A rough decade for American congregations
A new survey shows a decline in worship service attendance in the United States.
September 20th, 2011
04:43 PM ET

A rough decade for American congregations

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago.  While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.

In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."

Forty-seven percent of congregations that said their worship experience was "innovative and contemporary" reported high spiritual vitality, versus 17% that said their congregations were "neither innovative nor contemporary."

The vast majority of congregations implemented electronic communications in the past decade.  Recently, many have turned to social networking as well, with 41% using Facebook to communicate with congregants.

Congregations are also having hard times financially, the survey found.  In 2000, 31% of survey participants reported excellent financial health.  In 2010, that number plummeted to just 14%.

The recession, Roozen writes in the report, "affected nearly every kind of congregation equally – large and small; north, south, east and west; financially healthy or struggling before the recession. One bit of good news was that one in 10 congregations reported that by the time of the survey, they had already begun to recover."

Roozen writes that a variety of factors led to the decline, but overall, there are fewer Americans in the pews, and "... more than 1 in 4 American congregations had fewer than 50 in worship in 2010, and just under half had fewer than 100. Overall, median weekend worship attendance of your typical congregation dropped from 130 to 108 during the decade, according to the FACT surveys."

FACT refers to Faith Communities Today, a multifaith coalition that researches congregational life.

While megachurches - congregations with more than 2,000 members - continued to grow in popularity, they still represent only a fraction of American congregations, at one-half of 1%.  "And while it appears to be true they are attracting an ever bigger slice of the religious attender pie, it is a bigger slice of a shrinking pie," Roozen wrote.

The decline hit across religious and denominational lines, sparing no one, Roozen wrote. He said that "no single category or kind of congregation ... was exempt from the decadal downsizing of worship attendance."

The data came from Faith Communities Today surveys and represents 11,077 congregations and 120 denominations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, the institute said.  Most often, the surveys were completed by the congregation's leader, and the institute estimates the margin of error to be plus or minus 4 percentage points.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church

soundoff (2,018 Responses)
  1. Bhargava

    The reason Thiests hate Atheists so much? Simple – u are taking away their Sugar Daddy. We all fear what will happen to us after death & so religions have stepped in to reassure us – there is a nice Sugar Daddy is waiting for our death, then get down on ur knees, beg & grovel, agree with everything he says, cry some croc tears & bingo-hawaii, here i come! for eternity! yay!
    The concept of judgement day must be one of the sickest ever dreamt up. It's ok that they want to go to heaven, but that's not enough. For not believing in their Sugar Daddy u must be punished! It is like the Germans watching the jews being taken away. This is not God who would torture innocents but Satan himself. Honestly books like the Left Behind Series are on the same level as Hitler's book, while that is banned, "good"christians have no problems consigning good people to hell. Well, they are not siding with God, but with Satan
    I cring when Atheists say whatever Theists do does not bother them. That is like a Jew in the 30's living in Germany saying he ignores Hitler. These guys are fine, things are ok now, but watch out when things go bad, like they are in the islamic countries.
    The end of the world is coming, Sugar daddy is coming, one simple wave of the wand, presto, instant paradise! And hell for all u non-believers! yay for us!
    But somehow the Sugar daddy refuses to come. now what? Well, maybe if we banned music, books & impose sharia law he will come. Still not coming? well, maybe if we bring back the Caliphate(all muslim lands coming together) he will come. Still now coming? It's because of these infedels, of course! kill off gays, kill of Atheists, kill other religious people!
    And then they will start on their own, muslims but non-muslims according to them
    it can happen here too – christianity is a sister religion – it teaches the same things, except the western countries are richer. Won't happen in Europe they have dumped this evil religion, but it could happen here in America

    September 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"The reason Thiests hate Atheists so much? Simple"

      Actually, I have to disagree. You have made two blanket statements and that is pretty unfair to folks on both sides of the discussion. There are people of Faith who hate all Atheist and you have Atheist that hate all people of Faith. The thing is that after a year on the Belief Blog I have found that this hatred does not exist for all involved parties. This hatred is mostly found at the fringes who sadly shout and protest the loudest. The news media likes to portray this hatred as being universal and with articles, such as a few here on the Belief Blog, the media guides many into the arena, and expects us to fight.

      Famed Atheist Christopher Hitchens even recognized the difference when asked about those of Faith who have been praying for him and his battle with Cancer. Still there persist the comments, here that make it look that all Atheist hate people of Faith and all people of Faith hate all Atheist. After many months of reading post I have found it to be greatly unfounded and untrue.

      The simple fact is that those of us that post on places such as here, do not represent all segments of society. A society that frankly does not care if their neighbors are persons of Faith or Atheist. Many here do and will come here and perform.... shouting back and forth as if it would achieve anything.

      >>>"I cringe when Atheists say whatever Theists do does not bother them."

      That just lets many of us know what side you are on. It is not the Atheist or the Faithful. It is the extremist. Why are the Taliban attacking people in their country that hope for peace, vote, and try to educate? It is because they are appalled that others are not sharing or feeling their hate. Sadly I believe you can count yourself amongst groups such as the Taliban because what you are ... when you examine it... you are "cringing" at a Atheist that might value peace and coexistence where for you the concept is totally foreign.

      I said it before, ones like you...on both sides... need to exit the stage and leave the rest of us to find peace and understanding.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Bhargava

      Mark: you protest a bit too much
      Starting from the back – yes I do think Atheists need to do more. i think living in a nice western country, you can afford to disregard the evil that some of these religions are up to. Maybe you should have seen teh carnage in Rwanda. It can still happen – looks like the US may face bad times – watch people turn on each other. These kind of religions don't help, they have nurtured hate & still do. Hitler got most of the blame for the carnage, rightfully so, but the western christian press made sure that none of the blame fell on their religion – the same religion that had kept the hate against jews brewing for all these centuries. I was shocked to read how some jews hated christianity – now i know why.
      These are religions for the weak – the weak are always dangerous. These guys believe in a Sugar Daddy that will come save them. And what happens on that day? Billions will be murdered by this "nice" God for not believing in him. That's entering Hitler territory! And you are saying ignore it? Has hate become so common? This has been going on for centuries, we have gotten used to it?
      It's the same old game – the good cop, bad cop. Funny, that the Good cop just can't stop the bad cop. Good christians turn a blind eye to the acts of "some" bad christians, as u put it, keep giving money, so that the "few" bad christians continue their work. In India, newly converted christians are encouraged to go tell their mothers that they are going to hell. These people are so sick – they are not working for God, they are working for religion ergo Satan.
      Oh yes, the good guys know what is going on, but they pretent that they don't.
      the pedophile issue – u think the parents did not know? the churchgoers did not know? the nuns did not know? the priests did not know? the higher-ups did not know? the pope did not knw? oh yes they did.
      Even now why are heavily catholic countries like mexico & phillippines so silent? Where are the horrible stories from those countries? U don't think it's not happening there?
      That's how evil these religions are

      September 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Any statistics as to Americans and Europians;
    How many world countries are restricted to trade with or invest at...?
    How many world countries are banned to trade with or invest at...?
    How many world countries are boycotted from trading and investing at or investing abroad?

    Wouldn't you think that has gave a chance to such an impact on the world trade and financial investments? Wouldn't you think that was the mother of reasons for this existing super powered monopolies in control...? Wouldn't you think such acts were behind the present extremes or starvations or backwardness as a nation? What ever were the plans then proved it's failure and that we need each other to live on this planet in peace and prosperity....!!

    September 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      You know what I expect immigrants in America or Europe to try trading with their own mother land countries by using their relatives and contacts back there...but then if you ban that for them is like blinding them completely..since it is natural to see that a villager working in the city to send money to village and build a house and a business... Same for those who immigrated overseas they all do the same as long as their hearts and families are still back here, it is only their new generations abroad who become uninterested and more their hearts on their new country or community or culture....

      September 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  3. oneone

    I shall not pray.

    Dear heavenly Father, I pray for you to bring harmony between Christians and atheists. Help me understand why godless trash, who deserve to burn in hell, are offended by those of us who are holy, pious, and god’s favorite people.

    Help the unsaved filth understand that by judging and condemning them I am just trying to save them from receiving your vicious & vengeful wrath, of which they deserve, and I approve, as long as they refuse to believe what I believe. Amen.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • uh_oh

      @oneone- That wasn't a very nice prayer.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • uh_oh

      Play nice.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Hoovervilles


      September 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  4. HHR

    If there is not religion or a god to create a sense of morality, where will morality come from?

    September 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • DarwinRocks

      Since when is the belief in a Bronze Age Middle Eastern sky god a prerequisite for a moral code?

      September 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rick

      Perhaps it came from human interaction and rules developed to live with each other.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Paul

      Same place it always came from. There has never been a god.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      The Cosmos in which our universe is floating within is so vast we will never know its' true size. Our small mindedness to see only outwardness ends at our percieved and yet unseen universe's skin. To think that there are immeasurable amounts of universes quite akin to ours gives one a sense of awe and wonder. To know and proclaim such is true would open the gates of criticism by even the very scientific mindsets let alone the small-minded. Likewise, to consider the cosmological makeup of the "atomic" Cosmos as being a plain of Cosmology equal to the Celestial Cosmos would bring scoffing to those who want no part of it being touted to other people to consider such as being a reality. Since "freedom of expressionism" is still free, I will tenure to my compulsions' desire to worded and yet speculative ovulations

      Fractal Cosmology and its' two branches, Celestial Cosmology and Cellular Cosmology are born out of and from the atomic cosmos plains of unseen and yet unknowable cosmic relativities. Without the atomic based cosmos there could be no Fractal or Celestial or even Cellular Cosmologies. Fractal Cosmology deals with just how all things are made and manifested. This earth is made up of atomic plains of Fractal Relativities. Each degree of the earthen'dness is subjected in boundaries of atomized enclosure(s).

      As Archeologists have found out and deduced, there are "rings" within the land masses in which archeologists can deduce not only the earth's historical traits but also can consider the ages of each ring. These "rings" of aged historical values are atomic plains of Fractal Cosmology and may well be considered to be realms of the heavens of this earthly Heaven. This can only be found as truth if only one believes that the atomic cosmos is but an identical conformity of what the Celestial Cosmos entails in that Life exists here upon the Celestial Cosmos and Life exists there upon the atomic plains of relativity within the Fractal Cosmos of which all things exist and are made of. Cellular Cosmology is a radically different "wingnut".

      Cellular Cosmology deals with the atomic cosmological orders of Life on the levels of cell design. Since the dawn of Cellular Life began, its' ongoing fruitioning to eventually become manhood and womanhood and childhood has taken an immeasurable length of Time. Life that lives within the Cellular Cosmos of Life are of such a small nature we may never ever be able to see them let alone make contact with them. The Time differential between Cellular and Celestial is a physic's canundrum. A thousand years for Life that lives upon the atomic cosmos may equate to but a minute or even an hour upon our perceptions of Life' tenured' Time upon this "neck" of the Celestial Cosmos.

      2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you."

      1Cr 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

      These "hidden things of darkness" may well be that which is hidden microscopically and also telescopically. If so and my theories regarding Fractal and Celestial and Cellular Cosmologies are someday found out to be truth, then and only then will we see and know that the Kingdoms of God are truthfully and literally inside all things of Celestial-Based Life.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Scott

      Considering the long bloody and violent history of most religions, I’d say the morality that comes from god and religion is not very effective and maybe we should look elsewhere

      September 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Hoovervilles

      @Richard S Kaiser

      Technobabble of two kinds,
      1. Scientific
      2. Religious

      September 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  5. HHR

    American Christianity has gone far far from what it's original intent was in the Bible. It has become a political and social movement more concerned with maintaining a way of life and social structure than it is with helping humanity find peace and happiness with God as seems it's original intent. The American church has become a series of fake country clubs where if you don't fit in the right mold, you are shunned. Fortunately, I have met some really wonderful folks who practice the Christianity actually presented in the Bible and I have found these folks to be what American church SHOULD be. I used to be an atheist because I was turned off by American Christian arrogance and fakery. They are taking so many Bible passages out of context and using them to take pride over others. Don't look at the wretched people who are misfits guiding other misfits. Go back to the SOURCE of the faith. I did, and I am happier because I did.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ HHR,,,, "Go back to the SOURCE of the faith. I did, and I am happier because I did."

      Is it not written, Mat 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

      Where can one surmize such a kingdom of God to be? Mankind's religious churches? Nope!

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      Where then HHR is the TRUE Kingdom of God at and located? Care to make a guess?

      September 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Paul

      So HHR do your friends practise the nasty bits in Leviticus too? God wants you to kill and burn animals, it says there.

      (Don't tell me the OT doesn't apply any longer. The NT says it does.)

      September 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"The American church has become a series of fake country clubs where if you don't fit in the right mold, you are shunned. "

      Isn't that with many groups in society? Could not the brand of political correctness be also looked at as some feeling that you have to believe and say the "right" thing? If I agree with President Obama I am a true African American male.....if I disagree then I am a Uncle Tom?

      If you feel that the Church is country club, can you please go further in explaining why you feel that out of all of the groups in society that they are that different.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  6. Colin

    As an atheist, this is a truly joyous occasion. This is the best news I have read in a year. It brought a real smile to my face. As a species, we may finally be shaking off the Bronze Age superst.itions that have retarded our development for the last 2,000 years.

    We atheists should redouble our efforts to help elevate more out of their silly beliefs.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Since the dawning of mankind great nations were born and did fall, yet religion did stand and sometimes did flourish. When the Time comes to either stand upon one's faith and beliefs who will be the wiser? Atheists or the devoted religious? Mind you I said "religious" and made no committment to any religion in particular.

      1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      God's husbandry is a thought to ponder as is our being God's building. As the beef industry knows about the husbandry of cattle, God's husbandry is much more. Our being God's buildings and holy temples is beyond the reproaches of and within the elusive minds of reprobate junctions.

      1Cr 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

      GOD can do without manhood or womanhood or even childhood but none of these hoods of common goods can do without GOD. All of our hooded workmanships is but worthless in the Kingdoms of the Gods which dwell individually inside each and everyone of our hooded beings' sakes. We are of Gods' workmanships and in our embodied beings of GOD created "buildings" does God and his brethren and servants and family live. Only after we die and are dead to this world stage, will we once again be united into the Kingdomly building called our body to be judged and given accordingly our namesaken heaven of the heavens within Heaven.

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you."

      Although you may insinuate by my parroting of the KJVB scriptures, I am yes a Christian. I believe fervently that Christ Jesus alone is the 1st created Son of GOD and as time progressed from the Beginning, His 1st born Son did eventually become the savior of this world and redeemer of all souls ad infinitum.

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      We in our present forms live out the days doing this thing and that thing and seldom do we truly aspire to seek the whereabouts of the Kingdom of God. When we do discover God's Kingdom's whereabouts, we subvertively claim it as being but an emotional kingdom, yet in knowing full well that we are God's buildings we cannot fathom our bodies' construction for lack of knowledge and little faith in the body's construction and how it is so wonderfully made!

      Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      Everlasting life does not aspire to living a singular life eternally. To perish is to cease to exist. GOD grants us to live eternally in Life/death and Life/death ad infinitum.

      Jhn 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

      To have life "more abundantly" does likewise not mean living a solitary life eternally. Having bread more abundantly means much bread noy one sliver of bread.

      GOD does so Love this world we call our Earth. We are but lowly caretakers of it and of its' Life no matter how big or how small. The harmony of living in peacefulness is an attainable asset for the human condition, but to continually bemoan and groan in ernest acts of written and spoken abusiveness goes against the Act of Harmonious Living. We are constured upon Life's Tree of Cosmology's Highest Branches and as we look down upon all things made manifest here we should consider the kindness of GOD who today does no longer get in the way of our meandering ongoings. HE Loves this world too much to see it come to outrightly being destroyed by our fumbling ways, yet HE will not any longer get in our way. We are Free for GOD made this decree when Christ Jesus did die upon the cross some two thousend years ago. Since then GOD has not intervened. We are truly free and alone and apart from GOD. Only in death's passing will we come to God and His Kingdom inside our bodies to be judged and accordinly granted but one heaven of the immeasurable heavens of this earthly Heaven.

      September 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Colin, I felt the same way about seeing that good news.

      (Even with the lengthy typical wingnut post by Kaiser between yours and mine. He and his are in decline.)

      September 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  7. George Sales

    Religion across our planet has brought death, destruction, unspeakable torture and hate. Time to end this foolish ignorance!

    September 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      People who think they know the source of the problems for this world have brought death, destruction, unspeakable torture and hate. Time to end this foolish ignorance!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  8. Rod Rigging

    This is the most hopeful news to come from the US in a long time. Once people take repsponsibility for thier own fate you might start to elect a better governments.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  9. Reality

    From p. 27

    To enhance the speed of the demise of all religions, please post the following on your refrigerator doors:




    Some added details for the side of your refrigerator:

    The Infamous Angelic Con:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality posts

      September 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  10. pastafaria

    The reason why fewer people attend church is because they don't want to spend an hour per week getting lectured on morality and virtue by the same sick pervert who molested them when they were a child.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  11. Mathilda

    America needs Christianity to be sane and good. The whites are not good at doing things without Christianity. Non-christian whites are immoral and only write junk books.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Rick

      And they post inane crap online

      September 22, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Fred1

      Yes look at all the good Christianity did in Rwanda

      Christians – of every single denomination in Rwanda responsible for the most appalling atrocities
      Not only were Christian members of the congregations of every single denomination in Rwanda responsible for the most appalling atrocities, but many massacres took place in the parishes where the targets of the genocide had sought sanctuary.
      - Afrol news

      September 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Deathstalker

      He said white Christians how many in Rowanda were white?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Reality

      And Mathilda, the redneck of many names, continues with her inane rants.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • MarylandBill

      Logical fallacy alert. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. What Christians do, and what can be blamed on Christianity are not the same thing. Yes Christians of every denomination (at least denomination that has reached any size... except maybe the Amish) have been responsible for atrocities. That doesn't mean Christianity is any more responsible for those atrocities than atheism is responsible for the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Scott

      @ Deathstalker: what kind of racist bigot are you and Mathilda for that matter. Maybe blacks are not good enough to go to your hell?

      September 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  12. Bob C.

    Man loves God best by loving others.
    One cannot love God and hate others.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • PeterL

      Smartest comment I've seen here! What a bunch of soap box orators. Whether you're Christian, Muslim, or Athiest, GOOD is still GOOD and if you live your life GOOD you will have a GOOD life. And BAD is BAD and if you have no morals or don't even know what the term "moral compass" is, if you live "Bad" you'll have a BAD life! Christians shouldn't say that you're BAD if you're NOT a Christian, Muslims shouldn't say that you're BAD if you're NOT a Muslim. And Athiests shouldn't say you're BAD if you follow a faith and NOT an Athiest! GOD Bless you ALL, whether Christian, Muslim, or Athiest!

      September 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  13. Mark from Middle River

    The one thing that is interesting is that if you go ten years back, it was 9/11 and folks packed the churches...folks were seeking God or Gods because of the national tragedy. Some, I felt, were ready to go Knights Templer on the Middle East. As the turmoil passed some of those did not continue to come to church. So possibly a ten year study that began in the same year of a national horrific event would show such a drop. All I know is that Mosques, and temples are being constructed and our church is expanding about 9 years after a major addition to our church.

    But it is interesting if you are a person of Faith and have the Book of Revelation, where it says things like a drop in Faith for the masses, talks of Wars with Israel, earthquakes and storms. Should we feel happy, or sad?

    The other day Turkey said that they would be escorting ships through the Israeli blockade and I got shivers. Yesterday, one of the European leaders claimed that Greece's problems are going to lead to the next World War.... I just do not know. I grew up in the final days of the cold war and listening to world news it sounds like we need to start "duck and cover " drills.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Fred1

      You make a good point. I remember back during the cold war every evangelistic nut case and his brother were reading the “signs of the times” and predicting the eminent destruction of the world and return of jesus, so I get a little chuckle at the doom and glummers reading today’s signs (which are a whole lot less apocalyptic) and predicting the eminent destruction of the world and return of jesus. He promised to come back with in one lifetime. He’s about 2000 years late. Looks like pretty good evidence to me that he’s not ever coming back and might not exist at all

      September 22, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Reality

      What we know for certain:

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to whiz by us daily.

      3. One large hit and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 billion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 billion years?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • .........

      Hit report abuse on all reality posts spam garbage

      September 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Haha, are you sure that spam alerts which follows your posts are not of your making to give your self some importance? Otherwise who could that be? And why?

      September 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  14. rich

    The church is not in decline it has just re-branded as the republican party.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • BD

      That's an interesting paradigm that you have there, Pat Rich.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  15. The First Tool of the Fladaboscan Church

    How interesting that in times of war and economic downturn churches are suffering a decline in attendance and support. It's not surprising since so much religion is obviously for the gain of the preachers and with our advances in communication people are not as easily fooled. Easily fooled to be sure, but not as easily.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  16. Paul

    Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  17. ocho

    A gradual falling away in the last days....the bible has already predicted this.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • The First Tool of the Fladaboscan Church

      The bible predicts everything and nothing depending on how you look at it. It's ancient scripture, full of errors, changes and omissions since it was written. That's how the strong minded can use it to their advantage (ever seen a preacher with a Cadillac? Yeah, me too.) and the weak are entranced by it.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • so

      First Tool is very accurate.

      ocho, try coming up with anything that the bible has predicted to happen on a specific date. You will fail. The bible is a steaming pile.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  18. TIM

    It's because more people are wising up and actually thinking for themselves instead of going off of everything "mommy & daddy" told them. Anyone that has actually done any real research into religion will easily see how absurd it really is. It's truly sad how ignorant people can be. It baffles the mind how they will ignore logic and evidence that contradicts their beliefs. That's called being small minded. But this news keeps me hopeful that one day, everyone will wise up and realize that religion is just a way to keep power over the simple-minded. I actually have a friend that use to be a minister until he could no longer ignore all the evidence that everything he was being taught was a lie. And Christians, before you go off, all I ask is you do your research. After all, even Darwin was a minister before he could no longer ignore the truth.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • The First Tool of the Fladaboscan Church

      How can you say bad things about religion? You'll be struck by lightning, or Fox News. You know which one does more damage.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Adam

      Logic and evidence tell us that there has to be a God. You can't tell me that you honestly believe that this world came about just by a coincidence of chance events. Look around you, we live in systems that couldn't have happened by chance. Earth is in perfect position to the perfect sized sun to sustain life. The cycles of life and beauty of life did not happen by chance. Science and the laws of science are only the result of us learning more about God's creation. Man is what makes this world imperfect and causes destruction. Saying that Logic and evidence tell us that this all happened by chance is the talk of an ignorant person. However, you cannot choose for yourself to believe in God. My prayer would be that the Holy Spirit would open your heart and that you would receive God's love and know Christ to be your Savior.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Rick

      Adam: What logic tells you that "creator" has to be synonymous with "god"?

      September 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Adam, those who are honest looking at themselves with sincerity in their hearts can not but acknowledge their own lacking and poverty... They also know, by what is imprinted on their won consciences that there is more tho them then just what meets the eye, and they KNOW that there is a part of them that goes beyond natural, and they have something immortal in them. That causes them to seek till they find... God promises to those who truly seek Him they will find Him. SO that's' why those who seek Him see Him in everything, but those who hold on to their pride, puffed up knowledge and sin that's in their hearts, they don't see Him in anything, because they DON't WANT to see Him. It is of them that the Word speaks when it talks about their minds being darkened and because they hAve denied the witness event of their own consciences , they are being turned over to reprobate minds to believe a lie.
      And although we know that no one can come to God without the Holy Spirit drawing Him to God, we also know from the Scriptures and by the witness of Holy Spirit that each one of us has free will, to seek or not to seek. That's where responsibility i s on us, or else GO would not be just to hold guilty anyone who does NOT come to Him.

      September 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      P.S. Sorry for few misspellings...

      September 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Rick

      So, Prism, in order to believe, you have to believe?

      September 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I belive that my posts are very clear...to those who want to understand !

      September 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Rick

      It is very clear. It is saying in order to believe you have to believe

      September 23, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Hoovervilles

      Prayer has no more efficacy than a placebo.

      September 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Hoovervilles

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.


    September 22, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • horseyone

      Amen! Even back then, this was apparent.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  20. Leo

    Religious "health"??? That's like calling an infection a state of health. Or cancer. Like this: "How healthy is that tumor you've got? Ah, that tumor looks nice and big and healthy." Yeaaaaah. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

    The healthiest status for religion for a person is no religion, just like the healthiest state for cancer is no cancer. As religion declines, "religious health" improves. Religion is a blight and an infection upon society.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • so

      Leo, well said, and I agree.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • RealTSuks

      Thank God Religion is in decline

      September 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
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About this blog

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