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My Take: Can Zipcars save my dying church?
April 19th, 2011
07:57 AM ET

My Take: Can Zipcars save my dying church?

Editor's Note: Mark Barger Elliott is senior pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and author of "Creative Styles of Preaching." His blog Faith in the World identifies stories of hope from around the world and places where religion intersects everyday life.

By Mark Barger Elliott, Special to CNN

The prospect of death typically prompts action.

Doctors offer experimental trials. Tuna casseroles appear on doorsteps. Families ask that loved ones to be placed on church prayer lists.

As a pastor, I’ve seen that when time grows short, people feel compelled to do something. Best-selling books such as "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" owe their popularity to that human instinct.

I’ve thought of this lately as I’ve begun to watch my church die.

Not the local church I serve in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but the larger church of which I’m a part – what we know as the mainline church.

What’s the mainline church?

Unlike megachurches that flourish in places like abandoned shopping centers and movie theaters and draw visitors with LED signs, mainline churches typically are built on downtown corners and along winding country roads. Our moveable type signs read: Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational.

While megachurches – which typically represent Christianity’s evangelical or nondenominational arms - offer cappuccino bars and hologram images of pastors, we are identified by spires and white clapboard, cemeteries and pews and pastors draped in fraying black robes.

And we are dying.

In the last 50 years, mainline church membership has plummeted by more than 25%, to about 20 million people, according to a recent report from The Barna Group, a major church research firm.

Barna found that only 15% of American adults are associated with a mainline church today, a stark contrast to a time when our influence was wide and broad. The Supreme Court, for example, was once composed entirely of mainline church members. Today, it has no such members.

How did it come to this?

In many ways, the mainline church functions today as GM did before its 2008 government bailout. Our product lines have grown outdated (think tattered hymnals, wheezing organs and pastors preaching stiffly behind pulpits).

Our ability to respond to demographic and cultural changes is impaired by a business model that clings to tradition and is wary of collaboration and innovation.

Important but secondary issues – for example, disputes over sexual orientation – have led to conflicts that hold scant appeal to potential new members.

So we find ourselves stuck like GM in 2008, unable to imagine a new mainline church, unable to produce something as dynamic and vibrant as say, a hybrid Ford Fusion.

What can we do?

Fortunately, serving as a mainline pastor for 15 years has taught me this lesson: Sometimes the patient revives. Those who walk through the doors of a hospice facility do, on occasion, walk out.

Our revival, I believe, can be sparked by a process that author Lisa Gansky calls "better things, easily shared." In her book "The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing," Gansky points to Zipcar as an example of how this works.

Zipcar uses the internet to offer customers the opportunity to share resources (a nice car) and, thereby, costs. It appeals to those who need a car for only a few hours, or part of the day. Zipcar users save $400-600 a month by sharing the costs of gas and insurance.

How do we apply "better things, easily shared" to the church?

In regards to reducing costs, I know my own church facilities often sit unused during the late afternoon and evening and could easily be offered to the community or other churches. A website might coordinate church space "customers," just as some companies now advertise office space you can rent by the hour or day.

We could intentionally seek to identify and to share our "better things." A significant proportion of my week, for example, is spent writing a sermon. Not all pastors have that luxury of time.

While websites do offer sermons, it is frowned upon to "borrow" someone else's work. Could that change? Mainline denominations could approve a website where "the best" sermons are posted. The same process might be applied to administrative resources, church choirs and educational resources.

How about a mainline church "better things, easily shared" conference where our "better ideas" are shared in short talks that are then posted on the web - a very successful formula for organizations like TED. Could it be time to identity potential outside collaborators like Gansky, who could help steer us in the direction of our own hybrid Ford Fusion?

Reviving the church may seem like a long shot. But sometimes the dying - and even the dead - do revive.

The mainline church does have a name for that experience: Easter.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Barger Elliott.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Opinion • Protestant

soundoff (167 Responses)
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  5. acquistare nandrolone

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    December 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  6. RightturnClyde

    It seems like churches (some are calling them the "organized religion") are coming to an end ... not faith .. churches. Unlike the seven churches in Revelations modern churches became bogged down in mortgages and finance and church "politics" and "isms" like Calvinism and lost their relevance. They still provide some value in communal care for children (babysitting), elderly (meals), education and cultivating the "ism" but otherwise they are out dated and out going like the dial telephone, tape recorders and extended families.

    May 1, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  7. Dumb Illiterate

    I believe everything I read on the Internet. That is, only if it fosters my own set of preconceived beliefs.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  8. Dumb Illiterate

    100 years from now, are people going to believe that george Carlin was real? ANyone with half a brain can edit and photoshop anything and call it real.

    April 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  9. Mephitic Critic

    The only thing that's going to save your dying church is proof of your "god".
    No one's ever done it yet. Why not try finding some real proof?
    Forgive me if I don't hold my breath. Your religion sux.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Adelina

      @M-C-, no one proved there is no God. Both the natural world and human beings are filled with evidences that Someone made them and there is the supernatural Book, the Bible, which claims to be Creator's manual for mankind. The difference: Religious people choose to believe the evidences and valid testimonies while atheists choose to ignore God and stay irresponsible to their Maker. There is Judgment Day for every human.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Adelina.. please present these evidences.

      April 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  10. Adelina

    Evangelicals are growing in USA as fast as secularism as of today. It's mainly the churches that abandoned orthodoxy of Christian faith that are dying.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's dying is your act, Addiepuss.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Dexter Skagway

      Nope. Not even close. Non-religion has doubled in the last twenty years, whereas evangelicalism has only increased 10%.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Adelina

      Dexter, my "as fast as" wording was wrong. Trend could change in any major events, though growth doesn't determine the truth. Maybe the rate of pollution correlates the growth of ungodliness in the rich nations.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  11. David Johnson

    The term "dying church", makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

    Cheers!

    April 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Peter F

      @David Johnson

      I replied to your comment on the hell article. I look forward to your response. Enjoy!

      Blessings

      April 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Sweet! Got a little bad news for you buddy all churches are Not dying! Hope I didn't ruin your night!
      and with all due respect....Cheers!

      April 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Peter F

      @Steve

      And the greater Church of Christ has no expiration date at all! 🙂

      April 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Dexter Skagway

      I got the warm-fuzzies when I read the article on how religion would go obsolete in at least 9 countries in the next 100 years. Non-religion has doubled in America in the last 20 years. At that rate, non-religion will be the choice of the majority in less than 40 years.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Peter F
      @Steve
      And the greater Church of Christ has no expiration date at all!
      -----–
      So true. I am reading yours posts and am grateful for your words! May God bless!

      April 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Adelina

      Dexter, people are saying USA will disappear in 40 years. They will blame athists.

      April 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  12. john

    My opinion is that these churches died and are dying because no longer have time on thier hands. The only time off with the children, with 2 people working is Saturday and Sunday. Churches have lost of the activities that they once had (Boy and Girl Scouts, youth fellowship groups). Many of the churches are trying to appeal to everyone. Many people don't want to be associated with everyone. One thing that turned me off, was the tything. they wanted to know the beginning of the year what you were going to give. Many families don't know what they can give over 52 weeks, and you are badgered for a number. I will give what I can, when I come. I was raised on old church functions, 8:30 services, with a choir and an organ and hymnals, NOT a guitar and recorded music.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  13. Kristen

    First of all, why is it mostly atheists who post on the Faith site? Sometimes silence IS golden. Second, I doubt that mainline churches have a chance. Mega churches offer too much freedom from responsiblity. In a mainline church there are people who know you and can hold you accountible for your actions. In a church with "100s of thousands of worshippers" it is unlikely that anyone knows anyone well enough to judge. Also, with megachurches, it is easy enough to vote the pastor off the island, so to speak. Say the pastor believes that gays should marry. Easy enough, just fire him. And just about anyone can be "called" to found one of these mega churches. A misspent youth witht he "Church of Bob" taught me that just about any idiot can found a church. I wandered back to a system of faith with deep roots, rigid bureaucracy and complete consistency across churches. I may not always like what I hear in church but I know that it is not something made up on the spot to appease the people signing the paycheck.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Well Kristen, best of luck to you.

      Just bear in mind if your church sins, we here in the real world shall hold YOU responsible.

      Nuremberg taught us that if you are part of an evil organization, you will be held accountable in THIS world, regardless of your belief in the afterlife.

      April 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I also recall a bank robber (Willie Sutton) who was asked why he robbed banks

      His answer was 'cause that where the money is!"

      We who distrust and fear religion have ALWAYS kept our eyes on the zealots. You see, WE are usually the ones who pay the price for religious irrationalities.

      April 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • John2

      Kristen,

      Some atheists reply to articles such as this because we know the answer to the problem, which can only be truly seen from outside the in-crowd. I'm a former Christian who attended both mainline churches as well as the big megachurches at various times in my life. I have experienced a number of wildly different approaches. There are two questions to be asked: 1) Why are people more attracted to the megachurches, and 2) Why are church memberships falling off, in general.

      The answer to the first question is simple and is partially answered in the article. The megachurch flavor of Christianity has partially adapted to the culture we live in, particularly with regard to music and presentation. The answer to the second question is more difficult to accept for Christians. The reason people are leaving Christianity, or religion in general, is because we have greater access to information. A few minutes on the Internet and we can verify claims for ourselves. We can learn Biblical history; we can learn about how the Bible was actually put together; we can find out what modern archeology and anthropology have to say about early Christianity and the early Hebrew people. We can separate fact from fiction, and those of us who have de-converted simply realized that most of what is taught in church is fiction. Word gets around, and young people who have a broader experience of the world, or at least broader access to differing viewpoints and information, are not going to waste time in church hearing fantastic tales about invisible friends from ancient times. It simply isn't relevant any more, and that is the truth that Christians can't accept.

      April 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Kristen:

      Atheists respond here because we can. In our real lives, we are often compelled to keep silent, so that we don't offend the religious among us. Sadly, religious people seldom give us the same consideration. I have had people knock on my door, wanting to discuss their beliefs with me. Have you ever had an atheist do the same?

      Here were are given a voice, so we use it. I read these boards to see what my fellow humans think, and to respond with my own opinions. It is not your place to try to silence other voices. We have as much right to be here as you do.

      April 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      tallulah13 well said.. you are absolutely correct.. i am very polite when in the company of Christian folks on a day to day basis.. because they always appear shocked, or indignant with people who do not believe. I discuss politely and if they say some thing about god i just nod. How ever if they come to my door, I ask very pointed questions, and tell them I am atheist and ask for proof.. that sets them off real good.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Dorianmode

      ...or you get actually go get an education. Go take a few years of Ivy League Biblical Archeology, New Testatment, Old Testament, Hebrew, Latin, Greek, maybe Aramaic. Go on some digs in Egypt and Isreal. Go work for the Wh-ore of Ba-bylon, (the Ro-man Ca-th-o-lic Chur-ch), take some legal cases and watch them sc-rew over anyone who gets in the way of their National Co-nfer-en-ce of Bis-shop-s, (The Na-t-ion-al Off-ice of Pe-doph-ile P-ro-tec-tion), and watch then de-ny any acc-usation that co-mes across their desks, even though they know they are pr-obably based in tr-uth, go work for a pa-rish where 3 of the 4 pri-ests are ga-y, mes-sing ar-round with mar-ried wom-en, and dri-nk-ing thyemselves silly each nig-ht, where the ar-chbi-sh-op is also me-s-sing ar-ound with bo-ys, and then you won't wo-nd-er why peo-ple co-me he-re to make sure hy-poc-ri-cy is not p-er-ret-tu-ated.

      April 20, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Dumb Illiterate

      Kristen, you are absolutely right. Today's people don't want responsibility. They want to feel good, go home, and live like there's no tomorrow. And when the founder of that church is no more, it falls apart. Then the unbelievers rush in and say, "I told you so." No doubt, many of those founders were very sincere, but somewhere along the way, something happened. It's called "pride."

      I, too, find it odd that as soon as an article on religion, especially Christianity, pops up, the atheists and unbelievers are there like vultures to pounce on those who post about their faith. If you don't believe, why are you posting here in the first place?

      April 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  14. jknbt

    I posted a valid answer, william. the cnn intern moderating the blog won't post it because it has too much truth to it.

    post to this blog a new temporary email address for you on gmail or yahoo, and I will send it to you. then we can discuss the matter privately.

    one rule, "No Insults", okay?

    April 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I appreciate your situation, because I often offend them as well.

      I suspect they probably worked for the Vatican in the past. Harsh words like raipee offend them and get you flaged.

      I an always be reached at demuth514@comcast.net.

      As far as insults, I do not begin the irrationalities, I only respond to them

      April 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Reality

      jknbt,

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.

      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      --–
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      s-ex
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      an-al......ban-al
      sh-it
      fu-ck...
      who-re
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      pr-ick
      sl-ut
      c-lit
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      hor-ny
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      nip-ple
      po-rn
      c-ock
      nig-ger
      cu-nt
      b-itch
      ra-pe
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      Sna-tch
      soft-ware
      Ja-panese
      Span-king
      hoo-ters
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.
      -–
      okay words that you might not expect to be filtered....!!!
      beaver
      penis
      ass
      crap
      damn
      anal
      anus
      sphincter
      testicles
      testes
      pubic
      boob
      --

      Here's a word to add to the banned list: co-co-on
      whether it's c-oc, or co-on, this is ridiculous.”

      April 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  15. William Demuth

    Jesus is a fable for the ignorant, and he shall face the same fate as the other imaginary Gods of the past.

    The ONLY question left is how many more innocent people must suffer before he is retired to his rightful throne in the garbage dump of theology

    April 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • jknbt

      what exactly have you "suffered", William?

      and do you really consider yourself baby-fresh innocent? tell me that you have never offended someone, lied, or otherwise fallen short of an absolute perfect standard?

      April 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      jknbt

      My innocence is immaterial because I do NOT claim to be divine.

      On the other hand, your imaginary God is supposedley divine, yet he is indifferent to the agonoies of the people brutalized in his name.

      Is your God merely indifferent to the innocents who are sodomized in his name, or is he actualy a sodomist himself?

      April 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  16. William Demuth

    We need to go back to those traditional values, like slavery and discrimination that made the church powerful.

    Now that kids don't buy the after life anymore, we had better come up with a new way to silence them about what the "body of Christ" did in their diapers!

    April 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  17. CJ

    The funny thing is that Zipcar still doesn't actually make a profit. So a non-profitable venture with a dwindling market (Christianity) is going to adopt a business model of another non-profitable venture (Zipcar). Brilliant.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      CJ wrote: "The funny thing is that Zipcar still doesn't actually make a profit. So a non-profitable venture with a dwindling market (Christianity) is going to adopt a business model of another non-profitable venture (Zipcar). "

      As the old joke goes, perhaps they're hoping to make it up through volume...

      April 20, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  18. jknbt

    To revive these dwindling churches, you need to have revivals......Revival built the methodist church. They stopped having revivals in the north in the 40's & 50's, and in the south in the 60's and 70's.....Look at churches that stopped having revival, and you will see a clear demographic line....The older crowd in these churches made a lifelong committment to them because of a revival experience they had in their youth. There has to be a river of new converts and new families to keep any church alive....
    and guess what? The liberalism, modernism, higher criticism, and godless humanism that you find preached from methodist, presbyterian, and congregational purlpits don't exactly lend themselves to revivalistic fervor. It is kind of hard to get new converts to believe a mythological system.....So the revival needs to start with the pastors and seminary professors. They need to get back to the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. They need to get back to the living Saviour. They need to get back to the Holy Ghost who inspired all the scriptures. They need to get born again, and then take that revival fire into the pulpits. Then they will have full churches again.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Maybe we can ask Yahveh to slaughter all the children of the non believers again?

      Teach them a lesson 'bout messin with the big JC!

      April 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      @ William Demuth,
      Nuh uhh,
      I smeared blood all over my lintels and he's not-a-gonna touch mah baby.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  19. Jo

    Gosh you guys, listen to some of you. Such anger.

    Let's apply a little logic and common sense. First, if there is no God, then where did all this come from? No one on earth knows for sure the full extent of what is out there beyond our measily little existence on this planet.

    Is it logical for atheists to be atheists? Well, if one does so, not knowing for sure what the truth is (which none of us do), then if that person is wrong, when he dies he will end up missing the boat...to put it mildly.

    Doesn't it make more sense to just sit down and read the Bible and to pray that if there is a God that He would show you who He is? And as far as today's churches, the most IMPORTANT thing is what we believe in our hearts, not what church we attend. No church is perfect.

    I don't agree with every last thing that every church in America does, anymore than I agree with every last little thing that every high school in America is doing. But that doesn't mean I have stopped believing in education or in sending my kid to school. Perhaps not a perfect analogy, but do you get the point?

    Bottom line: If you're rejecting God on the basis that you have observed Christians sometimes using poor judgment in their lives and/or in various church settings, is that logical? Is drawing such a conclusion fair to you and to the entirety of your future, both on earth and whatever is beyond? I seriously doubt God is totally happy with some of the stuff that goes on in churches sometimes either.

    God does not EQUAL "the church on your street".

    The Bible says that "Faith commeth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."- King James Version (1611)

    -Best wishes

    April 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Read the Koran, the Bible is boring and poorly written, and it's very premise is worse than a Sci Fi channel horror movie.

      Plus the Muslims are giving our FREE VIRGINS!

      April 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      If there is no God where did God come from?

      Theocratic logic and common sense indeed.

      The absurdity of your position has been used by the indoctrinated sine the dawn of life.

      Furthermore, if your God created this twisted and sick world, than what he deserves is not worship, but rather a steel toed boot in his orthodoxy.

      April 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Godless

      Jo, two things:
      1) Just because humans cannot yet explain "where all of this came from" doesn't mean that the answer must be "god did it." Talk about jumping to conclusions. Until we understood how clouds made rain, I'm sure the answer to people living then was "god is doing it" and that just sounds silly now, doesn't it?
      2) The CYA you're talking about is called Pascal's Wager, and has been thoroughly debunked as a rationale for believing in god. It's basically saying "I believe, just in case." And here's the problem – how do you know you picked the right god? What if Allah is the right one, and you wasted your life praying to Jesus? Or what if it's Ra, the Egyptian Sun god, and he's p1ssed because the world has forgotten about him throughout the millenia?

      Someone once said "once you understand why you reject all the other gods that man created, you'll understand why I reject yours." We're all athiests – I just happen to believe in one fewer god than you do.

      April 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Well Obviously . . .

      If there is no SpongeBob, then where did SpongeBob come from?

      April 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Robert

      Taking your rationale a bit further, belonging to the wrong religion and worshipping the wrong version of God might be very bad as well. What if the Muslim or Jewish version is correct? Wouldnt want to be a catholic going to be judged after thousands of years of trying to exterminate people belonging to those religions. Not belonging to any of the formal Religion/corporations may be the BEST way to go to avoid a bad outcome if there is indeed a God.

      April 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Kenosis

      "Wouldnt want to be a catholic going to be judged after thousands of years of trying to exterminate people belonging to those religions."

      I don't believe any religion holds others accountable for their collective past.

      April 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Logan G. Harriman

      Religions don't hold anyone accountable for their collective pasts because they absolutely refuse to believe that they have ever done anything wrong.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  20. Tyler V

    On a side note for all commentors – if you think that atheism/skepticism is the "rational" position, presenting your opinion as bald assertion, belittling mockery, and an (quite often) biased, uneducated, and ignorant misrepresentation is not the way to go about it. You may be "witty" but you arent rational, or even particularly helpful to discussion. It seems that everyone is very high on opinion but very low on any actual education.

    April 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Somewhat pompus!

      Mockery and ridicule is used by Christians EVERY DAY to attack anyone who does not follow your rules for life.

      It is just a little payback for all the gay kids who killed themselves, all the old ladies who died hungry, and all the people who dies in agony from your ridiculous belief system.

      Your days of being untouchable are done. Your choice to tolerate hatred, pedophillia and mental illness in your inner core has left you vulnerable, and now the people who have been under your sandals are now at your throat.

      I bet the feeling stinks!

      April 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > if you think that atheism/skepticism is the "rational" position,

      It's demonstratable that it's the correct position via logic. No one who understood why would make such a silly comment like the above.

      April 19, 2011 at 1:44 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.