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. Mac

    Young adults are not buying into anything to do with a world of the supernatural. Whether it be defined as religion, spirituality, faith or whatever else you want to name it. They are proving that they have faith in themselves instead. They are living by the golden rule which has been around a lot longer than any religion. It's pretty simple really. I know this is true because I raised one and am very proud of her choices.

    July 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  2. Joyce

    As a 68 year old I say......"ME TOO"

    July 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  3. One one

    God is perfect, never makes a mistake.
    He tested mankind with a talking snake.
    Things didn’t work out like he originally planned.
    He decided to change his religious brand.
    He killed his son to “save” mankind.
    From the curse and wrath of his self centered mind.
    Now we have hell for those who doubt.
    To give fairy tale salesmen a lot more clout.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  4. James Lueckenhoff

    I did a brief sermon on this this past Sunday citing two examples of people upset with churches where they were not allowed to ask a question and were told to just accept that church tradition's teachings. I pointed out that Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine both used the Greek philosophers of Aristotle and Plato to help them formulate their or explain their Christian belief. So, if people want an intellectual approach to Christianity which is not based on some kind of exclusion of other thought processes, the mainline, traditional churches such as Catholicism offer an intellectual approach. the key is, if you want to participate in those traditions, Catholicsim (Roman Catholic) Anglicanism/Episcopal, be prepared to study. I suggest people read John's Gospel Chapter 6. Jesus never forced who he was on anyone. He said who he is and if you walk away, he wasn't going to chase you down. He did not tell Judas at the Last Supper, I will be what YOU want me to be, Judas, IF you don't hang yourself. Jesus said who He was and what He was about, and Judas and the others were free to choose their response. Freedom in the proper, intellectual and rational sense of the term. And that is what Christianity is about.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Austin


      July 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Elaine

      Nice try at selling your sermons here, James. Uber-cheesy. You suck.

      July 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
      • sam stone

        elaine: austin has brain damage and he passes it off as a spiritual gift

        July 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • Charles

        Austin also dreams about dead cats, ... or killing cats ... He's never very clear about that so, fair warning!

        July 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • James Lueckenhoff

        wasn't trying to sell it. just wrote what I did and you take it from there. I would never use your abusive language as a response. 'you suck' is rather interesting.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Benny

      Jesus wouldn't chase you down, but he did say something like "I'll get you later", didn't he?

      July 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  5. One one

    Jesus is awesome. He agrees with EVERYTHING I believe !!!

    Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
    Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright
    I don't care what they may know, I don't care where they may go
    I don't care what they may know, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah !!!

    July 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Benny Hill

      In other words, when anyone confronts you with reason, you "put your fingers in your ears and sing toodle-oodle-oodle-ooh".

      July 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Paul

    All true! I have been saying this for years.

    I am Eastern Orthodox, and as a "cradle", I am in minority in my church. Most Eastern Orthodox in the US are now converts, from evangelicals and mainstream Protestants. In our religious schools, most seminarians are now converts. Even our two last Metropolitans have been converts (from Episcopalianism).

    It is always fascinating to talk to an Orthodox convert from evangelicalism. I always ask this question, "How did you come to be an Orthodox? What has brought you here? What was your path?" The answer – more or less – is the same in every case. Looking for substance in their own church, not finding; then looking for answers in ancient Christianity, eventually realizing there is a church in existence that has kept it all. Going to that church, to check it out; finding more than they were even looking for.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  7. bunny cam

    God made a lot of blackberries, and I ate handfuls today, and burped. That has never happened before, that I know of.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Athy

      See, god really is real!

      July 29, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • One one

      What happens when you eat a lot of beans ?

      July 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  8. melissaboling

    Faith is believing in somsething that you can't prove. Faith always includes doubt. The Bible is a collection of stories, poems, and many other genres written by human beings inspired by God about their personal experiences of God. It was written in multiple times and places in multiple cultures. It is not supposed to be literally, factually true. It is not God. I do not believe in God because the Bible tells me too. I study the Bible because it is a book about God and the people of God, and the stories teach truth. For example, Jesus taught in parables, but no one gets upset because the parables aren't true stories. This blogger is absolutely right in my opinion, and most of the commenters here haven't understood a word she said. I go to a "high" Presbyterian church (PCUSA) which is large and thriving with members of all ages. I believe it's because the church is all about living as Jesus lived and challenging the members to live out their beliefs all week, not just on Sunday. Hard questions are encouraged. The Bible is studied deeply within it's historical and cultural context and applied within the context of today's culture and knowledge. The life and teachings of Jesus are the primary example,

    July 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Rick

      Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matt 19:21

      I assume that if you follow Jesus' teaching nobody in your church owns anything more than the clothes on your backs then?

      July 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • melissaboling

        I never said everyone in the church is perfect. No one on earth is perfect. We have rich and poor in our church. Some give more than others. Some give higher percentages of their income than others. Jesus did not mean for us to take that one verse literally and give away everything we own to follow him. Society would fall apart if we did. The Bible has a strong theme of distrubutive justice. That has to do with everyone having what they need, but not everything they want. Our society tells us all deserve to have everything we want (just listen to the commercials.) The church tells us that we should share what we have with those who are in need. Everyone must go by their own conscience in deciding how much sharing is right. That's between each person and God.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
      • AE

        "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

        What question was Jesus answering?

        Who asked it?

        What did he say after that?

        I don't think he was instructing everyone to sell all their possessions, was he? Wasn't he trying to make a point about the man who asked the questions?

        July 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • melissaboling

          Yes! Well said!

          July 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • Rick

          Yet, his disciples appear to have taken that advice, sold what possessions they had, left their wives and husbands, and followed him just as instructed. What makes you think that this wasn't a serious offer being made by Jesus?

          July 30, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • Rick

        It's not about being "perfect", but it is a basic teaching of Jesus.
        "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.Matthew 6:19

        It's also in Luke several times and in Acts a couple of times, so don't you think that Jesus literally meant his followers to not have any savings, luxuries, or anything above what's needed to survive in the short term? Remember that jesus was preaching that the Kingdom was at hand, which meant that there would be no need for saving up for some future need. You're reading it through the lens of knowing that this prophecy didn't come true as jesus meant it, so you are reinterpreting it to suit your needs, correct?

        July 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • melissaboling

          Yes, I'm reading it knowing that today's context is different from the one in which Jesus and his followers lived. Jesus' point was to focus our lives on him, not on material possessions and luxuries. When we make idols of personal possessions and luxuries, we get further away from Jesus and a Christlike life. In the parable of the vineyard, Jesus expected all workers to be paid the same wage, no matter how long they worked. He didn't ask the workers to give their money back or give it away. If you pick and choose among verses and stories, as we all do, you're at risk for missing the big picture. That's why it's so important to study the Bible as a whole and to constantly re-think what you think you already know. To me, it's a red flag when I interpret the Bible in a way that makes me feel good. One reason I go to church is to be challenged because if I stay away from others and interpret the Bible the way I want to, I'm in danger of going way off in the wrong direction. I have a masters degree in divinity, and the main thing I learned is that the Bible is much deeper and more complex than I could ever have imagined, and the more I learned, the more I realized how little I know. The Bible challenges us out of our comfort zones, and it's not what most of us want to hear. The natural thing is to pick and choose what we do want to hear, and that's how we end up with Christians that cause hurt to others, or at least don't help others, and get all wrapped up in rules that may have made sense at the time they were written but don't make any sense at all today.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          The reason he was preaching the kingdom was at hand was because he is the king of the kingdom. The king of the kingdom was standing there talking to them. He is the king and believers are his subjects.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
        • Rick

          The people in parables were characters used for illustration, right? They were not actual people in the crowds following him. However, in the parable of widow's mite Jesus make clear that a tiny contribution equal to a big sacrifice from a poor person is worth a lot more than a large contribution made by rich people who can easily afford it. The message is consistent with giving until it hurts, which very few Christians actually do.

          What if you came to learn what many of us atheists already have, that it's all more than likely just a myth? Would that be something "challenging" that you would still embrace?

          July 30, 2013 at 12:43 am |
        • Rick

          Robert Brown
          Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Matthew 24:34

          Now, you can creatively "interpret" that to mean something cryptically figurative, but what he meant was the apocalyptic meaning that the Kingdom was coming to Earth very, very soon. Within a few years, not thousands of them.

          July 30, 2013 at 12:49 am |
      • EJ

        This is the ages old argument that people throw around to try to curtail intelligent discussions on an important topic. It seems to imply that you have the answers whether you try to live them or not. Please allow others to have opinions which open our minds to discussion, rather than trying to smother freedom of speech, which by the way, is what the article is talking about.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Bob

      Melissa, if these direct quotes from the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible were "inspired by god", well, you should try to find a less vicious and less hateful god, or even better, just stop believing in your evil sky fairy tales altogether:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      July 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • melissaboling

        Of course it says that. These are the hard questions that are welcomed in churches with what the author of this article calls substance. You have to consider the context of these quotes, who said it, why, and what came later. Inspired by God doesn't mean that God told them to say that. It means that the writers felt God was important and worth writing about. It doesn't mean they were right in everything they wrote.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Benny

          Could "what came later" not have been written to smooth the meaning, and make it more in line with the Christian idea of God as "loving"?

          July 30, 2013 at 1:01 am |
      • Observer


        "It means that the writers felt God was important and worth writing about. It doesn't mean they were right in everything they wrote."

        It's always good to find someone who can translate English words into completely different meanings." black" might mean"white"."Day" might mean "night" apparently.

        Since you think you know what the authors meant and that it was not the words meaning what we know them to mean, then why don't you publish a Bible with the true meanings in a different color, for instance?

        July 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • melissaboling

          Did I say the words had different meanings? NO!!! You just heard what you thought I would say. Try reading my post again.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • Observer

          "Inspired by God doesn't mean that God told them to say that."

          July 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • JimK57

      Great post!

      July 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  9. clydevstrickland

    Great Article...I'd like to share a very interesting point of view. From Bishop John Spong.

    http://youtu.be/92yp1u0yfl4, http://youtu.be/5BkP9-HG8-I and http://youtu.be/uIyVWACkii0.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  10. Larry

    The Bible is not about "us"' it is about what God in Christ has done for mankind and the "all" are those in whom Christ is the object of their faith.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Rick

      You still end up with an "us" who believes that your conservative take on the Bible is the only valid one, and a "them" that you consider wrong because they don't share your view. You may think that the Bible is very clear on things, but remember that it took a liberal reading of it to create the abolitionist movement, to give women a voice in church and the vote, and to spark the civil rights movement. Conservatives have blocked the way of every advance our society has made.

      July 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  11. Austin

    when this writer talks about leaving the church, she judges people she doesn't know and she takes the church in the wrong context. the church is not a building or the congregation inside of it. she should use a different word.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Benny

      If you are defining "Church" to be the common belief set of typical Christians of that group, then she is dead on.

      July 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  12. tony

    "my fellow evangelical leaders" – There's a problem right there. A group of mouthpieces with absolutely zero credibility.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  13. hijackthemic

    Evangelicals aren't changing. They've made their church about them, their politics, their wants. It serves those who actually are involved and they're not changing it so it caters to somebody else. And the fact is, it's all ancient mythology, how long can you hold onto a story your society knows isn't true? Young people are going to keep leaving until it's bottomed out.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  14. Colin

    I have posted this question to Christians before and never seem to be able to get an answer. It seems to me that you believe in God because of the Bible (it's not as though there is a Bible II, for example). And then, when asked why you believe the bible, you say because it is the word of God.

    Why is that not circular reasoning no different to “I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man.”

    July 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Jed

      I believe the bible because it has never been proven wrong...the most you can say is that parts of it are un-provable...however anytime there has been an attempt to prove it wrong beyond a doubt, evidence has come forth to prove it correct...that is true in the areas of archeology, science, geography, and of course philosophy.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • sam stone

        i don't know if it will ever be "proven wrong". not implying it is correct, but that it is open to much interpretation, hence the 41000 or so christian denominations. proof is not necessary for belief, or disbelief

        July 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Harry Cline


        Well, those are some valid observations, however, some can argue as well as I had pointed out earlier in the discussion that Jesus may have only ever been just a really good teacher.

        I will not argue the point either way, merely say that I have question it myself inside. However, having said that, I do invoke the name Jesus when in consultation with you know who just in case.

        July 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        We know that the creation myths are not literally true as many believers say. Many who post on here deny evolution and any other science that disproves a literal interpretation of the bible. Then there is Noah's myth could not have happened as described. And the miracles, and Jonah, Lot's wife, etc. which have never been repeated and are beyond belief.
        I'd say that the foundational parts of the bible have been disproven. Some people and some places are accurate but the rest is disproven or unproveable (and most likely untrue).

        July 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
      • Benny

        The Bible got a lot of thing wrong. There was no "high place" where Satan could take Jesus to see all the world's empires at that time because some (unknown then) were on the other side of the globe, and that's just one example.

        July 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Just a guy

          Benny – if there were such a place – you would believe?

          July 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Benny

          Just a guy
          I might believe that part of that particular story ... except that I don't generally trust what people out alone in the desert for over a month without food have to say. Starvation and exposure tends to lead people to hallucinate, and we know that it must have been jesus himself who told that story because the Bible makes a point of saying that he was alone, so no "eyewitnesses". Well, alone except for the devil, and I doubt that they would have interviewed him, right?

          July 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • JC

          Is the "high place" figurative or literal? And are we talking about a hill top (or the corner of a wall/building, etc). where Jesus might see a city or a region of land. Not sure "high place" or that one who fasts (for religious reasons) makes me think the story isn't valid. Still, I respect your question/level of skepticism.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • armcurl7

          When you are reading that passage you have to understand that the being's in the Bible (Satan, God, Jesus, Angels, Demons) are not bound within our confines of time and space. Now when he says he takes Jesus to a place where he can see all the kingdoms of the world as a human you could never come to a place like this. However, beings who are outside of time and space can. Now being human I don't know how exactly that would work but then again who of us understands the complexities of the 5th or higher dimensions. After all we are bound only in 4 even if more exist. That's why when God is talking about time being irrelevant to him it REALLY is irrelevant to him along with space also.


          But hopefully that explains why he can see all the kingdoms that were ruling at the time .... and .... let me add every kingdom that has ever existed. See back in the days of ancient times people described things that they couldn't understand as being within the spirit realm. Now I know that most people here in the U.S. don't believe in spirits but then how do you explain a demon possessed man I mean I've seen one before so I know they exist. Like they'll say things only you would know about yourself and so I would pose the question then of is the spirit realm outside of time and space and to which I would think it is. Explaining why Jesus could see every single kingdom EVER haha.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
        • Benny

          Research the methods of native shamans and tell me how their visions of animal spirits were any different from Jesus's. Then research how starvation causes hallucinations and tell me that it isn't reasonable to conclude that starving your brain makes you see things that aren't really there. It all boils down to the fact that this story, if it were not fabricated by the gospel writers completely, must have came from a person who hadn't eaten in 40 days. Why then do you trust that story?

          July 30, 2013 at 12:58 am |
        • Benny

          Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, which isn't like Catholic fasting during the daytime with a big supper before going to bed every night. After 40 days it says that he was very hungry, hungry enough to be tempted by even a little plain food. It's useless to try interpreting this to mean anything less than near starvation.

          July 30, 2013 at 1:12 am |
      • Austin

        Lind er

        July 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • Robert Schiffman

        I do not know how one can say archaeology proves the Bible. Just read The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Silberman to learn about what the archaeology does and does not show. If anything, archaeology disproves the Bible. As for science, you may have been listening to apologists who stretch the biblical interpretation to cover the scientific problems. E.g. the bible refers to the bat as a bird. It is not. The Bible may provide an inspired moral compass for some and provide many positives things for society. But one has to overlook the many inaccuracies and accept that the men of the first centuries of the first millennium were woefully ignorant of the world around them.

        July 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • One one

        Which verse is right, which one is wrong ? They both cannot be right.

        Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?
        (a) God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)
        (b) Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)

        In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?
        (a) Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
        (b) One million, one hundred thousand (IChronicles 21:5)

        How many fighting men were found in Judah?
        (a) Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
        (b) Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

        God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?
        (a) Seven (2 Samuel 24:13)
        (b) Three (I Chronicles 21:12)

        How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
        (a) Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26)
        (b) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)

        How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?
        (a) Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)
        (b) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)

        How long did he rule over Jerusalem?
        (a) Three months (2 Kings 24:8)
        (b) Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)

        The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?
        (a) Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8)
        (b) Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)

        When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?
        (a) After (2 Samuel 5 and 6)
        (b) Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)

        How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?
        (a) Two (Genesis 6:19, 20)
        (b) Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)

        When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?
        (a) One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4)
        (b) Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)

        How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?
        (a) Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26)
        (b) Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)

        In what year of King Asa's reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?
        (a) Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 – 16:8)
        (b) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)

        How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?
        (a) Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2)
        (b) Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)

        Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?
        (a) Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26)
        (b) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)

        Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of Pahrath-Moab?
        (a) Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6)
        (b) Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)

        How many were the children of Zattu?
        (a) Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8)
        (b) Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)

        How many were the children of Azgad?
        (a) One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12)
        (b) Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)

        How many were the children of Adin?
        (a) Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15)
        (b) Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)

        How many were the children of Hashum?
        (a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19)
        (b) Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)

        How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?
        (a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28)
        (b) One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)

        Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:
        (a) 29,818 (Ezra)
        (b) 31,089 (Nehemiah)

        How many singers accompanied the assembly?
        (a) Two hundred (Ezra 2:65)
        (b) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)

        July 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • melissaboling

          Look at all the news stories and other writings about President Obama. They contradict each other constantly because they are written by different people in different places with different core beliefs, different backgrounds, and different agendas. That does not mean that President Obama is not the president or does not exist.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • Observer

          It does apparently mean that God couldn't get his story straight.

          – II Timothy 3:16 "Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word”

          July 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • melissaboling

          God didn't dictate the Bible word for word. Different people were inspired to write about their personal experience of God. Not everyone had the same experience. Some stories were handed down orally for many years before they were written down. The Bible isn't and never was meant to be 100% factually correct.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
        • Benny

          No, but it does illustrate to us that people report things according to their own personal agenda, and that the gospel writers couldn't have been any different. By the time they sat to write the gospels many decades after Jesus was gone their personal beliefs about him were already set, right? They wouldn't write such a thing as a gospel without first believing in him, so isn't it at least possible that they wrote their beliefs into the stories they told?

          July 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • melissaboling

          Yes Benny, absolutely. You said it very well.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The Bible isn't and never was meant to be 100% factually correct.

          And what percentage of evangelical protestants will accept that Biblical literalism fails all critical thinking and agree that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God?

          July 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • melissaboling

          That's the point. Evangelicals don't think. They listen to what they're told. Thinking people leave the evangelical churches. And a lot of people think that the evengelical non-thinkers are the typical Christian just because they make more noise than other churches.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
        • james

          If you did some real research you would see there are no contradictions in any of those examples and there is a logical answer to each one. For the truth that leads to eternal life just go to jw.org to find out what the Bible really teaches and be amazed for free (if you are serious and not just trying to stumble people).

          July 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • Benny

          No, there is a contrived answer to each of these contradictions. The obvious answer is that the authors often didn't have the same sources, which means that they themselves were not eyewitnesses, and that they sometimes changed facts to better suit their attempts to match prophecy, like the conflicting stories of how Jesus of Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem.

          July 30, 2013 at 1:18 am |
        • james

          Benny; you answered just what I said that you do not want to do the research but I did and the answers are there for all who really want to know what the bible really teaches. for the eternal life that Jesus taught you will have to keep on asking and keep on seeking and keep on knocking and it will be opened but are you willing? So far it looks like you are just wanting to parrot those who would rather laugh at others than ask why they do what they do. It does not take that much of an effort but thew results are worth it. peace, j

          July 30, 2013 at 9:10 am |
        • Benny

          It works both ways. Apparently, you won't be satisfied with anyone's "seeking" of answers until they happen to come up with the same ones you do. Why is it so difficult to admit that the Bible can yield many different answers to the same questions, depending on how you read it?

          Yes, many atheists mock certain Christians, but no more than you might mock a grown adult who still believes in Santa, or who believes in something like reincarnation that you might find ridiculous. I suggest that you also pay closer attention to many of the religious people's comments here. Many of them are also openly mocking other opinions, and some are even threatening.

          July 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • james

          Benny; great answer because I had asked it myself at one time and if I had not been there done that many years ago and studied and taught other with many very educated people I would not be as insistent and if I did not believe you were as sincere as I think you are I would not continue but I did and I do and that is why I am even here. To share the truth that I believe and have thoroughly investigated along with many other highly educated and humble professors, doctors, lawyers, and others from every walk of life. If you really want to learn what the Bible really teaches check it out. You have nothing to lose and It may be worth your eternal life ,thanks, j

          July 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • james

          And I am sorry but you are right about so many other so called believers and that is where a thorough study of the history, archaeology, and prophecy of the Bible and other writings will separate true from false Religions and so called Christians and there are many but for me it was not that difficult to see through the hypocrite and eliminate them from my search. Try it, it does not take that long and it is worth it. j

          July 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • skytag

        The inability to prove something is wrong is not proof it's right. What would you consider an example proving it wrong? I mean, it was written 2000 years ago, much of it is considered to be allegorical, and finding reliable records from that time isn't like finding a YouTube video. Most of it is unprovable either way.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • AE

      A lot of people try to make a false idol out of the Bible. They talk as if the Bible is God.

      The Bible points to the living God. It is one thing to read about God, quite another to know Him.

      For me, The Bible shows the way to God – today.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Got any evidence to share?

        July 29, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • AE

          If you honestly want to know God:

          Surrender – perhaps get on your knees – humbly ask God to reveal Himself to you in a way you can understand.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
        • Just a guy

          As a Christian – my evidence is personal between Him and me in the things he has done for me and answered prayer – nonbelievers who have never trusted in Him nor have the faith do not understand – all they want is evidence / proof – his creation is all around you. i do not claim to know why God did things he did in the past – I do trust he knows better than anyone why he did (the flood for eg) and I for one do not need to put Him under a microscope to believe and trust in Him

          July 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So you have to believe to believe. Circular, no?
          Why christianity? You have no more evidence for a christian god than you do for the native American gods, or the shinto gods. You have to believe to believe in those also.

          July 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Benny

        And you trust the Bible because you believe in God. A circular argument, just as Colin said, right?

        July 29, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • AE

          I trust God.

          I read the Bible.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
        • Benny

          Ultimately, you learned to trust God from the Bible which teaches that, and you've learned to trust the Bible because it also teaches that.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • Harry Cline


          Every belief among mankind falls under a circular argument. That university professor has no more credibility then a bible does. Unless you equate that over priced education with fact.

          What a good many fail to understand is that everything mankind seeks to prove through science those validations are all 'created' by man. Theories are just that. And fraud in the scientific community is as rampant as in the religious community.

          Rule #2

          You can't comprehend the argument because your validation work of of touch, see and feel. A God argument works by faith. That's the key. The non believer today is liken to the religious Pharisees of old. No other group seeks to validate their life style choices but a non-believer.

          Consequence ? I think not.

          And finally the notion that somehow a God is religion or theology. And that people is what has turned people away, pimping a God for a political agenda or hiding behind a God to justify certain actions or promote agenda.

          But don't pretend you are any wiser then the ignorant believer is.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • AE

          I ultimately learned to trust in God by trusting in God.

          Not from what I read. But from what I experienced.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • Benny

          Harry Cline
          Science does not use circular arguments. Science follows the evidence to it's logical conclusion, which makes it linear, not circular.

          If faith were a good means of reasoning nobody would ever lose their life savings by placing their faith in con men, right?

          July 30, 2013 at 12:23 am |
        • Benny

          Where did the idea to trust in God come from if not the Bible?

          July 30, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        That's interesting, AE. A minister once explained to me that Christians are divided by two ways the Bible is viewed. Some say it is the word of God. Others say it contains the word of God. Both camps worry about grave errors inherent in doing what the other camp does.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • james

      Colin; if you want answers to your questions about the Bible and God (the Creator) please ask away and I believe I can help as long as you are serious and sincere. The God that I believe in gives evidence all around us of his existence and that Book is full of the same. Please give it a chance if you are serious.j

      July 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • David

      "Why is that not circular reasoning"

      Colin, if you study the rules of logic and argumentation you'll learn that every argument that could ever be made will ultimately end in some form of circular reasoning. The reason for this is because we use supporting arguments to "prove" or "validate" our points but there is necessarily a point at which no further proofs are possible. One's final argument must be based on their truth, their ultimate standard. If that ultimate standard could be better proved by another point, it would no longer be the "ultimate." It would have to defer to something else greater than itself to be known as true, therefore not standing alone. So, for Christians, the ultimate standard is God alone, and God has revealed in the Bible that God has revealed Himself to us. This is our ultimate standard. If science were needed to prove our ultimate standard of God, God would no longer be the ultimate standard; science would. But we've learned from history that science (begun by Christians in a worshipful act of understanding God's beautiful creation) is about learning, not final statements and cannot, therefore, be an ultimate standard. Science is a process, and scientists can be wrong. So the work of science is not to dig in its heels and defend a view to the death but to follow the evidence where it leads. If scientists exclude possibilities based on their worldview (there can't be a God, etc.) then they are no longer objectively "doing science." They are proposing their religious beliefs. I hope that helps!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • redzoa

        I'm not a true student of formal logic so perhaps you can help me understand your statement that all arguments must invariably result in circular reasoning. For example, I could offer the following premises and conclusion:

        P1: All male humans possess at least one Y chromosome;
        P2: David possesses at least one Y chromosome;
        C1: David is a human male.

        Can you direct me to the necessary circular reasoning involved in this argument? I see this type of argument as clearly distinct from:

        P1: The Bible states it is the word of God;
        P2: The Bible states it is reliable and trustworthy;
        C1: Therefore, the Bible is the word of God.

        Regarding science, I would agree that it is a process, but it is a unique process in that it provides a useful and applicable means to test our inherent biases and frequently flawed intuitions. I also agree that science always accepts its conclusions as potentially subject to new evidence. I would offer that the "ultimate standard" in science is pursuit of empirical truth with both humility (conceding a given conclusion could be wrong) and integrity (self-examination via relentless testing). When you state that God alone is the "ultimate standard," how do you examine this theological pursuit of truth with humility and integrity? Plainly stated, do you also concede that your conclusions regarding God's existence and God's nature could be wrong? Is there any evidence which could undermine your conclusions?

        July 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • lol??

          Scientific truths and facts are slippery things, never having the final word. This is not the case for a Holy God, so much so that the Creator can say I AM the TRUTH. He doesn't lie and if He wants to use the services of liars He has plenty of volunteers.

          July 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • Todd

        Thank you David for your well-written response to Colin's question. C.S. Lewis addressed this issue of defining the ultimate standard upon which we base our appeals in his essay The Abolition of Man, which I love. Along those lines, a professor I know was once told by a student, "I don't believe in anything which I cannot prove empirically." He replied, "Oh. Can you support that criteria empirically?" This conversation points out that even science is tethered to human standards of value.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • redzoa

          Couldn't the student have tested his various beliefs against whether they were in fact supported by empirical evidence? Better yet, couldn't he have had his beliefs tested by others as a means to demonstrate their empirical nature? The student's stated criteria might or might not have been supported by the testing (i.e. he might not actually have based all of his beliefs on empirical evidence), but wouldn't the empiricism still be available as valid criteria both as a means to test the student's various beliefs as well as the student's statement itself? I'm not sure how this relates to subjective values in science. If one scientist performs an experiment and observes data and a different scientist performs the same experiment and observes the same data, does this reflect the respective scientists' "values"? What if the second scientist intended and expected to observe a different outcome, i.e. isn't it possible that a scientist can produce data which might conflict with their "values" and that there is the capacity for the two to be functionally independent of each other?

          July 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • amweimer

      I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I believe that God inspired men to write it over hundreds of years. I don't believe in God because the Bible tells me to, but because I see evidence of Him all around me. The Bible has helped me understand the evidence I have seen.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Athy

        Share some of that convincing evidence with us, please.

        July 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
      • Athy

        Still waiting for all that evidence.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Charlie

          I find your lack of evidence disturbing. There is no evidence that God does not exist. I often hear that the burden of proof is on believers. Well we all believe something. Being an atheist takes a great deal of faith. You have to assume that there is no all seeing all knowing being, without being able to see all and know all. Because, that in essence would make you God. You also have to accept that science still cannot adequately explain creation. Do you know that the leading secular scientists believe in "intelligent design"? Only they propose that it was an alien life form that "left behind the blueprints" for life to begin. That begs the question then. Where did that alien life form's life begin? You cannot follow that reasoning to any conclusion other than that there is a God. There is simply not enough time for multiple instances of that kind of creation.
          If you stack up evidence for and against God existing, the evidence for His existence will cast a long shadow over the evidence against His existence.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Being an atheist takes a great deal of faith."


          July 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Do you know that the leading secular scientists believe in "intelligent design"? Only they propose that it was an alien life form that "left behind the blueprints" for life to begin.

          Been watching Prometheus? You appear to be confusing science with science fiction. The current working hypothesis is abiogenesis.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "If you stack up evidence for and against God existing, the evidence for His existence will cast a long shadow over the evidence against His existence."

          Evidence for the existence of a god. Zero, nadda, nothing, empty.

          Evidence against the existence of a god. (looks of at the 'for' pile)

          July 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • Charlie

          To your question: no, I have never watched Prometheus.
          I would suggest you educate yourself on the current scientific beliefs. There is no credibility to abiogenisis. Scientists no longer espouse belief in that. Sir Frederick Hoyle using chemistry, mathematics, and thermodynamics calculated the odds of spontaneous generation to be 1 in 10^40,000(many believe that to be conservative). That was coming from someone who believed in abiogenesis. To believe that would take great faith indeed. That is an astronomical number. So large that your brain cannot process it.
          "No evidence" as evidence does not evidence create.
          We now know that the universe is finite. What is outside of the universe? We estimate the universe to be 13.77billion years old roughly. What was before that?

          July 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • redzoa

          @Charlie – The scientists that support intelligent design are an incredible minority and most certainly don't represent the "leaders" of secular science. Take Szostak for example. You apparently are getting your science information 2nd hand from ID/creationist sources and have not taken a look at the actual research. Lastly your citing Hoyle's probability calculations betrays two points: 1) the logical fallacy of an appeal to authority; and 2) a clear lack of understanding of probability and why Hoyle's premise has no relation to reality. Like most ID/creationist misrepresentations, Hoyle was basing the calculation on an all at once spontaneous creation of a modern cell. This is not what abiogenesis suggests which like evolution, indicates many, many multiple steps from the requisite pre-biomolecules up thru the first metabolic protocell. Furthermore, because there remain so many unknowns, Hoyle's and other such probability calculations have no reasonable basis in a truly known set of possible events and are akin to my calculating the probability of your posting your comment as1 in 1^35. I just made that number up, but all I need to do is backtrack and contrive my calculation by erroneously multiplying some requisite number of probabilities to arrive at the desired ridiculously improbable number, e.g. the probability that all of your ancestor's meet the appropriate other person to eventually lead to you, etc.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • redzoa

          Because my mentioning Szostak might read as if I were suggesting he supported ID/creationism, he most certainly does not. Rather this was in response to Charlie's suggestion that scientists have abandoned abiogenesis; a suggestion which is pure rubbish. Szostak, the 2009 Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine is truly a leader of secular science and maintains an active research program targeting abiogenesis. He is one of many, many others. On the other side, where is all that peer-reviewed scientific research supporting ID/creationism?

          July 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • Benny

          There is no evidence that any of the gods or goddesses doesn't actually exist, but that hasn't stopped people from not believing in them any more. Christians make a claim that their God actually does still exist. Atheists have looked at their case and not found it convincing. It's now up to Christians to find better arguments, or some actual evidence, if they ever hope to convince us. We atheists don't have to do anything.

          July 30, 2013 at 1:26 am |
      • Athy

        Still waiting.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • Athy

        Still no evidence, amweimer.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
      • Athy

        Well, amweimer, your evidence for god is underwhelming. Apparently you couldn't find any.

        July 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Charlie

          I'm still waiting on your evidence that there is no god.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • Athy

          The evidence is all around you, just look. No evidence for a god is evidence that there is no god. You site of life as evidence for god, but you offer no explanation for where god came from. Your thesis is absurd.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  15. msdrummer

    I agree with you Rachel 100%. As a member of the LGBTIQ community, so many churches only give lip service to us, if that. Christ gave his life for ALL!

    July 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Just a guy

      Yes he did MSDRUMMER – He did give His life for all to believe in Him and follow Him – he also said "go and sin no more" – which many in your community do not wish to address

      July 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
      • Jesusfollower

        I could not agree with you more Just a guy.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • Observer

        Justa guy,

        Jesus said that anyone divorcing and remarrying is an adulterer (unless the previous spouse already was an adulterer).

        So why aren't you more concerned about the MUCH MUCH GREATER number of Christian adulterers than the much smaller number of gays?

        Any answer other than HYPOCRISY?

        July 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • Charlie

          We are very concerned. It just doesn't get the media attention. Who would write a news story about a Christian holding his brother accountable and trying to get him to reconcile his marriage? Don't dismiss it because you haven't heard about it.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • Observer


          How many times have you heard Christians told they should divorce again because their marriage made them adulterers?

          Number please.

          July 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • Charlie


          How many times have you heard Christians told they should divorce again because their marriage made them adulterers?"

          I don't understand your question.
          The issue is not remarrying but rather divorce.
          Are you saying someone that marries a divorcee should then divorce them because they committed adultery? How would sinning more fix a previous sin? If that is what you are implying.

          July 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Observer


          Remarriage was the sin. As long as they stay married, they are adulterers.

          So how often do you hear Christians tell other Christians to get out of the adulterous marriage?

          July 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • Johnny

          Charlie, I think that to be fair you Christians should be pushing for laws to ban divorce just as other Christians are pushing for laws to ban gay marriage. As it stands now it just looks like Christians want to pick on gay people.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • zechariah8v16

      msdrummer, what do you mean by "so many churches only give lip service to us, if that".

      What is it that you want from the Church?

      July 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  16. artexp

    Largely true about substance over style, but we also want our LGBT friends to be challenged and those enslaved under patterns of sin to be brought under discipline. This is where the substance is and where the grace of Christ can atone.

    And we want better science, not the kind that is stuck behind presumptions and therefore doesn't follow the evidence where it leads even if the evidence is pointing towards intelligent causes for certain features of nature.

    We want to follow evidence (out of love) that certain economic policies are better for the poor and a limited government frees up charity, and that family is important and marriage revisionism and widespread abortion os eroding the family. Social justice comes form such a focus.

    July 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Benny

      Why not bring your women under discipline while you're at it? Too many churches are allowing them to speak and even take leadership roles. Paul would not approve!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Sher

      Your religion does not belong in politics.
      There is nothing that is Biblically based concerning abortion.
      Your stupid ti.thing belongs in church only.
      Not one of your religious beliefs should EVER be legislated into the laws of these SECULAR United States.
      Your divorces among heteros threaten the family. Your adultery, your po.rn, your selfish piety. All smoke and mirrors that should NEVER be made into laws.
      Keep your nasty church out of MY laws!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  17. elizabethprata

    Open Letter to Rachel Held Evans

    July 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • skytag

      Do you also have a blog entry providing evidence of anything you said in this one?

      July 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • elizabethprata

        Yes. it is here

        July 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • skytag

          I scanned it. Clearly you don't have a clue what the word "evidence" means.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:48 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.