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October 1st, 2013
09:52 AM ET

Study: American Jews losing their religion

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - The number of nonreligious Jews is rising in the United States, with more than one in five saying they are not affiliated with any faith, according to a new survey.

While similar trends affect almost every American religion, Jewish leaders say the new survey spotlights several unique obstacles for the future of their faith.

According to the survey, conducted by Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, non-religious Jews are less likely to care deeply about Israel, donate to Jewish charities, marry Jewish spouses and join Jewish organizations.

Pew says their study sought to explore the question, "What does being Jewish in America mean today?" The answer is quite complicated.

Just 15% of American Jews say that being Jewish is mainly a religious matter, according to Pew's survey. By contrast, more than six in 10 say Jewishness is about culture, ancestry and identity.

The most essential parts of being Jewish, according to American Jews, are remembering the Holocaust (73%), leading an ethical life (69%) and working for social justice and peace (56%).

Almost as many American Jews say that having good sense of humor (42%) is as important to their Jewish identity as caring about Israel (43%).

Even among religious Jews, most say it's not necessary to believe in God to be Jewish, and less than one in three say religion is very important to their lives.

Nearly all American Jews  - religious and secular - say they are proud to be Jewish.

"The fact that many Jews tell us that religion is not particularly important to them doesn't mean that being Jewish is not important to them," said Greg Smith, director of religious surveys for the Pew Research Center.

The most essential parts of being Jewish, according to the survey, are remembering the Holocaust (73%), leading an ethical life (69%) and working for social justice and peace (56%).

Overall, the majority of Jews (78%) call themselves religious, but the survey showed much lower rates of religious affiliation among millennials, one of several trends that trouble Jewish leaders.

Nearly a third of American Jews born after 2000 answered "none" when asked about their religious affiliation, suggesting that Jewish "nones" are not only a large group, they're growing, Smith said.

The rise of Jewish "nones" tracks with wider trends in the American population, where about a third of millennials don't affiliate with organized religion.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center says its survey is the most comprehensive since the National Jewish Population Survey in 2000-2001.

Pew surveyed 3,475 Jews from across the country from February 20 to June 13, with a margin of error for the full sample of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The study declines to offer a definitive estimate of the size of the American Jewish population, a matter of heated debate in recent years.

Instead, Pew offered several tallies of American Jews, depending on different definitions of Jewish identity.

Approximately 4.2 million American adults - 1.8% of the overall population - identify as Jewish by religion. In the 1950s, the percentage of religious Jews in the United States was nearly twice as high, according to Pew.

Meanwhile, about 1.2 million adult Americans now identify as secular or cultural Jews - they were raised Jewish, had a Jewish parent and still consider themselves Jewish, even though they don't practice the religion, according to Pew.

Secular Jews are much more likely to marry outside the faith, according to Pew, a trend that has worried Jewish leaders in recent years.

Nearly 60% of American Jews who have married since 2000 have a non-Jewish spouse, according to Pew.

Intermarried Jews, like secular Jews, are much less likely to raise their children in the Jewish faith and have weaker ties to the Jewish community, says Pew's report.

But, in a silver lining for Jewish leaders, intermarriage rates have leveled off, Smith said, holding steady at 60% since the mid-1990s.

Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Daily Forward, said she is not surprised that the study found relatively low interest in Jewish religious beliefs.

"We are a people very much defined by what we do, rather than what we believe," she said.

But Eisner said she is concerned that millennials are less likely to donate to Jewish charities, care strongly about Israel or belong to Jewish groups.

"It's great that these non-religious Jews feel pride in being Jewish," Eisner said. "What worries me is their tenuous ties to the community."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Judaism • Polls • Trends

soundoff (1,967 Responses)
  1. The Faciest Cat

    No surprise there. Religion is born of ignorance, and Jews in America are disproportionately well educated.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  2. joe

    Jews have been always in the minority thanks to the fact that our Christian brothers and sisters slaughtered us throughout the generations, and yet god promised in the bible despite being the minority you will always outlive ur enemies.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Derp

      I guess now you can repay the favor by slaughtering other people. I see how this works

      October 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Andy Daniel

      We've always been in the minority because we're not evangelical. Other faiths grew by both brith rates and conversions of entire nations. We only grew by birth rates. It's true that about 1/3 of living Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, among other things, but we were in the minority before that. As Jews have become wealthier and more educated, our birth rates have dropped – exactly as has happened with every other culture.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  3. bostontola

    There are about 6 Billion people in the the world, less than 15 million of them are Jews. There have been over 500 Nobel Prizes in Physics awarded in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, their share would have been 1, they have won 123. They've been awarded almost a third of the Kennedy Center honors.

    It doesn't surprise me that a culture that delivers people at this level of intellect are questioning religion.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Anon

      (let me fix that for you)

      There are about 6 Billion people in the the world, less than 15 million of them are Jews. There have been over 500 Nobel Prizes in Physics awarded in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, their share would have been 1, they have won 123. They've been awarded almost a third of the Kennedy Center honors.

      It doesn't surprise me that a culture that delivers people at this level of intellect have a background in religion.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • bostontola

        Nope. Almost all people have a background in religion, even the stupid ones.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Anon

          And all people question their religion...even the stupid ones.

          Long story short, questioning one's faith and/or religion is not a sign of intelligence. If it was, it would be featured in a standard IQ test.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • bostontola

          I disagree. I know many intelligent Christians, they question religion. I also know many Christians that don't question their religion, they tend to be much less intelligent. That is my small sample, I represented this as my findings, not some broad general truth. I know of no scientific study of this point, just my findings.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          Anon,
          Look at lol?? comment below. QED.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • lol??

          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation...........Socies are so into burnin' books and posts. Fer you, Bosty.
          "......................third of the Kennedy Center honors................." Ol' Joe is spinning in hell on that one.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          Teddy to God, "You only gave the people 600+ laws. I did that and bettered the amount by a factor of 3. That don't mean no nuthin'??"

          October 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • JonathanL

      And did you know that Atheists have even higher IQs and are even more well educated on average, and no, that doesn't mean that if you become one, those things are true. I think being an Atheist is something that you become after you become truly educated. That is why religions poo poo science and facts, and some more extreme religionists like the Taliban outright punish and forbid education outside of memorizing the Koran.

      October 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • joe

        I think being an Atheist is something that you become after you become truly educated.
        ------
        Obviously.

        The invisible fairy men in the sky are pushed by the most uneducated and ignorant in society. And the fairies always hide while the most uneducated, ignorant and delusional in society do their bidding.

        October 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Syd Chaden

    Jews exist in a largely anti-Semitic world, and Christians exist in an increasingly anti-Christian world. There are two principal causes for the trend of young Jews and Christians to forego religious belief and practice. Young Jews and Christians are confronted with a choice between adherence to a restrictive code for living, (i.e. the thou shalts and thou shalt nots of the Ten Commandments), and having fun without restrictions. Religious life is presented to young people by Western society as "archaic", whereas uninhibited pleasure seeking is presented as "modern and enlightened". Overt public expousal of religious belief is prohibited, but virtually naked celebrities, profane rappers, and mass murderers (i.e. Che Guevara) are idolized.
    Can anything erase that trend? The answer is yes, it can, and it is coming. Its name is Islam. Believers, Muslims, are encouraged to multiply, unlike Western society, which promotes birth control and abortion. Muslim populations are growing at a rapid rate, while Christian and Jewish populations are static. Population growth forecasts indicate that, within twenty years, the European countries will have Muslim majorities. Does that matter to young Christians and Jews? It should, because Islamic doctrine calls for death to infidels, non-believers in Islam. Would the Muslims really kill non-believers? They not only would, they have been doing that for years. The two major branches of Islam, the Sunnis and the Shia, each consider the other to be infidels, and they have been killing each other for centuries for that reason. That is the real reason for the current killing in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Mali, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt and Syria, to name just a few of the affected countries. In their Fatwas, calling for death to non-believers, Muslim Imams cite the unrestricted immoral lifestyles of Westerners. While the majority of young Western Christians and Jews appear to have opted for unrestricted lifestyles, the majority of young Muslims appear to be dedicated to their religion. The willingness to become suicide bombers to kill infidels, and the adulation of the Muslim population of suicide bombers as martyrs, is evidence of the intensity of their dedication.
    Should young Christians and Jews be made aware of this? Would it make any difference? History shows that Christians were persecuted and killed because of their faith, but Christianity has survived. Jews have been persecuted and killed, most notably in the Inquisition and the Holocaust, but Judaism has survived. Self preservation is the strongest natural force, even greater than the urge for unrestricted pleasure. Christians and Jews need to make their young folk aware of the threat to their existence. Perhaps that will rouse them from the self-indulgent stupor that seems to prevail. But, first, of course, their parents must do the same.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Frank

      The information age is here and although there may be some truth to some of your assertions, they are obviously overly-generalized and thus misleading.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • wasajew

      Did you even read the article? People don't believe in god anymore. You can't brainwash your children any longer in to believing what you and your ancestors believed. If you want to blame it on something, blame it on our ability to communicate with people around the world, who give others the encouragement to resist the indoctrination. The masses aren't converting to Islam, we're converting to reason.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'The answer is yes, it can, and it is coming. Its name is Islam. Believers, Muslims, are encouraged to multiply, unlike Western society, which promotes birth control and abortion'

      you kind of ignore the whole catholics and no birth control thing with your anti-muslim post.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Jews exist in a largely anti-Semitic world, and Christians exist in an increasingly anti-Christian world."

      If you consider it "Anti-semitic" to respond to a jewish person who asserts they are Gods chosen people with "No, you are not" then you are correct. If it is "anti-Christian" to respond to a Christians claim that they are now God's chosen people because they accepted Jesus as their savior by saying "No, you are not any more special than anyone else." then I guess you are living in an anti-semitic and anti-Christian world. However, please note that it is anti-human to say you are better than another human based solely on some invisible connection you believe you have where you get saved and everyone else dies. To believe you and yours shall be the inheritors of the planet while all those you disagree with will be wiped off the face of the earth IS anti-human and anti-logic and anti-ethical. And the Muslim faith you rail against is no different and will get no quarter from the rational movement that is taking place around the world. They to are anti-human and will not find a place for their segregation and hate either.

      To pursue an agenda of anything other than making the world a safer place for all humans regardless of religion, skin color or gender is to be anti-human and you should be ashamed of yourselves. The only thing we must not tolerate is intolerance.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • lol??

        lol??
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        "......................rational movement that is taking place around the world.........................." Take me to your leader. Or are you talkin' conspiracy??

        October 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • dhiaa2

      There is fact and fiction as the previous response illustrates. You generalize and entire religion as if everyone in that religion agrees with the radical doctrine perspective. So according to your assessment it is only the Christian and Jewish populations with moderates in the religion? You are generalizing 1/5 of the worlds population as radical. I hate to break it to you but lets take the police force here for example. How many police officers exist for any particular country? It numbers anywhere from 1/1000 to 1/10000. So 1 out of every 1 thousand or ten thousand people is a police authority worldwide, in order to keep order. Lets take your theory and apply numbers to it. So if 1 out of every 5 people was looking to kill the others for being "infidels", would it be possible? Better yet, let us make that 1/5 organize under a religious umbrella. So not only 1/5 people wanna attack but they are organized as well. I hope you get the point.
      There are infinitely more moderates out there that radicals. I wish you will finally understand that. Cause by striking fear and providing people with false information to have them to side with your perspective, you are nothing but the very radical element you are preaching against.
      I hope you start speaking with a voice of reason sooner than later.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Sara

      The Jewish intelligentsia started moving away from classic god beliefs long before "naked celebrities" and "profane rappers". These are deeply heartfelt quests for truth that have taken hundreds of years of debate and intellectual tradition. If you think this is a new thing, you haven't been reading your history.

      October 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  5. Doris

    Published on May 29, 2013

    Filmed at the Royal Geographical Society on 22nd May 2013.

    Daniel Dennett is one of the world's most original and provocative thinkers. A philosopher and cognitive scientist, he is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and a University Professor at Tufts University.

    On May 22nd he came to Intelligence Squared to share the insights he has acquired over his 40-year career into the nature of how we think, decide and act. Dennett revealed his favourite thinking tools, or 'intuition pumps', that he and others have developed for addressing life's most fundamental questions. As well as taking a fresh look at familiar moves - Occam's Razor, reductio ad absurdum - he discussed new cognitive solutions designed for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, consciousness and free will.

    By acquiring these tools and learning to use them wisely, we can all aspire to better understand the world around us and our place in it.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJsD-3jtXz0&w=640&h=360]

    October 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Jewish transformational Marxism that backfired. You can read about it in the history books, if the socies haven't corrupted it enuff yet.

      October 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  6. Ahab the Arab

    everybody should lose their religion..there would be little kill over..well,there would always be soccer in Europe and South America

    October 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  7. Kimmie

    I grew up on Long Island, all Jews in my neighborhood and school (which closed on the Holidays) and summer camp. I married a Jew and raised Jewish children. I never go to Temple – I don't think I know anyone who goes to services more than the Holidays and maybe 2-3 times a year (I was amazed when I grew up and met Christians who go to church EVERY WEEK!!). My 82 year old mother considers herself Super Jew and has never been to a service other than my kids' Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. I never think of religion when I think of myself being a Jew. I don't know a lot about my religion, have doubts about G-d and am bored beyond belief at services, am not spiritual at all, and find raising Jewish children really expensive, between dues to Temple, camps, Religious School, Hebrew School, Bar Mitzvah...but I do know it's who I am and what I am and cannot imagine being anything else.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      You certainly can change most of that if you wanted to.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • ReligionIsBS

        Sorry, I read that wrong. I thought it said you couldnt change it. I guess you dont want to. Even though it sounds like you really dont like that stuff.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • joe

      try orthodox judiasm

      October 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • wasajew

      If you still live in NY, that would explain why you can't envision your life any other way. You are smack dab in the middle of american jewish central.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Topher

    Topher

    If you have ever lied, stolen something, used God's name in place of a curse word, or disobeyed your parents, you've sinned against God. So far that's only four of the 10 Commandments. And check this out, Jesus said that if you look at someone and lust for them, you've committed adultery already with them in your heart. Who hasn't done that?

    You'd have to agree that if God exists, you'll be in big trouble on Judgment Day. After all God is holy and just and right to punish lawbreakers. So after your death when you stand before Him, will you be found innocent or guilty? You're probably saying then we will ALL be found guilty. And I agree, we SHOULD all be found guilty. We all deserve Hell. But just a moment ... there's good news.

    Though we have built up a sin debt to God and He has been storing up His wrath against us, God has a plan in place that benefits us dearly. You see, He was angry, yet He still loves us. So to put things right, He left His throne in Heaven and came to Earth in the flesh to do the one thing for us that we can't do for ourselves. You see He was the perfect "spotless lamb" for us. Remember in the Old Testament how the people would sacrifice the sheep and goats and they had to be "spotless"? The Bible says there's no remittance of sin without the shedding of blood. And Christ as man (a co-representative with us as a descendant of Adam) and God (who lived HIs entire life without sin) was thus the perfect "lamb." When John the Baptist first saw Him, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."

    Jesus, when he was captured, was for all purposes tortured. I won't remember everything off hand, but he was falsely accused, arrested, slapped, punched, spit on, had his beard pulled out, lashed with whips made with metal and sharp bones (so badly that the Bible says you could hardly tell that He was a man) had thorns pressed into His skull and forced to carry His own cross to the crucifixion site. Now if you know anything about what happened to you at a cross you know that nails are driven through the hands and feet to nail you up. But did you know you were also likely to have your shoulder pull out of socket in order to stretch the body into perfect position. And then there's how you die ... you basically are asphyxiated. To take a breath, you had to push up with your feet causing incredible pain. So then you relax and hang down ... which causes incredible pain. Once Christ died a guard ran a spear into His side — likely puncturing His heart and lungs — just to be sure He was dead.

    But what did this all mean? Why did He have to die? Because by taking the beatings and punishment unto His death, He was taking the punishment you and I deserved. He who knew no sin became sin for us. And three days later He rose from the grave defeating death — not only proving He was whom He claimed to be, but to demonstrate that death no longer has power over us. Because of this ultimate act of love on God's part, we can now be seen as innocent on our day of judgment. We can walk out of God's courtroom a free man because our fine has been paid.

    So how do we get to partake of this offer? The Bible says we must repent — that is, not just say we are sorry for our sin, but to turn away from it — and trust in Him. When we do that, we are "born again" ... meaning God will give you a new heart for the things of God. You'll love HIm. You'll want to read the Bible. And you'll HATE sin.

    Please consider these things — known as the Good News of the Gospel — as none of us are promised another day. Tomorrow may be too late. Where you spend eternity is too important to wait on. If you wish to receive His gift of eternal life, just get on your knees and pray. And He says that if you seek Him, you will find Him.

    Amen.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Are you encouraging Jews to join your faith, Topher?

      October 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Topher

        I'm encouraging EVERYONE to repent and trust in the Savior.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          How do you uniquely identify your saviour? That is, as someone who lived and was and is your saviour?

          October 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Ahab the Arab

          Haysus...very good hitter..no arm

          October 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom

          Not sure I understand your question.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          @Topher – I think it might be you who needs to repent for your haughty and prideful assumption that you have truth and need to educate others on your doctrinal perceptions when in fact you are trying desparately to prove to yourself that it is true because you can feel that faith weakening, the resolve disolving, the truthiness of your message not feeling so truthy anymore. If only you could convince more people of your belief it would feel like a big boost to your faith, right? You would know for sure that the one out of dozens of religions is the right one and also that the brand of Christianity is the right one out of the 42,000 denominations you had to choose from... but you got it right, right Topher?

          October 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You've identified someone you believe was and is real as your Saviour. How would someone, a modern-day Jew, perhaps, know exactly who you are talking about?

          October 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Dina

          What savior?

          October 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "You've identified someone you believe was and is real as your Saviour. How would someone, a modern-day Jew, perhaps, know exactly who you are talking about?"

          Jews have the Old Testament. In the OT, you have hundreds of prophecies on the coming Messiah. Jesus fulfills them. For instance, read Psalm 22. It describes Jesus' crucifixion hundreds of years before the Romans started doing it. Or you could Read Isaiah 53, which says in part, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

          The OT points directly at Jesus Christ.

          October 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Amen! Topher

          October 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          The men of Minas Tirith have the Old scrolls. In them, you have hundreds of prophecies on the coming King. Strider fulfills them...

          Funny how an author might tie in old prophecy for their hero...

          October 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Madtown

          Jesus fulfills them.
          ----
          What about that prophecy where the Messiah was to be born in a certain town, which was not the same town where Jesus is alleged to have been born? Did he still fulfill that one?

          October 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Topher

          Madtown

          "What about that prophecy where the Messiah was to be born in a certain town, which was not the same town where Jesus is alleged to have been born? Did he still fulfill that one?"

          Where does it say that? What verse?

          October 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          Topher,
          "read Psalm 22. It describes Jesus' crucifixion hundreds of years before the Romans started doing it."

          You think that piercing a person's hands and feet as a method of torture foretells crucifixion? I'm sure that you don't even want to know about the disgusting, gruesome stuff that those ancients did in the time of Psalms. The NT writers did leave out the dogs, bulls and lions circling the dying victim, though.

          October 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Madtown

          Matthew 2:4 describes your prophecy of where your messiah is to have originated. Jesus is alleged to have been born elsewhere. I'm sure you'll dispute this, because it goes against your own thinking.

          October 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Topher

          A Frayed Knot

          "The NT writers did leave out the dogs, bulls and lions circling the dying victim, though."

          That would be the Romans soldiers who gambled over His clothes. And His own people who mocked Him and falsely accused Him.

          October 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Topher

          Madtown

          "Matthew 2:4 describes your prophecy of where your messiah is to have originated. Jesus is alleged to have been born elsewhere. I'm sure you'll dispute this, because it goes against your own thinking."

          "4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,"

          Mathew 2:1 ..."Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"

          October 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Madtown

          Good for you Tophool, you are able to conduct an internet search, and copy/paste. So? Others allege that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem.

          October 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Topher

          WHO alleges that? Atheists? People who have an agenda against the Word of God?

          October 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Madtown

          have an agenda against the Word of God?
          ----
          Religious scholars allege that. People who've forgotten more about religion that you'll ever know. Once again for amusement: God hasn't written any words we're currently aware of. The bible was not written by God. If it was, he most certainly would've allowed ALL HIS EQUAL CREATIONS to read it, not just a special few like you. I'm out for today, have a good one!

          October 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Topher

          Madtown

          "Religious scholars allege that."

          OK, WHO?! I doubt very much anyone you name is someone who follows God's Word.

          October 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    •  bacbic

      too long.. too boring.. too much unnecessary capitalization.. too much BS

      October 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • Hi

        That's okay bacbic, just stick to the books with the pop-up pics. They're a little easier to read.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Boog

      ...or you could just try to understand that this is a story...fiction...not real. All fake, all false. When your brain and heart stop, its over. no soul, no gods, no living after death. Biological organisms get biological death, not eternal magic and lies.

      Not really that hard to understand, but certainly not has cushy an ending 🙂

      October 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • doobzz

      Thoughts are not actions.

      Being angry = murder – NO

      Looking at a cute girl and thinking she's fine = rape or adultery – NO

      There is no such thing as sin.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "You'd have to agree that if God exists, you'll be in big trouble on Judgment Day." No. That might be true if YOUR God exists but so far there is zero evidence to support YOUR God theory. I am not willing to rule out all Gods/gods as the universe is a very big place and it is not only possible but likely we will run into some other form of life we might consider a God/god. Odds of it looking anything like your God? None.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Your god sounds like a complete idiot. You already know we all have lusted before, becauase its human nature. And for some reason, your god programmed us that way even though he doesnt like it. Sounds like an idiot to me.

      And why am I capable of doing things he cant? Why can i forgive someone without having to torture my son to death? I can do that. Why couldnt he? Sounds like a complete moron of a god to me.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • ComSenseWiz

      If your not a Christian then you go to hell and if your not Muslim, they say you're going to hell. One can not be both so therefore we are all going to hell. The Gods need to have a conference and when it is decided who is the real God, let me know where I can go to irrefutably confirm who God actually is.

      In the mean time, may the force be with you.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        "may the force be with you" That is funny, but really there is just one big G God.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Reverend Ambush

        Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god? Every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder. – Homer Simpson

        October 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • wasajew

      Just because you want to believe this is the truth, and others do as well, doesn't make it so. I hate to inform you that you are wasting the precious little time you have on earth preparing for your afterlife, which is a made-up concept. There are no Santa's, Toothfairies, or Jesus'. Realize this today and you will enjoy your life more.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Topher

        wasajew

        "Realize this today and you will enjoy your life more."

        "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward."

        So basically ... sin is fun ... for a season.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    You would think after sending them nearly $4 billion a year in military aid they would start to consider themselves "Americas Chosen People" instead of God's... or do they think of my tax dollars as God? I mean, without that military support do they really think they would still be in that region? If it wasn't for the American Christians who believe Israel is needed for the coming apocalypse there is no way we would have been sending so many billions of tax dollars for the last half century.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  10. lolita from rhode island

    jew don't know nothing

    October 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • bostontola

      rhode island, enough said.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • sly

      Whoa, Rhode Island is still around? I thought that little outback strand of sand disappeared during Sandy.

      Wow ... learn something new every day. Where is it anyway – just off South Carolina right?

      October 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Jobe

    Just one more test of the faithful. God, when will this ever end. Come on, a guy can only take so much in his life.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Fernando

    These faiths that have a tradition of educational excellence are doomed as faith and knowledge don't mix. The Jesuits have produced legions of fallen-away Catholics. Islam's experiment with intellectual curiosity in the middle-ages was so revealing that it taught the clergy to keep them ignorant. Baptist universities strive to have it both ways with some success.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Andy Daniel

      Frightening but true. As a Jew myself, I've started to become more cultural and less religious over the years, and I think it's exactly for the reasons you state. We have a huge drive towards education (and so the anti-Semites complain how successful we are as a group and blame it on treachery though the real answer is as clear as the diploma on my wall) but this education is not always compatible with religion, especially when the education is the fields of science or math. Conservative Judaism (which BTW refers to middle-of-the-road, not right wing) has been losing people rapidly. OTOH highly orthodox Judaism is growing very rapidly, fueled by astronomical birth rates and a far more insular nature – and the education is more likely to be a relgious one than a secular one.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  13. muti

    The American Jewish community is fraying at the edges. Secular, self-identified Jews are marrying out of the community at an alarming rate. Barely one in four Jews under 40 marry within the faith. Most of these young Jews do not join synagogues or take part in Jewish life — beyond family celebrations like Passover. If they have children with a non-Jewish spouse, their children are — strictly speaking — not Jewish.

    Yet the Jewish population in America does not appear to be declining. This trend of secular Jews marrying out is countered by a dramatic increase in Jews embracing Orthodoxy, particularly the Chabad movement.

    "There are two major trends at work," says Cohen. "The growth of Orthodox Jewry is marked by high birth rates." In fact, the Jewish population of New York is over 1 million again, primarily because Hassidic and Chabad Jews are having huge families. In 2003, one third of the city's Jews identified as Orthodox. Today that figure is 40 percent and rising.

    This trend is likely to continue, because those who voluntarily turn to Orthodoxy are much more likely to stay on that path, and they "retain their young more successfully," Cohen adds.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • DRlamdo

      It is true Jewish populations are increasing. It is also fact due to inbredding a big population of the Hassidic and Chabad Jews have mental illnesses in the Jewish community. Just check out Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • joe

        that is a very misleading and false statement, can u show me any data indicating that there are more incident of mental health issues amongst Hasidic Jews?????

        October 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • DRlamdo

          No I can't just like you can't disprove it.

          October 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • Jew Dunno Whatcha Talkin Bout

          DRlame-o: That's called "Argumentum ad ignorantiam" (argument to ignorance); congratulations on arguing nothing substantial to the dialogue.

          October 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • wasajew

      Orthodox jews are more insulated from the rest of society. The brainwashing is more successful because these kids don't have people with different views to discuss with about life. Many of them aren't believers, but they aren't going to tell anyone that and risk being ostracized.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Ehsan

    They are not losing much...

    October 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Sean

      well said

      October 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  15. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

    This news must be distressing to those Christians who need all the Jewish people to return to Israel so that the rapture may come.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    •  

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1te01rfEF0g&w=640&h=360]

      October 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Whoever did this, thanks for the video post!

        October 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • lol??

        lol??
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        The rapture is a false doctrine from the false prophet who wars with the antichrist Beast.

        October 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  16. I can just imagine

    Lewis Black saying something now like: "God here; look at that – I got those fundies in the House to shut the government down. They'll do anything I put in their tiny brains. They think I'm the new nice guy, but (shh don't tell them), I'm still the same old prick I've always been. Kiss my ass people. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    October 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  17. muti

    All the latest surveys are showing that authentic orthodox Judaism is growing by leaps and bounds, while the secular reform and conservative are disappearing.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      That's not what my survey says.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "authentic orthodox Judaism "

      Sounds to me like more "authentic" salsa from NY city...

      If you have to label it "authentic" then you know it's just a marketing gimick.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Betty

      I haven't seen the little section in the supermarket where they put macaroons and matzo stuff get any larger.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Why would anyone female want to join one of the sects where male domination is so severe?

      October 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • Andy Daniel

        They don't. Hassidic Judaism grows almost entirely by astronomical brith rates. Remember that Judaism is a non-evangelical religion.We permit converts and welcome outsiders but we don't actively recruit. There are no Jewish missionaries, for instance.

        October 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • lol??

        lol??
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        Social stability.

        October 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Andy Daniel

      That's total accuarte – but to clarify, you're referring to Hassidic sects (all of which are highly Orthodox) – the ones easy identified by their black religious garb – and are growing at an astounding rate due to incredible birth rates. The more conventional orthodox (ie. as practiced by your grandparents when they came to America) are probably also shrinking.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • muti

        that is not true the modern orthodox and the thousands of traditional Jews that attend the thousands of chabad houses are not shrinking.

        October 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Glauber

      That seems like the case all over. Islamic fundamentalism is of course rising worldwide, US Christians are more strident and vocal than ever, as well as visibly religious in what they wear, as well as in their political activities. It seems like it's getting to be an all or nothing kind of thing.

      October 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  18. WestNorthWest

    Religion and similar superstition is hopefully on its way out for humanity. We can hope for that good result, anyway.

    There is also no way than an omnipotent creature such as the gods that are commonly presented in crazy religious superstitions such as Christianity or the even more absurd Islam would need worship, nor even need the existence of the religions themselves.Other claims of those religions are similarly absurd, when one takes the trouble to look at them critically.

    I really do hope that we are seeing the dying days of all religion. It is high time for that.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • choir loft

      Religion die? It's been predicted before with false hope behind it. Didn't happen then, won't happen ever. The main point of religion is that the universe doesn't pivot on the human mind. Something greater is involved. Small minds refuse to accept anything greater than their own miopic view of things.
      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      October 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Boog

        "...The main point of religion is that the universe doesn't pivot on the human mind..."

        ...a key point of NOT being religious is that the universe doesn't pivot on the human mind. Religions are entirely about man. Your god is made in your image, your god made Humans the pinnacle of existence, You get to still live after you die....me me me, how come theists can't see that. The only single reason you believe in your deity is so that "YOU CAN SAVE YOUR immortal soul" (which is a figment of your belief system anyway)

        Humans are but one biological organism on Earth. 99% of all of Earth's species have gone extinct. Anatomically, Humans have been out of the forests for about 200,000 years, love the bit where your little god came just 2,000 years ago to the desert (why not visit the Chinese?!) and preaches the gospel of Jebus as being 6000 years old. Ridiculous drivel. ... But if it helps you sleep at night and calm the demons...

        October 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • ReligionIsBS

        "Something greater is involved"

        How could you possibly know this? Please, since you have the answer, share it! What is it? We've been looking forever!

        October 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • guaraya

        Well said!

        October 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • ME II

        "The main point of religion is that the universe doesn't pivot on the human mind. "

        But wasn't the entire universe supposedly created just to put the human mind in one tiny little corner?

        October 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Leisure Suit Larry

      You anti-religious types crack me up. You offer the same amount of proof for your beliefs as the religious folks do – zero. You don't know any more than anyone else what happens when we die, so get over yourselves.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • WestNorthWest

        Larrry, one key point is that we don't claim to know. You do claim to know what happens after death. Our claims include the conclusion that the evidence does not show that god exists, and that the mainstream god stories are obviously fictional. Those claims are clearly backed by observable reality.

        Got that yet? If not, read again. Think hard. It will be tough for your very limited brain.

        October 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  19. Mark

    I grew up forced to go to catholic church. Just me and my dad. I absolutely hated it and then I had to endure 4 yrs of catholic school. I left the church over 45yrs ago and now I am a militant Atheist and damn proud to be one.

    October 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Religion: Together we can find the cure.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Guest

      Mark:

      you are an intelligent person. Those who grow up in very religious families and as they mature realize the nonsense of religion are no doubt intelligent. That is not an easy thing to do.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Bing

        Actually it's very easy for people to leave their religions. Why? Because of a human trait called laziness. It is a chore to have to go to church, the synagogue or mosque every friday, saturday, or sunday. we'd rather be watching tv or doing something fun outdoors.

        October 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  20. Brent

    "including 6% who are atheist, 4% who are agnostic and 12% whose religion is “nothing in particular”). "
    Source: Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project.-What is "nothing in particular" the same as agnostic?

    October 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Apathy, I suppose. Probably the healthiest way to deal with religion is to never approach it at all.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Randy Thomas

      Probably another terms for, 'not telling you which religion I belong to'!

      October 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • ME II

      I think a lot of "spiritual, but not religious" fit in that category.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:38 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.