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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. Joe Cook

    Thanks for the article Rachel, one thing I would add is that in many places, young people aren't given much opportunity to lead, much opportunity to expand. Many churches are not interested in starting new churches, or encouraging young people do this. Ministry is seen as professional whereas we're all called to be "ministers" or our faith. My experience has been when young people are challenged, encouraged, and given opportunity to make mistakes, they stay engaged because they feel like they matter and they don't have to be perfect to follow their faith. Jesus disciples were far from perfect, and they were far from professionals when he sent them out, but he sent them none-the-less. The sort of self-help, get your life together and everything will be peachy ideology doesn't really translate in to real life for many people so instead of going deeper and depending on their faith they walk away. Not surprisingly when Jesus presented people with the Gospel, many walked away from him, in person, we shouldn't be terribly surprised that people still walk away.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  2. Patricia Miller

    AMEN AND AMEN.
    I'm definitely past the millennial age BUT have the same problem...i don't want performances, loud "modern" music!!, nor do I care for the coffee klatch and Santa Clauses visiting the church at Christmas. I want a pastor who is a Shepherd of his congregation and who isn't Afraid to teach THE Biblical truths without fear of stepping on toes.!!

    Thank you for your article

    July 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  3. George Busch

    The main reason we left the church was to get away from the narrow minded, ignorant, bigoted people like th ebloggers here. And now that I've been free of religion for a few years, I can honestly say life is much, much better without it. I don't worry about burning in hell anymore and I get to laugh and have a good time. Believe me, one night at the club is better than a hundred at evangelical meetings. Live life, don't fear dying.

    July 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • skytag

      One of the great things about being an atheist is that I no longer waste any energy trying to rationalize why what I believe doesn't match what I see in the world, what we learn from history, or what reason, logic and evidence tell us. Christians expend a lot of energy rationalizing to maintain the delusions.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  4. George Busch

    How do you "know" someone who died 2000 years ago. You know nothing. You are told things, but have no real idea. The facts show us that what you believe is far from the truth. But keep living a lie – after all, that's faith.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  5. skytag

    By the way, the "latest surveys" link near the beginning of the article will take you to a very interesting survey looking at what Americans believe about a wide variety of issues based on their religious views.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Page 34 has a nice summary graph.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  6. Looking for Jesus?

    Being a Christian is about a personal relationship with Christ, the church family can only foster and nurture so much of that relationship. A person does not 'find' Jesus inside the Church, in fact you can be assured that the rest of the church goers are equally sinful as you are. It has never been about 'finding' Jesus , it's about 'knowing' Him, which means it comes from within not without.

    Quit finding reasons and excuses to walk away from God, instead study the scriptures and ask God to reveal Himself to you.

    You have got the whole premise of what it is be a Christian wrong in this commentary. Christ does not want you to rely on the church or others to know Him, you need to learn to rely on Him and know Him.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • George Busch

      Walking away from christ was easy, there was nothing convincing enough for me to stay. It's like the article says, don't throw out science because it doesn't fit your faith. Science is based on proof, faith is based on....nothing. A book passed down over generations and translated so many times that the purpose and meaning every word could now be debated. It doesn't fit your faith – you condemn it. That is why we left.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • CatLover

      Oh, c'mon. The Church Universal is the body of worshippers, in fellowship. Here, take a read of this:

      https://bible.org/seriespage/importance-fellowship-new-testament-church

      It's actually pretty good, from one of God's own professionals.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • George Busch

        I don't even look at this rubbish anymore. Got any good science/tech journals?

        July 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Socharle

          Gee George,
          What's with all the bile? If you choose to reject "religion", great. Why waste your time commenting on this?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • Mark Watson

          For someone who "doesn't look at that rubbish anymore" you a spending a considerable amount of looking and time and energy on the comment section of an article on religion

          July 30, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Looking for Jesus?

      Walking away from Christ was easy for you?
      At the end of the day you have to be at peace with the decision you make for yourself. If you found that peace , so be it. Don't put the blame on a church or something else.

      Being a Christian is about knowing Christ as a personal savior.
      It is not about the theories around evolution or anything else.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • skytag

        Being a Christian is about being brainwashed to believe one of countless Christian god narratives as opposed to the Muslim god narrative or any of hundreds of narratives. You can keep regurgitating well-rehearsed Christian platitudes until the cows come home but there's no objective reason to believe any of it, that your narrative is more correct than any other even if there is a God, or that your version of Christianity is more correct than any other.

        The vast majority of believers in this world belong to a religion because of who they know and where they live, not because they have any objective evidence it's more correct than any of the others. Had you been born in Saudi Arabia you'd almost certainly be a Muslim instead of a Christian. In India you'd be a Hindu.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Jake

      "Being a Christian is about a personal relationship with Jesus."

      It is funny because it's true. Being a Christian is about believing that you have a personal relationship with someone you've never met who died 2,000 years ago. And you wonder why we think you're all crazy...

      July 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Looking for Jesus?

        You can ask any Christian about this relationship that they have with Christ and they will be able to tell you it is REAL.
        Unless you have had this relationship you will never know what this experience is , what it is to know God, you have to experience this for yourself, that is why being a Christian is about having a personal relationship with God.

        July 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • One one

          All that lovely stuff does not exist outside of your mind.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • Jake

          You may REALLY think that. That just means you're REALLY delusional. Not trying to be rude, that's just exactly what it is – delusion.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • skytag

          Over the course of history there have been thousands of religions and all their followers would tell they're real. It is the height of arrogance to claim, with no supporting evidence whatsoever that your claim is valid while all the others aren't.

          July 30, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • One one

      If Jesus was real and wanted everyone to know him he is doing a lousy job at making his existence known. No one can detect him in any way and he constantly allows human suffering when he could supposedly prevent it. Prayers are never answered, and believers plea for non-believers to abandon their common sense and go through mental gymnastics to believe the unbelievable.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • One one

      I didn't "walk away" from Jesus because I never believed in him in the first place. I tried to get into it when I was a teen, I hung with some believers. It lasted about a week, I just didn't buy it.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • Athy

        How did you manage to last a week?

        July 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  7. aallen333

    The parents are to lead the children, not be led by the children's tantrums.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  8. bobbi wolf

    i am with you......churches had become impersonal only looking for the best programs, the best entertainers and not taking care to get to truely know their own.......i had experienced feeling lack of respect , and not caring at all if i had an opinion about anything......but i did experience an awesome truely spiritual loving church who has totally embraced me and my special needs daughter.....accepted me for me loved me with no conditions and is exactly what Jesus expects

    July 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  9. CBowers

    Dear millennials, I have been the pastor of a number of congregations that are not political in the negative sense, that are very concerned with and involved in social justice in their communities and beyond, that are welcoming to LGBT persons (to all persons, in fact), that encourage people to think and welcome tough questions, that aren’t afraid of doubt, that see no conflict between science and faith, and where compassion and holiness are linked not separated. And guess who mostly wasn’t there, YOU!
    I grant that there are congregations out there that are judgmental, unwelcoming to LGBT persons, ask you to turn your mind off at the door, and largely ignore Jesus’ call to compassion and social justice, but there are also many where the OPPOSITE is the reality, and if you truly want to find one, keep looking. Please don’t let your bad experiences with churches stop you from looking until you find one that meets your criteria. Unless, of course, all the talk about what you want and can't seem to find in a congregation/church is just an excuse for staying away from church.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jake

      "that see no conflict between science and faith"

      Ok, here is a tough question: Science says that it's impossible to walk on water. Religion says it happened. How is that not a conflict? Religion and Science are clearly in direct conflict and I don't see how anyone can pretend otherwise.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • CBowers

        You entirely missed the point of my post. I am not going to follow you down a rabbit trail away from the point I'm making. Please read my post again.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Jake

          Your post specifically said you, "encourage people to think and welcome tough questions" and "see no conflict between science and faith". If that wasn't part of the point of your post, I don't know why you wrote it. I do agree that trying to come up with a way to reconcile science with religion would be a completely futile exercise, but you're the one who claims no conflict.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • George Busch

      To accept science is to reject religion – and vice-versa. You can't be a man of science yet believe in souls, rising from the dead, angels, virgin births, talking donkeys and snakes and walking on water. You can't be a religious person and accept the big bang theory, evolution or the fact that when you die you are dead. And before you say evolution is just a theory – so is gravity. The proof is there with 99,9% of the facts.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • One one

      God wants our worship and praise it seems.
      But he only appears to us in our dreams.
      You can pray for his help, but don’t hold your breath.
      For his plan for you is your inevitable death.
      They claim if you believe, you’re heaven bound.
      But a witness for this has never been found.
      No guarantees for this claim, now THAT’s a sin.
      So don’t take the bait and get hooked and reeled in.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • samitchell79

      Science: no Adam and Eve, no Noah's flood, no reserection, no flight from Egypt, no virgin birth, no one living 864 years, etc.
      Christianity: ?! I got my faith! er, nothing.
      Science: modern medicine, linguistics, physics, astronomy, palentology, archeology, etc.
      Christianity: oil and water, speaking in toungues, firmiment, holy stars, made up stories to make everyone feel better (kinda).

      October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  10. JP

    The implication that we millennials are all bleeding hearts obsessed with "social justice" is pretty insulting. The truth is that churches just seem like another system of control, trying to use BS to get our money, our efforts, our time, and our obedience.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  11. RtWgNt

    2 Timothy 3:1-17. Faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Wait, so which is it? Faith alone, grace alone, or scripture alone? You do know what the word "alone" means, right?

      July 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Brian Watson

        Dear Mr. Spaghetti Monster,

        You are not nearly as clever as you think yourself to be. The various uses of "alone" in the five "solas" are different. (Study a little philosophy and you will see that this is not illogical in any sense.) When Christians say they are saved by grace alone, it is the means of salvation. By faith alone refers to the instrument of salvation. In Christ alone refers to the basis of salvation. Scripture alone refers to the sole authority for Christians (by which we mean that the Bible is God's Word, and his commands expressed in the Bible are authoritative for us). The last "sola" is "to God alone be the glory," in case you wanted to know.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Jake

          Um, no. Alone has a real definition.

          1.Having no one else present; on one's own.
          2.Without others' help or participation; single-handed.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • A Millennial

          It's meant in the same way that one would say "jenny alone was the receptionist, fred alone the paralegal, and susan alone the attorney." You might answer "who are your receptionists, paralegals, and attorneys?" with "jenny alone, fred alone, and susan alone."

          In the same way, the solas serve alone in different roles. The question is: "what explains salvation, provides salvation, and accepts salvation?" The answer is: "Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone."

          It's one of those things where Christians stupidly use a shorthand phrase without trying to give any context.

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

      Actually, it doesn't say Scripture alone. It says "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (KJV), but it does not imply that Scripture is exclusive in that regard.

      2 Thessalonians 2:15: "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."
      2 Thessalonians 3:6 "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."

      July 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  12. A Millennial

    I feel like the author is trying to say that the problem with churches is that they aren't accepting of commentary, that they don't "sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community." But I find this view arrogant. It is not the Christianity's responsibility to conform it's teachings to what we want it to be. It's our responsibility to conform ourselves to Christianity's teachings.

    People want to reconcile their stances on being LBGT, abortion, evolution, etc. with the teachings they hear. But it's presumptive to say that those differences of opinion are the fault of the church, and not the millennial. I do feel that the movement to "hipper service" is a bad one, but I think it's really about millennial's want to focus on being "religious" without all the teaching (and I think a return to high church is evidence of that). Our generation hates nothing worse than being preached to, and I think that is the real problem.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • lindy

      The Bible doesn't say a damned word about abortion, and Jesus said not a damned word about gays. It's you and your churchs that made up that stance, not the NT...so stop with your weird adherence to a scripture that isn't even there, okay???
      You state millennials don't want to be preached AT, and you're right. Especially if the preaching has nothing to do with Jesus, and everything to to with the way the preacher votes, and wants you to vote.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • CatLover

        Gawd is a Republican, and so is Jesus, and they want you to vote Republican. It's inferred in one of the Old Testament minor prophets. I can't remember where, exactly, but in any case, common sense would tell us this is the case.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • lindy

          Ah, but Jesus was totally liberal. Thus, partisanship is born.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  13. Ally

    If you can't find Jesus, it might be because your looking for a reflection of your own image. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You can't find Jesus because if he ever existed he was just a mortal like you and me.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        R'amen!

        July 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I can't find jeebus either. It's kind of like where's waldo... except you have a much much better chance of finding waldo.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      @Ally,

      Wo ooo ! That was good. (sincerely)

      July 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • A Millennial

      Notice that all the responses are coming from atheists. I don't think the Christians the author refers to really have a good answer to your point.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • RK

        If I ask the question "where can I find the Christ I read about in the New Testament?" and the response is "the problem is you," it's no wonder the only people responding are alleged atheists seeing the fresh meat of religious contention and intolerance. As a Christian the author is referring to, it's exhausting to bother honestly responding when it's already been decided what a "good" answer is.

        As the author said "we want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers."

        A brief, impersonal quip about how I'm too self-absorbed and I refuse to be taught is in defiance of what teaching actually is. Does everything need to treated like an attack to be defended against? Do I not count as honestly seeking the truth just because I question you? If I demand answers that make sense, that the holy spirit confirms in my heart, is that arrogance?

        The problem with points like this, and what makes them so discouraging to respond to, is that they expect the gospel to do all the work for them. I don't know why, maybe the idea is that if it's true, it's easy to say it's my fault for not knowing better. But you can't stick the scriptures on a staff like Moses and the brass serpent. They require searching, and searching means not finding the destination immediately.

        My response? It might not be a "good" answer by your standards, but Ally and those that agree are flocks of only 99 sheep, because they leave the one that is lost in the wilderness. Well I'm that lost one, and so are a lot of us that the author is referring to, and we need the church that can leave the 99, and come to us in the wilderness. That's the shepherd I'm looking for.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Millennial

          The question we are answering is, like with the author, "why are you unhappy with churches today?". The author blames churches for not being willing "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."

          It's the author saying she wants churches to accept what she wants to contribute, and when she blames them for their political views and stance on LGBT that she has elicited this response. It's hard to imagine she really wants deeper introspection (as you suggest) in the face of her admission that she is turning to the rather low-substance world of high church.

          In the end, I actually agree the problem is "hipper services," and I see where the lack of dialogue is flat. But that's because the real answers require devoted study and are often painful reflections of ourselves. The author isn't going to find those answers in "high church," nor will you. It takes effort to find real fulfilling answers, and it often isn't emotionally fulfilling. But don't turn away from those answers because they say the person staring back at you in the mirror isn't quite who you should be. Christ loves you all the same, and because of that he wants to guide you from who you are to who you should be.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • skytag

      As for "finding Jesus," with no reason to believe he exists, why should I even be looking for him? I'm not looking for Jesus, God, leprechauns, vampires, extraterrestrials living among us or buried treasure in my yard, and all for the exact same reason: I see no reason to believe any of them exist.

      The only reason to "seek God" or "seek Jesus" is if you like the Christian narrative and are hoping it's true. Of course that means your search efforts will be biased toward convincing yourself it's true.

      I seek the truth constantly, and when I say "truth" I mean it in the dictionary sense, not the Christian sense, which is "whatever the Bible says." Rationalizations don't make fairytales real and faith doesn't make beliefs into facts or truth.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  14. Colin

    As Dawkins said, "I will convert for evidence." However, in my entire life and in disucssing the matter with believer after believer, I have never once heard a cogent, persuasive piece of evidence for the existence of the Judeo-Christian god. All I ever get is "you can't explain X, therefore the Judeo Christian god exists. X tends to be (i) the origin of the Universe; (ii) the origin of life on Earth; or (iii) some personal experience the believer had or thinks they had.

    Apparently, the Judeo-Christian God is nothing more that a synonym for "I don't know."

    July 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • AE

      You place faith in elite scientists you have never met and in science you don't really understand.

      Neat philosophy you share with us.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Besomyka

        GPS, Rovers on Mars, Fission, cell phones, medicine... that's just 'faith'? I 1) can understand science given study, 2) can replicate experiments (finances willing), to prove things for myself, and 3) I have, can see, and routinely have my epistemology confirmed by physical reality.

        What can faith do? What do I have? Can I understand it given study? No, in fact the more I studied it the less coherent be because, and the more obvious it was that people were just making stuff up. Can I prove things for myself? Nope. Never seen God, never heard God, never gotten any supernatural answers ever. Can I get faith proven in the physical world? Nope. No repeatable miracles. Christians don't die of tragedy less often than other people. The devout don't get less heart disease.

        Religion is wishful and magical thinking, nothing more. You're fooling yourself for the sake of what? Community? Social validation?

        Or is it just that you want to matter, somehow, in the grand scheme of things?

        July 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @Besomyka,

          How does one study faith ?

          July 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • AE

          Faith is primarily defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."

          I put most of my faith in God.

          And not into just human knowledge.

          We are not just logical and reason-driving beings. We have 2 sides of our brains – a logical side and an imaginative side.

          If you struggle to find God, trying using both sides of your brain.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • CMoses

          Often times God is the proverbial tree that falls in the forest. Those that go to the forest hear Him. Just because you avoid the forest proves nothing. With prayer and an open mind, maybe that will change some day.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • George Busch

          Proverbs??? Really??? LOL

          July 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • skytag

        More evidence religion makes people stupid. You're flailing. Don't embarrass yourself like that. Science has a long history of finding real answers to questions. Not all questions, obviously, but a lot. Religion has a long history of providing answers unsupported by any evidence and often debunked eventually by science.

        Science has a lot of successes and religion has nothing but failures and claims that so far can't be proven or disproven. I'd rather put my faith in the one that has a lot of successes than the one that has no successes.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • IHAVESEENT THELIGHT

          "More evidence religion makes people stupid." You are obnoxious and being a jerk. If this is what it means to be an atheist, I will have none of it. You can keep your nothingness.

          July 31, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Harry Cline

      @Colin,

      And that is why his Big Bang is not proven. (and he admits that) Now ask him if he believes in an 'intelligent design'. The problem you people seem to have is what the religious people have a problem with.

      A God is not religion or theology ..

      July 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • Primewonk

        "And that is why his Big Bang is not proven."

        Again, in science we do not prove things, we explain things. Proofs are for maths, ethanol, and yeast dough.

        We have the science worked out to just a couple femtoseconds after the singularity began expanding. Our science shows that there was no god or gods needed or necessary for this universe to form exactly as it has.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @Primewonk,

          News Flash, the professor knows how it happen. He will never publicly say it, because he does not want it used for someones agenda. For more clarification about this, read the comment below by poster ARE.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • Primewonk

          You appear to be simply yet another idíot nutter who lacks even a basic understanding of science.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @Primewonk,

          Don't get me stated Mr. Pseudo.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
      • George Busch

        And gravity is not proven – it is just a theory. But if I drop you off a high building, it is definately a theory you will believe...

        July 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • ARE

      You make a very valid point that certain proofs must exist to coincide with faith. In fact, rarely in my personal walk with God have I ever been asked to accept anything by complete "blind faith". And I believe this is also true in the first step of faith, which is acknowledging there is something bigger out there that controls things (theological details develop later; this is just a bare-essentials belief at this point). True, there is nothing at the end of the journey to give absolute, incontestable proof that God does exist, and that is where faith takes over. Let me give an example...
      When studying the origin of our universe, it is widely-accepted that our universe began with the "Big Bang" (which I also ascribe to). All matter in the universe at one point was in a dense ball the size of a golf ball, and then, "Bang", matter scattered out to the far reaches of the universe. The scientific question then becomes, "What caused the Big Bang?" Because in science, for every effect there has to be a cause.
      One theory is that matter has always existed, just in ever-changing, ever-evolving states. Even if this is the case, at some point, the eventual scientific question becomes, "Where did the matter come from, even in its pre-Big Bang state?"
      The other theory (The Big Bang) is actually supported by the Bible. If we take a moment to imagine what it would have looked like in our universe at the moment of Creation (God speaking everything into existence), it would have been a VERY big bang. Think about how dense the gravity inside that ball would have been with all the matter of every star, planet, asteroid, comet, satellite, and other gaseous anomalies throughout the entire universe inside. Imagine what kind of force would be needed to cause the catastrophic failure of that ball. An energy source far greater than anything we have ever been able to produce or replicate would be responsible.
      At this point, scientifically, you could continue to postulate about anything other than "God" being responsible for the cause. However, you will find yourself then asking, "where did that source come from?" It has to have an origin. Our finite minds cannot grasp things that are infinite. For me personally, it is at this point where belief in the existence of God makes more sense then the belief in the absence of God. I get to a point where I realize the probability of certain things happening by random action is less than the probability that something greater than this universe made it all and is behind it all.
      And I say all this knowing that at any moment scientific discovery (not claims of scientists, but actual proof) could prove me wrong. But for now, the true science of examining and discovery actually point to God, and that has been a strengthening point in my faith. Like you, I kept asking the question, "Why should I believe in a God (or anyone, for that matter) whose claims cannot be tested?"
      Thank you for your post. I always enjoy honest dialogue.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        @ARE,

        "But for now, the true science of examining and discovery actually point to God"
        ____

        Bada boom baby .. Suffice to say if science did not support an intelligent design the puff the magic out of salamander would be even more science fiction and subject to intense therapy.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          CMoses. If we don't know an answer it doesn't mean that a god did it.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • Primewonk

        "When studying the origin of our universe, it is widely-accepted that our universe began with the "Big Bang" (which I also ascribe to). All matter in the universe at one point was in a dense ball the size of a golf ball, and then, "Bang", matter scattered out to the far reaches of the universe. The scientific question then becomes, "What caused the Big Bang?" Because in science, for every effect there has to be a cause.
        One theory is that matter has always existed, just in ever-changing, ever-evolving states. Even if this is the case, at some point, the eventual scientific question becomes, "Where did the matter come from, even in its pre-Big Bang state?"
        The other theory (The Big Bang) is actually supported by the Bible. If we take a moment to imagine what it would have looked like in our universe at the moment of Creation (God speaking everything into existence), it would have been a VERY big bang. Think about how dense the gravity inside that ball would have been with all the matter of every star, planet, asteroid, comet, satellite, and other gaseous anomalies throughout the entire universe inside. Imagine what kind of force would be needed to cause the catastrophic failure of that ball. An energy source far greater than anything we have ever been able to produce or replicate would be responsible."

        The Big Bang was neither big, nor a bang. There was no explosion. There was a rapid expansion of a singularity that created space/time as it expanded. The initial singularity did not contain matter. It didn't even contain energy as most folks understand it. It contained the "stuff" that would become energy and then matter.

        Quantum theory clearly shows that at the quantum level you do not need a cause for an effect. It also shows that because of fluctuations in the quantum vacuum, particles can, and do, pop into and out of existence all the time. It's called the Casimir Effect, and today, even kids in AP Physics classes experiment with it.

        And it makes no sense to ask what came before the Big Bang. Time, as we understand it, began when the singularity began expanding and gravity calved off from the other 3 primordial forces. Asking what happened before time began is like asking what is North of North.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • CMoses

          Why did the singularity expand?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • CatLover

          Because its cup ranneth over? I mean, like, seriously.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          CMoses. If we don't know an answer to something it doesn't mean that a god did it.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • A Millennial

      A belief in your own consciousness, beyond being a mere reflexory automoton, is the greatest evidence of God and the spiritual world. That has always been the greatest proof for religion, dating back to "cogito ergo sum." You have a mind. You wake up in the morning, decide which shoe to put on first, and can think and act however you wish. Even more importantly, there is something to you that is aware that any of this happening. You can argue that my computer reacts to stimuli, but you can't argue that it is awareness of when it does.

      In the end, you can't "prove" the world existed five minutes ago. You certainly can't prove the dinosaurs were real. There's evidence, but no proof. And while there is evidence of the big bang, and of evolution, none of this is actually contradictory to the bible's teachings of the creation of the world (and, if you want to argue time, realize it talks of a day before there was a sun... it's clearly metaphorical to some extent). Religion persists because it can neither be proven nor dis-proven. If you believe in having a soul, and the big bang having an origin, then you must turn to answers of what they are and how they came to be. I believe Christianity to have the answers to those questions. You may disagree, and I understand that, but I also don't think that science really presents an alternative to these questions.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • Harry Cline

        @A Millennial,

        Bada boom baby ..

        Take note out there all you conspiracy freaks and pseudo scientist. "Look mom I'm an Atheist" well, it's the hip thing .

        July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Dawkins said whaaaaaatt?? ".....................Judeo-Christian god........................" Is this some kinda new age marriage between Jesus and the ULTIMATE ANTICHRIST BEAST??

      July 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  15. Tanya

    So you want the sugared down version of what the bible tells us, to live separate of the world. That is exactly what we don't need... this world needs a genuine movement of Christ. The only way that is going to happen is to give it the genuine word of God, non watered down, non sugared word of God!

    July 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Live the way you want. The problems arise when fundiot nutters fail to comprehend we are not a theocracy and seek to force their myths into our secular laws.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:58 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.