what precipitated Joe’s very positive outcome.”I think Paul did just that: Paul wrote “Please give credit where it is due, to the oncologists and other medical professionals who treated you”

  • Cletus

    I invite anyone to look up the “evidence” cited by Paul C at 9/11 7:58 as far references to Jesus. They are pretty laughable, including the citation to Josephus. Also, notice the dates they were written and the types of reference they make. Especially Josephus, which is clearly a forgery and has been so regarded for hundreds of years. The desperation of the liars-for-Christ that they need to cite such “evidence” should show how weak their case is.

  • Marie Smedberg

    Joe, I am so happy for you. But understand this: God doesn’t answer your prayer just to show you that he CAN! It’s not His retribution for your years of abuse! God sincerely loves you. It is called GRACE. “Grace” is God’s gift to you. You can’t buy it, earn it, or bargain for it. It is utterly undeserved. It’s yours for the asking; all you have to do accept it. Once you have realized the enormity of God’s grace, you can never go back. God gave the life of His only Son, he sacrificed Jesus so that we would not have to pay the price of our own sins. His love is pure, unconditional, and abundant!! What a wonderful God we serve!!! Marie

  • Jon

    Fate,How do you think kangaroos arrived in Australia? Have you heard the theory about the effect of ice age glaciers and plate tectonics providing a land-bridge to Australia? I don’t know if it’s a good theory or not, but it sounds plausible. There’s also one about them being carried over on boats as animals have been a part of trade going way back? Or that the flood predates continental drift? (But I still like thinking that they were carried over by angels so the Koala’s would have friends.) As I said before, there are ways that Kangaroos could have gotten to Australia naturally. I hardly find, as you asserted, that not satisfying you with an answer proves that I can not support my faith. Your answer to the eye evolving doesn’t satisfy me, but that doesn’t prove that you can’t support evolution. My point is that it’s not rational to take one question, about eyeballs or kangaroos and say, “See, you can’t answer this one miniscule point, so you’re wrong.” That’s not being intellectually honest. I’ll grant that many, many religious people do just this…it’s not intellectually honest for them either.I did some quick reading about the eye (thanks for the link, and I found some others, as well). It sounds plausible, but what do you think is the statistical likelihood of the right mutations occurring in the right specimens to reach the next step in the process? I can’t imagine it doesn’t near impossibility. The odds have to go up even more when you factor in the changes to a specimen’s nervous system to make use of the advantages in the structure. You beat the odds in your medical ordeals, and we know that other 1 in a billion things do happen, and so I can’t say that it was impossible for an eye to evolve, but I don’t have the faith to believe that it did. As for the development of the fetus, the cells already know where they are going thanks to DNA, so how does that show that an organism with no instructions could follow the same path?I think you’re only half-right about politics and pastors. I’ll just say that we all make political decisions based on our beliefs, and that’s no surprise.You didn’t earn any “debate style” points with me with your last bit about “Christians do this and Christians do that”. Way too big of a generalization. I mean, just silly, Fate. I’m surprised you threw that out because it just wasn’t a good argument. None of the wrongs you list are supported by all Christians, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find any Christian doctrine supporting them. On the other hand, I would guess we can find a couple of atheists who hate, are unforgiving and who justify torture. There are probably more than three or four. Despite that, you made such a good point and I am 100% in agreement: the Christian community has become so distracted by many things that they have forgotten about love, grace, mercy, forgiveness many other doctrines that are essential to what Christianity is. Many practice a half-hearted acknowledgement that the Bible should be followed and God believed in but they use it as a cover for their own politics, bad habits, prejudices and whatever while neglecting the really significant things like loving your neighbor. They have tossed out too many Christian teachings. On the other hand, the 6000 year old earth was an unbiblical extrapolation that never should have been called doctrine in the first place. Same goes for the earth-centric universe and the crystal spheres that the heavenly bodies orbit on. There is some good tossing of time-honored but presumptuous beliefs.

  • o sátiro

    Yes, God loves us even when we made fun of God and and those who believe in God!

  • C Holland

    Having lived a lascivious and unruly life before being radically changed from the inside out by God I can relate to Joe’s words and feel as if I even contributed in the smallest yet most wonderful way to his conversion. It was after reading his irreverent memoir, “Hollywood Animal” in 2005 that I began praying for him. Now suddenly hearing of God’s great grace performed out on the stage of Mr. Esterhaus’s life brings the greatest smile of joy to my spirit. Brother Joe, welcome to the kingdom! Praise, honor and glory to the King of all Kings, the Lord of all Lords. Dang, God is good. And he sure can turn the most wretched of us into shining stars that illuminate His emmense love for us.

  • Joe

    May I humbly suggest reading “The Orthodox Way” by Bishop Kallistos Ware. It will answer many of your questions about the Church.In Christ

  • Katie Nielsen

    Wow! I’m very familiar with your work and find your story of conversion to be truly miraculous. You’re going to be the best damn father and husband a family could hope for. Four young boys have been saved right along with you! God bless you now and always.

  • Alexandra Muniz

    Praise God for His Love! I’m very proud of you even though I don’t know you. But you testimony, is very inspiring.I’m only 18 but I am very aware of our need of God’s grace for true success. I’ll pray for you tonight. I’d appreciate if yu’d do the same for me. God keep Blessing you and your family! -Alex*

  • Willis E. Elliott, panelist

    Thanks, Joe.

  • Keith

    Dear Joe, Your story highlights the power of faith to bring dramatic, positive change to people’s lives. It also underscores the devastating toll that tobacco inflicts upon individuals and society. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the US, killing more people than AIDS, murder, suicide, alcohol, illegal drugs, and car crashes combined. The entertainment industry has been a major promoter of smoking, glamorizing cigarettes to children. You began smoking at 12. Today some 80% of smokers still begin smoking before the age of 18. American tobacco companies are now aggressively marketing their deadly products in the developing world, especially to women and young people. Tobacco is expected to kill a billion people worldwide this century. Surprisingly, religious groups have done little to combat this evil. Perhaps your story will encourage them to take a more visible and vocal role in this fight.

  • Paul

    Thanks Joe for giving God the glory. I hope that your health will continue. God will be well pleased if you use the opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle including discouraging others from smoking and drinking both of which are soul and spirit destroying practices. I want you to visit the websites of those physicians who promote health and wellness including John McDougall, Neal Bernard, Dr.Fhurman and the Rev.Malkmus at http://www.hacres.com God bless you I hope you promote health with even greater zeal than you did screenplay.

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