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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. illmatico

    Less faith/church = more crime. Look around you. It is written.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the increase in crime can be directly correlated to the invention of the transistor and the invasion of electronic gadgets into our lives.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • illmatico

        Oh yeah, those too.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • snowboarder

          honestly, it is the direct result of women realizing that they had worth greater than simply as a mother and a wife, leaving generations of children to be raised by non-authoritative and ambivalent figures. society will figure out a solution, but it most certainly won't be any god.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • lol??

        Tech has on;y affected the rate of increase over time. Faster communications, faster spreading of lies.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @lol, you mean information.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Hefeweizen

      Care to guess the incarceration rates of Atheists, and compare them to Christians?

      I'll give you a hint, Atheists are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay less likely to be a criminal.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  2. zaphed

    No one needs the church or any religion. just follow the laws and you are fine.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • snowboarder

      and treat others as you would wish to be treated. a purely humanistic philosophy.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • AE

      "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • snowboarder

        it is easy to remain within the laws when you write them.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • AE

          Yea.

          And what Rosa Parks did was illegal.

          Thank God she broke the law.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  3. John P. Tarver

    She needs a drink.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  4. lol??

    Has science ever seriously took a look at some of the ol' myths and tried to figure out what was going on in the heavens to cause some of the wild tales to be told?? I doubt it. The more mutants, the more arrogance.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Einstein claimed Quantum Mechanics and Relativity require a sentient being outside the universe to make the universe real. On the other hand atheists have suppressed math and science since 1919.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        As a Freemason Einstein would not be an atheist. As we know from Einstein's presentation of relativity to the atheists at the Nobel Committee, science was rejected for the atheist leap of faith. Einstein was later forced to manufacture the mathematical contrivance of a photon, to collect his money. So to review, math and science are the enemies of the atheist.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, all simply tall tales grown taller in the retelling. the babe the blue ox of superst itious times.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • lol??

        Typical "educated"response.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @lol, of course it is an "educated" response. i'm somewhat impressed that you would recognize one.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  5. BubbaCo

    Church sucks!

    August 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Billy

      Please stop praying for my grandpa u are making him too strong. He broke out of the hospital & cops say their tasers don't work on him 😦

      August 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Elliott Carlin

    The writer appears to be just another narcissistic millennial. Me Me Me.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • tony

      Yes, but she thinks she is being good in the religious sense.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Yet you will find the klansman and his hippy children worshiping the devil at church every Sunday.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • snowboarder

        unfortunately, there is no meaningful difference between your devil and someone else's god.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Hefeweizen

        Hahaha.... How on Earth does Klansmen = Hippy? Are you getting confused, old man?

        August 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Hefeweizen

      Unless you're a WW2 vet, you got no room to talk, grandpa. Your generation f-'ed up the country to no end and now its our job to pull it out of the quagmire you all allowed it to fall in. Without the benefit of a decent economy and with the constant threat of you idiots trying to defund the social safety net your parents worked so hard to install in this country, mind you. You all need to just sit the hell down, shut up and let someone else have the keys to the country. Nobody could possibly do a worse job than you.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  7. Quasi

    In short, 809 million people have died in religious wars. That’s nearly a billion people. Conclusively, more people have died in the name of religion than in the name of Communism or Hitler, or the two combined times two.

    And your OMNISCIENT deity was so smart, he created Adam and Eve, and their 3 sons, Cain, Abel and Seth. He left them to commit incest to populate the world. God did such a "bang-up" job with the first wave of humans, that in a just a "few" years, he had to commit genocide. How smart was that for a god who knows all before it happens? And then, leaving alive a few of Noah's family, they also committed incest to re-populate the world.

    Now tell me, just who is the evil one? ROFL

    August 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • AE

      A lot wars are actually fought over property disputes. Should we blame real estate agents today?

      August 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • tony

        they are today's version of the moneychangers in the temple. Nasty greedy parasites all.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          ATM just inside the sanctuary.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • tony

      Faith conveniently allows facts, reality and logic to be completely ignored. So does insanity.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Quasi

        So we both agree you are insane! 😀

        August 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Just two different leaps of faith.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Just a guy

      And I bet you know all 809 million by name too! I am impressed!

      August 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • lol??

      "...................Now tell me, just who is the evil one? ROFL"

      What a soft pitch! YOU!

      August 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  8. tony

    Wasn't this previously the article labeled – Millennials leaving the Church"?

    August 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • bajadelmar

      Yes, it's pathetic. They rename an old article and pass it off as new. That passes as creative for xians.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • AE

      Yes. She even made a reference to that article and shed some relevancy on the subject.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The text is different and the comment counter reset, but it is the same chick peddling her book 2 weeks in a row. CNN must be having trouble finding Christian authors who support their social agenda.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  9. Bob Greaves

    I enjoy much of what Rachel has written over the years. But I have no need for a church, they are enemies of spirituality and of christianity. It is good enough to be involved in a community without subscribing to the control of an organization that thinks it is ordained of god. Follow Jesus if you so desire and connect with others who follow him, but leave the arrogant organizations in the dust

    Former pastor, free range believer.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • AE

      I appreciate having a group of believers I can meet with. We are completely self-supporting and have to face issues together: like staffing (it is hard work and deserves pay), building fees, charity causes and events that support fellowship.

      Jesus says, wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, there I am. I think that is what we are trying to do.

      Working with others is what spirituality is all about. It is hard. Is is challenging. But we are here to be in relationship with each other.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Justin

    Your belief in god isn't required for his existance. Like a thief in the night he shall come and his wrath shall be poured out on all the evil of this world. Wonderful times are coming. Those who have ears let them hear, those who have eyes let them see.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @justin, there is no legitimate reason to believe a word of that to be true.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • Justin

        I wish you the best may your life be full of happiness and love

        August 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @justin, it is. and may yours be also.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • quackyduck

      Those who have a BRAIN, let them think and walk away from this faerie tale mumbo-jumbo...

      August 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Hefeweizen

      Also, the Easter Bunny is coming too and he'll f-ing bite you. Rabbits are mean little SOBs.

      You know, people have been predicting the world is going to end soon since before your little cult started messing up the world, and they'll keep doing it for hundreds if not thousands of years to come.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Doobs

        "Also, the Easter Bunny is coming too and he'll f-ing bite you."

        Ahahaha! That made me laugh so hard I have tears rolling down my cheeks.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  11. jksu2

    I would challenge the millennial to read the writings of the evangelical Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer. He predicted very well the after effects of living in what he termed a: "Post Christian Society". People might actually find out that the teachings of Christ are still relevant in our society today.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • snowboarder

      many of the philosophical teachings are relevant, but they are also not distinctly Christian.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  12. amercon

    There is no conflict between science and Christianity. The conflict is evolution vs both science and the Bible.
    We do need to make a distinction. The limited theory of evolution includes natural selection, adaptation, and speciation which rely on genetic variation within the kind, are observable, require no new information, and are consistent with the Bible. The general theory includes changes in kind like monkey into man or dinosaurs into birds which require new information, violate the Bible, and have never been observed putting it outside the realm of science.

    The Big Bang conflicts with the Bible on cause, time, sequence, and end point. It also has several serious scientific flaws. Even many secular cosmologists have severely criticized it as noted at cosmolgystatement.org.

    Unfortunately, some members of the clergy are not familiar with the creation science model and are not able to give good answers. Please look at answersingenesis.org and icr.org.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • snowboarder

      answersingenesis.org lol!

      August 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Hefeweizen

      So stupid....

      See, this nonsense is why young people like myself wouldn't be caught dead in a Christian church. Accept scientific facts, get out of bed with the right wing in this country and quit being bigots, then maybe we'd hear you out.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • tony

      Your limited mind is the cause of your misunderstanding. Religion is in conflict with all reality, science and democracy.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • G to the T

      As soon as you used the word "Kind" you invalidated everything else you said in the post.

      August 6, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  13. Charles Roesch, Ph.D., M.D.

    Deep in your intellect, you know all religion is mythology not worthy of a modern society.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • AE

      What if you don't want to be a product of modern society?

      August 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @ae, you could always move to the middle east. they are fighting valiantly against being dragged into the modern age.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • Hefeweizen

        Somalia is that way. ========>

        August 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • AE

        But what if you want to be more than just a product of American consumerism?

        There has got to be more to life than just making money, being blasted by advertisements convincing you to buy something and living in a society that ignores that their way of life supports human slavery in 3rd world nations.

        It seems like we are all just products of corporations that really just fulfills the greed of the very, very rich.

        What if you want to be more than just a corporate tool?

        August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @ae, there is much more to the modern age than consumerism. thanks for breaking down a complex world into a political soundbite.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Neale

        then don't see a doctor, don't use the web, don't fly in a plane: these things are the product of the modern world. Be a product of a Bronze Age belief system: hate your neigbour, enslave your enemies & die at 30.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • AE

          "then don't see a doctor, don't use the web, don't fly in a plane:"

          I thought you were giving a list of things that are Christian (my doctor, webmaster and pilot are Christian) 🙂

          August 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Just a guy

      I guess you think with all those initials after your name – you must be right!

      August 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • Quasi

        One who studies everything, including people, will realize that education is a wonderful thing! When you understand the Universe and learn how it works, you will realize that religion is a made-up mythology and is a perverted crutch.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Just a guy

          I could not agree more as to education – and the more I see of the universe the more the Scriptures come alive for me and see the intelligent design of it!

          August 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Scott

      Well now Chas, are we suppose to bow at your pedigree, PhD, MD?

      Scott
      Eagle Scout, Quartermaster Sea Scout, PR2 USN, Associates of Applied Science Electronics Engineering Technology, Bachelor of Science Electronics, Thirteen U.S. Patents.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Doug

      why the 'Ph.D' 'M.D.' on your post? Is this suppose to add weight to your comment?

      August 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Scott

        Probably suffers from small penis syndrome. See: http://men.webmd.com/guide/is-my-penis-too-small

        Scott

        August 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Just a guy

      I wonder if the enlightened intellectuals have ever calculated the chances of our universe and all its beauties having been as a result of an accident vs intellectual design? What are the probabilities here?

      August 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • a reasonable atheist

        You might want to add natural selection to your list. I've yet to meet anyone who think the universe came to be as an accident.

        August 7, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  14. Daisy Cutter

    Isnt " Christian " dog wistle code word for Conservative Republican ? Conservative Republicans are still the enemy of Democratic Liberal Progresives ?

    August 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • lol??

      The US has been the US in name only since the 17th amendment was passed. Everybody is a pwogwessive and keynesian now.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      You are correct and any christian that does vote democratic deserves God's judgement. Without the Catholic devil worshipers and the IRS, Obama would not be wagging his limp thingy at Russia right now.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Scott

      Well now Daisy, you must have never went to a "Church Of If It Feels Good Do It", a.k.a United Church of Christ. Add to that the Presbyterian Church (USA).

      Scott

      August 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • Scott

        Addendum: Both of those "Christian" churches practice Moral Relativism.

        Scott

        August 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • snowboarder

          as does the entire world.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      My enemies are the fools who like to label everything and attempt to force people into categories that are not representative but become a straw man for the opposition to attack. I believe all law abiding, tax paying American voters should be considered one group, Americans. And those Americans should continue to vote for equality and freedom for all regardless of whether their religion has chosen to classify and discriminate against certain classes of people. If your Church segregates a class of people like Muslims and tells you how evil it would be to allow a mosque in your town and you vote to prevent that Mosque then you are not an American, you are voting for a Christian Theocracy for the few, not a country for all.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  15. Brian Williams

    Booooo!!! Organized religion has not place in our society! The only imaginary being my kids needs to believe in is Santa. Sorry but Jesus was a regular person.

    August 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • lol??

      Who needs Santa?? You got Unca Sugar and the memories, thanks, of Unca Joe.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Saint Nicolas is real, so perhaps you would do well to revisit the Jesus issue.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • snowboarder

        he was real, but not in current context.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Not being able to tell what is real from pretend is the world for those under 8 and Scientology.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • snowboarder

          and the purveyors and adherents of religion.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • JesusSuperHero

      > The only imaginary being my kids needs to believe in is Santa. Sorry but Jesus was a regular person.

      Actually, there is more evidence in the existence of Sinter Klaas than Jesus/Yesu ...

      August 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  16. Just a guy

    Why do articles like this always bring out the scarcastic non- believers? All they do is inject their "I can't put God under a microscope" comments and the crusades show that Christianity and religion is evil. Come on – give me a break – all you do is prove the evil one is alive and well and he know the scriptures very well!

    August 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • fitlime

      Fairy tales, lol. The evil one? The mind games and brain washing of the church are incredible.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • AE

      It doesn't seem rational or logical to come to a faith and belief blog over and over if you don't believe.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Just a guy

        The unfulfilled are looking for something

        August 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • AE

          I wonder what they are looking for?

          August 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • fitlime

        It was on the front page of CNN. I grew up with this stuff around me, I just find it funny to see people talk about fairy tales like they were real! lol

        August 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Just a guy

          Biblically – you actually never "grew up".

          August 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • FrenchChef

      We want to help other Americans escape the lies coming from the "religious wrong." Thanks for asking.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Just a guy

        I think all you like doing is stirring the pot and not adding any value

        August 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          The disgusting pot that is organized religion needs to be tipped over and exposed for the sick perverts it hides and con men that run it.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Pot, meet Kettle

          Tell you what, if you want the pot to stop being stirred, stop flaunting religion. "This is why you need God" is just asking for a response. The majority of non-believers flock to the comments because they don't believe and want to be represented.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Just a guy

          You two guys below ought to get together – you sure like to stir things up don't you – you both seem full of bitterness with your comments – how sad

          August 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the evil one? lol!

      August 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • quackyduck

      "The EE-VUL one"....

      OK, Guy, so who was it that created this "evil one"? If it was the "perfect" gawd, he must have been drunk that day, or was just starting out and wasn't very skilled yet.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  17. mark

    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.

    If that isn't the perfect description of a cult, I don't know what is.

    August 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • AE

      Wait, which is the cult?

      Going to websites with people that have the same interest as you?

      Or going to a church and meeting people face-to-face from different backgrounds?

      August 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      How does technology only allow me to connect with those who are like-minded? It seems to me that I can connect with anyone else in the world (or orbit) who has an internet connection.

      August 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  18. FrenchChef

    Americans increasingly see many churches as nothing more than right-wing political action committees that pretend to be "churches" in order to avoid taxation and scrutiny. We're aware of anti-gay churches that have routinely violated the law to throw anti-gay Hate Votes.

    August 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Just a guy

      I guess you speak for all Americans

      August 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        French folks feel free to say what American's think.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Dippy

          Americans, not American's. It seems an engineer would know this.

          August 11, 2013 at 2:03 am |
      • quackyduck

        Well, Chef speaks for me. It's about past time the churches started paying for their playing. So-called "Christian Voters Guides" that infer that Democrats eat babies and do the Nasty with the Devil, sermons about how you can't be a christian and not vote Republican, Pastoral letters from the Archbishop reminding the sheep that you can't take communion if you vote for John Kerry.... Yeah, it's time they paid to play.

        August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Scott

      You must have never went to a "Church Of If It Feels Good Do It", a.k.a United Church of Christ. Add to that the Presbyterian Church (USA). They are so flaming lib that they change their morals with the same frequency that most people change their clothes. You know, the lib mantra of "Moral Relativism."

      Scott

      August 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • Gracie

        Scott,
        I guess you're not aware that all churches change over time (what you call moral relativism). Just as one example, many Christian churches were pro-slavery and anti-integration, some well into the late 20th century. Many Christian churches that still require women to submit to the authority of their fathers and husbands in the home and church were telling people to vote for a woman as vice president (Sarah Palin). There are thousands of Christian denominations, each teaching a different version of the "absolute truth", and many of them stating that everyone outside the walls of their particular version of the truth is going to be punished by God and burn in hell forever. I don't speak as a church outsider, but as one who spent a great deal of time in fundamentalist churches consisting of anything from tiny rural church to megachurch. I've heard in these churches not only the expected condemnation of Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, Bahais, new age followers, etc. etc., but also that the wrong types of Christians, in some cases even the wrong types of fundamentalist Christians, are going to hell. No two Christian denominations have exactly the same absolute moral beliefs about anything, even if you don't look at history and focus on just the present moment.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  19. David From Canada

    Rachel's rules sound very letter-of-the-law.
    I go to church and here's what works for me. Throw out all the dogma – God and life are about the spirit-of-the-law – and enjoy the FELLOWSHIP of other people at the church of your choice. You can't do that by sitting alone on a Sunday morning. Go to church and be uplifted, along with the help of other people. God+church+people works!

    August 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Walt

      I profess that a Christian and an Atheist are 99% identical with a very small difference. A Christian dismisses Thor, Zeus, Poseidon, Moon God, Sun God, Baal, etc..etc...as a non-existent primitive belief ...an Atheist dismisses ONE MORE!

      August 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Akira

      So you go to church just to hang out with people and ignore the God stuff? Interesting.

      August 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • snowboarder

        community can be good, but the rest is just hokum.

        August 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • lol??

      In the former US,
      "A number of federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including the Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA and the Department of the Interior.................." When the socies run outta moolah??

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html

      August 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Doobs

      I get way more out of having a nice pancake breakfast with Mr. Doobs and/or friends on Sunday morning, playing with my cat, or doing the a crossword puzzle. All the benefits without having to go through the ritual self-mortification, guilt and confession.

      August 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Walt

    I profess that a Christian and an Atheist are 99% identical with a very small difference. A Christian dismisses Thor, Zeus, Poseidon, Moon God, Sun God, Baal, etc..etc...as a non-existent primitive belief ...an Atheist dismisses ONE MORE!

    August 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mopery

      What I find most telling is the studies that show Atheists and Agnostics know more about religions than these so-called believers know. Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge is power.

      August 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • snowboarder

        their journey to disbelief is often significantly more studied than the theists journey to belief.

        August 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Mopery

          Peer pressure is a powerful motivator. It takes a stronger will to not believe than to give up and profess belief just to satisfy, or lessen the anger, of the believers applying the pressure.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @mope, very true. one of the greatest tools of the religious is the fear of being ostracized from the commune.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Deidra

          So true. Even after I gave up Christianity (after reading the Bible), I had a VERY difficult time with 1. not believing in the devil; and 2. identifying as a non-believer. I studied religion for years before accepting that I truly didn't believe.

          August 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • blue rabbit

          Dear Mopery,
          I feel more pressure to be a non Christian than to be a Christian.

          August 5, 2013 at 5:37 am |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Ignorance is also easy and real knowledge is difficult, so is it any wonder that 73% of Americans still identify as Christian? I mean, think about it. To say "We have the narrow path leading to salvation!" but then 73% say they are on that "narrow path" while the 2% of atheists are supposedly on the "wide path leading to destruction" it would seem their understanding of "wide" and "narrow" has been reversed.

        August 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • meemee

        True enough. I studied Christianity in particular for decades because I wanted to make sure of what I felt was right. I am so glad that we live in an age when one is not hunted down and burned for questioning this "holy terror" that has plagued the Western World, and fraudulently laid claim to its progress (after fighting it violently). Islam is a threat, yes, as any politically motivated religion is, but for the West, the problem has been Christianity for two thousand years. As it turns out, the pre-Christian agrarian oriented nature religions were more in line with the natural world. Seeing our destinies in line with our planets health IS a "religion" I can and do support. (But because of that, I also reject world socialism).

        August 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @meemee,

          And yet like most Atheist you constantly struggle with your brief system.

          August 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Harry Cline

          @meemee,

          And yet like most Atheist you constantly struggle with your belief system. (interesting)

          August 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • Mopery

          Harry, Atheism is a belief system like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

          August 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • god isn't dead because god never existed

          Henry Cline, absence of a belief is not a belief.

          I say this not for your benefit, but those who may be reading, since i doubt you can understand.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.