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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. skytag

    @AE: "I've been told China and some of their neighboring countries are contributing to the largest revival in Christian history right now."

    So what? China has a billion poor people with nothing. Christianity's promises of justice and making things right in the afterlife are very appealing to people who will never have anything in this life. Having an all powerful friend when you're living under oppression is very appealing as well.

    Christianity promises a lot while asking for very, very little in return, and it comes in so many flavors. It's no surprise it's so popular. But the popularity of a belief is not evidence of its truthfulness.

    August 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Segoy

      Exactly, it doesn't mean anything at all. Just like when the atheists get all giddy because they went from being 4% to 5% of the world's population. It really means nothing at all.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        China has a sixth of the world's population. Over half of them identify as atheist/agnosic, that's not including all the non-theistic Buddhists. That's already more than 5%. Where did you get 5% from?

        August 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • AE

      @So what?

      So what?

      Hey, I wasn't writing that to you. That was in response to AtheistSteve who said "none of you have been able to explain to the rest of us why we should believe what your Bible says."

      And I gave an example of some of "the rest of us" believing in Jesus Christ.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        AE: Once again you are trying to tell someone who they can respond to. Wow!!! This is a public blog, we can respond to ANYONE we wish. You don't have to like it but you're not going to stop no matter how much whining you do. Grow up!

        August 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • skytag

        "Hey, I wasn't writing that to you."

        Whaa, whaa whaa. If you want to have a private conversation swap e-mail addresses or phone numbers.

        August 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • sam

      WATCH OUT! You're totally not allowed to say anything to AE when he makes a comment that wasn't directed to you!

      Apprently the blog has rules now. Shit, what did we ever do before AE showed up? It was like Lord of the FLIES in here!!

      August 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Rebel Belle

        We have a new thread nanny named AE, now...bless his heart...where's the boar's head?

        August 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • AE

          bless skytag's heart....

          ...he posts replies to old threads and then gets hostile at me because I don't see it.

          ...he posts replies to something unrelated to what I was talking about

          ...he randomly posts new threads quoting me

          I'm just trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • skytag

          Bless little AE's heart, he whines constantly about how I post comments.

          August 8, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  2. Lee

    Does anyone else find the author of this article desperate to find meaning in her life?
    She broke away her church, looked deep within herself, realized nothing was there and rejoined the church? It seems in order to feel good about herself she needs a patriarchal caretaker to grant her eternal life if she blindly believes in words his followers left behind centuries ago....right.
    This is more pathetic than Christians using "logic" and "reason" to justify the existence of a supernatural presence.

    August 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • ME II

      I try not to fault people for searching.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • LEE JR

      HELLO. LOOK AT ME USE "LOGIC AND REASON' TO JUSTIFY MY HATRED TOWARD PEOPLE LIKE HER.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • sam

        HEY CAPTAIN CAPSLOCK

        I didn't see any hatred in the post, are you PROJECTING?

        August 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • pathetic

          pathetic

          August 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i agree with Lee - sad she can't find meaning in life without the church. some people miss the hive mentality of religion.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • Oprah

        we are so much better than them

        August 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  3. lol??

    Does the lady's hubby approve of her books?? Could buy a bunch of fishin' gear and the required educational hazing of the kids.

    August 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Rebel Belle

      Now, lol?? here is one of those that we say, "you remember lol??, don't you....bless her heart.

      August 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  4. skytag

    @AE: "When you follow Jesus, expect some suffering."

    This is why people give you a hard time. Instead of discussing issues with them you throw out these mindless platitudes. It's frustrating to people who are using their brains trying to have a conversation with a Chatty Kathy pull string doll, and that's what it feels like trying to talk to you, spouting these simplistic one-liners all the time instead of dealing what people are saying to you.

    News flash: People who follow Jesus don't suffer any more or less than people who don't.

    August 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Changing the civil laws to fit the minority socialists agendas is how the USA works nowadays

      August 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Yawn.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Go take a nap since you're yawning way too much...

          August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Could you please explain to me what civil law has to do with an economic system characterized by state and/or social control over the means of production?

          August 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Open the pod bay doors Hal....

          August 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I'm sorry lamelionheart, I'm afraid I can't do that.

          August 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          I wrote, "Changing the civil laws to fit the minority socialists agendas is how the USA works nowadays"

          Hal asked me, "Could you please explain to me what civil law has to do with an economic system characterized by state and/or social control over the means of production?"

          Hal, I am sorry but your question is lost in translation... Rephrase it to fit what I wrote and I would be more than glad to answer it provided I can fathom it out...

          August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          In what way are things becoming more socialistic? I'll admit, I find some of Obama's economic policies alarmingly left-wing, but things are the same in general. I wouldn't say Obama was much more of a socialist than the average Democrat.

          August 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Hal wrote, "In what way are things becoming more socialistic?"

          It depends upon what sects of socialism one is referring to... Until you make the sect(s) known to me, I'm sorry Hal, I cannot answer you right now... You must be more clear to me Hal..

          August 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You twist and turn like... a twisty-turny thing.

          August 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          I'm sorry Hal but until you bottom out, I will be left ever to turn the crankshaft until it reaches top-end... So Hal, can you tell us what sect of socialism you are referring towards instead of being non-committed and stating an overall terminology of socialism which I cannot be submitted towards answering with any exactness..?

          August 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You're the one saying we're becoming socialized. It's you who should be telling me which sect of socialism is prevailing.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          So Hal...

          You want me to give you examples of socialized minorities getting civil laws changed for their own benefits sake..? Now why would I want to open the doors which are unlocked..? If one of your stature cannot see the writing on the wall regarding civilly stringent bias being overturned by the immoral minorities than who am I to be your teacher..?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Why even engage with trolls?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • look in the mirror

          because you are also a troll, what you do, is trolling

          August 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          In what sense?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • look in the mirror

          Yawn.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Suit yourself.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • look in the mirror

          Suit yourself.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • Salero21

        This is why the hom.os will give you all the butt flu.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Pole dancing for Jesus

          And Salero21 knows from personal experience.

          August 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Studerbaker Hoch

          @saltshaker....... wow! delusional AND a bigot... what a surprise!

          August 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Examples?

        August 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          So...

          You want me to give you examples of socialized minorities getting civil laws changed for their own benefits sake..? Now why would I want to open the doors which are unlocked..? If one of your stature cannot see the writing on the wall regarding civilly stringent bias being overturned by the immoral minorities than who am I to be your teacher..?

          August 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • Rebel Belle

          Why, you brought the claim up, of course, sugar...why shouldn't you give us examples? Unless you don't have any and your post was caca...is it?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          R Belle...

          Let me restate to get my point across..

          "If one of your stature cannot see the writing on the wall regarding civilly stringent bias being overturned by the immoral minorities than who am I to be your teacher..?"

          August 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      When you're into S&M , expect some suffering...

      When you're into sewing, expect to pr ick your finger...

      When you're into drinking lard, expect to get fat...

      Christians only suffer because they bring suffering onto themselves.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • lol??

        The wurld suffers because their is more dead meat than salt.

        August 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • M.R.

          "Newbies", "New Meats", "Warm Bodies"...think about it
          for just a few seconds...and that will satisfy me...dead meant...salt...yes.

          August 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • AE

      Hey, skytag, thanks for trying to fix me, but I didn't make this statement to you: "When you follow Jesus, expect some suffering."

      I made it to a man that insisted I believed "....that a beautiful, perfect eternal existence awaits you as promised by your 'God'."

      I actually disagree, so it seems reasonable to express my opinion that Jesus says to expect some suffering.

      That's it.

      Those very few "people give who me a hard time", and hurl insults and act unkind, can keep on doing that. It ultimately doesn't harm me.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • lol??

        There are promises to everyone. All get a resurrection. Noe, by surviving condemned the race that loves naughty.

        August 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • skytag

        @AE: "Those very few "people give who me a hard time", and hurl insults and act unkind, can keep on doing that. It ultimately doesn't harm me."

        True. The harm to you has already been done. Their behavior is just a reaction to it.

        August 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • AE

          The few posters giving me a hard time may just be insecure. They might put someone else down to feel better about or to take attention of of themselves.

          Some people are so immature and can't handle their anger, so they try to start a fight or try to make the other person feel bad.

          Their language and behavior really says a lot more about them then me.

          August 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "The few posters giving me a hard time may just be insecure."

          I see no evidence of insecurity in them. In you, yes. In them, no.

          "They might put someone else down to feel better about or to take attention of of themselves."

          That's really not the reason, but you obviously aren't willing to deal with the real reason.

          "Their language and behavior really says a lot more about them then me."

          It says they're frustrated by your refusal to engage in real conversation. Several people have tried to explain what you're doing that frustrates them but you just ignore the truth and imagine yourself the victim of all these people with personality problems. You can't even conceive of the possibility that you're contributing to the problem.

          August 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
      • sam

        Dude, you're like some parody of yourself at this point.

        August 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  5. tony

    She might need a church, but the rest of us certainly don't.

    August 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  6. skytag

    @AE: There's a good episode in the 3rd season of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled, Who Watches the Watchers. You should watch it sometime.

    August 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Athy

      So you're saying we should watch Who Watches the Watchers sometime? But who'll watch the watchers while they are watching Who Watches the Watchers?

      August 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  7. lol??

    Women's rap*ing LIB!!

    That'll work.

    August 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • M.R.

      "Newbies", "New Meats", "Warm Bodies"...think about it
      for just a few seconds...and that will satisfy me.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Layla

      Ugh. Both of you.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  8. lol??

    lol??
    Did the little lady vote in the commie contest??

    Bill Clinton Won a ‘Father of the Year’ Award, and It Was a Real Award
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/06/bill-clinton-father-of-the-year.html

    Chelsea voted yea! "Dad got me a socie job!!."

    August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    niknak
    What the hell are you talking about? ...............................................................................Juanita Broaddrick

    Juanita Broaddrick.....................................................................Juanita Broaddrick.....................................Juanita Broaddrick

    Juanita Broaddrick.............................................Juanita Broaddrick................................HillBilly, Big Mama!!

    Big Mama!! ........................................Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeels Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddd

    Commie Commuuuuunion

    August 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You may make even less sense when you "explain" yourself.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • lol??

        commie rail rap*es da neighbors, too?

        And then claims ignorance, typical.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Layla

          You're offensive, and you need psychiatric care. If you wonder why your posts get moderated, look at the content. You are as far from a Christian as Aleister Crowley was.
          You would know all about rape, it being your preferred dating technique. God help you.

          August 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • skytag

          @Layla: "You're offensive, and you need psychiatric care."

          You could only know this if you were dumb enough to waste time reading his comments. 😉 I never, ever read one of his comments. "lol??" = "Don't read this."

          August 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Salero21

          It is too late and the hom.os will give you butt flu.

          August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • lol??

          Layla, err Lola, you sound like the rail. the split type.

          August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Layla

        Lol??, it's Layla, errr...Layla. And you are still no Christian, not even in name only.

        Skytag: so noted. The thing still needs psychiatric help, however. Needs to get over his mommy issues.

        August 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Juanita Broaddrick is an American former nursing home administrator from Arkansas. She alleged in 1998 that United States President Bill Clinton had ra ped her two decades earlier. Clinton's attorney denied the allegations on his client's behalf.

      August 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Austin

    God has control over the entire world. That is why all things work for the Glory of God, and God will bless and strengthen nations, or bring them down. May He bless this nation for a people who might lift up His name, the name above all names.

    There is only one savior.

    He is Risen.
    John 15:26-27

    The Work of the Holy Spirit

    26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

    August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Alison Tschains

      All things? Every single thing everywhere?

      August 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Seems far-fetched... not buying it...

      August 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • ME II

      "...God will bless and strengthen nations, or bring them down."

      If this were true, wouldn't it be obvious that God was real based on the nation(s) that existed?

      August 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Zombie God

      He is Risen.
      John 15:26-27
      .>
      Yuck, another zombie

      August 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • tony

      Which book of the Almighty Harry Potter are you quoting from?

      August 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Madtown

      There is only one savior.
      ----
      "Darn it, I guess I'm just out of luck."

      – signed,
      A human being God placed in an area of the world devoid of christianity

      August 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • skytag

      "God has control over the entire world."

      Too bad he never chooses to exercise it. Christians love to say this because it let's them believe they have an all-powerful friend controlling everything, and then when you point out the fact that there's no evidence of any kind he's used that control in any way to help anyone all you get are excuses. So lame.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Botswana is 70% Christian.
      Nearly 1/4 of their population is infected with AIDS.
      Is that all for the Glory of God?
      Wait, let me gues -- He works in mysterious ways and it isn't our place to question.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
      • skytag

        "Wait, let me gues - He works in mysterious ways and it isn't our place to question."

        Amazing. How did you know? Did God tell you that? 😉

        August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Salero21

        He sent the hom.os to give them the butt flu to teach them His glory.

        August 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It's a pity he spends so much time starving children in Africa or giving AIDS to children. Seems as though an omnipotent being could do a lot of good, but is missing his opportunity.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't believe you Austin. And there's no reason why I should.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      Austin: If god controls the entire world, how does freewill happen?

      If god controls the entire world, he is a vindictive pr1ck, and so are you and Vic and all the other snivelling sycophants who belly up to jeebus's supposed sacrifice like piglets suckling mama in order to not be punished as you feel you deserve. Get back on your knees, b1tch

      August 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ken

      Austin
      Didn't God save Jesus from dying for real?

      August 8, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  10. Vic

    It is the "Spoken Word" of the Most High, Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit, manifesting into this physical existence. God spoke everything into existence, aka First Cause.

    August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Løki

      Do not tempt Odin's wrath by mocking him with your impotent god. The Aesir are the only gods worthy of your fear...

      August 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Ken

      How does that work, Vic? How do words manifest into created physical objects and beings? Please explain the process.

      August 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • Athy

        Yes, Vic, We're all waiting for your explanation. And please, pretty please, no bible quotes.

        August 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Zombie God

        It is called casting spells

        August 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      "In the beginning of mankind’s walk was the word said and the said word was about God and all the following words revolved around God and all words were so said of being worded godliness."

      August 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      And who caused the first cause? Gene Siskel?

      August 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • niknak

      Vic,

      What spoke god into existence?

      August 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Knights Who Say...

      NEE!NEE!

      August 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Vic

      That is exclusive to the Sovereign Divine Will of the Sovereign Most High, Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit who is Eternal in Generation and outside the realm of this existence and its time that He created all.

      August 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Løki

        Dein haar muss riechen schrecklich ... mit dem kopf in den arsch die ganze zeit ...

        August 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Athy

        Wow, Vic. That was certainly profound. I heard celestial music when I read your comment. And then the odor kicked in.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Alison Tschains

        I guess that translates to "don't ask questions".

        August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • ME II

      "God spoke everything into existence, aka First Cause."

      ... except Himself, apparently.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "Nothing but turtles all the way down"

        August 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • oncler

        something eternal has no beginning thus no need to speak ones self into existence. Lame...

        August 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That's just a cop-out. Why doesn't the creator need a creator? How do you know this creator is eternal? How do you know the universe hasn't been eternally cyclical?

          August 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • ME II

          @oncler,
          Your arbitrary claim that God is eternal could be equally applied to the universe or a multi-verse. "lame..."

          August 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • Vic

          @ME II "..."

          Not really! That Multiverse Hypothesis is a very long shot to the extent that it is the worst of all at failing the Occam's razor principle!

          August 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          It's a lot less of a long shot than 'God did it'.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          "That Multiverse Hypothesis is a very long shot to the extent that it is the worst of all at failing the Occam's razor principle!"

          I'm saying that it is arbitrary, or "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.") just like the claims for God are arbitrary. How does Occam's razor apply?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
        • Vic

          The God Hypothesis passes the Occam's razor (less assumptions) when compared against the Multiverse Hypothesis (more assumption.)

          August 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          In what sense are there more assumptions regarding the multiverse?

          August 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          The children of God have eternal life when we are in Christ. All else does not have eternal life. It is a belief not a mathematical construct.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          1. Occam's razor is not fewer assumptions, it is usually phrased as something like 'all thing being equal the simpler is likely to be more accurate' or "We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible"

          2. A God hypothesis is not very simple when you consider that it necessarily implies an entire environment in which God exists or existed before this universe not too mention a being capable of existing in such an environment and yet powerful and knowledgeable enough to create a universe by "speaking". Many assumptions and massively complex.
          I'm not saying a multi-verse hypothesis isn't complex, just that it's not obviously more complex than a god hypothesis, and perhaps much less complex.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          not sure how that applies.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • fred

          I'm Sorry Dave
          "How do you know the universe hasn't been eternally cyclical"

          =>The mathematics of eternity point to a beginning (http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.4658). This applies to all pre Big Bang cosmological speculations on the table today as to multiverse or quantum flux or cyclical creation.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          "@oncler,Your arbitrary claim that God is eternal could be equally applied to the universe or a multi-verse. "lame..."

          =>My reply was to clarify "eternal life" is a Christian belief that God is eternal falls into the philosophical whereas multiverse /infinite universe discourse is based on tensor calculus.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Our pre-Big Bang cosmological knowledge is non-existent. It's perfectly plausible that we've been Big Banging and Big Crunching for eternity.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • fred

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Not possible unless you want to discard science and base your argument on faith. Here is a summary of the study I referred to:
          http://www.technologyreview.com/view/427722/mathematics-of-eternity-prove-the-universe-must-have-had-a-beginning/

          August 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          "The mathematics of eternity"

          1. there are assumptions: "..., it states simply that past geodesics are incomplete provided that the expansion rate averaged along the geodesic is positive: Hav > 0."
          2. It doesn't claim proof necessarily:
          "At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes.2"
          (http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.4658v1.pdf)

          "...that God is eternal falls into the philosophical whereas multiverse /infinite universe discourse is based on tensor calculus."

          And yet there are those that claim that a philosophically eternal God created a philosophically finite universe. My point was that answering a question like, "where did the universe come from", with with an arbitrarily eternal multi-verse is just as valid as an arbitrarily eternal God.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          What about pre-existing or prior universes? If they are impossible, why is the multiverse theory becoming so prevalent amongst physicists?

          August 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,

          "However, Mithani and Vilenkin point to a proof dating from 2003 that these kind of past trajectories cannot be infinite if they are part of a universe that expands in a specific way. "

          While heat death, if not Big Rip, is likely, based on current evidence, it is not a certainty especially since we know little about dark matter and energy and we still don't understand why the expansion rate is accelerating.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
        • ME II

          @I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that,
          Yes, that is possibility mentioned in Vic's link:
          ""So although we seem to live in an inflating cosmos, other universes may be very different. And while our universe may look as if it has a beginning, the multiverse need not have a beginning."

          August 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          ME II

          I didn't actually look at the link, I'm cautious about random links. So the article he is championing actually makes his own point moot? Bad choice Fred.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          I agree, you are "probably" right.

          August 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • tony

      Which other god created your god?

      August 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Vic

        God Almighty, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit, the Creator of everything, is not created but eternal in generation, metaphysical, infinite, outside the realm of this existence and its time, and not subject to them. This universe is finite physical matter (creation) that can not be eternal!

        August 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          And how do you know all of this to be true Vic? a funny feeling you get inside? voices in your head? your pastor told you? a creationist website?.

          August 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • skytag

      This is according to the same people who used to claim disease was caused by evil spirits and the sun revolved around the Earth. The record on Christian attempts to explain physical phenomenon in the real world is abysmal. No credibility whatsoever.

      August 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Vic, Do provide evidence of a first cause and why your god is that first cause.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • Vic

        For this universe, which is ever changing, hence finite, hence can not be eternal, hence temporal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause. Since the universe had a beginning, there must be a cause that is outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal (without beginning nor end,) hence unchanged, hence uncaused, hence a First Cause (Eternal.)

        August 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • Rick Shaw

          For this universe, which is ever changing, hence finite

          Fail

          August 8, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't believe you Vic.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Vic

        You are welcome.

        August 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      Sayin' it don't make it so, pen-day-ho

      August 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Vic

        Not believing in it does not make it untrue either!

        August 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • skytag

      How do you know the universe hasn't always existed? Science, that area of thought for which religion has never had much use?

      August 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Vic

        Change implies finiteness! The least of motion (e.g. expansion) is change, hence temporal, hence finiteness. That's a scientific basic.

        The universe could have not caused itself nor can it be eternal since it is finite, temporal, had a beginning. Only a cause outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal, hence eternal, could have caused it. The First Cause can only be non-temporal, that is non-changing, that is infinite, that is Eternal.

        August 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        "Change implies finiteness! "

        Umm... wouldn't God have had to do something different, i.e. change, in order to create a universe? or get Himself crucified?

        August 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • Vic

          You are talking about different manifestations into matter that changes, hence temporal, hence finite but the source, God Himself, who is metaphysical, hence non-matter, is unchanging, hence non-temporal, hence infinite, hence Eternal.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          1. Your claim that God is metaphysical is just as arbitrary as the claim that God is eternal; it answers nothing. (special pleading)
          2. How exactly does being metaphysical imply unchanging?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Vic

          Matter, which is physical, is a changing e n t i t y, hence temporal, hence finite, hence non-eternal. Metaphysical, which is non-matter, that is not physical, hence unchanging, hence non-temporal, hence infinite, hence Eternal, is spiritual e n t i t y.

          August 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          Why exactly does changing equate to finite? Cannot something be forever changing?

          "...not physical, hence unchanging..."

          For that matter why does metaphysical imply unchanging or eternal?

          August 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  11. lamelionheart

    Act 1 Scene 1.- "In the Beginning of Celestial Creation, Nothingness gave rise to immeasurable amounts of Big Bangs placed proportionately distant from each other in order for them to expand just rightly and for them to all grow into being celestial manifestations of greatly magnified organisms in scalar symmetries of fractal relationships from their inbred counterparts we know of as being atomically natured naturalisms.."

    August 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Act 1 Scene 2.- "An unbelievable amount of time transpired between the Creation of the Celestially Consecrated and of mankind's formulated being that the atomic domains were the first to be congealed into ever increasing formulations upon their united fronts to become as living quagmires of spatially aspiring transfigurations akin to their docile counterparts, the lowly atoms."

      August 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Løki

      Danke, weil LionlyLion ist nicht genug eines fuctard auf diesem Blog...

      August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Athy

        His correct name is Loonylion.

        August 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          And your correct name is Cesspool Sassy Athy...

          August 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Sorry Cesspool... I'm giving the sewers up for Sassiness Athy...

          August 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • M.R.

          Bedsit meanderings. Beware.

          August 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  12. mk

    "Thanks for what I'm sure you think is an insightful comment." Passive-agg.ressive much?

    As a veteran 30+ year Catholic, I think I've got a good grip on how much "thinking" the catholic church does.

    August 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  13. mk

    "Thanks for what I'm sure you think is an insightful comment." Passive-aggressive much?

    As a veteran 30+ year Catholic, I think I've got a good grip on how much "thinking" the catholic church does.

    August 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • mk

      I don't know why this posted here...

      August 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • niknak

        Neither do we.
        But god works in mysterious ways, right?

        August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm not always passive. Consider it a courtesy

      August 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • mk

        Just how did you know I was talking to you? 😉

        August 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Uh, I can read. It's an advantage I acquired because somebody thought I should be able to read the Bible.

          August 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Johnny

          Bill if you read the bible and decided it was true then the next thing you need to learn is how to comprehend what you are reading.

          August 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Well opinions vary Johnny. That's why I like mine with a healthy dose of magesterium and tradition. Where do you get your truth? The bankers TV show called CNN?

          August 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          "In Catholicism, the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church.[1] According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 'The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.'" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magisterium)

          Is that accurate? You, literally, cannot interpret the Bible for yourself?

          August 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Anyone can interpret anything they want however they want to. I just think it's a benefit to have 20 centuries of scholarly reference. Don't you, or is your present perspective sufficient to maintain the integrity of doctrine for 2000 years?

          August 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • ME II

          @Doc Vestibule,
          You're hedging. Beneficial is one thing, but the quote seems to state that no interpretation is valid unless it's the church's. Is that accurate?

          August 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
        • ME II

          Sorry, that was @Bill Deacon not Doc. (don't know why I did that)

          August 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  14. Roger that

    Rachel likes all of the church rituals. Another way to put it is that she likes to do the hokey pokey. Doing the hokey pokey alone would feel silly, but doing it with a group makes it seem perfectly normal. That's what it's all about.

    August 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LOL

      August 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • lol??

        lol??

        August 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • niknak

      Spot on Roger Dodger!

      August 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      You put your full wallet in, you pull your empty wallet out, you put your whole brain in and shake it all about, then do the Christian Hocus Pocus and ignore all of the doubt, that's what it's all about!

      August 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  15. Austin

    Thank God for the New Covenant, the better covenant, where our Lord can heal each one of our own conscience.

    That is a miracle! I recommend this to everyone, you are all justified to receive this blessing.

    August 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • niknak

      Was that English you were trying to write Autism?

      August 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      If you want a lord so much, try the UK. They have a whole House of them.

      August 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Walter Midly

      "the New Covenant" that's a kick a$$ band!!!

      August 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Ken

      Before you get all excited about that "New and Improved" sticker you imagine Christianity has, who's to say that Islam, or even Mormonism aren't even "newer" Covenants, improving on the one you follow?

      August 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Alison Tschains

      It's weird that a new one was necessary. I guess god can change his mind/admit he's screwed up, then?

      August 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      My conscience is clear, Austin. I have never gotten drunk and vandalized a "house of god".....can you honestly say the same?

      August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • lol??

        Christians are the temple of God. You are the temple of _________________ doom??

        August 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  16. Austin

    this place has a biased process by which they cherry pick comments to take as a rules violation. If anyone should be able to speak out , it should be permitted to slam the authors of these articles for their vulgar negligence and deception.

    August 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Austin

      how is that one get kicked off for saying reza has a twisted personality and it shows on his face?

      but i repeatedly get told i am mentally ill and delusional?

      That is flat out garbage hypocrisy!

      August 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • niknak

        What da hell are you ranting about now, Autism?

        August 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • Freddy

        niknak
        Don't call him "autism". Plenty of autistics are actually quite brilliant.

        August 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • niknak

          That's very true Ready Freddy.
          I should not elevate him to the status.
          From now on, I will call him less then Autism, or <Autism for short.

          August 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Athy

        And some, apparently, are not.

        August 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Layla

        How is it you are complaining about Reza on an article written by Rachel Held Evans?

        I've read some of your posts, Austin. Intermingled with your Biblical verses are condemnation of anyone who doesn't believe exactly as you do. Which is pretty much half of the population of the world.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • J. Rogan

      It's a conspiracy man. They're out to get you and others like you. Be afraid, be very afraid. I'm sure this post will get censored too because it exposes this fascist, commie, socie, network for what it is

      August 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Austin

        thats what happened for a week straight, my posts were deleted probably 75 of them, of simple testimony to spiritual things.

        then i said one thing rude and got booted. i take that twenty times a day and never call names back, stick to scripture and testimony, decent atti.tude, and one shot a reza and bam, they get their way..

        Peace be with all of you. Just wanted to say good by then. I pray for the Lords intervention in your lives. There is no greater joy.

        August 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • niknak

          It was god Autism, he didn't like what you were writing.
          In fact, he doesn't really like you all that much.
          He told me yesterday that.

          He also told me you dress like a d ork.

          Wait a minute, message from god......

          OK, just got off the mind link with the big fella, he wants me to tell you that you are not in fact getting into heaven.
          He said you were just too annoying to have around for all eternity.

          Sorry bro, what can I say, it was god and all so it must be true.

          August 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Freddy

          You just may not realize how offensive you are, Austin.

          August 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • Layla

        "fascist, commie, socie"
        Which is it? Do you actually understand the meaning of any of them? Doubtful.

        August 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  17. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ6kQCrPBmo&w=640&h=360]

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5w0Vzc1Ks0&w=640&h=360]

    August 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      The USA is a republic. We don't have lords, ladies or any aristocracy.

      August 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • niknak

      ++++Vic is a whacko++++

      August 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
      • Austin

        Good luck with your ministry Vic. You are a loyal priest for God most high!

        August 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Vic

      God Bless The USA

      August 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • Austin

        I would hate to see God bless only one regional man made boundary or someone who only sees their own interest and nation.

        August 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          but that's the way religion works.... it's my way or the highway..

          August 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • G to the T

          Well said Austin. I think this is something we can agree on. Equating religion with national pride leads to nothing but xenophobia and jingoism. If there is a god, I cannot imagine he would care much about arbitrary political boundries.

          August 9, 2013 at 9:47 am |
      • Freddy

        We're already the richest country in the world; how greedy are you, Vic?

        August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  18. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    @Rachel Evans – I pity your "need" to go back to church... You seem to recognize the hypocrisy... but then you obviously have chosen to ignore it and to blindly merge back in with the sheep. Very sad.

    August 7, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • niknak

      You are reading it all wrong.

      What she is saying without saying it is,
      She tried the bars, the supermarket, Match.com, getting a dog, yet nothing worked in trying to find a husband.

      So she is trying the church.

      Makes perfect sense.

      August 7, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • skytag

        I'd rather die single than go back to church to find a wife.

        August 7, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • niknak

          I agree, but you and I are dudes.
          Chicks think differently.
          That clock starts ticking like Big Ben, and they just gotta get hitched.
          "Pretty woman walking with gorillas down my street......."

          August 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        LOL. Those christian_mingle commercials are annoying and ridiculous

        August 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          And out of reach I'll wager

          August 7, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • Ella

        Haha, actually Rachel is married and has been for years, I think to a fellow Bryan College alumn named Dan. (I followed her blog and read her first book before leaving Christianity behind a year ago.)

        August 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • niknak

          I think she was kinda speaking for all 30 plus single woman.

          August 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  19. YeahRight

    This woman keeps writing these kinds of opinion pieces as though she has some unique insight into the millennials minds. As a millennial who grew up in a religious household and who hasnt attended church in almost a year i can confirm we do not need the church in our lives. Churches are full of hypocrites and sheeple who riot at the first sight of any fact that contradicts their dogma...want us back in church? Present us a religion at is supported by reality

    August 7, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • niknak

      Pick up a science book my brother, and find a reality.

      Find salvation by freeing yourself from religion......

      August 7, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • YeahRight

        I agree that science is best for understanding our physical reality and full accept evolution and the big bang (and feel any religion would have to match our scientific findings to be considered "true") but i do also accept the possiblities of other "spiritual" realities...

        August 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • Ken

          Our imagination is the only limit to the number of "possibilities" there might be, and we can get about as far as it's possible to go from truth with our imaginations, correct? Why even put "truth" and "possibility" in the same thought, then?

          August 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
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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.