July 27th, 2013
08:33 AM ET

Why millennials are leaving the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.

I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.

I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.

I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.

Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.

Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.

I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.

Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”

And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.

Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates - edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.

But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.

In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.

Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions - Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. - precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.

Now these trends are obviously true not only for millennials but also for many folks from other generations. Whenever I write about this topic, I hear from forty-somethings and grandmothers, Generation Xers and retirees, who send me messages in all caps that read “ME TOO!” So I don’t want to portray the divide as wider than it is.

But I would encourage church leaders eager to win millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.

Their answers might surprise you.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Opinion

soundoff (9,864 Responses)
  1. Mrs

    All that I got out of this is that she said: " we want... We want.... We want... We want... Helloooo. It's not what we want its what God wants!!!! People can change what the bible says or not to believe in God but at the end it's all about what God wants and what he's going to do about who doesn't want to do what he says. And what God asks us to do is not hard or lame. Also it's not about going to the church that we feel comfortable in, we have to find the true faith,one of the main clues Jesus gave to find the truth is that his true disciples will show love. So think people which religion doesn't cause wars? which religion is willing to not bare arms amongst themselves or others? Which religion is willing to give there time to go and preach to the people even if there hated for doing this? Which religion has disciples preaching like Jesus said in Mat 24:14 before the end of the evil of things end? Which religion are united in there teachings, so no matter which country you go, it will be the same teachings? Yes people that kind of religion does exist and there's only one out there. So stop hating and do some research!!!!

    September 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      I've hit burn out debating with Atheists but I do agree with you about religious people trying to customize God into whatever suits their personal preferences. If they want a preacher in skinny jeans who will tell them what they long to hear then they need to hang out in a club. What they are looking for is someone with a facade of religious authority to reassure them that they can still have their lifestyle and please God too. Who are they trying to fool? God's word can't be tweaked to satisfy the lascivious!

      September 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • sam stone

        and you have someone with a facade or religious authority telling you something different.....what do they have in common? a facade....

        September 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I do not attend a church so who are you referring to?

          September 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
        • sam stone

          my bad. sorry.

          i think people see the god they want to see

          September 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
        • hharri


          September 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
        • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

          Sam stone, are you one of those pop culture stones that gets turned into bread, err fruitcake??

          September 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
        • sam stone

          good comeback, lol.....take you a while to come up with it?

          Thou jarring reeling-ripe vassal!

          September 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Biochemie

      You are right on the mark!
      Paul had established churches in Corinth and Galatia and ten years later he had to write to them letters admonishing them for their forsaking the message. It seems that new converts decided to preach their own version of what Jesus meant. Sound familiar?

      September 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
      • George

        So because Paul's version made it into the Bible, that's what makes his the right version?

        September 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, looks like god has appointed Mrs to be yet another spokesperson for him

      nothing arrogant about the pious, is there?

      September 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • rex

        how them nasty weed patches?

        September 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • George

      " Which religion is willing to give there time to go and preach to the people even if there hated for doing this?"

      I like how you put it like you're doing everyone a favor. Haven't you noticed that people consider that sort of thing rude? The other religions don't do that because they don't want to be rude to others (it also seems desperate), not because they're not willing to give their time.

      September 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • George

      "Which religion are united in there (sic) teachings, so no matter which country you go, it will be the same teachings?"

      Are you kidding? Christianity is united? What rock do you live under?

      September 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  2. Steve D

    Quit lying. You will never be taken seriously as long as you oppose evolution. Everything you say about non-Christians is a lie.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  3. John

    Religion renders the power structure of the day legitimate. Why else would Confederate soldiers be killed by hail of gunfire because slavery was their definition of holy. And as for the 67 Virgins or mansions in the sky, I prefer the former but honestly, don't you believe its a stretch?

    September 10, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  4. JFH

    People are leaving the church, and all other religions, because of the advancing tsunami of science education. It is inevitable, it may take a long, long time, but eventually organized religion will slowly retreat into the fuzzy world of spirituality. It's been happening for hundreds of years. You cannot reconcile the bible with what science discovery shows us. This is why we now have an increasing number of people defining themselves as spiritual instead of religious. The bible is not the word of a god. It's a collection of fables, poems and some historical fact that has been weaved into religious propoganda.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Oli

      Bingo JFH. You hit the nail on the head. Very well said. Religion is a way to control people...you must believe in God/Jesus in order to get through the hell which is Earth. No you don't. I don't need religion to know what's right from wrong. I don't need the church telling me how to think. I can think for myself. I respect those who believe in God/Jesus/the Bible...that's their beliefs but when I tell people I'm an agnostic, you should see the closed-minded reactions.

      September 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  5. Donnie the Lion

    Why are they leaving? ROI. What is the church giving them versus what the church is asking of them?

    September 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  6. Free Nuts

    Low sodium, hharri-free nuts.

    September 9, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  7. hharri

    Your day in court is coming soon, ladies. As will the benefactors of the sugar lobby. Our case is now complete charging certain parties with bribery whereby they achieved inclusion of a song in the 1964 film Mary Poppins promoting granulated sugar doses of as much as a spoonful for children with promises that it would ease medication intake. Several leading dentists will be on hand to reveal the harm this has caused over several decades.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  8. victory4all

    TO THE BELIEVERS HERE: I have heard some good critiques and suggestions about the modern "church". These are all prejudices though. Yes many churches have poor leadership & many others are out of step with the times & with the lives their congregations. The problem is mindsetand what we have come to legitimize as a church. Christ said; "Destroy this temple (building) and I will build it back up in three days. (body of faith)" One of the greatest messages of his ministry was that "church" was not a building where people come to worship, but a mindset of shared worship. "Where two are three are gather together in my name, I am there amongst them." I seldom enter traditional church buildings because I also have observed that there is some legitimacy behind the complaints that have listed here. None the less... I love HIS church & I love you all enough to share my joy at attending "church" with you today. Welcome to the digital age.

    September 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Duane Brown

    Let me see, intellectual integrity.? That means? Please define your terms before you go on a rant. I'm a proud Christian and I find room to exercise my intellectual integrity. Problems with rigid interpretation of the bible are rampant:.Genesis, first 12 chapters are history? Not likely. Men and women are not equal. Not so. But what about the NEW Testament, salvation, and the Old Testament, the 10 commandments. God does not require us to be stupid. Only preachers who should know better do that. Reject the preachers and embrace JC. He'll love you back.

    September 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jen

      Problem is, JC is long dead and rotted away, so he can't love you back. If he did, then why do we get cancer?

      September 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • Jon

        Eternity isn't about this life, this life is a passing moment. When I was a child I saved my allowance for weeks to buy a toy, and then I lost it, and I was devastated. I cried and wailed and threw a fit when my parents wouldn't replace it. They certainly could have, but they were interested in something far more important, teaching me the importance of taking care of my things, a life lesson that has served me well. As a child I didn't understand that, I only knew the suffering. Through suffering I grew and became wiser. Life teaches us, and sometimes we have to suffer to learn, but I was not destroyed by my loss, I was not scarred by it. On the contrary, I was made wiser. Why cancer, I don't know. The lesson is different for each of us, and we're still children. Oh, we think we know it all, but I've been around long enough now to know how clever I thought I was in my 20's, and then in my 30's I looked back and realized how foolish I was in my 20's and how much wiser I was in my 30's. Now, in my 40's, I know how foolish I was in my 30's. I am wiser in my 40's because I know I will look back in a decade and see my follies. As one grows in faith, we come to recognize these lessons and their value. And yes, I dare say we do so even when they kill us, because it isn't about life or death, ephemeral things that they are. It's about what we take from them.

        September 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Jesus Christ is far from dead. He rose from the dead and is waiting for his Father to intervene at His set time. The Bible says that no man knows the hour or the day not even the Son, but you can be assured He will make himself known, Again. Cancer? It's just one of the problems that plague man. For all we know we did it to ourselves, or at least the decision makers of the world did it to us. We can probably blame chemicals and pollution and preservatives for most of it...and lets not forget cigarettes. So did God do it to us or did we do it to ourselves? He is allowing man to make mistakes knowing that one day He will correct them.

          Why hasn't He intervened? He's not slow as some people think. A day to God is like a thousand years. So in God's mind it's only been 2 days since He last made His presence known. The 2000 years to man seems like forever but God is wise in waiting. Why? If Jesus Christ had appeared yesterday wouldn't we all believe? What if he had appeared in our parents generation? Wouldn't we still believe? If they had personally seen him and/or our grandparents...but...since generation after generation has come and gone with no personal eye witnesses in modern times, it now becomes easy for many not to believe, and that will be the non believers biggest mistake, to assume that God and his Son don't exist. It's a test of faith!

          September 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • Seth

          I really need to question this placing value on faith. What's the point if it's more likely to bite us in the butt in everything else? Is your idea of God so interested in people who are so interested in the IDEA of Christianity that they will abandon any faculties they normally use to make decisions in favor of abject belief, abject trust in the goodness and veracity of the Bible?

          If so, then it's a choice between a life lived rationally with respect to the time we have now, or a life entirely gambled on something we can never know with any reasonable certainty to be true. Why would anyone force anyone to make that kind of choice? It's absurd!

          September 6, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          If belief was based on faith alone then it might be hard for anyone to believe. Faith is only one aspect. I personally feel there is overwhelming evidence that God exists. I base it on my own Biblical research including historical data etc., not by taking someone's word for it. Faith can only be acquired by being convinced not by blindly believing what we are told.

          September 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
        • Seth

          Then what is a man to do when he doesn't find your evidence convincing?

          September 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I would say he either hasn't researched enough to be convinced, or, he chooses not to believe based on his own desires which may be in opposition to God's.

          September 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • Seth

          So let me get to the bottom line: What convinces you that the stories of miracles and the claim to divine authority in the Bible should be taken seriously?

          September 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Seth there are so many reasons it's hard to know where to begin. If you would like to check out my Pinterest page and scroll down to the bottom of the page I have posted several spiritual boards. One is called Reasons to Believe. I just started working on that board and I have a long way to go with it, but I will be adding new reasons to believe almost every day. I'm under Dissident Fairy. Ignore the distorted photo of me it was only for fun...and yes I do have a sense of humor, most of my boards are art boards because I'm in the arts:)

          September 7, 2013 at 12:10 am |
        • Observer


          "I personally feel there is overwhelming evidence that God exists."

          Your opinon. If there was overwhelming evidence that God exists, there wouldn't be any atheists and agnostics.

          September 6, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          To me there is overwhelming evidence! If I hadn't of taken the time to research it as much as I have then I might be an Atheist or Agnostic too.

          September 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • Seth

          I will research your research. Regarding at least two things, the "chariot wheels" and "prophecy" of Cyrus I can make these comments: Academics in both archaeology and in Biblical studies reject the historicity of any crossing of the Red Sea (and some of the Exodus entirely); as well, the book of Isaiah had at least two authors, according to literary analysis, the second of which could have made a "post-diction" regarding Cyrus's conquest and the fall of Babylon. The motivation for doing so is clear: You wield more power when you appear vindicated.

          September 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Seth – I have no motivation for doing what I do except to help people. Power isn't even a factor. Love is my motivation if you want to call it a motive. I believe God exists and He will vindicate Himself in the end. He desires to see everyone saved and so do I. Academics for the most part will always try and discredit God. You certainly have the right to disagree so I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise. The pins are not in order so that's why they are numbered. I have no control over that as the site automatically mixes them up. A friend got me involved with the site about two months ago. I kept asking her why? Finally the only reason that made any sense to me was the Biblical boards I came up with. I actually put a lot of effort into finding the right photo to try and coordinate with the information I present. It's hard work. So to reiterate I'm only doing it out of love. I stay away from opinion and try and present fact correlating the Bible to the evidence discovered. My boards have barely scratched the surface regarding Reasons to Believe. I wish you well and thank you for taking your time to check it out:)

          September 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Seth

          Dissident, please note that I'm not trying to discredit you or accuse you of ulterior motives. I know that you do what you do because you genuinely believe it to be in the best interest of others and in the service of your God.

          What I am implying is that the power and control that the written word held over others provided the motivation for the secondary (and possibly tertiary) writers of Isaiah to retroactively add successful prophecies. I currently believe that power or at the very least structure and order were the reasons that much of Christianity and Judaism was crafted.

          I will continue to read and ask questions. It may be possible that some archaeologists have a vested interest in disproving the Exodus, but surely this wouldn't apply to Jewish, Islamic, or Christian archaeologists? In any case, if what is presented are genuine chariot wheels and true archaeological evidence that an army was buried in the sea a few thousand years ago, any archaeologist would be hard-pressed to deny the facts. I'll see if I can get in touch with some.

          September 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Seth – It's wonderful that you are researching. Regarding the James Ossuary there may be a reason why the IAA was trying to call it a forgery. Yes they would be eager to endorse artifacts from the Exodus etc., but why have they been so opposed to the James Ossuary? Could it be because they would rather Not support the existence of Jesus Christ? Their two key witnesses for the prosecution both finally admitted that the patina was ancient on the inscription on the name Jesus, and they have not challenged the expert witnesses findings any further. At this point it seems they just want it to go away. The same with Dr. Zertal. He was an Atheist when he began the excavation 20 years ago but after his discovery he became a believer in God, and all his colleagues fell into a state of silence. Dr. Lawrence Stager said that they would all have to back to kindergarden if Zertal's findings turned out to be true, so they chose to go silent instead and sweep his findings under the rug.

          September 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Yes i acknowledge at least one typo....kindergarten...

          September 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Observer


          "To me there is overwhelming evidence! If I hadn't of taken the time to research it as much as I have then I might be an Atheist or Agnostic too."

          lol. Did your research show you that unicorns, talking serpents and dragons existed? Did your research show you the advantages of slavery and discrimination against WOMEN, gays and the handicapped like the Bible advocates?

          September 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • Felix

          dissidentfairy – Should it really take "research" to believe in something that should be more obviously true? And what research have you done outside the Bible? Your belief that the Cyrus "prophecy" was written before the fact just demonstrates how gullible you can be an how willing to ignore facts.

          September 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Seth

          Hey Felix, if the Bible were true, I've come to believe that it wouldn't necessarily be more obvious – in fact, it could be the opposite, because what is being searched for is loyalty and obedience in the absence of evidence. Arguably, this is the strongest kind of loyalty one can have, loyalty to the idea of a person rather than the person themselves.

          (I know it's not Occam logic to think in this way, but neither did I say that it's my main perspective on all of this.)

          September 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          True! God desires us to search for truth like hidden treasure. If it's easy then it usually it isn't worth very much:)

          September 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Felix – Jesus said it best: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31

          September 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • Felix

          Seth – Not everybody in the world has the leisure time, resources, literacy, etc. for the research effort some suggest would be necessary to keep oneself from eternal torment. Doesn't sound like a good system to me.

          September 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          "Jesus said it best: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31"

          Was Jesus really stumped for a way to convince everyone? Really?.... an omniscient god was stymied in this matter?

          September 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          How was he stymied? God didn't make robots! What he was saying was no matter what you say or do to convince people there will be always those who refuse to believe no matter what. He certainly had the power to wave a magic wand and make everyone conform and believe in him but what good is that! Then he would have a bunch of obeying robots set on automatic. He's not looking for that. He's looking for people who are genuinely interested in seeking Him, not in turning opposers into robots.

          September 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • Seth

          So allowing someone to consign themselves to eternal torment is more desirable than taking away their ability to choose such?

          September 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I don't believe in eternal torment Seth. I don't feel that the Bible teaches it. The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

          September 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • Seth

          What does "and their worm dieth not" mean?

          September 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          It's not literal Seth it just means they will die. The Rich Man and Lazarus is another example that many take as literal. Could the rich man really have had his thirst quenched with one drop of water in a literal burning hell? No way! The Bible, if you compare various translations, same Book, chapter and verse, some will say hell, others hades, sheol, grave, and pit. They all mean the same thing. The grave and death. What kind of a sadistic God would make people burn forever and ever in eternal torment? We don't make people suffer do we? At least we don't if we have an element of sentience about us. So why would God being so far above us in love do less than we would do? He wouldn't. Convicts are executed by man not tortured forever and ever.

          "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13....notice it says die not experience eternal torment... "The soul who sins shall die." Ezekiel 18:20...The soul of a person can die! It will not be tormented and tortured forever but will die and return to the dust of the ground.

          September 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Felix

          "God desires us to search for truth like hidden treasure. If it's easy then it usually it isn't worth very much"

          Spoken (or written) like someone who has a lot of time on their hands and doesn't recognize the privileged position they are in compared to most of the world's population.

          September 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          That's true Felix. People with more time do have it a lot easier than those who don't. Some people work three plus jobs trying to survive and are tired when they finally go home. Obviously the person who lives on an inheritance, or is retired, or is self employed, has more control over their time than the average 9-5 person. God understands this. Most people though do have some extra time aside from work and most people do enjoy certain activities aside from the drudgery of work. If a person can only give God a few minutes of his day then he has given all he can give and God understands this. Remember the poor widow in the Bible that only gave a few pennies? Jesus said that she had given more than the rest because she had given all that she had.

          September 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot


          No magic wand or robotics is necessary... just present facts as convincing as gravity, for example, that anyone with a working brain can understand and can figure out the consequences of contending with it. You seem to prefer a trickster.

          September 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • Philip


          I think Felix is trying to take you out of your cozy American world where Christianity already dominates.

          September 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • JR

          dissidentfairy: You have to provide some sort of persuasive reason for someone to choose to spend their valuable time researching your religion instead of one of the hundreds of others.

          September 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          JR- For some reason my response to you won't go through so I will try it in two sections and see what happens:)

          Religion for the most part will probably avail you little in the way of knowledge as most do not go very deep into the Bible. You might do best by doing your own Biblical research and praying to God for spiritual guidance. He will lead you in the right direction.

          September 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          JR – You can't really love someone you don't know. If you don't take the time to try and get to know God then he will remain an enigma. The more you learn about Him the more you will appreciate what He has done for us, and you will develop a deep love for Him.

          September 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • JR

          dissidentfairy – Again, looking for a compelling reason to look into your god versus anyone else's.

          September 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          My God is your God whether you acknowledge Him or not. I would say the motivation might be life without end. Is your life so exciting that you are willing to trade the few years you have left for an eternity of real happiness?

          September 8, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          But what if you choose the wrong god, and every time you pray to your fake god you're making the real god angrier and angrier? I'd say it's you who is taking the bigger risk.

          Also, eternal life sounds like a sweet deal, but that doesn't make all the BS true. If some guy on the street tells me that I'll be able to have a three-some with Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus if I worship his socks, should I do it? Sure, the motivation is there, but how do I know that he can provide the goods?

          September 9, 2013 at 12:01 am |
        • Seth

          I was with you until Miley Cyrus.

          September 9, 2013 at 1:31 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That tongue of hers could do magical things.

          September 9, 2013 at 2:02 am |
        • Seth

          But at what cost-?

          September 9, 2013 at 4:12 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Well, according to the guy on the street, all I have to do is go to this big building every Sunday for an hour or so, put money in his collection plate and follow a set of archaic rules which make absolutely no sense, all in the name of His Almighty Sock. If I do this, I get some sweet Miley and Selena lovin'.

          September 9, 2013 at 4:21 am |
        • JR

          "My God is your God whether you acknowledge Him or not."
          Surely you realize how completely arrogant and mindless that sounds. And you seem to have misunderstood what I've asked for.

          You are aware, of course, of the existence of hundreds of other religions which also claim to have the right god and offer rewards for believers. What I'm looking for is some shred of evidence you can provide that your religion is the correct one and that all the others are wrong–evidence that might merit undertaking the extensive research and time commitment you suggest is needed to come to a full appreciation.

          September 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Arrogant? I can't spend my life debating with you guys. I think most of the world universally believes there is only one true God whether they call Him by the same name or not, unless of course you are referring to the ancient civilizations that had imaginary gods for just about every occasion.

          September 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "Imaginary gods". Prove it. Prove Odin is imaginary and Yahweh isn't.

          September 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • JR

          "I think most of the world universally believes there is only one true God"

          Most, perhaps, are members of the various monotheistic religions, and they all think theirs is the "one true God", but hardly anyone thinks their god is the same as some other religion's god. And by some estimates there are currently 4,200 religions in the world (google it yourself).

          But... no evidence for yours, then?

          September 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          It's far more arrogant Not to believe in God. In doing so one is proclaiming him/herself to be their own god, and to live by their own rules, and in doing so denying God the recognition He deserves. I have stated many reasons on this blog why I believe. I can't keep repeating myself like a broken record. Actually if you wish to check out some of my previous comments you will see some of the reasons why I believe. I hope you find what you are looking for in your spiritual pursuit and it leads you closer to God:)

          September 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Peter Piper

          It seems you don't believe in lots and lots of gods and have settled on just one. Atheists just take it that one step further. Nothing arrogant about it.

          September 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • JR

          dissidentfairy – All gods get the recognition they deserve, in direct proportion to the evidence they provide that they exist. Enjoyed our dialog. Peace.

          September 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Actually I agree with you on that. Peace be with you too JR:)

          September 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • sam stone

          dissidentfairy: why do you feel you have any more insight into the existence or the nature of god than anyone else?

          September 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Did I say that I did?

          September 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • sam stone

          "My God is your God whether you acknowledge Him or not."

          I must have misread that

          September 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • db

        why, because their is EVIL in the world, free will. God doesn't bring this on us.. we bring it on ourselves! Jesus said, I came so they may have life and have it more abundantly!

        September 7, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • Dippy

          There, not their.

          September 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • sam stone

          db: if god is omniscient, there is no free will


          September 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        prove it

        September 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Seth

          People don't die, come back from the dead, and then rise into heaven. You need to prove that otherwise for Jesus, or it is more reasonable to assume that he was a normal man who died and rotted like everyone else.

          September 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • hharri

          Silly fool. If u can't c the evidence, look harder.

          September 9, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  10. Christine

    I hate that this is going to sound like an ad, but......... I found a church that has most of the things mentioned by Rachel as missing in other churches. I recently started attending a United Congregational Church (UCC).

    I am a transgendered male to female person and I feel so welcomed and loved and I'm making friends so it works on a personal level.

    More importantly though my church is one of the few places in society, let alone a church where there is every type of person; young, old, male, female, gay, straight, families, singles, rich, poor, you name it, all come together and just treat each other as human beings. The worship is beautiful and spiritual, and I've cried more than once, and rethought an old belief or opinion just as often.

    ...and then externally the church takes you out of your bubble into helping feed the hungry, social justice, human rights, etc.

    Since this does sound like an ad: Your Mileage May Vary, Batteries not included, if you have a religious experience that lasts more than 4 hours please consult a doctor immediately, etc. etc. 🙂

    September 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Athy

      Christine Jorgenson?

      September 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  11. KJavar

    1 John 2:19-These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.

    No matter what excuse we give, God already knows who's His. We can't give excuses for our soul salvation. There will always be hypocrisy in the House of God until He comes to dived the wheat from the tares. If they decided to walk away from Christ, then they never really belonged to Him from the beginning. Christ said in John that He only prays for those who belong to Him and those who that the Father has given Him can never be plucked out of their hands.

    September 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Seth

      You realize that there's an opposite side to that coin. If a church was never of God, it's not the person leaving the church that's a goat.

      September 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        100% true!

        September 6, 2013 at 4:27 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.