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My Take: How technology could bring down the church
May 15th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: How technology could bring down the church

Editor's Note: Lisa Miller, formerly the religion editor at Newsweek, is the author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife,” recently released in paperback.

By Lisa Miller, Special to CNN

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and Bible publishers are ostentatiously commemorating the landmark by producing an abundance of gorgeous doorstops. Leather bound Bibles. Two-volume sets. Replicas of the 1611 version complete with “original” illustrations.

The hoopla is entirely justified, since the King James Bible revolutionized Bible reading, bringing Scripture into a common vernacular for the first time for the English-speaking world.

It is not too much to say that the King James Bible - mass produced as it was, thanks to a new technology called the printing press - democratized religion by taking it out of the hands of the clerical few and giving it to the many.

Today, another revolution in Bible reading is underway – one that has nothing to do with gilt-edged paper. If the King James Bible brought the Bible to the English-speaking masses, today’s technology goes a giant step further, making Scripture - in any language and any translation - accessible to anyone on earth with a smartphone.

Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.

In the face of church leaders who claimed that only they could interpret the Bible for the common people, Reformation leaders like Martin Luther taught that nothing supersedes the authority of the Word itself.

"A simple layman armed with Scripture,” Luther wrote, “is greater than the mightiest pope without it."

In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.

With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.

This helps solve a problem that Christian leaders are increasingly articulating: that even among people who say that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and savior, folks don’t read the Bible.

According to a 2010 survey, more than a third of born-again Christians “rarely or never” read the Bible. Among “unaffiliated” people - that is, Americans who don’t belong to a religious congregation - more than two thirds say they don’t read the Bible.

Especially among 18-to-29 year olds, Bible reading has come to feel like homework, associated with “right” interpretations and “wrong ones,” and accompanied by stern lectures from the pulpit.

Young Christians “have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive,” the Christian demographer Dave Kinnaman told the Christian magazine Charisma in 2009, “that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships.”

This yearning for a more unmediated faith - including Bible verses live in your pocket or purse 24/7, available to inspire or console wherever and whenever they’re needed - has met an enthusiastic embrace.

For growing numbers of young people, a leather-bound Bible sitting like an artifact on a stand in the family living room has no allure. It’s not an invitation to exploration or questioning.

Young people want to “consume” their spirituality the way they do their news or their music. They want to dip and dabble, the way they browse Facebook.

Thus the almost-insane popularity of Youversion, a digital Bible available for free on iTunes and developed by a 34-year-old technology buff and Christian pastor from Oklahoma named Bobby Gruenewald. He conceived of it, he told me, while on a layover at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, wishing he had a Bible to read.

“What we’re really trying to address is, how do we increase engagement in the Bible?” he said.

Now available in 113 versions and 41 languages, including Arabic, Youversion has a community component that allows users to share thoughts and insights on Bible verses with friends. It has been installed on more than 20 million smartphones since 2008.

On May 2, Youversion staged its own King James commemorative event: for 400 seconds, starting at noon, more than 10,0000 users logged on and read a portion of the Bible – King James translation, of course - a kind of 21st century Bible-reading flash mob.

Traditionalists worry that technology allows young believers to practice religion without committing to what in the south is called “a church home” - and they’re right.

I did a public Q&A with Michigan pastor Rob Bell on the eve of the publication of his new bestseller "Love Wins" and was astonished, during the book-signing that followed, at how many acolytes felt they knew Rob through his sermons, which they regularly downloaded off the internet, even though they had never met him. They hailed from places like Australia, South Africa and New Jersey.

They listen to Bell while they’re working out, or commuting to work. They get their religion - like their meals - on the run.

It is now possible to imagine the extinction of the family Bible, long given as a gift on graduation day or other big occasions and inscribed with special dates: births, marriages, deaths.

Instead, the Bible may someday exist exclusively online, with features that allow for personalization: Link to photos of weddings and baptisms! “Share” favorite verses!

When Bible study can be done on Facebook as easily as in the church basement, and a favorite preacher can teach lessons via podcast, the necessity of physically gathering each week in the same place with the same people turns remote.

Without a doubt, this represents a new crisis for organized religion, a challenge to think again about what it means to be a “body” of believers.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lisa Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Technology

soundoff (1,564 Responses)
  1. Catholic Evangelist

    I would like to point out the error in this article. The King James version (1611) was not the first English language version – the Duoay Rheims English Catholic translation (1610) preceded the King James by one year. An having a Church authority to interpret the bible makes perfect sense so that all the believers will be on the "same page" and not be confused by all the differing interpretations. As far as attending Church? The Catholic Church offers so much more than just scripture reading, music, and a sermon. The Mass is a renactment of the Last Supper in which Jesus makes his body and blood that was shed for us physically and spiritually present. You can't get the special graces from this holy communion with God by staying home. Besides – God is deserving of his due – that we come together and worship him. It's not all about what we get out of it but what we give back to God.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Agha Ata (USA)

    Somebody said, "The creative day could be 1000 years or a million or 100 million. Its obviously not 24 hours since the earth is likely millions of years old." Well, if this is true, we have a big problem. According to the Bible, God rested on the seventh day. That simply means he has been resting for at least a million years. (since a day is very long) Is that how we can understand why there is so much of pain and problems in the world. God is still resting. His day is not over yet.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  3. Annexian

    What should end is the "Letter of the Law".

    Some say the Devil's greatest triumph is convincing most he doesn't exist. I disagree, I say it's "Religion". What better way to separate man from God than by creating a bunch of rules, regulations, commandments that over time become "Bronze age Taboo" and as absurd as arbitrary and cruel?

    I'm a late adopter believer and it was the Church and I mean ALL of them from Catholic to Southern Baptist that scared me away. I could go on all day the dry, boring hypocrisy I saw, the lack of any real spirit or feeling. Later, I had an experience and I do believe.

    Take note that there should not be, even by the standard bible, any need for a church/religion any official hierarchy. Remember the "Passion"? The temple was sundered. People focus on that "His blood" part, but the real whammy was that the temple was sundered by an earthquake and the "Holy of Holies" laid bare for all to see, not just the top Rabbis.

    "This is between you and me" in a different part of the bible or "Take one step towards God, he takes a thousand towards you" from Mohammed.

    It's time to start being inclusive, not divisive, hateful and "Fundamentalist". None of us even know what set of "Rules" is "Right" anymore and the hypocrisy is toxic.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Erich

    Remember one thing, no matter how much you wish and pray and worship and kneel and hope, that does NOT make God real. He's not there, folks. I've never met him, and I can guarantee you haven't either, no matter what you think you know.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • LW

      I've met Him and I meet with Him daily!

      May 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Drew

      Wow how original Erich, did you come up with this all by yourself?

      May 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  5. Q Bee

    It is far better to read a translation that took the text directly from the original language into English (for us English speakers) and one that has not subsequently taken out the deuterocanonical books. The KJV is full of minor errors and stilted language.Compare it to the New American Bible, for instance, and don't assume that a 500 year old version is somehow superior; it is not.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Richard S

    The Holy Bible is THE WORD OF GOD. Believe or you will be lost forever.
    This is no joke.

    Repent

    May 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Dave

      Amen!

      May 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Terri

      Sorry, it is the word of a bunch of dudes who figured out a way to control the masses. Nothing more.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  7. Ryan

    It amazes me how many of the commenters on a blog devoted to religion are so against religion. That would be like me, a person who knows nothing about golf, going to a blog all about golf and commenting about how stupid it is.

    Which would be more foolish, golfers for loving a game I don't like, or me for wasting my time on something I claim to care nothing about?

    May 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Reply

      Um Ryan bad analogy since golfers don't try to implement policies on society based on their personal beliefs. That is the problem with religion, they think their right and have the right to dictate laws. Look at the gay issue if you need an example.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Terri

      Actually I am not religious because I have studied it for many years. I have read several versions of the christian bible among other religious texts. I continued to study it because it amazes me that anyone who really paid attention to the texts could remain a believer at all. I remain curious of believers, not so much of religion itself. Your assumption that non believers have no knowledge of faith is very wrong. If you read the article a full 1/3 of believers haven't read the book they believe in. I would venture to bet the real number is higher.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Drew

      What's the difference between trying to implement policy based on religious belief and trying to do it based other ideological factors, for example party loyalty?

      May 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  8. MarylandBill

    Modern technology does not really pose a new problem. This is a problem that the Protestant wing of Christianity has had since Martin Luther. Not only did the Protestant reformation replace Church authority with the authority of personal interpretation of scripture, but it eliminated or greatly reduced the importance of sacraments (with the possible exception of baptism). Thus, church essentially became a place to be lectured too by those who had more time to study scripture than you do. Obviously this is a service that can be handled just as well by TV, youtube, skype or personal study.

    In the Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions do not have to contend with this issue. Sacraments, in particular the Eucharist, are the reason to attend church (whether it be called Mass or Divine Liturgy) on a regular basis. Now I will grant that there are at least as many Catholics as Protestants (relative to their respective populations in this country) who fail to attend Church regularly; the difference is that the Catholic who does not attend church on a weekly basis cannot claim that they are being a good Catholic (at least not from an objective viewpoint of following the regulations of the Church).

    May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  9. jbmar1312

    Reply, your response to Me sounds logical and is exactly how a little leaven is spread and spoils the whole loaf. The heat of one coal does in fact enable the other coals around it it to burn hotter. The more fuel added to a fire the bigger and hotter the fire burns. The quote use in Me's comment siginifies that. It has nothing to do with the fact that we are called to be like salt to the earth. Of course we are to be in the world, just not of it. There is no danger in any of us truely seperating ourselves from different minded people. I don't believe there is any danger of me living any place where I am not confronted by vast differences of beliefs or opinions. It is just the opposite, without the close fellowship of believers and the flame of the Holy Spirit in us the coldness and hard heartedness of this world would extinguish our fire for God.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  10. Jas in TX

    The truth will destroy Christian faith well before technology can get to it.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • crucified

      E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)
      funny... Technology has actually proved God's existence.. you should rethink you position.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Technology shall free the addicted mind!

    It only seems fitting that the Internet become the new God, because it is as indifferent as the ones we now worship, and it is even exploited by the same parasites to seperate fools from their money

    INTERNET AKBAR!

    May 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Terri

      So you think the internet is the new money, after all worshipping the almighty dollar has been the way of the USA since the white man arrived.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  12. Kent

    "...Readers want to dip and dabble..." As if religion weren't bad enough on it's own readers can now take things out of context to boot. What a world.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Terri

      "readers can now take things out of context to boot" Can now? LOL, yea like they haven't been doing that since its inception.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  13. 23

    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Interrupted-Revealing-Hidden-Contradictions/dp/0061173932
    how about the opinion of a bible scholar???
    http://www.bartdehrman.com/

    May 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • crucified

      E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)
      There is your proof of God! now deal with it!

      May 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  14. Dave

    Jesus is Lord! Hallelujah for the reading and spread of the of the word! Come Lord Jesus!

    May 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  15. 23

    "He might have meant to write contradictions. The bible has many many contradictions and different descriptions.. That doesn't mean the contradictions are bad, it just means that there are different versions of the stories. If you examine the words in Mathew, Mark, John and Luke, in many cases they have different descriptions of key events such as the crucifixion, the resurrection and other things. The old testament has different descriptions of the creation. Are those mistakes? I don't know, but they are differences."
    –ahaaaahahahahahahahahaha what?!

    May 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Drew

      Wow you are pretty small minded, aren't you? You really can't envision anyway in which this ambiguity might be a good thing? People strive for ambiguity in art all the time, why not in religion?

      May 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  16. Jeff

    The author seems to believe that digital copies of the Bible are somehow more accessible. I don't understand how that is possible since proselytes hand out Bibles for free all the time. It's not like they are hard to find.
    Can the study of Judeo-Christian scripture damage the influence of Christianity; yes. Why? Because outside of the power structure that benefits from a certain version, or a culture that embraces it to create conformity, it doesn't hold a lot of water in our modern civilization. If taken completely out of context, the first 3/4 is the mythology and very rough history of a distant people millenia ago, then the last 1/4 has a quick repeating story about Jesus and then a bunch of analysis about him.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  17. Frank

    This is great. I hope it is happening in all religions. I am not religious myself but I have read the core religious writings of all the major Western monotheistic religions. While it is possible to focus on small parts which encourage hatred and violence the overwhelming message of these religions is just be a good person and treat others as you want to be treated. I think more harm comes from religious individuals who let others interpret their faith for them and those who interpret it for themselves. Yes there will always use religious writings to justify control and/harm of others but hopefully this will reduce the power these individuals have.

    Now if only we could increase literacy.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Robert Bauer

      Frank – Wonderful idea regarding more harm being done by those who we allow to interpret the Bible for us. Thank you for putting into words a belief I have been nurturing for a long time, but couldn't seem to articulate. Another interesting related thought is that those who would force their interpretation on us, also constantly warn us that we are not allowed to interpret the Bible for ourselves (2Timothy 4:3). So, for us it's a catch-22, and for them it's gauranteed authroity over doctrine. And, what if their doctrine is war, racism, bigotry, hatred, or evil? Works out nicely for them, doesn't it? I think I'll stick with what the Bible says to me. It feels more like God than most of the so-called theologians.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  18. Non Believer

    with all the death and destruction under way due to God's recent mysterious work in natural disasters around the world ... i thought this quote was revealing ... Natural Disasters are God's Wrath
    The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies! The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans and rivers dry up, the lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wilt. In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him. But he sweeps away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He pursues his foes into the darkness of night. (Nahum 1:2-8 NLT)

    May 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Terri

      Sounds like a real jerk.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • crucified

      E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r)
      Proof of God... if you think your scripture is rough... imagine when you have to meet Him!

      May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Observer

    The more that people read from the Bible, the less likely they are to think it's all real. It's a good book of morals, but written by imperfect man and so also contains errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • boohoo

      People who say the Bible was written by men, not cohesive, or contradictory have never read the Bible. I bet you are one of them...who probably hasn't even cracked the front the cover. Maybe you have a $10 bill protecting it...

      May 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • faithful

      I am obviously not perfect but no onw has ever shown me any errors in the King James version of the bible. Historians have often desputed Historical facts presented in the bible but after further reseach and more information they find out that the Bible is absolutley correct. I can't speak for every translation, but in 400 years no one has found any errors in the King James version.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • gozer

      Hundreds of errors and contradictions are in the KJ version. Shocking that you won't even just google that. Open your eyes and look.

      Go here
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html
      and
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

      May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      I'll wager $50,000 that neither 'faithful' nor 'boohoo' is strong enough in faith to read either of the links to the serious problems with the bible.
      If you think the bible WASN'T written by man, I have some oceanfront property in West Virginia you may be interested in, because you are one GULLIBLE cat!

      May 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bill

      What amuses me is when "the faithful" claim that the bible is infallible. However, even at fundamentalist seminaries young men and women have to compose whole theological arguments against the obvious errors and inconsistencies between the synoptic gospels.

      And to people who say things like "People who say the Bible was written by men, not cohesive, or contradictory have never read the Bible. I bet you are one of them...who probably hasn't even cracked the front the cover. Maybe you have a $10 bill protecting it.." shock me the most, because they dedicate their whole lives to the bible, but do not actually study it, read supplemental scholarly sources on it, or are able to question anything in a world view most likely guilted into them by their parents.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bill

      Furthermore, I would like to posit that the greatest gift God gave to you both were your brains. To shut your mind is as much a sin as stealing.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • joshua

      Your failure to understand scripture correctly doesn't count as a contradiction or error. Have you really taken the time to disect those so called contradictions to see if indeed they are? I doubt it, you probably proof read a passage or heard from someone and you just reaffirmed what you want to believe.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Observer

      @faithful & boohoo:

      It is apparently you who have never read much of the Bible. There are hundreds of errors and contradictions. For instance, in Genesis it says man will live at most 120 years and then men live hundreds. Pure nonsense.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A simple example of factual error in the Bible:
      "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
      – Matthew 13:31–32

      Mustard seesd are not the smallest of all seeds. They do not grow into mighty trees. Birds do not nest in mustard plants.
      Even at the time the Bible was written, that was known.

      Contradiction:
      Jesus is peace, love and preached that we should turn the other cheek.
      And yet in teh New Testament we find the following examples of Christ's wrath:
      Samuel 15:3
      "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
      Numbers 31:17
      "Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
      Luke 22:36
      "He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."
      Isaiah 13:16
      "Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished."

      May 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Drew

      Doc Vestibule, are you deliberately comparing New Testament passages to old Testament Passages? You do realize that they are different, right?

      May 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jay

      I wouldn't even call it a good book of morals.

      May 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  20. ME

    I attend church to worship God both in scriptures and song. I also go for Christian fellowship. When I leave church, I feel inspired, rejuvenated, enlightened, renewed, and uplifted. You can't get that from being online.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Awakening

      Good for you. I personally found church gatherings to be at best an empty cup and at worst a bucket of acid. SGI meetings are much more transformative. Not just telling me what I want to hear, but inspiring me to do my human revolution. I've seen more personal growth in 3 years with SGI than 34 years as a Christian.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • ck1721

      I agree. I can watch my church online-worship and sermon every service- but it's not the same as being there and fellowshipping. Our pastor compares it to hot coals- it's easier to keep a fire burning when you keep the coals close together, separate them and they cool off and go out.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Reply

      "it's easier to keep a fire burning when you keep the coals close together, separate them and they cool off and go out."

      That's not true a single coal from a fire can start a forest fire. It really comes down to how you use it. When you surround yourself with like minded people it stagnates your growth as a person. It's only when you are around those that challenge your choices, challenger your intellect that you can become a better person. A standing pond becomes stagnated, it's only when other rivers flow into it that it becomes full of life. Your pastor needs his job of course he wants you there every sunday.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Yeah, there is a megachurch 2 blocks from my house and after their pep rallies for Jesus they all come out pumped up and create a huge traffic jam but will NOT let anyone merge. So you have that "teen spirit" feeling after your pep rallies, heh?

      May 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      SGI's – Small Group Incounters are a great source of fellowship and the studying of the word in a less formal setting. But like a church service they usually involve an appointed time with some kind of general schedule or agenda. Awakening, you really sound bitter towards what you see tas he "organized" church. I have been and am involved in both. One of the greatest blessings I see in coming together in larger groups is the sharing and giving of resources towards goals like missions, feeding the poor, etc. The church itself is a miracle of God. A body of believers. True enough, you can find more life in a cemetery than some church buildings but that is a leadership problem in that congregation, not evidense that the church is not and has not been effective and powerful for God's Glory.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Amber

      @ ME,
      Thank you. I too love church and believe that nothing exceed it or can replace it. I even will go as far to say as I want and yearn for a good heart wrenching convicting sermon. I want to be convicted, I want to be reminded and shown things in my life that I am doing that needs change. I need it. We all need it. Today over and over again I hear folks completely dis church and preachers because they 'feel it's wrong to sit in a place and feel guilty'...to me that just sounds like they are so stubborn to changing and becoming a better person that they would rather stay the same person all their life, don't people want to be better!?! Oh it breaks my heart.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Wendy

      The thing that is missing by only using technology helps for our faith is community. That in it's best form is what Christ said his follows would be known by. It's not just knowledge.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chris K

      Sunday Worship is supposed to be WORSHIP. It is not about what you get from it it is about what you put IN to it! You are at church as an act of Love for God. There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiriation or being rejeuvenated from worship. But it should be about giving more than receiving.

      For some this may be possible to do outside of a church setting. But I think for most it will be best done in Church. If someone is genuinely lead to worship at home then that is one thing. But I fear many will use this convenience as an excuse not to commit.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • ME

      Reading the comments to my post, I stand strong in my convictions, and I will not change my mind about how I feel about attending church. I have attended church all of my 59 years, and I have never felt stagnated. I have experienced personal growth as I have grown older and more knowledgeable of the bible and have learned that I get out of it what I put into it. I am not surrounded by like-minded people. There are a myriad of different types of people where I attend. But I will say that after watching all the violence on the news, it is comforting to me be surrounded with nice, decent people. As for not letting people merge with the church traffic, I have not encountered that. There is usually a policeman directing traffic for the larger church congregations here. Maybe you could check into that or call the church office, and let them know your complaint rather than attempting to patronize strangers on a board that you do not even know.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A simple example of factual error in the Bible:
      "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
      – Matthew 13:31–32

      Mustard seesd are not the smallest of all seeds. They do not grow into mighty trees. Birds do not nest in mustard plants.
      Even at the time the Bible was written, that was known.

      Contradiction:
      Jesus is peace, love and preached that we should turn the other cheek.
      And yet in teh New Testament we find the following examples of Christ's wrath:
      Samuel 15:3
      "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
      Numbers 31:17
      "Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
      Luke 22:36
      "He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."
      Isaiah 13:16
      "Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished."

      May 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @ME
      Whoopsy!!
      That was a reply for the next thread about teh innerrancy of teh bible.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:19 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.