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. Not a millennial but. . .

    No, millennials arent leaving the church because the church wont minister to gay people, they're leaving the church because it is based on a 2000 year old worldview. Living dogmatically in a non-dogmatic world soon proves silly; tell a nation like ours to not eat bacon because pigs are "unclean" rather than explain that it was tricky to cook pork 2000 years ago over a fire and made people sick. Explain away enough details of scripture in such a way and the wisdom of the rest comes into question.

    This was a great guide on how to live in that era, but doesn't answer the questions we face anymore.

    What happens when we die is still a universal worry, for all time and in every place. Jesus has an answer for that question, in detail, but only if you believe in him. If you dont, you're going to end up in the same place as Adolf Hitler. The problem with the church isnt one of acceptance, its a lack of credible answers in light of a much more thoroughly understood and interconnected world.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • History

      Ah, the "cook pork" myth. This, too, has been debunked. The real reason pork was outlawed is similar to the reason cows are sacred in Hinduism (and yet calves are often killed so they don't nurse): raising pigs, which require massive amounts of water so they don't overheat and die requires excessive amounts of capital and water resources, of which the region has been sorely lacking for a long long time. Basically, the prohibition is there to keep people from starving to death. The book "Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches" by Sam Harris lays out the nitty gritty quite nicely.

      July 28, 2013 at 4:26 am |
      • Im not a millennial but. . .

        I dont know who Sam Harris is but he sounds like a moron.

        The key word is "unclean" as it is interpreted from the Greek; passages referring to the fact that they dont regurgitate their cud is the reason they are deemed so. How Sam Harris gets the idea that the writer of that passage simply meant to say "expensive" is beyond me.

        The thing about Hindus and cows has ancient roots. Horned animals are sacred for a variety of cultural reasons but the root of sacred horned animals seems to come from the resemblance of their heads to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes of human women, and the animals are usually associated with fertility and female symbols. Marija Gimbutas lays that out nicely as well.

        July 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  2. Markus

    Jesus is becoming as obvious a fraud as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, etc. Every exposed con man/kidnapper/pedophile/revolutionary is an inoculation against faith in any other similar figure. Every atrocity of religious/totalitarian government, from fascism in Europe to the theocracies in the Middle East to the personality cults in Soviet Russia and North Korea, is now identified and broadcast with unprecedented clarity. We see through it. You don't. You are asking how we can be made to not see through it, and to forget what we know about real religion, in contrast to your silly promises.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • moop

      There's a distinction between Jesus and the cult leaders/murderers you cited: Jesus was a pacifist. Jesus was probably some peace loving guy who was built into a legend. He doesn't deserve to be put in a category with dangerous megalomaniacs.

      July 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  3. NorthVanCan

    I continued believing in Santa long after I figured out religion was bunk.
    Probably cuz Santa gave me stuff.
    Wish he was real.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • lol??

      Ever heard of Uncle Sam and Uncle Joe?? They're rich. Rich uncles are what you want.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  4. lol??

    God can love the world without getting dirty. The bride cannot.

    1Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him ...............................Why all the expectations by the A&A's of the bride?? That's misplaced.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  5. mabel floyd

    ok-i give up
    i have tried 5 times to post. no luck

    July 27, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • MagicPanties

      I know, right?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  6. DwayneO

    I just wonder how the author came to the conclusion that she's a spokesman for her entire generation.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • MagicPanties

      I wonder how you determined the author is male?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • lol??

        Male trapped in a female body?? Need better food inspectors.

        July 27, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • Sean M.

        She is generally an acronym for a woman...

        July 27, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • DwayneO

        "Spokeswoman" is an awkward and needless term. I and many others refuse to participate in the gelding of the English language.

        July 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Sokesky

          Language changes, whether you choose to participate or not. Just read Shakespeare in the original.

          English is already "gelded" compared to other languages in which most nouns are gendered. If you want a language which clearly defines everything as gendered, learn some Spanish.

          July 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  7. anbesaw

    It is the dawn of scientific outlook. We all should go through this path of scientific analysis of our surroundings.
    Gone are the days when humans can't understand nature as much and think it was the work soper being diety!!!
    AS we aquire more knowledge from the smallest photons to the universe, we under stand more of nature's physics, chemistry as well as biological process. Therefore we can live a better sustainable life with efficiency as well as ample knowledge. religion is the man made wall that devides us from the knowledge of our natural surrounding. It is mind numbing trickery coined by clever men centuries ago.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Interested

      I'm a man of science, but science will never be able to answer philosophical dilemnas or drive people to moral behavior or compassion which are the driving forces of a better society. Understanding the way nature works is great and has afforded an easier life, but it doesn't give society purpose. So our sole purpose in life is to discover nature, make life better for the next gen, and expand our knowledge of the universe to what end? Our lives are so short compared to the age of the universe, we need an eternal purpose to give our lives meaning ... So, the only way I see to do that is to serve the purpose of something eternal, namely God. I don't know, I could be wrong.

      July 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • greff

        I don't need an "eternal purpose", whatever that is, especially because "eternal purpose" in reality means consuming and pondering mystical writings and sermons which are solely based in the imaginations of the authors.

        Please tell me what on Earth is wrong with having "discover nature, make life better for the next gen, and expand our knowledge of the universe" as primary goals in life? " to what end?" How about to improve life on this planet and reduce as much human suffering as possible? That's as admirable a goal as I can imagine.

        Why are those goals which will really help real people less than reading and pondering obscure fictional religious doctrine? That makes no sense at all.

        July 28, 2013 at 8:38 am |
        • moop

          greff, the applause your hear is mine.

          July 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • moop

        I'm a man of science, but science will never be able to answer philosophical dilemnas or drive people to moral behavior or compassion which are the driving forces of a better society. Understanding the way nature works is great and has afforded an easier life, but it doesn't give society purpose. So our sole purpose in life is to discover nature, make life better for the next gen, and expand our knowledge of the universe to what end? Our lives are so short compared to the age of the universe, we need an eternal purpose to give our lives meaning ... So, the only way I see to do that is to serve the purpose of something eternal, namely God. I don't know, I could be wrong.

        Do you see the vanity and fear evident in your post? What is wrong with living this life without being constricted by the thought of what happens when you take your exit?

        And why do you imply religion is the only driver of "moral behavior or compassion"? One of the most insulting assumptions of many religious persons is that agnostics/atheists are incapable of having morals. It's a false argument.

        July 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • moop

          ugh- sorry, forgot to include the quotes around interested's statement.

          July 28, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  8. Hope

    God Help us! By your Spirit, Awaken our souls to the truth!!!

    July 27, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • MagicPanties

      My invisible pink unicorn agrees, and she is praying that you get a clue.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • AE

        God is real.

        Your imaginary pink unicorn is something you made up to make fun of another person.

        I can point you to testimonies of people that have placed their complete trust and confidence in God. If you are willing to listen it can change your life.

        I doubt you have any serious testimonies about your pink unicorn.

        July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Step away from the bible and prove via evidence that your imaginary friend is real and that one of the other numerous gods are not. godchecker.com should enlighten your closed mind but sadly I doubt it. you seem to be satisfied that what you believe is not based on anything other than the bible. Oh well, it is you who is wasting your only guaranteed life and it is you who looks like the complete uneducated fool.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          "what you believe is not based"
          should have read "what you believe even though it is not based"

          July 27, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • AE

          God is real.

          You can access this power – just ask.

          No website god checker needed.

          This is not a science experiment I'm talking about – but God.

          He provides his evidence, not an internet atheist posting on a religious blog's evidence.

          It is much better than you are imagining.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • Notso

          How many testimonies about the reality of the Pink Unicorn would it take to make you change your mind? If, as I assume, your answer is "no number would suffice", then please explain exactly how your testimonies are superior to those and how you can tell.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • AE

          I'm not going to place my trust in a grown man posting as "Magic Panties" on a blog dedicated to faith and belief.

          The thing about Jesus Christ – if you do what he says – God will start changing your world.

          God's evidence is overwhelming. It is possible God is on your mind if you are here. Keep seeking.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Notso

          It is Truth that is on my mind. I am interested in anything that leads me in that direction. You allude to all this "evidence". That interests me, so I asked a question about it. Care to answer?

          July 27, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Notso

          It is Truth that is on my mind. I am interested in anything that leads me in that direction. You allude to all this "evidence". That interests me, so I asked a question about it. Care to answer?

          What would you advise to those of us who, in all sincerity and humility, prayed for guidance and received the response "Don't pray, think". Can I assume that if that is what God instructed us, then you are ok with us following these instructions?

          July 27, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • Hope

        Praying to who?

        July 27, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Hope

        Who will you pray to?

        July 27, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • dagoda

        Magic – you seen to fight awfully hard for your point of view. If it is true ...why all the sarcasm?

        July 28, 2013 at 6:56 am |
  9. In Christ Alone

    As a millennial, I can tell you that it has nothing to do with how church is conducted and the liturgy that is lacking. The millennial generation has one thing on its mind. Me, myself and I. They want a God that conforms to their standard or what they believe God should do. They do not want a god that will tell them how to live or what to believe. God is a God of structure and rules. If you don't abide by them, fine – that is your decision. But you can't change who God is, just like I can't change who you are. (Nor would I try.) But keep it straight, it is not about God, it is about man deeming that they know more than God. And sorry, you don't.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      In a simpler term, free will.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • MagicPanties

      And yet you, somehow, know the "real" truth.
      Isn't that special?
      Wait, aren't YOU special?
      Talk about obsession with "me, myself and I".
      Too funny.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Notso

        Yeah. I've always thought it funny that religious people use the term "humanist" as a label for reality-based philosophies. What is more human-centric than the belief that some group of people somehow knows the truth and the whole truth, and that that belief is not subject to question, regardless of the evidence?

        July 27, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • sybaris

      which god?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • joejeffrey

      Huh. You sign yourself "In Christ Alone," but you say God is a God of rules. I thought you said it was about Christ. Apparently not. Apparently it's about rules. You perfectly illustrate what the author's talking about: people want a connection with God, and instead get a list of rules. Which come from human beings, not God. Even though the people with the rule books claim to know the mind of God. That's arrogance of the highest order, baby. Not "in Christ." The opposite.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • soulfit7

      Amen! I read this article and got a little sick to my stomach lol...thanks for responding in truth. People want a God who will not judge them. A God to give them the freedom to live how they want and do whatever they want. I think of the verse in Job where God says "My ways are higher than your ways" and in Proverbs 3:5 -"Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways consider the Him and He will direct your path"

      God Bless

      July 27, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Sean M.

        Any quote spoken by God in the bible was written by humans. Unless God himself came down and wrote those words with his own divine hands, those are words of men who believe to have been influenced by god. There is no evidence that what these men claimed to hear, see, or feel was actually god, even if they did experience it. By christian standards, that is fair ground to say that they could have been misled by the devil, for all you know. But this is when the faith card is brought up...

        July 27, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • Graham Krueger

          Perhaps gods about the time of the Bible's writing had tentacles, written in His own ink to the screams of the literary agents of the day...

          October 31, 2013 at 3:33 am |
    • Steve

      Do we know more than god. You know, we could challenge him to a game of jeopardy but you know, he is hiding from us in an invisible metaphysical realm, busy listening to all of our thoughts and actions simultanously while also watching all animals larger than a canary. He is judging us to see if we are good enough to make it into paradise (which means, whether we believe in christ as messiah or not, has nothing to do with anything else since genocidal maniacs and Gandhi suffer an equivalency under this morality). But oops in this morality test he has made it fun. Some don't get to even take the test as babies sometimes get cancer, or die in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Oh those pesky hurdles he setup. Its all a game no worries. So lets see, Jesus said there is no seed smaller than a mustard seed. Oops, some orchids have smaller seeds. I won that one. The world is set upon pillars and does not move. Oops god is wrong again. A couple of prophecies failed, Tyre was never destroyed for eternity as stated in Ezekial, it still exists now. Oops, must have forgot that one. How bout Capernaum and two other cites going to suffer a worse fate that Soddom and Gommorroh. Oops, he missed that one too. Damn maybe he is not too smart after all. Oh that god, he is such a ham...oh wait sorry god...(hellfire begins).

      July 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • John McGrath

      Utter nonsense. What you say does not apply to the young people and young relatives I know. Some are religious, most not. But they are good and kind people, loving of their neighbors, interpreted broadly.

      I am sorry the young people you know have been so badly brought up. Was it due to the lack of religion or a weirdly self-centeredform of religion?

      Even I would not apply what you say to the all preachers, although many are incredible narcissists running a cult of preacher worship.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  10. James

    Pretty good article. The best part is "We're leaving the Church, because Jesus is not there...we long for Jesus." However, the article doesn't say who Jesus is. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose from the dead to justify them. What the Millennials need to know from the Church is that they are sinners who need a savior. Jesus is that Savior. He died for LGBT, he died for the fornicators, he died for the druggies and drunks and abortionists and war mongrels, republicans and democrats. That is what they need from the Church. If they truly long for Jesus, they will give up on their pride and trust in Him for their forgiveness.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • sybaris

      Jesus.......... a mythological spirit that rented some human flesh for a while, had the flesh killed and poofed itself back to where it came from.

      Yeah, some sacrifice.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • James

        Jesus, True God and True Man, who is still God and Man, who died for your sins.

        July 27, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • History

          "I got mad at man, so I came to the world as myself to kill myself so I could come back as myself."

          Seems legit.

          July 28, 2013 at 4:43 am |
    • georgieboy


      July 27, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  11. BOb the Prairie Dog

    The glow of Religion fades fast under the light of truth, and these kids have access to that truth from a very young age. Religion had it's moment in our society and served it's purpose, now it's time to gracefully step out of the way.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Notso

      Well said!

      July 27, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • A traveler

      Truth has never been a working function of organized religion.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  12. shem

    "We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.
    We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness...."

    These are mutually exclusive goals.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • lol??

      LGBT friends are in training for a MOB JOB. Leadership.-Top down gubmint.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • AE

      There is a lesbian pastor in my community. She preaches the word of Jesus Christ.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:21 am |
      • s

        she may espouse the words of Jesus, but she does not preach them nor does she live them.

        Jesus' main message was: repent! the kingdom is near. He may have eaten with sinners, but He was not one Himself nor did condone a sinful lifestyle..Repent! before its too late.

        July 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Sokesky

          And here I learned in church that we are all sinners.

          July 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nathan

      I don't know, Jesus walked with prost.itutes and sinners. I guess it easier just to scream his name than live his example, though.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • joejeffrey

      Wow! Now THERE's bigotry! LGBT people can't live lives of holiness?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • s

        if calling sin, sin, is bigotry, then I am a bigot- ( I don't think it means what you think it means)

        who wants to see anyone go to hell for eternity? Jesus said to repent, the kingdom is near.

        July 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Danielle

          By the bible, it is also sin to eat pork and get a divorce. Calling a sin a sin is one thing, but when you cherry pick "the rules" to fit your view, then it is no wonder people walk away from the church. Speaking as a millennial who still believes, but no longer goes to church because of a book written by men thousands of years ago.

          July 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Graham Krueger

          The only kingdom come we're at all near to is if the Dominionists in the Air Force get the bee into their bonnet to send us all there. Seriously though, you're basing everything off a proposition with no evidence, and the rest of us are kind of astounded that it's still viewed as sufficient justification for policy, especially policies of persecution

          October 31, 2013 at 3:37 am |
  13. JPHB

    Leaving the church is an indicator of independent thinking and a willingness to risk being exposed to ideas, views, and beliefs (or non-beliefs) that contradict the childhood indoctrination of parents. Once exposed, significant questions present themselves and the legitimacy of doubt is validated. If "believers" aligned their right beliefs with right practice, fewer church members would look elsewhere for critically important discussions about caring, inclusiveness, open dialogue, ethical decision-making, and shared doubts in the context of a disturbing contemporary polarized culture. Religion is, by and large, built on a profound fear of death...and the church has used that fear to perpetuate a system that is filled with hypocrisy, ritual, judgment, and conflict. Why else would there be more than 300,000 churches in the US...each one certain that it possesses the truth, right belief/doctrine, and the "one and only way?" The younger generation will continue to reject organized religion while at the same time, seek relevant pathways to a spiritual vitality that values the present and works to help ensure a promising future for generations to come.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  14. Walter

    It's good that people are becoming more apt not to pray to a god to solve their problems. The next step is for many to not "pray" to the government to provide them with things and realize they need to rely on themselves.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • A traveler

      It really doesn't matter if to a religion or a government...Nothing fails like prayer.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Graham Krueger

      We're still human with an interest in improving things for one another. We're still refining the social contract, still deciding whether or not to guarantee that everyone has the means to contribute to their maximum potential, but this is a worldly matter. Religion has no place in that deliberation, you are correct. Neither, however does a knee-jerk belief that everything is due to the individual, that nothing is shaped by outside forces and the structure of civilization.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:40 am |
  15. Vic

    Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

    Whenever you take your eyes off the target, you loose direction.

    As Christians, our focus shall always be Jesus Christ Himself and Faith in Him for He is our Lord and Savior who did everything on our behalf. We should not concern ourselves with something else. When the Church is about Rules & Regulations anymore, people turn away.

    Here is an example story from the Bible:

    Luke 10:38-42

    Martha and Mary

    "38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”"

    Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


    July 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Not trying to contradict you or anything, but why do you believe in a Bible that was copyrighted in 1960?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Vic

        Those are Publication Rights only and not Bible Ownership ones!

        July 27, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • MagicPanties

      Wow, and once direction is "loosed", watch out people.

      Gives me the willies just contemplating such an apocalyptic event.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • Vic


        One of my pet peeves is misspelling this word. I subconsciously think of double "o" as in "loop."

        July 27, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • A traveler

      There have been 76 revisions to the KJB in the last 160 years. Why would anyone believe any of them?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Vic

        Although those versions differ in some details (scribal, translational and/or interpretational,) they are all concrete on the General Narrative of God. And that's all I need as a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior.

        July 27, 2013 at 10:37 am |
        • History

          So, why do you accept the KJV? Why not the Latin version, which is closer? Better yet, why not the Greek? Even better, why not accept all the scripture that floated freely throughout the region before the canon was decided at the council of Nicea? Faith? That all those people, editing and mis-translating out of political ambition or sheer ignorance, somehow still kept a clear, consistent message throughout?

          Ever played Telephone?

          July 28, 2013 at 4:51 am |
      • HotAirAce

        And still not one bit of evidence to support the most basic of The Babble's claims, that even just one god exists.

        July 28, 2013 at 5:00 am |
  16. bostontola

    I must compliment the author for constructing a well written argument to the evangelical leaders. Her attempt at honesty is admirable. She is being as honest as she can, but all she is doing is shifting the defensive line to a culturally more acceptable point. The same old biases are in there. We have the corner on Truth.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • lol??

      There are no leaders.

      Mat 23:8-9 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • bostontola

        I must disagree with you. If there were no Christian leaders in history, there would be no Christianity today.

        July 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  17. Notso

    Might their leaving the church possibly have something to do with a long-term human trend toward reality-based behavior?

    July 27, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  18. Ron

    I agree 100% with the author of this. She has obviously done her homework and knows what is missing. The points she makes are several of the reasons I have not attended a church in several years. Bravo, Rachel Held Evans.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Nathan

      Agreed. A lot of this is what started my split with the church, religion, and faith. Now that the split is complete I can't ever see going back, but the fissures all started for these very reasons. I went to several churches and most all of them were smug, self-righteous, anti-science, anti-ga.y rights...in fact, "anti-" seemed to be one of the defining themes of them all–defined by what they hated and wanted to prevent or destroy far more than what they loved and actually stood for. What they stood for was primarily standing against other things. Most were Sunday Christians who sung the hymns and wore nice suits and said "Hallelujah!" to peace on earth and kindness to their fellow man but who couldn't even make it to the end of the parking lot after service before cutting one another off in traffic, passing right by the homeless man on the corner without even thinking of offering aid, and gossiping about the faults of everyone they just sat next to and hugged at the service. Had they stuck to the spiritual teachings unpinning the faith–AND actually bothered to even attempt to live by those tenets–and been less political, less angry, less hypocritical, less concerned with everyone's bedroom habits but their own...I imagine my live and my spiritual path would have turned out very different.

      July 27, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • Danielle

        I couldn't agree with both of you more! It's nice to know that the Sunday morning Christians have driven away more people than just me. I couldn't take it anymore, and I refuse to expose my young daughter to their rules of living.

        July 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  19. Joel

    Thank you so much for this article! I'm one of those millennial and I found myself agreeing with everything you said. I spent most of my upbringing agnostic believing God couldn't be proven real or false and gave little thought to religion.
    But some years ago I had a profound spiritual experience that showed Jesus to be real to me. So I wanted to get closer to Jesus and God of course and tried finding a church to learn more.

    I recently had an interesting experience by spending a week with some evangelicals in Florida for a bible conference in a place called "The River". I tried to fit in with them, imitate them but just couldn't. Same story with every church I tried to go to. Always felt like such an awkward outsider.

    A major thing that turns me off is the politics, I personally am into the subject and am independent. While I do share some conservative ideas they always seem more interested in just supporting Republicans in all things regardless of their effects on other people, myself included. I leave feeling non of the loving warmth of Jesus in these churches as I did in my aforementioned personal experience with God.

    I still wish deeply to find a church community I can feel a part of and learn more about God but until then I just read my bible and pray in solitude. Thanks again so much for the article as it diffidently helped me to understand my own situation with this issue.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • AE

      In my community there are some unique situations – people who meet in the basements of a coffee house or at a movie theater – that really seem to be doing something special. I hope you can find something like this. Because community is very important ingredient in what Jesus preached. Perhaps you can start something like this?

      July 27, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Mike

        For a moment, I thought you were me. Seriously, I'm older – in my '50's – but feel exactly the same way. I gave up on organized religion and going to church. I just can't hang with myopic hypocrites with a right wing political agenda.

        I have my own faith in God and I'm happy with that. Church reminds me of obedience school with a fee of 10% of your net income. I just have no interest in that racket.


        July 27, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • History

          You. I like you.

          July 28, 2013 at 4:58 am |
        • M84

          Mike and Joel,

          I am the same way! I prefer to just pray and worship on my own. I feel pretty out-of-place at my parents church even though I haven't done anything wrong (at least that I am aware of). My mother has been a Deacon and Elder for years there and my grandmother was one of most well known attendees, so why am I being judged and left out? AE might have the right idea to get just a few people together to worship.

          July 28, 2013 at 12:27 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.