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. Alan's retired

    Great Article and I whole heartedly agree. I have never felt like some "lost sheep", living my life in search of a shepherd proclaiming to know what God has in mind for me or anyone else. I see man made religious organizations proclaiming to represent God that act so ungodly as to convince me that they a complete joke and their followers are indeed lost souls in need of a shepherd.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Sue

      'Alan's retired', how do you know what is 'ungodly'? Surely not from the bible, since it severely contradicts itself about that.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  2. Dylan James

    I wholeheartedly agree with this entire article. I was raised in a home where I was given the choice of going to church or not, and after seeing the way that people of non-faith were treated by the Church, I was appalled. But my family respected that decision, and I grew up without attending more than a few services. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was brought up being required to attend, and whenever she had questions about the things she heard at Church, she was shunned and ignored. Eventually, it caused her to give up on Christianity altogether, simply because of the hypocrisy she saw in the religious leaders in the media, and the way she was treated for her non-conservative viewpoints.

    I'll do just as my parents did for me, when I have a child, and allow my children to think for themselves, and make their own decisions. But I have to say, if the right-wing fanatics that have been dominating the media for so long keep acting the way they have been, there will be only one clear choice for any child of the next generation.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. one of His

    Christians share one belief: Jesus is God's son and He provided eternal salvation to whoever believes in Him by willingly offering His life as atonement for sin (better stated in John 3:16). Once a Christian, always a Christian. One can't claim to stop being Christian if he is one. That would be impossible. There are, however, varying strengths of Christian faith. Is our faith such that the rhetoric of political spectacles, or anyone else for that matter, persuades us to walk away. That could be a strong and convicing way to prove a point but a weak display of faith in what we claim to believe. Many who are "leaving" the Christian faith never had it to begin with. They may have grown up in a Christian church, as did I, but they never attained the basic foundation for faith,which I did. That foundation is the Christian belief. That belief is unshakable, but due our being human a Christian faith often is. The easiest person to persuade that Christianity is false is one who grew up around other Christians but never attained the belief for themselves. It often gives them a reason not to try to live as a Christian should, which isn't easy, it certainly isn't for me. The good news is that perfection is not a prerequisite for salvation if we have Jesus. But it is if we don't.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Yuri Albuquerque

      This doesn't make sense. I'm not obligated to believe my whole life that Jesus is God and Salvior only because I believed when I was a kid.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Will

      First, you say "One can't claim to stop being Christian if he is one. That would be impossible." Then later, you also claim that "Many who are "leaving" the Christian faith never had it to begin with." First off, that implies that some Christians leaving the faith DID have it to begin with, so you're contradicting yourself. Second, that's a picture-perfect example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy; i.e. that only some Christians are "true" Christians and any action by a Christian that doesn't meet your definition simply makes that person not a real Christian and therefore not worth considering.

      The thing is, what you're claiming is demonstrably false. There are tens of thousands of people, some of them my close friends, who were fervent Christians until they lost their faith or converted to a different religion. Their reasons vary widely, but I think it's preposterous to claim that no Christians ever convert to other religions or stop being religious. Attempting to retroactively define defectors as false Christians is a cop-out, and serves no purpose in any case.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • sam stone

      Not all of us feel the need for salvation

      February 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  4. CheeseMaster

    Personally I believe in Thor, God of Thunder. It's a shame that the liberals have warped the minds of our youth to abandon belief in such a great being.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  5. Nii Croffie

    You r also ignorant of the fact that someone might be a Christian who does not attend church and all the various shades of opinions and practise within the Christian faith.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • asdf

      Jefforson and Lincoln were both avowed non-believers, or at best they believed in some kind of "creator" with nothing more. Eisenhower was an atheist, straight up.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      I even have to add that there are atheist Christians, Agnostic Christians, Deist Christians, etc, etc. You are climbing a very tough slope here. I am not American but the little I know is that Lincoln was a Christian. Deist as most of his generation maybe. Jefferson was a definite Deist.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hmmm...."avowed non-believers, or at best they believed in some kind of "creator"

      In your statement you saying that they are non-believers ... or they are believers?

      Can you choose one. I mean both speak often of a belief in God with one being a member of the clergy in his church.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • boocat

      A true deist does NOT BELIEVE in any religion. Deism is the belief that "god" manifests itself in the universe.....not belief in a god that is concerned with the day to day doings of man. I consider myself a deist. I don't believe in any religion. I don't believe in any messiah.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • asdf


      obviously I can only speculate as to a long-dead man's faith based on his statements and actions, just like anyone else. In truth, both Lincoln and Jefferson said and did conflicting things when it came to their faith. Given the ever-present spectre of religious intolerance in the US, it seems likely that their less-religious moments were their more honest ones.

      @Nii – "atheist christian" is an oxymoron, as is "agnostic christian". I'm not sure I understand what you meant there.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • asdf

      Also, let me say that I appreciate the opportunity to have a reasonable, civil debate about this issue. Sadly, they are hard to come by, and no group is less or more guilty of that than another.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  6. Nii Croffie

    The tree is not the Tree of Knowledge. It is the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil or more accurately Tree of Judgement between Good and Evil. Another translation is Tree of Justice and its main effect was Legalism not intelligence.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • asdf

      SO you are then acknowledging that God blames Adam and Eve for something they did when they had no free will or understanding of right and wrong?

      February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Children are innocent till they reach puberty. Intelligence, Conscience and all other things were present. A sense of justice was not. Eve was intelligent n needed cunning to con. She saw the fruit as good b4 she ate it. I think your religious education is deficient thats all. Humans had a freewill.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • asdf

      So again, you admit that Eve didn't understand what she was doing. And by the way, you are reading A LOT into that story that isn't there.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      The judge's greatest power is the power of life and death and this is the power Eve sought. She was not stupid. The Tree of Immortality stood right beside the Tree of justice and they were encouraged to eat the fruit of the Tree of Immortality n discouraged to eat that of the Tree of Justice.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • asdf

      So your interpretation would be that Eve didn't gain the ability to perceive good and evil in herself, but only the ability to judge others on that basis?

      February 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  7. Living History

    The two biggest threats to Christianity: 1) Science 2) Church history

    February 29, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Futon Torpedo

      Not to Christianity just to organized religion period. I have a big problem with church dogma... I have no problem with Christ.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • asdf

      "I like your Christ. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

      -Dalai Lama.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • FYI


      That quote is from Gandhi, not Dalai Lama.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yeah, that is why Christian based parochial school often out score secular based public schools in Science and Mathematics.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Mark – most of the time those are Catholic schools scoring high on science standards. It is the fundamentalist churches and their schools tht have issues with real science. Sadly, polling data shows that 30% or higher of public school science teachers admit to teaching creationism in science class, so even fundiot schools will not score much worse than public schools in many areas.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  8. JIm

    This is exactly why I stopped going to church when I left grad school. When every time I'd go, the priest would be talking about political issues, how I should vote, who I should vote for. The church is not a place for this. Clearly Jesus's teaching are not in line with this. It took 10 years for me to get back to regularly attending church. With the way things are going, I may be absent from the pews again; soon.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The thing is that maybe the issue for you is "that specific" church. Right now your statement is the same as a few Gay and Lesbian Christians that, like you, left the Faith because the church they attended preached against alternative lifestyles. They then soon found that they found Gay and Lesbian churches. They found that it was an issue was not with the Faith but with their church.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  9. JoeG

    This is one of the best, most honest examinations of the problems facing today's Christian churches that I have read. I am not a Christian, but belong to a Unitarian Universalist church with declining membership in a growning downtown suburban society. It's the same story. Our church leaders kept looking to outside reasons as to why people weren't coming through the doors. Once they changed their tune and started looking inside for answers, things started changing, and membership is slowly going upward again. Christian churches and organizations need to do some deep soul searching about themselves and their own relationship with Jesus and his teachings to find the answer for their retention issues. "For if that which you seek you find not within yourself, you will never find it without."

    As a side note, Mr. King's article also points to the reason religion and politics should be divorced as much as possible.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  10. Rob

    Alas, evangelical Christians today are more or less like the religious leaders of Jesus' day who he railed against: they're more concerned about "acting" righteous and telling others how to live their lives (including legislating morality) than they are about exemplifying the characteristics of Jesus in their own lives. And they have no idea what a turn-off it is for those they are so hell-bent on controlling and converting.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • JJ

      I would agree that not many of the militant, vocal Christians (and their followers) seem to realize the damage they do to the cause of Christ with their antics. For them, it would seem, public expressions of faith in the savior are far more important than actually following his examples.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  11. Janet Toney

    Tim, I got as far as when you left college and found out not everyone who claims to be Christian acts the way you learned, no doubt from Bible studyinig, they should. Well, you can't change them. You can't control them. You can only be the Christian you know how to be. It's sad the way some people use their faith as an excuse to do what they want to do. But the truth is still, you have to follow Christ, or not, because of your beliefs and your dedication and no one elses. If He's true and you believe He is you will follow Him. Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ, God and the Holy Spirit. It would be so wonderful if people would all live up to our ideals, but you have already lived long enough to learn, they don't. And I'm sorry to say, they never will. Thus the need for the saviour, a way to get rid of guilt and find forgiveness, but you can only do that for yourself. You can encourage others and tell them how to live, but even God decided he couldn't make them.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • tom

      good word, Janet.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  12. Andrew

    while what the author talks about may be true for some, I think the biggest thing driving kids away from religion is ultra-conservative families, punishing and scaring kids to the point that they either A: fall in line, or B: react against it and leave religion all together. I think a lot of the small minded comments here in the comments are examples of B.

    And for the record, no, I'm not religious. But I was raised in a non-religious family, and really have no beef with it.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  13. Rachel

    While I agree that sometimes hypocrisy is what drives young people from the faith, I think it is mostly a failure of discipleship. A lot of young people who grow up in church (as I did) believe so because it is the "faith of their fathers." They don't know why they believe the Bible as opposed to any other religious book, and so when they are thrust into the real world in college, they don't have an answer when they are questioned. And boy, are they questioned–and sometimes mocked for their faith (as I was)! I did leave the church for 3 years but what brought me back was that I studied the Bible vs. other schools of thought for myself and found the only ultimate truth in the Bible. Sometimes that truth doesn't "sit well" with today's kids who are taught that whatever feels right must be right "for them." You can't base your worldview on what "feels right" today and can be "wrong" tomorrow. (thank God slavery, eugenics, and ideas of a master race don't "feel right" anymore!) You have to seek the truth, not what you want the truth to be.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Yo!

      "You have to seek the truth, not what you want the truth to be."

      Your version of the truth is wrong.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Rob

      ...actually, the Bible is fine with slavery – both Old and New Testaments.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • JJ

      Nice post, Rachel.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Jaime

      I love the use of the word, "truth" here, and I am frankly surprised she didn't capitalize it. There seems to be so much dismissiveness towards the morality and ethics of atheists. No, atheists don't just go along with what "feels right" if by that you mean a purely carnal or even utilitarian sense. Logic does dictate consistency in morality, and many who find their own path without religion can create moral constructs that are in fact more giving, loving, forgiving, tolerant, defferential, in summation, more Christ-like than many Christians who claim faith and a personal relationship with Christ but then don't volunteer their time, aren't honest in their endeavors, and judge people constantly while complaining about being judged. There are many Christians that would rather puff up, bluster, shout down and dismiss others rather than turn the other cheek.

      And there are atheists who do the same.

      I would argue that incivility is a human failing that preys on all people who hold that beliefs are more important than fellow human beings.

      If you love Jesus more than you love your sister, brother, neighbor, then you are the problem.
      If you love your religion enough to want to kill another human being, then you are the problem.
      If you love your atheism so much that you want to disprove and thereby take away another human's refuge of solace, then you are part of the problem.


      February 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  14. mklsgl

    If Christianity, like Islam, could make itself compatible (adaptation is the key to survival!) with living in a postmodern world, then there would be no need for this discussion. If Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, Sikhs, et al, can do it, it can be done.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  15. Nii Croffie

    why all u cud offer was one line? Thought a rational being cud do more!

    February 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Common Sense

      Hmmm, someone didn't go to college.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Judi

      So what do cows have to do with it?

      February 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Primewonk

      Do rabbits chew their cud? Your god says they do. But in reality, they don't.. You'd have thunk an omnipotent omniscient god would have been able to peek and see that rabbits do not chew their cud.

      February 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  16. Chet

    It's not politics. It's the media...movies and TV. Christians are not portrayed in a positive light. Simple and plain. They are almost ALWAYS portrayed as some sort of nut job. Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin show the youth that being "Christian" doesn't mean you are narrowed-minded and/or crazy.
    Point fingers in the appropriate places, please.

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

      Yes, he media does have a tendency to allow vocal and intolerant Christians to embarrass Christianity.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Mr. N.

      Your'e right, JJ. I suspect that is because majority of Christians are just average-day men and women trying to do their best through life, and that doesn't make for good TV.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Persecution Complex Detector

      Careful, your persecution complex is showing.

      The overwhelming majority of this country is christian. If someone is so easily swayed by Hollywood and not actual people in their life I submit that their faith wasn't exactly strong to begin with.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • sam stone

      "Point fingers in the appropriate places, please."

      They are

      February 29, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • asdf

      You're taking a biased sample. You only remember seeing the few, more extreme renditions of Christians and are ignoring the much more common representation of Christians as just normal people. Certainly there are more competing visions of Christians today in popular media, but still, if you were to look at your tv lineup, you would recognize that the majority of characters on fictional US tv are still Christians – it just doesn't come up all the time so you don't recognize it.

      Admittedly, there are many Christians who take their faith much more seriously and who don't represent what we would call "extreme" viewpoints, but they don't make for very compelling tv characters.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Rob

      Most Americans call themselves Christians, but unfortunately the loud-mouth, right-wing, religious zealots keep telling us that – like Obama – we're not "really" Christians.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • momoya

      @ Rob

      Too bad that the bible does not provide a method whereby you could test and prove the true interpretation of a passage or whether or not someone is a "true christian."

      February 29, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • just sayin

      Even a child is known by his doings.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • AB

      Tim Tebow portrays himself as a nut job. Public displays of attention seeking prayer, used like a personal gimmick doesn't seem very normal to me.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Chet

      @asdf, maybe you're right about the biased sample (not saying you are, but not saying you're not, either), but start now.....look and see which you see more, the positive Christian or the Christian loon (I'm going to start objectively watching today, too).
      @Persecution Complex Detector, that's just what I'm talking about. The really young ARE influenced by Hollywood. Kids that think Christianity is lame, become high schoolers that have issues with Christianity, who become college students that are "better than that" foolishness.
      To think that Hollywood has no effect on people's belief is giving them more power than you think. If movies angrily portrayed a race, gender, or ethnicity repeatedly in such a negative light there would be a bit of outrage. I'm just saying, eventually, perception becomes reality (at least in someone's mind).

      February 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  17. PrimeNumber

    ( I posted this as a reply by mistake)
    I can well understand people who leave churches because of hypocrisy. But when they reject God in the name of "Reason" , that's another matter. People have been saying that Reason has done away with God. Now with God gone, who's the next most important thing? The "reasoner" himself. He's the center of his own universe. Now, let him use reason to figure himself out. What does he find? A creature who thinks one thing in the morning, and unthinks it in the afternoon. He
    thinks he knows what he wants, but when he gets it, he isn't satisfied. He can't resist urges that he knows will get him into trouble; he master himself. His reason and his emotions tear him in half. Some parts of his inner self he doesn't even have access to: he cannot be under the microscope and looking through it at the same time. "I cannot grasp all that I am." (Augustine). In other words, reason is helpless in understanding the self. How, then, can the "reasoner" hope to use Reason to reject something like an Infinite Being?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Common Sense

      How does one do away with something that never existed?

      February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Common Sense

      Well, except in ones own mind.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • asdf

      I would argue that the reasoner is in no way different than a person of faith. The person of faith changes his views as well when it suits him, and simply twists the language of some holy text to fit his means. Either that, or he twists his reality to fit his religious requirements. Both are equally invalid approaches – at least the reasoner comes to terms with his humanity and recognizes inherent flaws.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      So u r going for the broke!

      February 29, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      You are failing to understand what he wrote. They both recognise the inherent flaws. One seeks a better way while one just sits there.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @asdf "at least the reasoner comes to terms with his humanity and recognizes inherent flaws." ASDF, you have just described the central principle of Christianity. Christianity has always taught that humanity is inherently flawed ( original sin), and that we have to work to attain perfection. "Be ye perfect as I am perfect" – Jesus

      February 29, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • momoya

      Unlike christians who think that they have special, magical powers, atheists lack the pride necessary to claim that perfection is attainable for "inherently flawed" individuals.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • asdf

      @Nii, @catholic engineer:

      You both raise valid points. However, to believe that atheists simply wander aimlessly with no goals or moral compass is a very flawed view. Atheists, like many of histories greatest philosophers, are obligated to determine for themselves what makes a person "good" (as loaded as that word is). Rather than sticking to an ideal that maybe they don't agree with or an ideal that is logically untenable, we must find for ourselves what makes us happy.

      The funny thing about all this is something close to 50% (i forget the exact figure) of Americans said they would never vote for an atheist. This is ironic, as many of our previous presidents have been self-described non-believers, or at least people who never set foot in a church. Eisenhower famously told his campaign manager to simply "pick one", and that he would pretend he believed. Lincoln never set foot in a church after he was very young.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Momoya explain to us how as a minister in your yet unamed church you taught people to use magic to attain perfection.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  18. asdf

    Santorum's views have perfect biblical support – is it any surprise that God was mad when Adam and Eve ate from the "tree of knowledge"? Religion has been running the same playbook forever, apparently!

    February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Olde English D

      God doesn't change – only we do. Our sinful nature leads us away from God. Santorum will bring this nation back to Jesus and back to glory.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • asdf

      "Our sinful nature"...you mean all that book learnin'?

      Just face facts that the story at best makes no sense, and at worst presents a pretty negative view of god. He blames people with no free will for eating form a tree of knowledge and then getting free will – It seems like a perfect parallel for how Christians treat their faith today. Shut your ears and eyes, and you can keep your beliefs.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  19. WorkinProgressJohn

    The author is confused about conservatives being pro rich. Conservatives Christians believe in following Christ example of helping those people in their congregation struggling to get back up on their feet rather than have the government getting them dependant on them. As for hyporcrites I agree the Church is full of them but if you were on a sinking boat and the only way to save your life was to get in a boat full of hypocrites I think you would get in the boat. If you let hypocrites keep you from serving God then apparently you are not focused on serving God but would rather blame others why you have left the faith.

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

      If we can not take the behavior of those who claim to believe something as a just measure of how that belief affects us, how are we to judge?

      If I come seeking truth and find only hypocrisy and lies, why would I seek any further in that direction?

      February 29, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • *facepalm*

      "following Christ example of helping those people in their congregation"

      I'm unaware that Jesus ever supposedly said that you should help only those that follow your religion or think the same way you do.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • JJ

      Got to agree with facepalm. Stipulations placed on aid to the needy reek are, in the end, self serving.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Crystalstar48

      I would rather swim and have faith that GOD would watch over me.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  20. kentuckyscience..)com

    Therefore the principles of human evolution from an insane species require a virgin birth of Adam and Eve for the establishment of a moral and just human government (Isaiah 9:6).

    February 29, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Olde English D

      Evolution is one of the greatest evils ever brought upon the human race. Atheism being the greatest.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • momoya

      lol.. what? That sentence doesn't even make a point, much less a sensible one.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Evolution is one of the greatest evils ever brought upon the human race"

      Lots of things evolve and regardless of what a 2000 year old book tells you, evolution has been proven to be accurate. The whole Adam and Eve story makes no sense unless of course you believe in in.cest.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • boocat

      Old English – so if your belief is that "god" created the universe, then "god" created evolution which means by your thinking that "god" is one of the greatest evils (that's your quote) brought upon the human race.

      February 29, 2012 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.