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.
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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.
Athena handing out debating prizes??
"....................For Marx, scientific and true knowledge is "in accordance with the dialectical understanding of history" ......."
Scathing god spam cellar. Noseeum willow: whisper!!
As an "elder" of the Church, I welcome all to bring their ideas to the round table. The Church has been actively engaged in trying to reach out to its youth (as evidenced in the article). Obviously, some feel that our efforts have not been working. Okay. Fair enough. But how often does the youth attend our meetings and work with us to build relationships that work?
Any and every Church has a hierarchal structure and a defined set of parameters that must be adhered to. Where are the youth to help us figure out what works and what doesn't work? When was the last time our youth actively engaged themselves in solving the problems? The door is wide open and walking away from a problem doesn't solve it.
Get involved. The door is always open and you are more than welcome.
Why struggle to change an old church set in its ways when so many new ones are opening up with youthful leadership at the very top?
But why struggle to change an old church set in its ways when so many new ones are opening up with youthful leadership at the very top?
The truth is out... the youth of today are way too smart to believe your manipulative lies based on fear. The ambiguity of the Bible and the Quran make it very easy to see that these books are not the words of any gods, they are the words of men looking to control the easily led through fear of an eternity of fire. Isn't there anything you righteous god lovers can do to cause the rapture? It would be so nice on this planet without you, and I'm sure your christ would just love the excitement.
It's hard to go to the "round table" discussion when every time you try you are told the table is square. It has four corners, all four sides are of equal length, and that isn't going to change. Millenials aren't afraid to go to elders meetings to point out the problems and show them the writing on the walls. They are tired of church leadership that says "come talk to us" and then not being listened to. They are tired of being told "If we change the way we do things then people might leave" when they are saying that if things don't change the church as a whole may fail. There comes a point where you have to choose between trying to help solve the problem that the already churched feel doesn't exist, and going someplace that is more welcoming and less intimidating to the unchurched.
When elders invite people to "Come talk" they don't want to listen so much as berate them for being wrong. Like I said, why should anyone bother with that struggle when there are so many other choices out there already?
Here's an idea: Admit it's possible you have no evidence of God's existence because he doesn't exist. Often the simple answer is the right one.
we don't realize that our deepest need is the need for truth, or in other words, it's a need to understand the laws of reality we live in. Religious or political organizations are "selling" us their truths as they need our money to exist as systems. It's nothing to blame as all systems are the same. One day we have to understand that Truth is simply the initial Logic or the Law of unity that unites everyone and everything in one harmonious totality. When we violate this law by dominating others, we had to suffer... The point is to see behind the facades of any kind of religious interpretations...
The popularity of religion makes it clear our need for answers and comforting fairytales is greater than our need for truth.
I think what people are most tired of is the use of churches for political gain. It's not about worship anymore; it's about supporting political positions and candidates.
Hi everybody, I have a question for all atheists on here. There are a lot of you, so I'm hoping to get some good responses. Full disclosure: I am a believer. Tear me down all you want, it won't bother me, but at least try to offer a thought-out response.
If this world is all there is, and when you die you rot, and in a few billion years the universe is going to explode anyway, so there is no chance that anything you say and do will make any truly lasting impression, then what is the point of anything you are doing right now? What is the point of getting worked up about Christians and their beliefs, or anything else for that matter? Why be rational at all? It makes no difference. It doesn't make any real difference, in the true end, whether you spend your life raping and killing or living a life of charity and compassion.
If there is no ultimate reality, and there is no ultimate morality, then you have no firm ground to stand on when somebody contradicts the way you think the world should be run. What happens when somebody commits some terrible atrocity? Should the Nazis have been able to use this argument?: "You may think that it is wrong for us to kill all of these Jews, but that is only because you were raised in a culture that doesn't allow you to see the value in our actions. I'm telling you, a hundred years from now you'll thank us when all of these Jews are gone."
Do you think that there are ways that some people should behave, regardless of the social construct that they were raised in? If you do, then you believe that there is some morality and a set of beliefs that supersedes whatever regional beliefs we inherit because of our geographical location. The short answer is this: of course there are some ways that humanity should behave, regardless of how they feel they should be able to live their life. You might also have a sense that love matters, compassion matters, creative works matter, and that humanity flourishes when these things are brought forth in your life and you share them with those around you.
If you believe that there is no God, then no action should matter more than any other action, and if you are truly honest with yourself, you should be forced to admit that your life is a life of utter meaninglessness. This is why I am always so confused as to why atheists care so much about trying to convert people of faith to atheism. What does it matter? We're all heading to the same grisly fate anyway, aren't we?
I am interested in hearing all perspectives. I am particularly interested in what the atheist derives their hope from.
Nihlism and atheism are two completely different things.
One is what you describe and the other is disbelief in God(s).
You seem to have them confused.
"this world is all there is, and when you die you rot, and in a few billion years the universe is going to explode anyway, so there is no chance that anything you say and do will make any truly lasting impression, then what is the point of anything you are doing right now?"
We still want things to be better for us while we're alive, our children, our grandchildren, and so on. Preservation of one's self, offspring, and group are our most basic instincts. Any specie that didn't have them would quickly die off. Sorry, but that was a pretty dumb question.
Pinetree, re why we bother, it's because deluded folk like you also get to vote and influence with your absurd religio-dogma the rules that the rest of us have to live by.
Put that up your dress and smoke with it.
Atheists believe that morality stems from humans. To get an inside look on our views, check out any introduction to ethics or political philosophy. Atheists, just like anyone else, want to live a life of integrity, not one of cowardliness or weakness.
For more information on why morality should not be thought to derive from faith, google the 'Euthyphro dilemma.'
I agree with Sky, dumb question.
Why do you need to imagine your impact in this universe has to transcend the eons in order to have any meaning? My life has meaning right now, and will have meaning for people as long as they remember me. That's good enough to satisfy my ego.
If Christians have some monopoly on morality why is it that Martin Luther wrote "On The Jews and Their Lies" which inspired Hitler? It was Christians in Germany who joined the Nazi Party and exterminating Jews. Before that, it was Christians who were burning witches, and owning slaves here in America. Those were once seen as "moral" actions for Christians, but not any more, which means that Christian morality changes over time and that contradicts your idea of there being an ultimate morality.
You imagine that our lives must be meaningless because we get meaning from a different place than you do, that's all. The Christian source of meaning is no better than that afforded by any other religion, or lack of faith, but I suspect that you were taught to be overly prideful in this regard.
As to your Q on morality. Morality is the subjective value judgment of the individual. This is why reasonable minds can differ on the same issue. For example, is it ok to apply the death penalty to murderers? Was it OK to kill Osama Bin Laden? What about a mass murderer with an IQ of 85?
People will differ. Is it wrong to steal? What about if you are starving and stole $100 from Donal Trump (or a drug dealer) to feed your family. Morals also evolve with time. It was oncce considered wrog for women to vote, no longer is and slavery was once widely accepted.
Morals likely evolved as we came to live in societies and required "hard wired" outlooks on issues in order to obtain the selective benefits of grouping. Attributing our morality to a god, ghost or sky-fairy is a needless add on.
As to our ultimate fate, I take the opposite view to you. I see our mortality as all the more reason to live as full a life as possible in thel ittle time this Unverse affords us.
Too many assumptions, loaded questions and misconceptions. I'd be glad to have a discussion with you but this isn't the appropriate venue.
"It doesn't make any real difference, in the true end, whether you spend your life raping and killing or living a life of charity and compassion."
It is part of our normal instincts as a social animal to act in a manner that promotes the welfare of "the group" or society in which we live, and there is a strong self-serving incentive to not engage in behaviors that would incur retribution from other members of that society.
Other social animals such as chimpanzees also have order in their groups. It is not something unique to humans. Many animals will die trying to defend their young.
From a review of the "Disneynature: Chimpanzee" video:
Isha, the mother of a young chimpanzee named Oscar, is injured in an attack and, ultimately, finished off by a leopard in the middle of the night. (All of which is discreetly portrayed, so as not to outright terrify any kids who are already huddled in their seats.) It seems Oscar is doomed. He hasn't learned to feed himself properly, he doesn't understand everything his mother would have taught him in time, and every member of his tribe rejects him... save one. In a stunning twist of fate, Freddy [the alpha male of the group] steps in and adopts little Oscar, saving him from a lonely, malnourished end.
So even chimps exhibit this behavior you seem to believe requires a God and some promise of a reward in heaven.
You are confused about the cause-and-effect relationship. An important reason religions exist is to provide added incentive for people to be good members of society. Killing is deemed "wrong" because wanton killing would be very disruptive to any society. Religions take these ideas and elevate them to the status of "God's will" to encourage them more strongly, especially since not only are they declared to be sins, the religion teaches its god will know you do them, even if no one else does.
"If there is no ultimate reality, and there is no ultimate morality, then you have no firm ground to stand on when somebody contradicts the way you think the world should be run."
Nonsense. One doesn't need to believe in some elusive notion of absolute morality to be moral. All morality is relative to the values in your society. Many behaviors regarded as moral to people in Biblical times would be reprehensible to us today. Slavery used to be considered moral in this country, even by Christians. The Catholic church thought it was moral to torture people for not being good enough Catholics during the Spanish Inquistion.
What's moral in one period in history or one culture or one religion may well not be moral in another. The idea that the existence of God results in some absolute, unchanging, timeless set of moral values is just silly.
Seems to me you need to get you head out of your Bible and educate yourself, because you sound inexcusably naive.
likely everything is 'relative' in your worldview so why do you care so much about what other people think? I simply don't get it, if everything is relative than what I believe in my world works for me and whatever you believe works for you so we all just leave each other alone and live our "relative" lives. And yet that breaks down in society in nearly every aspect. It's the same reason you deeply desire to prove your points re something that ultimately is relative not absolute. Your view point is not absolute, you say it yourself, there are not absolutes, everything is relative, so why are you trying to convince anyone of your belief system about life? But you do care so much! Even the comment that you made about the person and the post that he/she "sounds inexcusably naive" is a absolutely contrary to your perceived view of everything being relative. the post may sound naive to you, a person may sound naive to you – but it's all relative. because to someone else they sound bright or insightful, educated, thoughtful, loving, etc. but it's all relative so again why in the world through the lens you look through do you care at all – your "relative" argument only stands when it works re statements you agree with or believe – if it falls outside of that you have a problem with it – ie all the comments/posts you've made throughout...all of a sudden nothing is relative. It breaks down at the core and you end up circling around a philosophical debate that leads nowhere. Everything is not relative, if it was these comment boards would be void of any dialogue. so everything is relative except for the christian worldview? Hmmm
I did not grow up in the church, however each day I try to live to the fullest because I know my time is limited here on earth. I am at peace with my existence being short-lived and not eternal because I know that everyday I touch someones life, a piece of me is left here on earth, either with my children, husband, parents, friends. Knowing a part of me will live on after I am gone to hopefully better the world gives me complete peace of mind. I work in the hospital, and I can say that each day I am there I feel so fulfilled. Each day I get to hold out a helping hand, comfort someone in crisis, even bathe new parents brand new life for the first time. It's such an honor and I feel so whole each day I care for someone. I don't think you could ask for more than that in a lifetime. So to answer your question, that's what gives me meaning.
"What happens when somebody commits some terrible atrocity? Should the Nazis have been able to use this argument?: "You may think that it is wrong for us to kill all of these Jews, but that is only because you were raised in a culture that doesn't allow you to see the value in our actions. I'm telling you, a hundred years from now you'll thank us when all of these Jews are gone."
If you agree you join the Nazis. If you don't, you oppose them. Germany's population was overwhelmingly Christian during that period. And although the Catholic church (the predominant religion) did not support the Nazis, a lot of Catholics bought the Nazi message and joined them.
"Do you think that there are ways that some people should behave, regardless of the social construct that they were raised in? If you do, then you believe that there is some morality and a set of beliefs that supersedes whatever regional beliefs we inherit because of our geographical location."
You are more proof religion makes people stupid. There is no logical basis for this claim whatsoever. First, any moral value I believe should apply to all societies is one I hold. Any moral value you believe should apply to all societies is one you hold. Even if you and I believe X should be a universal moral value it doesn't mean people in the Amazon jungle would agree.
"If you believe that there is no God, then no action should matter more than any other action, and if you are truly honest with yourself, you should be forced to admit that your life is a life of utter meaninglessness. This is why I am always so confused as to why atheists care so much about trying to convert people of faith to atheism. What does it matter? We're all heading to the same grisly fate anyway, aren't we?"
You're confused because you have no idea how atheists really think. This is a problem in your understanding, not the moral values of atheists.
"I am interested in hearing all perspectives. I am particularly interested in what the atheist derives their hope from."
Hope for what? Hope that tomorrow will be a good day? Hope our children will have good lives? These hopes are no different for us than for you. We recognize the future is uncertain and hope the better possibilities will be the actual outcomes.
If you're referring to hopes based on fairytales about a fantastic existence after we die, we do not delude ourselves with false hopes simply because the alternative sounds less pleasant. I don't hope Santa Claus will bring me presents either.
Your assumption that morality is not relevant to the athiest is flawed. Christianity teaches us that we cannot be moral on our own, that we need some deity in order to be "good". I reject that view. You also assume that because we do not believe in eternal salvation, that nothing we do here on earth matters. This is incorrect as well. I believe in loving others, treating others how I would want to be treated, acting ethically, in humility, kindness, living charitably, and many other virtues your religion extols, but not because I will be rewarded in heaven, but because it is the kind of life I want to live here on earth.
And as far as where the athiest derives his or her "sense of hope from"...this actually made me laugh out loud. Do you think that we don't know love and compassion, that we don't appreciate and see the beauty in nature and the world around us, that we don't find satisfaction in the work we do, simply because we don't believe in god? I also don't know why you think athiests care about "converting" people. When was the last time you saw an athiest trying to legislate his or her beliefs?
I wonder how many Christians think about how they can judge God to be good without some sense of morality that lies outside of God because, if it actually works the other way around, then they're judging God by his own standards of goodness, which any child can see is wrong.
Yeah. A lot of them will say things like "oh well Jesus spoke to me and he told me xyz" or "yeah, I really feel the holy spirit telling me X"....so you see, it's not ME, it's really god talking to me. It's completely absurd because 1) if someone started saying this stuff in any other context, we'd think they were insane, but because it's religion, it's somehow completely legit, and 2) why is it that god and Jesus and the holy spirit are in such close contact with some people but not with others? Doesn't seem fair or just if god reaches out and makes himself accessible to only some, but not all, of his children. How come i've never had any of these moments where i've felt the holy spirit moving in my body? (the Christian response will be some nonsense about how I must have faith, must believe in order to see, or something like that). But no matter how hard I try, I cannot convince myself that earth was made in seven days, that Mary was a virgin, that Jesus rose from the dead, etc. It's insanity. So they can say what they will about atheism, but right or wrong....at least it's honest.
I beleive that Jesus is everywhere-Yes even in church- We do not find him,he finds us and it happens sooner when we are in the midst of helping and caring for each other,looking beyond the condition and accepting the condition of those that reflect Jesus.If this happens in your everyday encounters then not onlyy have you found Him he has found you and guess what he love everyone of us. May His blessings be shared by all who have read this posting.
Blessings like horrid diseases like cancer and typhoid, and millions of innocent kids dead in Africa from starvation and disease? No thanks. Take your ass hole of a god and shove him.
I hang out in reality, so maybe that's why he can't find me?
Yes and thank you for sharing.
Standard religious platitudes, wholly unsupported by any evidence.
This is absolutely spot on, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who is sick and tired of evangelicalism and finds it tedious, kitschy and completely self-serving. Thanks for writing a such a concise article that doesn't dance around the issue but instead cuts right to the heart.
As a 26-year-old I tend to identify both with Generation X-ers and Millennials as well, and I also feel I'm in the same boat. The past 18 months I've been exploring Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and even Methodism! Anything liturgical feels more appropriate for worshiping God than some pathetic worship band attempting to emulate Coldplay because they failed in the real music industry.
You articulated it well that because we've been inundated with advertising all our lives, we can always smell the crap and it's there in spades with evangelicalism. Gen-X-ers/Millennials see right through this and recognize that Christianity is supposed to be more transcendent, more whole, than it's presented as by evangelicals and they're not tolerating the reductionist version anymore.
Thanks again for writing this article, I'm glad to see it published on a media avenue like this.
I am an elder (50+) at Church. I am one of the ones trying desperately to reach out to you. If what I am doing isn't working, by all means TELL ME in person. Get involved, become engaged. We meet twice a month to try to figure out why your age group is leaving. Don't leave, tell us what we're doing wrong and help us to solve the problem. Walking away isn't the solution. Coming up with ideas is not as easy as you might think it is.
Are you saying that your church is willing to change and conform with society's modern morality, or that you just want the chance to scare these people into not leaving with threats of hell?
What I'm saying is that change, in any form, takes effort. If you are a member of our youth, and you feel that you are not being served/fed by the Church, then you owe it to yourself to get involved to enact the change that you so desperately crave. While you may not get what you desire, you will at least be educated in how and why the Church does what it does.
"God does not want our opinions upon His laws. They are not to be discussed, they are to be kept." ~Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Mrs. Evans, and Millennials, loftily debate their opinions about God's laws, but do not keep them. They are philosophers, not Christians. (1 John 2:4-6)
But what he really means is "kept" the way he wants them kept.
Yes. He wants us to do what He requires and int he way He requires. He's God!
As Benny points out, there is nothing even close to universal agreement on what God wants, not even within the domain of Christianity. Once you consider the larger domain of all religions there's no agreement at all.
That's right, there is no agreement on religions, because all but the faith that Jesus delivered are false. The ones disagreeing with God's standards within Christianity (and Catholicism is not a Christian religion) are also not in the faith. Including Mrs Evans and her millennials.
@elizabethprata: "That's right, there is no agreement on religions, because all but the faith that Jesus delivered are false."
The arrogance required for that statement, given that there is no objective evidence to support it is mind-boggling to people who can still think for themselves.
"The ones disagreeing with God's standards within Christianity (and Catholicism is not a Christian religion) are also not in the faith. Including Mrs Evans and her millennials."
More arrogance. This kind of thinking takes real brainwashing. What a mindless drone.
I was referring to the author of the quote, Loyd-Jones. The people who tend to argue for the Law to be followed absolutely always have their version of the Law in mind. They could never live under another person's version of the Law like they demand of other people, which is a sign of human pride.
No "versions."What God expects is here. It's not hard to figure out: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
Sigh. It isn't the message, it's the way it's being delivered. She is SPOT ON.
The message was delivered once for all to the saints (Jude 1:3). It never changes. You know, there have been "millennials" for millennia. Mrs Evans is no different and neither are the youths, who want a different message, or for it to be delivered differently. They must conform to God's standard and commandments or they are not in the faith.
"God's standards" as judged by people like you, you mean?
God's standards are plain and evident in the bible. And yes, the Lord said anyone with the Spirit should discern who is meeting them or not, so they can be encouraged, corrected, rebuked or avoided. Every NT book except Philemon has a directive or a practical application on how to do that, but most pointedly 1,2,3 John.
@elizabethprata: "God's standards are plain and evident in the bible. And yes, the Lord said anyone with the Spirit should discern who is meeting them or not, so they can be encouraged, corrected, rebuked or avoided. Every NT book except Philemon has a directive or a practical application on how to do that, but most pointedly 1,2,3 John."
Typical Christian arrogance. You can offer absolutely no objective evidence to support anything you believe, be it the existence of God, the correctness of Christianity's understand if him if he exists, or that your understanding as a Christian is superior in any way to that of any other Christian.
Yet despite this complete lack of evidence you are absolutely convinced your understanding of all these things is superior to anyone else's. You have The Truth™ and everyone else is confused or deceived.
That takes a level of arrogance I find nauseating. You sound like a mindless drone regurgitating Christian platitudes as if doing that enough makes them true. In point of fact all it does is reinforce your brainwashing.
You say arrogance, we say conviction. There are many Christian martyrs who were equally and utterly convinced that God exists, is serious about His holiness, and sent Jesus for us to believe in so what we can be holy too- and go to heaven to be with Him.
@elizabethprata: "You say arrogance, we say conviction."
Conviction in the belief that your unprovable positions are the only right ones is arrogance. Muslims have conviction. Hindus have convictions. The Nazis had conviction too.
Last year a bunch of Christians quit their jobs, abandoned their lives and started traveling around the country in motorhomes to tell people the world was ending on May 21, 2012. Now that's conviction. Having conviction is no proof you're right.
"There are many Christian martyrs"
Every time a suicide bomber blows himself up he thinks of himself as a martyr.
"who were equally and utterly convinced that God exists, is serious about His holiness, and sent Jesus for us to believe in so what we can be holy too- and go to heaven to be with Him."
Yet another unprovable claim. Endlessly regurgitating what you believe doesn't make it true.
So how is it this God of yours created this world and this race of people who seem virtually incapable of knowing what he wants of them? Surely you realize the percentage of the world's population that believe as you do is very, very small. All Christians combined aren't more than a third of the world's population, and biggest single contingent of those are the Catholics you claim aren't really Christians.
Did God just not do a very good job of creating us, or did he most of us to be lost because we'd never find The Truth™? Given that he as so disgusted with his work at one point he wiped out all but eight of them with a flood no one can prove happened, I guess it's the former: he just didn't do a very good job of making us.
Like all good Christians I'm sure you have all your excuses and rationalizations down pat and can regurgitate them on command. Personally, I prefer the simplest explanation consistent with the evidence: There is no God.
Wouldn't God have to exist before he could want anything?
The problem with faith and truth for the millenials is that it is uncomfortable having to be disciplined to listen to the word of GOD. Three million Catholics in Brazil showed their support for truth and salvation with Pope Francis. U.S. millenials remain the petulant whiners that they are. Judgement will come, repent of your sins now.
Reblogged this on amyestone12 and commented:
If only every church would adhere to this advice. Hip doesn't matter. Jesus is the only thing that does.
Reblogged this on A Sapphic Saved by Grace and commented:
Beautifully written, and capturing what seems t be every voice of the young Christian generation. All we want is to be closer to God, and a church that can help us get to him.
You could get closer to your god by jumping in front of a bus too.
Why do you assume that the closest view of God doesn't reveal him to be just a myth?
Tis one of the weekend featured religion topics on CNN Headline news and the result, as normal already over 5000 comments.
And to keep up with traffic flow:
Again for the new members:
Some 21st century nitty-gritty:
Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
With these facts in mind, why is this blog still in existence???????
Added details available upon written request
So your saying that you would rather wait till you die to see if Jesus died for your sins?
NO, he's saying that there is no evidence to support the claim.
allowing someone else to take the punishment you deserve is about the most immoral concept one could come up with, yet christians not only suck it up, but they fvcking brag about it
Dude, that's not even the half of it. And be very thankful whether you believe it or not that Jesus took the fall.
You don't ever, and I mean ever want to p-ss off you know who. (tack that on your refrigerator in the lab)
Fvck your god. If it is real (I dont believe it for a minute) it is a petty, vindictive, A hole. Have you ever read the bible?
@Honey Badger Don't Care,
In the grand scheme of things you are but a flea on a dogs a– .. (and no I have not read the bible)
Very hateful and so very Christian of you to respond like that, Harry Cline.
I have to agree with Sam here. And furthermore, Christians, how is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.
Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
@Harry Cline "You don't ever, and I mean ever want to p-ss off you know who."
Watch out! Harry Cline's god is going to beat you up!
Ah, that line is as old as the bible they say. And correct me if I'm wrong, but quite a few here are concern about a God. I'm not one of them.
And I'm not the Christian portrayed by your slant. (or even the slant of some church)
Harry, nice dodge, coward. Now try answering my question.
Harry, you're going to sit here and pontificate when you've never read the Bible??? Seriously???
Dude, YOU don't know the half of it. Thanks for the laugh!!!
Sam- As a Father of (3) I can tell you I'd take punishment for any one of my kids to not see them in pain, even if they deserve it. So, although your trying to disprove Christianity by bashing it, your logic is flawed because almost every loving parent on this planet would give you the same answer.
Harry- Your point of view is skewed. Jesus came to Earth to show us how to live a life of love, humility, and compassion... as an example. His death, and Resurrection (which he prophetically told his disciples), was to prove he would overcome death, and we could put our hope in eternal life.
In any case I won't presume you will covert or seek Truth based on my comments. However, for the other folks navigating the comments that are seeking, please know there's more to Christianity than a couple of ill informed comments trying to poke holes in generations of proof.
sorry, HC, i don't know which you-know-who is am trying not to pi$$ off....could you give me a hint?
psst. not so loud.
@Harry Cline: "And be very thankful whether you believe it or not that Jesus took the fall."
Silly talk. There is no God, no afterlife, no atonement.
It's easy to understand why people buy into this nonsense, though. A major purpose of religion is to encourage people to be better members of the societies in which they live. They do this with a combination of promising rewards for good behavior and punishments for bad behavior.
But we all do wrong things at times, or as the Bible would phrase it, none of us is without sin. Without some mechanism to negate our past bad behavior people would become fatalistic and see no point in trying to be good, knowing they can't succeed fully and have all this old baggage condemning them. So the authors of Christianity came up with this idea that if you just accept Jesus there will be no consequences for your mistakes and wrong actions, therefore no reason to be fatalistic.
"You don't ever, and I mean ever want to p-ss off you know who. (tack that on your refrigerator in the lab)"
Not really a concern if he doesn't exist, is it?
mr rap: i am not saying it is not valiant for someone to take the punishment for another, i am saying it is not just.
you used the example of your kids. let's switch it up a bit. say you committed a crime, but the police busted someone else for your crime. without your intervention, the innocent would go to jail. would you step up and take the blame for your action, or would you let someone else take it?
Have you ever noticed how whenever someone purports to represent another person's opinion with a question that starts with "so" it never actually represents what the other person really believes?
I'll wait until I see some reason to believe all this malarkey. You probably wouldn't believe it either if you'd been born and raised in Saudi Arabia or India.
(from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)
"Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."
"Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."
"In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."
This comment may have already been made but I don't have time to sift through all the responses. I am a church planter in the city, lots of young millennial types in my neighborhood. I get some of this article and our approach to ministry in our context is much more organic, we def aren't looking for creating cooler websites (we have none), having cooler worship bands (none there either), or wearing skinny jeans – I get the superficiality there. We are building genuine, intentional relationships with people through which we believe the Holy Spirit will and has manifested Himself in conversation, over a meal, watching a game. If you are interested in some good reads about what church should look like or at least how we might begin to think differently about church check out any and all of Tim Chester's books. I digress. The huge concern I have with this article is in this statement: "we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there." Theologically speaking that is quite literally impossible. I have a very strong position about the theology of church simply because Jesus convicted me of my sin and judgment of His Bride. As messy and complicated and even unattractive as she seems at times, she is flawed and imperfect and will remain so until Christ returns for her. Though I can agree with this article that the "church" has maybe looked in all the wrong places to remain relevant it is absolutely impossible for her to be the "church" if Jesus isn't there. I doubt most "millennials" even know what Jesus really looks like anyway to be honest. What "Jesus" are they looking for. I know a lot of millennial "christians" and most of them haven't cracked the Word of God open...ever. Just saying. There is a rich history of the church and we must be incredibly careful when we throw out statements like this, even if we can properly recognize some of the brokenness that makes up the body of Christ. Good article, and really this conversation is one of the main reasons I believe God has called me to the city, so thanks.
What is a "church planter"?
I would bet a paycheck that you dont know what Jesus looks like either. No one does.
" because Jesus convicted me of my sin and judgment of His Bride."
What the heII does that mean?
yea, sorry, I usually don't use the term 'church planter' either, I simply did because I thought most responses would be from people who were actively involved in this conversation (ie church and the disconnect with millennials). Apologies there, it's clear there are all kinds of folks contributing to this dialogue. Anyway, and about the "convicting of sin re judgment of his bride" – again audience reading these posts was much broader than expected. What i meant by that is that for a long time I "judged" the church for all the things she did wrong, that I was being too critical of the church...a lot of the things for example that have caused millennials to leave the church in droves, and there ARE a lot of things the church has not done correctly – however what the Holy Spirit reminded me (convicted me of) is that as a Christian I am part of the universal church, anyone who professes in Christ is, and that I should be more careful when talking about the church – that the church is not perfect and does make mistakes frequently and yet the church does incredible good as well throughout the world. The theological language of the church being the bride of Christ is what i was implying (several passages in the New Testament that discuss this idea – church as bride, Christ as bridegroom). Anyway, not sure if that clarifies adequately for you but just my quick response. And finally the Scriptures do reveal what Christ looks like. In fact, Christ is the revelation of God, of who God is and what he looks like. Again several passages in Old and New Testament on that, ie John 1, Colossians 1 are just examples among rest of scripture that paint that picture. Thanks for your thoughts, always good to be reminded not to use overly ambiguous language and to be careful with words.
Lauren, I think you missed the point – and maybe it's because you're not a millennial. An organic setting is good, relationships are good and having the one-on-one conversations that build those relationships are good but that is not what builds a relationship with Jesus Christ for millennials. Speaking as one and as a pastor at a church, it is as she said; we search for the substance, tradition and community that Christ stood for.
I think that you need to be cautious when you call out other people for lacking faith. You do not know the people around you well enough to say they 'may be' Christians and you are not involved in their spiritual lives at all to see if they have ever read the Word. It is not for you to judge them or anyone.
You mean the tradition that Jesus preached like giving away all of your possesions and hating your parents?
I find it interesting that the media keeps producing stories that lump all pf the US together as a single cultural unit. Having lived accross the country I'd say that what's now happening in the south is more similar to what happened in the west and northeast in the 1960s.
It's not the media, it's the government and the sales department. It's far easier to build enemies (even quasi-ones) when broad based generalizations are used. And if Christianity as a whole is an enemy of propaganda, it is because of its uniqueness.
Huh? The government? What does that have to do with Rachel Held Evans, or the sales department?
And "Christianity as the enemy of propaganda"? You need to share your stash.
One toke over the line ...
I'm not sure what you mean by "what's happening in the south"?
This is a great post! I have never seen my views so perfectly articulated, nor have I ever been able to articulate them quite so well myself. Thanks a lot for the great work.
Glad you included us older folk in your article. I'm nearly 60 & absolutely agree with you. I've found more love & acceptance in a red neck bar than in most churches I Tried Really Hard to be a part of. We left organized religion over 10 years ago because we were tired of the "club mentality". I think the reason our Redeemer ate with 'publicans & sinners ' is because they welcomed Him; something the religious people never did get.
That's a good first step. Now stop believing in that fairy tale all together and you will be in the right place.