home
RSS
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. Seth

    It is fine if you are unconvinced of this conclusion. However, we should neither teach our children nor run government and business based on "alternative" ideas that the evidence does not support. On that subject, the evidence available is not friendly to a modern literal interpretation of Genesis, even if one discards evolution in favor of an intelligent design worldview.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Max Maser

      And why not? Because you presume the God that created the universe is SUBJECT to the laws of that universe? I guess you could put "God in a box" (i.e. limit HIm) if that suits your interpretation. Of course, there's the issue of how old Adam was when God created him; physiologically he was likely in his twenties (since the Bible says he was formed a "man") chronologically though he was only a few seconds old. Of course, when you presuppose that miracles don't occur you automatcially paint yourself into a corner, so its easy to see why you would assume Genesis can't be literal. Thankfully my God doesn't have limits, and the onus isn't on me to prove He doesn't; good luck proving He does, you'd be better served writing out a Gogol Plex. BTW...you took your 3 strikes with your first swing...and missed every time. Better get writing.

      October 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Seth

        Maser, once again, feel free to your heart's content to teach your children that the current configuration of fossils, life, and the continents was magicked into place by God. Meanwhile, observational reality suggests that a global flood explanation would require such things happening as large parts of the Earth melting, that genetic ancestry of all animals could be traced to someplace in Turkey, and that the Hawaiian Islands were volcano'd into existence over the span of less than six thousand years. The rest of society operates on observation and parsimony rather than faith in miracles because that has practical benefits. Get with the program.

        October 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Max Maser

      And why not? Because you presume the God that created the universe is SUBJECT to the laws of that universe? I guess you could put "God in a box" (i.e. limit Him) if that suits your interpretation. Of course, there's the issue of how old Adam was when God created him; physiologically he was likely in his twenties (since the Bible says he was formed a "man") chronologically though he was only a few seconds old. Of course, when you presuppose that miracles don't occur you automaticially paint yourself into a corner, so its easy to see why you would assume Genesis can't be literal. Thankfully my God doesn't have limits, and the onus isn't on me to prove He doesn't; good luck proving He does, you'd be better served writing out a Gogol Plex. BTW...you took your 3 strikes with your first swing...and missed every time. Better get writing.

      October 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Seth

    It is fine if you are unconvinced of this conclusion. However, we should neither teach our children nor run government and business based on "alternative" ideas that the evidence does not support. On that subject, the evidence available is not friendly to a modern literal interpretation of Genesis, even if one discards evolution in favor of an intelligent design worldview.

    As far as the trustworthiness of our knowledge – Science at its core is not intended to be dogmatic. Anyone who believes a scientifically-based precept with 100% certainty – even one that they believe to have directly observed – is missing the point of science. Science is about parsimony through observation, about the best conclusions we can possibly draw from the closest things we have to certain knowledge. Perhaps none of our observations are trustworthy – but so far they have been most practical in shaping our world, much more so than attributing the unknown to the supernatural.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • pa jesseson

      seth, honey. seth. you are too boring. can you get to the point, stick with the point, and try to say it with some sparkle? pretend you have one minute and only that, and have to speak as Hillel did while standing on one foot. it could help, Seth. Seth boy. Try it. You'll like it.

      October 8, 2013 at 1:31 am |
      • Seth

        Evolution happens, troll. Case closed.

        October 8, 2013 at 2:03 am |
  3. Leroy

    Millenials are not leaving the church, the physical church, yes. But, why does a building or a religion have to be present for someone to have a relationship with God? For atheists, just having good intentions is fine by me. No body's perfect. This is what God intends for us. To exist to do good by one another, even if we don't agree with one another we must transcend our petty disagreements. We humans have a bad habit of screwing up a good thing, such as humanity. At least, we are consistent. What I meant about the physical church was that a church or religion confines us to one way of thinking. Existence; life is our church. God gives us the choice of unlimited free will, but should we choose wrong over good there are dire consequences. And if we choose right over wrong , there are favorable consequences. Life is simple, existence is simple BUT the human factor intervenes. I have faith we will to well for ourselves in the near future.

    October 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  4. Dan

    The problem the author is describing is not a problem with the church but a problem with a man's heart. When we proclaim to be Christians and yet still worship at the temple of the self, we pursue self glorification, whether through persecution and judgment of those we should love, rationalizing putting money and political doctrine over the glory of Jesus, and seeking salvation through rules and actions as if Jesus' salvation isn't enough. Reading through these comments demonstrates how much our hearts are hateful, self-righteous, proud, and unkind. No Christian is claiming to be perfect or to the source of salvation. Judging Christianity by looking at Christians or the churches is missing the point. Judge Christianity by looking at Christ and learning about who He is. There may be those who claim to be Christians who have never really met Christ. Don't let their actions be a stumbling block to learning about the one true Savior. And if you have never truly learned about Jesus (but only are repeating some simplified fallacies you may have heard or read here and there), try it for yourself and see if your heart and mind won't follow Him.

    October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • mikehosley

      I think the online communities that Millennials are used to supplant the need for community that was the traditional draw that brought people into the church, plain and simple. When you can communicate online and text, holding 5 conversations at one time, it's an obvious replacement for the social network that is the mainstay of an older person, the sense of community that being a member of a church provides to people over 50. In addition to the salient points the author makes, this seems to be the one thing not emphasised enough by the writer.

      October 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  5. Jethro

    Why are millennials leaving the church? Maybe because they don't believe in fairy tales?

    October 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  6. GOOD NEWS

    Because the Jewish Messiah is about to appear
    with real Good News for millennials!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    October 7, 2013 at 4:48 am |
  7. drturi

    Why millennials and smart people are leaving the church read my feedback please and make sure to share this article
    http://www.drturi.com/dt_posts/

    October 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Mark

    If you believe God doesn't exist, does all your effort to convince people to believe like you really matter? After you and I die, nothing happens. Science says the sun is going to engulf the Earth in a billion years. It's all going to end for everyone one way or another. Why such passion? Yet, if you believe in God, then everything does matter, in this life and the after life!

    October 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Seth

      "Yet, if you believe in God, then everything does matter, in this life and the after life!"

      Just because life is going to end doesn't mean it shouldn't matter. "Mattering" just means it carries value. We enjoy the experiences of living; if it were otherwise we would all be sad, depressed nihilists.

      October 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
      • Dan

        If you don't believe in a soul or a Creator, you would really have to question whether anything matters. In that case, nihilism is the only thing that would make sense. If we are just flesh and bones without a soul and we are just a collection of atoms created by chance, what makes us any more valuable than a rock? If there is no soul, how is crushing a life that is a collection of atoms any worse than crushing a rock that is also just a collection of atoms? If what a person considers the "self" with thoughts, emotions and dreams are just random synapsis, how is turning off those electrical pulses worse than turning off a light? In fact, what would morality be other than just random and accidental chemical and electrical responses flowing through a random and accidental collection of atoms bouncing around to create a random and accidental brain.

        Also, not directly in response to your post, but let's stop thinking that evolution has been proven. There is a reason the scientific community still calls it a "theory" of evolution and not the "law" of evolution. There has never been observation of macro evolution where one species evolves into another species. The only "evolution" that has been observed and are not otherwised believed through pure blind faith is adaptation of certain characteristics.

        Finally, if you truly want to be logical and not take things on faith, you would realize that scientific method requires no less faith than any religion. Any deep study of philosophy (the entire scientific method derived from philosophical theory) would cause one to question even the existence of an external world.

        October 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
        • Seth

          @Dan: I left Christianity a number of years ago and have considered all that you have written here. Value is by definition subjective and arbitrary. We pick the things we like because of who we are. We are hard-wired, or in many cases conditioned, to value certain things and not value others. You may disagree on the grounds that you believe there is free will – true or not, a man still chooses what he values or what he doesn't value based ultimately on his preference. My preference is to value this life and the things and people in it, whether it has an objective meaning or not. For such a purpose unknown or otherwise, a man still lives according to his wants, be they in line with that purpose or not.

          October 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Seth

          Concerning your remarks about evolution: the degree to which large-scale morphological change has been directly observed is no more relevant than are direct observations in a criminal case for which there exists a large amount and high quality of indirect evidence in support of a conclusion. So-called "macroevolution" as you define it is the most plausible and supported explanation for the observations we do make.

          October 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Seth

          We have in favor of evolution the observation of genetic mechanisms that could generate large-scale morphological change; we have between different organisms' genomes the alignment of randomly inserting, assorting, and mutating sequences that show beyond a reasonable doubt the common ancestry of those organisms (that the elements in question appear randomly but from a known Earthly origin lends parsimony to evolution rather than to common design); and we have changes left throughout the geological record that denote changes in the biological lexicon over long periods of time.

          October 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  9. sam stone

    /html/body

    October 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      /html/body

      October 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
      • sam stone

        /html/body

        October 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • drturi

      Why millennials and smart people are leaving the church read my feedback please
      http://www.drturi.com/dt_posts/

      October 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  10. Mack Hall

    Rachel, this is really good and you have much to say; however, step away from the first-person, especially the "we," and stay with the subject, not your feelings. Don't presume to speak for millions of people who happen to have born in the same decade. But stay with it; you are a brilliant observer and an excellent writer.

    October 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Maggie

      You talk about "we" a lot. Christianity is about a relationship with Christ, hence Christianity. He is real and he is alive. You can have a relationship with him just as you do a friend or a parent or anybody else with the understanding that we must do what he wants us to do.

      October 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  11. Patti Bell

    Thank you for a wonderful explanation of what needs to happen in church. I am in training to be a lay minister in the Presbyterian USA faith. It is fairly traditional but yet liberal. I was raised in the United Church of Christ, which if liberal. I have attended many other churches, Metropolitan Community Church, Episcopal, Baptist, and other. When I preach, the Trinity is foremost in my lessons. I believe in science, there are things we can no longer dispute, but why can't we believe that God had His hand in it. May God continue to bless you in all you do.

    October 4, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Sherry Rourke

      Amen.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  12. Youtube - The Origin of Religion

    Religion[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=390]

    October 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  13. krhodes

    Check out Dr. William lane Craigs reply to this article.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-are-millennials-leaving-the-church

    October 3, 2013 at 4:23 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Craig is not reliable. He is not educated, nor is he a scientist nor is he normal. Anyone who listens to what this man has to say needs to check themselves in to an asylum and get immediate help because they've truly lost their mind.

      October 3, 2013 at 5:17 am |
      • And

        he is a whiner. Why in the world would someone with a voice like that go into apologetic entertainment??

        October 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Greedy little puke...saw a quick way to make a buck by being a nasty little con man.

          October 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  14. Lucas Middleton

    You ask why many are leaveing the church.If you read the Bible it said there would be a great falling way before Jesus come back.

    October 3, 2013 at 4:11 am |
    • truthprevails1

      And if you read the bible it tells you to own slaves, beat your children, rape, oppress women; and that incest is okay....so you must then agree with all that.
      Your imaginary friend most likely didn't exist and if it did, it didn't die and return 3 days later (scientifically impossible). Are you truly so gullible that you would think this is a special case when nowhere else in recorded history this has ever happened?
      Sorry to burst your tiny bubble but your imaginary friend won't be returning, if anything your belief is dying off. 🙂

      October 3, 2013 at 5:22 am |
      • doge

        So euphoric.

        October 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • cenozar

        Lucus, read the article. It talks about people leaving shallow churches asking how do we sell Jesus better "with edgier music" and going back to the churches that identify themselves with the early Church of the Apostles IE Catholicism and Orthodxy.

        truthprevails1, yeah the Bible get's naghsty, but that was the whole point for Jesus, to set the record straight. He overrides all the Old Testament and established the New Law IE the Golden Rule.
        Also, Jesus did exist. Historians (Jewish and Roman) wrote about the cruxifixtion of Jesus at Golgatha. Plus, the Romans kept a record of executions. Also, theortical physics (which brought you the iPhone and soon devises to tap into brain waves to control external objects with only your thoughts (read Michio Ikaku)) totally allows for rising from the dead. It even allows for immortality. It's all based in the Holographic Universe where the basic principle is that it is possible for electons and molecules to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Read up on your theoretical physics...and your theology. You'd be surprised how well real science complements real theology.

        October 4, 2013 at 1:37 am |
        • truthprevails1

          You're an idiot. Theology and science are not compatible. One is based in reality, the other not so much. As for the historical jesus crap, there is not sufficient evidence to back that he existed and if he did (that is a huge 'if'), he was a mere man without special powers.

          October 4, 2013 at 7:25 am |
      • Peanut Gallery

        @[Un]Truth – Apparently you weren't reading the Bible but watching MTV late night again. The Bible does not promote/command or condone any of the nonsense you spout. You are just parroting statements from people who have been ticked off by stupid Churchy nonsense. Look up historians such as Josephus in the Book Of Antiquities...you will see an unbiased viewpoint of who Jesus and the apostles were. The fake/radical/fundamental joke of most religion does not agree with science, but the Bible is one of the earliest if not the earliest to state that the earth is round and suspended in space on nothing. Speaks of the embryo and what DNA contains. Discusses the water/evaporative cycles very clearly. It also speaks of peoples general life span accurately as well as the physiological connection between stress and our bodies. That there is compatibility with science, good sir...not be confused with the garbage coming from many pastors mouths which has little or nothing to do with a Bible...

        October 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Seth

          "Bible is one of the earliest if not the earliest to state..."

          Not one of those things can be demonstrated to show foreknowledge or unusual knowledge. You only see it that way because of your confirmation bias.

          October 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • Seth

          "for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. "

          How is the Testimonium Flavianum at all unbiased? Are you kidding me?

          October 4, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • Will

          Oh, the Bible doesn't condone slavery? You may do well to look at the following verses:

          Leviticus 25:44-46
          Exodus 21:2-6
          Exodus 21:7-11
          Exodus 21:20-21
          Ephesians 6:5
          1 Timothy 6:1-2
          Luke 12:47-48

          ...... You were saying?

          October 5, 2013 at 12:32 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Apparently you've never read the bible because it most certainly does condone everything I mentioned.

          "If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)"

          (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)

          "When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion."

          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          Ephesians 5:22-24
          Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

          Spare the rod, spoil the child...sound familiar??? Condoning child abuse!

          It appears you have never read the bible but that would also explain why you still believe in the fallacies spewed from your pastor every Sunday, instead of thinking for yourself and not being a gullible fool.

          October 5, 2013 at 7:50 am |
        • pplr1

          It seems to me that the Bible promoted treating slaves in a humane way in a world where slavery was common.

          When considering the historical context Christians could be pleased by many of those passages.

          If you read Frederick Douglass the pre-Civil War South failed to live up to that thousands of years after it was written.

          October 7, 2013 at 8:27 am |
      • Max Maser

        Ironic that the scientific definition of a "miracle" is an even that defies scientific explanation. Because you personally have not experienced or witnessed a miracle does not mean they don't occur. Your logical fallacy is known as "presupposition"; you merely assume Christ's resurrection didn't occur because the physical laws of science tell you it's impossible? Were you there? Then how do you now it did not occur? Hypothetically, why would a deity be subject to laws that such a deity created? Also, you ignore prophecy; most critics do because they cannot answer it. The prophecies concerning the coming Messiah were written 400 years before Christ birth (that is a verified fact, because that's when they were translated into Greek at the Library of Alexandria). The odds of one person fulfilling just 8 of them is 1 X10 to the 17th power; the same odds as if you covered the entire state of Texas in 1 X10 to the 17 silver dollars (they would cover the entire state 2 feet deep), made a special mark on one, tossed into the pile, blindfolded a friend and have them pick just one silver dollar once and they picked the marked one. The odds of one person fulfilling just 48 of the 63 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah? 1 X 10 to the 157th power. What about Thallus' account of the "greatest darkness" that covered the earth during the Passover full moon? What about the 20 Non-Christian accounts of Christ that prove he did exist? So I ask you my friend, are you really being honest with yourself? Have you done your own research or just repeated what you've been told or what conforms with your predetermined ideas and worldview. If I could prove that Christ was real, would it really matter to you? I hope so, because He loves you so very much and wants to call you His own. Your life has a purpose and you have value. You are not just a cosmic mistake; a fluke chance, you are so much more,and in Him you will find that.

        October 8, 2013 at 8:43 am |
        • Seth

          "Also, you ignore prophecy; most critics do because they cannot answer it."

          No, most critics ignore it because they have some semblance of critical thinking. Do you? I'll give you one chance to figure out why the Messianic prophecies don't convince me. Heck, take three. I'm not a faithful person, least of all in your ability to use your brain.

          "What about Thallus' account of the "greatest darkness" that covered the earth during the Passover full moon?"

          Hearsay by Africanus, a biased observer if ever there was one – Unless you're offering up the original passage? Even then, a supernatural explanation is easily not the only explanation for the same reason that one can reasonably reject the "prophecies."

          "What about the 20 Non-Christian accounts of Christ that prove he did exist?"

          Why does the existence of a historical Jesus have any impact on whether he did any miracles or not? Why should we believe in miracles, why should we suspend our disbelief when it comes at the cost of our mental protection and freedom? This is exactly the sort of faith cult leaders demand of their flock! Interesting indeed that the all-powerful, all-knowing God of Christianity would make belief without substantial evidence the metric for life or eternal torment. Do I sound like the Bible's Satan, yet? Indeed, the voice of reason is evil!

          October 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Max Maser

          Presupposition shows no semblance of critical thinking. The prophecies don't convince you because you've already decided in advance they have no merit. We could also talk about Francis Crick's mathematical conundrum; when he realized that the odds of the DNA molecule forming by chance were 1 in infinity, meaning it never happens, ever. Macro-evolution is dead right there without me even getting into entropy, et al. Because Africanus found a historical account of an event he had faith occurred (by a pagan source who had no bias or reason to lie) this makes his finding suspect or "Hearsay"? Presupposition again. You've no evidence to support that statement; it is an article of faith on your part. The "historical Jesus" is germane because "truthprevails" said he was imaginary and likely didn't exits; presupposition again, this time in direct contradiction to the clear evidence. Even the Jewish Talmud says Jesus worked miracles (hardly a supportive writing of Christ's claims to divinity) yet attributed it to sorcery. Does the critical thinker embrace the belief that those who opposed Jesus' claims would have indirectly validated the account of his miraculous works unless they actually occurred? Why admit a non-event that lends credence to someone you wish to discredit? Because they knew those miracles happened and they couldn't deny them, they would have lost all credibility. The "cost of mental protection and freedom"? TRUE freedom only comes from knowing the love, peace and redemption of Christ. The vice of reason isn't evil, but your argument isn't based on reason.

          October 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Seth

          Oh, man. You apologists really make this too easy.

          "The prophecies don’t convince you because you’ve already decided in advance they have no merit. "

          Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The prophecies "fulfilled" in the New Testament were written in the Old Testament. You have two more tries to figure this out.

          "We could also talk about Francis Crick's mathematical conundrum; when he realized that the odds of the DNA molecule forming by chance were 1 in infinity, meaning it never happens, ever"

          Gee, I wonder on what science and mathematics this load is based on. Surely it had something to do with the current state of abiogenesis research? Oh, never mind, let's just say God (or in Crick's case, aliens) did it and not make any earnest effort to figure out origins. Forget RNA world, forget stereoselective mineral catalysts, forget ribozymes or clay particles or iron-sulfide chimneys, we have to save our souls from Satan! ...By believing that all of humanity was spawned from 1ncest...Twice!

          October 8, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • Seth

          "Macro-evolution is dead right there"

          Yeah, no. The fact that you think no abiogenesis means no evolution is hilariously ignorant, perhaps willfully so. I hope you're not getting any sand in that beak.

          "without me even getting into entropy, et al. "

          Entropy? Really? You mean that thing that has to increase for life to even continue to exist? No, please, tell me more, you sound like a paragon of scientific thought.

          October 9, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • Seth

          "Does the critical thinker embrace..."

          The critical thinker recognizes that for any given event, there are multiple potential explanations. For example, those in power could take advantage of the credulity of their flock. It would better discredit Jesus in the eyes of such supernatural-believing people to have levied upon him accusations of witchcraft and sorcery as the basis for his supposed miracles, a worse punishment than having claimed the miracles had never been performed at all – especially in a time in which the popular imagination, given that credulity, was that there was a Jesus and that there were miracles surrounding his character.

          "Does the critical thinker embrace..."

          The critical thinker recognizes that for any given event, there are multiple potential explanations. For example, those

          in power could take advantage of the credulity of their flock. It would better discredit Jesus in the eyes of such

          supernatural-believing people to have levied upon him accusations of witchcraft and sorcery as the basis for his

          supposed miracles, a worse punishment than having claimed the miracles had never been performed at all – especially in a

          time in which the popular imagination, given that credulity, was that there was a Jesus and that there were miracles

          surrounding his character.

          After all, even today skeptics are still having difficulty convincing the superst1tious that there are more woo-free ways of interpreting facts and ideas.

          October 9, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  15. Behold!

    Though religion offers offense to many, it simultaneously creates a "rent-free" in the thoughts and minds off all who post here. Your lips are your witness and your words are your judgments. And all the children of the house CNN say? Amen!

    October 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  16. DaveofKan

    this is the place to post the coming of the new Sun religion. (yes, it's a revival) I claim to be the "child of the east" of whom deceased seer Jean Dixon predicted would come and start the new religion. yes it will take time, but I'm an old man and time now is different for me. The Sacred Uraeus appeared to me and it is upon that apparition that I make the claim. I have a blog. It is .
    http://sunreligion.blogspot.com/2013/09/daily-excerpt-1.html
    as to the religions of nowadays, well, the new Sun religion is what I believe in and it is a wide open religion meaning, people should make up their own minds. Not some Pontiff in another state or another country.

    October 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Youtube - The Origin of Religion

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k49dDCSFnk&w=640&h=390]

    October 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125
Advertisement
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.