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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. pwgrant

    Within the catholic church, not edgier music, but perhaps more eclectic. Time and time again I see, music from almost all cultures of the world is considered eclectic and good for all to hear/listen to/be spoken to/etc, EXCEPT for "american" music. Many will say devotional music is not "appropriate for liturgy. they go on to say, it's mainly the perspective of the worshiper or song leader. The first person pronoun ("I") being a hallmark of self centered, devotional, "praise and worship" (much maligned in "I Need thee every hour") They say this (and more), yet will use – ad nauseum – "Amazing Grace", or "I Want Jesus" and the like. Millennials are leaving because they see right through the hypocrisy. Music is just on of the most obvious places the hypocrisy is so transparent.

    -
    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.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • devin

      You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Spot on.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  2. J W

    As a millennial having grown up in a Christian background and now stand right at the edge of it, I just want to say:

    I want Christianity to be REAL. I want Christians who truly follow the doctrine to prosper ALL of the time.

    Not 50%, not 75%.....100%!

    I want to be able to not have to resort to faith, as if I have to first believe and trust something stuffed in my head/heart and then expect it to come true. I NEED to see it! I need to see that the God, which the Bible talks about, prospers those who faithfully live as a Christian. Not 50%/75%....but 100% of the time. Why? Because you will NEVER know if its fortune or God if even just 1% of true Christians live in pain and lack.

    I am sick of having to restructure myself mentally and emotionally whenever contradictions arrive. Right now, I can intellectually cheat/lie/harm others to prosper. I can be honest and good and yet be harmed/abused/dishonored. As a millennial, I have had enough time to experimented this and find it to be true.

    I want to see ALL Christians to truly be the happiest people on earth. Most blessed! Having lives that are the most meaningful and easily acceptable as meaningful by ALL mentally and emotionally. Not have to use faith as an excuse to readjust myself mentally and emotionally in order to wide-eyely watch the things that contradict what Christianity indoctrinates.

    No more BS, like the article says, the millennials are the ones truly asking: IS CHRISTIANITY REAL!?

    July 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • GAW

      To be honest... I don't think that any of what you say is even possible.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Once one looks under the covers it is very hard to pretend you didn't see what was under the covers.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Corinthia

      No it isn't. Sorry 😦
      I would assume that either all of mankind's approximately 22,000 gods are real, or all of them are false. The odd lay on the side of all our Humankind's gods being human-made. Process that. It means no soul, no afterlife etc. Just happy to be alive, healthy, and a joy to the world! 🙂 PEACE

      July 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • laguna_b

        The sad irony is that they try to get US not to enjoy our lives.....

        July 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why confine your hopes and wished to members of the dead jew zombie vampire cannibal death cult aka christianity? I hope that everyone prospers regardless of their religious beliefs but see no need for any god(s).

      July 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • coolbreze6

      Take a look at the Presybterian church. We a not perfect, but we are very middle of the road and most churches welcome LGBT people. But the main point is that Jesus is our Lord and saviour. What more could you want?

      July 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • J W

        Again..

        I want to see ALL Christians to truly be the happiest people on earth. Most blessed! Having lives that are the most meaningful and easily acceptable as meaningful by ALL mentally and emotionally. Not have to use faith as an excuse to readjust myself mentally and emotionally in order to wide-eyely watch the things that contradict what Christianity indoctrinates.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        coolbreze6, you are not claiming that your cult alone has proof are you? Why would anyone join a cult, or jump from cult to cult, without better (any!) proof that the new cult's superheroes are any more real than the previous one(s)?

        July 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  3. HotAirAce

    The most important sentence: "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."

    Too bad she didn't follow through with "'cause it's very likely there are no gods and no divine jesus, despite mankind's yearnings."

    July 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  4. Dave

    What a great article. I'm a long ways from being a millenial but agree whole-heartedly with you. I'm an oldster who has also left the Evangelical circles for the more high church tradition where all are welcome......Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. That's hard enough without all the religious, cultural, and political agendas that in the end seem to always benefit some elite group.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  5. GAW

    In America there is the free market of religion. More and more Americans are becoming more privatized about their beliefs and using the web to create their communities. How will churches adapt to this?

    July 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • babs

      They wont. There's no money in it.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • GAW

        Unless they use PayPal 🙂

        July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  6. crappygovernment

    The godless, soulless, eyes and faces of the Atheists themselves are the best testimonial for Christianity!

    July 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • GAW

      There, there get it out of your system. Feel better now?

      July 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Contemporary Christians like you are the point of the article. You are the face of modern evangelical Christianity, which is characterized by arrogance, condescension, and hatred.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        Well said. I assume the author would rather associate with atheists than this hateful Christian top poster. It is that type of person that makes her go to the farmer's market instead of church on Sunday!

        July 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • Zebediah

        "which is characterized by arrogance, condescension, and hatred.": I assume you are talking about the spirit of your leader: Bill Maher. What a swell fellow!

        July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • Burzghash

          Bill Maher is not our "leader". We don't have a "leader". You are merely projecting your own structure on others. For you, you can't fathom that there isn't some overlord overseeing everything and thinking for his minions.

          We think for ourselves. We're quite content with that. We're happy with this life, the only one we know for a fact exists. We are kind to and treat others with respect, not out of fear of punishment from an invisible cloud wizard, but because have logic as our faculty, and we can empathize with others.

          But please, do continue on spouting the ad-hominems and vitriol. It's doing wonders for your cause.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Please show anywhere in my post that I indicated I was an atheist.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
        • lionlylamb

          Burzghash wrote, "Bill Maher is not our "leader". We don't have a "leader".

          I assume then that your leadership being is testimonial toward "our" and "We"..? Get a grip dipstick..!

          July 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • sativa619

      If you are using all those names to describe Atheists, not only are you judging, which Jesus Christ specifically told you not to do, you also sound like exactly what the author was talking about – Hateful Christian. Do yourself a favor and take this quote to heart as well... "Silence is golden."

      July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • crappygovernment

        tolerance of everything = amorality = not Christianity

        July 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Burzghash

      I'm an atheist, and I'm actually very, very content with my life. For me, it's enough to see that a garden is beautiful, without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it. I have faith in myself, and am happy with my accomplishments. I do good things because I have empathy and can put myself in other people's shoes, not because I am afraid that an invisible sky wizard will punish me.

      Your 'empty, soulless" comments are just you projecting your hatred on others. The only one who is empty and soulless here, is likely you. You're scared that something you've believed in your whole life may not be true, and you're fighting tooth and nail against the prospect of being wrong. That has no bearing or influence on the happiness that most atheists enjoy, content in this life without having to hope and wish for a fantasy one beyond it.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  7. AJ

    "[Y]oung evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity[.]"

    Speaking as one raised in a fundamentalist evangelical church, I say right on. Please do choose between these things, as they are irreconcilable. I hope that each person faced with this choice makes the correct one, and chooses reality over stupid fantasy and wishful thinking. Left the church in 1999, haven't been back, will never go back, and don't miss it even a little bit. A waste of 30 years of my life.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Abby

      Nice!

      July 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • lol??

      Training is for children. Raising is to make a vegetable bwain outta ya.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  8. Zebediah

    The fundamental problem with science is its pseudo Truth. Science has to be 'rational'. It deals with constructs of immediate reality. Christianity deals with eternal truths which exists outside of physical reality. Thus Christianity is classically idealistic. You cannot judge or measure the unknown/non knowable by the known. In the beginning was the Word...This means God exists/ed before our known reality was created. Therefore, how can you test God's existence using the scientific method. God also does not HAVE to obey the so called laws of nature or science. Since God invented reality, he can use whatever means necessary natural or supernatural to carry out his Will. So why in the world would you want to trust your view of eternity to science which by its very nature is limited. Science says if I cannot test it, it doesn't exist for me–a failed view of life.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      I don't true my "view of eternity to science". I have no view of eternity. It is folly to have a view of eternity expect as a romantic notion.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Zebediah

        And yet for some strange 'reason', scientists long to explain eternity in terms of natural processes...big bangs...elusive primordial processes extant billions of years ago...which of course cannot be directly measured. And yet this speculation-conveniently labelled 'hypothesis'–hoping to prove, that there is no external force which demands attention, consumes the 'soul' of many a theoretical physicist. Whom would you choose to believe: Jesus or Steven Hawking? Will Mr. Hawking rise bodily from death? I think not.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Why would anyone choose to believe in unicorns, talking serpents, people turning into salt, and the moon stopping still?

          July 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          So Zeb, you can prove that someone, say some dead jew called jesus, has risen from the dead, right? Until you do, I'm going with Hawking and his merry band of scientists. . .

          July 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • laguna_b

          Zeb, it is a lot easier to believe in the absence of actual understanding of science, which you seem to have mastered. Only someone completely in denial of and ignorance of science could make the statements you do. In fact you would have been on solid ground 1000years ago before the modern age of science...no longer. We don't hav time to educate you here, just to quesrtion why you avoid doing it yourself and spout all this garbage.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Sorry but you’re delusional. There is no evidence that anyone has ever died and come back. The bible is just a book written by men.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        You're a musician so what's wrong with romantic notions? Where do you derive your inspiration? From mid air? When the nation of Israel was greatly outnumbered and sure to lose a battle, God instructed the king to send out his musicians and singers first out into the front line to mock the other side, and as they began to play he told the king, "this battle isn't yours it's mine." So guess who won:)

        July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          There is nothing wrong with romantic notions and I have them also. e.g. I love my wife and if there is an afterlife I would like to meet up with her there. BUT having these notions is a lot different than saying these notions are TRUTHS.

          So I understand why some of the Christians views (notions), are attactive (but others are scary), but to beleive they are truths is a sign of immaturity.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        You can meet up with your wife in eternity if you believe, but, it takes more than belief, it takes action, because the Bible says, "faith without works is dead." The action is taking in knowledge of God and his son Jesus Christ. The more you delve into it the more you will believe and see that "all things are possible with God." Your wife is very fortunate to have someone who loves her so much:)

        July 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • If Horses had gods their gods would be horses

      So this would be great if your god was real. But without reality/proof/evidence etc, its just inane words. You must be able to comprehend that Man is weak and scared of death and that such men 2000 years ago made up your fairy tale to make themselves feel better i.e. going to a 'better life'. Your god is not real, just words dancing around your mind. You have no soul and there is nowhere to go when you die. You are biology, nothing more.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So Zeb, scientists can back up what they say with evidence and/or hold very open discussions about new theories and propose ways to test or prove them. Can you, or any other believer, back up any of your claims about religion with any evidence or tests? I think not.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Zebediah

        Only through direct revelation from God which was given to us in the life of God the flesh, Jesus. Seems good enough for me.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Looks like I was right. You are spewing bullsh!t with nothing to back it up. You are mentally ill, a liar or both.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Austin

          and there are those with spiritual gifts falling under special revelation, of which I have experienced, have data on as evidence and proof of God, and they call me ill too.

          logic is not salvation. understanding your need for God to authorize salvation on His merit based upon the true desperation that we fall in, is noteworthy to our Savior.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Austin – insisting you have "proof" is merely an indication that you don't understand the definition.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          So Austin, when are you releasing The Squished Kitty Chronicles? I don't think your "evidence" will be any more real than alleged for The Babble.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • laguna_b

        Zeb sure can weave a magical path around reality. Zeb, what if I said I AM YOUR GOD? Would you believe me? At least with ME you could SEE me FEEL me etc. I suspect you would deny that I am divine and ask me to prove it. Perhaps you should ask the same level of proof to the invisible friend you choose to have a one way conversation with.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      @zeb

      Fine, you don't like science? Then stop using it. Don't drive, get off the computer, don't you dare go to a doctor. Just go sit out in the middle of nowhere and pray for everything you need.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  9. Andromeda26

    The barrage of "We want" throughout this immature opinion piece sounds more like "I want" to me. I lost interest with the third "I want." God does not negotiate his terms. Belief has never been about getting God to change to fit your convenience or likes.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      There are 100s of Christian sects. Which one truly represents god's terms? I would say none of them.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
      • Zebediah

        Based upon what supernatural evidence? Because a 'sect' is limited in its understanding of God, does not mean that God's reality does not exist. And many of a denomination's practices come under the heading of culturally permissible. God has allowed groups to express their understanding through their culture. As long as that practice does not conflict with God's normative doctrine, then the practice is acceptable. If a group wants to worship God wearing Santa suits, eating smores and playing kazoos...the practice may be quite bizarre, but if the worship is genuine..then it is pleasing to the Lord, if not to most other folks of a different culture.

        July 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          I found this comment interesting: As long as that practice does not conflict with God's normative doctrine, then the practice is acceptable.

          Acceptable to who? God? So you speak for god? As for this 'normative doctrine' I assume you mean as laid out in the bible. Well one can interpret what is written in many different ways. So who determines if there is a conflict? You know what God's actual interpretation is?

          Like the top poster you appear to believe you know what the correct and accurate interpretation, guidelines and practices are. I believe the author is saying that she doesn’t accept that.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • Austin

        jazz guitarman, if you don't believe in God, you represent the temptation that was an attack with the intent to destroy.

        you present a trick from either direction.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • NMKidsPastor

      Where does God lay out His "terms" for church services or how we relate to different generations? The gospel does not change but the way people understand and relate to it does. Thinking that the way we do things never needs to be thought through or, gasp, changed is nothing but religious snoberry and laziness.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  10. tellingitlikeitis

    Having had a family who practice their beliefs in evangelical church, and educated in Catholic high school and college, I was confused as to my belief in the existent of God. Then I started relying on the teachings of some of the world's greatest philosophers which minds our younger generation know nothing of its correlation to religion. It takes alot of thinking to decipher and sort out if there is a higher Being to whom we pray.

    In the '60s there were transcendental meditations; then there are holy seers like the Popes and the dali lama, what have gotten or getting out of their teaching? Forget about the Jim Bakkers,Jimmy Swaggerts, Pat Robertsons of the past. What about the preaching of "Joel Osteen"? Are there any generation left which truly believe in the existent of God? Maybe it's all in the Bible; and if is, the revelations are coming to past. Once we no longer believe in the Bible and the existent of a higher Being, and having cast that beliefs aside; could Judgement Day be just around the corner.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dippy's helper

      Existence. The word is existence, not existent.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
      • Dippy

        That's what happens to those educated in Catholic high school and college. Too much knee time, not enough study time.

        July 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • OTOH

          Dippy,

          Catholic schools have dolts at the bottom of the class too. I don't know, but @tellingit might have been educated in another country with English as a second language.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      So you should be saying thanks to atheist and agnostics since they are helping to bring along this judgement day you appear to be hoping for.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  11. Bob Dole

    Why millennials are leaving the church? Because they realize religion is all made up BULL.
    GOD=NO REAL

    July 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      The author isn't agnostic so she still believes in the myths. This is true for the majority in her generation. While polls show a major decline in religious affiliation but only a small decline in the percentage that do NOT believe in a god \ higher power.

      As this generation marries and has kids they are looking for something similar to what they grew up with without the baggage (well expect the baggage of needing a savior).

      July 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  12. Truth

    Another day, another Christophobic article from CNN...

    July 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Well, there have been over 5 articles about the Pope in the last week. So don't worry, CNN is still giving more representation to your team!

      July 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Atheist

      Actually it's just more Christian propaganda from CNN. Any article that has the sentence, "Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus." cannot possibly be "Christophobic".

      July 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
      • Truth@atheist

        Why do you so fear that which you do NOT understand?
        What is it about Christianity that so scares you?

        July 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • Observer

          “It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand.”

          Mark Twain

          July 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@atheist

          You said, "Why do you so fear that which you do NOT understand?"
          What makes you think there is any fear or lack of understanding of christianity? For most atheists here, it is the intimate understanding of the delusion that caused them to shed the nonsense. If there is any fear, it is for the dimwits that will act in defense of their moronic religion, and thereby endanger everyone.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Zebediah

          Observer: I don't believe you understand Twain's comments at all. He was not belittling Christianity. To me, he meant: If a person were really serious about Christianity, there are so many difficult expectations, that a person cannot easily dedicate himself to. Twain was saying: it is clear to me that being a Christian is clearly something beyond which I want to live...And with his sarcastic nature, he is also saying that most purported Christians are hypocrites because they do not follow the difficult teachings of the Bible, but superficially live according to a false understanding of the Christian life.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Wow...namecalling...very classy.
          Low self esteem much?

          July 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • Observer

          Zebediah,

          Actually, we don't know for sure he ever said it, but it is attributed to him. Although he was somewhat religious, here's what he did say:

          "Faith is believing what you know ain't so," and "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian"

          July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca
          You said, "Wow...namecalling...very classy."
          How else would you classify adults that still believe in the Tooth Fairy and equivalent imaginary creatures?

          You said, "Low self esteem much?"
          No, my self esteem is pretty good. My esteem of believers, not so much.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Nice...you admit your bigotry and fear of Christians...
          Admitting your shortcomings is the first step. I will continue to pray for you.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca

          You said, "Nice...you admit your bigotry and fear of Christians..."
          No fear. I just have low tolerance for ignorance. Particularly the willful kind.

          You said, "Admitting your shortcomings is the first step."
          If that is so, that why do you still cling to your fairy tale? Why haven't you admitted that there isn't a single, solitary shred of evidence to support the core of your beliefs? Why haven't you admitted that your belief in your god is no different from a belief in the Easter Bunny?

          You said, "I will continue to pray for you."
          Knock yourself out. I'll continue to think for you.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Wow...such "tolerance" and respect. You exemplify why nobody takes the far left party of hate seriously.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca
          You said, "Wow...such "tolerance" and respect."
          ROTFLMAO. May I suggest you read back and look at your own posts?

          Don't come crying to me about respect. If you want respect for your beliefs, you should start by not holding such silly ones. The best you can expect is a respect for your right to hold those dimwitted views.

          You said, "You exemplify why nobody takes the far left party of hate seriously."
          Says the person that is part of the reviled extremist, and shrinking, right wing. You'll forgive me for not holding your opinion in very high regard, considering that you still cling to your infantile beliefs in imaginary creatures.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Wow...such hatred all from one who cries out for tolerance...you are a great example of why the far left is doomed in our country... Thank God (literally)

          July 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca

          You said, "Wow...such hatred all from one who cries out for tolerance."
          Not buying into the complete and utter baloney that religion is doesn't deprive you of any rights. You are still free to believe and worship as you see fit. Pointing out how moronically dimwitted those beliefs are is not hate. It's a public service. It's a call to you and others to open your eyes and mind. You don't have to. You won't be damned to hell for not doing so. You'll just get ridiculed when you display your views in public.

          It's not like your views are akin to skin color, or sexual preference. You can easily cure ignorance.

          You said, "you are a great example of why the far left is doomed in our country."
          Wishful thinking.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Wow...just wow!
          Why such hatred?
          Who damaged you?
          Did your first husband leave you for a Christian, hence the fear and hatred on your part?

          July 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca

          You said, "Why such hatred?"
          What makes you think there is any hate in my posts?

          Let me reiterate. Pointing out how irrational religious beliefs are isn't hate. It's a suggestion for you to reflect on them, or prove me wrong.

          You said, "Who damaged you?"
          What makes you think I'm damaged? Of the two of us, it isn't I who still clings to infantile beliefs.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • Truth@linca

          Kings, you are the who is namecalling and making personal attacks. Intellectual earmarks of low intelligence and low self esteem. Please, get professional help. Willful ignorance on the level you exhibit needs therapy and lots of it.I hope you find what you need to accept reality and think clearly.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Truth@linca

          You said, "you are the who is namecalling and making personal attacks. Intellectual earmarks of low intelligence and low self esteem."
          I covered this already, above.

          You said, "Please, get professional help."
          Wouldn't you agree that those that suffer from (or enjoy) mental illness should be the ones seeking professional help? Wouldn't those that suffer from delusions need it far more than those that point out that fact?

          You said, "Willful ignorance on the level you exhibit needs therapy and lots of it."
          Ignorance of what, exactly? What is it that I am missing? What is it that I don't know that you think I should? I admit that I can be ignorant of a great many things, but not willfully so. If there is anything that you think could prove the existence of your imaginary friend, please share. If you can prove its existence, I will join your book club.

          You said, "I hope you find what you need to accept reality and think clearly."
          I did. I accepted reality when I shed my religion and the silly beliefs on which it was built. May I suggest the same?

          July 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • LinCA

        @Atheist

        The article sheds a less than favorable light on the particularly nasty bits of evangelical christianity. I would venture a guess that Truth is an adherent of one of these despicably nasty factions in christianity. He/she probably feels that any form of christianity, other than his/her own, is christophobic. If they don't hate like him/her, they must be against him/her.

        July 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  13. cleareye1

    Religion is continuing its very slow demise. As human's progress and understand more about the cosmos they inevitably conclude that following ancient, sheepherder beliefs that began as fantasy stories, then being layered with a semblance of historical facts, is not a reasonable thing to do. The search continues.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      I wonder where she will be in say 20 years; either towing the line or agnostic.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Zebediah

      Define 'progress'. According to the Word, we were created perfect and now we are Digressing to perdition. So you are deluding to identifying our ever increasing perversion and enmity toward God as 'progress'...to Satan's delight. You call black white and white black. Perfect example of Orwell's vision of 1984.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • laguna_b

        So God is perfect and everything he makes is perfect yet we turned out wrong.....that only makes sense if you are willing to ignore any reasoning...ah...but of course, you are a religionist.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • jstars

      Religion will never die, it will just evolve.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  14. postedbygeorge

    Christianity is a middle eastern jperversion.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  15. John

    Uh, yeah....good luck with that.....

    July 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  16. Observer

    "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."

    Amen.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      I don't see how she can expect a Christian church to change their 'substance' without changing their core values. Are there any secular, somewhat agnostic, Christian churches? I only ask because it looks like that is what she is looking for.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • ed dugan

      No, they just have to choose between common sense and thnking for themselves or letting some religious huckster think for them. The bible is mostly fiction filled with religious nonsense that was meant to keep the troops in line. Live in fear of a hell which doesn't exist and hope you get to heaven (provided you are babtist of course) which also doesn't exist and if you are confused by all this pray to a god who doesn;t exist. Such stupidity!

      July 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  17. alex

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

    July 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bacie

      AMEN! Long live the Sun God and all his incarnations!!! lol

      July 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  18. shawbrooke

    I agree with what you say with two exceptions. Leaders hear loud and clear that no one wants a cause (other than Jesus) and when you mention one they assume that you are equally out of touch on everything else.

    I agree that millenials want authentic Christianity. They want Jesus and the New Testament. They might be okay with increased rights for gay couples in greater society and they are most certainly in favor of non discrimination in society, but equally they want the freedom for churches NOT to marry gays and to follow the New Testament. That's a distinction that you must make if you want to keep millenials. That's one reason they are attracted to conservative traditions. There's less hype and equal adherence to basic New Testament Christianity as compared to traditional evangelical churches.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Booya Bible

      Churches don't have to marry gays. Pull your head out.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      I assume most atheist don't wish to force a church to perform a SSM (i.e. that is a rare position period), but it is unclear if she would be willing to belong to a church that didn't wish to perform a SSM (but she implies she supports SSM).

      So I feel she dances around the hard issues. She says she wants a church that has changed "substance", but than fails to be specific.
      .

      July 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  19. oneSTARman

    It is not so much that the young are leaving the Church – It is that the Church has left Them.
    It is Much like what has happened to the Republican Party which has shifted to the Fringe RIGHT
    and it is Probably NOT a Coincidence that the GOP BASE is Centered around the Evangelical Christian Right.
    Just as Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were Liberal – Progressive Republicans
    MUCH of the LIBERAL social Reform like Abolition of Slavery
    and the Vote for Women
    the Labor Movement and Civil Rights
    were championed by Liberal – Progressive Churches.
    The Primary Driving Force behind GROWTH of the MAINLINE Denominations
    was Progressive Social Justice Movements
    The same POISON that is KILLING the GOP
    is Killing the American Christian Church
    but there is HOPE
    Christians Know how to REPENT
    Which means to TURN Yourself AROUND

    July 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Athy

      Random, senseless capitalization does not make for a pleasant reading experience.

      July 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Justine

        Yeah, what's up with that? I have been noticing that more and more lately...

        July 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Athy

          I think it's mostly from the religies who generally don't write all that well.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  20. Justin H

    I am atheist and have zero need for religion in my life. I would far less hostile toward religion if it were to adapt in the ways the author mentions. However, I feel it would be better if people didn't focus on religion and simply lived by the virtues of respect for others, tolerance of differences, being honest, helping your neighbor, and so forth.

    July 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • NM

      You nailed it, mate.

      July 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.