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A rough decade for American congregations
A new survey shows a decline in worship service attendance in the United States.
September 20th, 2011
04:43 PM ET

A rough decade for American congregations

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago.  While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.

In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."

Forty-seven percent of congregations that said their worship experience was "innovative and contemporary" reported high spiritual vitality, versus 17% that said their congregations were "neither innovative nor contemporary."

The vast majority of congregations implemented electronic communications in the past decade.  Recently, many have turned to social networking as well, with 41% using Facebook to communicate with congregants.

Congregations are also having hard times financially, the survey found.  In 2000, 31% of survey participants reported excellent financial health.  In 2010, that number plummeted to just 14%.

The recession, Roozen writes in the report, "affected nearly every kind of congregation equally – large and small; north, south, east and west; financially healthy or struggling before the recession. One bit of good news was that one in 10 congregations reported that by the time of the survey, they had already begun to recover."

Roozen writes that a variety of factors led to the decline, but overall, there are fewer Americans in the pews, and "... more than 1 in 4 American congregations had fewer than 50 in worship in 2010, and just under half had fewer than 100. Overall, median weekend worship attendance of your typical congregation dropped from 130 to 108 during the decade, according to the FACT surveys."

FACT refers to Faith Communities Today, a multifaith coalition that researches congregational life.

While megachurches - congregations with more than 2,000 members - continued to grow in popularity, they still represent only a fraction of American congregations, at one-half of 1%.  "And while it appears to be true they are attracting an ever bigger slice of the religious attender pie, it is a bigger slice of a shrinking pie," Roozen wrote.

The decline hit across religious and denominational lines, sparing no one, Roozen wrote. He said that "no single category or kind of congregation ... was exempt from the decadal downsizing of worship attendance."

The data came from Faith Communities Today surveys and represents 11,077 congregations and 120 denominations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, the institute said.  Most often, the surveys were completed by the congregation's leader, and the institute estimates the margin of error to be plus or minus 4 percentage points.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church

soundoff (2,018 Responses)
  1. fellowtraveler

    Atheists are as ignorant, illogical, naive and immature as the extremist religious folk who think every word in the bible came directly from God. Many people get caufgt up in 'religion" along with the evils that supposed religious people commit, that they don't even seem to recognize the proper questions to ask. Let me try to explain why atheism is irrational, illogical and a pointless, naive belief. 1st) All of our physical bodies will breakdown and die one day. This is true regardless if you're an atheist or a believer in some afterlife. 2nd) All physical matter breaks down or changes, though is never fully destroyed. This planet will be consumed and utterly destroyed at some point in the next 5 billion years, if not by our actions then at least when our sun uses up all its fuel and expands to engulf the Earth. Even beyond that, science shows that every star in the universe will eventually die out completely. 3rd) So since all physical matter is temporary, atheism's call for faith in science, treating people well because it's just the thing to do, using science to better ourselves, protecting the environment, etc. are all vain, pointless and irrational endeavors. If there is nothing that survives the physical death of our bodies, then NOTHING matters, since ALL physical arrangements of matter are temporary. Now it may be true that nothing survives our bodies death. I don't know because i've never been dead as far as I remember. But that's just the point, atheism asserts unequivocally that nothing will survive our bodies death. How anyone can make such a definitive assertion, when the reality is no one really knows, is as irrational and illogical as those who assert their particular religious belief as absolute truth. Therefore, without absolute knowledge as to the actual reality of life, the universe, and everything(Hitchhiker ref.), the only logical course is to at least HOPE that something of who we are will survive the physical death of our bodies and perhaps even live our lives according to that hope since the alternative is pointless oblivion. Just saying....

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • FifthApe

      A lot of wind for such a wrong answer.

      Atheism just rejects the belief in a deity or the supernatural since there is no evidence for it. If objective evidence for a god were provided I for one would believe.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • FifthApe

      Oh.... and you seem hung up on death and destruction. My advice would be to enjoy your brief moment in the sun and I hope for your sake its a long and healthy life. Make the most of it.... since there is no evidence that you have a do over.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Paragraphs. Get to know them. Embrace them. They makes rambling manifestos so much easier to read.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Paul

      If you really think the only reason to be nice to your fellow humans (i.e., giving to charity, not murdering each other) is because you're working towards an afterlife, well, I hope you keep going to church. Atheists strive to make this life better, because we think it is the only one we get.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Jay

      Atheism asserts no such thing you fool. It is only a position on the belief of a god, it has nothing to do with life beyond death. Atheism in fact asserts nothing and is not an absolute position by any means. You should learn more about what you would criticize.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      So atheist's 'faith' in science and doing the right thing is pointless because everything will end in 5 billions years time?
      And you call atheists illogical and irrational?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  2. Dave

    According to Christianity when six million Jews did in the Holocaust God pretty much told them, "You think the Holocaust was bad....wait until you see HELL!" After all, Jews don't accept that Jesus is the Messiah.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  3. Tony Danza

    LOL at all the dumb christians replying. I can't wait to see jeus riding a raptor on judgement day 😀

    September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • fellowtraveler

      No Tony, If you're right and the Christians are wrong, you will see nothing when you die and just disappear into oblivion. Since you believe that, why the heck are you and these other atheists wasting your time in a pointless debate when every second of your physical life is all you get? Go out, have fun, do whatever you want to whomever you want because the physical universe is finite. The infinite is not, however. i'm glad you and all these other atheists seem to know the ultimate reality of the infinite because I sure don't. Pease enlighten me:)

      September 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  4. Rob

    Dissapointing but understandable. Many her will say it is some kind of enlightenment or a decreased need for God, etc. The reality is that people have way more access to "Church" through today's technology. The internet, Apps, TV, Radio, etc. Couple that with a bad economy and it is almost expected that attendance and finances would be down. If you have been out of work for a long time, you probably feel more comfertable watching a service at home. Which is sad, because you should be a Church letting others pray for you and support you. Nevertheless, this artical is not about the decline of the Christian faith, it is about the change in worship and the ressesion. Try and twist it if you like.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Alyssa

      Perhaps it's already twisted.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • oh, my

      It's funny, because the Bible predicts this very clearly. Christians will be persecuted very heavily, and the comments on this article alone are frightening. The Bible also predicts that only a very small remnant will remain, maybe just 1 or 2 percent of the world. Of course, these words will be twisted and spat upon, but it's hard to deny the fact that these predictions are eerily coming true.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • jay

      What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      oh my, the only thing that is clear here is your paranoia.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • The Truth

      lol @ Xtians being persecuted.

      Xtians have persecuted soooooo many people throughout history and continue to force their false beliefs into government, law, etc.

      Quantum physics is revealing a "god" far greater than Xtianity ever imagined.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "oh, my – It's funny, because the Bible predicts this very clearly. Christians will be persecuted very heavily, and the comments on this article alone are frightening. The Bible also predicts that only a very small remnant will remain, maybe just 1 or 2 percent of the world. Of course, these words will be twisted and spat upon, but it's hard to deny the fact that these predictions are eerily coming true."

      oh yeah these 'predictions' ...people will be ridiculed, there will be earthquakes, floods, famines etc. Yeah like this has been happening since the beginning of time, you dont exactly have to be Nostradamus to predict those happening. Now if it predicted giant space slugs and giant space slugs appeared at some point then I would be more impressed.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  5. hippypoet

    some poems for all the catholics here posting today. 🙂

    DEATH

    Patiently silent by Saint Peter's gate
    achingly nervous there you wait.
    Terror made in minds eye mans creation's lie
    for the one who's cloaked and carries the die
    He has your number and with him you say goodbye.
    Two coins for the man with the oar.
    Trafficking souls, he is the pimp, you are the wh0re.

    by: Hippy poet

    RELIGION

    Sweet perfume ferried on heaven's voice
    the Saint lives life never questioning the corrupt rejoice.
    As you climb the steps looking for your indulgence
    you indulge only pathetic minds lacking of true experience.
    Reach the top and realize you must go back to hence you came.
    So cold in winter, the indulgence you now put to flame.
    Now caught between an endless tug of war
    before you leave this world you will cry forevermore.
    Either way, for rich or for poor
    there is no escaping of this buttered wh0re

    by: Hippy Poet

    enjoy.. both written by me, the hippy, religion was written on 7-16-08 and death on 10-30-08

    September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • R L CANNON

      This is happening in every parish in this country and people have there heads stuck in the sand , READ THIS AND TRY TO EXPLAIN IT http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/07/27/the-vatican-s-gay-priests.html

      September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  6. Geezer

    Christianity can't die out fast enough. Religion enslaves people.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Draz

      Clearly you lack a fundamental understanding of what Biblical Christianity is.

      Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free...

      Col 2:13-14 ... hath he [Christ] quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

      Faith in Christ is freedom FROM religion, not enslavement TO it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      Coming back with quotes from the bible only proves that your mind has been enslaved.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Draz

      @tallulah13

      Actually, it means I can read and come to my own conclusions based on what I've read, instead of robotically spewing out the same anti-Christian drivel that all the atheist clones on this blog parrot post after post in some attempt to prove that they're witty, unique, free-thinking individuals... just like all the other clones.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Geezer

      yeah and spouting off retarded bible verses makes you sound so intelligent. I rather do the thinking for myself rather than have some fictional book tell me how to live my live. Christians are scared that their little fairy tale is coming to an end.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • GodPot

      @Draz – "Actually, it means I can read and come to my own conclusions based on what I've read"

      I doubt you came to your conclusions on your own, but like most Christians you believe what the established churches and differing Christian factions have told you what to believe and they have used specific scriptures to push their views which you have accepted without reading the bible in it's entirety and deciding for yourself what it means. I have read the bible more than three times in the last thirty years and I hate to tell you this, but I know of no churches who teach the whole bible and live by it's principles. All Christian religions reflect mere facets of the bible and fixate upon the parts they feel are most important which almost always follow their preconceived ideology of control and manipulation of the populace.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Draz

      @Geezer re: "Christians are scared that their little fairy tale is coming to an end."

      Hmm... no. No, actually I'm not. Thank you for very effectively proving my point, though.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Draz

      @GodPot

      Actually, I rejected and separated myself from the church that I was raised in and endeavored to research and study matters of faith on my own. And, as a matter of fact, after many years I did find and join a church that does teach the Bible, as a whole, in context, without any religious trappings or traditions thrown in. Your stated views are based on broad generalizations and assumptions.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Geezer

      Point? What point? You haven't made one, all you did is copy and paste bible garbage. Clearly you're not very bright, but then again, if you were you wouldn't latch on to your religion they way you do.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • God

      @Draz – "after many years I did find and join a church that does teach the Bible, as a whole, in context, without any religious trappings or traditions thrown in."

      Well, I'm not sure which one you picked, but of all the ones I researched (mainly Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Mormonism, Judaism & JW's) the only one that came somewhat close to bible teachings were the Jehovahs Witnesses, but I still found flaws with their interpretations, specificly Genesis as being taken literally when there is so much scientific evidence that not only disputes the biblical account of where we came from but flat out disproves it.

      "Your stated views are based on broad generalizations and assumptions."

      Yes, and they are generally true. You just happen to claim to be an exception.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  7. FifthApe

    Terry said:

    "We KNOW this. How you ask? Because we feel the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us daily."

    The mind of a theist. So sad. To claim to KNOW god exists and then to KNOW its mind.

    Terry – you are delusional.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  8. yJoseph

    Thank God...hopefully if we hope and pray, organized religion such as Christianity will go extinct. They are fictional creations of man, and holding back the progress and spiritual evolution of man. Christianity is the Greatest Story Ever Sold.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • The Truth

      This is exactly right.
      The bible was the Harry Potter of the time but people were very stupid back then in general and communication was so poor that you could make someone believe anything.
      With any luck the world will one day allow logic and common sense to rule over blind faith.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  9. Neece

    About time.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  10. MrHanson

    I guess the only hope young people have and the only religious message they like hearing is that life is a lucky cosmic accident and that human life really doesn't have any more significant value and purpose on this planet than a tapeworm. It's survival of the fittest folks! The unborn are dispensable.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Normon

      As opposed to God putting us here to suffer and die? Gee, that's much better.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Millicent

      MrHanson is dispensable. And stupid.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • FifthApe

      " It's survival of the fittest folks!"

      And WHY would it be this ??? Once again a theist mind that seems broken.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Shannon

      Just because "young people" don't choose to follow religion does not mean that they 1. do not have faith and 2. do not value life. What an assinine claim.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • The Truth

      Hey, we are animals just like any other.
      From an ant's perspective it is the most important thing in the world.
      We all fit into a cosmic process called existence that is its own purpose and no one and no thing is more important than anything else.
      Accept it. Your life will be better for it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Normon who wrote, "As opposed to God putting us here to suffer and die? Gee, that's much better."

      We oh wise Norman, we were thrown out of the garden due Adam our "Being's" first father firgurehead for listening to Eve, Adam's second wife-meet to eat of the forbidden fruit from a tree of certain infidelities. Our dying is but a way of sin-born attonement whereafter our death we are given a new life in an even newer body than that which we are now made of.

      Christ Jesus in intercession's accords gives to those of celestial life-forms and life-formations life after death to life after death ad infinitum throughout all Time.

      Jhn 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ The Truth who wrote, "We all fit into a cosmic process called existence that is its own purpose and no one and no thing is more important than anything else."

      Truth be told, we all fit into a cosmic process called, "Fractal Cosmology" Our bodies are a Cosmos of Cellular Universes.

      .1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      September 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes, so much better to tell people the lie that they are the most important thing in the universe and that if they obey the right rules they will get to live forever in paradise. That's a much better story than the truth that your life is finite and that if has only the value you give it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "MrHanson – I guess the only hope young people have and the only religious message they like hearing is that life is a lucky cosmic accident and that human life really doesn't have any more significant value and purpose on this planet than a tapeworm."

      Yep, thats about it. There is no purpose to life, we just are. To the universe we are about as noisy as a worm fart. This is it, make the most of it.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Normon

      @Richard S Kaiser,
      Why do you think that is the case?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  11. liqmaticus

    Great photo at the top.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  12. Dave

    "Forty-seven percent of congregations that said their worship experience was "innovative and contemporary" reported high spiritual vitality"

    Innovative and contemporary is code for entertainment rather than actual teachings. I wonder how spiritual vitality is measured? By definition spiritual and emotional is not the same. Just because one raises their hands, sings songs, cries, gets slain by the spirit (what spirit?), and speak in gibberish doesn't mean one is more spiritual than those who don't have such outward appearances.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  13. Terry

    Rest assured that the church of the Living God is alive and well. We KNOW that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He was born of a virgin, lived on this earth 33 1/2 years, died on a cross (by choice) for our sins, and rose again on the third day. He is now at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. We KNOW this. How you ask? Because we feel the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us daily. Open your eyes people... jeff is right hell is real, and those of you who don't know Jesus as personal Saviour are going there for eternity, and that's a long time.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Dave

      If Jesus is God and he is sitting on the "right hand of God" is he sitting next to himself?

      September 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • FifthApe

      Do you believe this???

      Definition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Justin

      Terry, I'm a Christian and all I'm going to ask you to do is study the Bible and then tell me how people get to Hell. I think what you will find is interesting. Don't read christian books about Hell, don't listen to a pastor's interpretations of scripture. Read the New Testament begining to end in the context it was written and see what you learn about Hell...

      September 21, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • SiChi

      Jesus is the Son of God.... look up up something called 'The Trinity". It's a concept in most Christian faiths that states that God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are the 3 different components that make God. God is not a person.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • The Truth

      LMAO!
      Listen to what you are saying for a moment...

      Life is the same now as it was then.

      There are no zombie people and there never were.

      Taking the bible literally is absolutely insane. It is a story book full of morals, nothing more.

      IF there was a Jesus he was NOT born of a virgin lol. And he would most certainly despise what has become of his name as he was more like a Buddhist than a modern Xtian.

      It is time to move past this stuff people. We have kids dying in wars because people can't distinguish reality from this fiction!

      September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Terry,,,,,,,,,,,

      Rom 8:21 "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

      September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Recovering Funy Baptist

      It's also billions and billions of people who died before Christianity and the countless who lived in parts of the world that were not Christianized. That doesn't sound a little screwed to you? Rest assured that you. nor I .nor anyone else. truly knows what comes after death, but we will all find out one day and I know that if there is a God he sure as hell isn't going to send billions upon billions of people to hell, no matter how good they may have been, for not knowing 'him'.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Millicent

      Terry, I don't think anyone is convinced by your reassurances. How about some proof, not just claims.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • R L CANNON

      The real true historical Jesus would be disgusted by these evangelicals . Cheering the death penalty ! bashing Gay people ! WWJD ? he wouldnt do that!

      September 21, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Normon

      @SiChi,
      Sounds like the Hindu 'Great Trinity', Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Dave – If Jesus is God and he is sitting on the "right hand of God" is he sitting next to himself?'

      If he gets angry is he beside himself with rage?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  14. cmc

    The Enlightenment happened for a reason. People understand life better now through science and reason. The fearmongering that religion has heaped on people for centuries no longer works. Religion is running it's course. The one thing I agree with that churches do is to help the poor and to be a place of fellowship for people to get support through troubled times. Doing stuff like that is just being a decent person and helping your community, it doesn't have to be about religion.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • manyopinions

      We understand how life works better through science and have definitely improved in fighting infectious diseases, infant mortality, and treating many levels of trauma. But in terms of happiness, understanding an appropriate work to personal life balance, the importance of a healthy family structure... well, I see us going downhill in some of the most important areas, and frankly, science doesn't have much of an ability to tap into happiness, peace, and providing meaning for life.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • The Truth

      @cmc you are absolutely right!

      September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • cmc

      Manyopinions: I'm a non-believer and so are many of my friends. We manage to find peace, happiness, life balance and have meaning in our lives without benefit of religion. It can be done. Just be a good person that treats others with kindness. No need to be religious to do that.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      I feel sorry for you if you need a fairy tale to be happy.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  15. FifthApe

    This is music to my ears. Maybe some rational thinking is creeping into humans here. Humans have created so many gods over the years I can't keep count. Religion is a virus of the mind. Religion (god of choice) is primarily an accident of birth.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  16. Misha Gastonai

    According to the atheists and anti-Christian folks, less people going to church would be making life in the U.S. better.

    A quick glance at the news shows that to be untrue.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      A quick glance at the news shows us that most of the hate is coming from religious groups.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Misha Gastonai

      Not true dude, but nice try.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Do you get sand in your ears when you bury your head?

      September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • FifthApe

      Yesterdays headline – violent crime down over all. Hmmmm me thinks you are in error. It would seem its the opposite.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Ozzi

      Most of the news are religious people shooting each other.

      Sorry, I still believe religion causes more problems than it solves. I will be glad when religion is even more marginalized and rendered useless.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Steve O

      Generally speaking, people with strong religious views have weak causality skills.

      Exhibit A.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • cmc

      Misha, people who identify as Christian have been committing crimes for centuries, we just hear more about it now because we aren't using telegraphs anymore. I worked in a domestic violence shelter and you'd be amazed how many Christian women (including preachers wives) I met there. Many of the husbands told the wives they would burn in hell if they left him. If you think Christians are morally and legally upright just because they are Christian, you are sadly mistaken. Being a decent, law abiding person has absolutely nothing to do with whether someone believes in a religion or not.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • R L CANNON

      The tea Party evangelicals clapping about the death penalty at the debate the other night says says it all .

      September 21, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • manyopinions

      I love how people keep blaming religion and religious people for all of the problems and hate. Sure, there are those who take that approach and their own religion rebukes them. The reality is most don't understand what it is. And as far as religion being reduce being a big help from society...well, sounds to me some people need to do some reading of history. We've had that hayday.... it was called WWII and the product of naturalistic philosophy in the development of the Nazi regime, Communist USSR, and Fascist Italy... the reality is that those were direct outcroppings of the influence of atheistic and evolutionary thought. Frankly, that's not debatable, it's historic reality. So if you want to head back in that direction keep ignorantly suggestion religion should be marginalized. After all, I have read a number of articles by militant atheists suggesting that fundamental religious people should be expunge for the sake of society.... ya, that's not hate. Give me a break.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • The Truth

      People who need religion to be decent human beings are already losing.

      Saying magic words does not put you in any greater favor with the universe ("god" as you call it) and morality should come from within. It should not be forced upon you out of fear. That sort of defeats the entire purpose.

      Many of the most wicked people I have ever met are in church every Sunday.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Terry

      Misha, economic news might not be great right now, but it has been far worse, e.g. in the 1930's. We are less religious now than then. Household incomes are way up. Crime rates are way down over the past few decades too. By such measures, we are better off than we were a few decades past.

      I call bull-sh1t on your statements, and on those of your religion.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "it was called WWII and the product of naturalistic philosophy in the development of the Nazi regime, Communist USSR, and Fascist Italy... the reality is that those were direct outcroppings of the influence of atheistic and evolutionary thought. Frankly, that's not debatable, it's historic reality"

      I dont know what mirror reality you are from where this is true but are you the evil or good twin?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  17. The Jackdaw

    Hopefully this means that people are getting smarter and not buying into this garbage and not that they are simply getting too lazy to go but still beleive this hokum.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  18. R L CANNON

    Thank god people are becoming more and more educated . Preaching hatred of certain groups is not what Jesus was about . These older religeous leaders have blood on their hands for preaching their philosophy and not the true teaching of love and acceptance . I hope all these hate house,s and social country clubs they call church,s close and the true Jesus of love emerges .

    September 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I hope it all goes away all together. "True Jesus Of Love" is a farce too.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  19. DFergATL

    I used to go to Church every Sunday. Then I grew a Brain Stem and realized I could think on my own without being told by someone standing on a pulpit telling me what I should think.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  20. jeff

    is it any surprise when all in the media daily bash God and organized religon?
    hell is real folks.
    and all of this reads like a script from the bible- and yet none of you even recognize that.
    I for one fear nothing, but God.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • FifthApe

      Jeff – Hell is imaginary. Just like your god.

      When you understand why YOU reject all other gods, you will understand why I reject yours.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Dont be Afraid

      Jeff, you're a fool. The bible is a collection of parables told by word of mouth for thousands of years, changing each time it was retold and then being written down and then changed to suit the church's needs.

      Don't fear God. That's just ignorant. To think that the earth was made in 7 days is not only foolish but insulting to God. The true miracle is the way the universe has evolved, the way grains of dust eventually gathered together to create the sun and the earth; the way a single celled organism evolved into multicelled life, eventually to apes and humans. That is the miracle of God. You're only insulting God by allowing religion to get between you. Stop insulting God and abandon your silly rituals.

      And for Gods sake will you Christians STOP eating Jesus and drinking his blood. It's revolting.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Okay moron. I hope the world ends for you on October 21st.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Ozzi

      Then you must really hate god if you are so afraid.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • manyopinions

      "The Bible is a collection of fables told by word of mouth" and "changing each time it was retold" to "suit the churches needs?" Dont be Afraid, you need to read your history. The reality is that the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has proven (yes proven) that the Bible as we have it today is virtually unchanged from before the time of Christ (in terms of the OT) and from just after the times of the Apostles (in terms of the NT). That's frankly a fact that isn't debatable. You need to read up. And archaeology continues to confirm much of the historic data of the Bible. What's interesting is how so many over the past 2 centuries said this or that mentioned in the Bible is untrue, and then low and behold, archaeology discovers that the Bible is right and the naysayers were wrong.... I expect that trend to continue.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Epidi

      If you fear god then you have no faith in yourself and you fear both life & death. Deity resides in us all and in every thing according to my 'religion'. To me hell is chaining myself to a single book's dogma when the universe is a far better teacher if you can see the bigger picture.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Jay

      manyopinions you say the Bible is virtually unchanged from before the time of christ, and the Oxford Companion to Archaelogoy says "It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around 100 CE".

      Verdict? You are a kool-aid drinking moron. hope you learned something.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:39 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.