Christianity,  News

Ted Turner says he does not want to go to hell


CNN has a fascinating and wide-ranging feature on Ted Turner today. Among other things, it says that Turner has grown more reflective about his mortality in his later years. Turner even confesses that he doesn’t want to go to hell. It’s a provocative piece in many ways. Here’s an excerpt:

Even though he is a son of the Bible Belt, Ted Turner and God haven’t been on the best of terms. Despite his strong stance against religion in the past, he’s not an atheist. He’s an agnostic, trying to make sense of it all — his way.

He revised the Ten Commandments, which he considered outdated, coming up instead with his Eleven Voluntary Initiatives, which he printed on cards small enough to carry in a wallet. He tossed out the commandments that struck him as outdated — a host of the “thou shalt nots,” particularly the one banning adultery. “People have had a lot of fun breaking that one. I know I did.”…

He once walked into the CNN newsroom on Ash Wednesday and, spotting several staffers with smudges on their foreheads, blurted out, “What are you? A bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox.”

He has said famously that “Christianity is a religion for losers,” even though some of his closest friends have a deep and profound faith.

“He knew I was a Christian when he said that,” said former President Carter. “Ted had a tendency to say things like that just to be provocative. And to stir people’s interest. But later he retracted that statement.”

Carter continues to hope his friend will someday “have a profound religious experience.”

Turner said he respects the position of his religious friends, but he’s a skeptic by nature. He described himself as an agnostic, although as a younger man he was an atheist, and virulently anti-religious. These days, he keeps the door open a crack. He allows for the possibility.

“When I have a friend that’s dying of cancer, I say a prayer for them,” he said.

To whom does he direct the prayer?

“Whoever is listening.”

Read the rest here.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11

(HT: Jim Smith)


  • Kevin Cuthbertson

    I think we can also hope that President Carter will one day have a “profound religious experience.” Hopefully with the real Jesus this time.

    • Roy Fuller

      Really? From what I can see, Carter gives ex-presidents a good name. Has taught Sunday School in church for decades – yet I assume your political disagreement with him leads you to question his salvation? Wow.

    • James Bradshaw

      Who is the “real Jesus”? The Jesus of the Catholics? The Pentecostals? The Calvinists? The Wesleyans and Armianians? The Jesus of the “Word of Faith” movement? Westboro Baptist has their own ideas about Jesus, too, as does the KKK (although admittedly these are not commonly-held ideas). The ideas of who Jesus is amongst self-professed Bible-believing Christians is as varied as the population itself.

      I’d submit that one can have faith in an idea of who God is … but is that really “faith”?

      Faith seems to be more of a reaching out into the unknown to a God as He knows Himself to be, not as we imagine we understand Him to be based on our limited experience and capacity. More often than not, it seems that “faith” is more of an intellectual idol of sorts.

    • Chris Ryan

      You’d probably have to go all the way back to Lincoln to find a POTUS who lived a more Christian life than Carter. Unlike some modern day Sadducees (they’re sad, you see) we’ve had in office he really does try to follow Christ’s lifestyle. We’d be blessed to have God send more men like Carter.

      Turner reminds me of my favorite uncle. Even though he was raised in the church–prolly spent 4 days out of 7 there–he rebelled after returning from Vietnam. He didn’t return to the church until maybe 5 yrs ago after a bout of cancer deprived him of the use of his larynx. We all know someone like Ted & we can only pray that Christ moves their heart.

    • mariep

      Bob, because I don’t know you, I’ll assume you are making a genuine assertion…

      1. How do you know that you have time to repent? You do not know what a day will bring- you could be in a fatal car accident, be struck with a heart attack, etc. I don;t know how familiar you are with the account of the two thieves crucified next to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). But only one was saved, the other rejected. A preacher once asked, “why one?”: there was one so we wouldn’t despair, but there was only one so we wouldn’t presume.

      2. Those who do not repent and embrace Christ do not actually have the “best of this world.” To reject Christ as one’s Savior is to be a slave to sin. But at God’s right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Sin may appear to bring pleasure, but it is only temporary and shallow. The Christian life is not a cake-walk, and it means dying to self, hating our sin, seeing ourselves as spiritually needy, and facing trials that the non-believer does not. But we don’t have the fear of death and condemnation hanging over our heads. We have the God of heaven as our Father (and He is the perfect Father- even better than the best Father on earth). We have a Savior in whom are unfathomable riches, not the kind that can rust away or be stolen, but solid joys and lasting treasure, as an old hymn of the church proclaims. Acceptance with God, a life of loving, serving, and obeying Him, and the fellowship of the redeemed (even with our sin getting in the way at times) is cause for more joy than the sum of what all the universe throughout all time can produce!

      Consider these words of Solomon, a king who was well-acquainted with the things of this world as well as the wisdom of heaven:

      Ecclesiastes 2
      Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

    • James Harold Thomas

      You can’t intend to truly believe something in the future if you truly disbelieve it in the present. Pascal’s Wager never saved anyone.

      Also, try googling: Kavka’s Toxin Puzzle

  • Ian Shaw

    I would hope that Bob is being sarcastic, as there isn’t much logic to go on that statement if he meant it truthfuly. The unknowns of life are so unpredictable and brief our mortality is, you wouldn’t be able to hold the position of “repent later” as there is no guarantee or promise that you would know when your end is coming and be able to repent in time. The other quesation is sincerity. If your deathbed confession is merely a “get out of hell free card”, I would offer up that even Christ said that not all who cry out “….Lord, Lord…” will be saved.

  • Bob Wilson

    No sin, no life.

    We can’t know ourselves without sin. Many of us can’t reach our potential without sinning. On his blog, the very Christian Rod Dreher opened up this topic when he posted how much he loved the Rolling Stones. Some of us pointed out that the music of the Stones is inextricably tied to their very sinful debauchery. There is no way good Christian kids could ever become the Rolling Stones. Certainly good Christians can be great artists; just think of JS Bach. But that’s a very different art. Sex, drugs and rock are inseparable. Love the Stones, Led Zeppelin,the Who, etc, etc, etc? Face it, no sin, no rock.

    Love the theater? Broadway? Is it a coincidence that so many playwrights (Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, etc) and performers are gay? The great Nathan Lane, when asked if he was gay, once answered, “Look, I’m sing and dance on Broadway and I’m not married, you do the math.”

    Love the art, hate the sin? Incoherent.

  • Esther O'Reilly

    So that explains why the Garden of Eden was so drab and dull and un-fun. No wonder Adam and Eve ate the apple. They just couldn’t live without Led Zeppelin!

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.