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. kentuckyscience..)com

    If God created something from nothing, then both something and nothing would be apart of him. The problem is that something and nothing are total opposites. Like good and evil. Nothing is associated with no movement, something is associated with movement and to be both would be like saying that truth and lies are the same. If God created something from nothing, he would not be a jealous God because he could easily turn something back into nothing. The point here is that no scripture in the Bible specifically states that God created something from nothing. Science is promoting it and the church is beginning to accept it.Finite Universe – zero and one are equal (matter can be infinitely divided into nothing – God is Nothing that created everything out of emptiness) "At the Planck distance and the Planck time all physics, as we know it today collapses. This is the reason we call the beginning of the big bang a singularity. You cannot apply ordinary reasoning there. Zero and one have no sense there.OK?" J-P Burri There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Big Bang views one and zero as being equal, since it states that zero appeared out of the absence of zero; then zero created something. Many scientists believe or have faith that light does not have mass, thus they believe the Universe is Finite. Religion promotes the most commonly accepted idea of the group. If light does not have mass, then it would be impossible to move an electron. Light described as a particle means nothing, if it has no mass since it would be impossible to distinguish from nothing because no mass means void of substance. If it has no substance, then nothing is present to distinguish the particle from other particles.
    The Big Bang theory prevents any condition where something has always been. Infinity is defined as the difference between one and zero. Once one and zero are the same according to the big bang, the definition of infinity as stated above is no longer valid. If the big bang occurred, all math's must deal with the proof of 0=1.Infinite Universe – zero is not equal to one (there is a point where matter can't be divided – God is Something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing.) An infinite universe lacks a beginning, so there is no one set past or a given future. The infinite Universe supports the view that all particles considered to be energy have mass or substance; that there is one fundamental particle which accounts for all the diverse forms of matter in the Universe. It is the ultimate example of team work, since it fundamentally has no reason to destroy itself. So, why does evil exist? Free will and without freewill, God would lack choice. Balance is the nature of perfection in the Infinite Universe. In an infinite Universe the total amount of something remains constant. When an atom is divided it no longer has the characteristics of the original element. There is a point where matter can't be divided and at this point something and nothing are distinctly defined. In the infinite Universe, the term infinite is used to describe the difference between something (1) and nothing (0). There is an infinite difference between zero and one.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • momoya

      1. The Big Bang does NOT present a case where something has not always been, the BB describes a dense point of energy that expanded

      2. Religion promotes WHAT idea? You don't even say what it is.

      3. Free will doesn't create. You have to have options in order to choose one of them. If I offer you cupcakes or hotdogs I have to provide them as a choice, not just allow you to choose. Where did the option of "evil" come from if not from your god?

      4. If you want to start making physics claims about what god can and can't do, you have to prove god. It's stupid of you to say that a scientific theory can't do something (something from nothing) but your unproven hypothesis can do that thing. How dumb can you get?

      5. No, maths don't have to show how 0=1. You do, once you can prove that god exists, you have to show how nothing becomes something (god). Just because there's an infinite number of fractions between any number a

      February 29, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      Ah – the old "something from nothing" line of cr.ap. Your problem is that this isn't what scientisits who study cosmology say. We have the tools and knowledge to "look back" and work out what the early universe was like – back to a couple femtoseconds after the expansion started – basically to around the Planck epoch. This is when time (as we know it) started. We cannot make claims about what existed before time started.

      Your wild ranting copypasta is actually an excellent example of what happens when you choose to get your "sciency" sounding information from non-science sources, like the "Pastor Dave's" of the world. The problem is that "Pastor Dave" is just as ignorant about science as his minions.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  2. Clyde M

    "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."

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I'll admit, as an atheist who was Christian for 30 years, the final nails in the coffin of my faith did come from outside sources and higher analytical skills. HOWEVER, the only reason I EVER BEGAN to question my faith to begin with was the hypocrisy, bigotry, anger, judgmentalism, willing ignorance, and double talk that permeated the churches I attended.

    I WANTED god in my life, I genuinely did, but it was the believers I couldn't stand to be around and didn't want to be affiliated with. It was the blind fundamentalism (I swear I went to church with people who would go back to honestly believing the sun went around the earth tomorrow if their pastor said that it was so and it was what god wanted them to believe), the Sunday Christian hypocrisy of crying "praise Jesus!" in the pews and then watching the cars pour out of the parking lot in anger as they cut one another off and yelled at each other for cutting them off (once there was a homeless man on the corner outside the church parking lot. Despite just receiving a sermon on charity, I counted 40 cars that went past before one offered the man anything to help). I saw people seeking god turned run out of my church because they were too poor and not desirable as fellow worshipers–or worse, as playmates with the children of the better off!

    I eventually lost my faith for secular reasons, but the chinks were only ever in the armor to begin with because of the faith itself and the self-righteous vitriol with which so many practiced it.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Megan

      It sounds like you got your eyes on people rather than God. None of us are perfect. On a smaller scale, I have to remember this in my own life every day. Of course I get irritated with other believers, and I tend to look at them more than I look at God. But He is and has always been the same. Just because others failed you, doesn't mean God has.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Megan, if those others are the living body of your god, and this is how they represent him, how does that not reflect back on god?

      Either the choice to embrace a belief changes a person and we can see that belief made manifest in them, or belief changes nothing. Either way, bad behavior can only reflect poorly on the faith itself.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Clyde M

      No, god did, too, later on. I started questioning god based on people, but I answered the question based on other inputs and information.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Clyde M

      @myweightinwords; "Either way, bad behavior can only reflect poorly on the faith itself."

      This is ESPECIALLY true when the ENTIRE basis of religion's inclusion in the secular sphere IS that religion makes people better–provides the basis for morality, makes people act better to one another, increases one's charity, etc. When religion itself say "we'll give you a basis for morality that you CAN'T have without religion" only to have vast swaths of its adherents ignoring that very morality dozens of times a day, then the argument that we should defer to religion because it provides such a basis becomes a joke.

      As I said, I was Christian for 30 years and now I'm an atheist. If you asked me to pick the 10 best, most moral, kindest people I've ever known, 9 of the 10 would not be people who attend church. My experiences with church were that in general it made people more willing to judge others, shun others, betray others, and hurt others.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • J.W

      I think I turned away from certain denominations for these reasons. I am glad I found a church that I liked, or I may have lost my faith completely.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • chief

      religion is not of God..... God is the I AM and the rest is insignifcant

      February 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Common Sense

    Education and the ability to reason are the mortal enemies of all religions. They must be stopped at all costs or the church is lost. Believe, be faithful, pray, and above all give. But whatever you do, DO NOT THINK for yourself! If you do, the devil will take over your soul and you will be damned for all eternity to the fires of hell. So says the loving god. Amen.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Eddie Long

      Did you mention the need to give $$$? My nice suits and gold watches don't come cheap, you know!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      I assume you think for yourself. Are you any good at it? Thinking is a discipline, you know. And do you realize that thinking for one's self is at the core of the Christian doctrine of sin? You think, exercise free will, and often do the wrong thing.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Common Sense

      Eddie, see the last four words of second sentence.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Common Sense

      @Primenumber. True, my decisions and not always 100% correct. I doubt anyones are. But, that being said, I do not rely on another believe in a "god" or their interpretation of an inane holy book to guide me in my thinking and decision making. Some churches in recent memory have not fares so well following a man that a white dress who wears a funny hat.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  4. AZ Wildcat

    Just another reason to put an end to 2000 years of misery, ban religion in all its forms.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  5. Earl

    I think Santorum and James Dobson and every other evangelical cutthroat should get somewhere and sit down and shut up. They make me sick thinking everyone should think and act like them, plus Santorum said he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  6. Erky

    Going to college challenges a person to adopt critical thinking, and to research things – even if it's initially related to coursework those habits spill over into other areas of thought. Once a person can start to think for themselves, they are far less likely to believe in bronze age mythologies. This is why all organized religions stress the importance of blind faith over almost everything else. If you're a murderer, child abuser, take part in genocide -whatever your sin, no problem. As long as you believe in Jey-zus, you get to go to heaven. If you're a Nobel prize winning scientist, and your research leads to a cure for Aids and millions are cured – and you donate millions of dollars to children"s cancer research...but you don't believe that God had his begotten son ritualistically murdered so your sins can be forgiven, to negate a hereditary 'sin' because a talking snake and someone eating an apple....sorry, no heaven for you. Instead you go to hell, where you're tortured for all eternity because your loving god says so.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Megan

      "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast."

      This is what the Bible says. The first step is faith. You must believe that God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross as the penalty for sin. You ask to be forgiven of your sin and invite Christ to live in your heart. God didn't make it hard. And he didn't exclude anyone. I can't remember the exact verse, but the Bible says THEN you are to work out your salvation – and this means that works should then come. If you are a Christian, you will produce Godly works – big or small.

      I am sorry if you have seen Christians who do not show the love of Christ, but it doesn't change that we are not saved by works, but by faith.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Erky


      You sound like a person who has never heard an opposing view to your dogmatic position.
      He does make it hard, especially for those blessed with the gift of critical thinking. All he has to do is provide some evidence, instead of asking you to believe without question things that make no sense whatsoever, perpetuated by a class of arrogant, bigoted and self important idiots and hypocrites. We know that all the scriptures were written by people at different times, and they reflect the views and prejudices of the societies that gave birth to them. We also know that the Bible was put together by committees picking and choosing which gospels to include, and which ones to exclude -out of literally hundreds of different interpretations. All he has to do is provide credible evidence, not a bunch of fairy tales.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • myweightinwords


      I once believed as you do. I believed. I studied. I prayed.

      Eventually that study led me to really look at what I believed and why. I was shocked to discover that I only believed because some book told me to. It did not penetrate my heart. It did not make me a better person. In fact, the opposite was true. I was a horrible person. I was judgmental and obstinate. I was self-righteous .

      I wanted to believe. I wanted to cling to what I knew, what I had been taught. I did not want to venture away from the faith and I tried very hard to believe.

      The hardest thing I ever said out loud was that I didn't know, that I was unsure that the bible was true, that this god portrayed in the bible was maybe not one I wanted in my life.

      The best thing I ever did was leave Christianity. I became a better person for it.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • MB0

      Prayer makes people think by doing nothing besides wishing something will change will actually have an effect. This is stupid. The only way change anything is for someone to actualy do something about it..........

      February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Common Sense

      Yawn. How man times have you posted this same inane statement in the past hour or two? Is is no truer than it was the first time.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Jesus

      –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 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Clyde M

      That basic statement was the final straw for my faith. Careful how you wield it.

      I was Christian for 30 years before becoming an atheist. But even after becoming an atheist there were years of doubt and wondering.
      Then my infant daughter got sick.
      Very sick.
      We went to the children's hospital. All the way to the ICU. Even went on a machine to breathe for her because she no longer could on her own. They did some minor surgeries, gave her all sorts of medicines, performed breathing rehab treatments, and other physical rehab. It took weeks. We saw more than a dozen doctors and specialists, and at least as many residents and interns–representing literally hundreds of years of experience between them. Not to mention the army of nurses, respiratory techs, etc. They told us in no uncertain terms that pre-WWII, she'd be dead, no question. In fact, in the 60's or 70's she'd have only been a 50/50 case. But they brought her back and put her together and now she is a perfectly normal kid.

      After WEEKS of hospitalization–and hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, medicines, treatments, and experienced medical professionals–we left the hospital. Those doctors saved my child. When I got home I got a call from my religious mother. Her first comment? "I'm so happy! This is proof that prayer works!"

      I knew right then that I would never return to religion or doubt my having left it ever again.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  8. JC

    It'll still be funny if the Christians all end up burning in Hell – cause the Jews were riiiight.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  9. Grey Matter

    One of the reasons I left the church was caused by education. In college, I learned to ask questions and look at things from multiple sides. Unfortunately, when I began to ask questions in church I was immediately shut down. Too often churches dumb down religion and paint everything in black and white absolutes. The days when the priest or pastor was the most educated person in the room are long over. If churches want to keep young people, they need to engage them on an intellectual as well as spiritual level.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • JC

      That's called doing religion the wrong way. You just believe. Like Romney. And I belieeeeeeeeeeeeeve.......that God lives on a planet called Kolob.......

      February 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      I experienced something like what you describe. As a college student, I was an atheist/agnostic. Once in a dorm room an atheist was reading to us out of Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell. I considered it for few years. Then, I read The Confessions of St. Augustine, and City of God by Augustine. Suddenly, Russell's ideas seemed very thin.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  10. Jeffe65

    Younger generations don't fall away from Christianity during their college years, they do it from grade-school on up. Where do you learn moral values? Not in college. The problem today is that so many things are watered down to a kind of moral relativism where everyone's view carries equal weight, and the logical conclusion to that is chaos. Having a "golden rule" or Christian values taught at a young age makes people uncomfortable for the same reason we need it in the first place – Running headlong into every emotionally-charged principle for it's own sake (gay marriage, abortion, to start with the big ones) breaks down into the same lack of guidance we need to begin with. Otherwise, where do you draw the line?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • MB0

      Morality and religion are not the same thing.....Parents and peers can teach morality. Christians always like to confuse their beliefs with the only way to be a moral human being.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I learned right from wrong and how to treat my fellow human beings well before I learned anything about religion. I didn't start attending church regularly until I was 9 or 10 years old.

      By then, I dare say, my basic moral foundation was already laid. We were not a religious household when I was small. However, I learned well that treating others as I would wish to be treated was the right thing to do.

      Today, of course, I realize that is not the fully moral course at all, and have adapted that to attempt to treat others as they wish to be treated.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  11. MB0

    People get smart in college. And when people get smart they see through the lie that churches sell.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  12. TiredODaCrap

    Funny to read all of the "critical thinking" arguments against Christianity on the comment area.
    However, how many of you "critical thinkers" are brain-washed in your own way. Do you not see the thousands of self-proclaimed religous leaders as being religious only in name. They use the name of Christ or religon to move their cause or business from the back page to the front.
    The issue here is not with true Christianity, or Christians themselves. The issue is not wanting to discipline yourself to stand alone and live out a true faith. While I agree that college does provide experience and open minds, it also provides blinders to those who don't realize that the education and "open eyes" they are learning to use are still bound by the ideology of the one teaching them to use that education.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Mr. N.

      What? Teachers have biases? Humans have biases? Nooo!!! Say it ain't so!!!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      Let me see if I have this straight – Christians, who choose to spin their bible differently than you choose to spin your bible are not "real christians™"?

      And you know this because you have a super duper double top secret magical decoder ring that lets you decide who is, and more importantly, who isn't a "real christian™". There seems to be millions and millions and millions of you folks who have these super duper double top secret magic decoder rings. The problem is that all of you have them on different settings.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • TiredODaCrap

      Thanks for proving my point, Prime. Using that college education to try to rip my post up, but not being able to tell that those who preach hate in the name of religion or Christ are not really Christrians, shows where the problem truly lies. Of course, I personally choose not to judge every Muslim by those who hit the building on 9/11 – but that's just me.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You originally wrote, " However, how many of you "critical thinkers" are brain-washed in your own way. Do you not see the thousands of self-proclaimed religous leaders as being religious only in name. They use the name of Christ or religon to move their cause or business from the back page to the front."

      Your problem is that every Christian has a different definition of who is and who isn't a "Real Christian™"

      My point is that all of you lump all Christians together when you claim that 90% of the could try so Christian. But when you cut to the chase –
      many Evangelicals claim Catholics are not "Real Christians™"
      many Catholics claim Baptists are not "Real Christians™"
      many of you gang up and claim Mormons are not "Real Christians™"
      all of you gang up and claim Fred Phelps is not a "Real Christian™"

      And so it goes.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  13. JC

    Why is it every christian family starts brainwashing their children right when they are in the period of magical thinking? They plant a seed and it grows into a burning bush. That talks.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  14. Mike in Green Bay

    I think Tim wrote an excellent article. I was raised in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic schools for 12 years. But when I listen to Rick Santorum or the "God fearing Christians" speak, I really question why they are so full of hate of other people. I fear that it will move to the side of Christian = hate. And that is the opposite of what I was taught.

    I no longer attend a church or believe in a formal religion. I believe that people need to treat each other well - simply because that is what others deserve. And that includes my "enemies" as difficult as that is to recognize.

    If Christians really believe in the teachings as I learned them, I think they should follow the "love your neighbor as yourself!" Don't throw stones like Franklin Graham, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich. Learn to talk and understand each other and this world - including the USA - will be a much better place. Respect each other's beliefs and differences and learn from those differences.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • JC

      That'd be nice huh? Praise Allah

      February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Noxx

      it's because they're not actually Christians. They just instantly have a massive supportive base by saying they are. And because they're leaders all their followers end up hating just like them.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  15. elenore

    I don't do organized religion here churches have become over run by Anti-Abortion, apocalyptic, baby Boomers.I don't believe in the Apocalypse.What happen to Jesus? I am a red letter Christian.The rest is just history as it applies to Christianity.Church sucks.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  16. JC

    Raping altar boys year after year probably hasn't helped christianity either.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Mr. N.

      But the raping of kids by teachers and coaches has done wonders to free students' minds, don't you know?

      February 29, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • JC

      @Mr. N.

      Yeah, because it's so easy for teacher's to convince children Darwin would have thought less of them if they don't take off their pants and bend over. Jesus has the market on raping little boys!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Mr. N.

      Really? You do realize that by far, most child molesting occurs at home or in school, right? For example, right now the LAUSD is in hot water for shelving and covering up child molesting at many district schools. Several teachers have already been arrested. Or, how about that Penn state scandal and cover-up? This is a small sample of what was on the news in just the last six months.

      And BTW, Darwin has nothing to do with this. Nice attempt at a straw-man, though!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  17. Bregginkrak

    God lives on, but the age of Religion draws to a close.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  18. tazugly

    I say we are all overworked and no longer attend church on Sundays because we are exhausted. When we do not study the bible we loose understanding and faith.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  19. Neeneko

    In general, economic prosperity is probably the driving force behind the decline. Religion tends to thrive on poverty and misery, it is much easier to get (and keep) converts when life is terrible. When life improves people wander away.

    In other words, the decline of faith is an indicator that things are getting better.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Grey Matter

      The 50s and 60s saw very large church attendance as well as economic prosperity.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Noxx

      The 50s and 60s were filled with the red scare.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  20. CareJack

    This is exactly what Holy Father Pope Benedict hinted when he said that western values are getting more secular and are against the will of God. It is not againt education(like math or physics), but what is being taught in schools and colleges like using logic, reasoning, etc for everything. Man can not reason God. At least some people here understands it.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Noxx

      In ancient days people believed in a Sun God. A God of War. A Maternity God. Etc. Then this giant war machine wiped all those people out or replaced their beliefs with a Monotheistic God to explain it all. People quietly followed or they would be executed. Science slowly backed this monotheistic view as it began to explain things like the Sun, and Pregnancy. Science at one point, supported the cause of Christianity. Now it has begun to progress too far and has begun making certain religious beliefs become not true. What a concept. Man cannot reason God because God does not exist in that realm. The existence of God lies within the realm of population control, which is where it started.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:19 am |
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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.