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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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.
Why millennials are leaving the church? Education.
I believe a lot of Christian believers, in general, are leaving the church due to legalism (Law) while still believing in God!
Yup, a rejection of strict observance of the Law, like how Jesus opposed the Pharisees, right?
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Socialist Indoctrination, and that is antifather and antiFather, which is of course, antichrist.
Dear millennials, I have been the pastor of a number of congregations that are not political in the negative sense, that are very concerned with and involved in social justice in their communities and beyond, that are welcoming to LGBT persons (to all persons, in fact), that encourage people to think and welcome tough questions, that aren’t afraid of doubt, that see no conflict between science and faith, and where compassion and holiness are linked not separated. And guess who mostly wasn’t there, YOU!
I grant that there are congregations out there that are judgmental, unwelcoming to LGBT persons, ask you to turn your mind off at the door, and largely ignore Jesus’ call to compassion and social justice, but there are also many where the OPPOSITE is the reality, and if you truly want to find one, keep looking. Please don’t let your bad experiences with churches stop you from looking until you find one that meets your criteria. They are out there, and there are more of them than you think. So please don’t get discouraged.
Yesterday I got wrapped up in this discussion and became a bit distracted from my work…but the conversations hung with me through the night and I had to do one more post and then I am done. I am a dyslexic/disgraphic, so typing my thoughts isn’t exactly my strong point, so forgive me my inadequecies…those who understand forgiveness that is. This article has its strong points and quite frankly some really nauseating points. I see the American Church shrinking and declining and think, why? Well I blame two things, 1) the church itself has become more a reflection of the culture than a place to worship and learn about God. 2)Modern Americans are used to the Burger King model, “have it your way”. We want to customize church and God to fit our needs and our life styles. That was never the point.
I see a lot of the atheist on this thread that are so viament that God is not real and all people of faith are either delusional, dumb or have some sort of agenda, or simply ignore “facts”. How do they account for people like Lee Stroebel, former atheist, Law degree from Univ. of Chicago and Chic. Tribune Legal editor whose wife converted to Christianity. He tried to convince her she was crazy and in researching, ended up converting himself, is he stupid uninformed and delusional as well??? The writer is correct that people no more about what some churches are against than what we are for. For instances; social equality and justice; Martin Luther King and Gandhi have both given credit to Jesus for showing them the way to fight for civil rights; caring for the sick; 35% of the worlds hospitals and 50% of all US hospitals are faith based non-profits; Caring for the poor; Faith based organization run and fund over 40% of all shelter in the US. According to the US Govt. churches supply a majority of food and supplies for all food kitchens and shelters in the US.
Does this mean all churches are good, he!! NO! I left the church myself, not God, not Jesus, just the church. I think that is the major problem many of the atheists on this post have an issue with, the church and the people in the church. God is not reflected by the majority of churches I see high-lighted in the media. For instance one would think that all priest are molesters, in reality less than 3% have been accused, let alone, found guilty (I hope the guilty ones are all sent to prison forever) which is less than the national average. Whens the last time the press did a story on Rwanda? Amazing things are happening there and a church is involved!
I will not call thousand upon thousand of scholars and researchers naive or delusional or dumb, like Skytag, Catlover, Reality, Ana do. They cannot worship any god but their own perceived minds and their overblown ego’s that make them think they have some sort of Universal truths. They say we cannot apply logic or think for ourselves, but they don’t know us, this is a real sign of arrogant ignorance. What I find most humorous about these poor people is that they are attracted to religious blogs. I read these because I am a believer and interested in reading about my faith, what attracts them?? The chance to mock…like a little insecure school yard bully. Yes the US church is shrinking but Christianity is actually on the rise. The fastest growing Christian Churches are not in the US. They are in S. Korea and China. As a matter of FACT, S. Korea has the most missionaries in the world in the field. The country they send them to the most is the US.
And PS AUSTIN is either a nut job or an atheist playing the part of a nutjob believer...just sayin'
Very well said. And quite understood in it's entirety. Thank you.
And now moving back to the 21st century:
The Apostles'/Agnostics’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(references used are available upon request)
Reality, do you have anything new. We get it. You don't believe, so what...go worship yourself and stop getting mad at us because you don't and won't change our feeble little minds.
As with the original creeds, the Creed above is to be repeated as the hammer to eliminate the errors of previous creeds. Deal with it by reading the following references used to create it:
Added suggested readings:
o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
– a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
30-60 CE Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
– "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
10.The Gnostic Jesus
(Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
by Douglas Groothuis: equip.or-g/free/DG040-1.htm
16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
17. Diseases in the Bible:
18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
theologians, ethics, etc.
19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
29. NT and beyond time line:
30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus
Wow, Reality! What an amazing example of OCD you are. Once again, like "a hammer it must be repeated"...no one cares! But I find your desire to do this research very odd. Are you paid to attempt to get believers to give it up? I think you are struggling with your faith. If you learn humilty, understand that you are not the center of the Universe and don't have all knowledge....you have a shot at getting God! Good Luck! I will pray for you.
Keep posting it, "Reality." Readers change every day and what you post is historically accurate. Some people just don't like having their infantile sky-fairy stories upset.
I tried to start a blog, but nobody would read it. So instead I just post the same thhings here!
Providing an (effectively) un-annotated bibliography that is about twice as long as the material that "references" it is in no way actually helpful to the reader. If you want to impress your knowledge and the authority of your work, you should cite your alterations, not point to a mound of books and say "it's in there!"
Some of those links don't work.
What is this?
Seems like junk.
@IHAVESEENT THELIGHT: "Wow, Reality! What an amazing example of OCD you are"
You're the best evidence I've seen in a while that Christianity is a fraud. You exhibit none of the traits followers of Christ are admonished to have and instead prefer to bully, belittle and insult anyone who challenges you. If this is what believing in your God has done for you you can have him. I want no part of him.
Wow you whine a lot when challenged...is that all you have. You already said you want no part of him, so please don't blame me for your giving up on faith.
It's a reaction against the strict observance of the perceived Law of Christ that Conservatives dictate. You know, kinda like how Jesus rejected the way the Pharisees thought people ought to behave.
"so forgive me my inadequecies…those who understand forgiveness that is"
This seems like a snide remark, which wouldn't be Christ-like.
Ah good Skytag and Reality stopped by to share their 2 cents!! How would you know what Christ would like? Simple question, he was imaginary, remember. No it wasn't snide, it was true. Some people, even Christians, don't forgive. I have non-believing friends that forgive. Does that make you feel better?
@IHAVESEENT THELIGHT: "Ah good Skytag and Reality stopped by to share their 2 cents!!"
And the obnoxious behavior continues.
"How would you know what Christ would like?"
I spent four decades of my life as a Christian and in that time knew many fine Christians who strove to be the person they believed the Bible taught them to be: Kind, patient, long-suffering, loving, compassionate, turn the other cheek, and so on. You exhibit none of those qualities.
"Simple question, he was imaginary, remember."
Real or not, the Bible admonishes people to practice certain kinds of behavior, and your behavior is not consistent with what the Bible teaches. It doesn't matter if it's real, what matters is that you claim to believe it's real and yet you don't follow it. That makes you a hypocrite.
"No it wasn't snide, it was true. Some people, even Christians, don't forgive. I have non-believing friends that forgive. Does that make you feel better?"
Lame. Your comment "those who understand forgiveness that is" wasn't a statement, so it couldn't be true or false. Furthermore, the fact that some people are not very forgiving doesn't keep it from being a snide remark. A snide remark can have some basis in truth.
Look, your behavior here has consistently been obnoxious. Snide remarks, condescending remarks, insults, baseless character attacks, belittling remarks, anyone who reads your comments can see them. Why compound your hypocrisy by denying the truth about them?
Then stop reading them....
"I see the American Church shrinking and declining and think, why? Well I blame two things, 1) the church itself has become more a reflection of the culture than a place to worship and learn about God. 2)Modern Americans are used to the Burger King model, “have it your way”. We want to customize church and God to fit our needs and our life styles. That was never the point."
You might want to study some history. People have been doing this hundreds of years. It's nothing new. Why do you think there have been so many religions over the course of history?
Skytag, I believe you said this to me yesterday, "have you read what he was saying" I never said my ideas were new. I love how you start with the arrogant assumption that all of us believers are dumb or uneducated...your arrogance is hilarious. What are you compensating for?
Not all believers are dumb, but to believe, otherwise smart people must dumb themselves down in this one aspect of their lives.
Your brand of obnoxious condescension isn't doing your cause any favors. If you think wanting something different out of the church experience is new, as you suggested in your comment, then you're oblivious to the history of religion. If you had anything truly intelligent to say you wouldn't need to resort to the kinds of smug, condescending remarks that typify your responses to me. Did Jesus tell you not to act Christ-like when dealing with me or are you just another Christian hypocrite?
A big thing they are missing is humility.
Try not to forget that God asks us to love those who hate us. Don't resort to their level.
It is difficult to act loving toward arrogant and hostile people, but not impossible.
"If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
and the Lord will reward you."
@Colin: "Not all believers are dumb, but to believe, otherwise smart people must dumb themselves down in this one aspect of their lives."
The idea that being smart in one area makes you smart or an authority in all matters or that you can't be wrong about anything or that you can't be taken in by false ideas is beyond naive.
Where religion dumbs people down is when they resort to horribly flawed arguments trying to make it appear their beliefs have a basis in logic.
Thanks for sharing. I wanted to leave this with you:
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
"2)Modern Americans are used to the Burger King model, “have it your way”. We want to customize church and God to fit our needs and our life styles. That was never the point."
correct – the point was to do God's bidding – which could only be deciphered by approved dealers (clergy) – very convenient, no?
"How do they account for people like Lee Stroebel, former atheist, Law degree from Univ. of Chicago and Chic. Tribune Legal editor whose wife converted to Christianity. He tried to convince her she was crazy and in researching, ended up converting himself, is he stupid uninformed and delusional as well???"
so somebody converted to Christianity... so what? I for one have never heard of the man...yet you drop his name like it's relevant ... it's like me saying "Bob Smith left the church" and expect you to concede your argument.
Christianity is on the rise? not in the developed world it isn't....Religions thrive on ignorance....there is a reason for the threats that are laced through the holy books against questioning the doctrine or leaving the religion. Once a person starts to question, the dominos begin to fall.
"I see a lot of the atheist on this thread that are so viament that God is not real and all people of faith are either delusional, dumb or have some sort of agenda, or simply ignore “facts”. How do they account for people like Lee Stroebel, former atheist, Law degree from Univ. of Chicago and Chic. Tribune Legal editor whose wife converted to Christianity. He tried to convince her she was crazy and in researching, ended up converting himself, is he stupid uninformed and delusional as well???"
This is evidence for the "believers are dumb" position. Dumb is thinking such anecdotal stories prove anything. I don't know Lee Stroebel, am not familiar with his story or the reasoning process that brought him to his conclusion. Atheists sometimes become Christians and Christians become atheists. It's sort of silly to look at one example of one side and act like that proves something. It's certainly not an intelligent argument.
I was a Christian for four decades and left it because I could no longer keep rationalizing why the things I believed didn't match what I saw in the real world. I have two degrees in mathematics, so my command of logic is much better than the average person's, I have years of practice at constructing logical arguments and evaluating the logic of other people's arguments, an IQ that's significantly above average, so Lee Stroebel credentials don't impress me. I regularly pose questions you people can't and don't even try to answer, so I stand by my position that there is no God.
Okay so I screwed up, he went to Yale Law...sorry. Here is a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Strobel.
As for the credentials you list about yourself in the bottom of your comment. Yesterday you mocked me for saying I was a teacher, now look who is resorting to that. Sad. I couldn't care less if you had ten degrees. My son is a straight "A" student, with his strenght being Math. Never gotten a "B" in his life. I am proud of him. As for why you left the church, your explanation shows you lack the ability to understand the message of Christ. You completely and totally missed the point! Wow, you say you have this high IQ and then you show with your reason for giving up that after 4 decades you still didn't get His central message...Skytag I don't think you are as smart as you think you are...not even close. Too Funny...your post are all so wordy too! hahaha I am actually LOLing right now!
All you've done here from beginning to end is act like a jerk. I think that says more about your religious beliefs than I ever could. Thanks.
If Skytag's an idiot, I shutter to think how far down the scale I am....
I ll say this for you – you choose your opponents well...or poorly depending on your view......
And im suffering from hoof/mouth disease....*shudder*....
Well said @IHAVESEENT THELIGHT, we need to pray for ALL the Church in the US, LATAM, APAC, etc. These are dark times now more than ever we need to kneel and pray for our brothers, sisters, Pastors and leaders. Also for our governments to promote respect for all religions and beliefs. And keep up the great commission of making all nations disciples of Christ.
-God bless everyone
If you haven't read any of the many rebuttals to Lee Strobel, you are not finished researching.
Here's just one of them:
OTOH, Okay so your saying that this article is a refutation....it is primarily opinion, with some conjecture thrown in by a disenfranchised Mormon...who has very humble credentials...as you guys like to tell us, check your source.
Perhaps it gave you something to consider and a nudge to look into it further.
There are quite a number of former Evangelicals (some even preachers, ministers and pastors) who have become atheist and agnostic, after huge amounts of study and reflection; and I'd almost be willing to bet that there are more of them than the Lee Strobels of the day.
"I think that is the major problem many of the atheists on this post have an issue with, the church and the people in the church."
Think what you want, that's not what we've been saying and not anywhere close to anything I've said. Apparently you don't want to deal with our real reasons. Why is that?
"I will not call thousand upon thousand of scholars and researchers naive or delusional or dumb, like Skytag, Catlover, Reality, Ana do. They cannot worship any god but their own perceived minds and their overblown ego’s that make them think they have some sort of Universal truths."
And into the woods we go. Engaging in these kinds of mean-spirited personal attacks based on lies does not reflect well on you. It makes you appear desperate to discredit us personally because you cannot refute our arguments.
You consistently misrepresent what we believe. Are you not smart enough to understand what we're expressing in clear English, or are you deliberately misrepresenting us to discredit us with baseless character attacks?
"They say we cannot apply logic or think for ourselves, but they don’t know us, this is a real sign of arrogant ignorance."
Rubbish. I am well versed in logic and experienced in analyzing arguments for logical fallacies. I have taught logic in college. I have judged formal debates. Years of evaluating mathematical proofs trained me to question every statement and assumption in an argument.
If you consistently used flawed logic I am forced to conclude your command of logic is poor. I spend a great deal of time explaining in detail the flaws in the arguments I see. You obviously don't. You just make up stuff and resort to personal attacks like this one. If you could refute my arguments, if you could identify the logical fallacies in my arguments you would, but instead we get this hateful drivel that is clearly devoid of any logic.
"What I find most humorous about these poor people is that they are attracted to religious blogs."
The condescending tone that permeates your comments about atheists suggests you're trying to compensate for feelings of inferiority.
"I read these because I am a believer and interested in reading about my faith, what attracts them?? The chance to mock…like a little insecure school yard bully."
Another personal attack. Snooze alert. I come here in the interest of getting people to consider that they things they've been taught, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, might be wrong. There is something decidedly disconcerting about watching people mindlessly regurgitating religious platitudes and quoting scriptures while at the same time clearly incapable of any independent thought. Sincere questions get canned responses, and questions for which they have no canned response are either ignored or get a non sequitur response.
I posted a couple of questions earlier asking about what should be my motivation to "seek God." They were well articulated and reasonable, and not one of you people even attempted to answer them. Apparently no one here has been given the answers to those particular questions.
"And PS AUSTIN is either a nut job or an atheist playing the part of a nutjob believer...just sayin'"
He's one of yours. Deal with it. 😉
Skytag, you insult and condoscend all over these blogs...if you cannot take it stay out of the conversation. I love how you keep putting your credentials up here...the last gasp of attempting to get anyone to think you are some how superior to all of us....your not. So please don't...I intentionally modeled my post after your style. Don't believe, fine. Have at it.
"I posted a couple of questions earlier asking about what should be my motivation to "seek God." They were well articulated and reasonable, and not one of you people even attempted to answer them. Apparently no one here has been given the answers to those particular questions."
Well first off, you only want someone to answer this so you can attack the answer. it is your style. You need us to knwo you are smarter than us...
So here is an answer, not the right answer of course becasue this a very personal decision...seek God because He is God and you are not. If you seek God to understand Him, you are lost. He is not there to be understood...ask Moses. Seek God because through God you can learn the joy of serving others. Seek God so that you can understand humility, I highly suggest this for you. Seek God because He created the Universe and deserves your worship.
Of course all of these will be dashed upon the rock of your logic and mocked, but you cannot help yourself.
Please stop whining about personal attacks, you guys do it and yes you are right Jesus wouldn't do it, and I ain't Jesus! By the way,not sure Austin is ours but if he is, you atheist have your collection of nuts too.
"He is not there to be understood...ask Moses"
Don't question.....a common theme in religion.....We cant ask Moses btw –he was never real. You know the stories of slaves in Egypt? not to say there weren't any, But their pyramids and large complexes? a huge seasonal works program to keep their engineers and farmers (who doubled as craftsmen in the off season) busy. They were built people who knew what they were doing -from top to bottom – the Nile was their superhighway that moved men and animals easily.....Animals that moved the stones to block and tackle points...not hoards of disgruntled slaves....a 10 ton block of limestone is a time intensive project from quarry to foundation point...something you don't want a team of slaves ruining through fatigue...and Egypt has no record of whole tribes of Israelites being subjegated.....
..."You know the stories of slaves in Egypt? not to say there weren't any...of course there were" Would you be willing to post a link that tells us about any slaves in Egypt? Not jewish, just any cultures record of slavery in Ancient Egypt? The reason I ask is that as I understand it, the Egyptians recorded their history of accomplishments in battle archetecture and royal assention, not social groups or slave population...
Another words are you postulating, just asking, that there were no jewish slaves in Egypt? Or is there a small microscopic chance that there is no recording of an embarassing event by the Egyptians about the Egyptians...which you say, never happened?
Just a thought???
Oh there where a number of slaves – mostly Hitt ite .....but not 2+ million claimed by Jewish sources. For one, crops and feeding people was never easy in the Ancient world..... Egypt barely managed to feed their own population some years....their own people sometimes became angry when food was limited....the building projects were promoted as something to take pride in...and kept people busy and out of trouble. Slaves are a liability when resources ARE plentiful, when resources are sketchy , they can topple the whole system. animals (oxen for example) are much more efficient in every way than captive humans.
RM...correct about alot of the information. Are you aware that secular historians believe that jews may have had leadership roles as part of Egyptian History??? Ancient Egyptian history? Not Religious Historians...No No No...secular. So what right? Well, it does seem to jibe with Genesis, it really really does. The two million number is not in the Bible it is conjecture.
Finally...don't question...huh? I believe you should question! I have no problem with questioning God. As a matter of fact, He questions Himself. Believers should question. "Abba Abba, Why have you forsaken me?"
@IHAVESEENT THELIGHT: "Skytag, you insult and condoscend all over these blogs..."
You cannot defend your behavior by attacking me. I am not you, I don't control you, and I didn't raise you. You are responsible for your behavior, not I.
"if you cannot take it stay out of the conversation."
You tried this before and it was disengenous then too. As I explained then, I'm taking it just fine. I'm just pointing out that you're a hypocrite. You claim to believe all that stuff about God, Jesus and the Bible and then you troll around here insulting and belittling anyone who has the audacity to stand up to you. Your behavior here is anything but Christ-like, and if you believe Christ said "You do it too!" justifies bad behavior on your part I'd love to know where that is in the Bible.
"I love how you keep putting your credentials up here...the last gasp of attempting to get anyone to think you are some how superior to all of us....your not. So please don't...I intentionally modeled my post after your style. Don't believe, fine."
I am not responsible for your behavior. Your behavior should reflect your values, not mine or anyone else's. Constantly trying blame me for your failure to behave as a Christian should is pathetic. You treat other people here badly as well. Stop making excuses. You're a jerk and a bully, and no one is responsible for it but you and your parents.
"I posted a couple of questions earlier asking about what should be my motivation to "seek God." They were well articulated and reasonable, and not one of you people even attempted to answer them. Apparently no one here has been given the answers to those particular questions."
"Well first off, you only want someone to answer this so you can attack the answer. it is your style. You need us to knwo you are smarter than us..."
Excuses and insults. That's your style. No one makes excuses better than a Christian. Snooze alert.
"So here is an answer, not the right answer of course becasue this a very personal decision...seek God because He is God and you are not."
What you're really saying is "You should seek God because I say he's God." Really? On the basis of that I'm supposed to take time and energy away from things I know are real and enjoy to go seek something I see no reason to believe exists? If you tell me leprechauns are real should I seek them too?
Sorry, but nothing sounds dumber than committing myself to an open-ended search for something I don't believe just because a bunch of other people believe in it.
And how should I seek him, by reading the Koran and praying five times a day while facing Mecca? Oh wait, I'll bet you think I should read the Bible and pray to the God who tells you to be a jerk to anyone you don't like. What do I see anywhere I look that gives me any idea how to seek this god or which god to seek?
"Seek God because through God you can learn the joy of serving others."
So you claim.
"Seek God so that you can understand humility, I highly suggest this for you."
Coming from you this is truly hilarious. I sense no humility in you at all.
"Seek God because He created the Universe and deserves your worship."
Another unsupported claim. I accept that you believe this, but your word for it simply isn't good enough. I don't know you, I don't respect you, and you don't even follow the teachings you claim are true.
"Of course all of these will be dashed upon the rock of your logic and mocked, but you cannot help yourself."
And you can't help being a jerk. It's obviously your nature. Even God doesn't have the power to change that apparently.
"Please stop whining about personal attacks"
I'm not whining. Please stop bearing false witness against me. It's not Christian.
"you guys do it"
This argument is popular with 7-year-olds.
"and yes you are right Jesus wouldn't do it, and I ain't Jesus!"
Your behavior still makes you a hypocrite.
"Are you aware that secular historians believe that jews may have had leadership roles as part of Egyptian History??? Ancient Egyptian history? Not Religious Historians...No No No...secular. So what right? Well, it does seem to jibe with Genesis, it really really does."
It is possible there could have Jews in positions of authority in Egypt – keep in mind that such an individual brought something to the table that was lacking on a given task , and that really has nothing to do with Genesis.
The enslaved tribes story was supposed to create an "us and them" mentality in the tribes...The perils of straying beyond boundaries laid out by the tribal holy men.
The Jews were a transient people, they came into contact with all the regional powers and felt like it was necessary to ward of the influence of the other cultures – hence Moses is born...the vehicle for the ten commandments- of which 1-4 deal straight away with the gods and idols of other cultures.....
"We may seek god by our intellect, but we only can find him with our heart."
Do you need a pace-maker like implant or does everyone's right ventricle come complete with a Divine Psychic Message Receiver (TM) ?
Humility is the key.
Perhaps the biggest key.
You have to ask yourself, how humble can you be, when you assume that what you personally believe without any evidence simply has to be better than what the entire scientific community thinks based on mountains of evidence?
The entire scientific community? You do realize there are many scientists who believe in God and consider faith very important?
Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other people with religious backgrounds have contributed to many scientific advances you enjoy today.
If you humbly ask God to reveal Himself to you, I think He will give you His evidence.
“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”
–Physicist Paul Davies, the winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal
To answer AE's question, only about 5% of the World's elite scientists still believe in a personal god. About 95% realize there is no happy ever after kingdom awaiting dead humans to live for ever in. Silly, childish stuff.
83% believe in God
12% universal spirit or higher power
4% don't believe in either
33% believe in God
18% universal spirit or higher power
41% don't believe in ether
7% don't know
A minority of scientists are atheists according to this survey
“If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”
–Robert Griffiths, winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics.
The key is "elite scientists." The really smart ones. But even the above figurse, showing a drop from 83% to 33% among "normal" scientists should tell the believer a lot. Look, the fact is, the smarter, better educated and/or more worldly a person is, the less likely they are to believe in supernatural nonsense from the late Bronze Age Near East.
Are you an elite scientist??
OH man, you people are desperate. Now it's "my brand of scientist is smarter then your brand"
My background said your brand comes from the 'soft science's', as in liberal art and or yoga/soap opera 101 and that easy credit one called philosophy. My brand comes from dirt under nails, hard research and critical thinking.
You like to pull facts out of your butt don't you. I can understand why you are an atheist.
Harry Cline – agree that "swapping scientists" is futile. I am hoping a believer will take up my challange on p 69.
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.
Simply replace "millennials" with anyone you don't understand (or care to even try). Ironic really that the central overarching message of Christ was to bring God to all people. Ironic that his sharpest rebukes were for the Pharisees that numerated chosen and damned.
Religion is business, like any other, except it gets unfair tax breaks.
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How do those tax breaks work for socie leadership, those with foundations??
So if you're drawn to high church traditions, why don't you c'mon down–or up? The Episcopal Church is gay friendly and liberal in every respect. As an Episcopalian I do not believe anything whatsover about ethics, politics, social arrangements or science that any liberal secular person believes. As far as theology, while I'm a theist, though not with much conviction, I'd estimate that perhaps 10% of lay people are not religious believers and the percentage is higher amongst clergy. Basically, the Episcopal Church welcome-no-questions asked. Most importantly it is THE liturgical church!
Your description of your self is hardly a selling point for your church.
And From Exclusivism to Convergence: How We Relate to the Religions of Others; Part 1: Diversity, Exclusivism, and Inclusivism by Somerville, retired Catholic philosophy professor (Xavier U, Cincinnati) at http://www.theosophical.org/theosophy/questmagazine/mayjune2000/exclusivism/ and http://www.theosophical.org/theosophy/questmagazine/julyaugust2000/somerville/
“John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.
The Situation Today
Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “
It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.
I made this point as part of a post earlier where I asked what my incentive is to "seek God." No one offered any incentive. To me what you describe is so obvious and yet it would seem believers' brains just shut down when you point it out. They never address, as if it never actually got through to their brains.
Yet you seem to spend and awful lot of energy trying to deny it. Me thinks you might be a tad worried about something. Could it be your suppose suppositions have been flawed all this time.
Carry on 'ole Rev. righteous.
Reblogged this on JUST THE BASICS and commented:
Interesting blog about Generation Y and the church
This may be a bit off the main thrust of the opinion piece, but it certainly does illustrate how useful Christianity is:
LMAO, that was hilarious!
So, she believes science and religion can be friends, hey? Hmmmmm, let's see.
Science – Hello Religion, I'm science. I am about 3,000 years old.
Religion – Hello Science, I am older than you. As far as we can tell, I go back about 40,000 years or more. There is even evidence that Neanderthals practiced me.
Science – Really!! How do we know that, Religion?
Religion – Because of you.
Science – So, Religion, what do you do?
Religion – Well, in the USA, I give comfort to not very smart people by letting them think that a being powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies will cause them to live happily ever after in heaven after they die if they follow some rules laid down by ignorant farmers and herders in the Middle East 2,000 years ago.
Science – You're kidding me. They buy that?
Religion – You'd be surprised. Not only that, but in poorer, less educated parts of the World, I can actually convince people to hit themselves until they bleed, starve themselves, bob in front of a stone wall for hours on end, wade into filthy rivers and, in some cases, to kill other people or even themselves.
Science – Oh my goodness, I'm not sure I want to be your friend. Do you do any good?
Religion – I sell a lot of books. And what about you science, what do you do?
Science – I relieve pain and cure disease. I also extend lives, allow travel, communication, and people to understand and control their environment. I allow humans to explore outer space, the bottom of the oceans and subatomic particles. In short, I have allowed humans to live longer, more informed lives at a level of comfort once never dreamed of.
Religion – Wow, they buy that?
Science – No, of course not. Unlike you, I have to deliver. I cannot claim something and avoid skepticism by alleging that it only happens after you die, or that my claim is "beyond understanding" or otherwise exempt from critical analysis or proof.
Religion – That's gotta suck.
Science – You get used to it. Anyway, I need a friend I can rely on. One of substance, not dreams. One of proof, not spoof and one of intellectual discipline, not flakey promises. I don't think we can be friends. Please go away.
Religion – Now we both know that's not going to happen.
That is good stuff...you should be a comedy writer...You left these responses out:
Religion: Wow it sound like you do a lot of good, where do you help all these people?
Science: Hospitals and Clinics, mostly...
Religion: Cool, we built almost half the hospitals in the world, glad we could help!
Science: Oh well why didn't you say you did something good?
Religion: We also were the first responders in New Orleans after the hurricane there destroyed the levees all the scientist built wrong...
Science: Oh yea, sorry about that, we screw up sometimes.
Religion: Well don't be too hard on yourself, your atomic bomb thing, that seemed to work really well. Or the chemical weapons you guys made to kill people in the middle east, amazing stuff. All those guns and weapons you scientist and engineers build sure pack a punch!
Science: Don't forget animal experiments and Eugenics!
Just a thought for your next script.
I think you're ignoring the elephant in the room.
I can't speak for all millennials, of course, but as someone under 30 I found there were a lot of assumptions in this that just don't stack up. The glaringly obvious error is the assumption that all 'millennials' have faith but just can't find a place for it. This is completely and utterly incorrect. The reason why young people aren't going to church has nothing to do with the actual church. It has nothing to do with authenticity, or wanting a peaceful co-existence between science and faith.
The reason why young people aren't going to church is because young people don't believe in the existence of any god. It doesn't matter how inclusive you make a church, that will not change the minds of a generation of young people not seeing the point of a church full stop. The author projects herself onto others too much – I really don't think we're all sat here wanting Jesus in our lives. Just writing that last sentence feels incredibly weird – the idea of 'letting Jesus into my life' sounds as foreign and bizarre to me as going to a gurdwara or a mosque. I've nothing intrinsically against either place but I just genuinely don't understand why on earth I would even bother in the first place.
As I said, I can't speak for all millennials, but I think if you want to have a serious debate about why young people are leaving the church, I think you need to go much further back and realise that many, many of us simply cannot even imagine having a faith, let alone being part of a worship community. It's not the Church. It's the whole not believing in God thing that's your issue.
Thank you. It's nice to hear some acknowledgement of that particular reality.
While it may be true that some millennials are the leaving the church due to disbelief in God, that's not what the author is talking about. The author is talking about believers in God leaving that particular church setup, that is the Millennial Church, but not leaving belief in God. The author is basically positing that a lot of millennials are leaving the church because they are not focused on Jesus Christ Himself.
A lot of Christian believers, in general, are leaving the church due to legalism (Law) while still believing in God!
I'm not so sure. She's using the term 'Millennials' as a age demographic, not a particular church. Perhaps I've misunderstood but it's not clear if she's talking about part of a generation of people who specifically identify as Christian who no longer attend a form of communal worship, or talking about an entire generation of people who don't attend Christian communal research. If it's the former then the argument makes a little more sense, but then exhibits many of the flaws apparently attributed to the various churches losing their congregations – it's suggesting there is a 'right' way to be a Christian and people need to buckle up and do it that way. If it's the latter, the arrogance is breathtaking – it's almost as if the author is blissfully unaware of the fact that there are millions of 'Millennials' who either follow other religions or no religion at all.
She's spot on though when she says the issue is the style rather than the substance. The problem is the substance that many millennials probably have issues with is far, far deeper than she seems to realise. We're still talking about finding an end to the culture wars, for crying out loud. I would imagine for most people under 30, the culture war between science and religion was settled decades ago and firmly in favour of science.
Once again, the inconvenient elephant in the room is that a significant percentage of us simply don't even believe in a religion. If you're trying to get us to come back to church (and that's assuming we ever went, which certainly isn't always the case), you're going to have to prove the existence of God, something which I would assume is probably beyond the abilities of any human being.
The author is indeed talking about a certain age group (millenials) amongst believers who are leaving any form of communal services that does not focus on Jesus Christ Himself but not leaving belief in God altogether. That could be any denomination that fits the description. I took the liberty of calling it "Millenial Church;" poor choice! Sorry about that!
As for the cultural war between science and religion, in extreme short, it was not meant to be that way! It was a statement made in a publication in the 19th century, I believe, that caught on as a "Science vs. Religion," but was not intended for that! And as far as being settled, I a firm believer that God and Science and Compatible.
"And as far as being settled, I am a firm believer that God and Science are Compatible."
Oops..that was for Doug!