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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. Rachel

    LOL, or maybe we're just not dumb enough to believe in magical fantasy as can be found all over the bible. Maybe we're tired of misogyny, of discrimination, of religion invading our choices. Maybe we embrace science and reality instead of patriarchy and stupidity. And this quote made me guffaw: "Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus."

    No. No no no no NO. We long for Jesus to be a thing of a very old fashioned past.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      beautiful!

      July 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      @Rachel,

      Good points, but don't let fear of what you can't comprehend ever keep you from exploring. She feels a void in her life, and perhaps like you even want's something that neatly fits into her lifestyle and even ideology.

      Remember your the generation who is suppose to reinvent the wheel. Well, so was the jest from Steve Jobs, that charitable Buddhist.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        And you shouldnt be afraid of science just because you dont understand it.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @Honey Badger Don't Care,

          How could I not embrace science. You do realize I hope that science and 'intelligent design' are one in the same.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I hope I have a million dollars buried in my back yard. That doesn't mean it is a good idea to think or act as if it is true.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Bob

          Harry, you are a deceptive, lying coward. No, I will not let you pass off intelligent design and science as one and the same. What a disgusting con you just tried to pull off. Coward!

          July 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        @Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

        Who would ever ask for that but a greedy fool to begin with. Don't blame some God for the con, man created religion for that purpose. If we had no poor the church would have died out long time ago.

        They feed off of the poor. And ignorance is bliss. I mean let's get real here, living in poverty without a pot to p-ss in or a window to throw it out of and yet still breeding like rats and bringing more into your poverty.

        That's a gold mine for religion right there. Stop blaming a God for mankind's stupidity and deception.

        July 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You completely missed the point, and then went off on some red herring argument.

          My point is..... that HOPING something is true, and then acting as if it is ACTUALLY true, is a bad idea.

          Swing and a miss. Try again.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

          Some call it faith. Anyway what's the count ?

          July 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Contrary to religious teaching, 'religious faith", i.e.unsubstantiated faith, is a terrible reason to believe anything.

          0-2

          July 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  2. George Metz

    So she's saying the same thing confused, worldly, self-absorbed people have been saying forever...I want to create God in my own image and give Him tenets I can live with, then we'll get along fine.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So please enlighten us as to which of the tens of thousands of Christian denominations is the correct one.
      Lemme guess – whichever church you attend...

      July 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • rh

      That whoosh you heard was her point flying over your head.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment

      July 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • michael

        The fact that religion is wide open to interpretation makes religion all the more appealing to me. If we wanted God given to us in the format (facts) that you describe(?), we'd be mindless robots.

        Free will is a terrific gift, and it came with a very high price tag. you can choose to accept, or not. Your decision.

        But to castigate someone else for making a decision (the same one presented before you) is the ridiculousness that I see.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • graywills

          Perfectly put!

          July 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Being given absolute proof of a diety, or anything else for that matter, does nothing to hinder anyone's "free will". That is an absurd argument. Fear of punishment from your god does more than enough to hinder "free will"... which makes your point inane.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • OTOH

          michael,
          "Free will is a terrific gift, and it came with a very high price tag. you can choose to accept, or not. Your decision. "

          Believe or burn, believe or perish (however it's done) is NOT a free choice, anymore than a mafia thug giving you the "choice" to buy his "protection"... or not - your decision!

          July 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • michael

          OTOH,

          Who said anything about consequences?

          Of course, with ALL decisions, there are consequences. And some are rather severe. But that shouldn't stop you from making the original decision, should it? For not making a decision is still a selection, by default, with it's own pending consequences. It's still your decision. So what's your move?

          July 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • sam stone

          michael: if god is omniscient, how does free will exist?

          July 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Michael,

          Threats of punishment for unbelief betray a weak argument.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • skytag

          @michael: "The fact that religion is wide open to interpretation makes religion all the more appealing to me."

          This tells me you want to be able to decide what is and isn't right based on your own selfish wants and desires so you can do what you want without guilt or remorse. The more open something is to interpretation the greater the difference in what people conclude from it.

          If it doesn't matter what we conclude from it, why have it at all? If it does matter, then what's so great about making it easy for most people to get it wrong?

          "If we wanted God given to us in the format (facts) that you describe(?), we'd be mindless robots."

          Nonsense. You'd still have the freedom to ignore or disobey them, but at least you'd know what's right and wrong.

          "Free will is a terrific gift, and it came with a very high price tag. you can choose to accept, or not. Your decision."

          Free will is not a gift. It's the natural order of things. Based on your logic me not chaining you to a fence is giving you a gift. More proof religion makes people stupid.

          How old are you? You sound like you're in your early twenties.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • skytag

          @michael: "If we wanted God given to us in the format (facts) that you describe(?), we'd be mindless robots."

          The suggestion that knowing God is real and being able to know what he wanted would turn us into robots with no free will is about the dumbest nonsense I've ever heard.

          Children know their parents are real and what their parents want from them, yet they are often still disobedient. Furthermore, I can't imagine there are many parents out there whose parenting style is to make their wishes known to their children through a mechanism that makes it virtually impossible for the kids to know what their parents want. "Oh look, dad left us another riddle. What do you think it means?"

          July 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      George,

      All believers ethier create their own version of what they think god is, or they accept someone elses version. You are no different.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      @George Metz,

      Bingo !

      Every generation throws up their own pop star. And every generation gets a little bolder. She's hoping for a latte and free internet access and a grocery section on Sunday.

      Then her life will be complete. Career, 2.3 kids, white picket fence and spirituality without the stress. (and 10% off on any home improvement)

      Praise the Lord and pass the beans.

      July 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      i think people should create the god they feel is right. it would make the god more real to that person. i think it is a much more sane approach than the top down approach where someone tells you what god is. the downside of this (from the standpoint of the pious) is that this does not involve texts or churches. it is entirely personal

      July 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        @sam stone,

        Most have.

        We have Mary and Jane, Ripple and 45 and Carlos & Leather.
        And 2 for 1 specials on the web.
        There's Right and left and everything in between.
        Sanctimonious b.s. and Android.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Aimee Whetstine

      George, yours is the best comment in the thread. Thanks for getting to the heart of the matter.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  3. ericapage

    Spot on! I left "non-denom" Christianity for Catholicism in 2009. I am happy to be home.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • lol??

      home??

      "Phl 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:"

      Wesley's Notes for Philippians 3:20

      3:20 Our conversation – The Greek word is of a very extenslve meaning: our citizenship, our thoughts, our affections, are already in heaven.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    July 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jeff

      That is hilarious.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Chris

      Spot on.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • skytag

      ROFLMAO

      My personal favorite:

      "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

      July 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  5. ashleemae

    I don't usually like to be spoken for, but in this instance I'm perfectly fine with it. You managed to say exactly what I've been trying to say for a long, long time. I'm told I'm not a Christian because I don't have a church, even though I've been baptized and saved. Meanwhile, my old boss goes to church 3 or 4 times a week but tells anyone that will listen about her feelings regarding "the gays" (hint: they aren't nice).

    I believe that, to be a Christian you need to at least aspire to behave in a Christ-like manner. Care for others, give joyfully, love *everyone*. Treat others with kindness as a rule and let God sort out the judgments when it's time.

    Thank you!

    July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Isn't it funny how often Church can get in the way of faith?
      I'm not a believer, but I respect those who practice their faith quietly and humbly.
      I wish that more Christians would take the personal responsibility to lead by example instead of joining groups that condemn this and that from a fiery pulpit.
      In the end, the definition of Christian is to live your life in the image of Jesus Christ. Faith in miracles, divinity, resurrections, and other fantastical flourishes isn't required to live a life of pacifism, charity and humility.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • ashleemae

        It's kind of been my opinion for a while that churches are more looking for money and tax breaks. I went to a mega-church in the making when I lived in Texas. They wanted your 10% as a member, as well as weekly donations AND they wanted the congregation to pledge above and beyond all of that to help build a new church. I actually donated a $3,000 diamond ring I had no use for.

        Soon after, I got thrown out of my house. I emailed one of the pastors, asking if he could help me find a safe place to stay for a week. He replied telling me I needed to be more careful about my money and included a list of money-saving tips. Needless to say, I never went back. They (obviously) kept my donation.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • skytag

          "He replied telling me I needed to be more careful about my money and included a list of money-saving tips."

          Sounds like Texas.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • ashleemae

          I'm used to Hoosier hospitality...So it was quite a shock. Even more of a shock that I couldn't get help from people I trusted. A person I barely knew let me sleep on her couch for a couple of weeks but I still had to drive around with my belongings in my car.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I've always thought that anyone who expects to be paid for preaching is a con man.
          There is no price tag on salvation.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • ashleemae

          I agree. I understand that they have living expenses, but when the preacher rolls up in a shiny new car wearing expensive clothing...Not cool.

          And these mega churches? No thanks. I'm back in Indiana and if I go to a church it will be a small country church.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  6. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot!!!

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

    July 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Observer

      It's a safe bet that his IQ dwarfs yours.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  7. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot!!!!

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

    July 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  8. courtney

    I grew up going to church and was seriously involved and really genuinely believed in it all. Then I went to a very strict Christian college, and my eyes were opened to what the Christian community was like and who I was as a Christian, and I hated what I saw. I saw judgement and hypocrisy running rampant in both my fellow Christians and sadly in myself. I began to open myself up to different religions and faiths, and I found the question that made me finally say, "I am no longer a Christian." That question was, "I know so many amazing people who strive to do good in their lives; will they really go to hell because they don't believe in Jesus and they follow another religion?" The teachings I heard from so many pastors and leaders say, "yes, they will." I personally cannot justify that in my head or in my heart.

    I stopped going to church because it became this massive advertisement for leading a life to serve Jesus above all else and that you have to honor him at all times in both thought and action. Frankly, that is an impossible standard, yet when you don't meet that standard, you are judged heavily, if not by God then by your fellow believers. I am no longer a Christian because I cannot support a group who by nature should be welcoming of all, but in practice reject so many.

    I went to a Christmas service this past year to make my mother happy, and found that my reasons were completely on point when the pastor bragged about how he was still happily married because he serves Jesus while his siblings are all divorced because they don't. How incredibly arrogant and unjust and narrow-minded. It is statements such as this one that has disillusioned so many people who once found peace and comfort in the church. When pastors and leaders stop being so judgemental and self righteous, perhaps some of my generation will return.

    July 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jeff

      I grew up in an evangelical Christian home and went to a well respected Christian college. I credit my college experience for creating a safe space for me to think critically about my faith. After a long and often difficult de-conversion process, I consider myself more agnostic now. I am saddened by how regressive and oppressive the church seems to me now. It claims to offer freedom in Christ but I only experienced shackles and an absolute unyielding simple-mindedness toward the bible. When I go to church with my family now (one of those mega churches with very high production value services), it feels like death.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Courtney and Jeff,

      Your stories are sad. I would like to offer you some encouragement, though. Not all churches, pastors, or Christians are as you have found thus far. We recently joined a church that we had been attending for some time and there is no condemnation or judgmental legalism. The spirit is free and the congregation is one big happy family. We spent a lot of time visiting churches, good ones are still to be found. I wish you both the best. Peace.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
      • Jeff

        Thank you for your kind encouragement. I actually married a Jewish woman and attend a wonderful reformed synagogue with her. We are raising our children Jewish. Oddly, I am more aware of Christ in the Jewish services than I ever was in an evangelical service. I ocassionally attend an episcopal church for the same reasons expressed by Rachel Evans.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Whitney

      Like you, there is a number of people that go thru that aha moment about the way that people act in a church. I went thru it myself and wondered how can church be right for anyone when its acting this way? however after a big battle with myself and others and even stopped going to church for a while. I came to realize what the bible meant in Matt 7:14 when it sais "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (I'm sure you know this but incase others don't – the word strait in the scripture is talking about – A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water:) There is a large number of people that call themselves Christians and within this group there are so many people that play church and expect people to follow the rules, they care more about their man made rules than how the bible is really telling them to act. There are also the Christians that have decided to make their own salvation plans outside of the bible. There are pastors that go out and cheat on their wives, youth leaders that are more interested on getting with the girls in their congregation than teaching them what the bible said. I have seen it all with my own eyes. I know that these people are the ones that give Christianity a bad rep. However I say that people that do those things, by the meaning of Christianity aren't Christians at all...being a Christian is someone that has been baptized and follows Jesus Christ and his teachings(now you tell me, but this is not what God told us to do in His teachings). Not someone that plays a saint and call themselves Christians. Self proclaimed Christians that do other than what Christ called us to do will be weeded out when its time to enter the narrow path. Only the ones that truly follow the teachings of Christ will be let in. We are called to love each other and because of that love we teach others the teachings of Christ so no one will be lost. There are so many good Christians and Christian churches out there unfortunately there are a lot more that play being Christians that it's become very difficult to find them at times. I encourage you to keep searching the scriptures and keep developing your own relationship with Christ, this is what it's really all about. Your own love for Jesus and the way that you create that friendship with Him is what will get you a seat by His side, no one else can get you there only you can. You will find like I did that the more you seek, the more you find Him the more you realize He loves you and fall in love with Him also. God Bless you in your path to righteousness.

      July 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • skytag

        The reason there is so much variation what Christians believe and the way they act is that there is no supernatural power guiding either what they believe or how they act.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  9. skytag

    The explanation seems simple enough. Young people today are less willing to fall for myths and legends.

    July 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Austin

      the unbelief hobby is the biggest liar.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Austin

        either will I with my habitiual sin sky tag. come on bro. ask the Holy Spirit to help you with faith and wait on Him for three weeks. start talking to Him. be honest.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          Austin how can you call unbelievers liars when you are the one believing in something that most likely does not exist?

          July 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • JJ

          Wait on him for three weeks?!? What's that all about? It takes that long for psychosis to take hold?

          July 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • skytag

        The delusional ramblings of a simpleton who decided to believe in God only because his life was in the toilet do not interest me. Saying something you don't believe does not make anyone a liar.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Austin

          you are all defiant liars. and i say that with no vitriol, but you reject people with data and evidence of God. and you continue to say things like "absolutely no evidence" and use word like absolute.

          you have nothing on God. and so you have nothing to argue with against God. I do have something from God. It is a spiritual experience. its like the wind. I cant tell HIm where to blow for ya.

          step off with your demanding disbelief ill be back later. i still have my evidence and data so back down. bucause i never will or i will be in spiritual treason.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Observer

          Austin

          "you have nothing on God"

          So we are even.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          Funny how you claim that you have data and evidence Austin yet you provide none.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Just Call Me Lucifer

          Evidence of god Austin? Please share that we all might believe. If you don't have provable evidence of your Superman, then please phuck off.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          DEAD CATS. C'mon what more evidence do you need from poor Austin?

          July 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • sam stone

          no vitriol intended, but we are all liars?

          you are a delusional cvnt

          your alcohol rotted brain has a hallucination and you feel it is a spirtual gift?

          you are a coward like all the other christians who would allow someone else to take the punishment they feel they deserve.

          have another drink, punk

          July 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • skytag

          Apparently I struck a nerve with Austin. Funny how Austin believes he has it all figured out, but calls us liars when we aren't lying. That's bearing false witness. At worst we're just wrong, but being wrong isn't the same as being a liar, and there is no evidence we're wrong.

          The more Austin says the more convinced I am he's a simpleton with mental problems.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • sam stone

        it is only a lie if people know it to be false, but present it as truth. for example, this supposed proof that you have been blathering on forever about. put up or shut up, boozehound

        July 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • skytag

          In fairness he has discussed it in the past. Apparently he had some dreams he wrote down and they came to pass.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • skytag

          In fairness he has discussed this in the past. Apparently he had some dreams he wrote down and he thinks they came to pass. So all of his "proof" is in his head where it can't be objectively verified. Then he gets mad when we won't just take his word for it.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Ron

    Changes in substance. The church must not give in to that. If the millenials must leave the church for the church to remain true to the Bible, let the church remain true to the Bible, and sadly, let the millenials leave. This constant compromising has produced a worldly church, filled with the self-indulgent following the self-righteous toward the self-involved with self at the center of everything. Follow Jesus. Leave the millenials or any other group who won't accept the truth of scripture behind. But with this exception. Continue to pray that God will open their eyes, compassionately and mercifully, pray for them..

    July 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Ginny Bain Allen

      AMEN!

      July 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Observer

      Ron,

      So you support slavery like the Bible does or are you smarter than that?

      July 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Austin

        dude, observer. do you really thing the pot heads in this world who cant run anything for themself dont need a job and then end up taking the role of a servant? there is a hierarchy sue to responsibility levels in people greately differing.

        you put a bunch of people out there with your as.s on the line and it will end up being your a.ss

        so if smarter and educated , priestly people have the edge, then glory to God. get in the game! His blessings and promises are real and yours for the taking. don't leave your a.ss out there for the wild animals.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          like the pot heads who founded microsoft, punk?

          July 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • Just a Guy

        In the old days slaves were indentured servants – they owed monies or servitude to someone and this was the only way to work it off – and the Bible says if you do have this situation – you were Biblical humane ways to treat them – not the 'slavery' of past centuries – but also – nowhere does the Bible condone the type of slavery / servitude of past centuries like in early America

        July 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Observer

          Just a Guy,

          Have you read the Bible at all? Slaves were PROPERTY and you could beat them with rods.

          Get serious. Get a Bible.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Sorry, but identured servitude was only for fellow Hebrews.
          Foreigners, pagans and other such heretics were chattel.

          "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          July 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Austin

          well God was more demanding at that time. He put his priests nation under Mosaic law, and it if you were lucky to be included in the atoning nation, then you can submit to God, and you can submit to the romans, or the U.s., or China, or Israel.

          your label is not an as.sault. you are subjected to the vehicle in which God is interveining with mankind. be thankful don't be a brat. life is good and eternal life is the ULTIMATE GLORY.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Observer

          Austin

          "well God was more demanding at that time."

          God "never changes" according to the Bible. Ooops.

          So do you support slavery like the Bible does? Yes or No?

          July 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Just a Guy

        yes – it does say that – they are slaves from non-Hebrew people – and there was still a humane way to treat them – so whats the point about slavery – is that one person's excuse for not being a believer?

        July 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Yeah – treat your slaves right, just like the Bible says.

          "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          July 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Observer

          Just a Guy,

          I was going to quote the same as Doc Vestibule below.

          Get your head out of the sand so you won't look so ignorant. Read a Bible someday. Wishful thinking isn't the same as reality.

          July 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        God never supported slavery that was man's doing. God has only allowed it at times like he has allowed other things He doesn't approve of. Why? Because we are free to choose right from wrong. We are not robots. We are the ones who will condemn ourselves in the end for our choices if they are not right.

        God was very angry with the Nation of Israel at one point for keeping slaves and He demanded that they free them and they did, but no sooner had God turned his back on them the Nation of Israel on their own volition went and enslaved them again. Now is that God's doing or man's? If God intervened on every disaster and tragedy in the world we'd be living in a perfect world right now. He has a set time for things and right now we are all be tested to see if we are worthy of eternal life and living in a world that is free of suffering and sin.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • skytag

      Good luck getting people to get on board with men having all the power and women having no rights like it was in the Bible.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Just a Guy

        Mr Skytag – the Good Book in no way says that – it does say how a man and woman are to treat each other as man and wife and if these are followed – there are no second class citizens in a marriage as you may think.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Women are equals in the Bible?
          "Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die"
          – Ecclesiasticus, 25:19

          "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
          -1 Corinthians 14:34

          "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."
          – I Timothy 2:11-14

          July 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • what is wrong with you???

        Ummm... if you're not religious, then why are you commenting on a relious blog? Get a life, bud. If you're trying so hard to convince people that their is NO higher power, then maybe you need to take a step back and ask yourself what the real issue is... obviously you have some problems dealing with the truth or lack thereof.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        God's laws work if they are carried out properly. If a husband is loving and shows respect to his wife he is supposed to take her views into consideration and discuss them with her. The Bible does say if they can't come to an agreement that as the man he has the final say. I could live with that. The problem is some men are not considerate and loving and became tyrannical dictators wielding an invisible club of power over their wives. What I'm trying to say is this, God's rules do work, but both parties have to be willing to live by them.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Merrillee

      Good plan. Then the children of millennials will never learn about Jesus, either. And their children, and so on...until your little organized religion completely collapses. Well done.

      Don't have to change the message itself, just how it is delivered. Which is the point of this essay.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • AC

      You must have not read the article. It's saying millennials are leaving because they don't buy into all this rock music/coffee bar non-sense. Millennials want just the scripture, not all the noise churches produce these days to attract young people.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  11. Felix Sinclair

    Because I grew up and decided reason and critical thinking were good qualities to utilize. The rest followed pretty quickly.

    July 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Mr.Black

    The answer to the question is actually very simple: the availability of information. When I was growing up, I was told there was a God and I was never presented with an alternative viewpoint. I went to a Baptist school where I never even learned about evolution. These days, thanks to things like the Internet, more people are being presented with information other than that with which they were indoctrinated. It's no fault of the church, it's just that they may simply no longer believe.

    July 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  13. Karen

    WOW....as the end of the 'baby boomer' I would say good for you! I agree with what you are saying and perhaps that is why I've always rejected the 'groupie' mentality. When 'everyone' is doing it I've always walked away. Good luck finding a place to express your faith.

    July 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Roy

    We realized that the story of Jesus was an awesome fairy-tail. There is no way possible that a man created a woman. If that was the case, we would be able to do it today through procreating. The Fact in the bible is, Fiction. The stories are great and inspirational. I would like to know how many people have set around the house and done nothing and their light bill stays on or they are fed just because they pray. For years; NO JOB, NO INCOME, and NO MEANS OF ANY KIND OF HELP from anywhere or anyone, but still have a home, or gas in the car. I could tell you who lived like that and are still surviving. The homeless. Religion, if followed at 100% you will be homeless. Therefore, those who got away from the church and or surviving. We know religion FINANCIALLY helps no one but the guy who speaks of himself adding you into his stories. We know if someone is hungry, if we can help, WE WILL. This world is operating by US and NEEDS to be PROTECTED by US. We all know its going to take more than the FEW who successfully ignored the church. PLEASE PEOPLE THINK.

    July 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Austin

      I have a supernatural gift. Also the world is being ran by the devil through deceit. take money out of the equation. the money is ceasars. your soul is from God. so is your choice.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Observer

        Austin,

        If you had a supernatural gift you'd use it to pick the correct lottery numbers. How's that coming?

        July 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • skytag

        You believe you have a supernatural gift.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • sam stone

        you have hallucinations.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • forgotten

        wow...

        July 30, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • michael

      A "fairy tale" perpetuated over 100's of years before Christ' birth and about 300 years after? Right.

      And did you notice that the plural noun of "we" is neatly folded in? Who is "we"? Speaking for others besides yourself for self validation? Hardly seems appropriate.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Robert Sakovich

      George Muller did this...although you are doing a poor job of arguing by proof-text. The Bible also says that if a man wants to eat, he needs to work.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Matthew

      Hi Roy,
      If your bitter about failing to get what you wanted from God, that's understandable. Christians don't follow Christ for riches or success. Judas followed Christ, but not out of love or reverence. He wanted what was on the master's table. (He handled the finances) I trust you know how his walk ended. But his failure as a disciple did not change the faith of the other eleven. That's why I'm confident, despite your best effort to entice with finances, that others will continue to love God with their whole heart.

      If you are looking for smart Bible based financial help, I recommend Dave Ramsey. He will cue you in on how God really wants you to handle your money. (Which is really his to begin with)
      Thanks,
      -Matt

      July 30, 2013 at 1:53 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.