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. Bob

    You're a Millennial? Maybe for the purpose of getting your article published. But at 35 you're definitely Gen Y.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Chela

      She is 32. Born in 81. Read it again. First sentence.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Huh?

      Gen Y and Millenials are 2 names for the same generation.

      July 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  2. RdRunnerxx

    As much as I would like to respect religion I find absolutely nothing in it. How can one respect any source that says Earth is flat or it is only 6000 years old whereas all scientific facts say otherwise? I have been on a plane and I have seen the curvature of the Earth with my own eyes! Sorry but there are so many inconsistencies in religion that simply renders it irrelevant.

    According to one estimate, instead of these non-sense, if religion had simply said "boil the water before you drink it," an estimated 2 billion people would have lived a full life in the last two millennium.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Dale

      Maybe you should do some research about what certain religions believe before you post. Also, looking back at things that happened long ago with a modern opinion is a mistake.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • RdRunnerxx

        All three Abrahamic religions believe the Earth is just a few thousand years old. And that is completely false. Since you seem to have done your research, please point me to one religion that said the Earth was round and revealed a few facts that were later found out to be scientifically true. I would really love that.

        July 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  3. Colin

    Like trickle down economics, atheism continues its slow percolation down the intellectual ranks. One day soon, only the really intellectually enfeebled will still believe in sky fairies.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      Here's to hoping that we are closer to that than is apparent. I suspect that there are large numbers of atheists hiding that fact from their family just to keep the peace.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
      • Colin

        I've read about a meme based mathematical model that have Christianity pretty much margainilized in Australia, NZ, UK and Western Europe in 50 years. USA lags a little. Don't know how accurate it will prove to be. I'm pretty sure it is a one way street though.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  4. Austin

    John 13:34-35
    New International Version (NIV)
    34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    idk if this is the verse where He tells us to love other believers or if it is the other one where He talks about love and the greatest commandment.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • hee hee

      My love is not diffuse and insipid. It is sharp and focused on a small number of people.

      Rather than loving every person I meet (rather a tall order), I find it much easier to support social ideals and laws that improve the world.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  5. John Williams

    A church whose stated vision is to be a place where there is a truce between the various cultural wars, and that instead is a place where the liturgy is traditional, unpretentious, unforced, and un-hip, and where the application of love to issues of human need is immediate, is the church that will grow and move and have it's being in the Spirit. That is the church that will survive, that will draw others to it, and that will make God smile.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • hee hee

      Isn't it nice that God wants what you want?

      I want flowers and bunnies.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  6. hee hee

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

    That's why people leave the church. Because if you have Hindu, Muslim and atheist friends, you can't help seeing how silly that is. Did the ancient Greeks long for Jesus? Seriously? Even if you've never traveled, nowadays you can learn about other cultures on the web. No amount of pining for the old times will change this.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • DaveLake

      Hee hee- you are so correct. A world view sure helps reality.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  7. anagabeelena

    Great to see so many incisive thoughts from the growing (soon to be majority) body of rational thinking people that don't waste their time with supernaturalism of any form.

    Keeping it epistimilogicaly light, what is amazing is that there are still so many adults that have imaginary friends (Jesus, Mary, Angels, Fairies, etc...). It's the 21st century for Pete's sake.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Did you read the article? This women clearly believes in myths. Mainly she just wants a church that treats her gay friends better.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • Ukin

        You didn't read the article either, did you.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Ukin: Ok, where did I go wrong? She is a Christian and believes in Jesus as her savior. But she wants a church that is more open to gays. She also wants one that supports science (so I should of said that also).

          I think her only option is to find another church.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  8. Ron

    As my dad says – I used to work and pray. One day I decided to stop working and pray. Almost starved. Then I started working and stop praying. Been working ever since...

    July 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Frank

      Somewhere in the bible it does say that by the sweat of your brow you shall eat.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • Doobs

        "Somewhere in the bible"??

        LOL!! And you wonder why people laugh at you.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Austin

          laugh? you mean torment?

          July 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • hee hee

          @Austin: yes, it seems to be very important for Christians to believe that they are tormented and persecuted.

          I find this very interesting.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • hee hee

        Wait – are you saying the bible contains the radical idea that work produces results?

        That's. Simply. Amazing. I will now accept all the other stuff without question.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • Ron

        All the gospel songs say let the lord do the work... are they liars?

        July 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • OTOH


        Maybe, but somewhere else it says:
        Matt: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."

        - or -

        Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
        Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
        Give a man religion, and he'll starve to death praying for a fish.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Doobs

      I like your dad.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  9. hee hee

    She asks the impossible. If you learn enough, you can't be Christian. If you know history and science, you can't be Christian. How can you say that you believe in original sin, if you know about australopithecines? How can you believe that Jesus is God, when you know that that was decided by a council of church leaders in the fourth century?

    I know there are people who manage with extreme mental acrobatics. Good luck to them.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • BC

      Who says you have to believe those things to be a Christian?

      July 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
      • hee hee

        Sure, go ahead and diffuse the meaning of Christianity until I could believe it. That's fine with me; but then it becomes a discussion of terminology. Which is really beside the point.

        Look, I've been down that conversational road before. Your question is not challenging.

        July 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • Brian

          Not really trying to challenge or "evangelize" – more of an attempt to avoid stereotyping. I mean, if you want to see the Christian church (or any organized religion) as a big bad monster, that's ok. But by clumping other people in with your generalizations, you essentially become just as guilty of propaganda and ignorance as those you are arguing against.

          July 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • hee hee

          Brian, you are being disingenuous. The beliefs which I posted are core beliefs of Christianity for enormous numbers of people. The first, mostly of Catholics – the second believed by a solid majority of those who call themselves Christians. I know that there are many sects and nuances and personal exceptions.

          You're calling it "propaganda" to treat the idea that Jesus is god as representative of a large portion of Christianity? Really?

          That's exactly what I meant – you've just begun debating terminology. I suppose that game allows you to not acknowledge my central point. Which doesn't appear in your post in any form. See how I took in your point and responded to it? Do the same to the next guy, ok?

          July 28, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • David

      "A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God." – Francis Bacon

      This does NOT, of course, mean that scientists leave their presuppositions at the door of their homes before they go to work. We all have to struggle with whether or not we're willing to allow the evidence to draw us where it will or pigeonhole the data into an already agreed upon perspective. Whether it's a small or large number of people asserting an idea, group consensus leading to truth is a fallacy of thought. I won't bother to contradict your statements because they obviously come not from a place of earnest study but from one of worldview and perspective. No one can argue against such things when one is committed so to their opinions.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  10. Frank

    People may change their views, but God is the same today as God was yesterday. So sugar coating something that you do not agree with does not make it right or scriptural. People need to make a choice.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      You appear to believe you speak for god. There are many different Christian sects. Each beleives their interpetation of the bible is the right one. So if she doesn't belong to the same church as you she is misguided?

      July 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • Joe

        Wouldn't it have been nice if the perfect god had thought to reveal himself in a medium that would be perfect and unchangable. Apparently he didn't have the forethought to not have a handful of Hebrew nomads write things in a human language that would end up changing almost completely and not be spoken by everyone on the earth. Leaving it vulnerable to mistranslation and misinterpretation then leave it in the charge of a bunch of humans who are prone to corruption and greed, so they can cut out the bits they don't like and add stuff they want in there. If only he had been omniscient or something he could have prevented all these problems.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • hee hee

      "People may change their views, but God is the same today as God was yesterday".


      July 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • MikeH

      And the fact that it is scriptural doesn't make it right or necessarily the word of God. Assuming there is a God, nobody here really knows what it thinks, how much it cares, or does or does not happen to us after death. Choosing to cling to a collection of unoriginal stories as literal and factual doesn't make it any less true.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Linda

      The Bible is quite clear on gay and lesbianism....try reading it. I'm tired of people who wish to bring a Holy, righteous God down to their level and make Him into a designer religion that fits their lack of morals or integrity. Try READING the Bible before you spout your gleaned philosophies from intellectualized morons who still don't know what is within its pages. If it bothers you that "traditional" churches still preach the Bible – the same as years before...try one that has an empty parking lot with a LGBT rainbow out front and GO there!

      July 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
      • Damocles

        Right! How dare people not hate the same things you do! The nerve of some people thinking for themselves! How dare they!

        July 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
      • votarus4

        O, Linda. Your venom is not the voice of Jesus. It is simply venom. From where does this rage come? Why are you so angry at your brothers and sisters who don't believe as you do. Were you not commanded to love them? I am so sorry you are sick and tired. I will pray for you to find your way back to Jesus. You are truly, truly lost.
        And btw, you had a great bridge you could have built with the rainbow flag comment (ya know, God's promise that suffering does eventually end), but instead you hurled more hatred.
        If God is love, I think you should try reintroducing yourself.

        July 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • hee hee

          of course, you know exactly what Jesus thinks.

          I know exactly what Zarathustra thinks. So there.

          July 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  11. Neo Atheist

    Religious Nonsense.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Frank

      For you and others like you it may be so, but for many it is a way of life.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • Neo Atheist

        A sad way of life being herded around, told what to do, what to believe in, who to follow. Hate others who don't agree. Ignorance and stupidity.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • jstars

          What's your sample size supporting those claims?

          July 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • Damocles

        I agree with Frank, religious nonsense is most certainly a way of life for many.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  12. DaveLake

    I also feel people are leaving the church because the world around them has become immediate. People are no longer isolated by geography. Events in other counties through video and text on the internet adds reality to reality. As one learns more about other cultures personal reflection of their beliefs may take place. A global understanding of the world may impact and improve a persons analytical skills. This is a slow process-but one that is emerging into a shape called reality.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • DaveB

      Dave – have absolutely no idea what your premise is here – you're saying that by closing the distance globally by leveraging technology, more people will leave the church and become atheists/humanists/etc?

      July 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • DaveLake

        Hi DaveB- You mar disagree-but that is exactly what I am saying. Once people start attaining a global view reflection takes place on views/ideas attained in ones small setting. A slow but eye opening process. This will not happen to everyone-but those who have a habit of questioning everything will have more information to digest.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • DaveB

          OK, but have you considered that opening the global aperture might even have the opposite effect ie) draw people closer to the church. Effectively expanding someone's universe would tend to make them feel smaller and perhaps more drawn to their original faith for comfort, purpose, etc. Your thoughts?

          July 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  13. Gaven

    While the author's missive does have some merit, the reality is that educated countries, as well as countries that have unrestricted access to the internet, are leaving religion because they are able to discern truth and reality outside of the small circle of evangelicals that hover around them telling them what they should believe. Studies across the board show that higher educated individuals are less likely to be religious while less educated, and those who are financially in the lower class, are far more likely to cling to religion as a source of hope...or, because they simply don't know any better because that is what they were brought up to believe.

    This is why you see countries in Europe that have stellar educational systems (Norway, Sweden, etc.) leaving religion in droves. They lead the education polls across the globe. Then you look at an area like "the south" in the U.S., where the bottom almost all of the bottom 15 states in education are southern states. Is it just a coincidence that the south is called "the bible belt" and that they have the lowest educated people in America? Is it a coincidence that the Middle East has some of the most uneducated people on the planet, yet some of the most religious?

    No, these are not coincidences. There is a tie between what people are willing to believe and throw away as mistruth because it contradicts their faith...and what people know and are willing to omit as plausible because of their education. I am not here to say one is better than the other; all I am here to do is draw the comparisons between lesser educated areas that cling to religion and higher educated areas that are dismissing religion. There is cause and effect, whether you like it or not. You do not have to agree...but you do have to accept that facts are facts and that faith has absolutely hand in reality.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • DaveLake

      Gaven-A perfect post. What scares me-– our state government no longer wants teachers to get a Master Degree or beyond. Education is no longer considered a high priority. I could go on-but you get the idea.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • ZombieTech

      Erm, great assumptive generalization. That is considering there are SEVERAL educated countries WITH unrestricted internet-access that still choose to be heavily religious. Spain, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, India, Egypt, Tibet, China, Philippines, etc - just to name a few. ^_^

      July 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
      • DaveLake

        In those religious countries it may take a long time-but it will happen.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • jstars

      That's a Eurocentric worldview. In the global east (specifically China, Vietnam, and the former Soviet Republics), religion and education are both rising.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  14. I detest Jesus

    Not a theist, religions are "stupid".
    Not a deist, gods are "stupid".

    Now if you will excuse me, I have a lake of fire to go sit in for trillions upon trillions of years because I don't "love Jesus"

    July 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • M.R.

      Ruminations falsely ascribed, snacklefish warranted.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  15. sbaker

    The Evangelical church has been very much misunderstood. The church today is like a relationship with God, gone cold. It is a loveless church. It is a group of people that just go through the motions of coming to church, but they do not share a relationship and the true unity and glue that binds us all together. If the church were how it is supposed to be, we wouldn't be having all the worlds problems today. Its like the ants that work together to store up food for the winter. God fashioned them all. They all know their place in their community and work effectively together as a society and thrive well, each carrying their own burdens and sharing life together. Man wasn't supposed to be alone. We all are united in God. We all have a individual and joint purpose. It is Gods spirit that binds us all together as one and restores harmony. We have fractured that harmony. That has caused all our problems. We live as individuals, as though we can survive without each other and God and therein lies the biggest problem. The Spirit of God unites and not divide. We need to restore love in the Church by restoring the presence of the spirit in the Church

    July 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • lol??

      God goes where He wants and does what He wants. You cannot do any restorin' or reformin'.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • M.R.

        Charity? Splendorous fealty. Paver hell quantified.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  16. goodbyejesus31

    They're leaving b/c the churches are populated with right-wing bigots who think Christianity means hating gays and abortion. And the liberals want it to turn it into some kind of non-aligned seeker sensitive get together. Why even bother? Donate money to bigots or glorified motivational/self-help types? Just stay home, sleep in, and save your money.

    July 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Austin

      nope, i am off to church at 6 and 667 people came to faith last year , new believers.

      thats why giving money does not matter. because the blessing from God are resources for outreach. wither that is one or ten talents, the point is that you take your blessings and use them for God's glory. that might include money.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  17. JesusNotReligion

    The gates of hell will not prevail against the (true) church (Gk. eklessia: assembly of the called out ones)...This issue has been thoroughly addressed in many, many books over the last 25 years when the "seeker service" movement began making inroads (see "Ashamed of the Gospel" by John MacArthur-and many others)...This is not a new "problem" but rather an old one with contemporary trappings. It's roots can be predominantly traced to the pulpit of Charles Finney (1800-1840) who introduced the "altar call" and the "What would Jesus do?" saying...Finney was also an "Arminian" preacher who looked for ways to make an "evangelical" appeal to the will & flesh of man, rather than understanding that "no one can (has the ability to) to come to (Jesus) unless the Father draws him (or her)" - Jesus' words in found John 6:44 (see also John 6:65). When churches leave this truth about God's sovereignty in salvation, they will look for pragmatic ways to make potential converts feel comfortable in their pews and entertained, with the hope they will then confess Jesus as their savior (i.e. "invite Him into their heart"-another unbiblical concept)...
    Christ's church will prevail...
    Wide is the road that leads to destruction...narrow is the road that leads to life, and few find it...
    "Many are called but few are chosen" (Jesus' words...not mine...take it up with Him)

    July 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  18. ZombieTech

    Quite odd and frustrating. Made a whole long, nice, pleasant post agreeing with the article, making some great points and observations... but then after clicking "Post" it just vanishes and never shows up whatsoever. So, I guess instead of wasting anymore time typing anything with deep thought, I'll just instead say, "well, isn't that just nice". *facepalm*

    July 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • jazzguitarman


      July 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Damocles

      Yes, you really have to watch for naughty words hidden within what you type.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        It isn’t only bad words. This is why you see ‘test’ above. I tried to post something that had no bad words. Here is what I tried (modified again to see if this time it isn’t stopped).

        I also learned the hard way. I recommend one type your comments in Word program (or something similar) and then copy \ paste them into the box. This way if the mode ration soft ware denies your posts you can edit it and try again (some words have to be spelled with spaces between letters to get by the soft ware).

        July 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Damocles: Their filter doesn't allow the word; soft ware (as one word!). Really my post keep getting blocked until I changed that word! Insane.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • Damocles

          It could be that the t-w-a combo was too close to t-w-a-t.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
      • Doobs

        The one that always catches me is "accumulate".

        July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • ZombieTech

        Wasn't any naughty words in my original post. I did mention g@y rights and how I have no problem with them and am even in favor of them (since they're even mentioned in the original blog here). Just funny the disclaimer at the bottom says "Comments are not pre-screened" and yet they're automatically cancelled out and removed while never telling us what the issue was... just too bad, so sad. o_O

        July 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  19. arm5

    The reason why millenials are leaving the church is because what is being taught over the pulpits is not being carried home and taught so we compromise the word of God that leaves confusion in the life of our young of today.

    July 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Austin

      selfish disputes, contentions factions disorders.

      at my church, my pastor's daughter died of Cancer, she had kids she was almost thirty, then the pastor took time off in dispair. during that time, my friends wife miscarried. and they left the church because my pastor would not up and do a funeral for their baby.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • Yeddo

        Your friends sound shallow.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Austin

          everyone is.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • arm5

        Wow what church do you to Austin. Sounds very similar to what happened to my church.

        July 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • arm5

        Sounds like what happened at my church Austin.

        July 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      Oh, it's the fault of the PARENTS! Now I get it.
      If only they would indoctrinate their kids better, like, hmmm.... the way it's done it the middle east.
      We need more fanatics.
      Yeah, that's the ticket.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • arm5

        Magic panties what I meant is that for the most part is there is not a good biblical balance in most homes therefore and most parents don't walk as the bible talks so therefore we have left a generation that is searching for something that they will never find in the emerging church movement.

        July 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • MikeH

      There should be confusion in life, young and old. There aren't clean, easy, well defined answers to everything. That's where the BS meter comes in to play.
      Step 1: Put religious books in historic and social context of the time the stories were written and this particular version was recorded.
      Step 2: Admit that society has advanced since they were written, therefore some ideas may be a little off. Clinging to every aspect and putting the words beyond reproach degrades the positive teachings available.
      Step 3: Don't sell the tyrant version of God. This does not fit all by any means, but the idea of following the word of anyone simply because they are powerful and can mistreat someone if that person doesn't follow every little thing they demand flies in the face of the basic principles we hold so valuable.
      Step 4: Pull a Thomas Jefferson and eliminate the hocus pocus. Talk about the ideas and principles and why they are good. Why is a very important question to answer. See Step 3 before answering why.
      Step 5: Be open to questioning, especially when it comes to hypocrisy. We all have these issues within our lives and belief systems. The key to being seen as honest is owning it and working through it rather than being defensive, especially if the defense defies logic.

      Personally, I think another place that religion has been off the mark with younger generations in the U.S. is that it is often sold in 2 ways; the first was covered earlier (tyrannical God); the second is selling it from a selfish perspective. With the selfish perspective, I am referring to selling the pearly gates and great afterlife, like God put us in a game show with a grand prize at the end. I think a lot more young people would find churches attractive if they focused on doing good for other people for the sake of those other people and the world. Helping others overcome hunger, disease, homelessness, illiteracy, and violence on both the local and global scale are important to younger generations. The things that those who are currently acting as the face of religion in America have concerned themselves with seem so petty compared to the issues I just listed.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  20. No one

    So you want to keep your BS meter but want the church to just change their radical BS to just palatable BS?
    That would be fooling yourself.
    The radicals, while insane, are at least understandable in that they are actually following their scripture more closely than the people that can't make up their mind whether or not to believe in nonsense. While they may not stone their targets to death, their targets are indeed clearly labeled according to their faith.

    July 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Austin

      basic human selfishness.

      July 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      I agree she wants to have it both ways. She appears to have many secular values, which I think is great, but I don't think she can find a church that is consistent with her values. Is there a Burger King church?

      July 27, 2013 at 6:09 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.