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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. Richard

    Ok lets see. I am somewhat of a religious person in that I believe that God exists, I believe that everything is laid out before it happens and I usually don't question what happens(it does no go to question). But I have a question for all the people who simply don't believe or live religiously. Why does it make sense to live horrible, disrespectful lives with no concern for anybody else? I had a preacher tell me one time isn't it better to live peacefully, treat others with respect, be happy that I did something nice for someone and have a chance to go to heaven, than live an evil life full of hurtful actions and have absolutely no chance at a nice afterlife. Even if you don't believe in an afterlife you have to admit it is better to treat others with respect, and kindness while believeing that there is a God then be mean and die just to find out that all those Christians where right all those years.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Adam

      You are right. It does not make sense to be horrible and without concern for your brothers. It is better to treat others with respect. But the truth is that one need not accept anything upon insufficient evidence to see that this is so. You are furtively conflating the adherence to preposterous propositional truth claims with the capacity to feel and exhibit love, compassion, kindness, etc. This is false. By doing so you only erode the shared foundation of our humanity.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Richard

      Ok Adam. I have a question for you then. Why do I also believe that there are other plants in the solar system even though I have not seen them with my naked eye, photos can be faked? Why do I also believe that there is the possibility that there is life on other planets we just haven't found it yet? There are many things in life that people believe to be fact even without any physical proof of it. Your logic just doesn't seem sound to me. I believe in evolution and christianity they can coexist.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • duh

      "Why does it make sense to live horrible, disrespectful lives with no concern for anybody else?"

      Wow! What an assumption on your part. Oh because we don't believe in your god our lives are like that, what total crap. My life is truly rewarding, full filling, peaceful and I do have concerns for other people. I have probably done more community service than you have. Let's see it's been about 30 years worth what's your record? Christians like you have to believe the crap you come up with to justify your mindless belief in something that doesn't exist by pointing your finger at those that don't believe as you do and say see I am better than them. Your statement is completely false and pathetic!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Richard

      Didn't point a finger at anybody if you read the post. I just stated that it was better to live like a christian(no necessarily be a christian) than to live any other way. Yeah obviously you have more community service than me I am only 22 so it would be hard for me to have more than you wouldn't it. I don't really care if anybody is christian I will be and if I am right when I die then I spend my eternity happy if I am wrong and nothing is in the afterlife then so be it. I was happy and made people happy while I was here. That was the point I was trying to convey not that everybody had to be christian just live civilly. And I sure didn't say that all non-christians live evil lives because they don't, and not everybody blames a "God" for everything that goes wrong in there life but alot do.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ Richard,

      Many people do not condemn other's stands of conjecture. We are awash with many varied ideas and ideal summations. It takes all kinds of suggestive witticisms and criticisms to move the ball around. I find myself constantly in motion regarding my Love of GOD and Fear of His Wrath for not stating enough that GOD's 1st Son who, thru Time, became Christ Jesus, is the Savior regarding all things of Life. This world we live in and upon is not the Kingdom of God.

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      Where then Richard do you say the Kingdom of God is located and why do you so say?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Didn't point a finger at anybody if you read the post. I just stated that it was better to live like a christian(no necessarily be a christian) than to live any other way."

      Ah, the old "I'm not saying you live worse than Christians, I'm just saying that the way Christians live is better..." I used to wonder how Christianity controled so much of the world, but you answered my question, apparently ignorance is truely bliss.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Richard

      Hello Mr. Kaiser, I don't know where the Kingdom of God is. If I knew that answer and could prove it then we wouldn't be having this conversation would we. Although as gullible as the american people are about certain things I doubt they would believe it was where it is even with proof. I am gullible too, for somethings, and you could probably say I was gullible for being Christian but I can live with that. I can relate it to the animal cruelty issue the best the general public thinks that all those feedlots out west, large dairies around the country, and large chicken and swine operations deliberately treat animals bad. This is not a true fact but that is what the people have been led to believe, people HSUS and PETA are wrong. They get busted just about everytime they release what they call "evidence" of animal cruelty. It was them behind it not the owner of the operations. Well I will get off my soapbox now have a good day all and it was nice chatting with you, even if I am in the minority.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Why does it make sense to live horrible, disrespectful lives with no concern for anybody else?"

      Because you can get rich doing it?
      Because Christianity says you can repent on your deathbed and still earn your "Get out of Hell free" card?
      Because you're a sociopath?
      Because you drank the Kool-Aid?
      Because you were born in Somalia?
      Because you're a genius like Ludwig van Beethoven (one of the world's all-time leading ass holes in his personal life), and people are willing to cut you lots of slack?

      That should do for a starter set, but I feel kind of compelled to ask why this atti tude still apparently comes as a surprise a quarter century into the impersonal anonymity of the internet.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    @Any Christian

    I asked Bo, this but evidently he is only good at posting dumb prophesies.

    My daughter asked me this two nights ago. We watched Mel Gibson's movie on the passion and then were reading the Book. Little Betty caught that right away. I am at a loss.

    How come Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem? I thought no prophet could be?

    Thanks for your help. She will start to doubt, if I can't answer her questions.

    Cheers!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • J.W

      I found a passage in Hebrews 13:10-14. It compares Jesus to an animal sacrifice which is killed outside, but later its blood is brought inside the temple. It seems to say that the city of Jerusalem is not as important as the kingdom of God.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • GodPot

      Not exactly sure what question you are asking David, but this might help:

      The prophet Jeremiah – stoned at Tahpanhes in Ancient Egypt where he was also buried.
      The prophet Ezekiel – suffered martyrdom in the land of the Chaldeans.
      The prophet Habakkuk – died in captivity in Babylon
      and many more prophets that leave out the details as to where they were killed and just mentions where they were buried.

      As to the comment about animal sacrifice, if you read the bible carefully you will understand that biblical animal sacrifice was, from the very first one performed by Noah, a representation of the sacrifice God would have to make in allowing his son to be killed to pay a price that God had set for Adams sin, which was of course, to have a human born without sin, live a full life without sin, and then to sacrafice that life. Jerusalem was merely a representation of the earth with the temple representing heaven, split into two main parts of the holy and the most holy where God supposedly resides.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  3. Happy!

    Sweet. Glad to hear the church is struggling. They pay no taxes anyway. The sooner religion is gone, the better off mankind will be.

    See ya, church!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  4. Sy2502

    People are realizing how anachronistic it is to follow religions created thousands of years ago by people who thought the earth was flat. They came up with fantastic explanations to natural phenomena they didn't have the science to explain. Now we don't need those myths any more. And we are realizing that in a world that is more interconnected every day, the bigotry, hate, and intolerance of organized religion are hindering progress and peace. Religion will slowly die off thankfully and not a moment too soon.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Now we don't need those myths any more."

      Unfortunately, Christians won't accept that fact until all the universes secrets are unlocked. If just one thing is hidden from us they will always revert back to the myths they are so comfortable with. And by looking at the tiny fraction of the secrets we do know scientists can tell it will be a very very very long time before we get anywhere close to knowing all there is to know. Thus, Christians have an almost unlimited supply of conjecture and supposition, making claims they know are impossible to disprove and leave the burden of proof (or disproof) to the non-believers.

      This would be like a person who has a near death experience and awakes with stories and tales of the afterlife. If he tell's everyone that he was in a cloudy place and was greeted and comforted by all his deceased loved ones who then told him it was not his time yet, so he drifted back down through the ether, saw his body lying below him and then pop, was alive again. Many people might believe him, likely because thats how they want to envision the afterlife.

      But if he came to and said "Wow, I was in this magical land where everything was made out of candy and popcorn and everyone there was naked, bathing in pools of warm yogurt and smoking marijuana" Most of the people would likely dismiss his story as the deranged rantings of an injured brain. Why, because his story doesn't fill well into what others want to believe about the afterlife.

      Every human is a complete moron, myself included, when it comes to the truths of the universe because we have a microscopic view field from which to base our theories as to the big question: Where did we come from and does life have a purpose other than to beget new life?

      To think anyone or any religion has a real grasp on universal truth is beyond conceited, it's down right absurd.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Wil

    People will believe anything. A magical man in the sky, please.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      He's also in your soup!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  6. Lucy

    God is real and so are angels. I've seen one. Jesus really did rise from the dead as recorded in history (not just in the Bible, check out Josephus). Christianity is the only answer for what is going on in the world and in your life. Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Everything is going according to Bible prophecy - even you mockers are a fulfillment! God is trying to get your attention with the natural world disasters but obviously many are not listening. And remember, death is not the worst thing that can happen to you! Seek and you WILL find.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Godstar

      I have a dragon in my backyard named Falcor.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • God

      I am going to make the world end on October 21st! I'll flood your basement so you know its true!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Duh

      I've seen Tinker Bell! She's gorgeous!

      Oh a big foot he's enormous!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • chefdugan

      You want to know why religion is on the decline? Just read this idiot. I, for one, won't be happy until religion declines to the point of disappearing and we will finally get rid of all that ignorant BS.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Oh, for goodness’ sake! Why are we still talking about the 2nd coming of Christ? The very people promoting this idea are apparently incapable of reading their own holy book (Matthew 24:30-34), where Jesus clearly says he’ll be returning during the lifetime of his own disciples. But guess what? He didn’t! Didn’t come back then, hasn’t come back since, isn’t back now, and won’t be coming back in the future. And why not? Because he’s DEAD, you fools! Dead, dead, dead! Dead and gone. Dead and buried. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a rock. Dead as a dodo. Flatlined like Kansas. Belly-up like a dynamited carp. Dead and never coming back! It’s been TWO THOUSAND YEARS, people. Time to get over it. I’ve heard of slow learners, but this is ridiculous. Sheesh. Grow up and face reality.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • lacoaster

      "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" – The Beatles

      September 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • richunix

      Did you see Elvis...also under Judism Angel's are God's creation and human are not Angels.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • GodPot

      "God is trying to get your attention with the natural world disasters but obviously many are not listening." LOL

      Dan was a good father to his three boys, but he had some interesting way's of teaching them morals. Instead of sitting them down and telling them what he thought was acceptable or unacceptable behavior, he would just keep an eye on them. And if they started doing anything he didn't want them to do, he would stick his shotgun filled with rocksalt out the window and shoot at his boys. The young boy's would ask their father again and again what it was they did wrong that got them shot at, but Dan would never say a word. One day, Dan saw his boy's trying to cross a dangerous bridge to cross the river and go into town where Dan knew there were girls and all sorts of vice, so Dan quickly grabbed his shotgun and knocked the first son trying to cross the bridge into the fast flowing water and quickly drowns. The two other boy's turn back around and never again attempt to cross the bridge. Ah, what a loving father, protecting his two son's from the evil lurking just accross the bridge...

      September 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Greg

      RichardSRussell - For what it's worth, your argument neglects the context of the entire passage. Jesus' previous comments in Matt 24:9-14 say that the disciples will die, then the gospel will go out to all the earth (which takes time), and then the end will come. Therefore, when he speaks of "this generation" in verse 34, we can fairly safely say that he's not talking about that specific generation. My humble interpretation is the he is using "generation" as a synonym for the human race. Confusing? Probably. But it certainly doesn't close the book on Christianity.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well heck, with enough mental gymnastics I can interpret anything to mean pretty much anything. By that I mean to interpret the instructions for my Kenmore drier as a guide to a successful life. Of course I don't really mean an actual Kenmore since I do not own that model, I mean in it in the general sense of any major household appliance that I may or may not actually own. And by "successful life" I mean one in which my success is measured in terms of the number of major appliances I have owned before I die. Of course what I just said should not be taken literally, it merely reflects the existential nature of our lives and the impossibility of ever defining meaning in terms of anything more complex than a Kenmore drier.

      So do you understand me now?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Greg

      MarkinFL - I appreciate your response and I mostly agree with your sentiments. We make our own interpretations all the time, however there is generally only one correct one, unless there are multiple intended meanings like with puns. For instance, I don't think your brain was literally doing a triple-backflip when you referred to mental gymnastics. But you also made it clear that you had an intended meaning behind the things you said. For me to interpret it in a way that goes against your intended meaning would be incorrect. So our challenge is to rightly interpret the meaning of what is written. That was the goal of my previous post. Thanks for helping me think through the subject more.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  7. PRISM 1234

    Built on the Rock the Church does stand, even when the steeples are falling.
    Crumbled have spires in every land, but bells still are chiming and calling....
    Calling the young and old to rest, calling the souls in sin distressed,
    calling to life everlasting.
    * * *
    Not in the temples built with stones God the Almighty is dwelling
    High in the Heavens His Temple stands, all earthly temples excelling.....
    Yet , He who dwells in Heavens above, comes and abides with us in love,
    making our bodies His temples.
    * * *
    We are God's house of living stones, made for His habitation.
    He makes our hearts His humble thrones, giving us life and salvation
    Where two or there should seek His face, He comes and dwells with them in grace
    blessings upon them bestowing.
    * * *
    BUILT ON THE ROCK THE CHURCH SHALL STAND, THOUGH EARTHLY TEMPLES BE CLOSING
    SILENCED ARE VOICES OF EVIL MEN, BUT GOD'S VOICE STILL IS CALLING...
    CALLING THE YOUNG AND OLD TO REST, CALLING THE SOULS IN DARKNESS TO HIMSELF,
    CALLING TO LIFE EVERLASTING!

    !
    *******************
    Those words were written by a man living in 18 century . They echo the truth written in them just the same today, centuries later, and will echo the same, if time goes on – till the sun darkened and the moon is no more, and till all the stars of the heavens lose their light...

    Jesus said "I will build MY Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it"

    His true Church, the one without the earthly Temple will stand, because it was NOT built by human hands, nor earthly elements....

    Those who KNOW our God will understand, but those who are in darkness will stumble over every word of it...

    P.S. This is re posted from one of the previous blogs., but it is fitting to the theme of this one. The truth of those words will never lose it's impact!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Lucy

      AMEN!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Duh

      "The truth of those words will never lose it's impact!"

      Nope no impact, worthless, total B.S.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Tom

      The problem is there is no god, which means you've built it the foundation on nothing which is why it's finally crumbling from all the lies that have been told by your cult. That is the best thing to happen to our society. Now take your meds.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Flash

      Prism,

      That is a hymn, written in the 19th century. So what? "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" was also written in that century.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Fred1

      Nuns – brining gasoline
      On 22 April 1994, Séraphine Mukamana had hidden herself in a garage when militias attacked a convent in Sovu in southern Rwanda. "We sought refugee in the garage and closed and barricaded the doors. Outside a bloodbath is going on. Suddenly an orphan begins to weep as it gets to hot in the garage. At once, the killers approach the garage." As the refugees refuse to come out, the militia leader Emmanuel Rekeraho decides to burn them alive in the garage. "'The nuns are coming to help us. They are bringing gasoline,' I heard [Rekeraho] say. Looking through a hole that the militiamen meanwhile had made in the wall, I indeed saw Sister Gertrude and Sister Kisito. The latter was carrying a petrol can. Shortly upon that, the garage is set on fire." Testimony against two Catholic nuns, Sisters Gertrude and Maria Kisito in a Brussels court, May 2001.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  8. lacoaster

    When you grow up and mature, you should know right from wrong and do your best to correct and learn from your mistakes. If you have to apologize, apologize, if you don't have to apologize, well, don't. When a person cannot be trusted, has limited maturity and/or self control or in their minds they do not accept that death and physical decay are natural processes in biology and life, then people like that should stay in the churches since they can be reminded by the leaders what the leaders think is right or convenient. But overall, the leader does the thinking for them and uses books to make people think that they are delivering the truth while people listen. Pretty lazy. So church is good if you cannot handle your self to do the right things. Also, the religious leaders help people to keep alive the false idea of living forever which makes life "easier" on some since mankind feels superior to other biological species and one apparent way to display this fake superiority is by claiming they have defeated death through an invisible power. If a bar of iron can be corroded by rust and decay, just imagine our fragile bodies. If people were to live forever, the planet would not have enough resources or space for all. So when some people die (hopefully by natural causes), they free up space and resources for new humans to be born. For me, that is very fair. People do not need more than one life, and asking for more than only life is just pure greed to me. Be happy and grateful to be alive now and forget about dreaming to live more that one life. One life should be enough and if you don't like it, well I am sorry but the real truth is that is what we all have. No matter what you can create in your mind, we are all mammals and not to far from other mammal species and you are not too exempt from a mammal's natural process. If you hear a trumpet sound coming from the sky, don't be afraid, because trumpets were created by men. If you see somebody riding a horse from the sky to pick you up, you should go a hospital (possible dangerous fever or delusion) because it takes a female and a male horse to naturally create one these days and they cannot survive in a fake heaven because they need physical water and food, to pee and poo, and according to the religious, horses don't live forever, so they have no business up there with spirits or whatever you call it. And no, a snake won't talk to you, their bodies cannot handle producing human speech. So if something goes wrong, it's either an accident or something stupid you decided to do. Don't blame the snakes nor a Darth Vader like spirit. Be resposible for your own actions. Mammal.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • chefdugan

      You are kidding yourself. Anyone responsible for their own actions wouldn't be caught dead in a church! That's why they go to church, so they can do what they want, seek forgiveness, and do it all over again. The Catholics have this down to a science.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  9. TG

    That religions of the world are losing both financially and members is not a surprise to true Christians. During the time period that is called in the Bible "the Lord's day"(Rev 1:10), which time frame is also termed as the "last days"(2 Tim 3-1) and Jesus (invisible) "presence"(2 Pet 3:3, 4), these being synonymous and which began in 1914 with Jesus installment as king of God's kingdom, it is being seen of the fulfillment of Revelation 16:12. Here, the 'sixth angel' poured out his "bowl" upon the "river Euphrates", whereby it's "waters were dried up" that the "way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun."

    In ancient Babylon, the Euphrates river was it's protection from invaders. However, this protection failed ancient Babylon on the night of October 5/6, 539 B.C.E., allowing the Medo-Persians to invade the city. Babylon the Great in the book of Revelation (Rev 17and 18) has been protected by it's counterpart "Euphrates river", which stands for "peoples and crowds and nations and tongues."(Rev 17:15) These "waters" of people that support the false religions of Babylon the Great, are ' drying up', for many are leaving the churches and other false religious organizations.

    Just as when Cyrus the Great attacked ancient Babylon by lowering the Euphrates river until it was about waist deep, so likewise not all will abandon Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. Some will will be die-hards and will remain with her as a "harlot" till the end (Rev 17:1, 2), saying: "I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning."(Rev 18:7)

    September 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • rosestool

      you are mumbling

      September 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  10. Faithful

    Christ is the literal son of God, he atoned for our sins. Our time here on earth is just a moment compared to eternity. It's a preparatory state, a time to prepare for eternity. While here on earth we make mistakes as we learn and grow. Two things keep us from returning to God: Imperfect spirits (one's that sin), and imperfect bodies (ones that can deteriorate). Through Christ we can overcome these things and be made perfect, thus becoming worthy to be in God's presence. Christ's Resurrection made it possible for all of us to be resurrected with a perfect body, a free gift. Christ's atoning sacrifice made it possible for us to be made clean spiritual, a conditional gift, one we receive through faith and repentance. It's an amazing thing, a true testament of God's love, all you need is a desire to believe and you'll come to. If you don't desire to believe. You have your agency... another free gift from God.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Adam

      I am going to ask you a very sincere, and very important question. I want you to think on it carefully, and ask that of yourself often, and whenever you feel yourself swelled with conviction, and whenever you meet conviction in your fellow men. The question is this:

      How do you know that?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • God

      Dont defent me or my son. You sound like a retard.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  11. LAB

    People are too lazy to put the effort into going to church.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Or to smart.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Clearly they do not see much value in it.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  12. 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..peace out

    September 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ hippypoet,,,,,,,,,,,,

      Even though I am an affixed patronizer of Christ Jesus, I do so agree with your poetic nunced conjouring that the RCC is the wh0re. Her children, the Christendom movement is set beguiled and bruised by her leadorialships' philanderings. As a Christian, I do not condone the RCC and stand apart from her beguilenesses and bruisings. So should every Christian satnd apart from the RCC. Let her people fall away from her bosom and find seclusion elsewhere.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • God

      My favorite Poem:

      Sycophants are nice.
      Sycophants are great.
      Take thieir money.
      Make them hate.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  13. rick springfield

    Where most churches get it wrong is at the top. Take leaders like Anthony Jordan of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He is the most dangerous man today to the body of Christ since King Harrod. Jordan exemplifies all that is wrong and unholy about modern day religion and church. He is a hypocrite's hypocrite. He runs the BGCO like its his own piggy bank and social club. His ego makes it impossible for him to be an effective leader and he's a big hot wind bag full of anger, loathing, and arrogance. I know of a couple dozen families who left the BGCO to go to places like Life Church just because of Anthony Jordan's arrogant rants. He is Satan incarnate and has done more damage to the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma than any one person could ever hope to do in a millennium of lifetimes. The SBC and BGCO will continue to bleed members and funding as long as the Baptists put up with Jordans inept leadership skills. Satan rules the BGCO and his name is Jordan.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  14. Thomas Perl

    wild discussions which mostly miss the point that God loves you no matter what – end of discussion (not disgustion)

    September 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • richunix

      Which GOD(S) are you trying to reference? We have so many to choose from like, ZEUS, AN, RA, HERA. Go to be hard to choose one.....maybe Ill go on special ability....

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      Atheism is not a religion nor is it a belief.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Brad

      I imagine he is referring to the only living God. All the other gods you mentioned have never claimed to be eternal.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Actually, Brad, NO "god" has ever claimed anything. All claims have been made ON BEHALF of gods by their all-too-human followers. And, of course, by the scam artists who know better but understand how easy it is to make a buck off the easily gulled.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Flash

      Brad, re: claims of eternity:

      A 1 minute search found this (and there are bunches of other gods who were claimed to be eternal):

      "Heh and Hauhet, Deities of Infinity and Eternity" (ancient Egyptian)

      - "The frog or human headed god Heh (Huh) was one of the original eight gods of the Ogdoad of Khmunu (Hermopolis). He was the god of infinity and time, the god of long life and eternity."

      - "The feminine of the god Heh, Hauhet (Hehet) was a much more obscure goddess than her husband. She was a snake-headed woman who ruled over infinity with her husband. He name was the same as her husband's, except with a feminine ending."

      A riot that his name is Heh! 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Brad

      RichardSBrussel – Can I argue that science has never claimed anything if I use your same rationale that "all-too-human" scientists make interpretations to make a buck off the easily gulled? I presume you would say no because it refutes your point.

      Flash – (probably from the same site you got your info from): After the Egyptians believed that time began, Heh and Hauhet came to symbolise limitless time, and long life. I'd like to point out that it doesn't say anywhere that Heh and Hauhet made these claims themselves through prophets, or any means for that matter.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Brad, scientists make claims all the time. They are able to do so because they are human beings with a real existence in the real world. Furthermore, unlike the claims of religious charlatans, scientists are willing to submit THEIR claims to the tests of evidence. Do they stand up under scrutiny? Can they make accurate predictions? To the extent that the answer is "yes", the claim is supported; to the extent that it's "no", the claim is refuted and eventually abandoned. Religion fails all such tests, which is why it's forced to speak so highly of faith, the world's worst decision-making technique, but the ONLY one that will let you believe impossibilities.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Richard S Kaiser

    I forgot, copied from wikipedia.com at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age_Gaian

    September 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  16. Richard S Kaiser

    The beliefs of Gaianism are fairly open-ended:

    1. Honor the Earth, who is often approached as Gaia. (Gaia, sometimes spelled Gaea). Gaia is a historically-rooted name which in its modern approach represents the co-dependent "Web of Life" that includes all physical forms of existence from plants to humans; sometimes this is expanded to include stars and other planets, or the Universe itself. Some Gaians say Gaia is Earth's authentic name as "She" is therefore personalized in order for us as humans to have a better relationship with Her.

    2. Endeavor to Soften or Reduce the Human Impact on Gaia. (Essentially, this means being mindful of one's actions and to be moderate with natural resources. Environmentalism and Environmental Education is strongly encouraged.)

    3. Be Respectful of Life in All Its Forms. (Be respectful and courteous not only of human life, but also animal and to an extent plant life. Many Gaians often become vegetarians and vegans, however this is not a requirement.)

    More religious aspects of Gaianism (such as the nature of the Divine, afterlife, etc.) are left up to the individual's personal belief system, however there is a general consensus on the preservation of consciousness following the death of a body. This preservation applies to all life forms and not just the human condition. Gaianism is simply a spiritual philosophy given in an effort to understand the unity of the universe that binds us all and encourage environmental awareness.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  17. Anton LaVey

    There is a big mirror and the christians need to look in it.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      We do Anton, everyday, and what we see is a wretch who is selfish and devoid of good deeds. We will all die and face a judgement by the Most High. He will judge us on our actions and our heart, based on His holy perfection. He created us and He can demand whatever He pleases. However, He did make reconciliation possible through His Son, Jesus Christ, if you so choose to believe in His life, death, burial, and resurrection. In doing so, scripture says, we are clothed in His righteousness – since we have none of our own – and made pleasing to God. All you have to do is deny your self, and believe in Christ. He is deserving of our exaltation, and we are not. We are hopelessly dead in our own goodness. You may choose to not accept this, but it would be to your own peril – Trust me.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Flash

      andrew.peter: "Trust me."

      Why? Who are you?

      September 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      Flash, Who am I? Just an everyday person living life. I work for a living and go home to my family in the evening. But what makes me different is my love for God and knowing Him. I will not just listen to the preacher for my education on who God is. I have a hunger and thirst for knowledge and understanding that drives me. But do you know what? I'm also lazy, and don't get to learn all I'd like to learn. Just honest!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      And the why is :
      because your view of God is the most important thing imaginable that you can decide upon. It's a matter of eternity. Whether you accept that idea or not. That's why you should trust me.
      I am not speaking for a Denomination of Christianity. I am speaking for Christianity in toto.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      All right, you claim to know God. Let's put that to the test. I know my sister. She's got curly brown hair, just starting to go gray. She's 5'8", has blue eyes, and is a terrific skier. She likes John Denver, cats, and the Green Bay Packers. I instantly recognize her voice on my answering machine.

      So, about your buddy God. What color is HIS hair? How tall is he? How often does he swing by your place for a couple of brewskis? Does he have any pets? What's his favorite team? A couple of his hobbies? If you borrowed his iPod, would you be more likely to find rap, rock, ballads, show tunes, or classical?

      If you and he were REALLY on terms as good as you claim, it would be like rolling over in bed to provide the answers to these questions, so blaze away and let's see how well you REALLY "know" this guy.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Flash

      andrew.peter,

      It sounds like you are a nice guy, and that you are sincere in your belief, but that doesn't give me enough of a reason to trust your ideas of the supernatural.

      You are a nice guy because of YOU. I'm pretty nice too, and there is nothing supernatural about it.

      Muslim suicide bombers think that "God (Allah)" is speaking to them and guiding them too. What's up with that?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      Your questions are nonsensical. What will you ask next? "If God is real, can He create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it?" No I have not seen Him with my eyes, or heard Him speak audibly, but do I need those for confirmation that He is real?
      Full saving Faith in the One True God can never be obtained by way of reason alone, because we have not been given a complete revelation. If some proof were given, there would be demand for more proof, correct. Full Faith by reason would require a full revelation of the invisible, and the time for that is not yet come.
      The time will come however, but then it will be too late. At that time all will see, and there be no doubt. Scripture says, "Every knee will bow... and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father."
      So my appeal to you is not to wait and see, but heed the warnings in Scripture.
      Many "enlightened" people consider me a fool and what I say as foolish fairy-tales, but the true fool is the one who walks after the wisdom of his own heart. Please, really consider what I've said.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      Good points Flash, but I'm not hurting or killing other people. One difference between Biblical Christianity, that Christ preached, and Islam is the idea of sacrificing for the sake of another's salvation. That is what Christ did by dieing on the cross. He didn't come to condemn the world (we were already condemned), but to die voluntarily, so that those who believe may have His righteousness and be reconciled to God. So the example for me is to not hasten judgement on anyone because they're "living in sin", but to sacrifice my comfort so that they may know the truth.
      The Crusades and Inquisitions were out of greed, not religion. But many Westerners are literally dieing to share the salvation message of Christ to the muslim world. That's sacrifice.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  18. Anton LaVey

    A rough decade for American congregations? It only going to get worse....the party of decline is just starting. People are starting to wake up...eye open.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • You Can Hide in the Sun Till You See the Light

      Anton LaVey is part of the religion of Satanism, which revolves around the central principal of selfishness (do what though wilt....). Selfish people aren't very happy.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one." —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer

      September 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      You Can Hide in the Sun Till You See the Light

      Anton LaVey is part of the religion of Satanism, which revolves around the central principal of selfishness (do what though wilt....). Selfish people aren't very happy.

      ------
      So you view freedom as selfish...interesting

      September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  19. God

    Ra was not my real dad! I was immaculately conceived during the Amarna period, just like my son was! And as long as you want to bring race into this, you are a stupid Greek and I will never give you back your thunder!

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

      so you have the catholic god, ra, and something to do with greeks and lightening... yup you make sense!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  20. Reality

    From p. 12

    A prayer to help push the congregations to the final deletion:---------------

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    To enhance the speed of the demise of all religions, please post the following on your refrigerator doors:

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Thomas Perl

      r o f l

      September 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.