July 27th, 2013
08:33 AM ET

Why millennials are leaving the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.

I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.

I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.

I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.

Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.

Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.

I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.

Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”

And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.

Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates - edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.

But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.

In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.

Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions - Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. - precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.

Now these trends are obviously true not only for millennials but also for many folks from other generations. Whenever I write about this topic, I hear from forty-somethings and grandmothers, Generation Xers and retirees, who send me messages in all caps that read “ME TOO!” So I don’t want to portray the divide as wider than it is.

But I would encourage church leaders eager to win millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.

Their answers might surprise you.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Opinion

soundoff (9,864 Responses)
  1. Alan Scheer

    The Bible stands as written. Any group of persons who would try to re-write it as to not "offend" people, is in danger. ALL sin is equal in the eyes of God. Mine, Yours, Theirs. Gods word is not under judgement, WE ARE. Our task is to share the Gospel of Christ, and WARN people we care about of the judgement that all of us will face. The judgement of men is totally without meaning. We are warned of false teachers, and those that will only worship if their ears are "tickled". Go ahead and attack me. I have bushel baskets ready to catch the rocks.

    August 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Observer

      "ALL sin is equal in the eyes of God."

      Yep. God can't see any difference between a mass-murderer and what two single, consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Doesn't sound too bright, does it?

      August 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
      • Alan Scheer

        There is no "privacy". What you do is seen, and that is that.

        August 27, 2013 at 12:16 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Way to miss the point, there, Alan. Why don't you take another stab at it?

          August 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Gary

      Alan, kiss off with your buybull bullshit already. It's really obvious that the bible doesn't "stand" for anything other than being an old collection of myths. Most of it never really happened and not only that, there are many bible versions that don't agree even with each other.

      August 27, 2013 at 12:23 am |
      • Alan Scheer

        How many different ones have you read?

        August 27, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • Jjg777

          The bible predicted that the universe was expanding. The bible allluded to 9-11. The bible mentioned the end of the 2 nd world war and the atomic bomb. The bible tells how the world will end when the sun expands. The bible speaks of rivers on the oceans. The bible speaks of many historical persons such Nero. The bible offers many words of wisdom that we would all be better off if we followed.lastly the bible tells us that we will either go to heaven or hell.that none of us is good and that only by acknowledging the lord Jesus will we be saved. God made this world and this universe and he gets to call the shots on what happens once you die. Realize that god through his son is offering a free get out of hell card. God does not want any one to perish. I pray you will accept his son Jesus.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:08 am |
        • Observer


          You comment was so totally ridiculous that I'm not sure if you were joking or not.

          So what is the verse that says that New York City in the United States of America will be attacked by hijacked airplanes on 9/11?. I promise to stop laughing long enough to read your statement.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • jjg777.

          Allow me to give some back ground. The psalms have been shown to prophesy about events in the 20th and 21th century.
          Amazingly, these psalms are numbered and the number of the psalm matches the event that it describes in the 20 or 21 century. For example Psalm 46 describes events in 1945-46. This psalm says God makes war to cease. This psalm says that the earth melted (first use of atomic bomb) in war. This psalm (using terms familiar to even earlier generations) says that he breaks the bow and cuts the spear and burns the chariot in fire.

          Next is the Psalm 91 for the year 1991. Check your history. This was the year of the gulf war one. People in Israel were hunkered down in basements afraid that biological scub missles would head their way. :This psalm says :

          He who dwell in the secret place of the Most high...
          Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler , and from the noisome pestilence ( biological weapons)
          Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night nor for the arrows (missles) that fly by day.


          A thousand shall fall at thy side and then thousand at thy right hand but it shall not come near thee.

          NOW AS TO 9-11

          Yes the psalm is 102 which would be 2002 (right after nine eleven)
          Remember what happened it says

          For my days are consumed like smoke and my bones are burned like a hearth.

          I watch and am like asparrow alone upon the housetop

          Mine enemies reproach me all the day and they are mad against me, sworn against me.

          For I have eaten ashes like bread
          ...for thou hast lifted me up and cast me down

          My days are like a shawdow that declineth and I am withered like grass.

          But read all three for your self. I could also point to other prophesies that match that year in the Psalms but maybe you should think about these for a bit.

          August 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • John McGrath

          Idolatrous sue of Scripture. Plus simply loony.

          August 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • Observer


          Reference to New York City – NONE
          Reference to Washington – NONE
          Reference to the United States – NONE
          Reference to airplanes – NONE
          Reference to 4 attacks – NONE
          Reference to hijackers – NONE
          Reference to Muslims – NONE
          Reference to 9/11 – NONE

          Validity – NONE

          August 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ jjg777

          Amazingly, these psalms are numbered and the number of the psalm matches the event that it describes in the 20 or 21 century. For example Psalm 46 describes events in 1945-46. This psalm says God makes war to cease."

          "Yes the psalm is 102 which would be 2002 (right after nine eleven)"

          9-11 happened in 2001, not 2002. If the numbers of the psalms are supposed to predict what happens in that year, why isn't it psalm 101?

          I guess it's because psalm 102 has the words smoke, burned, bones, and ashes in it so OF COURSE it "alludes" to 9-11.

          Psalm 101 doesn't have any vague references that can be used to "allude" to 9-11, so you pick psalm 102 and say it's because 2012 is right after 9-11?

          And this makes sense to you?

          September 1, 2013 at 3:36 am |
      • Alan Scheer

        Read it. I can compare my King James Version to the Dead Sea Scrolls WORD FOR WORD, and they match. 2,000 years ago. Show me any other book that can do that.

        August 27, 2013 at 12:54 am |
        • Observer

          "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" are centuries older.

          Get serious about the word for word synchronization. There are over 30 versions of the Bible in English and they all disagree. with each other.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          The main reason for a King James version is because there were many different versions of the bible. Despite the KJV there still are many versions.

          August 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
      • jjg777.

        to observer:

        The psalms was written 3000 years ago. Come on. Most of the Countries of the world have changed names since then.
        You can dismiss all that I have quoted from the bible if you wish to. You in my opinion are being unreasonable. But:


        August 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • Observer


          "Most of the Countries of the world have changed names since then."

          What was New York City, Washington, and the United States called back then? Oh, that's right. The Bible NEVER mentioned that the United States or even the entire Western Hemisphere even existed. Get real.

          Speaking of being blind and unreasonable, give us a description of 911 and don't use any of these words, JUST LIKE THE BIBLE DID: New York City, Washington, United States, airplane, Muslim, hijackers, 911.

          Now maybe you'll be back to reality.

          August 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          "..................What was New York City, Washington, and the United States called back then? ................."

          The diverse beast.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • photografr7

          Maybe God is *almost" all-knowing. He didn't know, for instance, that the United States, or Russia for that matter, would become countries. He was too concerned with Israel.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        Gary you are most uniformed....The Bible was written by 40 writers over a span of 1500 years, encompassing 50 generations. Most of the inspired writers didn't even know each other, some lived while others died or were waiting to be born. They were from 10 different countries, and spoke different languages, and came from various backgrounds, from Kings to fishermen, one was even a physician, Luke. Yet there are no contradictions regarding morality, or the qualities of God, or the depictions of Jesus Christ. It absolutely bears the signature of one author namely God!

        August 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • Seth

          They weren't inspired, dude. They each had prior traditions and literature to work off of, and furthermore the people who compiled the books could easily filter out anything that lacked continuity. It's no more a proof of divine authorship than consistency between an author's work and fanfics.

          August 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • John McGrath

          OK, take the Bible not as inspired by God, if there is a God, but written by humans. Nonetheless it is a fascinating hitsory of the development of a religious nation and also the development of concepts of morality and concepts of God (that, abstractions of humanity). Cruel and "wrong" concepts of God are presented, practiced and gradually and finally rejected in favor of the grand summary: Love god (the best abstract concept you can come up with of humanity) and Love your neighbor (humanity in the concrete). Of course the religious woill not see the Bible this way, but it certainly is an important work in humanistic literature.

          August 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Observer


          "Yet there are no contradictions regarding morality, or the qualities of God"

          Please read the Bible someday. It is loaded with errors and contradictions.

          One obvious example: the Bible says incest is wrong and lists incestuous relationships. Incest is the ONLY method of population that God used to make people "fruitful and multiply" and he did it TWICE. Get real.

          August 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Observer I actually spend lots of time dissecting the Bible. Why do Atheists always try and blame God for what man has done! If man had followed God from the beginning we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.

          August 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Observer


          "Observer I actually spend lots of time dissecting the Bible. Why do Atheists always try and blame God for what man has done"

          Atheists have NEVER blamed God for ANYTHING. Only believers can do that. Why do Christians keep telling that lie?

          August 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          So your're a believer?

          August 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • Observer


          "So your're a believer?"

          Nope. I'm an agnostic, but I have pointed out some of the horrible things the Bible says that God has done.

          August 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Hopefully you have crossed off your list all the "horrible things" man has done to man and against himself and not confused them with God. Why don't you try making a list of all the good things God has done...such as...given you life, and the air that you breathe, and the water you drink, and all the vast varieties of delectable food you enjoy. The oceans and the mountains and the trees, and all the cute animals in the world. How about your family and friends? How about the great sacrifice His Son has made on your behalf. How about thanking him for the promise he has made to grant you eternal life if you so choose...I acknowledge that you're an Agnostic but this is an interesting quote by G.K Chesterton for all you Atheists out there: "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative." Finally I'm going to leave you with a quote from God: "Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, And all of the sons of God began shouting in applause?" Job 38:4,7 So where were you Observer?

          August 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
        • Seth

          Dissidentfairy, does it matter where Observer was? If we had a way of knowing that a God was responsible for the good things and not for the bad, we would not be agnostics or atheists in the first place. The fact is that there is no valid evidence tying a god to these things. All we have is our situation and little in the way of explaining how with any confidence or intellectual honesty.

          August 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • photografr7

          Do you have any idea how silly you sound?

          August 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • John McGrath

          Nice quote from Job, the story of how God arbitrarily tortures a good man to satisfy his twisted ego. I persume you are willing to follow his example.

          Actually, using hevbrew lioteray analyis, it is God who is on trial and found guilty.

          August 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Observer


          Here are some of the "morals" of God:

          Support for slavery
          Discrimination against women, gays, and the handicapped
          Support for beating children and slaves with rods,

          I could never support such "morals", but you can thank God for them if you like.

          August 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          You are kidding me right? God is a lover of justice! He does not support slavery! He allowed slavery only because man did it to man. He was furious with the nation of Israel for keeping slaves and demanded their release. The Israelites did as they were told then re-captured their slaves the moment God turned his back. He doesn't condone slavery. As far as women go what do you mean? Are you talking about the part where a woman should be in subjection to her husband? If a woman had a good husband that wouldn't be a bad thing. The Bible says that a man is supposed to discuss things with his wife in a loving manner but if they can't come to an agreement then he has the final say. I see nothing distasteful about that. Beating children? He's not advocating that. He's only saying that children need discipline and guidance and they do. Children without discipline are selfish and spoiled and grow up to be rude and disrespectful adults. God is against people who are handicapped? Where did you ever come up with that? He has compassion for people like that. As far as morality goes, as our maker, he has the right to set certain standards because He knows what's best for us. If we don't like his standards then we can oppose Him and face the consequences. He didn't make us to be robots we have the right to choose!

          August 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Seth you sound like a reasonable guy. My previous response to you refused to post or kept getting erased.

          For those who are sincere..."Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

          For those who are polarized: "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4

          For those who are unsure and can't make up their minds: "So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16

          August 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • Observer


          Sorry. I thought you had read the Bible.

          The Bible not only supports slavery, it even tells slave owners how badly they can hurt their slaves without punishment.

          The Bible says that women should not speak in church and not to teach men.

          The Bible says God doesn't want disfigured people in his church including men with crushed testicles.

          The Bible says you should beat your children with rods to teach them.

          Read one.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • photografr7

          dissidentfairy obviously reads a different bible or a different version. God didn't get it right the first time, so he had to inspire a different version every few hundred years.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I wish you well Observer: "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eye of him with whom we have an accounting." Hebrews 4:11-13

          August 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • Observer


          "He does not support slavery! He allowed slavery only because man did it to man."

          Since gay s3x is "man doing it to man", is that okay now?

          August 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • photografr7

          Is suicide OK, too? (that's man doing it to man, errrr himself) How about masturbation? You know what... For the Bible to work, you'd have to change it every few years to conform to society, which PROVES it wasn't written by an omniscient deity.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Philter

          "My previous response to you refused to post or kept getting erased."

          Remember the automatic word filter? I watched one day here where someone laboriously took you through it, step by step...

          August 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Thanks.....I am aware of that and reread it and couldn't find a reason why it didn't post...maybe I will try again....:)

          August 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        @ Seth....Firstly I'm not a "dude." The archaeological evidence alone is overwhelming! It's obvious to me you haven't done your research! One thing the Bible and Atheists do have in common...The Bible says,"If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit"....it refers to people being religiously misled but it could also refer to Atheists who blindly follow and refuse to believe!

        August 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Seth

          Of course the archaeological evidence is overwhelming – It was written during the times that the events written about actually happened! But how does that have anything to do with miracles, divine authority or divine authorship?

          August 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          My reply to you is not going through. I've tried several times....sorry!

          August 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        You have completely mythunderstood, Gary. Now run along and drum up a MOB.

        August 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
      • jjg777.

        To everyone who rolls their eyes at my 9-11 comment please note I said alludes to. However please explain the similarities between the psalm number and the events that I have mentioned including 1946 (Psalm 46) and 1991 (Psalm 91).

        Also note 1948 where the nation of Israel was recreated by action of the United Nations (where many high ranking people debate and note the reference to a ship (life the one that was kept of of the coast of Palestine by great Britian (the ship was called exodus). Here is what the scripture says in Psalms 48 says:

        For, lo the kings were assembled they passed by together. Fear took hold upon them there and pain as a woman in travail (Israel is often referred to as a woman bringing forth a child). Thou break the ships of Tarshish (refers to Great Britian) with an east wind

        Please explain the Six day war that occurred in 1967 that is described in Psalm 68. Note that Israel was expected to loose because of attacks by Jordan, Egypt, Syria and others but Israel made quick work of their enemies. And took 10,000 vehicles from them in the process.

        Psalm 68 says:
        Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered and let them also that hate him flee before him (just like they did)
        Kings of armies did flee apace and she that tarried at home divided the spoils.

        I could go on to point out references to the 1st World war right at the time of the war, or for that matter a veil reference to Mitt Romney during the 2008 campaign.

        God is awesome and when you come before him he will be able to point to all the ways that he showed you that he was the God of the Universe that knew everything but you maybe were not listening.

        Call me what ever you want God does not want you to be able to say that he did not show himself to you in a multiple number of ways.

        Still you must believe in him to see them.

        August 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • photografr7

          God is awesome in the same way as my 12" penis is awesome. That is, only in the mind of the believer.

          August 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          The probability of you actually having a 12" penis far exceeds the probability that there are any gods, even just one.

          August 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Alan Scheer,

      It's privacy to the rest of the world. Doesn't God have better things to do than to peek into the s3xual activities of consenting adults that hurt no one?

      Do you see any difference between the punishment for mass-killing and the "punishment" for an "abomination", like eating scallops, lobsters, and Alaskan king crablegs?

      August 27, 2013 at 12:25 am |
      • Alan Scheer

        Where are the seafood references in the Bible?

        August 27, 2013 at 12:50 am |
        • UncleBenny

          Leviticus 11:10
          King James Version (KJV)
          And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you

          August 27, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          The seafood was cleaned up. Now it's full of mercury thanks to moving all the factories to China.

          August 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Alan Scheer

      I am absolutely no better than any other person on this earth, and if anything, worse. We are ALL Gods children even if we do not choose to believe. I welcome the friendship of anyone who disagrees in kindness. If you were God, and made perfect little robots to Love and need you, what would you have accomplished? Nothing. God LIKES a challenge. He gave us the power of decision to accept or reject Him. He didn't want DRONES. So DON'T be one. either for or against. Be yourself. God will call you in his own Good time. Jesus Himself said that he could deal with Cold or Hot. But would not tolerate "Lukewarm".

      August 27, 2013 at 12:46 am |
      • Observer


        Alan Scheer,

        You haven't answered the question.

        Do you think there should be any difference between the punishment for mass-killing and the "punishment" for an "abomination", like eating scallops, lobsters, and Alaskan king crablegs?

        August 27, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • Alan Scheer

          Give me the location of the reference to seafood. Don't remember seeing it anywhere.

          August 27, 2013 at 12:57 am |
        • Alan Scheer

          I have read "Mein Kampf" cover to cover, and will debate anyone on it's interpretation. If you intend to debate the Bible with me, please do the same.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:02 am |
        • Observer

          (Lev. 11:12) “Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is an abomination to you”

          I shouldn't need any reference for you to realize that not all "sins" are equal. Claiming that mass murder is as big a "sin" as eating habits or s3xual habits of gays is pure ignorance.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • Dippy

          Its, not it's.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      Every true believer of every one of the thousands of gods humanity has ever worshiped felt the same conviction you do. Every one of them had the same proof that you do that that the god of their choice existed/exists: None at all.

      August 27, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  2. Bobby

    See how your organization or Church can get communications out faster with SlickText.com

    August 26, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Gary

      Does Alan Scheer the buybull snake oil salesman work for you? Seems like it.

      August 27, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Doobs

      Do you also teach them how to steal advertising space for their church by spamming the CNN message boards?

      September 1, 2013 at 3:07 am |
  3. Chris Hollis

    Christianity is faith based and faith is like a sieve. Whereas a sieve doesn't hold water, faith doesn't hold merit.

    August 25, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • photografr7

      THEISTS: Allow me to explain how ridiculous you sound. Suppose I came to you and said there was a GOAD who was all-powerful, all-knowing, the creator of the universe, and on top of all that, he made the first man in his image, a baby who was born to a virgin in a small town in the desert. And further you suppose, you asked me how I knew all of those things. So I said, "It's in a book called the BIBBLE." Then when you asked me who wrote the BIBBLE, I said, "GOAD DID." And when you asked me how I knew that, I said, "Because it says so in the BIBBLE, and I have faith." If the above conversation took place, you would laugh at me, and rightfully so. For the same reason, I laugh at you.

      August 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • John McGrath

        It' Babble, not Bibble.

        August 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • photografr7

          I should have written DRIBBLE.

          August 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Reality check

        Dear smug atheist,

        Ummm, Christianity is a historical faith. Not sure what part of history you don't understand. That means it's based on historical events that everyone can look up.

        August 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • Seth

          Historical events are one thing. Miraculous events are another. In fact, we would expect that the writings of a certain time would correlate to things and events of the age, if embellished with miracles and divine favor.

          August 27, 2013 at 1:25 am |

    Leaving the Church, finding the Christ.


    August 25, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  5. Atheistsaregaybutnotallgayareatheist

    If Christians number will go down to only 11 members, then this article does make any sense.

    August 25, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Observer

      Areyou mindlessly claiming that all atheists are gay?

      August 25, 2013 at 1:04 am |
      • Levi2013

        Yes it's true perhaps because of me. What they become was all my fault!

        August 25, 2013 at 1:24 am |
        • Observer

          So why are you telling such a mindless lie?

          August 25, 2013 at 1:27 am |
      • Analizer

        It's the truth. Don't just observed, analyze!

        August 25, 2013 at 1:35 am |
        • Observer


          Factless nonsense. Please get a much better education.

          August 25, 2013 at 2:36 am |
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    August 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
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    Perfectly indited content , appreciate it for selective information .

    August 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  8. Alan Canon

    I left Christianity not because it was boring, but because the claims don't hold water. The burden of proof is on Christians to show that there's even a scrap of external evidence to back up the claims made in their holy book (and ancillary writings such as those of Josephus, which modern scholars conclude was almost certainly doctored as a source by later Christians.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • PWaggs

      To Alan Canon" Sorry Alan Christianity doesn't rise or fall on Josephus. Consider Tacitus, Suetonius, or more importantly wealth of evidence from the gospels, and NT letters.

      August 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
      • photografr7

        You can't use the gospels to prove the scripture true. That's like asking a lunatic why he doesn't belong in an insane asylum.

        August 25, 2013 at 12:04 am |
      • Observer

        Christianity rises or falls based on the statements in the Bible. That could be the reason for so many millennials leaving.

        August 25, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • hharri

      so, point being, you haven't been paying attention i see.

      August 25, 2013 at 3:04 am |
      • jjg777.

        There will be no jury when you die. Just one Judge who is God Almighty. He has all power, he is omnipresent, and he knows all. Every thing was made by him and he owns it all including your soul. So If you have every committed one sin in your life you are guilty. And like all humans you have committed sins. He knows that you and me are but dirt so he sent his son to act as our attorney when we come before him. However you say you don't want his son as your attorney. And since God makes the rules. you are without hope with out his Son. Confess the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead and you will be saved. This is a opportunity that you should not turn down. A free get out of Hell card. Take it while there is still time. That is why the Gospel is called Good News. .

        August 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
        • JR

          Yawn. Same old story everyone already knows.

          August 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • John McGrath

          This kind of thinking would be an insult to God, if God were t actually exists. And to our humanity. God does not own us. Persons, divine or human, do not own other persons. And this world is ours to govern well or misgovern, as we have chosen to do.

          August 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • jjg777.

          You have freewill while you are on this planet. But when you die your soul belongs to God. What he decides is what will happen. He has told you what you must do to inherit eternal life. You must do it now while it is your choice. Chose carefully.

          August 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • John McGrath

          God "owns" a soul? Perverse thought. What happens to the body? Presumably no body, no pain of hellfire.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
        • photografr7

          You are trying to understand the Bible and the mind of its believers? I suggest you give up now or risk going mad.

          August 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
        • jjg777.

          WRONG!! I will quote from the bible about HELL.
          Mark 9: 42 to 9:48

          And whosoever shall offend one of these little one that believe in me,it is better for him that a millstone wre hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea.

          And if thy hand offend these cut it off. I tis better for thee to enter into life maimed, then having tow hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

          Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched

          And if they foot offend thee, cut it off, it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cst into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

          Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

          And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire

          Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

          You still thing Hell is just a made up concept or that it can't be as bad as you have heard?

          August 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • photografr7

          I would tell you to go there. Unfortunately, there's no such place. So I'll tell you to stick your head in the toilet instead. God may be omnipresent but he's not there, right?

          August 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • jjg777.

          When you know something and fail to take action on it, you have unfortunately only your self to blame.

          August 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Alan Scheer

      The problem with modern scholars is they were not there. 😀

      August 26, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
      • John McGrath

        And modern believers were there. Your comment is more a condemnation of religious people than scholars. perhaps that is what you really wanted people to think.

        August 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  9. Nietodarwin

    Anyone who actually BELIEVES that out ALL the mammals that have ever lived, ONE "rose from the dead" needs help, including this woman. The young people who are leaving christianity are doing so because they are INTELLIGENT.

    August 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • photografr7

      If that's true, there's hope yet that all religion will disappear in 100-200 years as the level of education in the world increases, and with some of non-Christian religions killing themselves off.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • fafarachi8

        Your forefathers believed the same thing more than 400 years ago but unfortunately, they lived throghout their lives seeing it never happen. So you can DREAM ON!

        To bad, you and your future generations are bound to share the same fate.

        August 25, 2013 at 12:56 am |
  10. Ladonnah

    So these are the keys to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is to simply make a few style updates – edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall? Really? I used to be twenty-something, and I never went to church to be entertained; because I realized that all of these style updates are vices of the devil. Satan is crafty, and cunning. Just keep on living; hard tests and trials can sober you up, and ground you, and make you wise. Appreciate the Word of God, the Bible. This word will sustain you even in troubling times. As Christians, we are called to be different, and stand apart, but nowadays, we just want to fit in with the world. Never go to church to be entertained; instead go to concerts for that. We should not be a built-in tune consumer. Don't get me wrong, music has its rightful place. As the old adage saying, keep on living. You twenty-somethings will get older, and you will find that edgier music will not be there to deliver you when you will be faced with hard challenges, and some life-altering ones that will either make, or break you. What you need is the pure, unadulterated, Word of God that will not tease, and entertain you, but sustain you. You see Christians weapons of warfare are not carnal, but are mighty and powerful pulling down strongholds. We can not come against satan with edgy music, or being casual, and laid back, in the house of God; but be armed with the Word of God, prayer, and a transformed life, that He changed. You better attend church for the right reasons. Unbeknownst to you, what if a person came into your church, on the brink of committing suicide, hopeless, helpless, feeling like going to church will be their last resort; they are crying out for help even if it is silent at the time? Don't mock this, because it has happened in real life, and your congregation is so immersed in this edgy music. Your spirit is not sensitive to reach them, and they go out, and kill themselves. But if the word of God was being preached, and the centerpiece of the service, that poor soul could have been ministered to with prayer, and perhaps they would have had the will to live. I'm sure you probably have seen a straggler come into your congregation, but don't judge them. Show love, and help them; and that is what church should be about; saving the loss, dying, hopeless, and given up. Church worship is not the place for social events. I am fifty-something, and I still enjoy church services without all that edgy, fluff stuff! Amen!

    August 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Seth

      I agree with you that the change of style in the church was troubling, distasteful, and pandering. In fact, it was part of the reason I disliked and eventually stopped attending modern worship services

      But the reason I left all churches entirely was for two reasons. I do not need a Word of God to face troubling times or achieve what I want in life. There is also no evidence that I find adequate to prop up my old beliefs.

      It's as simple as that – For me, religion is unproven, unlikely, and unnecessary. I don't pretend that it's the same for everyone, but neither should anyone pretend that this is not so for me.

      August 24, 2013 at 2:42 am |
      • graywills


        August 24, 2013 at 2:43 am |
      • Step

        Kind of like oxygen....I don't believe there is a such thing because I can not see it or touch it or smell it. I was just told that it existed and was expected to believe in its existence.

        August 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • Seth

          There is a huge difference between gases and God. First of all, purified gases will show the biological properties we expect; they will give off specific spectra of light when an electric current is run through them; and they can be separated by mass spectrometry. They will chemically react consistently and in the ways that we expect. They will exert pressure when compressed and occupy a specific volume per amount when purified under standard conditions. In other words, there are observations we make with respect to air, the atmosphere, and gases that show that they exist and that they are a physical thing with consistent physical properties.

          God, on the other hand, has not been evidenced in this way.

          August 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  11. Claudia Bennett

    I am a grandmother that feels the way you stated in your argument. My millennial children have refused to enter the church basically for exactly the reasons you have posted. The religion that I grew up in was this way, but it has changed dramatically over the years and seems to be getting further and further away from Jesus's teachings. Thank you for actually saying exactly what I have been feeling and hoping for throughout the years my sons have grown up. I hope some of the leaders of the churches are listening and becoming better at showing us a church Jesus would want to go to.

    August 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Why do I have the feeling that your grand mother thought the same thing about you?

      "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise." - Socrates

      August 27, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  12. jjg777.

    I am a Christian so I won't even deal with the comments you made regarding other non Christian religions. However regarding the bible:

    The bible says there is only one name under heaven whereby men (and women) must be saved. The Lord Jesus.

    The bible claims that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father. No other religion claims that a man was raised from the dead. That he was seen on the earth for 40 days after he was resurrected (by more than 500 people) and that he then went up to heaven on a cloud. That he now sits on the right hand of the Father making intersession for our sins.

    The rapture will take all born again believers to heaven. Leaving the rest of humanity in a horrible time of war and the coming of a man called the Antichrist and a season of horror for 7 years most of humanity will be killed by other men and Christ will return for 1000 years of peace. Then unbelievably after 1000 years of his rule on earth, man kind will still revote and be promptly put down.

    The bible has been incredibly accurate. Going back even to non Christian sources such as Josephus where he describes Christ in around the first century. The bible knows things that man has just recently discovered. For example in four places the bible says that "God stretches out the heavens like a curtain." If you read what Hubble discovered that the galaxies are flying away from each other in just that manner. His discovery was not made until 1929!!!

    Or how about looking at many of the (hidden) prophesies in the Psalms. For example: Each of the Psalms seems to describe events that match the number of that Psalm in the 20th and 21th century. For example Psalm 91 for 1991. It very accurately describes gulf war number one. The Psalms talks about arrows (scud missles) tipped with biological weapons (pestilences in the bible). Read the whole Psalm for your self. Or maybe you want to read Psalm 102 (for right after 9-11-2001). It describes a building (the trade towers) coming down and people in the dust! Read it for your self.

    Or maybe Psalm 46 (right after the 2nd World war) it says God ends all war and it describes the earth melting (atomic bomb). I could go on.

    Man has no other answers to why it we are evolved rather than made by God that every other planet that we have discovered is barren and weird with no chance of life.

    There is a all powerful, all knowing, all present God and he can give you eternal life if :

    You confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead you will be saved!!!

    Finally, to prove this statement above read the story of the crucifixion of Christ, with 2 bad men one on either side of Christ also being crucifixion. The one bad man said to Christ on the cross, "If you be the Christ, come down off that cross and save your self and then save me." But the other bad man on the other side of Christ said to his bad friend, " You and I deserve what we are getting but this man (Christ) has done nothing amiss. Then he turned to Christ and said " Lord when you come into your Kingdom, remember me. Therefore he called Jesus "Lord" with his mouth, and must have believed in his heart that Jesus was going to be raised from the dead (because at the moment Jesus was on the Cross.) He met the requirements of the verse "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and you will be saved.

    What did Jesus say to the one thief who made this confession (but not to the other). He said "This day will you be with me in paradise (Paradise became Heaven).

    Fall away from the church if you will as the bible says–There will be a great falling away." But one day you will see the Lord Jesus standing before you with the nail prints in his hands and his feet and you will say "Lord I believe now."

    But it will be TO LATE.



    August 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • kamanalono

      The romans always stationed a gaurd around a crucified body to insure that no one removed the body until the body had decomposed. Secondly, there were always three crosses at an crucifixtion site. The first was for the latest victim, the second was for an earlier victim in an early state of decompostion, and the third for a victim who’s remains were mostly skeletal.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • jjg777.

        When speaking about human beings the word ALWAYS IS ALWAYS QUESTIONABLE.

        You are correct that bodies were generally left on the cross to rot. However in Matt 27:57 and 27:58 we are told that a rich Pharisee Joseph of Arimathaea "Went to Pilate (the governor who over saw crucifixions) and begged for the body of Jesus and his request was granted. And so far as the thieves on the cross, they could have been left from previous crucifixions and survived. There are records of people surviving on the cross for NINE DAYS before they died. .

        August 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • Dippy

        Whose, not who's.

        August 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Patrick

      jjg777, thank you for demonstrating for the rest of the class exactly the kind of Christian that makes us millennials roll our eyes and completely dismiss you. People like you are why we are leaving in droves and tuning Christians out completely. We don't want to listen to people who turn Bible verses into an assault rifle. Good job.

      August 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Zellie

        Patrick, IF you are a millennial, YOU are the reason, the world rolls their eyes at you....arrogance and ignorance – a very lethal combination

        August 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
        • Seth

          What greater arrogance – and dishonesty – is there in claiming to have the One Universal Truth to which you say all must bow, knowing full well that you take it on faith?

          August 26, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • 9er fan

      She did not mention any non christian church. Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox), and the Episcopalians ARE christian churches.

      August 24, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • Andy

      The best part of what you posted is the beginning.
      'I am a Christian so I won't even deal with the comments you made regarding other non Christian religions. However regarding the bible:'
      Which means the rest can be disregarded.

      August 24, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Seth

      You reached your conclusion that the Bible is true by assuming that your interpretation of its passages supports that very conclusion. That isn't a fair line of reasoning.

      August 26, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  13. Reach out to the lost!

    The churches need to focus more on the 'marginalized' young adults and teens in society.

    The church should target a goal of reaching out to at least 5% of its membership numbers to the likes of Adam Lanza, Colorado shooter, 'bored' killers, Michael Hill etc. There are many teens and young adults that are roaming around with no purpose in live, feel unloved and uncared for, which is sad.

    Many of these teens feel left out and it is the Church's responsibility to reach out in love and compassion to the lost. They should include this as part of the missions. If we reached out to the lost , we can save many a life!!

    August 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Heal the world!

      Every church is in need of a 'Operation Compassion' ministry!!! Let's reach out to wayward teens in love; let's make them feel loved; let's embrace a teen that feels left out; let's make a difference.

      August 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Heal the world!

        And put the prayer back in schools!

        August 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • MarkinFL

          Bottom line: Prey on those in need and force it down the throats of the rest...

          Same sh.t, different day...

          August 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • MarkinFL

          Bottom line: Prey on those in need and force it down the throats of the rest...

          Same cr@p, different day...

          August 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Derek

          Looks like the clown is lost in the between.
          Yes, the church must reach out to troubled teens.

          August 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • photografr7

          If you want prayer in school, I can think of two places you can go: Rome and Baghdad.

          August 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  14. G F

    As I read through the complaints about organized religion, I appreciate my home church more and more. We accept gays, we have a female pastor, a woman is president of our Congregational Council. Our pastor challenges us to live for God; I've never heard her denounce any "group" from the pulpit. We have 2 members who are mentally challenged. Our choir may nor have the best voices, but we sing for God. There are churches like that out there. At the end of a service, the lay assistant says animatedly "Go and serve the Lord!" and the congregation responds with a resounding "Thanks be to God!" It is an uplifting experience.

    August 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
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About this blog

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.