August 2nd, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Why millennials need the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - For a time, I counted myself among the spiritual but not religious, Christian but not churchgoing crowd.

Like many millennials, I left church because I didn’t always see the compassion of Jesus there, and because my questions about faith and science, the Bible, homosexuality, and religious pluralism were met with shallow answers or hostility.

At first I reveled in my newfound Sunday routine of sleeping in, sipping my coffee and yelling at Republicans who appeared on ”Meet the Press.”

But eventually I returned, because, like it or not, we Christian millennials need the church just as much as the church needs us. Here’s why:


As former Methodist bishop Will Willimon has often said, “you cannot very well baptize yourself.”

In a culture that stresses individualism, the church satisfies the human need for community, for shared history and experiences.

And in a world where technology enables millennials to connect only with those who are like-minded, baptism drags us - sometimes kicking and screaming as infants - into the large, dysfunctional and beautiful family of the church.


“Sin” is not a popular word these days, perhaps because it is so often invoked in the context of judgment and condemnation.

But like all people, millennials need reminding now and then that the hate and violence we observe in the world is also present within ourselves.

We can be too idealistic, too convinced we can change the world from our iPads.

The accountability that comes from participation in a local church gives young Christians the chance to speak openly about our struggles with materialism, greed, gossip, anger, consumerism and pride.


While the flawed people who make up the church can certainly inflict pain on each other and sometimes on the world, we also engage in the important work of healing.

At their best, local churches provide basements where AA groups can meet, living rooms where tough conversations about racial reconciliation occur, casseroles for the sick and shelter for the homeless.

Millennials who have been hurt by the church may later find healing in it.


Like a lot of millennials, I am deeply skeptical of authority - probably to a fault.

But when I interact with people from my church who have a few years and a lot of maturity on me, I am reminded of how cool it is to have a free, built-in mentoring and accountability program just down the street.

We can learn a lot from the faithful who have gone before us, and the church is where we find them.


One of the few things the modern church has in common with the ancient one is its celebration of the sacred meal— the Eucharist.

There is simply not the space here, nor in many volumes of theology for that matter, to unpack the significance of remembering Jesus through eating bread and drinking wine. But when I left the church, it was Communion I craved the most.

Churches may disagree on exactly how Christ is present in these sacred meals, but we agree that Christ is present. And millennials, too, long for that presence.

There are some days when the promise of Communion is the only thing that rouses me from bed on Sunday morning. I want a taste of that mystery.


Many churches practice a rite of initiation, sometimes called confirmation.

Theologian Lauren Winner, in her book “Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis,” quotes a friend who said:

“What you promise when you are confirmed is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that that is the story you will wrestle with forever.”

The church, at its best, provides a safe place in which to wrestle with this story we call the Gospel.

Union with Christ

Those who follow Jesus long for the day when their communion with him becomes complete, and Jesus promises this will happen through the church.

The apostle Paul compared this union to a marriage. Jesus describes it as a banquet.

No matter what the latest stats or studies say, Christians believe the future of the church is secure and not even “the gates of hell” will prevail against it.

As much as I may struggle to fit in sometimes, as much as I doubt, question and fight for reforms, I am a part of this church, through good times and bad, for better or worse.

The astute reader will notice that each of these points corresponds loosely with a sacrament—baptism, confession, the anointing of the sick, holy orders, communion, confirmation and marriage.

Some would say there are many others. We could speak of the sacrament of the Word or the washing of feet.

But even where they are not formally observed, these sacraments are present in some form in nearly every group of people who gather together in the name of Jesus.

They connect us to our faith through things we can eat, touch, smell and feel. And they connect us with one another.

They remind us, as writer and Episcopal priest Sara Miles put it, that “You can’t be a Christian by yourself.”

This is why I haven’t given up on the church, and I suspect why it hasn't given up on me.

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 her.

Evans has written two previous posts for CNN's Belief Blog: Why millennials are leaving the church; and Not all religious convictions are written in stone.

[twitter-follow screen_name='RachelHeldEvans']

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Faith • Opinion • United States

soundoff (4,825 Responses)
  1. Derp

    What is this lame article. I don't believe this person ever "left" the church. They sound exactly like all the other bible thumpers.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • SusanStoHelit

      Yeah, this seems a little silly – she left the church, but wants all of the rituals. And thinks that she can only have community and the like in church form. Then, obviously, you stay in the church!

      August 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm |

    They don’t get holidays because this is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, and based on Christian laws. That’s how it is, and how it always will be, period.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      In your dreams. There is separation of church and state and we need to stop the fundies from changing that.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Veronica

      This is NOT a Christian nation. The country is majority Christian, but that is very different from being a Christian nation. And Christians won't be in the majority for long. Get used to it, Bubba.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

        Don't care about your opinion, which is wrong by the way. Deal with it. This IS a Christian nation. Do some history homework and stop drinking the atheist koolaid. Atheists have been trying and failing to get their false religion off the ground for years. Liberal propaganda has been spread all over and guess what? It isn't fooling us. Atheists are in a sinking ship. Jesus is the only answer, and our nations founders knew that. Stop being selfish, angry and unhappy. The answers are all in God's Word.

        August 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Gadflie

          I'm calling Poe's law on JIL. Too obvious kid.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • JESUS IS LORD

          As usual another atheist that thinks it knows everything.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Rocket surgeon

          Read the Treaty with Tripoli. The Founders specifically said the nation not founded on the Christian religion. Too bad. You loose. Jebus ain't my lord. This is not a theocracy. If you want one of those, try Iran. Just proof you have no education. The legal system of the US is based on British Common law, and the French Enlightenment. Maybe Jebus could buy you a GED.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • sam stone

          JIL: Jesus is waiting. Do you have tall buildings where you live?

          August 5, 2013 at 4:11 am |
      • Vic

        It is a de facto.

        August 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • Athy

          De facto what? That's like saying it's a big...

          August 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
        • Vic

          The United States is a de facto Christian nation!

          August 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • Athy

          I sure hope not.

          August 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And every time the Supreme Court, which is made up entirely of believers, is asked to rule on anything to do with religion, the religious side loses.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      based on christian laws?

      can you demonstrate this?

      August 5, 2013 at 4:09 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      "... this is a Christian Nation"
      Which is why I now take a majic marker and put an 'X' over the word God ( In God We Trust ) on all of the currency that I recieve. I ask that all Atheists do the same to all of their cash so that it can be circulated to the general population. This may be a futile practice ... but it is my little protest against people like JIL.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:25 am |
  3. drturi

    Check this article it will freak you out! http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

    August 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Endorsement from Gary Busey. So it must be divine information not pure imagination then.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • drturi

        Like you did better than he or I did in life lol.. Where are your movies?

        August 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          He may be more famous than me or you but then I'm not bankrupt.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          And you business can't be that good if you're trolling blogs for business.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Stop spamming.

          Gary Busey? That stupid toothy fuck that no one in Hollywood can stand? If that's your measurement of success, no wonder you're spamming with your lousy garbage.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • sam stone

          gee, drturi.....you say you have done well in life.....

          nothing more valid than a claim on an anonymous blog

          August 5, 2013 at 4:13 am |
  4. The Good News!

    Jesus never existed. Mystery solved.

    You're welcome.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • drturi

      YOU MAY BE WRONG... you may be right! read more – http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

      August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Reality

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      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 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      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 Ephesians
      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 T-itus
      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

       4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated 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/bis-sar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
      7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
      8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
      by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
      10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
      13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
      14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      15. D-iseases in the Bible:

      16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.

       17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
      18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
      19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
      20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
      22. NT and beyond time line:
      23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      24. 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.
      25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      August 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  5. evangeline

    Thank you, Rachel, for a thoughtful piece. I hope that others will carefully consider what you have shared and understand that while there are plenty of bad, phony so-called Christians out there, by and large the church people I meet are faithful and caring and know that sometimes we get it wrong. Even when we have good intentions. But we come back to the well to renew and regroup.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • The Good News!


      Regroup? Imaginary friend group, unite!

      Real cute. God doesn't exist. Play dungeons and dragons. It's more productive.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • Nancy Brian

        I have read with interest the silly rude comments that the non believer is writing. I would suggest to not waste your time trying to convince someone who is rude in a comment section of any article. The rude person does not want a discussion. They only want to incite anger. As far as faith is concerned, we all know it is very personal. Man, wheny Christians have personal relationships with our Lord. We know that God is there and that Jesus died for us (no matter how and where we worship). We do not have an "imaginary" friend. We have prayers answered and we have day to day guidance from God. When I was in my teens and 20s, I was agnostic. Had someone tried to convince me of the truth at that time, I would have scoffed (but to myself, not rudely aloud).
        By age 32 or so, God had straightened me out. God spoke and still does speak to me. That may sounds like a fairy tail to the non believer, but I thank the Lord for giving me so many proofs. God did not have do this for me, but lucky for me God did reveal himself to me. Thank you Lord.

        August 5, 2013 at 5:12 am |
    • drturi

      AMEN – http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

      August 4, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Rachel

      Thanks, evangline, but I really didn't need my ass kissed again today.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      faith is not a path to truth, evangeline

      August 5, 2013 at 4:15 am |
  6. The Good News!

    Church is nothing but a pyramid scheme. They only want you to empty your wallets into theirs. Plus, god does not exist. This is a fact.

    Stay away from church at all costs. They want to hurt your children. If you take your children to church, you're basically handing them over to people that should be in prison.

    Anyone that goes to church belongs in prison.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • drturi

      AMEN PASS IT ON – http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

      August 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  7. shamgar50

    What a silly article. I don't believe this person ever left the church. She sounds more like she's running a membership drive.

    August 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  8. ceidwyn

    This is an excellent article. I hope other millennials–and people of all ages–grapple with these issues seriously. Strangely enough, although I am an early baby boomer, this piece describes my faith journey very well. Perhaps people of different ages have more in common than we might think.

    Peace be with you.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • The Good News!

      And a forehead mushroom stamp to you as well.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • drturi

      This is a better article trust me! http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

      August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Nancy Brian

      Thank you for speaking up....I am a boomer too. So many of us strayed and then returned when we discovered the truth.

      August 5, 2013 at 5:16 am |
  9. RachelKate

    Millennials sound like the last two generations before them. Except in the author's case, she returned to the church a lot younger than her predecessors. I'm a GenXer, I left the church in the late 80s (the minute no one could make me). I attend weekly because my Greatest Generation mother can no longer get to services alone. I am not sure I would have come back before I was at least 50 had it been my decision. I am not sure I would ever be back or will stay when my mom passes away. As a former 20 something, I no longer have huge issues with the church like I did when I was younger but I still do not agree with them on a lot of issues and I have no interest in blindly following them without question. I am glad that my return coincided with the new Pope because not even my mother could tolerate the last one.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  10. Colin

    Dear Millennials:

    Might I suggest you run apply a few basic principles to any claims made by any church.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    If your beliefs hold up, fine. If they collapse in a heap, they were not woth believing in the first place.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • RachelKate

      Colin, as to point #7. I'm not religious, I attend church weekly because my elderly mother can no longer attend by herself. My mother is Catholic, born in Los Angeles. I also have Jewish ancestors on my father's side as well as Catholic ones. Neither Christianity nor Judaism were born in Los Angeles. They were brought over by European and Middle Eastern people. The area I grew up in also had a Sikh Temple, they came to Los Angeles from India. I don't think where I was born has anything to do with my religion or my parents, neither were born in the Middle East or Europe or India. However, someone in Los Angeles does have it right. It may be the Christians, it may be the Jews, it may be the Sikhs, the Nichiren Buddhists (they are huge here), the Hindus (I practice Yoga – Hindu lite?), the Muslims (huge Mosque in the suburb of Culver City), the New Agers or the Atheists but if someone has it right it's here and it's not because we were born here but because someone brought it here.

      August 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        The point is that christianity is the dominant religion in the USA and Los Angeles and immediate family is the major factor in a person's initial religion – which is normally their only religion.

        August 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • drturi

      You are too smart for your own good my friend – Check this article it will freak you out! http://www.drturi.com/meet-christian-cosmic-unconscious-god-fearing-singles/

      August 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  11. sylvie shene

    Sounds like a little child that cannot bear the fears of being alone and she like the prodigal son returned home. And she used her intellect to come up with some very good rationalizations to go back to the church, "the father figure", so she does have to face her fears of being alone and real grow up and become an adult autonomous woman. She suffers from what I like to call the prodigal son complex.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • skytag

      I think of people who believe in God as being unwilling to face the harsh realities of life. Call it the "fear of death" complex.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Red pop


    new wine. new wine skins.
    new drink. new glass.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  13. hammerofdog

    All of the above article assumes that there is actually a god and that Jesus was a real person AND the son of god.

    In addition, for any of the above "reasons" to support the church, one has to accept the story than an all-loving, benevolent god, has been punishing humanity for the "sin" of one woman eating an apple that she was told not to eat. Now this all-loving benevolent god decided that in order to forgive us, he has to magically impregnate a woman, allow the child to live for 30 year, gathering a small following (very small, you'd think the sun of ogd would have better marketing skills even in those days) only to torture him to death. Now, in order for god to accept you into his "realm", you must believe all this BS in your heart and accept that an all-loving, all-forgiving god couldn't have just said, "OK, I forgive you all, because I love you and it wasn't your fault that that woman ate that apple." Why did he need to torture his son? Why did he need to punish all of mankind for one person's act in the first place? Come on, folks, this stuff is ludicrous no matter how you slice it. Come in form the cold, come out from the darkness and embrace the world as it actually is, a magnificent formation of the natural world that never ceases to amaze. Another thing is that once you remove god, jesus, allah, from the equation, everything makes sense, IOW why suffering exists, why sickness exists, why natural disasters exist. We live in a basically hostile universe that, for the very large part, we can not survive in. But, it is a huge universe, and infinite in time, so the odds of there being at least one place that can support sentient life is virtually guaranteed just going by the odds. (In an infinite time space, everything that is possible is very likely to occur... more than once.)

    Get over god. God is clearly a creation of man and not vice versa.

    August 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • skytag

      I agree that Occam's Razor applies here and that the simple answer, "there is no God" is the correct answer to all those questions, However, the narrative associated with that scenario is far less appeal than the Christian narrative, and a lot of people will take a comforting fairytale over a harsh truth anytime.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  14. Messiah Scrolls

    Attn: Those who don’t agree with Rachel Held Evans – Let me channel a thought from Martin Heidegger: Don’t be too hard on Rachel for returning to Church. Returning may be the first step in receiving a Gift from God (Ephesians 2:1-10) Rachel’s regeneration, while not, as many have pointed out, initially salvific; Rachel’s return to church gives her a window of good works, praise & community plus the capability of accepting the presence of Christ; as Paul described to the Athenians (Acts 17:22-31). Those of you who do not agree with Rachel should try it just for the good works, sense of contribution and community. – This would also expose you to the same Gift Rachel received & leave the most contentious among you, at least finally, without excuse before God (Romans 1:18-25)

    August 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • skytag

      A Christian rationalizing why another Christian doesn't have it right. Shocker. i think you, Rachel, and Martin all have it wrong, since there is no God.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  15. Jeffrey

    Pardon my stupidity, but what is a Millennial? I choose to ask, rather than Wikipedia, or Google, just to see what people will say.

    August 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Fools Rush In

    I've been where the writer is ....... believing if all voices are heard in the church ..... justice and truth will prevail. Well guess what .... there's partisan politics within the church just like everywhere. The labels are applied, and things get nasty. Those that have the power within the church will silence voices by humiliation and dismissal. I had a problem reconciling that thechurch isn't a democracy, and decided my best power is in the power of the vote in our country's political process. There at least I get a fighting chance of having my values and beliefs being heard.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • skytag

      I guess your next epiphany will be the realization that a political ideology is a religion, a set of beliefs fervently embraced by a group of people who stand by what they believe even when it is inconsistent with facts, evidence, reason, and logic.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  17. skan

    I can see the real reasons she went back to the church

    1 Baptism- I'm afraid child will be teased or alienated for being different. I fear that as an adult my child will not have the connections one can make in church.
    2. Confession – I cannot deal with the guilt of the nasty things I have done in my past nor can I stop doing them.
    3. Healing – I cannot accept life for what it is. I cannot let things go.
    4. Leadership – I have little confidence in myself and my moral compass is broken. I need someone else tp tell me what to do
    5.Communion – I feel empty inside. I need a placebo to make me have a sense of self worth and also to feel like I'm special
    6. See 5
    7. I am unhappy with my life no matter what I do.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Melissa

      Bingo! We have a winner! As a baby boomer, I never felt any of those needs that she lists. The writer of this story believes she can speak for all of those in her age range? I think not, just as you.

      August 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • devin

      8. There is a God who has both created the universe and brought us into existence, and as a result is due our worship.

      Thought I'd add a dose of reality in light of the previous 7 misconceptions.

      August 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • hee hee

        Well thanks for the information! I am now completely convinced.

        August 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • Rocket surgeon

        Now all ya gotta do is prove it Devin.
        "Creation" is an action. Actions need time. Beginning, and ending.
        How can the gods "begin" an action if there is no time ? It's a meaningless jumble of drivel, and unsupported false premises, and nonsense linguistics.

        August 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • skytag

        Now that you've added an 8th misconception, when do we hear some reality?

        August 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  18. Peter Q Wolfe

    My only beef is that it wasn't rational of a choice in the first place. All to often that humans tend to have a tendency to revert than continue progress in overall society. This is why social change never is truly revolutionary whetehr capitalism, socialism or anything cause they are flawed perfecting ideals that have a different paradigm to them as time changes. All things told that my feeling is that she feels her faith neds to be conjoined and partnered by others to keep her weak faith afloat by a community effort or else it will fall apart that is my understanding of her post.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • skytag

      It's much easier to cling to a delusion when you surround yourself with other, equally deluded people.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  19. One one

    Her rational is "I went back to church because I like church therefore everyone else needs to go to church also.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • ReadMoreBetter

      Fortunately she outlined her reasoning and we can read. If that is your take, you could use a course in reading comprehension.

      August 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Jim

      thank the gods my older kids who are also millennials are more mature , they don't need a some sky daddy like she does

      August 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • shan

        so because you DONT believe in God, that gives you a right to insullt others who do? hope your kids are "more mature"than that...excuse me, your older kids.....

        August 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • hee hee

          How is that insulting? Or are you referring to another post?

          I don't get it. I've never been fond of the expression "sky daddy", but it's not insulting. It's irreverent, but not insulting. You have to try to understand this: other people are not obligated to revere the same things you are. If people don't, and express it, that is not an insult.

          Get a thicker skin.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • skytag

          Does your comment really seem that mature to you? If you don't like people making unkind comments about those who prefer fairytales to reality, try reality.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • LinCA


          You said, "so because you DONT believe in God, that gives you a right to insullt others who do?"
          No, the first amendment of te constitution does. My civic duty compels me to ridicule ridiculous beliefs. If you don't want your beliefs ridiculed, you have a few options. By far the best option is to not have ridiculous beliefs. If you can't help yourself, the second best thing is to keep those ridiculous beliefs to yourself.

          August 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  20. Jim

    Why millenials shouldn't quit church......I thought the article was simply going to say something about not starting something that is a waste of time and devotion to the falsehoods passed on for thousands of years. If you want to do something productive other than sitting and listening to someone read from an ancient book try.....anything but that. There are plenty of things you can do to make you feel good and help others, church and religion are not necessary.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.