home
RSS
My Take: Don’t blame college for young people leaving Christianity
The author says the politicization of Christianity is responsible for young people leaving church.
February 28th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

My Take: Don’t blame college for young people leaving Christianity

Editor's note: Tim King, the communications director at Sojourners, blogs at sojo.net. Follow him at @tmking.

By Tim King, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Christianity in America is in danger. As former Senator Rick Santorum recently pointed out, young people are leaving the church in droves.

In the mid-1980s, evangelical 20-somethings outnumbered those with no religious affiliation – the so-called “nones” – by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. By 2008, those proportions were almost flipped, with young “nones” outnumbering evangelicals by more than 1.5 to 1.

An entire generation, my generation, is leaving the church. What’s the cause? Santorum blames higher education, telling Glenn Beck last week that "62% of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it."

The “war on religion” has become a frequent bogeyman among Christian and political leaders. But the reason church leaders have failed to stem the tide of a generation heading for the exit door is that they keep looking for an outside enemy to blame when the biggest problems are inside the church.

The years young adults spend in college aren’t causing them to leave their faith; those college years are exposing the problems with the faith they grew up with.

The exodus has little to do with liberal college professors, which insurance plans should cover contraception, where mosques are being built, or whether or not the Ten Commandments are hanging in courtrooms, even if many religious leaders act as if these are the greatest Christian “battles” of our lifetime.

In doing so, they are actively pushing young people away from religion.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think young people are leaving the church in record numbers just because some Christians are Republicans. There are a lot of wonderful Christians who happen to be conservative and who are great witnesses for the faith. Many of them are in my family.

Rather, the exodus is about hypocrisy.

Last year, we saw Christian leaders raising the alarm about the encroachment of “radical Islamists.” They call for the restriction of Muslims religious liberties to practice their faith and build houses of worship. But this year, when it comes to contraception, the rallying cry is religious freedom.

Last week, Franklin Graham was asked whether or not he believed President Obama was a Christian. He gave a fair answer when he said it wasn’t his place to judge.

But when asked the same question about the faith of Santorum and Newt Gingrich, Graham’s standards changed. He answered that yes, he did think those men were Christian because of “political interests” and “spiritual interests.” Graham later backtracked, but the message was already out.

What did a lot of young people hear? To be a Christian you need to look like, talk like and vote like Franklin Graham… Oh, and something about sinners and grace.

Such political spectacles are driving a generation away from faith. It almost did for me, an evangelical Christian in my 20s who attends church on an almost weekly basis.

Most of my life I went to private Christian schools or was homeschooled. I had some wonderful examples of faith that inspired me. But as soon as I heard Christians on the radio or saw them on TV, I was ashamed to call myself a Christian.

The Jesus I read about in Scriptures taught love, acceptance, peace and concern for the poor, but the Christian leaders on TV and radio always seemed to be pro-rich, pro-white, pro-America and anti-gay.

By college I was getting ready to leave it all behind.

Thankfully, I had found meaning in work with the homeless and tutoring refugees. I heard Jim Wallis, for whom I now work, speak about God’s heart for the poor and oppressed. I sat in Scot McKnight’s North Park University classes in Chicago and learned about a Jesus who didn’t think like me, talk like me or live like me but who presented a radical challenge to be a disciple of this one they call Christ.

By 2004, I realized that the highest Christian calling in my life might not be to vote Republican. I still casted my ballot, but what was most significant to me that November was inviting 15 homeless men and women into my campus apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving with some other students and spend the night indoors.

I like politics. I think it’s important. Public policy matters because it affects people’s lives every day in ways we often don’t realize. But my primary concern for it comes because it affects the people Jesus called me to love and that the Bible tells me to be a voice for. This is why the use and abuse of religion during this election season is so troubling.

When Franklin Graham sets up double standards of faith for Republicans and Democrats, when Pat Robertson intones about a coming “secular atheist dictatorship,” when the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins goes off about the dangers of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and other “anti-family, anti-religious, anti-Christian policies,” when the great test for the next President of our country is who has “real” theology and who has “phony” theology, it might make for good sound bites.

But it’s bad faith.

Blaming colleges, like Santorum did, is a lot easier than reforming the church. Finding an enemy outside of your religious faith might keep some young people in line for a little while and is probably great for fundraising. Heck, it might even mobilize an important voting bloc and win a few elections.

But it’s hastening the decline of Christianity for an entire generation.

I have a simple request for our nation’s religious leaders who keep finding “enemies of the faith” at every turn without ever looking inward. For Christ’s sake, stop talking.

Spend some time in prayer and think about what you say before you say it. Ask yourself, is the political gain, the next spot on cable news or the notoriety I can achieve really worth the damage to the church?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tim King.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (1,729 Responses)
  1. Colin

    Doc Vestibule. R u still thinking of going to the "Rally for Reason" in DC on March 24?

    February 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Colin
      Waiting on a passport, but hoping to go.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Colin

      Cool. Assuming they give one to a godless Canadian heathen like yourself, I will buy you a beer (I am comfortable with thhe assumption that every Canadian drinks beer).

      February 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Not to worry Colin, atheists drink recycled beer. You two need only meet, no bottles required.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • J.W

      Are only Atheists allowed there? There are many reasonable Christians too.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Colin

      JW – good point. I was remiss in not suggesting a "CNN Belief blog" get together. I will do so.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah that would be fun. It may take a while to get it organized because we are so spread out, but it would be fun to meet all the people we talk to on here. Maybe Doc and captain america can even patch up their differences.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I do love a good pint of beer – though contrary to teh stereotype, I'm not a big fan of Molson.
      I have to admit a curiosity as to what all you folk look like.
      Does HippyPoet have long hair? Does Cap'n America have the sloping brow and enormous beer gut I imagine him having?
      When I read David Johnson's posts, a picture of Noam Chomsky pops into my head for some reason...
      The picture of me that comes up in google is a couple of years old, but I still look pretty well the same (minus the face metal).

      February 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • J.W

      I bet Doc has a white beard, looks like santa claus almost, and is also jolly. Colin probably has short brown hair and wears glasses, likes to wear a suit, and spends a lot of time in the library. I imagine hippy with long hear and a beard. I picture fred looking like Richard Dawkins. Chuckles is Jewish so that is self explanatory. Damian is young and fairly clean cut, probably a jeans and t shirt kind of guy.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  2. GodsPeople

    All we really need (which should have happened a long time ago) is a law making it illegal and punishable by execution to NOT be Christian. That fixes all of this country's problems all at once.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • momoya

      That's how god keeps heaven so pristine. "Love your enemies, nah... I'll fry them forever in hell!" –yahweh

      February 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Define Christian.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nobody expects the American Inquisition!
      Our chief weapon is surprise....

      February 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • BRC

      Really hoping this is a high level troll here.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Swain: Simple- One who believes in and tries to live in a Christ-like manner.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • momoya

      Define "tries to live."

      February 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • BRC

      Surprise and a fanatical devotion to Cardinal Dolan. Our two weapons.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Well, from GP's point of view, that makes perfect sense. Kill all of the intelligent people and suddenly, your complete and utter ignorance of reality goes unnoticed.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I suppose it would solve the problem in that, in looking to the reasoning behind the no true scottsman fallacy, everyone would be dead.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Brad

      GodsPeople

      I can scarcely imagine what Christ-like means to you. Which is too bad, because you are a common sort of troll.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "a law making it illegal and punishable by execution to NOT be Christian."

      How is that Christ-like? From the NT, Jesus seemed to obey every law of the Roman Govt. He even paid his taxes.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @uncouthswain: and how would living by that law NOT be Christ-like? I live by every law of this land. I pay my taxes, file my tax info, work 40+ hour weeks, I don't speed, I rarely drink and never do any illegal drugs. The laws of this land, unfortunately, don't work. People can't handle the level of freedom that our laws give, for the most part. When you give that sort of freedom, nonsense like Atheism appears and causes issues for everyone, except, of course, the selfish, evil, and incredibly stupid atheists.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • captain america

      Again Doc Vestibule has no weapon against American laws because it is not an American. F off phony. There's your sign

      February 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Primewonk

      We are not a theocracy. Article VI, Section 3 of the US Consti.tution prevents this. The 1st amendment to the US Consti.tution prevents this. Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli reinforces this.

      If you fundiots (fundamentalist ldiots) try and make us a theocracy, especially by executing US citizens for simply not choosing to believe in your particular version of a magical sky-daddy, I hope you expect and are ready for a bl.oodbath. If you cretins want to dance, bring it on.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      "When you give that sort of freedom, nonsense like Atheism appears and causes issues for everyone, except, of course, the selfish, evil, and incredibly stupid atheists."

      Still spending all that time on your knees?

      February 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • lilome

      @Swain: Simple- One who believes in and tries to live in a Christ-like manner.

      That eliminates EVERY Christian I have ever met.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • lilome

      I've never met a selfish, evil or stupid atheist. I have, on the other hand, met plenty of religious idiots with these qualities.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Chris

      Great idea, but I think that might go against one of the commandments. Maybe you should jump off a large bridge and if God wants you to live, a wind will sweep you up and carry you to shore.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Jesus

      In the 4th century and at various times afterwards, that was the law. I guess along with a return to Christianity, you would also like this nation to revert to other associated barbaric and ignorant acts. BTW, that's why Christianity prospered and survived over the centuries. The penalty for being a nonbeliever was death.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Moli

      There is no way to be Christ-like and Christian, Christ was a Jewish man who died a Jewish man, To be Christ-like would to convert to Judaism.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • thorolyfedup

      GodsPeople: Apparently these people don't recognize sarcasm when they read it.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Interesting that Captain Ashole would take the time to harass a Canadian but not bother to show the least concern about an apparently serious suggestion that the 1st amendment be repealed. Weak minds are easily distracted...

      February 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  3. The Central Scrutinizer

    I blame Tim Tebow.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Strike that. I blame The Discover Channel.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • sam

      I blame Animal Planet and the SciFi channel.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  4. Andrew

    There are many Christians who give the faith a bad name, and I would agree with the article. But that is only a factor. I think it also depends on what you call education as well. Logic and rationale are not generally intiutive. Areas of study such as philosophy, mathematics, and logic are not really core requirements. And these are the academic areas that teach one how to think from first principles. So when people are not taught how to think critically, the end decision becomes the emotional choice that is really a reflection of what the individual wants and not what they need. I think you can also lay some blame on how this generation was raised. If a child has no base knowledge of the faith, how can a real decision be made? Parents, take a bow. Lastly, to live as a Christian is to live unnaturally. It is to invite inner conflict into one's life. Jesus didn't promise a rose-garden; he promised suffering and persecution in this life. That is not a popular message in a "do-what-feels-good" culture.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  5. GodPot

    An entire generation, my generation, has stopped believing in Santa. What’s the cause? Santorum blames higher education, telling Glenn Beck last week that "62% of kids who go into elementary school with a belief in Santa leave without it..."

    February 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • sam

      LOL

      February 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      Awesome. Best post I've read all day.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  6. cmxsmitty

    Santorum has 3 law degrees – how in the world can he blame higher education?

    Maybe people have just stopped believing in talking snakes, virgin births and people being able to live in the belly of a fish for three days.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • GodPot

      Don't forget one of the most powerful miracles – "So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day." Joshua 10:13

      Funny how no other contemporary writers of the time period in question mentioned the sun not setting for a whole extra day, seems like someone might have taken notice other than the bible writer...

      February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  7. Colin

    Tim King, the author, is a great example of the retarding effects of religion on young minds. He is obviously bright and articulate enough to be a correspondent to CNN and to hold an intelligent view on what he sees as a pressing social issue.

    Then, he turns around and suggests that political leaders "spend some time in prayer". Think that through for a brief moment. The idea is you think silent thoughts, like "God, please help Aunty Jane overcome cancer.' God reads your mind (or "hears your prayer" to use the less embarrassing term) and then changes what would otherwise be the course of history to address your plaint – in this case, a slight tweaking of Aunty Jane's fundamental cell chemistry. Pure Dark Ages nonsense!!

    But, what is worse is the fact that the superst.ition of prayers being answered is so pervasive in our society that his admonition rolls off the tongue virtually unrecognized for how preposterous it is. Would it be any less absurd if he suggested the politicians sacrifice a goat to find the wisdom and direction they need?

    We are an enigmatic species. We send probes to the stars, but still believe they were all created by a supernatural being to turn in majestic black and white pirouette about his crowning achievement – us.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Joe T.

    Did Santorum ever realize that maybe college teaches critical thinking and that's why college students stop believing?

    February 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Andrew

      Everybody has faith in something. Maybe you have faith that God doesn't exist, maybe you have faith in evolution (theory and faith are synonomous). Maybe you have faith that your mother loves you (I am not saying she doesn't, you can just never really know). In fact, people have faith in a lot of things every day. What will you put your faith in? Something good that teaches love, acceptance, and accountability (which we all need)? Or something self-serving. How is that for critical thinking?

      February 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Colin

      There is a difference between "faith" in the way religious people have faith and the "faith" you refer to. I have "faith" that my mother loves me based upon the way she acts toward me. In other words have evidence to support my view and it is rationally based. Believing in a whole string of immortal beings (god, the holy spirit, the virgin Mary, saints, angels, devils etc.) on the basis of 2,000 year old Middle Eeastern mythology is neither evidence, nor rational. It is childish and silly.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      "theory and faith are synonomous"

      BWAHAHAHAHA. Oh, you crack me up. Thanks for the laugh.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "I have "faith" that my mother loves me based upon the way she acts toward me."

      It's nice to see someone that finally gets the whole faith concept with this example. So many small minded atheists on here never got this.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Andrew
      A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers.

      Faith is ardent belief despite the absence of evidence.
      See the difference?

      February 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Ummmm

      "Something good that teaches love, acceptance, and accountability (which we all need)? Or something self-serving. How is that for critical thinking?"

      Your bias and prejudice is showing. 😉 Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. However, much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet, the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • momoya

      Perhaps believing in a reasonable assumption is a sort of "faith," but I don't think it's what christians mean when they talk about "faith" for their god; I think christians mean something much different, then.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Andrew wrote, "Maybe you have faith that God doesn't exist, maybe you have faith in evolution (theory and faith are synonomous)."

      Wow!. Why is it that the folks who choose to be ignorant about science are the same ones who go onto internet message boards and demonstrate that ignorance for all to see? It makes no sense.

      I'm ignorant about many things – some by choice, some because I haven't had the opportunity (yet) to learn about them. For example I've choosen to be ignorant about Ice Hockey – it holds no interest for me. Yet, I don't go onto message boards where folks who understand Ice Hockey hang out, and post inane drivel and lies about Ice Hockey.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  9. Colin

    "Blame" college for young adults leaving Christianity. I like the assumption that verb is pregnant with!! I laud and congratulate college, and education in general, for freeing young minds from the superst.itions of religion. I am elated that pews are emptying, churches are closing and God is going the way of Apollo, Zeus and Jupiter.

    The Christian sky-fairies are pretty much the fancies of simple old folk now in Europe and Australia. The goblins of yore. Anything we atheists can do to help get the US up to speed is to be welcomed.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Faith just doesn't disappear. Where are their faith now?
      Also...having a faith in God does not make one ignorant, dumb or whatever kinds of insults rude ppl decide to throw out. No more than being an atheist would make one intelligent or wise. There is no correlation.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Uncouth,

      There is some correlation. There is no causation.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Oops....got typing too fast. You are correct.
      Though the correlation factors on whether one is ingorant or wise has less to do with faith or lack thereof than some may want them to.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Colin

      US -actually, there is an inverse correlation between intelligence and religiosity. It is not strong, but it is there. The mental tools that make a person intelligent – e.g. the ability to think critically and the ability to analyze rationally, are inimical to holding supernatural beliefs such as a religion.

      Religious people are not dumb, they just feel compelled to switch off the rationality and skepticism they apply in all other aspects of their lives when their mind turns to their faith – often because they have been told it is wrong to question or doubt whatever supernatural belief(Buddhism, Islam, Christianity etc.) they were involutarily imbued with as infants.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Perhaps in some cases Colin. I just hate to ever imply such things to a group's dynamic. It's unfair to the individual who has examined what they believe co_mpared to those that haven't.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  10. jwss1987

    Young people are leaving Christianity because of all the hypocrisy they see in it. Many so called men of the cloth are committing crimes especially towards young children instead of protecting them. Also to blame are the parents, were they examples on what had to do with following the teachings of the Bible? Jehovah God gave them the full responsibility to teach their own children and to be great leaders. Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 states it clearly; "And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up." If parents today do not take the time to read and analyze the scriptures with their children on a daily basis, the outcome will be that they will grow to have no interest what so ever in the Bible or it's teachings.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Oh no! Not a Jehovah's Witness!

      I used to be a Witness. I was devout. Regular pioneer, ministerial servant. Then I started to really analyze the Bible as well as the literature that was given from New York. After several years, I came to realize that the Governing Body are just men. They are put on a pedestal like they are gods themselves.

      Let me ask you, are the Watchtower magazines inspired by God?

      February 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Deuteronomy 22 also says, "28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rap.es her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."

      If your verse is valid, why isn't this verse? Why aren't the religious folks demanding these young virgins marry the men who violate them?

      Seems like you want it both ways.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Young people are leaving Christianity because of all the hypocrisy they see in it." Thats part of it, but more importantly, young people are leaving Christianity because they know when they are being lied too. If their priest, pastor or elder cannot explain to them how a snake spoke, how the sun stood still for a day or how God created the heavens and earth in 6 days or 6,000 years or whatever version of that account you want to apply, then those young people with half a brain left intact, even after years of early indoctrination, choose to leave Christianity. And thank goodness they do, could you imagine if the world religions had their way and had pushed us to the brink of Armeggedon? It is only the sane dissenting voices who have held back this ignorant war of God's.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • What IF

      Joe T.

      I had a good friend, now deceased, with the an almost identical story to yours! The JDubs got him in his teenage years and since they discourage higher education (following the premise of this article) - "we are in this world, not of it", he was denied having the experience of college training. He had a great mind, though, and after getting out of their clutches, taught himself advanced electronics, computer science, philosophy and much more. He, of course, was "disowned" by his family, and that was very sad.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Yeah WhatIf. There were a lot of people back in the late 60's, early 70's who avoided going to college because they were told they were pointless pursuits because the end was so close. Here we are, almost 40 years after the world was supposed to end. I know of quite a few who have turned down scholarships because they are told not to go to college. In the secret elder book (that only elders are supposed to have), they are told to call into question the individuals qualifications for serving in elder positions if their kids go to college.

      In my experience, I was fortunate to somehow manage to avoid being excommunicated despite voicing my thoughts about the higher-ups in the organization. They have tried to meet with me several times though and I always refuse. I think they would like to find a reason to excommunicate me. My mom and step-dad still talk with me but our relationship is definitely strained. All my "friends" left me and won't speak to me anymore. It is hard to leave because you are told not to seek friendships with non JDubs while you are in. So if you leave, you are usually left on your own. Fortunately I maintained a network of friends before I told them what I thought of them. It's just another religious cult.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Oh yes, and I was guilted into not going to college but I have been looking into going. Funny thing about being told to not make something of yourself in this world is that you have no asperations or goals outside of the JW world. That means you have no direction. It's so sad how they indoctrinate the kid. When you ask a normal kid what they want to be when they grow up, they might say a scientist, teacher, or doctor. JW kids are trained to say only goals that apply to JW's.

      So, I'm not sure what I would want to go for but I have been thinking upon it heavily.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • What IF

      Joe T.

      Oh, I hope that you do further your education. Be the best that you can be!

      I have worked with a few JWs and they are usually extremely nice and cooperative people (except for signing b-day cards!) - the women are anyway - the men, hmmmm.

      Here's a story that may make your hair curl:
      A JW executive secretary where I worked had a husband who was in the end stage of a terminal illness. She struck up a friendship with a non-JW guy in the office. After a few weeks, the Elders got wind of it and marched into the office and demanded that the male employee be fired! It was a very sticky situation. The bosses did not fire him, but they did ban him from coming to the office (fortunately, he had a job that could be done that way). That section eventually moved to another location, so he resumed his regular routine again. Unfreakinbelievable!

      February 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Joe T.

      That seems radical, even by JW standards. In my experience, I know they would certainly give her a stern talking to. I've even known of elders who go out of their way to spy on the church members to see what they are up to and get proof of wrongdoing.

      Most JW's are really nice people but that faith is wacky. They are taught to be that way simply because they are hoping they can give a "good witness" and that it may lend it self to converting people. They aren't nice to former members, that is for sure.

      February 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  11. IslandAtheist

    Well maybe Christianity should stop telling kids the earths 6,000 years old and that man lived with the dinosaur.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Give Dino a bone.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • WasNotWas

      Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      wasnotwas, great name! I had forgotten all about that band.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
      Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
      Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.
      Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
      Spam spam spam spam!

      February 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truth Wonderful Truth

      February 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truth Wonderful Truth .

      February 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • nope

      nope

      February 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • .......

      "nope

      nope"

      It's really funny how desperate the xtians are proving the truth to Nope's post.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Dey terk errr jerrrrbbbbbssss

      Dey terk errr jerrrbbbbbssssssssssssss

      February 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      If atheism is not healthy for children, why are all children born atheists? Atheism is the null state, and children remain that way until you tell them that your choice of God exists and commence their religious programming.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  13. momoya

    I disagree with the final statement of the article. NO!! Christians should KEEP talking as if their views are relevant. Don't put that "light under a bushel," for heaven's sake! The whack-job christians should state what they really believe in order to attract like-minded people to their whack-job cults. Hypocrisy in presentation of one's opinions and consideration of others separates the reasonable and critical thinkers from the fundamentalist and hypocritical bible-bots who can only repeat irrelevant dogma.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  14. Squeezebox

    I hate to tell you this, but most kids lose their faith by the eighth grade and just go to church because their parents tell them to. When they hit college, they find out they like sleeping in on Sundays and sleeping around on Saturdays. The only way to combat this is to talk about religion with your children. Tell them what you believe and why and ask them what they believe. Evangelism starts in the home.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Joe T.

      We should not combat children deciding to believe what they want to believe about God.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jesus

      Evangelism is contrary to logical thought and reasoning. Faith is the absence of fact and the avoidance of reasoning. A college education is a cancer to religion.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  15. Reality

    Dear Timmy,

    It is not polarization but the following reasons why the younger generations are leaving their religion especially Christianity:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  16. Rev. Rick

    So is Santorum advocating a "war on higher education?" I think George Bush already did that with "No Child Left Behind".

    February 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jesus

      The GOP has become a theocratic party. They have lost all credibility as a political force. They are now an offshoot of Christianity.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  17. J.W

    College usually have a variety of different faith related programs. Colleges do not try to stifle religious belief. It is just that younger people's views are changing, and the churches are not changing their doctrines.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Doctrine that claims to be absolute truth can not change itself and remain so.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jesus

      Some colleges have activities for every persuasion...chess clubs, religious groups, etc. It's part of being in their college community. The point the article makes is that coillege is an eye opener to fact, reality, and logical thinkling. Those concepts are adverse to mainataining a religious belief.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  18. Brad

    A kind of Christianity is on the decline and I think that's entirely right and proper: the kind based on unexamined faith. Young people certainly should look closely at what they are asked to believe. Everyone should. That may lead some people to Christ, others to some other conclusion. But I think faith must be grounded in intellectual honesty, particularly with oneself.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Q

      Couldn't agree more with the "intellectual honesty" comment. I'd offer this invariably requires one concede they "could be wrong". When you meet someone who can't make this simple concession, then you know they're simply incapable of any actual "intellectual honesty." This is particularly noticeable with literalist Biblical inerrantists who are inherently implying, not only is the Bible inerrant, but so too are their subjective interpretations.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • MissusPowell

      Very wise statement!

      February 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  19. jimtanker

    I would tend to blame college becuase it is making people more intelligent and there is a direct correlation between intelligence and lack of belief in the supernatural.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Jesus

      For the most part you are correct. There is a more direct correlation between those with a fear of dying and a fear of the unknown after death that drives the animal instinct in our species to seek out something, anything, even the irrational, to calm them. Religion seems to fit the bill.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  20. hippypoet

    hell no don't blame college – blame christianity! duh!

    February 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
Advertisement
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.