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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. Quote from late Chad Phelps

    “If the Bible is truly the enduring & eternal Word of God, it means what it meant even as it is newly applied in every generation.” How very true!!!

    R.I.P Chad Phelps, Courtney Phelps and their unborn child.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Ken

      Even the generations that used it as justification to burn witches, mount Crusades, kill Jews, enslave humans and then deny them their civil rights?

      July 29, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • Levi

        You have not read the gospels or the message of Jesus in the Bible, have you?

        July 29, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • Amber R. Sesnick

          I think the point is that he has read them, but others have chosen to skew them for evil.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Ken

          The people who did these things read their gospels and thought that they understood Jesus too. Everyone imagines that there's just one way to read the Bible, but these examples prove that there are many, and nobody can claim to have the "Truth" about it.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Steve

      Phelps? As in the Westboro Baptist Phelps'? Those extremists are insane. No one should listen to them. They are a cult of hatred. And do nothing to help or benefit society in any way.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Get Real

        I don't see anything that reports that Chad Phelps is from the same family as Westboro. He was a Baptist, but worked for a church in Indianapolis.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Frank

      That is a great point in that quote.

      People don't need to run around looking for Jesus in places or things, the message in the Bible remains the same regardless of whether it is applied to Gen X or Gen Y.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  2. mnfolkgirl

    As far as those "hip" churches go, maybe they need to drop the production value of their services and use that money to feed the homeless. I'm talking to you, Eagle Brook Church in MN.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • NeilV

      If they drop the production value then far fewer people would be attracted to them and there wouldn't be much money coming in to feed the poor. Production value in Christianity extends beyond this to the hayday of tent revivals, and goes all the way back to Jesus performing a few healings and other miracles to pack the crowds in to hear his message. Nothing new with mega-church showmanship at all.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Jeff

      Because church's have figured out that they are primarily in the entertainment business and that more people will come and give money the slicker and more entertaining the service (aka, performance) is. The problem is, they have pretty much maxed out the entertainment value and are having trouble feeding the higher and higher demands of the audience to be entertained.They built huge entertainment complexes (called, churches) that need ever larger streams of cash to keep operating. As people tire of the increasinly ridiculous forms of entertainment the churches throw at people and attendance begins to wane, watch for more and more mega churches to have financial problems as they can't afford to run their entertainment operations.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  3. HeatherCarol

    US TOO! We are mother and daughter in our 40's and 60's who continue our path to Jesus daily. This struck home to us.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • tony

      Why delay further? if heaven is a better place, go right now.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Ken

      Which part struck home? The part about wanting answers that aren't predetermined, like who Jesus actually was, or what happens to us when we die?

      July 29, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  4. Boney

    I love reading the comments that capitalize "He" and "Him" for no reason in the middle of the sentence. SO many nitwits in these threads. The comedy truly brightens my day.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  5. Rhonda

    fantastic article. just one bone to pick: this is not just a millenial generation issue. i am 47 years old, and have wrestled with the same thoughts and issues for over a decade. i believe that we are living in a day an age where our culture demands absolute holiness and authenticity in our relationship with Jesus. we simply cannot afford to put on a show and worry about being 'relevant'.

    thank you for standing up and speaking out on behalf of so many of us who have no voice within the current church culture.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Ken

      But, if you don't put any effort into being relevant, then aren't you afraid that Christians will become ever more irrelevant? Do you believe that your Christ wanted his followers to be an irrelevant part of society?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • BU2B

      This should be completely obvious, but sadly it's not to so many, so I will say it. Jesus is dead, has been for over 2,000 years. There is no relationship you can have with a dead person, besides what is in your head. That is it.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

        If he ever existed at all.

        P.S. Judaism… you know the religion which Christianity ripped off….doesn’t believe jesus was anything more than a normal man. No divinity..so magic powers and not the son of good. Christians are no better than Muslims in this respect.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • CatLover

          Secular law is all that restrains 'Christian' fundamentalists; otherwise, they'd be burning infidels and heretics at the stake, sawing off heads, and otherwise wreaking mayhem upon the rest of us in the same manner as Islamic fundamentalists.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

          I couldn’t agree more. We need only view “our” own history to see that. The civility some many Christians claim as their own (when referring to more primitive religions) was brought to them by the very people they dislike even more than those of other religions, Secularists and all those that make up that group. Religious types that believe the church should stay out of the government, atheists, agnostics and worst of all..educators of factual based subjects such as science and history.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • Reason

          Christianity didn't rip out Judaism, they are technically the same faith. Christ is the fulfillment of the Mosaic law, and even the apostle Paul said that the Mosaic Law was a "tutorage" before Christ. The laws are the same, the principles are the same. The major difference is that many chose to deviant from them; making their own, or twisting them to their own gain.
          It's just unfortunate that after Christ, there was a split where many of Judaism do not recognize Jesus as the Christ. And those who have, followed the new covenant of Christ Jesus, therefore becoming Christians. ...just to clarify.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

          Your facts are mostly accurate but you conclusion has a major flaw. Christianity and Islam are both rip-offs of Judaism and its easily demonstrated as such. Both Christians and Muslims have major division among their respective cults just as great as the one you describe but are still called either Christianity or Islam. By your logic all three groups and their various sects would be called Judaism…and obviously this isn’t true.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Serita Miner

      Thank you for your views. I believe true worship comes from the heart as we are not there to please others in our worship, we are there to please God. He knows each one of us as he is our creator and he loves us no matter what. .It is not the church you worship in that gets you into Gods kingdom it is our relationship with Jesus Christ and how we follow him that gets us into his kingdom. Too many are falsely following Satan's kingdom thinking they are following God in his kingdom, because of twisting the truth to fit what they think is best in how they view their surroundings. Maybe we should put more emphasis on whose kingdom we are in rather than what kind of worship we use. God loves reverent worship but also raucous worship that comes from the Holy Spirit living in you. Being involved in both ways of worship you surrender all to him our Lord Jesus Christ! He anoints the individuals with their gifts and appoints them in their positions where he wants them to be used for HIS GLORY! I believe It is those individuals giving God all the glory for their gifts that they use to further his kingdom, who are his true followers. Thank you,

      may you be Blessed with the love of Jesus Christ

      July 29, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  6. Darko

    I'm just glad religions today are going the way of their predecessors, The real question, however, is what will be the god of the future? Will god have a face? Will he still be an old white guy? Will someone write a new book?

    July 29, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • richunix

      The Mormons tried....

      July 29, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • NeilV

      Scientology will win and Tom Cruise will be hired as the new face of God.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • Sue Anne

        Maybe there will be a perfume as well. "Holy Stink", by Tom Cruise?

        July 29, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Thinker...

      Heres hopeing that book isn't Dianetics!

      July 29, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  7. Paul

    How about just being interested in what the Bible says and living a life that honors God? Sound like these Millenials are too caught up in trying to view the Bible from the lens of society and what is popular today. It should be the other way around...view society through a Biblical lens.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • tony

      Where's the honor in a jealous god?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

      You are ether ignorant of your own Bible or a hypocrite. If you actually followed the bibles instead of cherry picking the parts you like you…you’d be in jail for numerous crimes.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • Paul

        On the contrary Eagle...I know very well what the Bible says. Have you heard of the New Testament? That's the part of the Bible that comes after the Old Testament...the part that reveals Christ as the fulfillment of the law. Your objections to the Bible are based on laws/practices that God gave to the Israelites for a specific time and purpose, and which Christ brought an end to. You've got to understand what you're talking about or throwing rocks at to have any credibility in a discussion.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:10 am |
        • CatLover

          "Throwing rocks at ...". Good one! Very biblical. So ... if the New Testament is the driving Force, we can disregard Leviticus? I don't believe that is going to set very well with all those biblical literalists, the selective literalists, who point to the New Testament while hurling philosphical, cultural, ideological ... whatever ... stones of hate, drawn from their cherry-picked verses throughout both testaments.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Paul

          Catlover...can you "disregard" Leviticus? While it is still valuable to understand the New Testament and all the Christ accomplished as well as our need for a Saviour...basically, YES you can disregard it. In the sense that the ceremonial laws, the dietary laws, the societal laws were all fulfilled by Christ. Granted, Jesus raised the bar on us all, so things aren't necessarily easier (hating your brother = murder in your heart; looking lustfully at another = adultery in your heart; etc). But, those practices and rules that Leviticus lays out for use by the Israelites during the Old Testament era are not in effect today. It tends to be one of the first objections brought up by anyone that wants to object to Christianity, but it reveals a very limited understanding of what the Bible actually teaches.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:25 am |
        • CatLover

          No no no ... Christians cannot disregard Leviticus; not True Christians. There's that thing about homersekshuls, who are – it says so, right there – an Abomination. I mean, like, really. You have to pick out the parts that are, like, you know ... important and still True. Huh. I'm getting purty good at capitalizing. Perhaps I should write sermons ...

          July 29, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

          On the contrary Paul, I’m well aware of your get out of jail free card. The day your churches stop using old testament teaching (i.e. On hom ose xuality and the like) you can use that card until then ..again you are cherry picking the part YOU follow.

          P.S. Study after study has proven Atheist and Agonistics know more about the Christian bible than more Christians. Look it up.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Ken

      Had Jesus viewed scripture through a traditional Jewish lens there never would have been a Christianity. Fortunately for you, he went with the new apocalyptic ideas that were popular in the society of his day.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • Paul

        I'm sorry, Ken...but that doesn't make any sense. You'll have to elaborate.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Amy

      That's the thing. We DO. We try to be Christ-like. He fellowshipped with the worst of the worst. Had compassion for them and helped. Not just the people His followers felt deserved it, but more often than not, the people they felt DIDN'T deserve it. He excluded no one. No. One. ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God and all sin is equal in the eyes of God. A great line in this is article is "We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we're against." All we hear now is how evil everyone else is. How we should view this person or that person. How about we get back to judge not lest ye be judged and love they neighbor as you love yourself? THAT'S what we're looking for and THAT is who Jesus was. Period.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  8. Wag

    People used to want ministers to think for them. It seems people now prefer to do their own thinking. Church leaders must learn that their followers really aren't the sheep they are portrayed to be in the New Testament. Treating patrons as if they are intelligent people rather than mindless animals will go a long way toward re-establishing the respect that ministers desire.

    I sense from the article that ministers are actually afraid to have these thinking members. And well they should be. Such ministers have got to let go of that control issue or they will realize their greatest fear: losing control of their people.

    –Wag–

    July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • lol??

      Paul already covered any pertinent problems. No new reinvented big wheels needed.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • tallulah13

        Paul? You mean Saul of Tarsus the Roman tax collector who created the church in his own image after claiming to "meet" Jesus in a vision? Greatest con man in history.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  9. 1word

    The word of God, will never conform to the lusts of man. Man must conform to the word of God.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      theres some garbage for ya.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • fred bowen-smith

      right-n... you can love the sinner, which is what the pope said. But not the sin. Alos note how he qualified . Not as seeking. Not running in denial or the face of the Lord.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      I agree that if this woman wants to call herself christian, she must indeed adhere to the rules of that particular cult, however, the "word of god" has absolutely no authority over those who us who understand that your god is no more real than any of the other thousands of gods humans have worshiped.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Steven CaboWabo

      It was men who wrote all of those words.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:46 am |
      • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

        Correct. Then collected, edited and censored by organized religion. They even admitted doing it. Also of note… if you research the origins of the various versions of the bible you’ll note their ‘translations’ had to do with political issues of the time.. not religious. The so called word of god is no more reliable than your average super market tabloid mixed with the likes of Mein Kampf.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • NeilV

      The Bible was written by men. You do know that, don't you?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Donnell

      I TOTALLY AGREE: One GOD...One WORD! Amen

      July 29, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • 1word

      The Bible was written by Men? DUH, God use men to spread his word after he inspired man to write the Bible. God is a spirit, he entered history when he came in the flesh as Jesus Christ. After that the Holy Spirit is at work in spreading the gospel.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

        How do you know god inspired them? Because the bible says so?

        Everything on the internet is true… I read it on the internet.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  10. everyone

    Partly correct until you got here:

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

    This generation craves evidence. The church has no to support thier ideology and myths. The truth may hurt, but delusion harms.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  11. tony

    RE: Austin

    Heads up!

    Buck Rogers
    Evolution is an assumption, not a fact. Fossils were created by the Flood as well as post-flood super-volcanic eruptions. Fact – earth is a geological wreck. In addition, mankind spread from Mesopotamia via Noah's offspring to re-populate Earth.

    Christ not only believed in the Creation story, He compared His return, when He will raise the dead (i.e. reap the earth), to the Great Flood as well as the destruction os Sodom and Gomorrah. Heaven, Hell and judgment are real, but they are post-resurrection/future events.
    July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am | Report abuse | Reply

    tony

    Evolution and Gravity are equally well studied and tested theories.

    With your concern, I hope you have a rope around you waist, tied to a stake in the ground, so you aren't floating up into the sky all the time.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Gerald

      Belief BLOG, not Science Blog. A Belief can be anything you believe in. If you believe that God is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, then that is your Belief. Your cult. If I believe that jesus was an Alien, that is my Belief.
      Evolution is a scientific fact, recognized as such by the last TWO Popes who could not longer ignore the FACTS. Read this article:
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-447930/Pope-Benedict-believes-evolution.html

      This is not the Science Blog; Evolution belong in that Blog. Imaginative baseless beliefs belong here.

      This is where we can argue that Mormons believe in a manuscript written in Aramaic in gold tablets, translated by "devine intervention" and that simply vanished. Let's talk ridiculous here...

      July 29, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • 99mark

        A fact in operational science must be verifiable, observable, or subject to experimentation with the same results each time.
        The distant past cannot be observed. We cannot perform experiments on it. What you believe about the past, whether creationist or evolutionist – is just that – a belief. There is no DNA evidence that matches a fossil from one continent to one found on another continent. The only connection is the evolutionary story line. Fossils can't be dated since they are found in sedimentary rock, and the rocks that are used to ascertain dates are based on assumptions which do not correlate when different dating methods are applied.
        Christians believe in God's eye witness account of creation, evolutionists believe in their own (always shifting) story.
        The real reason millennials are leaving the church is a lack of apologetics teaching and compromisers who try to fit the evolutionary story with the biblical record – not possible since they are at complete odds with each other.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • tony

          All cause and effect tests rely on time being sequential. Past test results compared with current ones do not show the laws of physics changing over time. So, in the time period post the stabilization of the universe into the current normal matter, we can reasonably project backwards. Hence Mit. DNA comparison between beings on different continents uncovers past demographics.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Austin

      tony one of the revelaitons that came to mind was a domonic spirit that sang to me in a dream, my body flipped upside down, inverted, as a cat ran underneath me with blood gushing out of it. the next morning the cat i dreamed about was flatter than a pancake on the road.

      that is actually the only time i ever had a dream like that, or a cat that appeared one day and was squised the next.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • Damocles

        So... you've had 'prophetic' dreams about houses, pools, privacy fences and a dead cat. Oh and a 'domonic' spirit singing to you. What does it all mean, austin? How do all of these things tie in together?

        July 29, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • Pam

        "tony one of the revelaitons that came to mind was a domonic spirit that sang to me in a dream, my body flipped upside down, inverted, as a cat ran underneath me with blood gushing out of it. the next morning the cat i dreamed about was flatter than a pancake on the road. "

        We've been over this with you. That is your mind trying to process the fact that you did not help the cat when you could, you were a coward and didn't do what was morally right for that helpless creature.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Ryan Dean

      In fact, if anything, gravity is less well studied/tested than evolution, since we currently don't know what the exact propagation mechanism for gravity is (and likely won't until there's a tried and true unified field theory), and we can literally watch evolution unfold step by step, down to the specifics of what's happening in the genome, in quickly reproducing organisms in the lab.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • tony

        point taken – I shouldn't have said equally.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  12. chuckie

    Religion is transmitted to new generations by men and women. God does not proselytize. Children do not pick up the dogma out of thin air. One would think that the all powerful God would be able to communicate with his creatures without middlemen; how can a limit be placed on the number of conversations He can have at one time? He is supposedly limitless and without restrictions. Why would he stop communicating directly with humans after His directly communicating with His prophets and leave it to these imperfect creatures to get his message across? Why? Men and women have to pass on their faith because religions and their scripture were created and authored by men, mortals, not gods. This is why message has to be passed on by them. Why did God require His message to be transported across the oceans by mortals? Who profits from the notion that there has to be experts to convey the word of God? Could it be the prophets? Follow the money.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Shamma Lammadingdong

      And just like stories passed down from person to person, the message gets perverted each and every time it's passed. It's just like that game you played in elementary school where you started with "The dog is brown" and by the time it got to the end of the line, it was " The frog left town."

      July 29, 2013 at 9:44 am |
      • lol??

        Nope, Christianity has scripture. Just have to be a little careful with all the Bible sellers playin' the copyright game, or worse.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

          Yes. In fact isn’t not even a debate among the educated only the blindly faithful. You need only pick up two different versions (amoung the many) of the bible and you can see in black and white and RED… how they differ. It’s well known that the KJB was written to deal with political unrest. Historical facts bud.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • kgarris08

          Your scripture has been written and re-written more times and than anyone living can remember, and for more reason than anyone man OR WOMAN could fathom. If that isn't reason enough to question its contents, then we may as well stop educating ourselves now. Just because something is deemed "holy" doesn't mean it should escape scrutiny, and anyone who says so should be prepared to explain why. For the millennial generation, Religion is no longer about self-improvement and reflection, and church is no loner a place of safety and community. To us, Religion is a mechanism for mass manipulation and the church is simply the holy vessel. If you disagree, and you have that right, look back into history and try to explain how most of the power plays made by the Catholic church weren't just a means to an end that benefitted either the priesthood or the crown.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  13. DebPA

    I don't identify with the statement that we all yearn for Christ. I embrace much of what I read about millenials inspite of being a boomer and I am sick of hearing about Jesus from the media, Republican Party and supposed Christians. None of us knows for sure about whether any religion including Christianity is the right way or the wrong way. Like many others, I want to believe what I want to believe in and give eneryone else the same gift of acceptance.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • lol??

      None?? That's sweeping dust.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  14. Austin

    Christ not only believed in the Creation story, He compared His return, when He will raise the dead (i.e. reap the earth), to the Great Flood as well as the destruction os Sodom and Gomorrah. Heaven, Hell and judgment are real, but they are post-resurrection/future events.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • tony

      Not. This the belief blog, not the imaginative crap blog.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Harry Cline

      @Austin,

      And yet some can legitimately question as to whether Jesus was ever only just a really good teacher. I do within myself, however when in consultation with you know who, I do invoke his name to cover my a–.

      Carry on ..

      July 29, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      It really doesn't matter what Jesus believed or what you believe. There is absolutely no rational reason to believe any of your myths actually occurred, or that your predictions will occur. The natural world simply does not reflect your supernatural claims.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • Harry Cline

        @talluhah,

        News Flash what do you think science is ? it's all super natural, created in the lab with numbers attached to it. At best it's only ever been an 'educated guess'.

        Round two science doesn't even begin to happen without an 'intelligent design'. The puff the magic popped out off salamander would then be even more far fetched.
        And subject to perhaps a new brand of smoke.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
        • Damocles

          What the....?

          July 29, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

          LOL… actually.. no. Science is the study of natural world. And you Xtians wonder why non-theists say you’re stupid or delusional.

          July 29, 2013 at 9:56 am |
        • Anon

          Yep a creationist nutjob.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • tallulah13

          Wow, Harry. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of science. You should have paid more attention in science class.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Deflator

          "If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true, and someone would find a way to figure it all out again."

          July 29, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • Harry Cline

          @tallulah13,

          ... if you only knew..

          July 29, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • tallulah13

          Whatever, Harry. Your cryptic answers don't make you appear wise.

          I have family members who are doctors and research scientists, and I know the diligence that goes into their work. I know that scientists must "publish or perish" and that their ideas and methods are deeply scrutinized by their peers and anything that does not come up to a high standard is rejected. Science is highly competitive and bad science is generally "outed", rejected and subjected to scorn.

          You can't say that about religion, which is nothing more than "believe or else", probably because it can't stand up to scrutiny and survive.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Jim

        First there are over 25,000 writings outside of the Bible that spoke of the existance and miracles of Jesus, more than any other book ever written. People will believe the writings of Plato and Socrates, of which fewer that 50 writings outside of their works are written. Out of the 25,000 writings they are transrcibed at a 99% accuracy rate, the 1% of in accuracies are too to certain words, not facts. 2nd people love to talk about Evolution, fair enough, but isnt that a theory? and theories are unproven occurances

        July 29, 2013 at 10:10 am |
        • tallulah13

          Wrong again, Jim. There is not a single contemporary non-biblical source that mentions Jesus. Not one. The bible is so full of contradictions that there are websites dedicated to naming them. The bible has all the accuracy one would expect from a 2000 year old book written by men with a relatively primitive knowledge of the world around them.

          As for scientific theory, it has a different meaning than regular theory. A scientific theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena. Evolution has been observed in a lab. Evolution has been confirmed by DNA and the fossil record. Evolution is real, whether you want to believe it or not.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • artmarc

          Unfortunately, you fundamentally misunderstand the term "theory" in scientific jargon. It does not apply to unproven ideas that some scientists hope will be proven true some day. The theory of gravity does not mean that some day a ball dropped from one's hand will fly up instead of down. Theory status is reached beyond hypothesis when considerable tested evidence points so strongly toward a conclusion that it reaches this status. It remains a theory if it is not completely understood. It is a theory however, because the repeatable demonstrated facts are so predictable that overturning them entirely is highly unlikely. Therefore, the abundant and growing mountains of evidence for evolution just keep cementing its actuality year by year.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • skytag

          "People will believe the writings of Plato and Socrates"

          There are no accounts of either of these men walking on water or raising the dead. Maybe that has something to do with it?

          July 29, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • chuckie

      Christ stated that there were those hearing Him that would see the End of Days. Still waiting. Thousands since HIs time have at the direction of religious mavens abandoned any connection to mainstream society, e.g., quit their jobs, given away possessions, etc., to wait on a hilltop for His return. Waiting. How many poor children of fundamentalist parents lost their lives because the power of prayer was deemed more efficacious in curing illness than medicine? How many children have been abused and molested by charlatan holy men after being delivered into the hands of these demons (demons are not supernatural beings but are just evil men)? Why do we think our modern holy men are any better than the shamans and witchdoctors of old? They are selling the same old potion in newer bottles.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Ken

      Austin
      That Jesus believed these thinks like everyone else way back before science proved them wrong is proof that he didn't have any special knowledge, right?

      July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • richunix

      DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Austin

        liberated and redeemed. justified by the atoning blood.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  15. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    7 consecutive sentences that start with "We want ... " gives us a clue as to why "the church" is unappealing to millennials. They're trying to break the indoctrination and cannot justify a continued allegiance to it with their desire to think for themselves.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  16. Gerald

    The Eastern Islanders had a God: A Bird God, because only a Bird would have carried them to an island so far away. Their Religion lasted thousands of years, tehy erected the Moai, cutting trees in rituals and offerings that descimated the Island. We do the same today, we descimate our world because we put Religion first instead of Science to understand our world. Ignorance disgused under the mask of a God is what kills humans. I am an Atheist, and I do more chairty than many so called "Christians" I defend America wearing a uniform, a Nation under God...because we have other people under different Gods, who want to kill us in the name of their God...so I defend a nation from another God who claims to want to do good against our "Evil". So do we live in an Evil Empire? or in a land under God? Difference of perpective can turn a God into Evil...so what are you? Good or Evil?

    July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  17. Bob

    It's a nice story, but not true. Millennials don't like anything that might suggest they can't do what they want, when they want, with whoever they want. While Christianity is not all about rules, there are some general guidelines you should follow if you have a belief in Jesus, and that demographic has been raised to not want that in church, school, or life.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Amber R. Sesnick

      I find your evaluation of myself and my generation to be very close-minded. Especially considering that "the Church" preaches so much that is contradictory to what was laid out in the Bible, specifically in the New Testament. My understanding is that we should have compassion for others, especially for sinners, that we should not judge others (lest we be judged), that we should respect ALL life, not just that which comes before birth, and that we should not be greedy. The "Religious Right" seems to be opposed to all of these, and the last time I checked, they are short on Millennials. It makes me sad that those in charge cannot see the corrupt path they are leading people down. It makes me sad that so many people choose not to think for themselves. By this I do not mean making up their own rules, but knowing the rules, applying them appropriately, and being able to determine when they are being led astray.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  18. Matthew

    Young people always rebel and leave church/family. It was like that in the 1970s as well and they all came back and became more conservative than ever. Same will happen with these 20 something year olds. It is just the age range not anything special about the generation.

    Church could use more compassion, however,

    July 29, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • tony

      which church? – nowadays, thousands of the" one true god "to choose from.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:25 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.