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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. francis coutinho

    the loss of faith in chritianity in usa and europe,the results and after effects are visible,goverments are approving gays and lesbians.and this will be their religion.it is high time they change.as god is merciful.the natural calamities are warnings.because church forbids these nonsense they avoid or neglect churches.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • JamieIRL

      Maybe try not being an ignorant bigot and someone might care what your religion has to say. Or don't, and continue losing peoples interest, either way who cares?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  2. Bo

    @Observer, I'm still confused, the only qoute that I have used this evening, is 2Thes 2:3-4. I may have said something about another text, but that was directed at someone who had qoted only a part of a text and not the whole thing, and right now I don't remember what that was, I think it was 2Peter 7:8-9

    September 21, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Observer

      It's a long ways back, but I think you quoted Paul to "prove" that prophecies are true.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  3. Lee Cherry

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    September 21, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Missing

      Could you quote the rest of that verse which dictates the final judgment based on social responsibility? It's amazing to me that some ultra-conservatives hold a bible while arguing for the abolishment of the federal funds that allow many charities to do the good Christ mandated.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  4. Abolish All Religion

    Score one for the rationalists.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  5. Bo

    @Observer, no, I'm sorry, I had said nothing about marriage. I guess that is why I was confused. I've pretty much stayed on the topic of the blog.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Observer

      Bo,

      You didn't say anything about marriage. I didn't want to imply you did. Quotes from Paul, however, are often hypocritically used to trash gays.

      The whole point is that everyone picks and chooses what they want. Unfortunately, too few PICK the Golden Rule.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  6. Ak Deni

    I always like Charles Darwin's deathbed conversion in which Darwin said to Lady Hope: "How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done." He went on to say that he would like her to gather a congregation since he "would like to speak to them of Christ Jesus and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savoring the heavenly anticipation of bliss. Lady Hope's story was printed in the Boston Watchman Examiner. The story spread, and the claims were republished as late as October 1955 in the Reformation Review and in the Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland in February 1957.
    Each of you can say what you want about Christianity and the Lord Jesus Christ. Except you all repent, you'll perish without redemption. I have no apology for my faith. Bible says Jesus is the only way to heaven. If any of you want to make it to heaven, this is your time to do so. Repent and accept Jesus today before it's too late. Ask Voltaire, your philosophical brother in atheism. He regretted ever using his God-given gift to ridicule God. If you prefer hell, that's your choice and hell it will be. Remember Jesus can save you even at the last moment if like Darwin you turn from your blasphemy. May God have mercy on your souls.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Q

      The Lady Hope story is a well refuted myth. Even Answers in Genesis has an article debunking the claim. What credibility could be given to one with such a lack of intellectual curiosity and honesty?

      September 21, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Observer

      Even if the deathbed confession was a real story, it has NOTHING to do with the level of validity of Darwin's theory. Bad try.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Meuus

      Ak Deni your post just goes to show that if you will fall for religious stories you'll fall for any nonsense if it's repeated often enough. Lady Hope lied she was not present during Charles Darwin's illness her own story proves that not to mention that she waited 33 years to "tell" her story and no one who knew Darwin believed her then and only those who need to believe in fairy tales or who haven't bothered to check the facts believe her lies now

      September 21, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • WFO

      The Bible is an opinion, as are your statements of salvation. Believing in the Bible is only believing what the publishers of that book have presented to you. It's no more accurrate than the humans that assembled it. It is an entire book of hearsay (something not even allowed in our courts as evidence) and testimony of other humans (witness testimony is the least preferred type of evidence in any US court as it is well known to be the least accurate).

      So we have a book, a book that was assembled by publishers with uncertain and unknown intent, a book that is filled with hearsay (statements made by others outside of this discussion), and witness testimony (the least prefered kind of evidence). And not one story or claim in this book can be confirmed by anthroplogists (it is my understanding that there is not one shred of actual hold-in-your-hands evidence that ANY humans were EVER hung on a cross ANYWHERE as a form of political punishment .. other than in our "art" .. paintings, stories, and the like..)

      And you want me to bet my SOUL on that? Devote my entire waking life to it's following? Hmpfff! I'm thinkin' NOT! No moreseo than I would base my life on something Charlie Brown said in a cartoon. 😉

      September 21, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Bob

      Yet another fairy tale religious types have to tell themselves to cope with their hollow beliefs. If you really think most science is bunk like your 16th century brethren, stop using all technology that came as a result of the work of the likes of Galileo, Newton, and Darwin. No more computers, cars, planes, phones, etc. Go churn butter with the Amish and comfort yourself with fairy tales about a wish granting man in the clouds who made dinosaurs and then said "Whoops!" and started over the next day.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Ak Deni

      The dog that will be lost never listens to the hunter's whistle. I know that will be a hard one for you all to understand. However, when you stand before God for judgement, you have no one else to blame except yourself that you reject God's offer of salvation. Belief it or not: heaven and hell are real. You'll end up in one or the other based on your choice or lack of it. You are all too psyched up in America today to even believe that you will die some day. Wait till you die, and learn that it is too late to repent. This is why I'm pleading with you now to accept Christ. Call me whatever you want, you cannot shake off the fact that you wuill die: then what happens to your unredeemed souls: hell fire. Choose Christ, choose heaven today.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Josh

      I wouldn't be surprised if you were sent to hell, because you are alienating people from becoming closer to god. Not that I believe in it anyway, I just try to be good.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Sean

      Wow. Looking to do some recruiting with a long-debunked myth, hm? http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/ladyhope.html

      September 21, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • Truth4AChange

      YOU ARE A LYINSACK, like most christian propagandists. This story is totally fabricated with his children who WERE at his deathbed confirming Lady Hope NEVER was and the entire story was part of the marketing lies told by USA christians then and now. Pay your taxes on your crystal cathedrals and stop trying to send the USA back to the Dark Ages,

      September 21, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      True believers have engaged in child ra pe, torture, mayhem, murder, and genocide, all for the greater glory of the Biblical God. What on Earth makes you think their consciences would bother them so much that they'd draw the line at mere lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and forgery?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  7. WFO

    People need something bigger than themselves to believe in. That, I understand. Everyone on the planet is "on" something, be it some sort of chemical (caffiene, dope of whatever kind, nicotine, on and on) or mental (religions, atheisism which is just another committment to a preconceived notion, and even science). I've never met anyone that didn't have some form of escape .. which is fine .. it HAS to be fine because .. well .. that's the way of the human animal. However, when whatever you're "on" starts being used as a political platform ... THEN we have a problem.

    That said, if religion is what you choose to escape from your world, please don't start using it to tell me how much better your "dope" is than my "dope". This whole idea that one religion is somehow better than another is lunacy. Every religion I've ever investigated turns out to be nothing more than a manipulative philosophy based on fear and guilt. (jsyk .. I'm 51, I was born into a Catholic family and "born again" TWICE ... I can never seem to buy into the whole thing with any kind of honest devotion. It's all to contradictory and far too transparent for me to actually take the leap of faith).

    I saw a movie once about a man that came to our time from the near future. He said that religions had been done away with once the "fear gene" was discovered. There was still BELIEF, but no religions. This concept .. too me .. is a good balance of faith and facing life with some sortof of courage. I firmly believe that there is some sortof of other rhelm (sp?) .. but thqat we .. humans .. have no idea of how to understand it with our silly five senses and our understanding of a four dimensional universe (Length. Width, Height, and Time).

    You don't have to join a club to believe in something larger than yourself. Period.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  8. Bullet

    The older people that have been supporting the churches under false pretenses for decades are getting too old and the cost of living has put them in a strain financially. They cannot give the greedy preachers the money they require anymore. The younger crowd had seen how the crooked preachers like Falwell, Robertson, The Bakkers, Swaggart, Oral Roberts Sr. And Jr. and all the other mega church charlatans have been conning their parents and grandparents out of their life savings over the years, and have wised up. They are also tired of watching them use their influence to persuade their congregations to vote for the hypocritical Republicans, and get nothing but lip service in return. I for one am damn glad the churches are losing money and hope the lying preachers have to go to work like everybody else. {if they can find a job}

    September 21, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Still, Oral Roberts did much better than his 2 lesser-known brothers, Anal and Genital.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:49 am |
  9. Bo

    @ Observer, I'm baffled, I don't know what your point is, I'm wondering if somebody has trolled me, and said something to you that I know nothing about.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Observer

      Bo,
      Didn't this chain start with you quoting Paul and then me saying "Speaking of Paul, did you read the part where he says people shouldn't get married? He says really religious people don't marry, but less religious ones who can't control their lust should get married"? You then said my comment was nonsense, but I provided the quote to show you were wrong.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  10. Bo

    @kimsland, Hi! I've been watching for you! I know I missed a couple days. How are you! I know you must have really been busy, or have the topics on this blog have been a little, shall I say, uninteresting, and at times they have nothing to do with belief.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  11. Bill

    Here is the flaw in Ron Paul's argument that the churches will take care of the sick, instead of the government's mandate on health insurance. The premise is that taxes are forced while church donations are voluntary and hence taxes should not be used to fund health care. What happens when church attendance and income falls precipitously? Who will fund the health care of the poor then? If churches force people to contribute more, then at least some people will walk away from the church, just people walk away from high tax regions.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  12. John

    Jesus said, In the last days love of many grows cold.Wherever a person,community,country is under the authority of almighty God,will be successful.Others will perish.He is the KING of kings and LORD of lords.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Scott

      History is packed with examples of individuals and communities with great faithfulness and fervor that met sad or disastrous ends.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  13. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Wow. Can it be that Americans are beginning to come to their senses and waking up to how they do not really need religion in order to be good people? We can only hope so. Down with the mind-weakening idiocy known as religion! Up with science, good sense, and humanist values!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Rapp

      Hmmm... just wondering what you see from most people that leads you to believe they are good?

      September 21, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Scott

      Furthermore, if there's no God, why is it rational to be humanistically compassionate and "good" instead of just looking out for yourself? 'Just curious. 'Survival of the fittest, you know. Oh, I'm selfish and evil? Boo-hoo. Your labels pain me. Not.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mark

      I'm agnostic personally and have no issues with Christianity whatsoever; but you seem to using this to grind your own axe and thats unfortunate. Live and let live (I wish Christians would believe in that too).

      September 21, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Margaret

      You wouldn't know it by who are running for president, all of them are pandering to the extreme right Christians. Since the rest of us are going to Hell anyway.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Coug9

      Science, as you are defining it, IS "religion"........... Science, when conducted properly, does NOT disprove God. Scientists who theorize about the non-existance of God claim that "science" supports their theories. You take their work at face value, without seeing it for yourself........thats called FAITH. By believing these claims, you are turning the objective nature of science into a RELIGION.
      I ask you a simple question: Does science prove that God does not exist, or is that simply the conclusion of the scientific community?
      If scientists have concluded that God does not exist, then where is the evidence to support that claim?? Theories abound concerning physics, astronomy, and other disciplines.....yet they are not discounted, even though there is no direct evidence to uphold them.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • badlobbyist

      Scott – Intelligent self interest has the well being of everyone around you in mind. I know that if I steal something from someone, someone else may steal it from me.
      To prevent this, we humans have the capacity to enter into agreements with each other where we establish laws to help prevent all the things that we don’t like happening to us.
      So while it would be in my short term best interest to just take something, I understand that by abiding by laws my long term self interest will be much better served.
      That’s it in a nutshell. Cool huh? We don’t need God to tell us what we can and can’t do, we can figure it out for ourselves!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Observer

      Coug9,

      Science and mankind can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. Science can, however, disprove some of the nonsense in the Bible like talking serpents and donkeys; bushes that burn without disintegrating; hundreds of thousands of animals could live on a ship for months and have enough food to eat; the world could stop suddenly; etc.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Coug9

      Observer:

      Anomalies happen all the time! A talking serpent, a burning bush...........how are these things any less unbelievable compared to "Parallel Universes" or other far-reaching theories of science? Besides, if God does exist........then a non-consuming fire burning a bush pales in comparrison to the miracle of creation. If we cant even believe the simplest examples of God's power, as shown in the Bible, then believing in salvation etc. would be impossible.
      The Bible, and the things told in it, are ment to teach people from ALL ERAS of time. How could God have demonstrated his existence to early mankind? Obviously, showing them the wonders of science that we know today would have fallen on ignorant ears. They did not have the knowledge we do today. The burning bush, Noah's Ark, Moses......these were God's way of demonstrating his existance. These examples are both clear, and understandable by people of any era in history, past and future.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • JF

      Scott,

      I will say that most religious people are good people. Apparently you feel that they are good because they fear the wrath of God or they want to please God (hoping for something in return). Most atheists are good people because it's the morally right thing to do. Then you have those who are religious and non-religious that don't do the right things and that's where our justice system comes into play.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Observer

      Coug9,

      "Anomalies happen all the time! A talking serpent, a burning bush..........."

      Wow! Never heard that nonsense before. A serpent that understands a language and had the capacity to talk is an ANOMALY? The earth stopping dead in it's tracks goes from 1,000 miles per hour to ZERO with no effect due to winds, inertia, etc. and is an ANOMALY? Unicorns are an ANOMALY? Living for 3 days inside a whale is an ANOMALY? Flying hundreds of thousands of animals to be put on a ship built by a 600-year-old man is an ANOMALY?

      You can't be serious at all and pretend these things "just happen".

      September 21, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Al

      The burning bush, Noah's Ark, Moses.these were God's way of demonstrating his existance

      There were no demonstrations. These are only stories in a book. It appears the authors do a great job of demonstrating God's existence to you. Rational thinkers aren't easily convinced by stories from a 2000-3000 year old book. Imagine how much more peaceful the world would be if the brainwashing was conducted using Mother Goose nursery rhymes instead of the Bible.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  14. BigRed

    The sooner America becomes a post Christian society the better.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  15. total nonsense

    Religion is a mental illness. It is time to put s end to it. As religion as yes to do a single good deed for human race.
    Who is stupid enough to base is lifer on the teaching of someone who DOES NOT EXIST?

    September 21, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Who is stupid enough to base is lifer on the teaching of someone who DOES (did) NOT EXIST?"

      You have proof of that one?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Caron

      Hey, Mark. You have proof God exists? No. The theists and the atheists make the same stupid mistake. They declare without doubt that which they cannot prove. God or godless idiots.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Scott

      Oh, brother. Religion has yet to a single good deed for the human race? Countless fed, clothed, healed, educated, freed & comforted through religion even if you dismiss any benefit to "the soul." This claim betrays utter ignorance. BTW, some might say any notion of morality without belief in a higher being is mental illness. Where's the sanity in helping others in a survival of the fittest world? Yeah, religion's been perverted to evil. So has every non-religious human endeavor.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Hey, Mark. You have proof God exists?"

      The burden is on the one making the claim my friend 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Biff

      Your god has ever been proven to exist.
      Therefore your god doesn't exist.

      We are not the ones making the claim that something exists. We are simply pointing out any supporting evidence for your god is overwhelmingly absent.

      Why not prove your god exists? You can't. Why? Because no gods exist.
      That's what non-existent things have as characteristics EVERY TIME. No proof whatsoever.
      Don't feel too bad. Other false beliefs are being debunked all the time by skeptical people.

      If you don't question anything, you're no better than a slave, slave.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Biff

      *never

      September 21, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Observer

      If the existence or non-existence of God could be proved, we wouldn't be talking about it.

      It's possible that both the atheists and the believers are wrong. There could exist a God far more like Jesus in the Bible than the often arrogant, vain, mass-killing God portrayed in the Bible.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"We are not the ones making the claim that something exists"

      Umm.... You both are making the claim that God does not exist so please prove to me that he or she does not exist. 🙂

      Since no Atheist has ever proven their belief that God does not exist.... then the opposite claim can be made.

      Please offer your evidence. 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • McFly

      It's not a claim, Mark. It's the rejection of a claim due to lack of evidence.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Biff

      The non-existence of ANYTHING is the logical default position for anyone who aspires to critical thinking.

      A non-existent thing is known to be non-existent by the very sum total of human knowledge and the total absence of any supporting data within that sum. If it is a fairy tale, we can test for that. If it's a con-game, we can test for that, too.

      If it's a logical impossibility...and there is also no supporting evidence whatsoever in the sum total of human knowledge along with that fact, then it is proven to be false.

      There.
      Your god has just been proven to be false right in front of your eyes. Right here, right now, your religion has been shown to be false to YOU. If you continue to believe in the face of this proof, then you are blind and deaf by your own brainwashing.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Observer

      Mark from Middle River,

      You can't prove that God exists, so quit dodging it. No one can prove he doesn't either. WE DON'T KNOW.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”It's the rejection of a claim due to lack of evidence.”

      So, we can be fair and I can “reject” your claim that there is not a God due to you not being able to produce evidence to support the stated claim. 🙂

      >>>”The non-existence of ANYTHING is the logical default position for anyone who aspires to critical thinking.”

      Umm... in Critical Thinking, debate and discussions, it is the one that makes the claim that states the their personal “default” position and it is up to that person to persuade through evidence that their position is valid. Its easy to state something but hard to back it up. 🙂 So, until you show evidence, then your position is no more true than if a person of Faith making their claim.

      So there. Welcome the ballgame my friends. I have just left your arguments...”Right here, right now, “ lying dead on the field.

      I would “punt” while you have a chance 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"You can't prove that God exists, so quit dodging it. No one can prove he doesn't either. WE DON'T KNOW."

      EXACTLY!! .... We only know what we believe to be true on either side. Just as they state what they can not prove, a person of Faith can do so with equal fervor. 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Observer

      Mark from Middle River,

      So does that mean you are an agnostic?

      September 21, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Bob

      Scott, at least ten times (probably closer to 100) times as many people have been hurt in the name of religion as have been helped by it. The entire Middle East is an example how religion gets in the way of progress. How is a family that can't afford to put its kids through college giving money to the church so the Pope can wear Prada, sit on a gold throne, and hire lawyers to protect child molesters a fair trade? Just because some people do good deeds are religious doesn't make a religion the source of the good deeds nor does a good deed erase the vast harm done in the name of religion. You might as well say, "sure millions were killed, but at least the Nazis got the trains to run on time and planted some nice trees along the streets of Paris (the Germans like to march in the shade)".

      September 21, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Andy Anderson

      Mark:

      By your own reasoning, it is impossible for YOU to prove that Sri Krishna is not the One True God™

      🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”So does that mean you are an agnostic?”

      Nope, I am a Christian. I just live my life. I also know, after a year on the Belief Blog, that I can exist and be friends with not only those of other Faiths but those not of Faith as well. There are the Atheist that will not heed a statement that another Atheist made in June. There is a big difference between saying that “I” do not believe in a God type of Deity and saying that “you” are a fool if you do not believe as I do. It is the same ugly natured comments that come from the 700 club types from our side and both should not be embraced for a minute.

      Try this. I can have White Friends and love them dearly, that does not mean that I stop being African American and instantly turn white 🙂 I mean if you listen to the black militants they will state that folks like me are Oreos. ...ecch.

      The subject that amuses me is when some Atheist state that I as a Christian must back up my claim that there is a God while refusing the request to back up theirs that there is not. Sorta, I must play their game, by their rules.

      So I reject them and just as energetic as they ask for proof that God exist, I will not settle for anything less than an even playing field in which point they must prove to me that God does not exist.

      It is only fair …. and also a bit fun 😀

      l'Chaim my friend.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"By your own reasoning, it is impossible for YOU to prove that Sri Krishna is not the One True God"

      Nope, .... and trust me, I won't lose any sleep over it or go all Westboro Baptist, over it. Personally, I would not be that shocked if it is not the same. See, that is how folks outside of the Militants on all sides find their way to live in peace of coexistence and tolerance.

      Cool huh 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • Observer

      Mark from Middle River,

      I applaud you for your open mind. We need more people like that on both sides.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Observer

      Mark from Middle River,

      It's off-topic, but I am curious as to how you feel about gays and gay marriage. Based on your open-mindedness, I have a guess how you will answer.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Based on your open-mindedness, I have a guess how you will answer.”

      Do not be too sure. Some times, my being in the middle so much, seeing the value in both sides often has me at a “I do not know” type of belief. I was raised to dislike Gays and Lesbians almost as much as I was brought up to dislike Whites. With time and interaction I was able to go beyond what I was taught in a racial sense. A few months ago I told about the Gay guy I knew who was teaching his partner's and his son how to ride a bike without the training wheels. How he ran with the kid, picked the kid up, dusted him off when he fell... until the kid got it. This is something that many men, while being able to father kid(s) ...often fall short of being “dads”. And here was a Gay guy being a Dad. That's what changed my way of thinking.

      Sometimes that is all that it takes, one member of a hated group, cracking the cold heart of another.

      My view is sorta two fold. First is that I have met so many Gays and Lesbian within the Faith that hold their Faith in God so closely and dearly that I can not find myself standing between them and their relationship with God. Just to stick with the Faith aspect, if two people of Faith want to get married before God and say they will be Faithful to each other in the name of God or Gods …. then that is a dangerous place for another child of God to try to get in the middle of to say that it just can not be so. Its like having a openly Gay person come into your church and want to pray with everyone else at the alter.... would I as a person of Faith want to tell him or her that they can not or should not pray at our Alter?

      In regular speech, I do not wish upon myself or risk at Judgment day God's wrath against me for getting between him or her and another person of Faith.

      If they are not of Faith, ….well Rock on.... tell me where you are registered at 🙂

      The second part is that …. if you declare that being Gay or Lesbian is a sin ….. well then out of all of the sins … there are a lot worst that we should be confronting as persons of Faith. Heck, if you can find me a Priest, a Rabbi and a Iman that can tackle me and drag me out of my local grocery store's freezer section that has the Digorno's Pizza.... you know, stopping my sin of Gluttony.... hey I will thank you as I am grasping for the cans of Pringles to try to fight back with. 🙂

      If it is sin, I do think that some people go a bit further with it being a sin than almost any other sin. I have a co-worker that is a Lesbian. I found out the other day that she was raised and still considers herself Muslim but she feels that she must keep that side buried deep inside of herself. I told her that her Faith is between her and God and just as she fought her way out of one closet does not mean that God was not still walking with her.

      So to answer your question …. Hey, I got enough wrong in my own life to even put that much energy into wondering how God views the actions of Gays and Lesbians.

      l'Chaim.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • Biff

      Mark....So even though your god is a logical impossibility that also has absolutely no proof throughout all of human knowledge and history, you will say that is not proof that your god doesn't exist, eh?

      I think you failed there, Mark. I provide logical proof and you do not refute it but talk about something else and insist that I am making a claim and should therefore prove my claim.

      Yet I did so. You conveniently ignored my proof and claimed yourself the winner without proof. I guess that won't fly, will it?

      Let's try it from a different angle.
      Think of a thing that you KNOW does not exist.
      Just think of something.
      Whatever it is, you know it does not exist.
      How can you know it does not exist? Because there is not only NO reason to think it exists, but there is absolutely no facts to support its existence. You can search through all of human knowledge and find zero support for your "something" that you know does not exist.
      That's what non-existent things have in common. The total and complete lack of proof or even reasonable suggestion that some sort of proof might become available.
      In short, the overwhelming evidence IS AGAINST THE EXISTENCE OF YOUR GOD.
      And I mean total amount of human knowledge here. All of it.

      So I prove it to your face over and over. You will no doubt pretend I said nothing even though I proved it to you.
      I can keep proving it day after day. There is no proof for your god because your god does not exist.
      If he did, we would have mountains of proof, tons of evidence, everyone would pretty much know it at that point.
      But we don't.

      Just like any made-up story, a lie cannot be proven to be true.
      This is a fact. If you can't handle that, tough.
      You can't prove a lie to be true. That is also proof that your god doesn't exist. Your god shares the exact same qualities as any lie ever told.
      It lies like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks exactly like a duck, and is actually a duck, then it's a duck. No need to pretend otherwise.

      Choose any hoax, any fraud, any lie, and you'll see they all share the same qualities as your god.

      Search all of history, pore through all of science, check every fact. There is nothing to even suggest that your god might exist.
      That is proof that your god doesn't exist.
      It is enough proof to take your religion to court and have it declared false and for entertainment purposes only.
      But not for Mark. Nope. He is free to reject all wisdom, all facts, all truth and honesty. No one is forcing you to be honest, are they? Nope.
      Reject all proof. You've done it before. You'll do it again. Rejecting proof shows your lack of maturity, that you cannot be trusted to know the difference between what is true and what is false, for you reject truth and hold to what is false.

      Nope. Can't convince Mark of anything real. He loves his illusions. You won't catch him admitting that proof is proof. Not if it doesn't square with his bigoted views against anything that threatens his religion. Oh, hell no!

      September 21, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Biff- Real quick post before I call it a night and head to bed. Also, before you have another meltdown.

      >>>”Search all of history, pore through all of science, check every fact. There is nothing to even suggest that your god might exist.”

      Do, you consider “that” your proof that God does not exist? The same science that told us that the Earth was flat and that the heavens went around the Earth? The same science that can not even get to 100% agreement on the causes of Global Warming... 🙂

      >>>”So I prove it to your face over and over. “

      I am glad that you are trying and respect your effort but, in your grandstanding you still offer up nothing in the way of proof. All you have is the hope to corner a person into proving there is a God, and in that way avoiding having to offer up any evidence to support your own belief. Such is why when I ask you for proof your responses require “me” to do something.

      >>“Choose any...”
      >>”Search all...”
      >>”You can search”

      Your failing is over and over..... Your proof requires “me”to do the work.... that is not offering up as proof, is it?

      Like I said, it is an interesting game, but I prefer something more level ...well in your case level headed 🙂 … All you have to do is go by your own rules that your type of Atheist expect the Faithful to follow.

      Show us proof if you are making the claim. Trust me, I do believe there is a God but the maturity factor that you speak of allows me to be ok if you do not. It does not look as though you have reached such a level. Not in debate and not in life. Just tantrums of a moody teenager.

      >>>”Search all of history, pore through all of science, check every fact. There is nothing to even suggest that your god might exist.”

      I will end with this.... Zzzz.. … the history of miracles that folks can not explain, the lives that have called forth that which is.... I will hear those stories and with respect you hear yours. I hope that what you found gives you as much comfort in that you believe there to be no God as mine that believes there is.

      l'Chaim.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  16. Caron

    Let's all pray that the churches (and synagogues and mosques, etc.) have an even worse decade to come.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  17. KeithTexas

    America will be better off when the influence of the church is less. Religion has no business in the common sense business of government. One is faith and the other is works, only one at a time can be tolerated.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Caron

      Oh my god! A Texan with a brain! Hallelujah, praise (whatever).

      September 21, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  18. Irene

    Doggy fight the wall but he so curious why the wall didn't bite him.

    Hey watch out for peoples using Christians/Americans name in comments.

    Most of them rely from TOR network.

    Lets start using middle east name to brainwash our reader to think that islam was bad and is bad, always negative comment, didn't like atheist, angrily, and all negative ways.

    OK –

    September 21, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  19. kimsland

    Recession?
    This is not about the recession, this is about how people are slowly but surely waking up and not going to church.
    Religion is on the decline but poverty remains the same. Time to let go of this religious 'help' and get some real help out there.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Religion is on the decline but poverty remains the same. "

      http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/13/news/economy/poverty_rate_income/index.htm

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/13/census-us-poverty-rate-swells-to-27-year-high-151-percent/

      Seems that CNN and FoxNews do not agree. 😦

      September 21, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  20. Bo

    @Observer on 1Cor 7:8-9, what is your point. Before you reply, maybe you had better read everthing that Paul said before he said this.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Observer

      Bo,

      First of all you wrongly said my comment was nonsense. Now you are telling ME to read everything Paul said?

      If Paul is to be the source for truth for you, then you need to stand behind EVERYTHING he said or else (as is always the case) you are just picking and choosing what you like and ignoring the rest. This is commom for the hypocrtical Christians picking on gays.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • 1st Century

      Bo, You wouldn't have bought a used donkey from Paul of Tarsus - he was a ranting, raving, misogynistic, misanthropic, body-hating, control-freak, zealot.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:06 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.