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My Take: Don’t blame college for young people leaving Christianity
The author says the politicization of Christianity is responsible for young people leaving church.
February 28th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

My Take: Don’t blame college for young people leaving Christianity

Editor's note: Tim King, the communications director at Sojourners, blogs at sojo.net. Follow him at @tmking.

By Tim King, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Christianity in America is in danger. As former Senator Rick Santorum recently pointed out, young people are leaving the church in droves.

In the mid-1980s, evangelical 20-somethings outnumbered those with no religious affiliation – the so-called “nones” – by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. By 2008, those proportions were almost flipped, with young “nones” outnumbering evangelicals by more than 1.5 to 1.

An entire generation, my generation, is leaving the church. What’s the cause? Santorum blames higher education, telling Glenn Beck last week that "62% of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it."

The “war on religion” has become a frequent bogeyman among Christian and political leaders. But the reason church leaders have failed to stem the tide of a generation heading for the exit door is that they keep looking for an outside enemy to blame when the biggest problems are inside the church.

The years young adults spend in college aren’t causing them to leave their faith; those college years are exposing the problems with the faith they grew up with.

The exodus has little to do with liberal college professors, which insurance plans should cover contraception, where mosques are being built, or whether or not the Ten Commandments are hanging in courtrooms, even if many religious leaders act as if these are the greatest Christian “battles” of our lifetime.

In doing so, they are actively pushing young people away from religion.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think young people are leaving the church in record numbers just because some Christians are Republicans. There are a lot of wonderful Christians who happen to be conservative and who are great witnesses for the faith. Many of them are in my family.

Rather, the exodus is about hypocrisy.

Last year, we saw Christian leaders raising the alarm about the encroachment of “radical Islamists.” They call for the restriction of Muslims religious liberties to practice their faith and build houses of worship. But this year, when it comes to contraception, the rallying cry is religious freedom.

Last week, Franklin Graham was asked whether or not he believed President Obama was a Christian. He gave a fair answer when he said it wasn’t his place to judge.

But when asked the same question about the faith of Santorum and Newt Gingrich, Graham’s standards changed. He answered that yes, he did think those men were Christian because of “political interests” and “spiritual interests.” Graham later backtracked, but the message was already out.

What did a lot of young people hear? To be a Christian you need to look like, talk like and vote like Franklin Graham… Oh, and something about sinners and grace.

Such political spectacles are driving a generation away from faith. It almost did for me, an evangelical Christian in my 20s who attends church on an almost weekly basis.

Most of my life I went to private Christian schools or was homeschooled. I had some wonderful examples of faith that inspired me. But as soon as I heard Christians on the radio or saw them on TV, I was ashamed to call myself a Christian.

The Jesus I read about in Scriptures taught love, acceptance, peace and concern for the poor, but the Christian leaders on TV and radio always seemed to be pro-rich, pro-white, pro-America and anti-gay.

By college I was getting ready to leave it all behind.

Thankfully, I had found meaning in work with the homeless and tutoring refugees. I heard Jim Wallis, for whom I now work, speak about God’s heart for the poor and oppressed. I sat in Scot McKnight’s North Park University classes in Chicago and learned about a Jesus who didn’t think like me, talk like me or live like me but who presented a radical challenge to be a disciple of this one they call Christ.

By 2004, I realized that the highest Christian calling in my life might not be to vote Republican. I still casted my ballot, but what was most significant to me that November was inviting 15 homeless men and women into my campus apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving with some other students and spend the night indoors.

I like politics. I think it’s important. Public policy matters because it affects people’s lives every day in ways we often don’t realize. But my primary concern for it comes because it affects the people Jesus called me to love and that the Bible tells me to be a voice for. This is why the use and abuse of religion during this election season is so troubling.

When Franklin Graham sets up double standards of faith for Republicans and Democrats, when Pat Robertson intones about a coming “secular atheist dictatorship,” when the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins goes off about the dangers of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and other “anti-family, anti-religious, anti-Christian policies,” when the great test for the next President of our country is who has “real” theology and who has “phony” theology, it might make for good sound bites.

But it’s bad faith.

Blaming colleges, like Santorum did, is a lot easier than reforming the church. Finding an enemy outside of your religious faith might keep some young people in line for a little while and is probably great for fundraising. Heck, it might even mobilize an important voting bloc and win a few elections.

But it’s hastening the decline of Christianity for an entire generation.

I have a simple request for our nation’s religious leaders who keep finding “enemies of the faith” at every turn without ever looking inward. For Christ’s sake, stop talking.

Spend some time in prayer and think about what you say before you say it. Ask yourself, is the political gain, the next spot on cable news or the notoriety I can achieve really worth the damage to the church?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tim King.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (1,729 Responses)
  1. Joannie

    It's the church to be blamed not the colleges. The church is not doing what God called them to do.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • JMB

      I agree, college is not to blame. As Christians, we need to understand that we are going into a worldly environment. That, yes, they teach you to be open minded, and you have to work with people who do not have your same beliefs maybe even values as us. That is the world people….
      It is the churches responsibility to be doing God’s work. We spend too much time blaming college, blaming the world, blaming our neighbor, blaming the president, when it is our responsibility to be the light in the world.
      What did we do today to make the world a better place?
      Tim King, you rock for helping people in need! That is what we should be about.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  2. scoobypoo

    College is effectively "deprogramming" for many students, where they are finally encouraged to be open-minded and actually think for themselves.
    They then realize they've been duped by a religious cult.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Glen

      I guess Scoobypoo does not know that there are many kinds of Christian and Believer some not education and some far more educated than you and me including former Atheist like C.S Lewis, Doctors like Luke, Teachers, DNA sequence Scientists like Collins it seems ScoobyPoo needs to go to college and learn more. I say give it more time they kids will eventually grown up have kids of their and get hit by life and they will come back to the church and faith, just like its been happening over and over thru the generations. Its a cylce of faith.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • scoobypoo

      Glen, you should first get your GED, take some remedial English and then _maybe_ you can try college.
      Good luck.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • JLasaque

      Were you effectively de-programmed, such that your deprogramming resulted in a so-called open mind? You don't talk open mindedly about belief in God...you espouse a dogma below that compares God to Santa Claus...open minded?

      You make suggestions that you have personal access to research which refutes certain cited Gospel passages, but when asked to produce them, you apparently hold them close to the vest...open-minded?

      What do you mean exactly by open minded? Open to consideration of other opinions as reasonable and possibly factual? Sounds more like you are accusing others of failing to exercise open minded consideration toward your closed-mindedness...typical ego-rationalist...

      February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Glen

      If that is the best you can do scoobypoo for a come back then I think I won the argument, I was not writing a thesis/dissertation/paper which I have done btw but just speaking my mind via my comments. Most people understand and get the point and can read thru typos and mistakes, except you it seems :)

      February 29, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  3. ljdr1948

    As I see it, the problem with religious folks today, including Pastors, Ministers, Priests, Rabbis is that they have forgotten the main theme of my Grandmother's religion: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". Once the Golden Rule is forgotten then the House begins to collapse.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Paul

      Religions have always been good at reciting the golden rule; not so great at following it. Tim King is right that religions always need an enemy to focus on. The old churches' enemies are secularism, education and science. The new churches' enemy is the old churches.

      We atheists can only shake our heads at all the no-true-Scotsmen running around and ask you all to back up your religious claims with something more than "I know what god really thinks." Until then, you'll just be on your way to quickly becoming the old church. Tim's right about another thing, too: Christianity's death is accelerating.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Glen

      That is not a Golden Rule ljdr1948, that is the commandment Jesus gave to His followers, before that it was in the 10 commandments from God. The one before that is Love the Lord your God with all your Heart and Soul and Might. You can't do the second without the first. The second naturally follows...

      February 29, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Val

      What do you need a religion for when the Golden Rule covers it all????????? That is all anyone needs to remember and LIVE BY. The only thing that religions do is polarize and isolate people from one another and give them reasons to group themselves away from people who are "different" or believe differently. Why do we feel the need to believe in things that we cannot see or prove?? Just wanting to believe something does not make it true, but give me PROOF and I will believe just about anything, just don't ask me to believe that the laws of physics can be defied. We are all from the HUMAN RACE. We need to realize our commonalities, not what our differences are, because they are small when considered that we all just want to live in peace without worrying about the safety of our loved ones. I hope that we can figure that out before the self destruction of the human race happens.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • HowTheMightyHaveFallen

      There's only one Golden Rule at play in this world:
      He who has the gold makes the rules.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  4. Leonard Simek

    I havent seen many assemblies recently which serve the lord. They are too concerned about their own offering and building grand buildings of pride. The author is correct. The hypocrisy is rampant everywhere. Ministers and preachers refuse to own up to their own weaknesses. They more or less serve themselves as our political leaders do. Thank God some do serve who are truly called. The church has become a business.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Glen

      VAL those are some Interesting questions you pose, why can't be just live by the golden rule, why we need religion

      Who gave you the Golden Rule to begin with and is there something more than just a nice sounding rule that He offers us? How about Miracles, the meaning in life here on earth, the afterlife, etc. These are other question you should be asking because by doing what you are doing you are just looking for people who think, act or believe just like you so you are in a sense creating a group of like minded thinkers that excludes religious people.

      As for proof ? Its not just blind faith that He expects from us but believing faith. As for laws you should be asking who made these laws and how come there is order in an otherwise chaotic world, this is who God is, He made the rules and He can suspend or break them.

      Christians are commanded by Jesus to tell the whole world the Gospel and the Good News its not just religious its a real abiding faith in the God of the Universe who created it all, including me and you and who knows you better than you know yourself, the Creator the very one you are trying to exclude. We are programmed by God to seek Him but by nature we seek everything else and ignore Him that is where the secret of life and the meaning can be found. We tend to follow creation (rules/earth) rather than the Creator who made all this for us but He wants us to have a relationship with you, one that can be life altering.

      You can be the most popular and nice person but if you are not rooted in faith in God you are just going with the flow and that is not a good place to be Christians are called to be salt and light of the world to challenge people t go against the grain. There is a better way that God has made for us if we follow Him to open their hearts and minds to him.

      For more details on the meaning of life check out a blog I found regarding the meaning of life thru Whitney Houston's life

      http://untilthatday-rachel.blogspot.com/

      Hope it helps

      February 29, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  5. webo

    If Christianity is reduced to a popularity contest, Jesus already told us we lose when he says of [eternal] life "only a few find it". (Matthew 7:14) Jesus also warned us that near the end "many will turn away from the faith" and that the "love of most will grow cold". (Matthew 24:10-13) Some of the reasons for this turning away are laid out in the Parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13:1-23)
    I'm afraid in most churches today Christianity is taught as a philosophy, giving at best only a lip service to the supernatural aspects of the faith. Students go to college where the philosophy is challenged and alternatives our offered. It should be of no surprise that many embrace one of the alternatives.
    Christianity is first and foremost based on the supernatural. We are told "what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal". (2 Corinthians 4:18) Our understanding of everything around us comes not from the wisdom or intellect of this world, but rather from the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
    I'm afraid that much of Christianity today resembles what Paul says we would see in the last days, that of people "having a form of godliness but denying its power". (2 Timothy 3:5)
    I pray Christians everywhere, me included, focus on the supernatural relationship we called to with Christ through His Holy Spirit.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • scoobypoo

      Do some research and you'll see that all those bible passages you're so fond of quoting have no basis in reality.
      Oh wait, it's all supernatural, I forgot; so that makes it ok to pretend it really means something. Too funny.

      Perhaps you should try college?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • joe08

      so true.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • webo

      @scoobypoo and joey8 – Your response was anticipated in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The man without the Sprit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." I suggest you seek the Spirit of God for true understanding.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • webo

      @scoobypoo – Out of curiosity, what research are you speaking of?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Glen

      True Webo. Why am I not surprised at the writer of this article Tim King he is deluded into thinking that you can compromise on faith issue in the name of love Jesus clearly called out sin and told people to repent he was not wishy washy about it he was faithful unto death.

      The author works for Sojourner and Jim Wallace Obama's adivsor they from time to time spew out this trash pretending to be Evangelican and think they understand what the problem is and that they have a solution. They are sheep in wolves' clothings, they believe that the Govt is the solution to the poverty we face they learn more towards Socialistic Communistic thinking that Christian faith. Jesus never told us to give our money to Big Govt so they could distribute it to the poor people. We are to give of ourselves not to be forced to give as n Charity not have Govt take it from us.

      This is where the deception lives that is not to say everyone in the org thinks like that but hopefully those that know what is going on will get out of there quickly and be faithful to Jesus and His calling, not a Govt solution to the world's problem. Narrow is the gate and few will enter in, does not like like anyone will make it apart from Christ.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • scoobypoo

      webo – if you had been born and raised in the middle east, you would be a fanatical muslim and beholden to the koran. You just happened to be brainwashed into christianity.
      What happened to all the people that lived and died prior to christ? If you would just _think_ for a minute, everything collapses. But of course, faith means not thinking.
      Do you also still believe in Santa Claus?

      February 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • webo

      @ Glen – Thanks Glen. For a musical addition to your thoughts, follow the post below to a song by Derek Webb called "A Savior on Capitol Hill. Very humorous.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p00ASxejlE&w=640&h=390]

      February 29, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • JLasaque

      Scooby...don't think you answered WEBO's question...what research are you speaking of that repudiates the Gospel verses cited by WEBO?

      Lots of angry name calling dressed up as enlightened intellectualism...but you opend the door...

      Would love to have a discussion with you and WEBO about this supposed research of yours....

      Guessing however that Skyrim and that bag of Cheetos has a greater calling to you right now than answering a reasonable challenge...

      February 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • webo

      Scoobypoo – My faith is not based on how I was raised. Quite the contrary, I loved rebelling against everything I was taught growing up, and did so. It wasn't until I was challenged to really look deep into what the bible taught and to seek God with an open mind that God started to reveal Himself.
      As far as those before Christ, they looked forward, in faith, to what Christ would do. We look back, in faith, to what Christ has done. Hebrews 11:13 says of those with faith before Christ that, "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promise; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth".

      February 29, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • webo

      scoobypoo – There's a book called "I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist". You should get a copy and read it. It's a great place for someone of your mindset to start.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  6. Mark

    Thank you for this insightful article. Young men and women like you are the ones we lay our hope on in making this world and this country a better, more tolerant place for all people. I hope your words are heard.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Glen

      Mark I in your world I guess Christiansare intolerant. If you calling speaking the truth in love as being intolerant I guess you need to hear what Jesus and John the Baptist said to the people in their days when they called them to repent and return to God.

      As I said before scripture shows us people will gravitate towards nice sounds words and tolerance "itching ears" instead of speaking the truth in love. The truth always hurts but in the end it will save you life. It is bitter at first but then sweet at the end.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  7. RobS

    If more Christians were like Mr. King, the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately, he seems to be in the minority these days.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  8. Anon

    They're leaving because college made them smart enough to spot a scam. Your god and devil do not exist and your "morality" is in the dark ages. As all cultures mature they eventually give up childish fantasies like god, the easter bunny and santa claus.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Marc

      You seem quite enlightened. You must have gone to college.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  9. Marc

    Let's put something into perspective. These statistics follow people who checked the "Christian" box on the faith affiliation poll.
    The good book states that the way is narrow and few people find it.

    How many of these "Christian checkboxes" where filled in out of conviction to truly confess Christ, pick up a cross and follow him?

    This article is a strawman argument that using soft statistics to scream: "Look at these hypocrites!!! Christians are so fickle!"

    I would counter:" Look at the liberal secular atheist, trying to practice pragmatic pluralism to appease the 'misunderstood' Islam by declaring a media war on Christianity. Atheists are so hypocritical and fickle."

    February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • scatheist

      We're not fickle. We try to see the world as it is, not through the lenses of made up fairy tales. And we resist attempts by Christians to control the public discourse, and shove their beliefs down our throats.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Marc

      Wow, you sure put me in my place!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Glen

      No one is shoving their faith down your throat scatheist It is the Good News of the Gospels for you to receive or not. Its called free will, I know its new concept to you in a world where might is right and your way is the only way but we are chosing something better, a higher way. A life of sacrifice and love to the unbelievers. Just like the sceptics in Jesus days, we hope that you will come around and find a real and abiding faith in Jesus Christ, a presence and faith more real than the world you're living in. What is your agument how you don't believe in anything and you think that is a good thing? There is a better way God has provided for us and He invites us to taste and see that He is Good but also Just! sin has no place in His world.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  10. Tom

    No, the reason why kids drop religion in college is because, for the first time in their lives, they don't have parents dragging them to services on a Sunday morning. Sleep in long enough and after a while you start to lose your desire to attend. The nice thing is, once these kids have kids of their own, they return to church. Anybody who has kids knows they need God more than ever once their house is full of teenagers!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Astra Navigo

      No, you don't 'need God' or 'need religion' when you have a house full of teenagers.

      You need a mind which accepts that teenagers will be asking questions – questions which most adults can't answer, because they've accepted what their parents told them, blindly, years ago – and which they still follow!

      Bottom line: If you can't prove it to yourself with objective reasoning, you have no right poisoning your child's mind with it. Every child is born an atheist. Every adult got his or her 'religion' the same way – parental conditioning.

      Maybe – just maybe – it's best to leave the kids alone and answer the questions they have, rather than fill their heads full of nonsense.

      They were born right the first time.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Aschul

      Hahaha! This is so true. They are stages people go through. Good point.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Eric

      I'm kind of the same way. Went to church nearly every week growing up, but then once I went to college, I never went to church unless I was home for Christmas. Years later, though, and now having a son of my own, I'm finding my way back.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Tyler

      Hi Tom,

      While I agree that not going to Church on Sundays may affect one's views on religion, I would also argue that those people did not have a strong background in faith as is. However, being a 21 year old college student I would very much agree with the thought of my generation losing their religion because of hypocrisy. We grew up in an age of religious terrorism. All we know is clashes between religions and the deaths that result from this fighting. Combine that with an environment that teaches you to think critically and an ever-growing sense of the corruption of organized religion and you have a loss of religion.

      Its unfortunate as I would like to believe in a God, but I no longer can. I've searched in my heart, but the faith has faded. Most of my friends feel the same way. I can't see religion surviving with my generation and I honestly believe that to be a good thing.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Tim

      Completely agree, growing up mom dragged me to church every sunday, got to college and decided it was better to sleep instead. But now I'm about to get married and have started going again, and not just because I'm in trouble with my future wife if i don't go... lol.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  11. NANCY

    Amen Brother. Amen

    February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Glen

      Dead wrong Astra Navigo I guess by your resoninng we should let every child do their own thing because we all know that every child is born good so why poison their mind by teaching them right from wrong and how to behave. I guess you don't have any kids to speak of. Your reasoning does not make sense in any world. Kids are born rebellious and need to be taught right from wrong. We teach them an abiding faith in God that will prepare them in the spiritual world just like we do in the physical world as Man is body and spirit.

      There is a God shaped vacuum in every person and all our lives we are filling it with things that will never fit or satisfy, you know what I am talking about. In the end the choice is yours you can accept or reject it and face the consequences that there is a Judgement Day coming when we will give an account of every silly thing we ever said. Your comment will probably be up there with most other worldly philosophies and stupid saying. Seek Wisdom it is more vauluable than Knowledge. knowledge ouff up as is evidences with statement of peopld that mock God, faith and Religioun. We humbly show you that there is a better way, it is God's way in a world where people thing they are gods, its up to you just like we do with our kids to accept or or reject it.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  12. Astra Navigo

    "Santorum blames higher education, telling Glenn Beck last week that "62% of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.""

    If done right, college opens a person's mind to a wider world – free from the constraints of a narrow worldview, a young mind is free to explore, learn, and grow for the first time.

    College was where I, raised by a mother who belonged to a church where people rolled in the aisles, climbed the stovepipes and gibbered uncontrollably, began an odyssey of researching the world's religions. All the time I was standing in a pew, I was wondering, "Is all of this for real?" While I was dragged to youth-group meetings to do sing-songs and participate in fund-raisers, I was asking myself, "What's the point of all this?"

    I learned that the world's religions were based on stories – which were handed down first orally, then written. The Egyptians contributed much of the Torah and subsequent Bible. The real lesson is the connectedness of the human experience, not the existence of a sky-guy with a book to tell everyone how to live.

    College saved me from religion. For that, it was worth every dime.

    Don't blame college for killing religion.

    Blame religion for killing minds.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • B-Bop

      Astra, very well said! I too have done lots of reading, concentrating mostly on Christianity and whether the stories in the Bible are actually true. I've concluded that it's best not to give too focus on whether the stories are literally true. I don't believe that they are. The point is, especially in the New Testament, we have a message on how to live our lives. It doesn't require you to believe in a God, a "soul," or heaven and hell. The message I like to take away is, "live for the here and now; and do so in a manner that strives to improve the human condition through our respectfuly interactions with each other, our planet and the world we live in."

      February 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  13. John

    Michael, you embody everything wrong with religion. You think everything that isn't christian is attacking christianity. Evil close minded people LIKE YOU are what drive people away.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Glen

      Soudns familiar Bebop and Astra "The message I like to take away is, "live for the here and now; and do so in a manner that strives to improve the human condition through our respectfuly interactions with each other, our planet and the world we live in."

      Sounds very similar to "Eat Drink and be Merry" in the Bible That was just before the sudden switft judgement and destroction and what a fall that was. Seek Wisdom and Knowledge, found mostly in the Bible

      Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6 Empty death Religion may fail you but faith in Jesus and God never will!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Michael

      John, I am a poor example. Jesus opposed most of the thing of the time. Deteriorated Judaism & Romans. Every living Christian has faced opposition during their life time. Like the fundamental of science, the fundamentals of God, faith and morality can never be changed. If you violate a natural law you may suffer its effects immediately or someone else will suffer. If you violate a moral law, the law breaker suffers.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  14. Jesus Loves You

    The problem here is knowledge and critical thinking. They have no place in a college education.

    College students need to learn to make decisions based on emotion and superstition. A recent Pew Research study found the more people know about religion the less likely they are to believe. We need to stop educating them on world religions, that is how they are figuring out all religion around the world is the same stoneage BS just swapping names, terminology, and locations. The sciences are not helping one bit either.

    The focus of education needs to be indoctrination, not the pursuit of truth and understanding.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • MaryM

      To Jesus Loves you: I sincerely hope your post is sarcasim

      February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Mark

      I am amused at what I hope is your sarcasm.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Veritas

      That made absolutely no sense whatsoever. In fact, it wasn't even factually accurate.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • BobFromPA

      That was pretty good satire!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Aim

      When the religious leaders today .. 1) call for LGBT teenagers to kill themselves, 2) cheat on their wives, 3) embezzle money, 4) put greed before their fellow man and environment, and 5) blatantly lie about the affect of gay marriage, they drive out their own members with their so-called "family values." It's no wonder people leave when they have such un-role models to look up to.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  15. ACinSC

    I do not think it's the church that has doomed itself with hypocrisy or political rhetoric, but the secular world and science that have driven it to the position it is in. As we find more and more of the truths about or origins the reality begins to conflict with the "truth" that religious people have believed all their lives. Suddenly the idea of a spontaneous creation no longer makes sense. So what do the religions do? They treat the attack as a discredit on their entire faith. They defend untenable beliefs with logical fallacies and phony science and strive to maintain a shell of truly ignorant followers, willing to do anything for the faith. The religious right has even found a new evil to fight against in place of Soviet Communism – namely the militarily self-reliant states bordering Israel – and the left in America that is tired of supporting a government in the state of Israel which, without America's (read: AIPAC's) help, would NOT be the belligerent agitator that it is today. The politicalization of Christianity was no mistake – it was required to keep having a "Satan" to drive Americans back to a God that can no longer be defended with sound reasoning.

    Quantum physicists are on the forefront of discovery and they're finding out things that should make religious people sweat profusely ... we're discovering that the universe might not need a god for its creation after all. Personally I think the universe/multiverse is eternal and self-sufficient and that Nature requires no divine law or purpose. Religion is all that is standing in the way of man evolving into a more caring, earth-conscious species. If the authorities of this planet have their way, they're going to have us destroy each other, or the earth, or both.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      This is religious preaching. So much for atheism not being one. The Universe being self-sufficient is a Bhuddhist belief so how far have u gone with that? We have to know and understand religion well. Every religion can develop emotional maturity but people like you only cause religious tension.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Veritas

      "The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable." Theologian Karl Rahner

      February 29, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  16. RWESTUPID

    It's called "blind faith" for a reason. When sight is granted through education and exposure to world views, intelligence opens the eyes and "blind faith" is replaced by rationality. Only the ignorant would rather remain blind.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Blind faith from following dogma and ritual is not the same as childlike faith which is strengthened by exploration and discovery. The new trend is that spiritual christianity is emerging and is here to bury sectarianism. Obama n Tim are examples. There r more to come. Love your neighbor as urself.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • JLasaque

      Explain "rationally" then, friend, how the exactly perfect combination of amino acids linked and folded in the first cell, in such a fashion as to form proteins whereby molecular structures could exist sufficient to provide for molecular machines able to perform work necessary in a cell to allow for the cell to first be alive, then survive, utilize energy, and perpetuate itself...all by chance...without guided, intelligent assistance...

      The odds of such an occurrence are probablisticaly, without intelligent intervention, RATIONALLY impossible. Best you RATIONAL types can say...at the end of the day...is it just happened...

      Your RATIONAL god, Mr. Darwin, thought the matter inside cells was simply goo...we now know that "goo" is a microscopic "city" of tiny molecular machines in each cell, many performing indespensible work to maintain the life of the cell...armed with that informatiomn today, would Darwin have reached the same conclusions about the origins of species?

      The irrational thinker is the supposed thinker who not only fails to, but refuses to, account for the holes in his own argument...if nothing else, the above discussion at least makes a reasonable case for an intelligently guided creative process in the first living creatures (cells)...

      Posit reasonably a designer of all things living, and a designer of all things...period...is not so hard to grasp...that same designer offering revelation of himself and his attributes to his beloved creations then seems a naturally rational occurrence once the creation has sufficiently developed to realize his creator/designer. Jesus Christ fills that role as rationally as any designer ever could!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Glen

      Wow RWEstupid who's calling who blind ever heard of the song Amazing Grace hear it just might open your eyes if you're willing.

      As for Veritas' comment, correction, the number one reason for athiesm is Disbelief in a Real and Living God, while elevating self to Godhood, as in knowing everything there is to know in the Universe. Its called the God Complex. There isn't anything I could possibly not know. We weak Christians on the other hand choose to believe and follow the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. "Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord" – Joshua 24

      February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  17. Floris

    Mr. King, I love your article and you are so right. I am a 50 year old African American woman and have strived to bring my children up in the faith as my parent taught me. However, the religious leaders of today are so bigoted and selfish that it is sickening. They seem to have forgotten which God they are supposed to be serving.

    Thanks so much for your article and I hope a lot of people get an eye opener when they read this. May our God bless you always in your faith and work journey for him here on earth. Thank you.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  18. JLasaque

    Kids, in most cases, aren’t losing their religion (faith); they never had it in the first place. Christ’s Gospel message in youth apologetics education (in many churches denominations), has been replaced with a diluted, person-centered social gospel…”do good deeds, plant a tree, pay it forward,” etc.…all sounds good, but misses the crucial antecedent…personal relationship with Christ...more like an Explorers Club or Girl Scout meeting than a life-altering introduction to the loving, benevolent creator of the universe. Rather than teach pre-college age youth about Christ, the Gospel, and HIS love for us, many Christian youth programs skip to “he loves us, so go out and do good deeds so as to reflect him”. Problem is, kids don’t get enough (if any) Christ (who he is, why he loves us, how to have a REAL relationship with him) in their lives as children, and then we act stunned and surprised as Christ-less children become Christ-less young adults, meeting a world, academic or otherwise, which lacks either the time or inclination to make the proper “Christ introductions.” Parents of every stripe must be proactive and take the first steps (with relentless follow-through) and ensure children have been introduced to Jesus Christ before church youth activities even commence, or we’re serving-up our kids to the Dawkins, Hitchens, Dent, Harris, Dennett, and Mahr-type predators out there… who devour young, defenseless minds like a wolves at a wounded lamb buffet!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Astra Navigo

      Amazing that 'apologetics' is the first thing taught in religious youth education and in seminaries, alike – in sum, the first thing one gets is all the bogus 'reasons' why a person should believe the unprovable.

      That alone should raise some eyebrows about religion.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • JLasaque

      Bogusness and unprovableness...sounds like two well founded proofs for rational self-righteousness...

      Apologetics are necessary to combat the name callers who offer no support for their angry arguments...

      February 29, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Glen

      How true JLasaque we have watered down the Gospel and turned it in to a Social Gospel, this writer included and people are turning away from fake churches. The church that holds fast to the true teaching and Gospels are the ones that are packed with men, women and children. But we pray through it all God is still faithful, through their broken lives they will eventually turn back to Him and seek His face and He will have Mercy and Forgive them That is the Wonderful God we serve!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • webo

      Well said brother. And thanks for the reply on my post above. Too bad we weren't able to have that conversation with "scoobypoo". Let's pray for him.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  19. MaryM

    Religion does three things quite effectively, divides people, controls people and deludes people.
    Wake up people. (notice I said religion.)

    February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Were u a theology or History major? Your discovery of Egyptians writing the Torah is just remarkable. Why werent u given a Pulitzer? My four year old knows that Moses was the Crown Prince of Egypt. Butchering History and Theology to promote ur worldview is called lying. Besides tell us your church.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  20. Michael

    Also it is naive to think that Liberals are leaving Christianity alone. The outside enemies of Christianity are:
    1.Liberal Media and intellectuals
    2. Communism/socialism garbed into Democratic Party.
    3.American Civil Liberties Union- It is like a mad dog; it bites everyone.
    4.Liberal Jews: they do not identify with Judaeo-Christian faith.
    5.Christians religiously and political adore Jews; but the other side has not.
    7 Liberals have succeeded to change the landscape of higher education; our universities produce sceptics.
    8 Gay Lesbian life style. As church is against they try to annihiliate Christianity.
    9 All other religions trying to run their roots in the US preach a different theology than their original one to attract the people.
    10 The rich without scruples. They want to sell anything that has demand irrespective of morals; they thrive on the dead body of morality that has already been slaughtered by liberals.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • MaryM

      Michael, Religion does three things quite effectively, divides people, controls people and deludes people.
      Wake up Michael. Read your comment

      February 29, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Astra Navigo

      Ah, the 'liberals' are the problem!

      Pal, with this sort of eliminationist rhetoric, you're one step from sending everyone who doesn't agree with you either to the Gulag, or to another country by way of deportation.

      Thing is, if you did that, you'd lose most of America's scientists, educators, artists, actors, other creatives, and brain-trust in general.

      Good luck running a country without us. You wouldn't be able to find the light switch....

      February 29, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Amanda

      Michael, are you not simply promoting the same points that King just diminished? Did he not say in his article that we must have love and compassion for everyone, even the gay/lesbians that you mentioned? Also, liberal media and intellectuals are a threat to Christianity? I think not. I am a college student, a Christian, and have a liberal-leaning political stance, and I often watch both the liberal and conservative media. They are both biased, and neither can be fully trusted. Once people learn that they will stop taking everything in politics so seriously. And by saying intellectuals are a threat to Christianity, are you not saying that there are no intellectuals within Christianity?

      I suggest you take King's advice and stop talking. It is Christians like you who give us all a bad reputation.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Tex71

      Michael, you are a perfect example of why Tim King had to write this article. Instead of growing along with the rest of the world, you imagine that everybody else has it in for you. I know it is difficult to hear and even more difficult to accept, but the truth will set you free, as Jesus said. I have been where you are and it is much better outside.
      All the best from a recovering fundamentalist.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Glen

      Well said Michael and to respond to MaryM who opposes you. It is true, religion/faith does divide people, we are called to be a holy people unto God different from the rest, as for control we are to submit to God as Jesus did in obedience. As for deluded i'll leave that to you Mary, it is you that need to wake up to the reality. We are deperately wicked and are in need of a Savior in Jesus Christ the Messiah the one true acceptable sacrifice to God the Father fo all people that Believe in Him This is the Great Jewish Gospel (Good News) open to Gentiles and all who believe in Him.

      But it is not a surprise that people like you think the way they do, as scripture states, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own lusts, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." – 2 Timothy 4:2 It is you that need to wake up MaryM before its too late.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Michael

      Thank you Mary for your comment. True Christianity does not divide people. To become a Christian you have to pay a price. Christian is a disciple of Christ. A disciple has to leave everything that is not seen in Christ. Christ is the Truth. A bad disciple makes bad Christian. A bad Christian makes Christ look bad.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Dongledad

      Thanks, Michael. You provide excellent proof of the author's topic.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • HowTheMightyHaveFallen

      Keep talking Michael, it's folks like you that make people run away in droves.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:02 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.