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Like GOP, evangelicals look to rebrand
Evangelist leaders such as Rick Warren have spoken for evangelicals for years, but he and other leaders must adjust, some say.
March 26th, 2013
09:47 AM ET

Like GOP, evangelicals look to rebrand

By John Blake

(CNN) - There’s been a lot of debate about the Republican Party’s need to rebrand after the 2012 presidential defeat, but could evangelicals face the same challenge?

The evangelical community, too, has been involved in some collective soul-searching. Evangelical leaders constantly warn that young people are deserting churches; pastors struggle to address changing views on homosexuality; and others wonder how evangelicals can remain relevant when a growing number of Americans refuse to identify with any religion.

Relevant magazine, an evangelical publication, tackles these issues head-on in its latest issue with an article titled “10 Challenges Facing Us in The Next Decade."

“The future is coming faster than ever," the article says, "with the tectonic plates of society, church, culture, technology, economy and environment shifting beneath us.”

How the church should change to meet this future is the thrust of the article. The magazine asked some of the nation’s top evangelical leaders for their take on the biggest challenges facing the church in the next decade.

Their answers varied, and some were surprising.

John Mark McMillan, a worship leader and musician, says religious entertainers can’t save evangelicals. Building more megachurches with slicker worship services that feature skits, live music and hip pastors in skinny jeans won’t do the trick.

“How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds?” McMillan asks. “While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, I think we can only grow to maturity when we learn to love at point-blank range, where the messy aspects of relationship can’t be avoided.”

Another evangelical leader says making marriage relevant for a new generation is the big challenge. David Kinnaman, whose book "You Lost Me" examines why young evangelicals are leaving the church, says more youth see heterosexual marriage as outdated.

Relevant cited statistics from the Pew Research Center that show 44% of millennials (people age 18-29) say marriage is becoming obsolete.

“Millennials face many challenges when it comes to marriage,” Kinnaman says. "They have more financial pressure, more readily available sexual temptations, fewer social inhibitions with infidelity, not to mention overly distracted spouses who are working hard to get ahead or ‘screening’ away their valuable time.”

Shane Claiborne, author of "The Irresistible Revolution" and a founding member of an alternative community called the Simple Way, points to another challenge.

He says evangelicals must broaden the definition of “pro-life.”

Claiborne says we live in a nation where gun violence kills 10,000 people every year, dozens are executed under the death penalty, and the threat of nuclear annihilation looms.

Claiborne’s suggestion: Create a Life Party of Christians who “insist on protecting life in all its dazzling forms.”

“I hope that we can decrease and eliminate abortion, embrace the immigrant and orphans, end the death penalty in the U.S. and see poor people cared for,” Claiborne says.

Evangelicals can’t meet the future by simply altering the delivery of their message. The message will have to change in some ways as well, says Shane Hipps, author of "Selling Water by the River."

“The historic strength of evangelical churches to innovate methods without altering the underlying message will no longer have the same impact,” he says. “That’s because the cultural shift now under way is not merely about music preferences or the use of video clips in sermons.”

Hipps' solution for the future is to learn a lesson from the past. He cited Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor martyred by the Third Reich during the closing days of World War II.

“We must learn to embrace what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called 'religionless Christianity,' ” Hipps says. “These people will press beyond the tired religious categories of ‘liberal’ and “conservative.’ They will see the life and teachings of Jesus not as religious or even spiritual in nature, but rather as fundamentally human.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Faith

soundoff (602 Responses)
  1. Nobelisk

    Be paid weekly and earn like a boss. I just bought a great Chrysler, from earning $9844 this last 4 weeks and $10k last month. Its by far the easiest and without any doubt the most financially rewarding job I've ever had. I actually started ten months ago, and practically, straight away got at least $81p/h! This is what I do – Epic2.cℴm

    March 27, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  2. Atheist, me?

    Tim
    I will give you three quotes about the 1st century church:"
    1)See how those Christians love each other as themselves.
    2) It is a pity that among the Jews(Jewish Christians) there is none poor.
    3) So the godless Christians have taken to caring for the poor, even our own as well."
    Does that sound like the Christianity
    you describe.? Mind you these were pagans in the unholy Roman Empire.
    Even though Roman Catholicism lost its way in the Middle Ages in the other places Xtianity grew stronger in spiritual terms. Our desire is to return the Church its focus on charitable love and compassion.
    So please read your history well. Propoganda is for fools!

    March 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  3. YPJF88

    I am a youth pastor for a small ministry in South Jersey. I was raised in the Catholic church and hated it. To me, all I saw were rules and ways of man and not that of God. Today, I know I was not alone in my feelings. Church is no longer about faith. It is about religion. This may sound confusing to some. Look back in history and you will see what was changed in religion to fit the ways of man. These changes keep coming and they haven't stopped. It has gotten to the point where people no linger worship God, but they worship the church. Kids are getting smart and seeing the issues. They are turning away. Churchs and ministries must turn away from the man made religious doctrine and return to the teachings of truth. That was what Jesus was trying to do and it was working for a moment. He wanted us to obey the laws but not worship them. We were given the commandments. They are the laws. There are the laws written on our hearts by God. We must obey those laws, not the ones that say you must ask a priest for forgivness or not eating meat on certain days. I shouldn't have to worry about going to hell if my bible is on the floor. This is what myself and so many others were taught. If I need to confess, I pray and I know I am forgiven. If I want to eat meat, I eat meat. The bible may have the words of the Lord in it, but I will not be punished if it is on the floor because I worship the Lord and not a piece of paper. We must go back to the basics. If you truly want to keep the youth in church, you must teach them truth that is free from religion. I there will be people who will disagree and come against me and that is fine. This is just how I feel and if you think I am wrong then you think I am wrong. So be it. (I apologize for any typos. I did this from my phone.)

    March 26, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The real reason the younger generation is rejecting religious belief is in your last line....

      "This is just how I feel and if you think I am wrong then you think I am wrong. So be it."

      You are a youth minister, you are supposed to be a religious authority and yet your opinion is based on how you feel, not on objective demonstrable truth. Religious claims are not objective, they are entirely subjective.....they are all equally baseless....the internet generation is waking up to that truth because religion no longer can control the flow of information.

      March 26, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • YPJF88

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

      I disagree with you because I know what I was saying and you don't. When I said, "This is just how I feel and if you think I am wrong then you think I am wrong. So be it", I was referring to the fact that there are usually many who come on and attack the people who are posting in these blogs and news articles. I am are spiritual authority and I do teach truth. I teach that you should love your neighbor has you love yourself. I teach that there is no need to attack followers of Judaism, Islam, or some other form of Christianity or faith because it is wrong. We are all brothers and sisters and we must stand firm in what we believe in, but not let it stand in the way of being civil human beings.

      I teach from the bible and from real life, using technology and real experiences. The kids get that and understand it. But I teach the basics and not the laws that say you MUST do this and you MUST do that. This is the basic truth of faith and the youth that I teach understand it.

      March 27, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "This is the basic truth of faith and the youth that I teach understand it."

      Except there is not. Concepts such as caring for our neighbors as ourself is entirely moral. Concepts like "those who do not worship a certain god deserve some form of punishment" are not a moral teaching AND you cannot demonstrat that teaching as actually true. You may not teach that concept yourself, but the bible does.

      My point is there are many contradictions and inconsistancies in the very foundation of Christinity that drive people away. The rediculous Catholic rules are just the obvious ones. BTW I was Catholic too.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Saraswati

      "This is the basic truth of faith and the youth that I teach understand it."

      I've known a lot of youth who understand Santa Claus, too; that doesn't tell us much about truth.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • MightyMac

      YPJF88,

      I could not agree with you more. Honestly, I don't believe in God but I do not see anything wrong with someone who does. Looking at how religious organizations have changed over the years, I just see greed and prejudice taking over where true faith was and I want know part of it. However, I am happy to see that there are some who are going back to the real roots of faith and there is nothing wrong with that. For you to teach the youth about respecting other religions and faiths is something the religious community has needed for a long time. I can truly respect a faith that can look at something and say, "You don't believe? That is okay." I think that is what you are trying to teach the youth and that is what other faiths should be doing as well.

      I look at something like the ten commandments or the moral teaching of Jesus and see nothing wrong with them. If you can teach those to the youth of today along with real life situations and get them to understand and have faith in something, bravo to you good sir. We all need something to believe in, whether it is ourselves or a deity. As for people like Blessed are the Cheesemakers, don't worry about them. That last line made perfect sense and I see no reason as to why you had to defend it. You just said this is what you believe. Cheesemakers was just looking to start an argument, as I am sure many have been doing here.

      Have a good day YPJF88 and keep up the good work.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mighty Mac,

      There are so many things I take issue with in your post that I cannot touch on them all. I will address this one though.

      People should get automatic respect... ideas, especially religious ones, should not. If I show disrespect for an idea, it is not the same as showing disrespect to a person. For instance, your post was awful....but that doesn't mean I think you are awful as a human being. There is a difference.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • YPJF88

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

      I want to start of with nice Monty Python reference. It didn't click right away. Let me just say that I am not trying to start any arguments. I understand what MightyMac was trying to do but there was no need to condemn you for your comments. This is a place of free speech and I respect that. You are right. It should be automatic to give a person respect. Unfortunately, that isn't how it is anymore. As far as teaching the truth of faith, it is simple. What I believe is truth, you don't. That is fine. I have no problem with that. I teach what I teach. I also teach that if you don't believe and you don't want to hear it anymore, that is also fine. That is your choice. We have free will to believe what we want to believe. If you believe it in your heart, than you believe it. If you don't, you don't and I will not persecute or condemn you for it and neither should anyone else. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. We must give that option to the youth of today. You can't force anyone to believe what they don't want to. I am only 25. I went through a difficult journey to get where I am today. There were certain experiences on that journey that built the beliefs that I carry in my heart. I don't honor those who don't believe in God because there is no reason not to. If you don't respect the religious ideals, that is fine. I am not trying to force anything on you and you aren't trying to force anything on me.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • YPJF88

      "I don't honor those who don't believe in God because there is no reason not to."

      I apologize to anyone who just read that line. I didn't erase the entire line that I was going to say before I wrote that. I truly mean to say that I honor those who don't believe in God because there is no reason not to do so. I messed that one up. Sorry.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      YPF88,

      I appreciate and agree with your last post. Believe me I would rather have a discussion, I am not looking for an argument other than in the most positive of ways, an exchange of ideas. I agree that all people regardless of faith deserve our respect. Most of my family are Christians, most of my friends are, most of the people I live with in my community are and I respect them. I know that is what you teach in your ministry and I commend you for that. I just don't think that is what the Bible teaches, or the Christian faith at its foundation. BTW when I was 25 I would have agreed completely with you, I am not saying this to be patronizing, I say this to explain my journey to atheism was not an easy one nor one I took lightly.

      The question of the article and the point of your original post was to address the question of why people are moving away from CHristianity in this country. I was trying to answer you as someone who has left. I am not attacking when I address what you wrote here, I am attacking your philosophical position when you say...

      "As far as teaching the truth of faith, it is simple. What I believe is truth, you don't."

      The problem with ALL religion, even yours is they are claiming truth can be found through faith and I strongly disagree with that. All theists have faith, but if there was truth to be found with faith there would be thousands upon thousands of versions of Christianity. That is not to say that all teachings of Christianity are bad, just the ones that can't be substantiated are when they are asserted as truth.....and I would argue that the concepts in Christianity that are true do not need Christianity and do not even originate in Christianity.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Typo

      "there would NOT be thousands upon thousands of versions of Christianity."

      March 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Once again, all the GOP rebranding will not help a "pro-life"/GOP presidential candidate as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    2012 Presidential popular vote results

    65,899,660 for pro-abortion/choice BO 60,929,152 for pro-life MR

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    i.e. IF THE PILL AND MALE CONDOMS WERE USED PROPERLY, ABORTION WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE AND OBAMA WOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT.

    (Added note: Bill Gates is quite aware of the health issues. From today's news: "Gates will give a $100,000 grant to whoever can invent the “next generation condom” through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health. The estimated 80 grant recipients can then apply for a follow-up grant worth up to $1 million."

    "Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure?” the Grand Challenge prompt asks. ”If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs [se-xually transmitted infections]?”

    The GOP would be wise to support these kind of projects.

    March 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  5. Robert

    Christianity won't change because Christianity is based on timeless truth revealed by God. Marriage will always be between male and female regardless of what some liberals claim who meet together and call themselves a church. The Bible is right.

    "Rebranding" to conform to what the world wants means forsaking God to cling to the world. I recommend clinging to God instead.

    March 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • EJR17

      The matter is being put forth in the secular, civil courts as a civil rights matter, and has nothing to do with the Bible at all.
      Please understand the difference.
      The procreation argument cannot be taken seriously. States do not inquire whether straight couples intend to bear children, or have the capacity to have children, before they are allowed to marry. We permit marriage by the elderly, by prison inmates, and by persons who have no intention of having children.
      There simply is no reason not to allow gay couples the equal rights they deserve under the 14th. No reason not to allow them to be legally wed.

      And, by the way, the rebranding they are talking about has nothing to do wit gay marriage. Please read the story.
      Thank you.

      March 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • EJR17

      Further, God doesn't call his followers "liberal" or "conservative". He calls them "His Children."
      You would do well to take a page out of Mathew 7 and stop judging what you dislike, which, in this case, are clearly liberals.

      March 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      There is no god and so no "truth" of anything about the bible. Reality is our truth, and god is no where to be found within it. Grow up and stop letting religion be your excuse to discriminate against other humans.

      March 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Madtown

      timeless truth revealed by God
      ----
      Where is this revealed, the bible? Since it was written by men, how do you make the leap that it's God's revelation? Seems to me it's "man's ideas about what he thinks God's revelation is".

      March 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • bobk52

      Your stupid & a moron!

      March 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tim

      Christianity has changed a lot since the beginning. They're not burning witches, or cutting pagan women up with clamshells anymore. They're not leading whole armies of children to fight Muslims only to sell them into slavery anymore. Most Christians are against slavery and OK with interracial marriage nowadays. Time and time again the "timeless truth" behind Christianity has been modified and, generally speaking, the faith has evolved into a more humane ideology over the centuries. I'm optimistic that, in another 50 years, Christians will be denying that they ever stood in the way of gay marriage the same way that they now deny being on the wrong side of the Civil Rights Movement, Women's Sufferage, Slavery, and a lot of other things.

      March 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      Tim: well said.

      March 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • clarity

      Christianity won't change?? Are you nuts? Don't make me go into my 'Over 40,000 denominations..' voice.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Marriage in the bible

      GENESIS 4:19
      "Then Lamech took for himself two wives : the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah."
      Deuteronomy 21:15
      "If a man have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:"
      Exodus 21:10
      "If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights."
      King David is called "a man after God's own heart" and he had multiple wives.
      1 Samuel 25:43 states:
      "David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives."
      2 Samuel 5:13:
      "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David."
      2 Samuel 12:8
      "Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel : 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. ' I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!"
      GENESIS 32:32
      "And he [Jacob] arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok."
      2 CHRONICLES 11:21
      "Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters."

      March 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Joe P

      The Bible is "right"? Maybe to you. To many of us, the bible is just a collection of writings that amused people in the dark ages. Never meant to be taken literally. Can you imagine if someone fast-forwarded us by 2000 yrs. and all that was left from our times was Grimm's Fairy Tales? Science is right....not the bible.

      March 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  6. rebrand?

    What are you referring to as 'rebrand' , John Blake?

    Are you asking Christians to be the

    a) salt and light of the world,
    b) to be transformed and not conformed of this world and
    c) be true disciples of the Lord.

    March 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It would be enough if they stopped being the charlatans they've been since a poor foolish rabbi got himself crucified 2000 years ago.

      March 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      John Blake just wrote the article. The ministers are the ones talking about rebranding. Why would you ask the reporter these questions?

      March 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • # Prince of reason

      Blake is just clueless!

      March 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  7. The Non Believer

    Rebrand? Let's start with reality.
    The earth is 4.5 billion years old – Hon. Marco Rubio, what's so blasephemos about that?
    Evolution has a wealth of evidence for it e.g. the fossil record and dna analysis. Facts are such an annoyance.
    If you assert god exists, state your evidence, remember, extrordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    March 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Non-believer
      So you blindly hold onto the whole extra-ordinary claims nonsense.
      If you study human psychology and the Bible very well you will realise how well the two are related.
      You focus on something which is really not its focus.
      If a business newspaper talks about a scientific discovery you wouldn't expect the technical details or would you?

      March 27, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  8. The Demon Deacon

    Bill Deacon
    Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. You see, Billy, I am old enough to remember the old RCC movies where there was a crisis, not enough money to keep the joint open, and Bing and Ingrid would save the day, hallelujah. Not much has changed, if the franchise is not turning a profit they shut it down, happening all over Europe and North America, when business goes bad the RCC pi-sses off. The sooner the better.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  9. Not True

    Only in the minds of the liberal media and leftist leaders do Republicans and Evangelicals need to rebrand.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Republicans

      Dude, we are rebranding, totally. We are getting hip and getting down with it. Don't hate.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Big Shiz

      Right,cuz the racism and intolerance dosnt hurt Yall at all.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      The Republicans themselves are talking about reorganizing and re-evaluating their message; do you not ever read anything else besides CNN?

      March 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  10. SDFrankie

    The biggest challenge facing evangelicals today is rationality. The whole fairy tale just sounds like some bad zombie movie remake. The Son Of God being offered up as a blood sacrifice to God The Father to avoid eternal damnation for mankind. In theaters this summer! It's getting so people know bad fiction when they see it.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Think B4 U Post

      Christianity has survived for thousands of years because it is a shame. I think you are on to something.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • ..

      It certainly is a shame. You're spot on there B4.

      March 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Implying that because a lot of people believe something over a period of time, makes it true..... IS a shame.

      March 27, 2013 at 2:13 am |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Rick Warren: what a snake oil salesman.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    People posting here about churches feeding the poor should take a long hard look at the reasons. No poor person is fed without a Christian trying to convert them to the mass delusion of Christianity. It's not charity, it's marketing!

    March 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      If you feel that's the case perhaps you and some Athiest should create a secular charity and go feed them yourselves. Or you could sit an ocean a way spouting on about things you know nothing about.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Think B4 U Post

      No, not really. Generally they do it to help those less fortunate than themselves. A concept that certain baffles some people.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Thinkb4upost
      If you were doing as your blog name says you will realise that humans of all religions(including Atheism) show charitable love and compassion for the same reason you do.
      It is rare that people convert just because they have been shown kindness. At least the Bible says as much. Another reason why I follow its wisdom rather than Dawkins'.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Atheist Creed
      I believe in Reality so long as it does not contradict Atheism.
      and I believe in Science except where it proves that my religion is bogus.
      And in Atheist writers who are alive or on Youtube.
      All other religions are delusions but mine isn't because I can't be fooled,or can I?
      Well I hope I get evidence while I am looking the other way!
      Peace to other religions. May u die out soon so that we can also enjoy. 1% is just too bad after all these years.
      May it be!

      March 27, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Poltergeist

      Others do it just at a lower rate since Christianity emphasizes it. But yes, if you look hard enough you'll find volunteers from every creed.

      March 27, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Atheist, me?
      Atheism is not a religion, but look how appropriate your comments are for any religion.

      Religious Creed
      I believe in Reality so long as it does not contradict my religion.
      and I believe in Science except where it proves that my religion is bogus.
      And in religious writers who are alive or on Youtube.
      All other religions are delusions but mine isn't because I can't be fooled,or can I?
      Well I hope I get evidence while I am looking the other way!
      Peace to other religions. May u die out soon so that we can also enjoy. 1% is just too bad after all these years.
      May it be!

      March 27, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  13. Paris Hilton's Fashionable Zombie Apocalypse

    "Rebrand." I just don't think fundies are capable of opening their welded-shut minds enough to change anything.

    Ash bin of history time for them.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Brother Maynard

    BD sez:
    "The reason the art isn't sold is that he can feed more people charging admission to see it than he could from the proceeds of a one time sale. It's called "don't live off your capital.""

    And after 2000 years of this practice the poor and starving are as numerous as ever.
    Maybe time for a new strategy ?

    March 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jesus said "The poor you will always have"

      Other than that, what is your strategy?

      March 26, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Prophecy, soon you will be able to buy gross lots of rosaries on e-bay for under $20 as the once faithful see the foolishness of the RCC and their greed and crimes.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      My strategy ?
      Tax the cr@p out of the church ... they have been getting a free ride for too long

      March 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  15. tm17

    .
    .
    .

    Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus.

    Atheism is a personal relationship with Reality.

    I advise all thinking men & women to side with atheism.

    .
    .
    .

    March 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Amen!

      March 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Steve

      God is Reality.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Romans 1:19

      “But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is!”

      March 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Rick Warren

      This is why science is so important, because it helps us understand God and his universe.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Think B4 U Post

      Christianity is a one way ticket to eternal paradise.

      Atheism is a one way ticket to eternal torment.

      Kind of a no brainer if you ask me.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Juno What

      Think B4 U Post:
      "Christianity is a one way ticket to eternal paradise.

      Atheism is a one way ticket to eternal torment."

      Sounds like something with not a shred of verified evidence, if you ask me.

      March 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  16. Alias

    The audience for these churches is shrinking because they are Christian churches.
    The problem is one that none of the people mentioned in the article will see. Christianity is out-dated and no longer a part of the culture in America. People don't follow the teachings anymore, and society has abandoned the lifestyle associated with being a "good Christian".
    I know there are still Christian communities where young people still feel the pressure, but in most of America the social pressures and stigmas are gone.

    March 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Steve

    If we didn't have free will, we wouldn't need God.

    March 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      There is no free will in the Christian sense, so problem solved.

      March 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Steve

      God is not a Christian.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your pathetic immoral god doesn't exist. End religion now!

      March 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  18. Austin

    "It's a fight to keep silliness from determining changes in legislation and education. It wouldn't be cool to have to teach Bigfoot as a fact right beside Abraham Lincoln."

    ITS A FIGHT ABOUT THE EVIL OF COMPARING BIG FOOT TO GOD, AND KEEPING TRUTH IN EDUCATION FOR THE BENEFIT AND PROTECTION OF YOUR SOUL.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Alias

      It's about not letting people like you teach things I don't beleive to my child.

      Stop preaching in our schools and we'll quit thinking in your church!

      March 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Patrick Lewis

      Well, yeah... right there... What if I didn't believe in what you believe? What if I believe in Shiva instead of your god? Many do. What if I believe in the model of the Big Bang and nothing else? You fight for my soul and maybe I should say thanks, but if you do that by denying everything that science has been able to tease out of this puzzle we call a world, then you are actually fighting to preserve ignorance. And you, by your caps lock and general disdain, are clearly on the side of intolerance. I'm tolerant of you. I let you preserve your tax free church and believe what ever you want to believe in. Why can't you be tolerant of my right to believe none of it and not have to listen to it in a public forum?

      March 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      What's wrong with comparing Bigfoot to your god?
      • Bigfoot is stronger
      • Bigfoot is smarter
      • Bigfoot dresses more swånky
      • Bigfoot has more of a chance of existing

      March 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      @Patrick Lewis

      I like the irony of your statement. You cited the Big Bang, which was a theory developed in a catholic university by a priest, Monseigneur Georges Lemaître.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  19. Tom W.

    Religion allows people by the millions to believe what only a lunatic would believe by himself.

    People are abandoning all churches because the population of the world is becoming increasingly educated and educated people no longer need myths to explain the world around them.

    Jesus is no different that Zeus, Poseidon, or Horus. It's all just personified astrological allegories.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      hear, hear!!!

      March 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Bob1god

      Right on!

      March 27, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  20. John

    When religion was about love and taking cae of those less fortunate it was wonderful. Now it's about who to look down upon and more about making money than ever. You have churches owning businesses and collection plates being passed multiple times and the Vatican hoaerding priceless art. Do you think this new "Pope for the poor" Pope FRancis will be selling any art to feed the starving? Don't count on it folks. Religion is a business and less and less people are buyin what their sellin!

    March 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The reason the art isn't sold is that he can feed more people charging admission to see it than he could from the proceeds of a one time sale. It's called "don't live off your capital."

      March 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Neil

      Matthew 25:14-30
      New International Version (NIV)
      The Parable of the Bags of Gold

      14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

      19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

      21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

      22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

      23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

      24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

      26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

      28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

      March 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Alias

      Bill Deacon – our favorite town fool

      Since when does the church charge admission and let you see thier art collection?

      They keep the good stuff in a vault under the Vatican.

      March 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon

      March 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. So Bill down to just one pope story, the media is winding down reporting that news until the next scandal hits and you can go into your persecution complex again. Did you round up the trinkets in you church and put them on e-bay to raise some money for the hungry? Pray/prey tell how the RCC built up its capital if not from stealing the wealth of aboriginals and shearing the sheep? You never did answer are you a fund raiser like John-Paul's boy Marcial Maciel?

      March 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tom W.

      Of course they won't use that money to feed the poor! They need that money to pay-off the children that their priests have molested. (Not that the Protestants, Baptists, or any other denomination are any better)

      March 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Explain if you can why the laity are charged to see the riches of the church? After all the treasures of the RCC does not just belong to the Princes of the church and why do people have to ti-the and pay admission to the holy pilgrimages? Is this a religion or a business, cash flow rules!

      March 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Here's my challenge: Pick any five worldwide organizations. Post the data showing how many hungry they feed, how many sick they hospitalize, how many homeless they shelter. Post the correlating data from the Catholic Church (we'll leave the large Christian community aside for the moment). Now, who feeds more, houses more and treats more sick?

      March 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Challenge, really, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and now Michel Bloomberg will do more in their lifetimes than the RCC has done in 2000 years for humankind. You see Billy there is no quid pro quo with these people while the RCC is out there proselytizing while handing out their dubious charity. The example of the sadistic bi-tch muther Teresa crops up building an empire when those she was supposed to help suffered.

      March 26, 2013 at 5:36 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.