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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. Just Call Me Lucifer

    Indiana Bus Crash: Youth Pastor, Pregnant Wife and Chaperone killed when a bus heading back from a Michigan youth camp overturned coming off an interstate... Saturday, July 27th.

    So, when is the light gonna go on in your always-faithful heads that there is no Invisible Superman to save you? Stop wasting your time... the being you think you're praying to either isn't there, or doesn't give a rats ass about you or anyone else. Are ya gettin' it now? Time to wake up people... there is no one here but us.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Reality

      Taking god down a notch helps:

      In Church: The Human Story of God, Schillebeeckx says, "Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      Bottom line: One of God's greatest gifts to us is that of the Future.

      Schillebeeckx was responding to the Dutch citizens who were blaming God for the North Sea storms that destroyed a significant number of levees resulting in a significant loss of life and severe storm damage. Sound familiar??

      July 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • acw77

      The rain falls on the just and the unjust. No one is immune from Satan. And recall, God gave us the choice to live in a perfect world..man decided to do what he wanted to do rather than live a life taken care of by breaking the one and only rule that was given. God didn't force us from Eden, man knew what he was doing and chose. And as for the comment above, you can't believe in the big bang and have faith in God..you can't have absolute science that demands a logical and tangible cause (which no one has the right answer for because no one lived millions of years ago) and then also believe that God exists though you have never seen proof of His existence. It's either faith or science.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • Bob

        Actually, acw, your god could fairly be called an ass hole for punishing us for what two of our supposed long ago ancestors did. That plus being a human rights abusing, racist jerk who threatens humans with eternal torture for the "sin" of sincerely not believing in him.

        So, no thanks. You can keep your disgusting, silly stories about your ass hole of a sky fairy to yourself. Silently, please.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  2. Just Call Me Lucifer

    Indiana Bus Crash: Youth Pastor, Pregnant Wife, Chaperon died heading back from a Michigan Youth Camp on Saturday, July 27th.

    So, when is the fricken light gonna go on in your ever-faithful heads that there is no Superman to protect you? Seriously, you gotta face the facts now. Horrible things happen every day and although your ALL-POWERFUL god could prevent them, he is and has always been SILENT. Are ya gettin' it now? Don't be afraid... we can all help each other, just like we HAVE BEEN DOING since your god turned his back on you, or more to the point, never existed. Its really time to grow up and realize that tall religions arwe LYING TO YOU! Whats the difference between Peter Popoff and Rick Warren? Absolutely nothing. Thieves that prey on your fear. Its time to evolve. Get off yer damn knees and help.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • JimK57

      He does not help because there is no need for him to. We are here to spiritualy evolve.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • Just Call Me Lucifer

        So he has the ability to save the Youth Pastors wife and child but chooses not to? Are you kidding? You PRAY to that thing?
        Wake up man. Evolve.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
        • kthorpe

          But we do believe they were saved... The sorrow is for those left to deal with their (temporary) loss of loved ones and friends so much sooner than expected.

          July 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
        • Doobs

          @JCML

          It's easier to rationalize when you can say crap like "Well, gawd called him home."

          July 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        @JimK57,

        Wow !
        The difference between spirituality and religion, very few ever understand that.
        They are to busy looking for signs, expecting miracle, and searching some prof beyond what is in their hearts.

        The flip side is it then is easier to live with their behavior.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • JimK57

        Death is horrible for us because we think it is the end. It is not. Put it this way, if here is an afterlife, then death is meaningless.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
        • Bob

          For comparison, "sacrifice" of a "son" by an "omnipotent" "god" as a requirement to "save" anyone is complete nonsense, as is the entire Christian religion.

          July 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • OdinVonTogan

      It simple, but you will have to expand your mind. I'm an engineer and I do stuff that biblical-time people would say is the stuff of gods. During ww2, pacific islanders thought the US military were gods – because they never saw planes before. You need more than that, OK, here it is. Today, our science is writing data onto and doing calculations with protein molecules – far more advanced than using silicon chips. Your brain is protein – with a database that holds your memories and philosophy, and it does calculations. God made it. God also made an internet that is wireless, which is uploading and storing a copy of your memories, ideas, decisions, etc. All these combined are you, your soul.. Yep, it is being uploaded and stored in a file folder, with your name on it, and when it is no longer uploading, because your (current) body died, you still exist, in that file folder. This explains what others speak about as your spirit, or soul, that lives forever. As others explain, God doesn't worry about your (current) body that only lives for 100 yrs – He takes care of your soul. Simple. And when you think others are stupid to be 'religious', how stupid are you to limit yourself to this one planet, when there are billions up there, all connected by God's Galactic Internet, no big bang, no beginning, no end, forever, billions of souls traveling the ever-changing universe, in and out of various human-like bodies, on and off of different earth-like planets. As far as memories you have that you would like to forget, no problem, file deleted. As far as heaven and hell, look around, this is a hellish place, with some heavenly stuff to teach us the difference. Wanna go to a better place next time, with nothing but heavenly good stuff, then fill your file folder with good deeds, because some day, yes, it will be opened and reveiwed and judged, and next time, you will be uploaded as you deserve, to a better place, or a worse place, than this one. Yes, it is that simple.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  3. Jesus is a lie

    Idiot Xians: The bible mentions cities. Cities exist, therefore the bible is real.
    ------
    In Spiderman 2, I saw Spiderman stop a run a way subway in NYC.

    NYC exists + Subways exist = Spiderman exists!

    July 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Some of those cities they spout out have been around way before Christianity or any group that believed in one God were formed.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • tallulah13

        It's amazing how people of every era are familiar with the geography of the land they call home It's amazing how people can remember the names of cities from stories that have been passed down. But the most amazing thing of all is how some people interpret this very human knowledge as proof that their god exists.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        The cities that are mentioned in the Bible have very little to do with proving the Bible to be true! Although they do prove that the cities existed during that time. Archeology, history and science have all helped to substantiate the Bible's validity whether inadvertently or not. The Bible says that a little wine is good for the body. That too much honey is bad. It speaks of the "circle of the earth." The earth as being "suspended" and "hanging" on nothing. Job who lived in the desert spoke of snow and many things he could not have possibly known about on his own. The proof is way too numerous to mention. It is overwhelming! Many of Isaiah's prophecies have been fulfilled and there are prophecies written for the last days that are being fulfilled now.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
        • tallulah13

          The bible said that Moses led jewish slaves out of Egypt, but archaeology has proven that the "Exodus" never happened. It said that the Earth is a circle, when in fact it is a sphere. It also discussed unicorns and dragons. If people wrote of things outside of their own alleged experience, it is entirely possible they heard of such things from travelers and traders. The middle east has historically been a hub of trade, and there is certainly things like snow in Africa, Asia and Europe.

          No one knows who wrote the bible, but it was compiled by men who included what books supported their views, then discarded the rest. It is rife with contradictions and mistakes. It can certainly be credited for geographical knowledge, as well as folk wisdom learned from experience, such as the proscriptions against eating shellfish or pork, but it is certainly nothing more than the recorded myths of a specific people from specific points in time.

          July 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      It's so much more than that. The Bible, some of it written over 3500 years ago, by 40 different writers, and over a span of 1500 years is very detail orientated. Written over 50 generations from men inspired of God that came from all walks of life, from kings to fishermen, and even a doctor. They lived in different lands and many didn't know one another. There was no internet back then. Yet the Bible is in perfect harmony and has one theme throughout. Many prophecies have been fulfilled and even history confirms events as being true such as the fall of ancient Babylon. Why would these men do this on their own? And why isn't the Bible mess that makes no sense if it isn't the word of God! Ask 40 people to write a novel without being able to confer and see for yourself if the story makes any sense.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Very good, dissidentfairy!

        July 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • Gadflie

        Perfect harmony? Really? You've never actually read both accounts of the nativity, have you?

        July 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • tallulah13

        You can thank the Council of Nicaea for creating the "harmony" of the bible. In 325AD, a bunch of churchmen came together and decided what should be in the bible, while tossing anything that contradicted what they wanted taught. Of course they couldn't catch everything - The bible is still filled with contradictions and inaccuracies. But I guess it's accurate enough to convince those who really, really want to be convinced.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Tallulah the Bible does not contradict itself. Bible translators go to the original manuscripts to translate versions of the Bible. Some writings have not been included because they were deemed not to be part of the original manuscripts and were written at a much later date. You can't believe everything you read on the net. Unicorns and dragons? I would address more of what you said but I'm late for a dinner appointment...maybe later. Have you ever read the Bible or really analyzed it? The more I read the Bible the more convinced I am that it really is the word of God. It's like discovering something new at every turn.

          July 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Is it your assertion that your gerbil named Jesus lies about you?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Why are you obsessed with gerbils spambot?

        July 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  4. Austin

    Topher, is that me?

    July 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Merlyn Teigen

    I don't think we can invent a new god for every generation. Most Christians believe in God without beginning and without end.
    I think his main message is love your neighbor as your self. Then you will be worshipping God properly.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Seems god had a lot of other messages too, beyond the ones that your rose-colored glasses see. Check these out, straight from both evil testaments of the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • JimK57

        There is no hell. Everyone goes to heaven.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I want to love my neighbour – she's stacked!

      July 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      Does killing Iraqi children because your government tells you to absolve you of sin? If not, there's a LOT of christian Americans who are going to spend a REALLY long time in Hades. Or can you kill a bunch of children and then ask god for forgiveness? (How convenient is THAT rule?). If you can get forgiveness merely by asking, then you can commit any unspeakable crime and still be "good with god". Gotta had it to you guys, that's an amazing form of "morality".

      July 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  6. Austin

    Luke 8:11–13 – Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. (ESV)
    1 Timothy 4:1 – But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (NASB)
    Hebrews 3:12–14 – Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (ESV)

    July 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • SDY

      Indeed, many are now taking the name of God in vain and using it to support worldly desires like petty political causes.

      They focus on the details and the rules, where Christ taught in parables and principles. He shamed those who proclaimed He was in error because He healed the faithful on the Sabbath and he scorned those who tried to use him in debates over taxes.

      The evangelical church has become far too worldly, far too political, and far too narrow-minded to appreciate holiness. As Paul said to the Corinthians the evangelicals may have faith that can move mountains, but they have forgotten about love.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, austin, another quote. Are you able to think for yourself or did the booze kill that faculty?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  7. Austin

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    2 Timothy 4:3-4

    3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      I'm so glad you were able to post it Austin. The version I was trying to post said "tickle" instead of "itch" but the point is the same:)

      July 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • Austin

        armor up my good servant.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        The New American standard version says it's based on their "desires".

        July 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  8. Jesus is a lie

    We are leaving the church because this is the 21st century and the belief in Bronze Age sky gods are moronic.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      I gotta tell ya... it was a good gig while it lasted.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • 2

      and subject-verb agreement is a concept you have not mastered

      July 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
      • Jesus is a lie

        At least I do not get on my knees to please a non-existent god.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Dippy

      "Is moronic," not "are moronic."

      July 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  9. AJinPompano

    Welcome to the information age.
    The Bible is no longer intentionally made to be a mystery by church leaders.... You can google it's history. Written between 50 and 300 years after the death of Christ, over 300 books at one time, vetted down by the Emperor Constantine to a mere 78 at one point, a few more take out later, modified many times to suit it's political purpose.
    This wasn't a divine scripture..... it was a means of social control. People know this now, the only ones who don't see organized religion for what it really is (a means of power and control) are the ones who refuse to look.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      Excellent "red pill" post. Grats.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      @AJinPompano,

      It's not so much that they refuse to look as it is more of what the non-believers have fallen victim to, which is what religion has shown us. And then of course most are scared, and have no better understanding of a God then the non-believers as well.

      The task for people in general is to separate Religion and Theology from a God.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Chauncy

      Say AJ- I hope you told the Hebrews their Bible is post-Christian era. I'm sure they will be interested to know . . .

      July 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  10. Joe

    Religion is a personal matter. However without it, you can never become a proper person.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      Really now. So then what is a "proper person"?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And unless you can provide a successful argument supporting your claims, you are just spouting a baseless opinion. I know many atheists who, in my opinion of course, are better persons than many, if not most, believers.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • timelord7202

      Okay, so I can go to a doctor's office and call myself a MD.

      It's about the practice. Not any affiliation to an organized service, whose participation usually boils down to the control of people, and/or the taking of their money. Doesn't matter what the initiation or rite is, symbolic or otherwise. Christian Communion is vampiric, The Great Rite is just using other people to get one's jollies, tell me a religion (modern or ancient) and I bet there will be at least one similarity regarding the control of people.

      And if you ask questions, prepare to be booted out. We don't want to encourage people to think of their own accord and realize they may have been duped.

      I know people who are not affiliated with any religion (agnostic, not atheist) that are far more humane in action than any number of "religious" people. Are these people not proper because they do not conform to any rule of any cult?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Joe: And if your religion commands you to abuse women, and you do so, that makes you a proper person?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • timelord7202

        Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is a great example. Want to get married? Just scope out someone who looks like a virgin. Do the deed, pay the 50 pence or whatever, and you get a wife for life. Oh, another portion of Deuteronomy states what a husband can do if he finds out his wife was not avirgin. Yet these, and other nasty truths are never talked about by pastors or ministers in sermons. Can't imagine why...

        July 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Why? Because God told the children of Israel to follow these instructions, in return they would get to keep the land he gave them and live with his blessings and prosperity.

          July 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • mci

      Oh shut up, you gaseous half-wit.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Athy

      I know a lot of atheists that are far more "proper" than religies.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Joe: And if your religion tells you that you must bring jihad to the nonbelievers of the world, and your religion tells you that if you die a martyr fighting and killing the nonbeliever, and so, in the name of your religion and your religious beliefs, you hijack 4 planes and kill 3,000 people, that makes you a proper person?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • One one

      Did it make you a proper person ?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • erin111

      Joe, you are really narrow-minded. Your way is the only correct way. Without religion a person is not full person??? You are full of yourself!

      July 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  11. robert

    Great insight. As a pastor I dont think it is so much an age thing as it is a "real" thing. People want honesty, vulnerability and authenticity. Jesus was a "real" person and He brought people to understand what really mattered.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      You guys are really doomed then. Your product is completely lacking in honesty and authenticity. vulnerability? You still have that! You're extremely vulnerable to rational thought. If I were you, I'd start praying for literacy rates to fall. It's your only hope.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Ahem Backum To Realitium You Moronus

      And then he died, and hasn't been seen again for 20+ centuries. Same as would be the case for any other non-divine person.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  12. Caroline

    The millennial folks are leaving the church because they don't want to worship - they want to have 'me time' at the club house. The church isn't enough about them. There said it. They don't understand the concept of faith.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Observer

      Maybe it's just because they already know too much about the Bible.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      Christianity is COMPLETELY self-absorbed! How could you not see that? You think THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE sits around making sure you're being good and can't wait to hang out with you in heaven. What could POSSIBLY be more self-absorbed than that?????

      July 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • Observer

        larrylivingston,

        That seems pretty obvious when 40% of the Ten Commandments are all about how to "worship me".

        July 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      The problem is they want their cake and eat it to. They want to find a preacher in skinny jeans that will tell them what they want to hear, that way they can justify in their minds their actions in the sight of God and then blame the fraudulent preacher in the end.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • Observer

        dissidentfairy,

        Maybe they just don't support slavery and discrimination against women, gays, slaves and the handicapped.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • JesusLovesCokk

      WE are not going to church because your god is a lie. Your moronic bedtime story belongs in the Bronze Age.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        Then this article doesn't really apply to you. Does it?

        July 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • something

      You forgot to add "get off my lawn!!!"

      July 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      perhaps they do not see any relevance in YOUR faith

      faith is personal.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  13. dissidentfairy

    I actually tried to quote 2 Timothy 4:3-4 which is perfect and right on for this article.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Are you using the version with acc-umulate in it?

      July 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • larrylivingston

      So, I had a few minutes to waste and looked it up. That was....profound? That verse is nothing more than a childish "naner-naner boo boo, you're so wrong!" (with your tongue stuck out). Laughable.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        How can you say that? This was predicted thousands of years ago in the Bible and describes this article exactly...

        July 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • John

          That's called retrodiction.

          July 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Yep, and it displays Paul's itchy tongue (or quill hand) and his penchant for pontificating.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          It's been awhile Frayed Knot....

          July 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • Endora

          Paul did much to harm Jesus's message. It should be called "Paulianity".

          July 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  14. colleencouch10

    They say they want to find Jesus...he is not hiding. You don't even need a church to find Him, but you do need to conform to Him and stop trying to make him conform to you.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I found Jesus. He was under the cushions on the couch. I also found $1.65 in change and a pen. It was good day!

      July 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  15. JD

    I know this comment will be ridiculed and won't be very well received by the vast majority, but I'm going to say it anyway–

    What the Evangelical church needs is a fresh outpouring of the Holy Ghost, just like in the book of Acts, where daily, thousands recognized their need for Jesus Christ as the only person who could save them from a Christ-less eternity. It's time for Evangelicals to seek the face of God as never before and begin to once again operate in the gifts that God has given to his people. This requires a holy and consecrated lifestyle that doesn't compromise the infallible truth of God's Word. Evangelicals must say "Whatever the cost Lord, I'll follow. Whatever the price you require of my life, I'll pay."

    The Kingdom of God is not about mere words written down in a book that so many classify as just another piece of historical literature. Rather, the Kingdom of God is about the demonstrative supernatural exploits of God; sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the crippled and paralyzing walking again... but most of all, the acknowledgement of sin in man's heart that can only be evoked through the conviction that comes through the Holy Spirit himself.

    That day is coming again!!

    July 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      If your god can do all of that healing, why does he leave people lame and blind? Why does he not cure children who have cancer? Why has he never, EVER regenerated the limbs of an amputee?

      Open your eyes. You have been hoodwinked and brainwashed, probably since the time you were a child. IS Santa Claus real? Do you believe in Santa? If not, apply the same thought process to your god. You'll get the same answer.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • JJ

      Yes, and it should be ridiculed because it's all bullshit. "holy ghost"...really!?...lol...Grow a brain and come back and perhaps you'll be taken seriously.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Annnnny day now, Jeebus is coming back. Yessir, annnny day now"

      July 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Dr Who

      JD , I agree with you. And peace and love to all the angry God bashers out there, Im praying for you if you like it or not.

      July 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  16. bostontola

    Having this story right along with the Pope in SA is interesting. While evangelist Christianity is currently growing, I wouldn't buy their stock. The growth market for souls in the US will likely diminish as we go forward. American youth polls show they are much more supportive of gay rights, women's reproductive rights, acceptance of evolution, etc. That should advantage Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is also a much more established global brand where the real soul growth markets are, Africa and Asia. I think the Catholic Church knows this and may have selected this Pope to increase market share. I'm not Christian, I'm atheist but this dynamic is interesting.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • JJ

      I agree. It's no accident that a South American was chosen to be pope. I just hope that SA does not see an increase of priests raping their children.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  17. iminim

    I totally agree with you. The integrity of Christian organizations plummeted when they decided to affiliate with a political party instead of following the example of Christ. They chose earthly political power and wealth over the teachings of Christ and justifed their actions by creating a pseudo-gospel where having wealth and power is an indication that God approves of how you are living your life. Coupled with the total rejection of some scientific knowledge simply because it challenges their interpretation of scriptures, is it any wonder that even the most spiritual among newer generations see the traditional church as a stiff old fogey out of touch with their generation? If that was the only side of organized religion that I encountered, I would run from it as well.

    I hope you find a spiritual organization that fits your needs and helps you continue to grow in your faith, whatever it may be. I was lucky enough to find the church that accepted me and my beliefs as different from the mainstream but valid and no more right or wrong than anyone else's beliefs. If your soul craves to be part of a spiritual community, I urge you to keep looking for the one that speaks to you.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  18. Alias

    Excellent article.
    The only thing I would want to add is that it is written from the point of view of a believer. She writes as though all of the church teachings are true and accurate. I believe in science. With evolution, we don't need to have a god at all. Especially not a god who can't give us a manual we could possibly understand.

    July 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Austin

      wrong track my friend. You simply dont like the sin issue that God took care of for you. I didn't either. hated it. vandalized my church.. and then God gave me faith i couldn't refuse.

      now becoming obedient to the cross is a serious challenge to my flesh. I love God ,and my flesh desires sin. it comes down to character that fails the ultimate test, but God who is faithful.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • Alias

        There are thousands of different christian churches, and each on thinks they have the correct understanding of the bible.
        It seems a little arrogant to me that they all think they are the only ones to have figured it out.

        I have lots of issues with the church, and sin isn't one of the big ones.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:27 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.