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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. creatormundi

    Additionally, the “shell game” the exemption presents “does not address Plaintiffs’ fundamental religious objection to improperly facilitating access to the objectionable products and services,” the lawsuit explains.
    http://www.creatormundi.com/

    October 27, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  2. Applaud Aloud

    Well .. from what I am reading here .. MOST of us (the long and the short and the tall) realize there is a Cause (and Omega being). and have some appreciation of the scale of things (173,000,000,000,000 + suns & panets & moons). SO THAT we may not be able to perceive the (nature of the Being we call God) but that being caused matter and the matter BECAME (Aristotle .. go read it). BUT 90% of us can perceive God in us .. God in LIFE (a miracle .. who does miracles?? ) God in our SPIRITS, God in our BEING (matter + form + life + psyche + soul + creativeness interactiveness + conscience + quality of being). AND the big objections to "religion" are that it is short sighted, ritual oriented, bounded, myopic, dogmatic, judgmental, rigid ... and often a couple thousand years behind the rest of ut.

    October 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Smarty Pants

      Sorry, I always gotta chime in!
      Interesting points to note...

      1. Even JESUS Himself issued several 'Woes' of warning to the religious leaders of His time (which went unheeded). "You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Matthew 15:7-9) Religion is the "teaching doctrines the commandments of men." but neither is the church, which is under grace, the same as Israel, which was under the Mosaic Law.

      2. Mortimer J. Adler authored a book called 'Aristotle for Everybody' making difficult thought easy. Search for it in Amazon. His book, 'How To Read a Book: A Guide to Analytical Reading" is also good.

      3. Incidentally, Mortimer J. Adler became a believer in Christ. Check out 'Philosophers Who Believe' in Amazon. Interesting (I think).

      October 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Seth

      No, Applaud. You are not perceiving or realizing. You are attributing, assigning data to a foregone conclusion, that conclusion being your version of God – Unless you mean to imply that you have some way of demonstrating otherwise without starting from the Bible as first principles?

      Perhaps you can explain Aristotle's argument. I still have no reason to assume, over all other possibilities, that a being originated the universe, or that the universe had an external origin.

      October 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Applaud Aloud

      Seth: either the some THING (being) originated the universe or it did not originate (which will it be?) Did is come out of nowhere? Poof. Shazam! or was it caused? Now for me .. I do not experience things just happening (poof .. like that) .. and ACCIDENT has a cause. Two vehicles collide (why?) There is a reason (a cause). You do not just drive along and then POOF there are two vehicles in front of you all tangled together (accidents have causes). So I believe some THING (a being) caused the universe to exist). I believe in cause and effect. I think ever effect had a cause. Even a Higgs Bosun has a cause. Now as to Aristotle (Smarty Pants) I don't need help with Aristotle .. if you do well OK. The Jesuit fathers spent a lot of time on Aristotle and Plato. There was no escape. Shakespeare has Hamlet exclaim "To be or not to be .. THAT is the question!" BEING . a THING exists. A Cause exists. If an effect exists THEN a Cause exists .. work it out.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
      • Seth

        Let me differentiate two concepts: Having no cause, and arising from nothing. The one implies that the object simply is and always has been (as you call God, I call the universe itself), while the other implies that the object arises from a state of void and nothingness.

        The latter I have never seen anyone seriously argue. That concept is besides not the logical consequence of having no cause; the assumption that something uncaused must literally originate from a state of nothingness is groundless and requires invoking special pleading for deities. To state that "everything must have a cause" requires that time is infinite or that there was an uncaused cause, but to call the uncaused cause God is an overreach and invokes things we have never observed and cannot infer.

        October 29, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  3. Applaud Aloud

    I notice on this BLOG particularly there is a congregation (faith) of atheists who claim NOT to believe in anything but they seem to glomb on to any chance to oppose Christianity. It seems important to them. Most of us are not moved to slam anything we do not care about (Canasta, Feng Shui?, diets, reading about chaos physics, doctoral dissertations about Russian politics). But they are very intense and seemingly motivated. So it must be important to THEM.. so it is a faith .. in a way .. a belief that somehow they are making a difference by vigorously slamming something they do not believe and that they think is doomed. (it is somewhat neurotic and abnormal but they seem to get their jollies with it .. almost as strange as celibacy and transubstantiation).

    October 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Michael B (former christian now atheist)

      Ummmmmm, nice try. An atheist slamming Christianity is not a faith "in some way" (your words). When someone says they would rather use science than to blindly use faith, that is not faith. That is just saying they follow what is REAL and PROVEN. Religions are based on faith because they were developed to explain the (at the time) unexplainable. Do I believe in religion? Heck to the no. Do I accept people's right to practice them? Of course as long as they do not infringe upon my own rights to be an atheist. In the US, that is a problem as people use religion as reasoning for political decisions.

      October 26, 2013 at 12:15 am |
      • lionfou

        Atheism and science have nothing to do with each other,
        just as religion and God have nothing to do with each other.

        The question of whether the universe has an indwelling consciousness, just as my body does,
        is a scientific question, a hypothesis.

        October 26, 2013 at 1:08 am |
      • Smarty Pants

        As a Christian, I fully respect your choice to be an atheist. God does. Why shouldn't I?

        October 26, 2013 at 7:50 am |
      • Smarty Pants

        However, being a Christian, being religious, and being moral, are 3 very different things. Being a Christian is about being in a relationship with God through Jesus. Being religious is man's attempt to define God on his own terms, which is actually an insult to God. Being moral is neither. Being moral is about determining the "right" thing to do and that's why it's in politics. The religious politician wishes to appeal to a higher moral authority, the Author of the Mosaic Law, to determine what's right so that they themselves can claim neutrality. "It wasn't ME that said XYZ is wrong. It was God! Go ahead and dispute that, you little human, you! Or go to hell and burn, and I'll laugh from the other side of the chasm." I believe real Christians are consumed with His eternal plan, whose kingdom is NOT of this world, and His eternal plan is not to achieve morality in any earthly government.

        October 26, 2013 at 8:05 am |
        • lionfou

          "His eternal plan is not to achieve morality in any earthly government."

          "Faith without works is dead."

          "And they shall not hurt nor destroy, in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be as full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea...and a little child shall lead them."

          October 26, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  4. Applaud Aloud

    I posted this in the wrong place .. the wrong blog section (I'm not a good match for the on-line world .. oh well) I'll rephrase it a little What you are talking about here is what Dr. J. Vernon McGee called the apostate church. It is the composite Christian church (at least) and yes Christians are dropping out in the thousands for the reasons you listed. The churches (all of them) are prisoners of their own dogma (not preached by Jesus) as Calvinism, celibacy, inerrant Bibles, infallible popes, money grubbing, condemnation, damnation, B.S., manipulation, mysticism, theatrics, frauds, suicides, baloney peddling, end-times hoaxes, visions. That sells (it makes money just like the bubonic plague).The own (universities, hospitals, radio stations, TV stations, publishing houses) and they make a nice profit selling They also offer child care, elder care, food , grade school, bingo, tours, cruises, camping and other benefits. The sell beads (as in buying Manhattan), water, cards, figurines, headstones, medallions, calendars, refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, T-shirts, jackets .. and endorsements to companies. They get along with commerce and support political candidates (for a price). ... so they will go out of existence rather than change.

    October 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  5. bonduelle

    Reblogged this on bonduelle.blog.pl v.2.0 and commented:
    Mimo że o chrześcijanach ewangelikalnych, w pełni stosuje się do KK.

    October 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  6. GOOD NEWS

    Because It's time to leave the Church, and truly find Jesus Christ
    in the very beginning of this LAST DAY/MILLENNIUM here now (=John 6/27, 40-45)!

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

    October 24, 2013 at 2:28 am |
  7. kevin

    Hogwash. The smart ones realize that there is no "god"

    October 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Smarty Pants

      The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." But you actually typed it out. Now we all know. "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Sorry, that wasn't real loving of me, was it? Oh, I forgot, smart people don't need love. Never mind. As you were.

      October 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • ordro

      Agreed. And there's some irony here. You arrogating the right to speak for an entire generation is exactly what I don't like about organized religion, which always attempts to speak for everybody in its grasp. Speak for yourself. And believe you me, I don't "deep down" long for Jesus or God. Decent essay otherwise, but give me a break please.

      October 23, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • Smarty Pants

        Good point. Kind of like trying to encourage children by saying, "You're unique, just like everyone else."

        October 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Applaud Aloud

      There is no Cause? Stuff just happens. Explain that (I do not understand that.. ) Sometime eons ago stuff just happened (173,000,000,000,000 suns happened and trillions of them have multiple planets). Now I king get impressed with the size of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite (as stuff that just happened .. by accident). But maybe you know how all of this stuff .. happened (since it was not caused .. and it must have come from some place ... where? First there was no atoms and no matter and then there was 173,000,000,000,000 suns ... so how DID that happen? Now when I am driving down the road and I see two or more cars all tangled up .. I immediately wonder if somebody hit their brakes too hard or if there was debris in the roadway (you know .. what CAUSED it?) So I really am one of those CAUSE and EFFECT sort of minds. But now NOTHING cause a lot of SOMETHING .. how is that?

      October 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • Truebeliever

        You are correct, there can be no effect without a higher cause, known as the law of causality.
        You mention a large universe which cannot happen unless there is a much greater power, and that I believe is the living God of the universe. Anyone is free to deny it but that does not change the truth. There will be consequences for those who do not believe.

        October 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
        • lionfou

          There...will...be...consequences....(said with Darth Vader voice)....for those who do not belieeeeeeve......

          I think Jesus would rather hang out with a gay atheist who loves her enemies and doesn't judge and does unto the least of these, than a pompous 'believer'.

          Whether you EXPERIENCE God/Love/the peace that passes understanding, is what matters. Belief in some psychopath God who's gonna send His own kiddies to eternal torture, is not belief in God at all. That's confusing God and the Devil. The Devil being judgmentalness, disrespect, ungenerosity, eye for an eye.

          October 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Truebeliever

          Oh really! I guess you have decided you are higher than God and declared Truth. Read the Bible and understand real truth.

          October 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • lionfou

          God is higher than any scripture, religion, belief or ritual.

          Only human arrogance claims that any scripture is perfect.

          They asked Jung if he believed in God, and he said "I EXPERIENCE God."

          I spend my life with the peace that passes understanding, and have "no other God" before It.

          Belief, by definition, is not knowing. We can KNOW God–whether you call Him/Her Sam, Bananafish, or the Ultimate, is irrelevant.

          And even an atheist can know God. Do you need to believe in chocolate to taste it? Peace is peace, love is love, freedom from suffering is freedom from suffering.

          And pretentious fools who claim to represent God, can wallow in narcissism and hypocrisy all they want. You either experience heaven NOW, or you missed the entire teaching of Jesus. "Heaven is within you...in your midst...at hand."

          When you stop judging and hand over your anxieties and love everyone and give up grasping, you will be in heaven.

          The rest is pure BS.

          October 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • Truebeliever

          Please give me the Biblical reference to "Heaven is within you....
          Thank you

          October 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • lionfou

          Matthew 17:20-21. Some translate the Greek "entos" as "in your midst" rather than "within you".

          I do not need a scripture to tell me heaven is within me,
          just as I do not need a menu to tell me chocolate souffle tastes good.
          But it's nice that it does.

          IMPORTANT to remember though, that there are many translations, and I go back to the Greek as much as I can. Do you know that maybe THE most important test of a Christian, "do good to those who hate you", is clearly in the Greek Bible (Matthew 5:44), the King James, and the New English Bible, but NOT in the Revised Standard and others?

          It's one thing to have different translations of a line, but to DROP IT OUT as if it weren't there??? I smell a rat.

          So careful about making a translated scripture your guide. Whether you feel peace or not, joy or not, is your guide. Heaven is not a place. If God, in Heaven, is everywhere, then how can heaven be a place?

          Whether you call the endless fountain of joy within, Heaven or the boogyman's underwear, is irrelevant. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

          I don't need promises of heaven, or concepts of heaven, or arguments about heaven.
          I have the real deal, the thing itself. And so can anyone.

          The price? Love your enemies, judge not, do unto the least of these as if they were your own child (or Jesus), and "take no thought for what you shall eat...or wear."

          "Is that all?" 🙂

          Jesus himself, when questioned about saying He was God, quoted the Old Testament "ye are gods."
          And yes, he said it in the plural.
          "Whoever follows the spirit of God, is the son of God." (Romans 8)

          And judge not, love your enemies, is the spirit of God. Not very common, eh? No problem–and no excuse. Heaven is at hand (another quote, google it).

          October 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Smarty Pants

          "I do not need a scripture to tell me heaven is within me," Oh really? Interesting. So I guess you can go ahead and ignore these verses...

          All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

          October 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • lionfou

          If you were living in Boston, and somebody walked up to you and said "I've got a book that will tell you how to get to Boston", wouldn't you look at them a little strange?

          But if someone else walked up and showed you a book about beautiful sights in Boston, that might interest you. Maybe you missed one.

          Scripture, to me, is the second example.

          In John 1, he describes the "Logos" (badly translated as "the Word" in King James, even more badly translated in the other versions)–as both the creator of all, AND "the light which illumines everyone who comes into the world".

          We are illumined by the Logos–as in bio-logy, psycho-logy, theo-logy. By the ability to understand for ourselves.

          The dogmatic religionists are trying to BLOCK us from listening to the Logos, God inside us–which is senior to any scripture.

          Besides which, people have a zillion translations and a zillion interpretations of scripture. The slaveowners said the Bible said it was a sin for a slave to try to escape–and they were right!

          The male chauvinists said the Bible told wives to be submissive–and "I will not suffer a woman to teach, and to have authority over a man."

          The Bible says all football players are sinners–"You shall not touch the skin of a pig."

          On and on and on.

          I have no use for any of that–and neither do most people.

          But the Bible as a great teacher of how to maintain my experience of "the peace that passes understanding"–YES! That is practical, not dogmatic.

          So I'm living in Boston (peace, love, joy, heaven)–and you want to tell me how to get to Boston?

          Or did I misread you?

          October 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Smarty Pants

          "If you were living in Boston, and somebody walked up to you and said “I’ve got a book that will tell you how to get to Boston”, wouldn’t you look at them a little strange?"

          You can think you live in Boston all you want. That's your prerogative. On the surface, the Book appears to be a guide for getting to Boston. But not properly heeded, it leads to religion: thinking you live "in" Boston. Actually, you are self-righteous and your own god. You do not know God because you do not heed His word.

          His Book is not about living in Boston. It's about Boston living in you.

          October 26, 2013 at 8:12 am |
        • lionfou

          "It's about Boston living in you."

          EXACTLY!

          October 26, 2013 at 8:50 am |
        • Smarty Pants

          Round and round she goes, where she stops... wait a minute, she's still going, ...and going, ...and going!

          You seem to be saying 2 things, lionfou. It can't be both. Either the Book is necessary or it's not. It's not a 'nice to have' reference for where you arrive on your own. It's your ONLY map to get there. It's not just a compass to point to point in the right direction. It IS 'there'. It IS the 'direction'. It's not an owners manual because, if you're a Christian, you don't own you!

          Instead, you said you didn't need the Book because you were already there. I say that's impossible because you can't get there or even know where 'there' is without it. We cannot discuss 'there'. We cannot have unity, fellowship, or walk with Christ unless we have been transformed by the renewal of our minds and STOP being conformed to this world. Renewal of what? Our thoughts. And from where do we get these thoughts? The Book.

          October 26, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • lionfou

          Smarty Pants,

          I have no interest in beliefs about heaven. Belief, by definition, is what you don't know. Enjoy your beliefs.

          If I'm hungry, and one person offers me a feast, and the other offers a lecture about food, will it be hard to decide who is worth my time?

          I have interest in the direct experience of heaven. NOW. Always. Knowledge of heaven, not belief.

          It is the understanding and happiness in YOU (the Logos, John 1: "The light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world") that matters. If Scripture awakens that, GREAT!

          The light in US is the Logos, the son of God. Scripture can help us get in touch with that. Otherwise, it's useless.

          If reading scripture fills you with judgments and opinions, then scripture is your doorway to hell.

          So if you want to argue beliefs, I'm the wrong guy. I'm too busy enjoying the fruits of the spirit. I do not need anything more.

          "But you couldn't possibly be in heaven! That's against my beliefs!"

          QUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

          I'll eat the food, and you can have opinions about food. I think I'm the lucky one.

          October 28, 2013 at 12:44 am |
        • Smarty Pants

          lionfou said, "I have no interest in beliefs about heaven. Belief, by definition, is what you don’t know. Enjoy your beliefs."

          Then what are you doing in CNN's Belief Blog?!

          lionfou said, "If I’m hungry, and one person offers me a feast, and the other offers a lecture about food, will it be hard to decide who is worth my time?"

          I'm not lecturing. I'm just saying.

          lionfou said, "I have interest in the direct experience of heaven. NOW. Always. Knowledge of heaven, not belief."

          You mean you don't believe what you know?

          lionfou said, "It is the understanding and happiness in YOU (the Logos, John 1: “The light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world”) that matters. If Scripture awakens that, GREAT!"

          Why do you focus so intently on that one verse and throw the rest out? It doesn't talk about happiness and awakening. It talks about being born again and suffering with Christ, just like I'm suffering your comments.

          lionfou said, "The light in US is the Logos, the son of God. Scripture can help us get in touch with that. Otherwise, it’s useless."

          Are you lecturing me?!

          lionfou said, "If reading scripture fills you with judgments and opinions, then scripture is your doorway to hell."

          You seem very opinionated without having read scripture. Watch your step!

          lionfou said, "So if you want to argue beliefs, I’m the wrong guy. I’m too busy enjoying the fruits of the spirit. I do not need anything more."

          Who's arguing? I'm just saying. Besides, if you're too busy to discuss beliefs, again, what are you doing on CNN's Belief Blog?

          (I don't respond to ducks.)

          lionfou said, "I’ll eat the food, and you can have opinions about food. I think I’m the lucky one."

          Whatever. By the way, it ain't about luck. You'd know that if you read scripture.

          October 28, 2013 at 3:57 am |
        • lionfou

          Ah, yes.

          What if I came on the Belief blog to challenge beliefs?

          You obviously don't want to come out of your head into the world of experience, so that's fine. Heaven is a reality, right here, "at hand", "in your midst", "within you", "does not come with observation".

          But don't believe ME. In fact, I often go "Don't believe a word I say, find out for yourself."

          I remember once talking to a dogmatic Christian, and saying "Stay in your heart."

          "What?"

          "Stay in your heart. If you lose the love, you lose everything."

          Got him out of his head, and into the real world, here and now, his real experience, his heart, where God/Love dwells.

          "One who loves is born of God, and knows God....Perfect love casts out fear."–which is why fear of some future hell is of no consequence to one who loves. They don't do things for reward or punishment, they're beyond all that. They just love, and give, and appreciate, and support others.

          You're more stubborn than that guy, not coming out of your head for ANYTHING.

          Fine, God is patient.

          Happiness, guidance, creativity, safety and healing are good enough for me. And the Spirit is an infinite ocean of all of them. Whether I ever read a scripture or not. God is SOOOOO far beyond all words, religions and ideas. The head can't go there.

          And brains are GREAT, they just have limits. And spirit doesn't.

          October 28, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • Smarty Pants

          lionfou said, "What if I came on the Belief blog to challenge beliefs?"

          That's good! We would do well to understand WHY we believe the things we believe.

          You believe a person has to get "out of his head, and into the real world, here and now, his real experience, his heart, where God/Love dwells." And this belief is based on your personal experience. In fact, you claim it transcends mere belief BECAUSE it is based on personal experience, experience that has found its way into your heart and not just your head. Interesting.

          Apparently, you also believe that I'm a "dogmatic Christian" and a "stubborn guy... not coming out of my head for ANYTHING." You also believe that "Heaven is a reality, right here, “at hand”, “in your midst”, “within you”, “does not come with observation”." Yet you also believe that I "obviously don’t want to come out of [my] head into the world of experience."

          That's a LOT of beliefs! I'm certainly challenged by all of them!

          PS – Gee, I'm not feeling very loved, appreciated, and supported right now. I guess you're not one of "them."

          October 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • lionfou

          For thousands of years, people have been oppressed by 3 tyrannies, which often go together: Big guns/swords, Big Money, and dogmatic religion.

          Money says "You MUST work for me, or you starve."

          Guns say "You MUST obey me, or I will kill you."

          Dogmatic religion says "You MUST follow this path, or you go to hell."

          One of the greatest evils you can do to a person, is to get them to invalidate their own experience.

          Once that happens, you can turn them into a slave. As we have seen with the false gospel for 2000 years, so-called "Christians" slaughtering more people than all other religions plus atheists combined.

          "By their fruits you will know them", and dogmatic Christianity's fruits have been pretty hideous.

          The real-deal Gospel is another matter. One of the greatest practical Christians was a Hindu! (Gandhi, who inspired our greatest Christian leader, Martin Luther King.)

          To say "You couldn't possibly be in heaven, because it goes against my book (supposedly)", is really, really evil stuff. It's also pure BS, but that's beside the point. You can never know another's experience.

          When you're in the true peace, opinions are absolutely useless.

          "I thank you Father, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual, and revealed them unto babes."

          "You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows."

          And I don't need a blowhard to tell me if I'm happy.

          October 28, 2013 at 1:08 am |
        • Smarty Pants

          Are you saying your karma ran over my dogma?

          October 28, 2013 at 5:57 am |
        • Will

          Any reasonable person can read the bible and only gather one truth.... that the bible is all nonsense under the cover of half-truths and lies. Free for repercussions for not believing has always been the favored tool of keeping the followers faithful. Some things never change.

          October 25, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • lionfou

          "Any reasonable person?"

          Reasonable people have many perspectives. You and the funless mentalists are flip sides of the same coin, outrageously simplistic and hilariously self-certain, with no connection to reality.

          There are brilliantly reasonable people who are highly religious,
          and brilliantly reasonable people who are atheists.

          There is a lot of very high level teaching in the Bible, next to absolute nonsense and grotesquely immoral stuff. The Bible is a very flawed work with gems all through it.

          I had to leave the church and do a lot of ecstatic meditation to realize what Jesus was talking about. The Church just turned me off.

          Or as Shaw put it, "I have nothing against Christianity. I just think it's never been tried."

          And the ones who preach it the loudest, practice it the least.

          Heaven within is real. You can call it pure consciousness, or satchitanand, or whatever you want.

          An endless supply of joy, beyond any belief or religion.

          The last thing Jesus wanted to do, was found some belief system. He showed a path to compassion, spiritual power, and all kinds of esoteric yet practical teachings that need to be investigated to be understood.

          There's nothing to argue about. That's like arguing whether a ham sandwich is real. EAT IT, or don't. The rest is nonsense.

          October 25, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • Seth

          You ask, applaud, why it is that atheists go out of their way to oppose Christianity. Besides the obvious fact that many Western atheists were at one time Christians, it should go without saying that Christianity's prerogative is to spread itself. If the basis of one's atheism is rational skepticism, it follows that blind or fallacious belief is something to which atheists are in opposition, especially when those beliefs lead to the rejection of science and human rights.

          Arguments from ignorance and causality lack evidential or logical rigor to support there being gods, let alone any particular god of the thousands that have been worshipped throughout human history. There could be a potentially infinite number of possible causes for the universe. It is one big question mark what the cause(s) was (were), if there were any causes at all.

          The so-called "law of causality" is not a law so much as it is a series of observations we make from the standpoint of human experience. Events have influences that lead (per a linear time as we experience it) to other events. So just as you label God as the first of the events to set other in motions, why could not the universe itself be the cause of all else? The universe itself being the First Cause wouldn't necessitate it "popping out of nothing." In fact, it is Christians that believe – perhaps even from an incorrect understanding of Scripture – that it was created ex nihilo.

          The only atheists I've seen seriously argue that the universe came into existence where there was only void before is on what they see as a basis in physics.

          October 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Peregrine

          "Your lack of faith is disturbing."
          "Gasp..... Gurgle..........."

          October 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
  8. Julie

    Not everything is explainable. I guess I find comfort in religion at those times. If you have ever been terrified or hopeless, you will find yourself praying.

    October 20, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • David

      You need to visit "Crossroads" church in Cincinnati, OH. It's faith without the BS. Crossroads is not afraid to address tough questions, demonstrate God's love to those mainstream society deems unacceptable, and help us understand that we are all broken or imperfect, yet loved and forgiven by a tremendous God. Yes, there is coffee in atrium, a tremendous praise band, and comfortable seats, but this church is much more about substance than style. No matter who you are, you can experience God's love at Crossroads and be encouraged to spread it to others. You can sign me-broken, forgiven, loved and faithful.

      October 20, 2013 at 8:56 am |
      • Little Timmy

        " It's faith without the BS."

        I'm sorry, Mr. David, but that's what's called a contradiction.

        October 20, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • Dwight

          Yes, Little Timmy, you are right: faith without BS (Bible Study) is indeed a contradiction. Faith in what? Is there a god? Is there THE God? Does God care? Was Jesus Christ a real man? Was he also the 'Son of God'? 'What is truth'? Pilate asked. What is religion? What is spiritual maturity? What is the gospel? If there's good news, what's the bad news? What is the 'mystery of the gospel'? Does sin condemn a person? Are people condemned, forgiven, loved, hated, sinful, saints? When are they not? Why am I here? Why am I me? Why are all the others here? How did this world get into the mess it's in? Does it mean something, anything? What is the evidence of ALL these things?

          I tell you the truth, Little Timmy, NONE of these questions can be answered without BS (Bible Study). The things of God are FOOLISHNESS to the natural person, and the answer to these questions ARE the things of God. These questions are NOT carnal, but SPIRITUAL. You can't acquire them through academics. Having a doctorate degree in theology, no matter what the denomination, is NO indication a person knows the gospel. In fact, if the person associates themselves with having religious training in a particular denomination, it's probably a REAL good indication that they don't know the gospel. Sure, many will know parts of it, and many have wonderful compassion for the welfare of others. But is this it? No! Anyone can be compassionate! How else could these things be revealed to babes, yet hidden from the learned and wise? Are you able to test and know what is the good and perfect will of God is? Not without BOTH faith AND BS (Bible Study).

          Carl (from your reply below), you are absolutely in that 'religion is definitely for the weak minded' because 'they' ARE children. Of course children are weak-minded. They to grow, learn, have experiences, and mature. They don't just come out of the womb brilliant, even if the parent names them Brilliant. They have not been properly trained 'so that they may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes'. The questions I gave above are not easy for even Christian children to answer if they are young and naive in the knowledge of doctrine (at any age), even if the questions appear to be easy, and they're even harder to answer thoroughly. Would you be foolish enough to think you could comprehensively answer questions about physics without intensive study and prequisites in earlier mathematics? Yet, way too many people attempt to answer the questions above from a position of ignorance. They start to get it, then they jump to the conclusion that they got it. Then, it gets worse: they build on this faulty foundation of knowledge, call it faith, and before you know it, people are forking over hard earned money because what they hear sounds convicting, positive, powerful, uplifting, emotional, touching, etc. The reason they have edgier music, the latest coffee shop paraphernalia, skinny jeans, is exactly because they got their priorities messed up. The focus SHOULD be knowledge, COMPLETE knowledge. They worship what they do not know.

          I'll tell you what else is a contradiction: when someone criticizes something they obviously know nothing about! I wouldn't trust a movie critic who has gone to a theater, but hasn't seen the movie being reviewed. Likewise, I wouldn't trust a critic of spiritual things who has only seen religion from a local church and/or the media, but hasn't studied the 'deeper things of God'. People have ALL KINDS of tastes and preferences in religion: music, structure, missions, prayer, tongues, dress codes, no dress codes, and on and on. How are Christians supposed to 'seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace' and 'love one another'? And, no, tolerance isn't the same.

          Little Timmy, Carl, anyone else reading this comment, I strongly and sincerely suggest READING the Book. In fact, STUDY it. Combine faith WITH BS (Bible Study). Yes, it will be difficult and challenging. That's why SO MANY give up and either turn away and criticize religion (or just forget it) or turn to religion and leave the hard stuff to someone else, even if that person turns out to be blind, wretched, and naked. They are BOTH weak minded in this situation. The Book is INTENDED to be difficult and requires humility. If you don't approach it with an open mind, the truth will remain sealed to you no matter how many pages you flip. (That's an interesting concept in itself.) Anyone with any questions is free to contact me via email at dwight_usa@yahoo.com. I love talking about doctrine, and I will respect your opinion. I find the Book to be the most profound and wise text I have ever read, yet I am appalled at the twisted mess religion has made of it.

          So, yes, faith without BS (Bible Study) is a contradiction. Religion is definitely for the weak minded? Absolutely. But don't let those obstacles keep YOU from knowing the truth.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Seth

          "The things of God are FOOLISHNESS to the natural person"

          No kidding. Tell me something – You said that this is one of the wisest and most profound books you've ever read – Does this mean that you're a very unnatural person? That only a complete wonk would take the Bible seriously past the age of reason?

          Seriously, though, you approach others outside of your religion (that is what it is defined as) with conviction in the message of the Bible, saying that it can only be comprehended and accepted through deep, careful study. But most of the world doesn't have that luxury, and those that do have the time and are outsiders to the faith need evidence to invest that time in doing so. What is your evidence – evidence that would stand trial in a human court or withstand scientific evaluation?

          October 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Dwight

          Seth,

          "Does this mean you're a very unnatural person?" Absolutley, yes. I am a New Creation in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17)

          "That only a complete wonk would take the Bible seriously past the age of reason?" Yikes! Not exactly in those words, Seth. First, it takes a lot of courage and humility for someone to diligently seek God,

          especially in such a rebellious and skeptical world. People think I'm weird, but that comes with the territory. I would replace 'a complete wonk' with 'courageous individual'. Ironically, I think people who won't

          diligently seek Him are scared of something, like losing control of their minds or actions, or just plain not having fun. On the flip side, people who know the truth are not scared, but otusiders say they should be.

          Second, the Bible is actually very logical. Most denominations mess up on the foundations of truth, so the rest of the building ends up looking like a game of pick-up-sticks. Every try playing that? Frustrating as

          hell! I think that's why a lot of folks criticize it saying, "How can you play that game? Do you actually think you're going to win? Don't you know that no one's ever won and it's a farce?" Thirdly, would I take it

          past the age of reason? Absolutely, in fact it doesn't work any other way. If you limit yourself to earthly things, guess what is the maximum you could be enlightened to? That's right, earthly things. You're going to

          have to go past human wisdom, even past the Age of Reason, to understand the wisdom of God. Sorry, that's just how it works. Hey! It wasn't my idea. 🙂

          "You approach others outside of your religion..." Correction, I may be approaching religious people, but I am not IN a religion. I am a Christian, but I am not in the Christian religion, nor any other religion for that

          matter. The Church that Christ built has nothing to do with religion in local churches, but people better make very certain it's the other way around without the religion part.

          "But most of the world doesn't have that luxury..." This is so true, Seth, and so sad. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Yet, many who ARE capable and DO have that luxury will STILL spit and

          mock this 'unnatural' life of faith. Labor, therefore, for treasure that does not fade or rust, for food that enters the heart not the stomach, for drink that satisfies thirst to eternity. Oh, but first you want the

          evidence, almost forgot...

          "Outsiders to the faith need evidence to invest time [in deep, careful study]." It's a cause and effect thing. Faith is the cause, evidence is the effect. I think I explain better by answering your next question.

          "What is your evidence – evidence that would stand trial in a human court or withstand scientific evaluation?" Is that all you would accept as evidence? I'm sorry, Seth, but I'm laughing as I type this. Please don't

          be offended. Here, let me show you why. Did you ever hear your mother, friend, or school buddy say, "See? I told you so!" I'd bet on 3 things: 1) it wasn't in court you heard this, 2) you certainly need a 'scientific

          evaluation', and 3) it hurt like hell! Probably before they said, "I told you so," they may have said things like, "Don't ride your bike without shoes on!" Or, "Don't fall asleep with that gum in your mouth." Or, worse,

          "Make sure that thing isn't loaded."

          In some cases, there's is evidence I would take OVER that which would stand trial in a human court or withstand scientific evaluation. And sometimes, I must admit, my conclusions aren't correct and need to be

          re-evaluated and adjusted. But, I don't need or even seek outside evidence to tell me that a skinned knee hurts when I just skinned my knee. Did I know how bad it was going to hurt before I skinned my knee?

          Would it have helped to ask a doctor? I don't think so. Afterward, I'm going to run to the medicine cabinet and get a bandage, not Google and query 'do skinned kees hurt'. I definitely know it hurts!

          Likewise, I'm not going to wait for the final outcome of the 'Creation vs Evolution debate' before I have another drink of water, just as I am not going to wait if I'm thirsty for the knowledge of the truth. I'll start

          with a sip. That's fine with me. My evidence is that I am refreshed. It's not your evidence. There's an element of trust you will be refreshed that will have to suffice as your motivation. To trust takes humility and courage.

          October 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Seth

          Whether it would work for a person to become a Christian or not is not material to how large is the claim and how scarce is its evidence. You point out a number of examples of things that we will believe that are not held to exacting standards of evidence. But these are simple things, easily explained, and even more easily demonstrated. Guns kill. Gum can be swallowed. Feet can be crushed or mangled in a bike crash. It can similarly be shown that the message of the Bible may make people feel better, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's true, or that it would work for everyone.

          What you are saying amounts to "Trust me, make this entire book your bread and butter; live and breathe it, and then you will feel better" – this is asking people to make an enormous investment based on a flimsy premise, that it made you feel better because you simply believed it without asking too many questions.

          I am not the sort of person to find satisfaction in that.

          October 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • Dwight

          [Correction, I meant to say after "I'd bet on 3 things... 2) you certainly did not need a 'scientific evaluation'...]

          I also wanted to give a positive example of personal evidence that overwhelms court evidence or scientific evidence, not just the skinned knee episode.

          Are you a father? Have you witnessed first-hand your wife giving birth to your first born? I am and I have. It was an amazing experience and beautiful far beyond words. In fact, I was speechless, filled with awe. Until my son was born, the best I could do was listen to or read about the experience of other fathers.

          That experience more accurately describes my spiritual experience, my personal evidence of the deeper things of God that easily withstands others telling me it isn't so. I know what it's like to have a skinned knee. Don't tell me it doesn't hurt, even if a court of law would declare otherwise! I know what it's like to witness the birth of my son. Don't tell me it's not awesome, even if scientific evidence says it's as mundane as pooping! I know the evidence God has given me as a result of the faith and trust I have placed in Him. This ain't no fairy tale! This is more real than the computer I'm using to type this message. But, please, DO tell me why you won't trust Him as well. Or, another way to put it, WHY do you believe what you believe?

          October 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Seth

          " But, please, DO tell me why you won't trust Him as well. Or, another way to put it, WHY do you believe what you believe?"

          It's not a matter of trusting God; for what God can I perceive to be trusted? There has been none. The next best explanation is that the Bible was the work of men and men alone. I believe that because it is the best explanation that I can muster based on my knowledge: that power and an ordered populace are sought by leaders, and the written word lent both to the authors of the Bible's scrolls, and those who invoke them; that the world is not physically organized in the way that historical context and the early portions of the Bible would suggest; that miracles and supernatural things do not happen. There are other reasons I could point out why I don't believe the Bible is the truth – none of them are really The Big Reason Why, it's just consilience that leads me to believe the book is mundane.

          October 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Seth

          It bears mention that claims like "The Bible was written by men not inspired by God" is not a provable or even an evidenced claim either. I just believe, based on what I do know, that it is most probable. All the same I don't need to assume that one position to reject another. Claims I reject I do so on a skeptical basis – "Men wrote the Bible" doesn't invoke the supernatural or extraordinary quite so much as the widely-accepted alternative.

          October 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Dwight

          Seth, I'm waiting for my post to appear. I tried twice, not sure what happened. I'll check again tomorrow.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • Seth

          Any word containing a swear in any form will not be posted – superst1tious, for example, is a word that won't post.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • Dwight

          Hmm, you can say 'hell' but not that other word? Gee, it's tougher to post here than get in heaven! I tried a few variations, still not going. I never knew I had such a foul mouth on me!! 🙂

          October 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Dwight

          Seth said, "What you are saying amounts to “Trust me, make this entire book your bread and butter; live and breathe it, and then you will feel better” – this is asking people to make an enormous investment based on a flimsy premise, that it made you feel better because you simply believed it without asking too many questions."

          I say... Not really. Make this entire book your bread and butter? Maybe eventually, that'd be nice, but start with a sip here and there. No, I'm not asking people to make an enormous investment, at least not at the start. In fact, I'd probably advise people to going too far too fast. That could lead to religion and we're worse off than when we started. Actually, what is there to lose? Why not take a sip here and there?

          October 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • Dwight

          It doesn't like my next paragraph for some reason. I'm going to try posting my whole response with that trimmed way down.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Dwight

          (Gee, Can't get all my thoughts out.)

          Seth said, "What you are saying amounts to “Trust me, make this entire book your bread and butter; live and breathe it, and then you will feel better” – this is asking people to make an enormous investment based on a flimsy premise, that it made you feel better because you simply believed it without asking too many questions."

          I say... Not really. Make this entire book your bread and butter? Maybe eventually, that'd be nice, but start with a sip here and there. No, I'm not asking people to make an enormous investment, at least not at the start. In fact, I'd probably advise people to going too far too fast. That could lead to religion and we're worse off than when we started. Actually, what is there to lose? Why not take a sip here and there?

          Made me feel better? Yeah, honestly? I toyed around with that goal. But, I eventually realized how flimsy it was. In fact, that's a HUGE problem with many religions today. Google the statistics on how many 'Christians' switch churches primarily because of the music. The music! Yet, at one time I was one of them. How trivial is that?! Embarrassing! No, the real goal now for the last several years is wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. If feeling better was my goal, I'd still be jamming my thumb in my mouth, spiritually speaking.

          "You simply believed it without asking too many questions." WOAH! HOLD ON, Seth! On the contrary, the more I learned the MORE questions I had, and I asked a LOT of questions. Some people say that belief is a mind-control or flat out denial of what we see in real world. On the contrary, doctrine correctly acquired and applied, is a deeper understanding of we think is 'real'. Even the Age of Enlightment had a goal, and it promotes questioning everything. Well, guess what. You ask more profound questions, you will get more profound answers. I didn't STOP asking questions. On the contrary, I kept asking more profound questions that went beyond the limits of human wisdom.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Dwight

          Seth said, "It’s not a matter of trusting God; for what God can I perceive to be trusted? There has been none. The next best explanation is that the Bible was the work of men and men alone."

          I say... Don't worry about 'explaining' the Bible. The works of Shakespeare were the work of one man, a school drop-out, I believe. He uses Old English and invented a lot of words himself. Yet, I'm often amazed by his insight into human behavior while simultaneously expressing things beautifully. Have I read it all? No. Do I understand all that I read? No. Is he worth the read? Absolutely! I definitely think so, even though it was almost like a foreign language for me to start. I'd highly recommend it to someone else: 5 stars!

          Now, here are these men that claim to have heard directly from God in a collection of apparently disconnected books. What the? But, you know what I consider? They claim to have something very important to say, so even if I didn't believe the Bible is the word of God, maybe they deserve a chance. Some mundane books actually have a surprising twist that makes the effort worthwhile. If not, at least you can be thankful you missed all the mindless commercials on TV of lesser value while you were reading.

          Seth said, "It bears mention that claims like “The Bible was written by men not inspired by God” is not a provable or even an evidenced claim either. I just believe, based on what I do know, that it is most probable. All the same I don’t need to assume that one position to reject another. Claims I reject I do so on a skeptical basis – “Men wrote the Bible” doesn’t invoke the supernatural or extraordinary quite so much as the widely-accepted alternative."

          I say... Obviously, you trust your knowledge. (Ah HA!) Should you trust your knowledge? Why? To what extent? We are only capable of learning from what we are exposed to. What if there's a significant chunk missing from that exposure that would quickly show us that half of what we hold to be true is, in fact, not? And evidence not yet seen turns out to be overwhelming, standing up in any court and the scrutiny of scientific examination? Certainly, you have had to change your thinking here and there upon gaining a different perspective or deeper insight. Or have you always been 100% right your whole and simply build on the previous knowledge? If the age of reason intrigues you, and skepticism plays an active role in your journey through life, why not question why you are even alive at all? Why are you 'you'? Or are you mundane also? You sound like you're standing firm, but standing on what? I think therefore I am?

          October 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Dwight

          YEAH!!! I finally got it. I think I found the offending word. If I'm right, that filter has got a nasty mind! Here is the offending paragraph with the word changed...

          I talked about the deep things of God, and that's my goal, but that's not where I started. Spiritual knowledge builds up. A lot of the Book is very confusing, and it seems to contradict itself at times. But I just kept pushing. There's a LOT of maturing, testing, and growing along the way.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Carl

      In other words, you can't handle life without some bs fairy tale? Wow! It does seem that someone with brains would look for evidence of god instead of just saying "He exists!" Hogwash. Religion is definitely for the weak minded who can't handle life on their own.

      October 20, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • redrockhistory

      and to pray has nothing to do with being inside a formal religious building. I pray every day and I quit attending church 20 years ago due to the BS.

      October 20, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Mandy

      The kingdom of God is within you. When you begin to display the kingdom of God as Jesus announced out of the book of Isaiah in Luke 4:18, 19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the Broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." When Jesus becomes real to those who are truly searching for the truth.That is what is meant by him coming to the poor. It was not just for those who are poor. He cares about them too. It is about those who realize they need God and are spiritually poor without Him. We have the ability to do the work of the kingdom now. Heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. Nothing can stop it and if you do not catch the next wave, which is the kingdom coming to earth in the greatest measure in the history of the church. You will miss the greatest revival on earth. This is where you see God's glory and His great love for the world.

      October 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        God's great love for the world...would you have murdered the babies and small children that were living in Sodom and Gomorrah. I can tell you, I would not have. Also, if God had the power to selectively kill the first born of every person in Egypt, why didn't God use that same power to spare the babies and small children of Sodom and Gomorrah?

        October 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  9. Ancient Believer

    Most of what you described that millennials want has been around your whole life but its missing a few things. Maybe you need some real change.
    check it out.

    Not a change in style but a change in substance. Check!
    End to the culture wars. Check!
    Truce between science and faith. Check
    Be known for what millennials stand for, not what they are against. Check!
    Ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers. Check Check Check!
    Allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation. Personally doable!
    LGBT welcome in faith communities. Check
    Social Justice. Check!

    Maybe its time to look at Reform Judaism.

    October 20, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • triplej1

      as a reformed jew. just stay away from it all. and walk your own path.

      October 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  10. GOOD NEWS

    Jesus said: I will build my Church upon this ROCK,
    and the Gates of netherworld shall never prevail against it!

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

    October 20, 2013 at 5:19 am |
  11. Atheists are wrong about Jesus and ancient religion

    What if Atheists are wrong?[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&w=640&h=390]

    October 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  12. Commonsense

    Whether science is right or wrong, the beauty of science is that it is present / here to be challenged.

    October 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Steve

      That's a lie. Science gets challenged all of the time, and the outcome is anything but beautiful.

      October 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Commonsense

        That science came be challenge is beautiful. Use the thing that's between your ears.

        October 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  13. ed-words

    You want to get them back? Dump Jesus. (Did I say that?}

    October 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  14. NIC IACOVETTI

    I am a devout othodox christian, and alsolutely know that the day will come when some of you will undersatand what Jesus Christ is all about.. I am convinced that when the day comes that you are ready to die, more of you will look to the real Jesus than a rock and roller.. Reality will strike, I saw it in war, when all the so-called anti-God were always poking fun at the ones who were praying, and whern the guns started to go off, and they were real., then the ones who made us feel that we were crazy with all that religious nonsense, were the first ones to really start praying, and out loud, and guess who they were addressing.. God, not their friends back home or their rock stars or what they claimed to be so important, .All that suddenly left because they were truly aware that they were going to die, that made all the differance in the world.. and that's the game that's being played today, about God and religion. God is really a mistery, and if you cant believe that you will not accept God..But dear friends much is a mistery in this world, and all I can say is at the last moment of our lives, there is the realization that it could be true, and you willl not have the time to cuss him out or say I don't believe.. The majority that I have witnessed in a war made it clear to me that at the last moment.. it all comes back in a hurry.. But we seem to forget that most do not have that moment of acceptiong and that is the saddest part, it will be too late.. I leave you with the mosrt important thing to remember is what Jesus said.. and I am paraphrasing..'You will not know the time or place when you are called.. He also said,"Many are called, but few are chosen " .Your time will come as it does with all of us.. it pays to be rerady and not gamle with eternaty.. God be with you!

    October 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Seth

      People become irrational under duress. Are you really suggesting that God exists based on human reactions to the threat of death, or of Hell?

      October 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • 4ormorechars

      Ignorance is bliss

      October 20, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Ralph Monkman

      Incoherent crap! You should at least learn how to spell!

      October 20, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • triplej1

      all of life in the universe is made out of sound and force. everything. the name of jesus is a healing word. it represents the act of being healed. so when we see death, and possibly pray, we want our perceived soul, to be healed before we die. because innate in most people is the idea of heaven and hell. do i know if either exist? well, i almost did die in 1997, and i saw something. but scientifically, it was my serotonin coming into my brain, because of trauma. but spiritually, it was a "Trippy" experience. i understand you are faith based. and believe in the tribulation! i get that. the world is very messed up these days. just not good! i am a former jew. from birth. i am a current holistic practioner/healer. i get paid to heal others. i can tell you from my 10 years of work. i have seen all the perceived angels call upon. all it was, was our power of intent. so if your intent is to strongly believe and dictate the bible to others, than so be it. but understand, the perceived g-d gave us free will. allow people to have that wonderful gift.

      October 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  15. Lrymrtn

    Ms. Evans, may I say I enjoyed your article. It is my hope that those that run our churches have also stumpled upon this article and found the time to ingest the information that you have provided. I find that in has helped me realize just why I feel the way I do about organized..... or maybee,,,, disorganized religion.

    October 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Dave Harris

    What the heck is a "millennial", anyway? Are we just supposed to know?

    October 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Lrymrtn

      Born 1977 – 1998 comprising of 75 million members

      October 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • Googleit

        GenX born ~1974-1983
        Millenial born ~1984-2004 (aka GenY)

        October 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  17. PPLRWRD

    What I don't get is the big bang theory. Here is what baffles me about it. First the part about THEORY people don't get. Second, the part where the big bang was a sudden outrush of energy out of nothing. This is in complete contradiction with the laws of physics which states that no energy can be formed out of nothing. But people embrace that so readily but mock God so easily. Finally, I can't see how people don't seem to understand that most "science" is speculation. Oh, there are proven aspects here and there, but heck there are proven aspects of religion here and there too. But science will say the egg yoke is good, no bad, no good, no bad again and no one sees the uncertainty of science? Now, I think religion is uncertainty too. How many contradictions, just like science, are out there in those realms too. But why are people so willing to dismiss an undeniable spiritual aspect of the human being yet so ready to embrace scientific THEORIES as fact. Is science wrong, not saying that. Is if NOT fact, absolutely not. They have some facts, but many educated and uneducated guesses.

    October 18, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • jkflipflop

      You're a complete imbecile. I seriously hope you're just trolling. No one can honestly type that drivel with a straight face.

      October 18, 2013 at 7:21 am |
      • Lrymrtn

        What I do not understand is the need to demean a person. To me it only shows the lack of respect one has for their fellow human.

        October 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • jkflipflop

          Because it's the same as someone trying to tell you the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny is actually real and performs the actions depicted in the stories.

          If I tried to convince people that Santa is real and actually delivers presents to a billion children across the globe in one night, I would fully expect to be called an imbecile.

          October 19, 2013 at 6:23 am |
      • Penelope

        Seems to me you are the troller (some one intentionally trying to incite anger) .You insult this person for expressing their thoughts that really seem to be pretty reasonable. After all there are scientific facts and there are scientific theories, hypotheses that may or may not be proven. Some one that knows nothing of religion would not know if it is a fairy tale or not.

        October 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Seth

      "What I don’t get is the big bang theory. Here is what baffles me about it. First the part about THEORY people don’t get."

      Theories are explanations that attempt to reconcile large bodies of evidence. They are not simply guesses with no basis in fact. No widely-accepted theory is fully rigorous, correct, but that is about as meaningful as saying that equations describing physical events are not rigorous – Both are based on wide swaths of data and observations.

      "Second, the part where the big bang was a sudden outrush of energy out of nothing. This is in complete contradiction with the laws of physics which states that no energy can be formed out of nothing."

      Where did you get the understanding that the Big Bang formed from nothing?

      "But people embrace that so readily but mock God so easily."

      Make no mistake. They're not mocking God as though he were a real thing, they're mocking you for believing something without any evidence.

      "Finally, I can’t see how people don’t seem to understand that most 'science' is speculation. Oh, there are proven aspects here and there, but heck there are proven aspects of religion here and there too. But science will say the egg yoke is good, no bad, no good, no bad again and no one sees the uncertainty of science?"

      Science by definition is always based on observational data, even if a scientist draws the wrong conclusions from those data. Speculation is used to generate hypotheses, but these hypotheses will never be claimed to be in evidence by any scientist worth their salt if that evidence doesn't exist. Finally, yes, scientists yet things wrong – it's a human endeavor, after all, and all things human are bound to err, but it is a vastly superior mode of thought to religious dogma. The "proven aspects" of religion consist of shoehorning reality to a preconceived notion rather than forming notions based on reality.

      "But why are people so willing to dismiss an undeniable spiritual aspect of the human being"

      Because it is deniable, and you are pulling the assertion that it is not out of your rear.

      "Is if NOT fact, absolutely not. They have some facts, but many educated and uneducated guesses."

      It's a matter of correctness probability. I'll take the thinking that got us computers, steam engines, and the Internet over the kind of thinking that advocated self-flagellation to avoid the Black Plague.

      October 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • Commonsense

        well said

        October 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jay

      Seth,
      A theory in the scientific community is much more than what most people consider a theory. In the scientific world, a theory is based on the most up to date information from evidence to support the original hypothesis.Once enough evidence is collected to support the hypothesis, it moves to the next step- known as a theory- in the scientific method and becomes a valid explanation of a phenomenon. Just because it is not called the Big Bang Law, it doesn't mean that there is not more than enough evidence to support the theory.

      I go to church every Sunday, so please do not make us look bad by being so closed minded.

      October 20, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • raaronjones

      Try checking out Lawrence Krauss, he has a theory on something from nothing, namely that the energy of the universe is equal to dark matter, such that the total energy of the universe is about zero and therefore possible from nothing. He is a strident atheist, I can see that he may be hard to watch if a hard believer. I at least hope it is interesting as a mind game.

      October 21, 2013 at 9:16 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.