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July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. RLD

    IF that is "friendly" atheism I would hate to see hostile.

    It is sad to see the anti-theist wing get all the air time, when much more vibrant branches of atheism are out there. And claiming to be the cause of all things seems more than a tad arrogant.

    So you are bragging about 20,000 coming out to a rally, when three million plus flock to see the Pope? Seriously?

    And trying to paint all of christianity by the actions of some of its worse members is dishonest. But why am I not surprised at this? Disappointed yes, surprised, no.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  2. Tara L

    As a not-particularly-religious person, I used to have a great deal of respect for atheists–having the strength to stand by an unpopular conviction and to reject all the obnoxious proselytizing and pushiness of so many other faiths.

    But lately, atheists have become just as aggressive and offensive as every other religion out there.

    We get it. You think you're right, you're the enlightened ones, and you've come here to preach the gospel of atheism to the unwashed masses. And of course, the more people you can recruit, the more power and influence you'll have on the world stage.

    Revolting. When there's a movement of people who think no one should give a $%$ what anyone else believes about whether a mystical deity and/or deities is/are watching over us all, that's when I'll sign up.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Angry Marine

        Get some sleep, and maybe you can stop " Yaaaaaawwwwwnnnniiinnnggg!

        July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • mk

      True atheists know that there is no gospel, there is no stage and there is nowhere to "sign up". You can either think for yourself or follow someone else's thinking. It's that simple.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • janette

      Validity of atheist position is not dependent on atheist being a suppressed, non-vocal minority, nor a highly vocal rising force, nor it has anything to do with how confident and in-your-face atheists have become lately. Maybe you are confusing truth with sympathy for the little guy. That the atheists are no longer the little guy doesn't change the validity of the position.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  3. Believer

    I'm a believer. It seems to me that atheists actually fear God. They are all in denial "because they can." They fear the name of Jesus whom they keep trying to prove He never existed and have failed. Atheists nor science can disprove the fact that there is a God and He had a son named Jesus who died for us and rose from the dead. Atheists are a gang, just like MS-13 and the rest. They persecute the church of believers. Why can't Atheists just be their own person of choice without trying to bring others down with them? When a preacher preaches, he is in a church or preaching where invited. If another non believer goes to listen, it's that person's business. Atheists need to live their lives and quit imposing on others. We all have our rewards waiting. The Bible was written a very LONG time ago. Everything in it has come to pass. How can one read it and deny it is beyond one's imagination. Why are Atheists offended when they see a cross, ten commandments or anything else from a book that they can't deny was written? Why do they always make a scene when they see one? When we are all born, the knowledge that there is a God is put in us. You can deny Him or believe in Him. Christians don't make scenes against Atheists. They try to hopefully open their blind eyes. One day when their number is up, they will take their last breath and will find out if they were right or wrong. When they find out they were wrong, they can't do anything about it nor can they come back and warn anyone else. Atheists need to go live their lives as they choose and leave those alone that choose not their ways. Do your genealogy. If you could go back in time and take out everyone ever born, you would run out of people. Tell me, how did man start? Yes, atheists are dumb on the question. If science could create people, then why would women suffer childbirth.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • dr shand

      like!!!

      July 31, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • mk

      Atheists live in fear?? It's more likely that the concepts of sin, hell, punishment, satan, vengeful gods, etc. are things to fear. Atheists believe in none of those.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Avery

        I believe in God and I have no fear of those things! Because I do believe! Fear is the opposite of faith... I have nothing to fear, I believe in the God who created the universe! Can you imagine the power behind that?

        July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      I don't fear what doesn't exist. Sorry to negate your entire thesis.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • RIck

      I am sorry but I do not fear or believe in a mythical being created thousands of years ago to manipulate and control the weak minded. Religion has never predicted anything of consequence, nothing in the bible has "come to pass" unless you look at it with the widest possible viewpoint.

      It is simple religion was used in the olden times to control a population when things like police and technology were not possible to protect or control a population they invented a being that would "send you to hell for all eternity" if you didn't do what they wanted, if you broke "gods laws" an all seeing being would catch you and punish you for millions of years. I am baffled how people in today's modern times can not see that it was all just a very smart ploy.

      Not a single miracle has happened since the advent of camera's, not one. SOmetimes people say "awe look this 5 yr old girl survived a bus crash that killed 36 people priase god" But really if god had a hand in that bus crash why would he make the other 36 die? And no tim teebo scoring a touchdown after praying is not evidence of god.

      Personally I don't care what you believe as long as you don't tell my gay neighbor who he can or can not marry, you don't force my children to swear on a bible, and you don't get tax empt status for churchs making million of dollars in profit then using that money to try and take away my rights.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Artor

      Oh, you poor, persecuted Xian. It must be horrible for you to see people who don't kowtow to your imaginary friend. No, atheists don't hate god or Jesus any more than you hate the Tooth Fairy or Conan the Barbarian. Why? Because they're fictional characters, duh! However, there are many people who do believe in them, and because of that belief, they support bigotry, hatred, and regressive laws that hurt real people. THAT is why atheists have a problem with religion; not only is it a delusional rejection of the real world, but because it is harmful to the progress of our society.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "When a preacher preaches, he is in a church or preaching where invited."
      And the religious folk who come knocking on my door to prosthelytize?

      "Atheists need to live their lives and quit imposing on others."
      Does that mean that religious folk will quit trying to legislate their creeds into the law of the land?
      No more arguments about gay marriage?
      No more blue laws?
      No more Army of God and other groups who kill doctors?
      No more white supremacist Christian terrorist groups like the Aryan Nations, Aryan Republican Army, Phineas Priesthood, and The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • DMR

      "If you could go back in time and take out everyone ever born, you would run out of people. Tell me, how did man start?"

      It's crazy statements like this that drives millennials like me away. Most of us were born two decades after Watson and Crick got the nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA. The shared history of all life, not just human, is quite literally written in our blood.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • doyourhomework

      While I do agree that people should be left alone to believe or not believe as they choose, for you to say that "Christians don't make scenes against Atheists" is grossly inaccurate. And you're also right when you say the bible was written a long time ago. Which means that iron age misogynist poetry should not stand as any kind of guide for living. Just be a decent person no matter what the punishment or reward.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • cedar rapids

      Sorry Believer but you paint a false picture of christianity and religion. you make a comment about why atheists wont leave them alone, how they just preach in churches etc. This is false though. Christianity doesnt just preach in churches. It create political groups, it pushes laws, dictates policy, pushes its version of morality on society. Christianity is not passive and the issues you cite are atheists declaring that christianity does not have the monopoly on faith and does not have the right to push itself on others.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  4. Cody Van Ryn

    Atheists are so desperate to be taken seriously, like they think they're some underdog. The global culture clearly favors atheism, despite the Bible being confirmed as a valid viewpoint through the flat earth phase, the accordion universe phase, and even through the big bang theory. All three once touted by scientists as the cant miss gospel truth, all utterly defeated by advances in science, and yet the Bible remains as a plausible testament to reality

    July 31, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Yes, because we all see talking snakes everyday. LOL

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • cedar rapids

      point of order. The flat earth phase? the greeks dispelled that myth before the birth of christ, before there were 'scientists' so to claim there was ever a scientific period of flat earth belief is a blatant lie.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  5. Bill Blank

    Rejoice! Life is meaningless! We live, make no meaningful difference in the univserse, and die.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • devin

      Well that's a pleasant thought.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • TreeHugger

      What meaning does an ant's life have in this universe? Maybe it does have some meaning, but do we consider it important?

      Now, what act of nature tells you that a human life is more meaningful/important to nature? Does a hurricane spare humans while targetting ants? If ants are no less important to nature than humans, our lives can be no more meaningful than theirs. Of course I am talking about meaning to nature, not to us.

      It's a terrible thought, and I envy religious people who don't have to think this way.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'We live, make no meaningful difference in the univserse, and die.'

      Thats pretty much it. To the universe mankind is quieter than a worm fart, and it wont even notice our passing.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  6. Punchmaster

    Atheism is having the courage to admit all of the things you don't know, but having the curiosity and to seek out the truth about those things by legitimate means. That's it in a nutshell.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Bill Blank

      Atheism is deluding yourself into believing that "seeking the truth" will make any difference. Nothing you will do will ever be significant or or truely meaningful. You will live, accomplish a few trivial things, die and you will be forgotten.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Cody Van Ryn

      Thats more agnosticism. Atheists are pretty stubborn people thinking they've searched out every possibility rather than admitting they dont know something. Most people claiming theyre atheists havent gotten past page 8 of Hawkings Brief History of Time

      July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • devin

      You forgot the part about casting off the common sense which points to a creator being.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • El Guapo

      Take note that bill, cody and devin all make the attempt to describe atheism through veiled insults. And they wonder why we reject what it is they stand for.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • k

        El Guapo: First, great name mi amigo! Funny movie. Regarding Bill's comment, I disagree with you. His comment reflects the long tradition of existentialism – where there is "no exit" (as Sartre said) ... just an endless nothing after death.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  7. Tone

    My question is who, and what do you believie in? I am refering to all the atheist on this post, and one more thing i am not ignorant or uneducated because i believe in Jesus Christ, you do not have to label people because they are not like you. please can you tone the venomous rhetoric down.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Andrew

      I believe in Science, Reason and Logic, they are my holy Trinity.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • k

        But just recognize that there are things that can't be adjudicated purely by science. Don't fall into the trap of "scientism". We all need to keep an open mind.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • James Berry

      Why do you think I must "Believe" in something? I decide not to believe and you can't understand it so I am automatically evil.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Chris

      I believe in proven science, not in handed down, changed, information-omitted text made by human beings claiming it to be the word of God during a time when people were literally so stupid, they would believe anything. That may not be far off from much of our world today, but just try to imagine the least intellectual person you know now, and then imagine them as a king in charge of hundreds of thousands of even less intellectual people. Yeah, those were the biblical days. Oh, and for a real riot read the King James' version.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      Why are we required to believe in something? Kind of pointless if you look at things from the standpoint of reality.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • ABTechie

      I believe in love, kindness, being helpful, education, excellence, family, friends, commitment, maturity, trust, loyalty, being courteous, good physical and mental health, playing, humor, science, logic, and doubt.

      Atheism and atheists are simple labels which don't cover the beliefs of individuals. Atheists do themselves a disservice using those words to describe themselves and what they stand which is one of the reasons many atheists don't use those words in describing themselves. Atheism defines a lack of belief not beliefs.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  8. Dliodoir

    While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

    This statement betrays a misunderstanding of what secular means. The most ardent Christian can be a secularist. Secular simply means a tolerance for all views, sects and beliefs. The opposite of secular is not religious. The opposite of secular is theocracy.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  9. dakota

    to me, arguing about faith is a waste of time. the existence of God can never provable or unprovable. either God has revealed Himself to you or He hasn't.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • jasoncdanforth

      God "revealed" himself to me. Then I realized he hadn't. I realized I was delusional and.... "repented" for my foolishness.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • dakota

        but that's what i'm implying. for me it wasn't a one-time event, but a long process (still ongoing) of my desire (or 'faith') to seek him with a sincere heart. i have many arguments for the existence of God but to an unbeliever they will fall on deaf ears because at the end of the day, the concept of faith in the unseen is foolishness.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  10. sybaris

    The difference between me and your god is if I saw a child being ra.ped I would try to stop it.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Kris

      Tracie Harris, is that you?!

      July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Jp

      Why? There is no ultimate source of right and wrong in your mind, just what you perceive it to be. Maybe the rapist (perhaps also an atheist) disagrees with your perception.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • sybaris

        Ah, that is where the religionist logic fails.

        Right and wrong, morals, ethics etc evolved out of the success of the group/clan/society not handed down on stone tablets to an old man on a mountain.

        By your logic any non Christian group that ever existed would be in total chaos and that is simply not the case.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  11. Punchmaster

    Amazing how many people never make the obvious observation that the most religious countries on the planet are also in the absolute worst condition in every way possible. Coincidence?

    July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • ml

      Which religion are you referring? I will grant that many poverty stricken lands have a Christian presence because of missionaries attempting to establish some relief there, but if you are referring to Israel and Judaism, I can't hardly say they are in the worst condition in every way possible, nor can I see the US in the worst condition in every way possible where there is a strong Christian presence. If you are referring to Islamic nations and upheaval, I could understand, but to group all of these "religions" together would not be accurate.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • tnfreethinker

        Yes, it is accurate.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • ml

          I have to disagree. Christians do not believe as the Muslims do, nor do they believe there is any other way to the Father but through Christ. Many eastern religions believe in reincarnation which Christianity does not. Judaism does not believe that Messiah has come in the person of Jesus and Islam does not believe the same about Jesus. There are extreme differences. As attractive as co-existence seems to many, it will always be an impossibility for every faith. They can respect but each one believes they know the truth. There is a distinct difference in religions.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  12. Rob-Texas

    Yeah right.....

    July 31, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  13. sands

    lets hear it for america!!! at least we can talk about his w/o threat of incarceration or stoning or lashings etc. i'm not sure where i fit in in this argument ,or debate or whatever this is. i have no faith in anything that establishes a hierarchy of man, giving power to the top and taking it away from an unwitting bottom, but i am very comfortable w/ my relationship with the source of creation/existence(whatever word you choose to call it), if u say God or Allah or the mother of ten thousand things, or the big bang that's your own personal choice. the only real truth that can be relied on(not opinion) is that we are all here now, together, and are facing much more serious concerns than this. although i do love lively debate on all topics

    July 31, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  14. Jeremy Johnson

    It says in Romans 1-20: Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    Through science we learn more and more everyday about the complexity of the world around us. Take DNA for instance; less than two millionths of a millimeter thick it holds 3 billion genetic letters that comprise the protein building blocks for every form of life to inhabit the earth. The more we learn the more apparent that there is intelligent design and an author to creation. You can choose to ignore the statistical improbability of a happenstance universe but their are just too many indicators pointing to a creator. Either the universe is eternal (which would be a religious belief unto itself) or it was created. I for one see a divine pattern to creation that points back to a purposeful God.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      YOU CAN'T USE THE BIBLE FOR VALIDATION

      IT HAS BEEN PROVEN FALSE

      July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • ml

        I'm intrigued and I ask again, where can you prove it to be false?

        July 31, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Bats are not birds.
          Mustard seeds are not the smallest of all seeds.
          Then there's mention of unicorns (Isaiah 34:7), half man half goat beasts (Isaiah 13:21 and 34:14), flaming snakes (Numbers 21:6), seven headed dragons (Revelation 12:3) and serpents that can kill just by looking at you (Jeremiah 8:17).

          And have you read Genesis? None of it is factual.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • ml

          A comment to Doc Vestibule: Isa 23:7 "The wild oxen shall come down with them and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; Their land shall be soaked with blood and their dust saturated with fatness." (No unicorn) Also no half man/half goat in the other scriptures. And yes, I have read Genesis and there's not a word of it that you can PROVE is false.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Simple mendelian genetics disproves Genesis.
          It is not possible to account for the genetic diversity of the human race if we all come from 3 breeding pairs, with all of the males being 1st order relatives. And certainly not if you buy into Young Earth Creationism and believe that Noah's kids started spawning a mere 4000 years ago.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there."

          A satyr is a half man, half goat beast.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • phillipatomus

          ml....you quoted wrong. This is straight from the KJB online
          "Isaiah 34:7

          Viewing the King James Version. Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Isaiah 34:7.

          And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

          – King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

          "

          July 31, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • thomas

          the part that say slavery is ok ...

          Exodus 21:20-21
          And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

          Say what you will, that view is false and should you continue to believe in it, I shall assert my rights as they deserve to be asserted.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • Avery

          Mr. Vestibule, please explain Sea creature fossils on the tops of mountain ranges or the dead sea scrolls which point directly to Jesus... Also, just consider this: if I'm wrong and you're right, we both go into the ground when we die. But if I'm right and you're wrong, I go to Heaven and you to Hell. I can't convince you to believe in God, but as a Christian, I also can't remain silent.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Avery
          There was no global flood.
          If there were, it would be evident in things like ice core samples.
          In 2011, a 10,928-foot column of ice was taken out of the Antarctic by US researchers.
          The site for this project was chosen because it is unusually thick and also comparatively stable, not having moved or flowed as much as other Antarctic ice.
          These are very clean and detailed ice samples that will allow scientists to literally count off the time, like with tree rings, more than 40,000 years into the past.
          These samples provide data that is be matched to ice taken from Greenland cores.
          Trapped in these ice cores are bubbles of atmospheric gas.
          Weather/climate is determined by spectrographic an/alysis of these gas bubbles.

          Had there been a world wide flood, it would be evident in these samples – but it is not.

          Abandoning Ice Cores for a moment, let us consider dendrochronolgy.
          Perhaps the simplest, most direct means of determining the age of a tree is to count it's annual rings.
          The oldest living tree thus far found (measured by ring count) was a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine which was 4,862 years old. That means the tree was around 400 years older than Noah's oldest son Ja.pheth when the flood happened.
          In California there is a colony of Palmer's Oak trees called Jurupa Oak that has been alive 13,000 years through clonal reproduction.
          Professor Frank Vasek confirmed the age of a Creosote bush in the Mojave Desert known as "King Clone" using two different methods. His project counted rings and measured the distance of annual growth, and then used radiocarbon dating on chunks of wood found in the center of the ring. Both dating methods yielded an age of 11,700 years.
          That makes the plant more than 7000 years older than Noah's flood.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Doc Vestibule is CORRECT

          It just goes to show, in this particular thread even that there is more than one way to interpret the bible and man can't be the interpreter of God because man is fallable and not omnipotent like God, so man's words and especially primitive man's simple explanations of physics and biology (the bible stories were written at a time when even the most basic science was considered mystical and magical) cannot be trusted as gospel. Alas, all you fools are just reading an old book, written by men barely out of their caves. Of course it explains everything in magical terms, they had no knowledge of science. Even basic basic basic middle school health class would have been over their heads, it's no wonder why they came up with such fantastic explanations of life and creation. They didn't know any better.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And Pascal's Wager is a poor argument, Avery.
          What if the Vikings were right and because you died quietly in bed instead of gloriously in battle, you won't get to Valhalla?
          Maybe the Mormons are right and you've got to learn some masonic handshakes in order to hie to Kolob?
          Perhaps your heart will be measured against a Shu feather....

          July 31, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Avery

          Haha, but all those tests are done using data that already assumes a flood of that magnitude didn't happen. Can you imagine the pressure and force of a flood that large? No, you can't, cause we've never seen anything like it nor shall we again... So how can you use those tests to determine if a flood of that sort did or did not happen if you have no idea what the result of those floods would be. And you also have to remember the P.O.V of researchers.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If there were a global flood, it would stand out like a sore thumb in an ice core sample.

          If there were a flood of that magnitude, how do you explain fresh water?
          If the entire surface of the Earth is flooding, salinated ocean water would quickly overtake fresh water, killing all life in it.
          You can do this experiment at home.
          Fill a 10 gallon bucket with salt water and place a pint glass full of fresh water beside it.
          Now, quickly pour a few litres of fresh water over the bucket so that the overflow fills the pint glass.
          Now taste the water in the pint glass. Do you detect salt?
          How long do you think it would take for that pint glass to de-salinate itself?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Xavier Cane

      Well if you get your head out of your outbox maybe you will see reality.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'You can choose to ignore the statistical improbability of a happenstance universe but their are just too many indicators pointing to a creator. '

      If anyone is ignoring anything its you ignoring that improbability does not equal impossibility and that clinging instead to the answer of 'it was magic' is absurd.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  15. Peter Q Wolfe

    Why would the masses believe in God? Think about this that this deity is rich of the 1% of 1% not of the average stocck at all. It wouldn't care about you cause your common just like trash to it. The whole notion is bologna on its face.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • devin

      Say what?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  16. Ray

    People used to believe in Sun Gods and Water Gods. It is just a matter of time before people used to believe in any god. People have used gods to explain the unexplainable, until it gets explained.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  17. HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

    EVER NOTICE THAT THE PEOPLE YHAT HAVE OBVIOUSLY NEVER ACTUALLY READ ANYTHING IN THE BIBLE BESIDE READING ALONG WITH THEIR PASTORS IN CHURCH TEND TO DEFEND IT THE MOST AND ALSO USE IT TO VALIDATE THEIR OWN ARGUMENTS?

    SORRY KIDS, BUT THE BIBLE PROVES ITSELF FALSE. TRY READING IT SOMETIME.

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

      I've read it from cover to cover a number of times. Just where exactly can you prove it to be false?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Genetics has proven that we are not descended from one genetic set, so the myth of Adam and Eve is proven false. also many sciences combine to disprove the whole Noah's ark myth.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The version I read only uses capitals on proper nouns and at the beginning of sentences. It's the true faith.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  18. Slovensko

    So a homeless middle eastern guy in an age with no social media, television, internet, etc...somehow became the most famous well known person in all of history, historians agree he existed...and its somehow a myth? Please...grow a brain.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      2000 YEARS AGO, PEOPLE WERE FAR MORE EASY TO FOOL

      NOTICE HOW PLACES WITH PRIMITIVE PEOPLE STILL FALL FOR THE MYTHS? JUST LOOK AT AFGHANISTAN AND MISSISSIPPI

      THAT'S A "CASE CLOSED" ANSWER FOR YOU RIGHT THERE

      July 31, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Michael

      actually there is not a single primary source that corroborates even the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Even the Josephus reference in the First Century is based on stories he heard.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  19. Timodeus

    I am a millennial, I haven't stopped believing in my religion. Atheists do not speak for me.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • mk

      Did your religious beliefs start the day you were born?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  20. JerryG1

    "My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality."
    -Albert Einstein

    July 31, 2013 at 10:23 am |
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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.