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August 2nd, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Why millennials need the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - For a time, I counted myself among the spiritual but not religious, Christian but not churchgoing crowd.

Like many millennials, I left church because I didn’t always see the compassion of Jesus there, and because my questions about faith and science, the Bible, homosexuality, and religious pluralism were met with shallow answers or hostility.

At first I reveled in my newfound Sunday routine of sleeping in, sipping my coffee and yelling at Republicans who appeared on ”Meet the Press.”

But eventually I returned, because, like it or not, we Christian millennials need the church just as much as the church needs us. Here’s why:

Baptism

As former Methodist bishop Will Willimon has often said, “you cannot very well baptize yourself.”

In a culture that stresses individualism, the church satisfies the human need for community, for shared history and experiences.

And in a world where technology enables millennials to connect only with those who are like-minded, baptism drags us - sometimes kicking and screaming as infants - into the large, dysfunctional and beautiful family of the church.

Confession

“Sin” is not a popular word these days, perhaps because it is so often invoked in the context of judgment and condemnation.

But like all people, millennials need reminding now and then that the hate and violence we observe in the world is also present within ourselves.

We can be too idealistic, too convinced we can change the world from our iPads.

The accountability that comes from participation in a local church gives young Christians the chance to speak openly about our struggles with materialism, greed, gossip, anger, consumerism and pride.

Healing

While the flawed people who make up the church can certainly inflict pain on each other and sometimes on the world, we also engage in the important work of healing.

At their best, local churches provide basements where AA groups can meet, living rooms where tough conversations about racial reconciliation occur, casseroles for the sick and shelter for the homeless.

Millennials who have been hurt by the church may later find healing in it.

Leadership

Like a lot of millennials, I am deeply skeptical of authority - probably to a fault.

But when I interact with people from my church who have a few years and a lot of maturity on me, I am reminded of how cool it is to have a free, built-in mentoring and accountability program just down the street.

We can learn a lot from the faithful who have gone before us, and the church is where we find them.

Communion

One of the few things the modern church has in common with the ancient one is its celebration of the sacred meal— the Eucharist.

There is simply not the space here, nor in many volumes of theology for that matter, to unpack the significance of remembering Jesus through eating bread and drinking wine. But when I left the church, it was Communion I craved the most.

Churches may disagree on exactly how Christ is present in these sacred meals, but we agree that Christ is present. And millennials, too, long for that presence.

There are some days when the promise of Communion is the only thing that rouses me from bed on Sunday morning. I want a taste of that mystery.

Confirmation

Many churches practice a rite of initiation, sometimes called confirmation.

Theologian Lauren Winner, in her book “Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis,” quotes a friend who said:

“What you promise when you are confirmed is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that that is the story you will wrestle with forever.”

The church, at its best, provides a safe place in which to wrestle with this story we call the Gospel.

Union with Christ

Those who follow Jesus long for the day when their communion with him becomes complete, and Jesus promises this will happen through the church.

The apostle Paul compared this union to a marriage. Jesus describes it as a banquet.

No matter what the latest stats or studies say, Christians believe the future of the church is secure and not even “the gates of hell” will prevail against it.

As much as I may struggle to fit in sometimes, as much as I doubt, question and fight for reforms, I am a part of this church, through good times and bad, for better or worse.

The astute reader will notice that each of these points corresponds loosely with a sacrament—baptism, confession, the anointing of the sick, holy orders, communion, confirmation and marriage.

Some would say there are many others. We could speak of the sacrament of the Word or the washing of feet.

But even where they are not formally observed, these sacraments are present in some form in nearly every group of people who gather together in the name of Jesus.

They connect us to our faith through things we can eat, touch, smell and feel. And they connect us with one another.

They remind us, as writer and Episcopal priest Sara Miles put it, that “You can’t be a Christian by yourself.”

This is why I haven’t given up on the church, and I suspect why it hasn't given up on me.

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 her.

Evans has written two previous posts for CNN's Belief Blog: Why millennials are leaving the church; and Not all religious convictions are written in stone.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Faith • Opinion • United States

soundoff (4,825 Responses)
  1. ImVoting4Hillary

    The "CONservative Christians" are the ones turning people away from church. Look at them. All they do is preach hate day after day after day. All you hear are diatribes against Obama, gays, abortionist and the poor. There is no love of Christ in them.

    August 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Rodney

      You call yourself a Christian and you plan to vote for Hillary? Not judging you; just confused about what you think Christian is.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you call yourself a christian and you plan to vote republican? one of the main challenges christianity has taken on is feeding the poor, as jesus did. but republicans try to cut food stamps and every other program to help the poor and then claim to be close to god. haha.

        August 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Dr. Smiley Friend

          So you think that Christians should only help out the poor through government programs?

          August 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      I am a conservative Christian. I go to a conservative church. I have never heard that I should hate anyone, never heard a diatribe, be it against Obama, abortion or anything else. (The Westboro Baptist Church does not act in a Christian manner.)

      August 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  2. brian

    The business of America is business. Religion is just another business in this country. When you enter a church in this country it's money, money, money and money again. Going to church is like entering a pawn shop.

    August 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  3. Steve Finnell

    SALVATION WITHOUT FORGIVENESS

    Is it possible to be saved without having your sins forgiven? Was Saul saved by faith alone before his sins were forgiven?

    If Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, then he was saved without having his sins forgiven.

    Saul believed in Jesus on the road Damascus, but his sins were forgiven three days later in Damascus
    Act 9:1-19......9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank....

    Saul sins were forgiven in Damascus, three days later, not on the road to Damascus.
    Acts 22:1-16.....10 And I said, 'What shall I do Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'.......16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins,calling on His name!

    Saul was not saved by faith only. Saul was saved by believing and being baptized in water.

    Jesus did not establish faith only salvation on the road to Damascus. Jesus confirmed what He already had said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved"... (Mark 16:16)

    You cannot be saved unless your sins have been forgiven.

    In order to support the doctrine of faith only men have offered many reasons why the Scriptures cannot be trusted.
    REASONS.
    1. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, it has many errors and contradictions.
    2. You have to be a Greek scholar to understand the Bible. If you understand the original Greek language, then you would know water baptism is not essential for forgiveness of sins.
    3. You need to use extra-Biblical writings to understand the plan of salvation.
    4. The Bible has been mistranslated, therefore men are saved by faith only and not the way it is presented in the Bible.

    If God is not smart enough to give men an accurate translation of His plan for salvation and Christian living, then why would anyone trust in Him for salvation or for anything else.

    God has given us His plan of salvation in many translations, in different languages. You do not have to know Greek.You do not have to have a Greek dictionary. You do have to be Greek. If men had to be able to read and understand original Greek to understand the Bible, then all Bibles would be in Greek.

    GOD IS INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO GUIDE MEN TO GIVE A TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE IN THE LANGUAGE THAT YOU READ! JUST READ IT AND BELIEVE IT.

    Men are not saved by faith only and there is no verse of Scripture that states men are saved by faith only. Men are saved by faith, but not by faith only.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>>steve finnell a christian view

    August 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Arielle

      Another pimpmeister. Yay.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • snowboarder

      I can not force myself to believe something that is plainly unbelievable.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • bob

        YOU ARE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH. Come on now, keep trying and I know you can force it down your own throat. What would life be like without our all believing the same mythology.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Hey There

      Good to see you here Steve. Just keep pounding away at that keyboard to your heart's delight... it keeps you out of the government, the schools, science and away from my doorstep!

      August 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • ironman59

      Wow. You are really gullible.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Still stealing advertisement space, Steve.

      Isn't stealing one of your god's top 10 no-no's. It is expressly forbidden by the terms of use, so you are committing one of you sins, to make your case for Jesus. How would your god feel about you stealing to further his cause Steve?

      August 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • John Sharp

      Geez,

      Do you ever think he actually reads what he writes? He wrote nonsensical garbage.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  4. Robert

    Gawd just told me to eat some yogurt so I did. Oh wait now he's telling me to go check my tire pressure. Can't possibly understand his devine plan so I better go do it or he'll kill me. Don't laugh! What I just said is no more stupid then your Babble..........bible.

    August 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  5. steven

    I can get my community from the kingdom hearts fandom on tumblr

    August 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  6. David

    No human being "needs" the church. Wake up people the bible is FICTION!

    August 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • bostontola

      Like much fiction, there can be important human truths in it. Of course there's no supernatural truth in it.

      August 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • SDCinNS

      Actually, archeology and history has verified just about anything verifiable in the Bible. Do some research before you comment.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • steven

        archeology verified moses never existed

        August 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • SDCinNS

          A scientific impossibility.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • steven

          well there was no exodus from egypt so if there was any moses he didn't do anything

          August 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @sdc, that isn't even remotely true.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • SDCinNS

          Actually... it is.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @sdc, sorry. you are either misinformed or a blatant liar.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Jim

          Is that what they told you in church? Its not remotely close to true. For example, a biblical flood would show up in the geological record, yet there is no sign of it...

          August 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • David

        You are a moron if you believe two of every animal were put on a boat and survived a flood that reached higher than Mount Everest, that the earth is 4,000 years old, some guy lived inside a whale and we all came from Adam and Eve who by the way only had two sons. And don't try to pick and chose which parts of the bible you interpret and which parts you take literally because otherwise there is no reason to take any of it literally, including that Jesus was the son of god.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • SDCinNS

          You obviously know zero about the Bible – have read a couple caricatures – and then try to comment. For example, no verse in the Bible gives the age of the earth – and there is certainly no mention of 4000 years.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          The flood as described in the bible would have left evidence EVERYWHERE regardless of how long ago. The flood described in the bible, and "validated" by Jesus' words, did not occur. This is a statement of fact. I don't think a good god would lie, but there you have it.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • WhenCowsAttack

          @SDCinNS-

          Actually, you're the moron. The Bible traces the genealogy very clearly from Jesus back to Adam and Eve, including how long everyone lived.

          You have to follow all the begats and so forth in order to calculate the age of the earth.

          Since we know the earth is not 4k years old, this pretty well invalidates the Bible.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          Cpt. Obvious: No, that is not a statement of fact.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • shawn l

        Actually, no it hasn't. It cant verify any events, as that's not what it does. All it can verify is there are buildings or places that MIGHT be a city or building that was mentioned in the writings.

        It's like trying to say that your dentist can verify every meal you ate over the last year based on the condition of your teeth.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Various sciences disprove various parts of the bible, for instance genetics has proven we did not all come from one genetic set, so we are not all descendants of Adam and Eve, so we do not all bear the stain of original sin, so god could not have sent his son to save us all, since we were all not in peril. That one fact alone, destroys the whole of Christianity.
        There are many, many more points that disprove the bible.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • One one

          Have you ever received a reply to that argument ? I would think it would make a fundie's head explode.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          No.
          The best they have come up with is the circular logic of defending the bible by using the bible.

          Since no one can refute the genetic findings, they cannot present one solid argument.
          It is fun to watch them try though.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Jim

          You'll never heard an on-topic answer to that. People won't be reasoned out of a idea that they weren't reasoned into.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          From Wikipedia, article _Mitochondrial Eve_: "Mitochondrial Eve . . .was the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend. . . .Analogous to Mitochondrial Eve Y-chromosomal Adam is the man from whom all living humans are descended. . . .All humans alive today share a surprisingly recent common ancestor, perhaps even within the last 5,000 years, even for people born on different continents."

          No, this is not the Biblical and there MAJOR differences, but it incorrect to say that genetics (or science in general) has disproved the Bible.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          No it isn't incorrect. Have you read and comprehended all of that? It does not make the case you are trying to make, the name eve is only being used to represent one finding, and there are many other factors in consideration. Study more before posting.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          I know the concept is completely different. And 'Eve' as a name is not significant. Nonetheless, human genetics is consistent with there being a single source.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          That is really not what it says. First, there were probably thousands of men and women around at the time this one woman lived. She was not eve, as the name would suggest. They knew it was a mistake to coin her eve, and if they could see how badly people would understand it, they would never have done it, like the god-damn particle becoming the god particle as if it had some religious meaning.

          The mitochondrial eve has nothing to do with the biblical eve. This blog does not have enough room for me to explain it in detail, but what you quote does not coincinde with the bible, if you understand what mitochondrial eve really means to the scientific community.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          I am not saying that the name or the concept have any religious significance. I am not saying that the scientists who believe the theory believe the Bible, or that the finding proves the Bible. What am I saying? That since every human has DNA that traces back to one individual, human genetics do not exclude the possibility of one original couple.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        SDC,

        The fact that places mentioned in the Bible have been verified archeologically has no bearing on the veracity of the supernatural stories put forth in that book.

        Mount Olympus (and many other places mentioned in their legends and myths) really exists in Greece. Does that mean that 12 gods really live there? Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" fairly accurately portrays the places and conditions of 19th century England. Does that mean that the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to- Come were real? All sorts of fiction and fantasy stories are set in real places.

        The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

        There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings or supernatural events in that book.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • SDCinNS

          You make my original point. Some things you can verify after the fact. Some things you can't. If I found a book that said on January 3, 1941, Hitler had bacon and eggs for breakfast with Adolf Eichmann... that might help verify the historical existence of both Hitler and Eichmann – but you can't really go about proving their breakfast menu.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          SDC,

          I don't know about your views, but many people use the facts that ancient Israelites and their land and customs existed as proof that their supernatural fantasies also were real enti.ties.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • One one

        Really ? I must have missed the discovery of the talking snake, burning bush, and Noah's big boat.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • sandalista

        This loving god killed over 2 million people in the OT (in his own words) and then drowned every living creature on Earth. What did the poor Manatees and Koalas do to deserve this?

        August 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Jim

          Wait, how do you drown a manatee?

          August 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Damocles

          @Jim

          I might be wrong, but I think manatees are air breathers. If they aren't, you can toss one on land and let it drown on air, I suppose.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @dam, you are correct.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Damocles

          @snow

          Thanks! I thought so, but was second guessing myself for some reason.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • John Sharp

        That is completely false. Wow, how can you face yourself. I am embarrassed for you.

        August 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • allenwoll

      .
      David - Nope ! . It is propaganda to monetary purpose ! !
      .

      August 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  7. bostontola

    Greed is bad for everyone but the churches. They preach that greed is bad, and that we should seek god's love instead of seeking money. They then develop specific plans to swell their ranks and get money from members. I've been to the Vatican. That place is the definition of embarrassment of riches, booty from all corners of the earth.
    No, I don't think it's the RCC only. The various denominations compete with each other and other religions for souls.

    August 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • shawn l

      Exactly. Churches bilk money from their followers, and instead of using the money to help their community and members, they use it on mega churches and solid gold candlesticks.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Bob Bales

        My church has no solid gold candlesticks. But we did send many people to help after Hurricane Katrina, after the earthquake in Haiti, to bring clean water to Rwanda, to China, to Fiji. . .and to the school across the street.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Athy

          So this proves there's a god?

          August 4, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          No. It proves that not all churches spend the money they collect on themselves.

          August 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  8. Aerin

    There is no god. It's just a man-made, self serving myth.

    August 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Observer

      You could be a myth – stake

      August 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Noticer

        O,

        ...and you could be using another frequent poster's name - on purpose - to cash in on, or besmirch, his/her reputation.

        August 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope, any observer seeing things differently would be an ass hole.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • steven

        wow great pun...

        August 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Reality

    Some added information for Ms. Ryan:

    Christian Economics/Greed 101:

    The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added "healing" as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.

    Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and "Gentilized" the good word to the "big buck" world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

    Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them "free". Major greed on his part!!

    The Holy Roman "Empirers"/Popes/Kings/Queens et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today's richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

    August 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Lindsey

      Who the hell is Ms. Ryan?

      August 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Observer

      The ass hole just does that to by pass copy paste restrictions.

      August 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that Ms. Evans. My apologies.

      August 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  10. snowboarder

    I think the time is long past that people will be satisfied with the declarative statements of religious leaders the way we did as children. information is too easily accessible in the modern age showing the vast numbers of religions and doctrines today and throughout history, making it nearly impossible to logically accept that any one is actually factual.

    August 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  11. tony

    What possible reason could a god actually need a church for? Or us for that matter?

    August 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Vic

      He doesn't. We do need Him!

      August 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • snowboarder

        apparently not.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Which "we" are you referring to? I do not need any of the thousands of gods, so certainly not me.

        Once you answer that, then answer who do you mean by "Him". There are thousands of gods, which particular one and then, why that one and more importantly why not the others?

        August 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Vic

          Jesus (Savior God) Christ (Messiah/Anointed One)

          Because Salvation is the ONLY way.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @vic, there is no actual need for "salvation" from anything. first they have to convince you that you have the disease so they can sell you the cure.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  12. Trevor Bryant of Flagstaff, AZ

    the church needs the people a lot more than the people need the church. the church will continue to lose the ideological war, so long as they protect pedophiles instead of throwing them to the wind, like the mangy dogs they are.

    August 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  13. tony

    A real god wouldn't need collection plates, and probably not churches either.

    August 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  14. not confused

    How about, "Why Chuch Shouldn't Be a Lie"

    August 4, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Vic

      I believe it is more proper to say "why people shouldn't lie."

      Here is an analogy:

      If you use a flashlight to shine in someone's face, that is bad and not what the flashlight is intended for. It is intended for illuminating/shining the surroundings to find the way. That is good.

      August 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • bostontola

        Vic,
        Your statement and the OP are not mutually exclusive, they could both be right.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  15. lamelionheart

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO1rMeYnOmM&w=640&h=360]

    August 4, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  16. treblemaker

    A person cannot come before the living God with his mind. He knows the HEARTS of all men, and the only way to come before the living God is with a penitent heart, asking for forgiveness of one's own sins, whatever they may be. Furthermore, the living God says this, and I paraphrase..."If you want to come to me and stand before me, believe in the name of my Son whom I sent to die for YOUR sins, and then I will hear your prayer. But remember, be careful what you pray for, I just might grant it, and then you'll be in real trouble". People, you cannot bargain with the living God. He is the Creator, and he sets the rules of life, not you.

    August 4, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • MagicPanties

      My invisible pink unicorn asked forgiveness from The Living God, and was quite penitent.
      Yet all she got was a bad case of the runs.
      What did she do wrong?

      August 4, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Jim

        I laughed

        August 4, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • bostontola

      Classic tautology.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      there is no legitimate reason to believe any of what you have posted. the entire idea of "original" and "hereditary" sin, along with gods blood sacrifice of himself to himself is plainly absurd.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Chris Hogan

      "People, you cannot bargain with the living God. He is the Creator, and he sets the rules of life, not you."

      Kind of reminds me of the argument, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it." Sounds more like an abusive parent than a god. And how many parents would lock their children in the basement and torture them? Yet this "loving god" would torture you FOREVER simply for not believing in him. So instead of forgiving everyone, he comes down as a man to sacrifice himself TO himself to create a loophole for a rule that he created. This is not only absurd, it is LAUGHABLY absurd, and I thank God that the God that actually exists loves us much more than that.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • Bob Bales

        It in not absurd. It is both justice and mercy. The rule you speak of comes from justice - the need for there to be some penalty for rebelling against the basic order of the universe. It would not be justice for God to simply give a 'free pass' to everyone, no matter what they had done. Jesus's sacrifice was not a loophole, but the satisfaction of the demands of justice and the provision of mercy to those who can't pay the penalty that justice requires.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • snowboarder

          the entire premise is obviously the product of the imagination of primitive men.

          August 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • One one

          This inspires to pray. Dear heavenly father, I give thanks for torturing and killing yourself, i mean your son, to end the eternal curse of your wrath & vengeance you put upon all of humanity because, in the beginning, two people wanted knowledge. Unlike the unsaved godless trash who deserve to burn forever, I do not seek knowledge. I seek only your approval by submitting to your absurd and egotistical demands so that I may live forever in heaven. And though you never show yourself, I believe in you, for if I have thoughts of doubt, you will send me to hell to be tortured forever… because, although you love me, you hate my thoughts. Amen.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          That is what you choose to believe.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          One one: My belief does not inspire me to pray things that are false. I pray to the God of the Bible. And the God of the Bible did not or does not:
          curse humanity because two people wanted knowledge
          punish anyone except for when they have done themselves
          make absurd and egotistical demands
          hide himself away from us
          send people to hell for doubt
          hate our thoughts, unless they are evil

          August 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Ella

          It's justice to be punished forever for merely being the way he created us? We can't help being sinners – God created us that way.

          It's justice for me to be thrown into hell for a lifetime of average sins by a God guilty of slaughtering babies? I find the idea that I must be morally saved by such a god beyond offensive.

          August 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Chris

        exactly.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • Johnny

        He also through adam and eve out of the garden of eden for one mistake, when they didn't even know the difference between right and wrong, and then cursed all of humanity for it. That is straight up evil in my book.

        August 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • MGM

      So very true about a penitent sinner. The thing is that man loves to sin and so they reason out everything such as why they do not believe in church reminding them to be penitent, that there is no God. Be holy as I am holy (Peter 1:13-16) means a daily examination of what one put into their mouth and thought and what comes out and what we do with our bodies.

      August 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Ella

        God as portrayed by your bible is hardly holy.

        August 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  17. lamelionheart

    As my aged self gets one day ever closer toward my finality-day, I arise and do rise up from a dead sleep never quite sure of my dream-states reasoning away... What that is which I once was, will I ever be such again..? Where then does rationality begin amidst any a dreamer's revelations..?

    For to dream with one's chances left upon another's tabled continental shelving would dare leave one open for all who might well be found conspiring to refute and scoff upon your dreamscape with many soiled and punctuated deliriums ever so frantically that your dreamt of way would soon become washed away...

    I do so love the dreaminess ways and wayfarers dreams whose virgin irregularities are shunted by any a closed minded person who reasons their own vanities as being all that dare matters to their improperly assembled minds' vestige irrationalities... For even I too do sometimes lean upon my vainness rituals giving in to my abruptness dysenteries that I have placed within my mind-yards bitter fomentations in passing-along ways... As I do eat all the same words as others do ingest, it becomes a matter of verbal disciplines in written and/or oral impartations that dare moderates any of oneness breaking their bread with another then washing it down ever so gently within gathering cloisters...

    I have long eaten the gestures of others whose only graces are of nominal aspirations... Likewise, you have ate my wordage usages and are left dangling and non-committal... We all are nevertheless reasoned by one's or others' summations be they contrite or misconstrued or even ladled with fascism's unending threats of contemptuousness meant to outsmart and/or defame each others characterization clauses... I am no better then anyone else and no one is any better then another... As tangled socialists we all are firstly and foremost individuals seeking the mirrored images of like mindedness thru others wordage usages... You all do eat of the same words that I do yet how much of them do you retain..?

    August 4, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • MagicPanties

      I'll see that wordage and raise you a bucket of unicorn poop.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • lamelionheart

        Keep your underwear on and change not until it is full up...

        August 4, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Arielle

      I don't retain any of your words, since you refuse to write without any semblance of sense. I don't get past the first couple of sentences before giving up. You write like shit.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • snowboarder

        he is parroting another poster that commonly posts gibberish.

        August 4, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • lamelionheart

        Good Sired Arielle...

        It seems to be that your retention levels are askew... Might I refer you to having less tea and more coffee in the bitter morning where séances do permit one to envision themselves as mirrored imaginings..?

        August 4, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Jim

          The primary, and arguably only, purpose of written language is to clearly communicate ideas. You sir, are mast*rbating with a thesaurus.

          August 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Arielle

          1) I'm female, you pompous ass.
          2) You still write like shit.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Jim

      tl:dr

      August 4, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • derp

      That is officially the most horrible writing I've ever read. ..bad..

      August 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  18. tony

    Stone Idols answer prayers usefully on average about as often as any other invisible, all-powerful, "one true" god.

    Hence the "jealous" of idols early lines in the 10 commandments

    August 4, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  19. highlander280

    Still trying to figure out how this is considered "news."

    August 4, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • MagicPanties

      That's funny.
      The belief blog is nothing but opinion pieces.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • Lou

        Modern belief is ancient opinion...

        August 4, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  20. Jill

    Rainer Braendlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    August 4, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • MagicPanties

      Rainer Braendlein's word salads are pretty tough to beat, but wow, you come close.
      Tasty!

      August 4, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Reasonous

      You win the comments section. Congratulations.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:04 am |
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About this blog

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.