Columns Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Why millennials are really leaving religion (it’s not just politics, folks)

PRRI data on the rise of the "nones" among young adults in 1986 vs. in 2016. RNS graphic by Jana Riess.

(RNS) — A couple of decades ago, when young adults began showing their dissatisfaction with organized religion by voting with their feet, it was fashionable for pundits to say this was happening because those religions weren’t conservative or demanding enough.

Because the exodus was initially most pronounced among liberal, mainline Protestants like Episcopalians and Presbyterians, it was easy to point at liberalism as the root of the problem.

If churches just held fast to their standards, the thinking went, they would be fine, because strictness was what the masses secretly wanted. People craved firm boundaries. Conservatives, you will not be surprised to hear, were the most ardent supporters of this “strict churches” theory, which assured them they were already doing the most important things right.

But now the “strict churches” theory is crumbling because some strict denominations are themselves charting losses, or at least slower growth. The Southern Baptists have lost more than a million members over the last decade, according to LifeWay. Giving and attendance are down, and Baptists are seeing more gray and silver heads in the pews.

Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen its once-enviable U.S. growth rate slow to under 1 percent in each of the last two years. Mormonism, which grew by just .75 percent in this country in 2017, is barely keeping pace with the growth of the U.S. population (+.71 percent).

Now it’s liberal pundits who are quick to point the finger. A HuffPost headline last year screeched that “Evangelical Christianity’s Big Turn-Off” was its relentless pursuit of a conservative political agenda. Let’s call this the “political alienation” theory, which says that churches that have waged war against LGBT rights or supported Donald Trump are reaping the fallout: Millennials want nothing to do with them.

There’s evidence to support the political alienation theory, to a point. Millennials are leaving religion in droves, and some of it is related to politics. People who vote or lean Democratic are more likely to be “nones,” defined as people who have no religious affiliation.

But that’s the key: no religious affiliation. If the political alienation theory fully explained what’s going on in American religion, millennials would be leaving conservative religions in favor of ones that are liberal and LGBT-affirming. Plenty of churches like that exist, where those on the political left would feel welcome and comfortable. But they are not growing.

Instead, folks are just leaving religion, full stop. Especially if they’re young.

So if the “strict churches” theory doesn’t explain why many conservative denominations are experiencing losses, and the “political alienation” theory doesn’t account for why people are exiting religion entirely rather than merely switching to a faith that’s more suitable, what does explain it?

No one can deny that religion has fallen on hard times. Four in 10 younger millennials (18-29) are nones, which is four times what it was in the 1980s. In fact, the fastest-growing religion in America is … no religion at all.

The problem is that the real explanation for this should be called the “it’s complicated” theory, and complications make for crappy headlines. Everybody wants simple answers, and the answers just aren’t simple. We can give it a try, though. Here are three factors that all play a role.

1. Delayed marriage and more single adults

Pastors have joked for decades that a certain segment of people showed up to church primarily to be “hatched, matched or dispatched.” We don’t have much choice in the hatching and dispatching departments — we’re going to be born and die whether we like it or not — but what about the “matched” part? One of the biggest demographic trends of our time is that millennials are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. And since there’s a strong correlation between being married and being involved in religion, the fact that fewer Americans are getting married is worrisome news to clergy.

2. Fertility

The number of children a family has is related to the couple’s religious involvement — couples without kids are a bit less likely to be religious. So the fact that fertility is on the decline is, again, worrisome news for organized religion. (To say nothing of the long-term implications for things like Social Security.)

3. The growth of the nones

This seems like a circular argument: The nones are growing because the nones are growing! But sociologically, it makes a kind of sense. Some nonbelievers might have stayed in organized religion in previous generations just because it was socially expected, and there were consequences for not joining the religious crowd. The numeric growth of the nones has removed some of those barriers, so that other closeted nones feel more comfortable leaving religion too. There is an infrastructure and support system for them.

So the next time someone tells you, “Millennials are leaving religion because evangelicals are in love with Donald Trump,” you can tell them they’re partly right. Political frustration is a factor. But … the truth is also much, much more complicated.


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

714 Comments

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  • The author if this article seems keen (for whatever reason) to arrive at the convenient conclusion that “it’s complicated.” In truth, not really. Of all the research that has been done on this subject (which is, after all, fairly new) the reasons young people give for leaving religion are really not that complicated at all, according to the Public Policy Research Institute, which has done more research on this subject than most:

    https://www.prri.org/research/prri-rns-poll-nones-atheist-leaving-religion/

    In order, young people are leaving religion because:

    1. They stopped believing in religion’s teachings
    2. Their families were never that religious to begin with
    3. Negative religious teachings about LGTB people
    4. The clergy sexual abuse scandal
    5. A traumatic event in their lives
    6. Their church became too focused on politics.

    In other words, not complicated at all if you scratch but a little beneath the surface, which this author seems little inclined to do.

  • The Public Policy Research Institute seems to magically arrive at conclusions which line up with the various authors’ books’ conclusions.

    In this case the results line up exactly with Robert P. Jones, PhD’s “The End of White Christian America”, which btw, is for sale in the lobby.

    Buy a copy and he’ll autograph it for you.

  • Several years ago with an exchange in emails with someone active in the American Atheists organization I told him that IF Atheists wanted to really get rid of religion they would have to offer a better alternative that meets the various needs of people.

    One reason many were active in a church was for the sense of community, a group of like minded people to be a part of.

    I wonder if the rise in social media has also played a part in the “complicated reasoning”. The younger generation seem to find their community in social media groups not in church pews. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I think there will be many problems down the road as the younger generation loses the ability for face to face conversation and collaboration.

    I think the next PEW study should focus on group participation of the “Nones”. Are they active in other groups, or dropping out altogether?

  • You raise a valid point, although I would suggest that the sense of “community” people experience on social media is as elusive and ephemeral as social media itself. In other words, not real community at all.

  • It’s because of the internet. You can fact check the claims of Christians and find out they are false in minutes. It also didn’t help that xtians have been saying Jesus is coming back this year for the past 50 years.

  • Exactly. AND that is why I am concerned. One of the things that has “made America Great”, and other societies is the ability to work together to accomplish great things. That takes a skill that is developed over time in face to face contact/interaction with real people.

  • I ran as fast as I could away from religion in the early 90’s. Before the internet, before Donald Trump, before there was any sort of a support system for people who fled the dogma.

    The whole charade seemed petty, nasty and phony to me then. Now it’s been amplified 1000x.

  • A great article, Jana, but you left out a lot of things. The answer is far more complicated than “it’s complicated”. A little sociology, a little historywould help

    The biggest, I think, is the internet. Lots of truth, information, opinions, and points of views. And lots of whole bunches of misinformation, bile, hate, and logical disconnects. Anybody with a decent education and a willingness to engage in critical Thinking can see this.

    Better education the last fifty years, Enabling that critical thinking.

    Ancient stories no longer fulfilling a purpose for a modern life. When I was 11 and Sunday school, studying the story of the 10 plagues of Egypt, we got to the part where “God hardened pharaohs heart”, and then sent another plague. When we got to the 10th plague, and God had hardened pharaohs heart one more time, I raised my hand and said, “but that’s not fair.” Even as an 11-year-old, I could see that there were big problems with this god. My teacher responded that we are not to question God’s will. All that did was convince me that it was time to question God.

    Greater mobility than ever, wherein one gets exposed to a whole range of people, cultures, ideals, faiths and so forth that one wouldn’t have gotten exposed to 50 years ago.

    The failure of religion to answer modern questions, insisting that a much translated, redacted, edited, and interpreted collection of books from people a world away from us in culture, morality, thought and knowledge, has relevance today just because a guy in a sharp suit and too much gold on his body tells you it’s true.

    The ongoing scandals, especially in a conservative religius atmosphere. Yes, absolutely, liberals have scandals too. But liberals arent telling everybody else how to live their lives, condoning as broken anyone who doesn’t meet their “standards”, and demanding that the law force their purely theological concerns onto everyone else, or voting for a four times bankrupt, three times married, two Corinthians self proclaimed fornicating hypocrite like Jabba the Trump. And let’s not get into the catholic abuse scandals, which have caused a clear majority of the Irish to turn away from the church.

    I could probably keep going with this for a while.

  • “False”? Really? Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
    Things have dramatically changed with rise of the Internet.

    Ordinary Christian people, even poor low-income folks, can now get their fair share of today’s biblical Christian ammunition. They can train themselves diligently in Bible study, theology, philosophy, science, etc..

    They can learn how to answer people’s questions (and there’s LOTS of people today, “Nones” too, who have interesting questions for Christians) and defend their faith. They can learn how to fight the skeptics instead of surrender (hello Methodists!), and how to bring calmness, peace, love, and even enjoyment to the fight.

  • Certainly you could go on for hours.

    However, you’ve already exceeded your store of actual facts.

  • You may well be right that the internet is important in American youngsters’ movement from organised religion – but it happened in much of Europe well before the internet existed.

    I suspect that the underlying reasons are

    1 – Education – including the information available on the internet – but education in thinking, in seeking to draw logical conclusions from valid evidence massively undermines supernatural belief. And, AIUI, the US education system – brilliant at its best, is not very good, compared with many other technologically advanced societies, at enthusing the majority with a desire for evidence-based rationality.

    2 – Effective alternatives to reliance on a church when hard times hit leading to a decreasing need for support from a church. In much of Europe the government provides, for the majority, a much more secure support system as regards health, pensions, disabilities, unemployment etc. than it does in the US. Add to that the generally increasing standards of living since WW2 and the non-religious incentives to belong to a church are weakened. Why pretend to believe (and tithe) when there is no material benefit in doing so?

    3 – The realisation that atheism is common, that atheists are good as often as those who are religiously motivated and that atheists don’t suffer any retribution from god(s) for their non-belief.

    4 – The self-destructive behaviour of organised religion. I don’t think that most people expect religious leaders to be perfect – they do, I believe, expect that their organisations should show compassion to the victims, deal promptly and severely with those who’s behaviour is immoral and address the problems in a co-operative and effective manner. Instead practically every major religious entity has failed to support victims, protected the guilty, lied about its behaviour and failed to support secular attempts to address the problem (Only this week an RCC bishop has instructed priests to break the law by refusing to pass on information relevant to abuse situations – even threatening excommunication if the law is followed)..

  • Well that does explain better why so many more people every year stop believing in the invisible sky god. Thank you. Oh wait, you never did address the FACT that less people believe every year.

  • It brought you out, Bob, but that’s not hard to do. You jump out at every chance to spew your vicious Christian diatribes.

  • Another reason is that older parents are no longer telling there Children to believe in some invisible sky God. So they aren’t indoctrinated like they were in the 50’s.

  • Hello Bob – Why am I not surprised that you are still as petty, puerile, ignorant, incapable of demonstrating compassion, deliberately offensive, jesus-absently christian and generally pathetic a person as before I, partner and hound went on our brilliant holiday? Rhetorical.

  • As usual, Bob Arnzen can present nothing to oppose the conclusions, and instead, makes a banal attack on the source. Sadly typical of Bob; he specializes in ad hominems.

  • Millennials are the most overly “educated”, least knowledgeable, intellectually lazy, and most narcissistic generation in history. Why would they need God?

  • They are also up on suicide and depression, also having no children, so the problem of atheism and nihilism is getting rid of itself. Pure Natural selection.

    Considering that religion is often considered mental illness by these depressed suicidal people, I just have to celebrate the irony and just watch how the alt-right rises without any christian mercy fpr minorities, which is very fun.

  • Thats impossible without transcendence. Atheists shall continue being top on antidepressant usage to be somehow close to happiness and prevent suicide.

  • You can also find that there are only two genders.
    That colonialism is not an European invention.
    And leftists killed far more: Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao…

  • Yeah. You prefer lifetime antidepressants and intellectuals like Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao…

  • They replaced God and family with antidepressants.

    Very funny that the richest secular generations and secular countries top on suicide and depression.

  • What’s there to address? Way back before the Internet, you had **plenty** of high-schoolers and college/military/trade young adults who were either “Nones” or living like “Nones.”

    So pardon me if I fail to panic about this issue, eh? One thing I found is that, just like all of us, “Nones” have questions that are important to them in various areas.

    AND, if the moment is right, it’s possible to ask them some interesting life questions from the Bible, or mention one or two divine healings, miracles, or deliverances you’very seen, and boom! Suddenly they wanna ask you lots of stuff. Seeking answers. Not happy with their secularism. Go figure.

    Honestly? Wide-open opportunities around here for prayed-up, caring, empathetic Christians who keep up with their Bible and apologetics homework. Bring on the Nones, sir.

  • I was in a Charismatic church for over 30 years. I never saw one real healing. And if you were honest, which you probably aren’t- you know that you have never seen anyone really healed either. Oh sure, lot of healing of joint pain, but those kids in the wheel chairs down front- yeah them- funny isn’t it how they never get up and walk. Isn’t it also interesting that you NEVER hear on the nightly news of how some Christian with the gift of healing, just cleared out a cancer ward at the local children’s hospital. Because as you know, Christians who claim to be able to heal NEVER go to hospitals. Also, you said, well back in the day there were nones. Yes, but the FACT is that today there are FOUR TIMES as many nones as 30 years ago. And I repeat, a lot of those are former Christians who attended church for decades and saw NO evidence at all of anything supernatural. Now if you have evidence of supernatural healings, then why don’t you go claim your Nobel prize? Why don’t you contact the national news media? Oh right, because you have no proof. Enjoy your delusion. I’m sure it makes you feel better.

  • Religions started many, many thousands of years ago as mankind’s first, vain attempts to explain the natural world. Over the ages they evolved into the various forms that now exist. They evolved by the artifice of manipulative, misogynistic, imoral, homophobic men in order to control others, wield power for selfish reasons. The few people who truly believe in that drivel are delusional. The rest are lying…
    PEACE!

  • Then let me be candid with you, as a fellow traveler who’s familiar with the Charismatic scene.

    We got a lot of people inside and outside the churches right now who are looking for answers, who are hurting, who are stuck into crippling wheelchairs of one kind or another. We got “hard cases” (you know what I mean). Need help, need hope, need healing.

    So stop being content with your current situation. You already know you’re needed in the fight, and you already know God’s still there for you. You say you’re a former WHAT?

    Somebody is calling you. It’s time for YOU to get back up, get back in, get back on your Luke 4:18 with genuine power, and YOU go succeed where others might have failed. It ain’t too late.

  • Hmm. Another stray puppy, trying so hard to run away from the God who’s helping him and blessing him. Now you know that’s a pitiful mess!

    So talk to me, Mr. Pollo. I don’t know what religion you were in, but you certainly heard about God. So (in general), what happened?

  • Its the hypocrisy, stupid (to paraphrase an old political slogan). If you’re raised in the faith you become educated and realize everything you were told was a lie. Even if you believe, you see religious leaders exploiting the gullible and acting in any other way than Christian. If you aren’t raised religious you see nothing but hatred and rabidly right-wing politics coming out of every single organized religion. Why go to church if the people there are just going to tell you to hate your LGBT friends or vote for regressive politicians? Why respect organizations that fight furiously to keep women oppressed and control their bodies against their will? Why respect an entire religious movement that constantly claims to be literally holier-than-thou and the only source if morality, but then demands you vote for a philandering con man who brags about grabbing pussy and hating non-whites? Do I even need to bring up the systematic and decades-long pattern of pedophilia and the subsequent institutional cover-ups?

    Look, everyone under 30 has a finely-honed bullshit detector. It’s an absolute requirement to function in our media-saturated world. And every single religion simply reeks of hypocrisy when you look at it. Religion is (justly, IMHO) seen as a force for evil at worst and a delusion at best. If you don’t like that, don’t bitch about millennials – figure out how to clean house and start actually practicing what you preach. If you want to whine that YOUR religion isn’t like that, then prove it: start speaking out publicly about the people that give religion a bad name. Note that if you actually read the Bible you’d know that Jesus’s favifavo insult was ‘hypocrite.’

    Finally, stop talking and start acting. Right now toddlers are kiterlite being thrown into concentration camps and religions have done nothing other than debate the use of scripture by politicians. If you were all REALLY Christians and asked WWJD you’d be down at the border trying to comfort these kids and help reunite them with their parents. Instead, all America sees us religious leaders either supporting the new Nazism or being “good Germans” by pretending it isn’t their problem. If you can’t even agree that throwing innocent children into jail (where they are guaranteed to be abused) is wrong, then what good is your religion? By your actions shall the next generation know ye.

  • With people like you hanging around a church trying to get into the pants of the youth group kids, are you really surprised that we wised up and left you in the dustbin of history?

  • 50 or 60 years ago Christianity enjoyed wide acceptance because it presented itself as the way to get to heaven, and this was widely accepted as true. Even those who might question didn’t question too much just in case it actually turned out to be true. In today’s more science educated word the previous concepts of heaven seem kind of childish. People are more willing to just drop religion.

  • For me it was questioning the Bible. Christianity is based on the Bible being the Word of God and all true. As you start to see this is not the case, you have to make a decision. Will you just go along with accepting the contradictions, or not? I prided myself on being a mathematical, logical thinker, so the contradictions were an overwhelming problem and I left Christianity.

  • Religions have a primary responsibility to grow the religion and propagate to the next generation. Any religion following your way wouldn’t stand the test of time.

  • As an atheist who knows many other atheists, I can attest that the reasons we left our religions was very simple. We won’t willing believe in fairy tales and act like the good book appears next to you at birth. We won’t follow organizations that condemn people for any reason, which goes against the book they praise. We won’t listen to an organization with a political agenda based on taking away the rights of others.

    It’s one thing to be a community of people that helps others, but most religions in this country only help themselves. Most people who are religious don’t help others or condemn people who need help. Sometimes I am appalled by how unchristian supposed Christians are.

  • I agree with you jim. I left because questioning the bible was discouraged where i went. Plus i dont need a book to tell me to be a decent human being.

  • Interesting isn’t it how you never addressed my valid points. Where is the proof of ANY healings EVER taking place, in the name of Jesus? Right you can’t and won’t answer this question because deep down you know the answer. You’ve been scammed. Wake up.

  • What does that have to do with people who no longer believe in the invisible sky God? Are you saying that believing in the invisible sky God is good for your mental health? got it, ok then.

  • Yep, pure natural selection. At the rate people are leaving the church, in 50 more years, there will be NOBODY who believes in the invisible sky God.

  • I thought he made a great point. So according to the bible, God hardens the heart of Pharaoh, and then God judges Pharaoh for having a hard heart. You’re a special kind of stupid if you don’t see the bullshit in that story,

  • Oh look, you turn over a rock and the arrogant, atheist slugs crawl out. You know the whole “enlightened secular thinking” narrative would be more conving if it were so strongly correlated with the destructive trends of precipitously falling birth rates and skyrocketing illegitimacy. Far from creating a brave, science-based society, secularism has mostly proven to be an avenue toward wanton, unsustainable, indefensible hedonism.

  • Oh look, the enlightened thinking of a person who believes there is an invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do. hahahaha. But answer me this. If you didn’t believe in God tomorrow, would you go out and murder? oh right, of course you wouldn’t, so much for your hedonistic argument. Wake up man.

  • I’m an atheist who doesn’t want religion to go away – just to behave itself. Most people need religion. My mom forced me into Jehovah’s Witnesses as a teenager and I they often attract the weary, the outcast, the damaged and the desperate and after hearing the previous lives they led I was glad they found peace and became productive citizens and were no longer on the streets. I don’t need religion to behave but many people do and I worry what will happen as the churches lose members.

  • You obviously haven’t read the Bible. If you were to remove the condemnations it contains, from prophets to apostles to Jesus himself, it would be a much shorter book.

  • I’m 33, grew up in rural Missouri, and on my own accord, with no direct outside influence declared myself an atheist at about the age of eight. We are the most educated generation in American history. I grew up reading philosophy and loving science not worshipping arbitrary symbols for the sake of social comformity.

    The very concept of an immortal soul is so ridiculous that I can’t even express how sad it is to me any adult believes such things. I literally don’t want to live sometimes BECAUSE I can’t understand why people won’t let go of religion and faith. It’s not truth, it is counter productive to the survival of our species.

    So there you go, straight from a millennial

  • Jana — those are all good reasons for the growth of the “nones.” But what about simple nonbelief? The young people I talk to on college campuses tell me that they simply don’t BELIEVE the claims of religion — and not just the talking snake and miracles and demons. They see the world in purely naturalistic terms, bolstered by science and reason, and don’t need a supernaturalistic framework, conservative or liberal, to live their lives. For those young thinkers, religious claims are just not true.
    And what about hypocrisy? Religions teach morality — and indeed, many believers are good people — but on balance, church-goers are no more moral than nonbelievers. In some cases, their religious views actually compromise morality. The young people I talk to tell me they simply don’t NEED what the churches are offering. They see a simpler path to a life of happiness, joy, meaning, purpose, morality, kindness, learning and love without faith or dogma. Religion just gets in the way.
    Combine those reasons with yours, and it is pretty clear why we are becoming a more secular and less divisive people.

  • Urbanization makes people less likely to go to church for appearances sake compared to small towns. And many of the Catholics I know who have left have left for two reasons: the older ones, male and female, because they are tired of how women are treated. The younger ones, because evangelical churches who hide their ultraconservative views, offer services that are more like concerts, with the young bodies allowed to move “Sit still” is always a problem with the young.

  • To keep the discussion go‌ing. I grew up in a time when religion tried to shut down any real discussion in favor of professions of faith, which means joining a religion and going along with that group. A more scientific approach tries to keep discussion alive, and slowly but surely weed out all contradictory ideas.

  • Jim, with you there is no discussion.

    We’ll be hearing about “the greatest miracle” shortly.

    In the years I have been reading you, all that gets weeded out is people block your posts.

    Sorry to be blunt, but that’s about the size of it.

  • How am I running from something that doesn’t exist?

    Your concept of God is a complete farce.

  • A lot of people have figured out that God = me and my kind, and me and my kind don’t like you.

  • Maybe. But social media use among the young has been highly correlated with anxiety. Perhaps a better form of anxiety can be found at church.

  • In ancient Jewish culture/religion, it was untenable for there to be more than one supernatural force. Yahweh was all powerful and there could be no other deities besides him. This meant the Jews would assign supernatural acts of evil to God in an attempt to not blaspheme the power of Yahweh. Now this could in part be at play in the ten plagues story, I mostly just find it interesting. But there are other, better historical/biblical interpretations of this story too.

    Also, the Jewish idea of evil as supernatural force wasn’t introduced until the Babylonian captivity, when concepts from Zoroastrianism found their way into mainstream Jewish religion. This is where the idea, and I believe even the name of Satan comes from, iirc.

    My point here isn’t to defend the church, just to state that very careful exegesis is required when examining these texts. In fact, the Sunday school teacher who discouraged questions is really doing the church and students a major disservice – though I can see why “thoughtful exegesis” isn’t really encouraged in a children’s Sunday school class.

    Biblical inerrancy as a staple of certain churches does seem like a huge problem, from both a religious and nonreligious perspective. The Bible ought to be a living document, perhaps similar to the Constitution, whether it lives through historical/academic discovery and interpretation or, from the religious POV, though the involvement of the holy spirit.

    Again, none of this really address why younger people are leaving the church, although I do think real biblical scholarship and theology is lacking from most of today’s churches, proffering instead highly marketed, polished, consumerist, episodic church services. I think this is more often the bullshit young people smell, even before they smell the stink from any of the more expected religious bs.

  • For a long time the cult of “alma mater” and “sorority/fraternity” or “the club” were the real religions of US elites. OR “the bar” and “sports” for the elss elite. At the same they they might attend church for social reason or “for the kids.” Now there’s no need to attend church. Sunday morning can be put to better use, including the latest place to get brunch, and better activities for the kids.

    Loyalty. In many aspects people have come to realize that “loyalty” is con hob at work and at church and towards brands and elsewhere.

  • I can anecdotally confirm that the internet is a major weapon against religion. It’s easy to blindly believe something when you never (or rarely) encounter any opposing viewpoints — but within the last 20 to 30 years, it has become trivially easy to talk to somebody on the other side of the globe and do research on bodies of information larger than any library. It is hard for any religion to hold up when you talk to somebody who has a completely different set of beliefs that have just as much justification behind them as yours. Combined with the internet making it easier than ever to socialize with other people without the need to go to a church, for many people, religion is simply unnecessary.

    I would’ve considered myself Christian when I was very young, but I (and several of my other friends) left it behind for those reasons. Religion is, at best, unnecessary, and after you’ve spent a while separated from it, it’s hard to take a look at the effect that megachurches are having on modern society and not be repulsed by it.

  • All or nothing thinking is ofte a symptom of depression. Amd many males, when depressed, soldier on, growing hypercritical (Like alcoholics) and sour.

  • I am glad Ms. Reis acknowledged that faiths which base their growth on demographics can also shrink by the same measure.

    There is another factor as well. Interfaith marriages are becoming more common. Shrill “strict churches” are more likely to alienate such couples or make raising children in a given parent’s faith less likely. It also undermines insular sectarian beliefs used to keep a faith community together.

  • Making them all the more obnoxious. BTW, the internet is full of instruction on how Muslims and others can learn the Qu’ran and combat the falsity of both secularism and Christianity. Give them a try.

  • I hope you do not go through the day feeling hostile and miserable. BTW, your photo icon is pretty gay.

  • Hey, if you haven’t been paying attention to the calendar, you might not have noticed this, but “millenials” are in their 30’s now. They’ve got kids of their own by now that are even less religious than they are.

  • Thank you for demonstrating the shrill, self important, malicious aspects of religion which drives people away from belief.

    Why are the people most self assured about getting into heaven the people you would least want to be around? I would have trouble spending 10 minutes in a room with most obnoxious Bible thumpers. Why would I want an eternity with them????

  • Simply not believng worked for me too. For a while, out of loyalty to parents, I went to church. THen I started taking long walk and pretending that I was at church. Then I just stopped pretending (but not making an issue of my non-belief). I felt nothing at church except boredom, and I am one of those people who are never bored.

  • I’ve been reading their comments for sometime. Personally, I think Bob has some kind of internet crush on Ben. I could be wrong….but I don’t think so.

  • Do you know what transcendence means? It is NOT required that there be a God component of some sort. It simply means rising above the ordinary, everyday, to become your better self.

    Atheists are as capable of transcendence, and perhaps more so than many Christians, since they never bought into the “God” thing or the tribalism that has destroyed Christianity.

  • Could it be because baby boomers ruined the economy and destroyed the housing market? Maybe it’s because wealth inequality is the highest it’s been in a century and the younger generation literally cannot afford to live own their own, pay for medical expenses, have families, or save for retirement. Maybe it’s because so many of them are living in a country they have no control over whose government is dismantling itself and cares more about alienating their foreign allies than supporting its citizens.

    No, it must be because they don’t believe in God enough.

  • Not my experience. I’m 78. I find church goers are four types: kind people, narcissists, yappity yaps, and hostile. Religion seems to have no effect on their basic natures.

  • Sad to hear you live in such a miserable environment Where I live, among liberal secularists of various ethnicities and races, this is simply not the case. If religion is the only way that people found meaning in life that would be very sad For others who have various ways to find or create meaning the loss of religion is no loss at all.

  • Much like you prefer Hitler, The Taliban, ISIS, Putin, Kim Jong, and every repressive regime in existence today. 🙂

    You are so insecure.

  • Balck and white thinking, and hostility, are male symptoms of depression. Weight lifting and snarling can put off the dire effects of depression for only so long. And put on a shirt, unless you are looking for gay admirers.

  • There is a huffington article that he may have seen and there are studies reported by the American Psychiatric Association. BUT the studies are not conclusive. One looked at inpatients. These are people that were in treatment centers. Perhaps more Atheists seek treatment than religious folk, so the findings don’t prove that overall Atheists are more suicidal. Another looked at people in a hospital emergency room and found no statistical difference. There haven’t been enough other studies to prove one way or the other.

  • Nonsense. The many non-believers (not especially self-identified as atheists, that’s needlessly ideological and hostile) that I know maintain stable, positive relationships and families where people actually converse with each other rather than snarl.

  • As I say, hell is where all the smart & fun people are. Chris Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, Tony Bourdain, my husband, Mom & brother.

  • You might want to research where the opioid crisis is hitting the hardest. The Rust Belt is also referred to as the Bible Belt.

  • “But liberals arent telling everybody else how to live their lives, condoning as broken anyone who doesn’t meet their “standards”, and demanding that the law force their purely theological concerns onto everyone else…” Really, now? I guess liberals don’t force us to bake gay cakes, hire minorities based not on their merit but rather color of their skin, or process college applications and scholarships based on hue. And I guess we don’t get demonized with all the buzzwords all the time. Many people got literally fired for not toeing the liberal line. And you want to preach live and let live?

  • You know, you say that, but I’m not the one calling you an arrogant slug…

    If you’re going to claim that secularism “has mostly proven to be an avenue toward wanton, unsustainable, indefensible hedonism,” I’d be interested in seeing any sort of studies showing that. I’d point to how some of the least religious countries in the world have the highest standards of living (Norway, Sweden, Japan). Even within the USA, there’s a strong correlation between religiousness and being poor and uneducated.

  • Does anyone else get tired of Christians taking about “being broken” and finding comfort in God and claiming that everyone is “broken” ( a sneaky way of bringing up their concept of original sin?) The maudlin way they talk about “broken” simply does not apply to many people.

    P.S. Evolutionary biology and psychology indicate that human nature is contradictory, capable of good and evil mixed, and quite capable of using “doing good” to do harm.

  • That’s not quite the story. The story is that when God sent Moses to Pharaoh, he told him that his heart would ultimately be hardened by God, but look at what happens next. It says that Pharaoh FIRST hardened his heart, and was given plenty of opportunities to repent. Finally, after several attempts, God comes through with his promise and basically gives to Pharaoh what Pharaoh already showed that he wanted. This is no different than what Paul says in Romans 1, when he says that God gives people over to their desires. Essentially, God was gracious enough to even let Pharaoh live after his first act of disobedience. And even though God knew the outcome of the ordeal, he still gave Pharaoh a chance to change his mind. And this is a message that is repeated throughout the entirety of the Scriptures. Evil people do evil things, and God gives them a chance to change their lives and to obey, but there is a point when they are too far gone, so he let’s them have want their hearts truly want.

    But you wouldn’t know that by cherry picking verses.

  • Is that liberal humor? You know damn well what’s a gay cake. And if you don’t, google is your friend.

  • That’s one of the ways that any good religion keeps people hooked; you have to convince them at a young age that they’re inherently flawed and only religion can fix them. After they believe that, any time they’re having any problems, well, the solution is they just need more religion. And if they ever start to question it, it’s because they’re flawed and they need more religion. Many people don’t manage to escape the damage this does to them even after they’ve left religion behind.

  • Gullible and/or stupid really, take your pick. BobbyJoJack Arnzen Carioca is both, and a nasty bigot too.

  • I’m just trying to figure out whether you’re actually thinking about what you’re saying or if you’re just stringing words together and hoping they make sense.

  • Organized religion left me when I was a kid. This was way before Trump etc. I begged my parents to let me attend a Christian youth group with my friends from school. It was great until one day they told us all of our friends who are not Christian are going to Hell. I asked about my friend from school who was a moral and kind person that happened to be Buddhist. Hell for her but not the kids that claim Christianity then spend their time harming others? Strike one. I left that youth group and started attending another group. The leader of that group told me rap was devil music. I had been performing in my old Church since I was 3. When I tried to have a discussion about it I was shut down. No space for opinions from children. Strike 2. I left that group and they told my friend that the Devil took me away. Strike 3. I am Black and being separated from organized religion makes me feel isolated, but blind faith in a religion forced on us without thought and discussion was not for me starting at 8 years old. The hypocrisy was there long before Trump, the internet, etc.

  • WHAM, BLAM! BobbyJo Arnzen takes another swing at a poster. However, BobbyJo’s history of posting insults here leaves him with no credibility at all.

    Keep up the good work, Jim Reed!

  • More baseless claims by you. Look at the top 10 countries by suicide rate as published by the WHO in 2015. 9 of the top 10 are overtly religion countries.

  • In order to be a Christian you have to be able to look at a newborn baby and say they are flawed and deserving of hell

  • I’m not playing stupid, I’m just making fun of you. There’s not really even a point in trying to argue with somebody who clearly doesn’t understand the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the context around it, or why protected classes exist. That argument happened 50 years ago and you already lost.

  • Yes, I have met a few boomers but they’re usually too busy to talk for long because they actually have full time jobs unlike millennials who ask for raises even before they are hired…

  • Again, I think you haven’t checked the calendar lately. The youngest baby boomer is 54 at this point. Most of them do not have full time jobs because they’re retired and spend their time complaining about how kids these days want enough money to pay rent.

  • Let me get this straight…YOU believe that you have personal relationship with the creator of the universe, he listens to you directly and the billions of people that preceeded you on this Earth and had a different religion are all worthy of burning in hell (through no fault of their own other than being born in the wrong country or time) and you say Atheists are arrogant? That’s precious

  • Doesn’t matter when it happened, what matters is the hypocrisy. “We liberals are so tolerant, we don’t judge, and we value freedom above all, but if you’re to the right of Lenin you’re literally Hitler and should be fired and silenced until you rot in the streets.” Meanwhile we’re like “just leave us alone” but your perceived moral superiority forces you to meddle with our lives until the world is 100% liberal.

  • Of course everyone runs into folks raised with no faith who become educated and realize that without faith their life is meaningless.

  • Oh look, an ant with an erection floating on his back down the Mississippi shouting “Open the drawbridge!”.

  • What do you mean or not? This is the CORE belief of Christianity. That all are broken and born sinners because of the Fall of Adam. The only way to avoid burning in hell is to receive the blood atonement of Christ.

  • It’s really weird how some people think that if they rephrase it carefully enough, “Why can’t I run a public business and treat people who aren’t just like me like crap?” is somehow a reasonable argument.

  • You’re apparently unfamiliar with Christian theology.

    In what denomination do you believe that is “the CORE belief”?

  • Um, I am a boomer and I’ve been working since I was twelve (a paper route, if you even know what that is ?). Plan on working well into my 60’s because I love what I do. I’ve never been unemployed, thank God. All of my friends are gainfully employed. Millennials work under me and it’s hard to deal with folks who know everything and think that everyone owes them something for nothing. No work ethic, no loyalty, no stability, no ability to demonstrate grit and determination. If boomers are guilty of anything, it would be raising a generation of spoiled brats who care more about how things appear on Snapchat or Instagram than they do about their character usually influenced by Christian beliefs.

  • Boss..I am very familiar with Christian theology. I will go toe to with you on the entire Bible.

    Are you not familiar with the Gospels?

    The core principal of Christianity is that Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sin of mankind and that those who do not accept Christ as their savior will spend eternity apart from him. (The Nicean counsel later determined this to mean hell).

  • Explain to me, then, why the largest Protestant denomination in the USA – the Southern Baptist Convention – does not baptize infants.

  • It’s weird how people say “we’re all equal” and then proceed to treat them differently based on skin color, enforced by law. Let’s say I want to hire a programmer. One has 10 years of experience with a stellar record. The other has 2 years of experience. And he’s black. Now to fulfill a quota based on color of the skin, I have to hire him. If I don’t, it’s obviously because I’m a terrible racist who should have his business shut down. It couldn’t possibly be because the first guy is better suited for the role. Also, yeah, if you’re so big on freedom you should let business owners treat people like crap – if enough people like you stop going there the business will go bankrupt, but that’s the owner’s decision, not yours. Or at least it should be.

  • Bob, are you dense? I mean obviously yes since you believe in some magic sky wizard that is constantly watching you and is overly concerned with what humans do with their genitals. Where did I say anything about baptized babies.

    I said the CORE belief is that all humans are born sinners, have been atoned by the blood of Christ (although he really just took a two day nap) and will burn in hell if they don’t accept him as their savior.

    To say this is not a foundational belief of Christianity is absurd.

  • I asked Mr. Pollo a calm rational question. I even toss in safe phrases like “in general” so as not to be intrusive or impolite.

    And now you are going off the Deep End because of such a small gig? If you’re just hankering to go to Hell, well “the customer is always right.” But I didn’t even ask or say anything about that topic.

    C’mon people, this is a Religion discussion forum, in case ya ain’t quite noticed. We get to ask calm, rational, religion-based questions in this locality. Are you up for it?

  • Bob, are you dense? I mean obviously yes since you believe in some magic sky wizard that is constantly watching you and is overly concerned with what humans do with their genitals. Where did I say anything about baptized babies.

    I said the CORE belief is that all humans are born sinners, have been atoned by the blood of Christ (although he really just took a two day nap) and will burn in hell if they don’t accept him as their savior.

    To say this is not a foundational belief of Christianity is absurd.

  • A little tongue in cheek but atheists in the US apparently have the lowest rate of gun ownership so perhaps they are more likely to also be alive and able to go seek treatment.

  • Just stop hating gay people, already, or we’ll be more than happy to boycott you out of existence. Bye-bye, LOL!

  • Nope. Nobody is forcing “you”— by that I assume you mean poor, persecuted Christians— to bake gay cakes. But your own holy book might be, given that it tells you to treat other people the way you would be screaming bloody murder if you weren’t treated, obey the law, obey civil authorities. (Jesus, Peter,Romans.

    This liberal has always been opposed to racial quotas. This liberal would be happy to point out teachers who have been fired becuase they made the mistake of being honest, soldiers whose careeers were destroyed for the same reasons, and so on.

    Yes I do preach live and let live. But that doesn’t mean you get to do what you want.

  • You asked a condescending question that you did not really want answered, apparently. People are leaving your religion because it is stupid, and because we are tired of living in fear of being tortured to death by homophobic Christian bigots like yourself.

    It’s awfully cute when black people cry about racial oppression all day, just to turn around and oppress gay and trans people, for no reason. That won’t help you.

  • That’s the same issue or question that Charles Templeton put to Billy Graham, at a crucial point in Graham’s early life. View the Bible as contradictory, inaccurate, and faulty, as Templeton did? Or stick with the Bible as accurate, non-contradictory, and infallible, as the Fundies did?

    Quite a choice there. And ultimately, it’s a choice that every Christian has to make. Especially with today’s secular and skeptic pressures out there.

    So Graham made his decision, to say no to Templeton and instead stick with the Bible. He and Templeton went their separate ways. (But you see which one changed the world, right?)

    Of course, I appreciate your honest, cards-on-the-table response. And I can tell you that you’re not alone in what you said. Might have been me too, except I was so mad at my atheist professor that I started hunting for good apologetics books — and thus discovered that Christian scholars had already knocked out the alleged “bible contradictions” that were being offered.

  • We,re 100% in agreement. You need only look at some of the commenters on these very pages, one of whom will shortly make an appearance to call me whatever he is going to call me this time. I left religion behind nearly 50 years ago. It simply added nothing to my life.

  • You ignore the homophobic contradictions that are being offered, because you are a hypocrite.

  • Atheism isn’t the same thing as nihilism.

    And the whole point of the article was the people are leaving religion behind.

  • You realize that conservative and evangelical churches are filled with single parents with children, right?

    Falling birth rates are also for the religious — Mormons too, just like Catholics and Baptists before them…are going for one or two child families…in the article it states how Mormons are growing no faster that the general population.

    And I would say responsible hedonism is something to strive for !!

  • It may be too late for you to ever confront your hypocritical homophobia, before it kills off your entire worthless religion.

  • Oh come on. You think I would bring up this topic without researching it first? Without actually SEEING a couple good healings myself? Really now, ya know better ‘n’ that — or you should.

    So where do we start, sir? Current online testimonies? A few interesting YouTube oldies? Dr. Craig Keener’s recent 2-volume textbook Miracles, which I have with me?

    How about the limping, slow-moving professional nurse I saw, over a decade ago, standing only five feet away from me in a church pew, unexpectedly ripping off her own leg brace, jumping up and down like a child, screaming “The pain is GONE!! “The pain is GONE!!” — and never again wearing a leg brace or limping at all, period, all these years? So where would you like to start?

  • As a millennial who grew up in religion and now considers myself an atheist, millennials are actually leaving churches because 90% of the Christians one meets are giant jerks who are not only the biggest hypocrites on the planet, but they like to go around telling other people how to live their lives while pretending they’re better than everyone else because they go to church when they’re really the worst kind of people imaginable who then vote for even worse people like Nazis, murderers, and pedophiles. You want more people to come to church? Then stop supporting people like Trump, stop pretending you are better than everyone when you are not, stop quilting people into your religion and making people feel bad about who they were born to be. Organized religion has become such and awful, twisted corrupt thing that even God himself spoke out against in the Bible, and millennial refuse to buy into it unless religion changed for the better. But with pastors begging for donations to buy private jets, megamillionaire pastors refusing to open their church to those displaced by the hurricane in Houston until pressured by the public, churches claiming Donald was ‘chosen by God,’ which is beyond laughable, and churches literally trying to beat the gay out of our friends and family, my generation sees no positivity in religion and will continue to flee as long as religion remains this awful, awful thing.

  • I guess the cake issue went to Supreme court for no reason, then? It’s been dragging on for over 5 damn years because liberals just had to make a fuss about christians refusing to make gay cakes. Meanwhile muslim bakeries were doing the same thing but nobody cared, why is that? I’m atheist btw, but I’m sick of liberals poking their noses everywhere. Always seeking a new issue to be offended by on behalf of minorities just to virtue signal and feel good about themselves.

    “Yes I do preach live and let live. But that doesn’t mean you get to do what you want.” Nice doublespeak there. Make up your mind, do I have to bake gay cakes or not? Regardless of what scotus decided.

  • It would really interesting someday to find out how many of these “nones” return to religion later in life. I figure some do.

  • Some very wonderful and thoughtful responses. I am disappointed that so far, no one has brought up the concept of spiritual development and its stages. The first is the stage described several times as to why people left church – with a belief system characterized by literal interpretation, adherence to doctrine and binary thinking (also referred to as kindergarten) but a stage that many believers do not grow past. The second stage is that of questioning those beliefs and finding them deficient. The third stage moves past that rejection and re-engagement. Churches tend to do a very poor job of supporting people into moving into that third stage – there is a fourth as well but can’t recall off the top of mu head. And churches that do do so tend to have a low profile.

    But I do believe that many people seek a spiritual understanding of life’s big questions and certain personal experiences – just that many find it hard to find a church with the tools and people who understand that developmental process to guide them in understanding. Will leave it at that because I have no interest in debating Bob, Floyd et all on something I know little about other than a fit with my own experience.

  • And yet the simple message has always been…spread the word of God, but don’t judge and treat others as you’d want to be treated. Such a simple message.

    Yet so called Christian’s would rather hate and try to force their message on to others. That’s not spreading his word. But ya know…whatever. cherry picking the stuff you agree with is probably the way Jesus would want you to act…I mean…let’s hope you won’t be judged harshly for it.

  • Its clear that the religiously disaffiliated are on the rise, both in absolute and relative terms; that’s pretty much incontrovertible. But scanning the comments, the number of religious nones observing current/recent demographic trends, sociological projections, and technological developments that currently favor religious nones, and then taking a giant leap of faith (and yes, it is faith, insofar as its largely based on anecdotes influenced by experiential ethics) to arrive at the conclusion that such trends will continue is more than slightly ironic. Its exactly the kind of hubris that informed projections from the 1980’s that said mormons’s robust growth would continue unabated, or projections from the 1990’s that conservative mainline denominations would do well to buttress against liberal theology and practice.

    Religious nones forecasting their ascendance (and, by extension, the decline of everyone else) are saying pretty much exactly the same thing that has been said before. Its worth pointing out that not only are they mirroring such erroneous claims, but that such claims were initially made by religiously-affiliated people and organizations that they claim to be much smarter than.

    “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

    –Ecclesiastes 1:9

  • To insist that Christianity’s fundamental message requires the abandonment of all discernment and standards needs the very cherry picking you decry. Jesus’s love of sinners never shaded over into acceptance — or even tolerance — of their sins, and your heresy is one of those that Paul condemned.

  • Explain what? I said nothing about baptizing babies. How many times do I have to repeat myself? It’s like you are having a totally different conversation. Maybe with yourself or maybe with your imaginary friend in the sky. Who knows.

    I never once said baptizing babies is a core belief. I never once said anything about baptizing period.

    I don’t give a shit why some sects of the Christian cult perform rituals that other sects of the cult don’t. I don’t care why some drink actual wine during communion and some drink sparkling grape juice.

    None of this has anything to do with my original post that all people are born sinners and will burn in hell if they don’t accept Christ as their savior.

    Are you capable of having an honest conversation or is your only intent diversion and circular talk?

  • Oh c’mon Charlotte. Jim was able to do a simple, honest, straight answer to the very same question, and you clearly see I answered Jim respectfully.

  • The problem is that scotus has to deal with cakes in the first place. Because of liberals.

  • You appear to be without a clue as to what you’re saying, which is that every Southern Baptist avoids baptizing children – risking their damnation.

    The actual answer is that your interpretation of the Christian belief leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Maybe you can help clarify for us.

    My understanding is that the core belief of all sects of Christianity is that in order to be a Christian, you must accept Jesus Christ as your savior.

    “Savior” is an important concept here; Jesus is *saving* you. The thing that he is specifically saving you from is original sin — that is, the concept that we are all born sinful and that the only way to be redeemed for that is through Jesus’ grace. If we are not inherently sinful, then there is no point to accepting Jesus as your savior and there is no reason to actually be Christian.

    If that is not correct, could you provide some scripture that’s explicit about it? I don’t know why Southern Baptists would avoid baptizing their children, as I’m not one. Maybe they just hate children.

  • I can only speak for myself, as we all do. Religion means our “link” to God. It requires silence and going to the depths of one’s own heart. The internet, TV, all sorts of distractions are meant to keep us from doing just that. No person talking at you will ever be able to convince you of what is true. I looked upon the Face of my Lord and heard His reply in my heart. He loves me and died for me. What else could i do but respond “Yes, my dear Lord, i love you, stay with me, now and for always”. My life has changed, as is changing still. I’ve let go of anger and despair, and instead experience the deepest sense of peace, joy and love. Please don’t reject God because other people have hurt you. Jesus said: “Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened to you”. The door is your very heart. I did so, and He answered, just like He promised.

  • Oh boy. I feel sorry for your narrow mind. Jesus absolutely accepted sinners. He never excluded anyone.

    I hope you don’t find yourself in the firey pits…by my standard of learning the message, you’d absolutely be one of the people going there. Everything you have said goes directly against Jesus’ message.

  • Calling homosexuality a sin, and seeking out gay people to harass them for being gay.

    Telling lies is a sin. I’m going to seek out homophobes and harass them for being liars, until they stop telling lies about gay people for attention.

  • Yes, Jesus absolutely accepted sinners … that recognized themselves for what they were. He could even be gentle with unrepentant sinners, such as the woman taken in adultery, but even there his last words to her were “Go, and sin no more.” But when it came to those unwilling to acknowledge their sins he could be brutal. Consider his instructions to his disciples not to “cast your pearls before swine,” and the verbal smackdown he laid on the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.

  • The standard Christian theology is and has been that mankind exists in a fallen state, that this fallen state is a result of some misaction on the part of mankind’s forebears, that as a result some benefits that would otherwise inure to mankind are denied, and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offered himself to remedy this.

    From that point on there are intense arguments about the nature of the fallen state, the nature of the benefits that no longer inure, and essentially all the details.

    Here is a typical example of a greatly disputed issue:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_depravity

    With that level of discord these simplistic pronouncements about what Christians believe are both folly and misleading.

    The largest groups of Christians do not purport to know what happens to children who die unbaptized.

  • Ah, I see. I misunderstood; I thought you were saying that Christians did not believe that humans are born inherently flawed, but actually you meant that you don’t know what happens to babies who are unbaptized. That’s reasonable, although from an outside perspective it seems like that opinion is intentionally ignoring a logical conclusion (unbaptized babies go to hell because they are fallen and have not been saved) because the implications of that are unsavory.

  • I never claimed to know what happens to babies who are unbaptized.

    My correspondent apparently thought he did, and when he was faced with evidence that the largest Protestant denomination – with the word “Baptist” in its name no less – did NOT practice infant baptism, was reduced to sputtering.

    Your last sentence misses a key and critical attribute which Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe the deity possess in all fullness: mercy.

  • Of course.

    Every generation goes through rebellion before settling down.

    Projecting the present into the future is a completely fallacious approach.

  • If you won’t follow an organization that condemns people for any reason, you must live in a commune in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

    Every society sets rules and condemns those who break them.

    Without that process anarchy reigns.

  • You can either convince them at a young age that they’re inherently flawed and need fixing, or life will do it to them and they’ll wake at 45 too old to do anything about it.

  • The Founders believed that religion was a civic good for pretty much the same reasons you wrote.

  • Your story is rather like reading about why you don’t like ice cream.

    You went to the ice cream parlor with 83 flavors, tried chocolate, hated it, and now you don’t like ice cream.

  • On the other hand you have no proof to the contrary and say it makes you feel better, so it’s a wash.

  • I think transcendence means being able to read your tripe and not wanting as a result to suggest you find another hobby.

  • I think the PEW folks should get out of projecting the present into the future as though it means anything.

  • They could not given what they were presented with.

    On the good news side, Justice Kennedy said “adios” today effective July 31.

  • The actual issue in the Masterpiece case was the First Amendment, not the baking of cakes.

  • I can anecdotally confirm that the Internet is a major weapon against intelligent thought.

    All one has to do to confirm that is to read the comments on this article.

  • That does not excuse discrimination and deadly violence against us, you Christian scum.

  • They specifically warned against tyranny by the majority. I guess Christians are too stupid to know that.

  • Well, I’m sure that move is the path to world peace. But meanwhile, we’re at least doing a

  • Again you mindless moron…I never said A WORD about baptism. Never.

    I was never reduced to sputtering. You were reduced to changing the subject many times. You were never able to defend your ridiculous position that all people are born sinners and will burn in hell unless they are “saved” as somehow NOT a core belief of Christianity.

    Nice try

  • Yet you continue claim, in this very comments section, that people being inherently flawed and in need of atonement via Christ is not a core belief of Christianity?

    You really are a confused individual.

  • Yes. That, of course, is my lifelong, knee-jerk reaction to (organized) religion, having been raised in a secular household. (b.1958) I do now, however, find myself at what could be an impasse.
    I’ve become a member of AA. I do trust the testimony of the successful members when they say that success is not possible without a “higher power”. I, so far, have yet to incorporate such a belief into my program, but, as the alternative is unacceptable, I “keep coming back”…
    PEACE!

  • You did not read what I posted.

    You cannot – I guarantee you – quote any claim that I have made ever anywhere on Disqus that “that people being inherently flawed and in need of atonement via Christ is not a core belief of Christianity”.

    What I objected to is your silly assertion that all babies go to Hell as a Core belief of Christianity – and only because it is silly – and your ignorant presumption that every Christian believe people are inherently flawed.

    The word “atonement” is itself a loaded term with multiple meanings, outright rejections, and so on in Christianity.

    Again:

    The standard Christian theology is and has been that mankind exists in a fallen state, that this fallen state is a result of some misaction on the part of mankind’s forebears, that as a result some benefits that would otherwise inure to mankind are denied, and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offered himself to remedy this.

    From that point on there are intense arguments about the nature of the fallen state, the nature of the benefits that no longer inure, and essentially all the details.

    Here is a typical example of a greatly disputed issue:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_depravity

    With that level of discord these simplistic pronouncements about what Christians believe are both folly and misleading.

    The largest groups of Christians do not purport to know what happens to children who die unbaptized.

  • WHACK! Our typically nasty Christian BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca takes yet another snide, insulting swipe at a sincere poster.

    BobbyJo, you are despicable and disgusting.

  • Speaking of mindless morons:

    “I said the CORE belief is that all humans are born sinners, have been atoned by the blood of Christ (although he really just took a two day nap) and will burn in hell if they don’t accept him as their savior.”

    Did you forget to insert “except for innocent children” after “hell”?

    Do you actually think before you post?

  • As usual, our nasty, typical Christian BobbyJo Arnzen can’t resist taking a swipe at Spuddie.

  • There goes our typically slimy, typically Christian poster BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca twisting Tim’s words into something Tim was not suggesting.

    BobbyJo, you’re pathetic.

  • And here we’ve got a good example of the kind of person who is capable of looking at the letter of the law without understanding why it exists.

  • No, BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca. Adam NAILED you, you lost the argument, and now all you can do in response is dodge, dodge dodge as usual.

  • And I am responding to a person who doesn’t understand the only law a court can apply is the actual written law.

  • Just more spew from BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca as usual.

    BobbyJo, you lost the argument. Just get over it already.

  • You do, BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca.”Sky fairy” is a more appropriate term for the fictional deity that you believe in, though.

  • You have less time than that, BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca. Better stop your insulting posts soon, or your hungry sky fairy is gonna barbecue your fat posterior.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
    King James Version (KJV)
    2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

  • Hitler was a devout Catholic, BobbyJo….so don’t try your usual dodges. We caught you.

  • 1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

  • THWHACK! As usual, nasty and typically Christian BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca makes another sarcastic swipe.

  • And there goes BobbyJoJack Arnzen Carioca again, a typically nasty Christian making insulting posts as usual.

  • Proper liberals dont do those things, these people are well meaning, but not-well-reasoned progressives veiled in various degrees of marxism.

    The founders of the USA were ideolgically Liberals (desires personal liberty, among other things).

    You can be a Conservative Liberal, Progressive Liberal, Centrist Liberal, Reactionary Liberal, and so on.

    Marxists are opposed to the personal freedoms of Liberalism.

    All in all, the “liberals” which people are complaining about are only liberal in name alone…

  • I like to use the example of the timing of the telling of the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. This is the easiest way to see a contradiction in the Bible. It is the story of Jesus’ greatest miracle, and it is recorded in the Gospel of John, the last gospel written at the end of the first century, or possibly on into the second. The contradiction is this greatest miracle was not known to the earlier gospel writers who would have used this story if it was a part of Christian lore when they were writing. It was also not known when Paul was writing in the middle of the first century. Paul’s writings were the earliest writings of Christianity, and he didn’t know this story, or any of the other things written in the later gospels. The story of Lazarus was written a lifetime after the fact. That means the story was fiction. I don’t think Christianity can deal with this issue, so they seem to always ignore it.

  • Yes, you are right. A holy man suggested to pray for the grace of perserverence. I will continue to do so. Jesus loves us so much! May He make His face shine upon us.

  • Well if Christian bakers can refuse service to gays because their behavior offends their sincerely held religious beliefs, then restaurant owners should be able to deny service to Trump supporters since Trump’s policies offend their sincerely held beliefs. I’m sure you don’t have a problem with that.

  • If you’re the one making the claim, you’re the one that needs to provide the evidence

  • So what you’re arguing is that when he writes “Oh right, because you have no proof.”, he needs to support that with proof.

    I agree.

    And when he writes “Enjoy your delusion.”, he needs to provide proof it’s a delusion, and that floydlee suffers from it.

    I also agree.

  • It was obvious to me at about the age of 6 that religion was a fantasy made up by humans. It hardly seems worth debating and I wouldn’t waste my time.

  • The comments have been thoughtful and generally expressed my view that many of us don’t need the fraud called christianity. And I can confirm that anyone who believes one god sitting on a heavenly throne + another god sitting on a heavenly throne + 14 other gods sitting on heavenly thrones (matthew 19:28) = one god has clearly abandoned all intelligent thought.

  • “But meanwhile, we’re at least doing…”
    Nothing. Because that’s all you are: a big nothing.

  • So, no one will see you at synagogue, church, or mosque Saturday, Sunday, or Friday.

    Gee whillikers, Wally.

  • It’s a fairy tale: no Moses; no Exodus; no god. It’s designed to appeal to the most gullible, biblically illiterate, and intellectually challenged. No surprise then that most of these Buybull thumpers are republicans.

  • Unlike you, I’ve actually read the bible. Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven. AND, wait for it. Genesis 1.. In the beginning God created the HEAVENS and the earth.

    Which if you have a brain makes no sense. Since God existed and then made Heaven, that means we didn’t and doesn’t reside in heaven. Yet in Psalm 11:4- presto, God ‘s throne is in Heaven.

  • Why should they? Zombie Jesus supposedly died for all of my sins so its drink, steal, and debauch because Zombie Jesus doesn’t hold me accountable for my actions.

  • I hear the Liar-in-Chief is considering appointing Alabama firebrand Roy Moore to the SCOTUS because the KKK branch of the republican party is currently underrepresented on the court.

  • Perhaps also not unlike going to an ice cream parlor with 83 flavors, trying chocolate, and deciding that chocolate is the best and all of the others are wrong.

  • Only a gullible christian could accept this fairy tale about a Pharaoh who has no name because either the anonymous writers (i can prove it wasn’t the mythological Moses.) who wrote Exodus didn’t know the identify of the Pharaoh who ruled in 1,450 BCE or knew that by naming the Pharaoh the story would be identified as the hoax it is.

  • Actually more people turn to religion after a traumatic event than leave it. Most people leave religion because they think and realize with logic that it’s bs. Most JOIN religion out of emotion or trauma. Even churches are set up to get converts using music and emotion. Billy Graham NEVER told anyone to go home and study the claims of xtianity. He said, accept Jesus tonight or you may go to hell!!!!!

  • Not all, just the evangelicals who are CINOs- christians in name only who turn their back on everyone else.

  • During which 64% of the population was Protestant and 32% was Catholic, sure. They were also hit pretty hard by the great depression. What, specifically, should I be looking at?

  • And what bar were you in when you heard that?

    I take it “blocked” is your goal, eh?

  • Unlike you, I’ve actually read the Bible.

    You do realize, of course, that Psalm 11 is referencing Heaven, the dwelling of the Lord, while Genesis is referencing the heavens, the created sky and all that sort of thing, right?

    Of course not.

    What language did you read the Bible in?

  • You could also point to the failure of the higher education system to teach today’s young people to thing critically; they seem to prefer big,simple, slogans over more detailed, thoughtful, logical analyses. As one writer put it, “How do we reach a generation that hears with their eyes and thinks with their emotions?”
    Yale professor David Gelernter observed; “My students today are much less obnoxious. Much more likable than I and my friends used to be, but they are so ignorant that it’s hard to accept how ignorant they are. They know nothing about art. They know nothing about history. They know nothing about philosophy. And because they have been raised as not even atheists, they don’t rise to the level of atheists, insofar as they’ve never thought about the existence or nonexistence of God. It has never occurred to them. They know nothing about the Bible. They’ve never opened it. They’ve been taught it’s some sort of weird toxic thing, especially the Hebrew Bible, full of all sorts of terrible, murderous, prejudiced, bigoted things. They’ve never read it. They have no concept.”
    In the end though, it all comes down to a question C.S. Lewis asked; “If you seek truth over comfort, in time you may find comfort, but…if you choose comfort over truth, you will find neither comfort nor truth, but- in the beginning- just soft soap and wistful thinking, and- in the end- despair.”
    So Millennials need to ask themselves, “What do you want, truth or comfort?”
    I think they are giving us their answer.

  • I very often do not agree with you Jana, but I very much like your approach in this piece. The REAL issue here is the definition of what these people worship. . . . . .I assure you they DO have a deity or god. . . . . .except it’s Google, Apple, Disney, Motorola, their parents’ checkbook, Michael Kors, the sophistries of Academia, themselves (narcissism), themselves (hedonism), U2, THE STATE, etc (you get the picture). In life, either you will humble yourself. . . .or you will be humbled. . . .. . when these people are finally humbled, then they will seek out the truth to this question (is there someone higher?)

  • Umm, no you can’t prove “it wasn’t the mythological Moses.”

    (And if you try it, it will be shot down in the dirty street! )

  • Well, that didn’t take long.

    Jesus’ greatest miracle was rising from the dead himself.

    I can see I am going to have to block you if I don’t want to read the 200th repetition of this same old same old.

  • And, prithy how does “that correlate… with how consumption of pornography tends to be higher in religious communities”?

    Your percentages were pulled from thin air.

  • The point is if that story was a part of first century Christianity it would have been used by other Christian authors. The story only appears in the last book written. This is a picture of fiction being developed over time, more than a lifetime of time.

  • That’s what the word “correlate” means. A change in one value is noted to correspond with a change in another. If you weren’t trying to illustrate how the Weimar Republic was both very religious and produced a lot of pornography, you’re going to have to actually state your point like I’ve asked. The Weimar Republic was neither secular nor prosperous in any way.

    By the way, my statistics were pulled from the 1925 census: http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf/eng/JEW_RELIGIONZUGEHTABELLE_ENG.pdf

    Maybe you should’ve asked instead of just making yourself look like a fool.

  • That’s “Bob”‘s standard wimp-out whenever he can’t defend his position, which is practically all the time.

    Bob, your claimed miracle never happened, and wouldn’t have been necessary from a real god to begin with. Your entire set of beliefs that you keep bothering us with here is utter fiction.

    The modern world is leaving your Christian delusions behind. It’s high time you joined it.

  • “Bob Arnzen”, you only claim to block, but your sick, ego-driven mind doesn’t actually let you do that for long. We’ve caught you and your standard deceptions many times already.

  • You forgot science, technology and the internet. People have realized its possible to be moral and do good without fairy-tales.

  • What is the purpose of religion ?

    The ” Bible ” etc, and the word of ” God ” etc, has been recognized for what it is –

    Induced psychosis.

  • ” The navies of the world could float in spacious comfort in the oceans of blood that has been spilled in the name of Christianity.
    Mark Twain
    (paraphrased)

  • The antidepressant you refer to is the wondrous feeling one experiences – while in communion with truth.

  • There may be a political component to the modern world leaving Christian delusions behind. Remember at the start of the Trump presidency the top Christians in the nation laid hands on Trump and prayed over him and anointed him with oil and made him a Christian, then they elected him their leader. This might mean when Trump falls, he might take Christianity down with him. Of course it’s complicated when you get into it.

  • That’s right, I don’t have a problem with that, I’ll just go to another restaurant. If you want to refuse 50% of your customers, I’m sure it will do wonders for your bottom line.

  • So your argument is that actual churchgoing individuals were engaging in the behavior documented in Berlin during the Weimar Republic?

    Just for laughs, which was Marlene Dietrich, Catholic or Protestant?

    There is an old truism in statistics: correlation is not causation.

    Obviously with “how the Weimar Republic was both very religious and produced a lot of pornography” some folks have not gotten the message.

    Your stats were for Germany as a whole, not Berlin.

    Maybe you should know what you’re talking about before making it clear by writing something that you don’t.

  • It was obvious to me about age 7 that God exists. All I had to do was go to the depths of my heart.

    No one told me, i just knew. Jesus loves you.

  • It would have been used by other Christian authors in your opinion.

    How familiar are you with other Christian authors?

    Do you read Koine?

    Have you read the Church Fathers on the topic to ascertain what they considered the greatest miracle?

    Beyond running across this argument a few years ago on-line, do you know anything at all about the topic?

  • T/J?

    I’m no scholar of this area but I understood that the early Israelites were polytheists – as were the Canaanites they separated from.

    AIUI, the Canaanites are supposed to have worshipped many deities, the main two being Baal (the regional head god – male) and the Asherah (sp?) (the universal earth mother/goddess). When the Israelites moved from the plain to the hills their main god became Yahweh/Jehovah since he was the regional equivalent of Baal. They continued to worship other gods but eventually evolved monotheistic beliefs.
    Similarly many had no difficulty transferring their allegiance to Babylonian gods (and collecting quite a lot of what, subsequently modified for monotheism, became OT mythology) when taken into captivity.

    Biblical evidence to support these ideas comes from

    1 – twenty plus references to cutting down the grove (usually accompanied by destroying the altar to Baal etc.). The bishops responsible for translating what was amended to become the KJV had no idea what “asherah” meant but assumed the reference to cutting down meant a grove as in cod-Druidism. In fact the Asherah was represented by a tree or a limb of a tree inserted into a slot often found near the altars to other deities hence cutting down was desecration and diminution.

    2- Exodus 20:3
    I’m lead to understand that this is an accurate translation – that the instruction was simply not to elevate any other god to being more important than Yahweh – they could rank equally, but not take primacy. Rather like being equal first in a race – there could theoretically be dozens of runners crossing the line simultaneously – each would be first as no-one was ahead of them

  • Statistically, it’s likely the the vast majority of individuals engaging in the behavior you’re describing were churchgoing individuals. A single person does not matter. Look, I’m the one trying to have an actual discussion here while you repeatedly refuse to clarify what you’re even getting at. If you think the only thing you have to do in an argument is act belligerent and pretend like you know what words mean, I’m not going to even bother responding to you seriously any more.

  • You should have stoped at: God = me; then you would have been correct. That’s the mentality of people today.

  • When I was around 7, I was sure I was a werewolf who just hadn’t figured out how to transform yet. It turns out that often, children’s imaginations run wild and sometimes they convince themselves to believe things that are not true..

  • The statement “Statistically, it’s likely the the vast majority of individuals engaging in the behavior you’re describing were churchgoing individuals.” indicates you did NOT bother to read the material on statistical fallacies.

    No, it is unlikely that the vast majority of individuals engaging in the behavior described were churchgoing individuals, and the reasons that is true involve proper interpretation of a correlation.

    You’re not “trying to have an actual discussion here”, you’re throwing a brown sticky substance against the wall and trying to see if it sticks.

    You stated that “If you’re going to claim that secularism ‘has mostly proven to be an avenue toward wanton, unsustainable, indefensible hedonism,’ I’d be interested in seeing any sort of studies showing that.”

    The Weimar Republic is a prime example of what happens.

    Focus on that, not on these statistical fallacies.

  • “Explain the world” is the conventional narrative for the origins of religion.. It’s more likely that religion began as a way of feeling the presence of one’s dead parents and ancestors and feeling an enduring presence in animals and tree and plants. In other words, shamanism, participating in a world that is alve, preceded “explaining.”Later, with organized states and hierarchies, “explaining” the world did come to be what religion was used for.

  • There are multiple Buybull that support the fact that neither repentance, tithing, nor belief in Jesus’ divinity is necessary to obtain the mythological salvation.

  • Bob should claim to be a CINO (christian in name only) since he and others like him would deny equal rights to those who don’t subscribe to his perverted religion.

  • Nonsense. What you say is equivalent to saying that Christians worship preachers, or that people who go to church and collect model trains worship their model trains. Find another way to express the special gift of the Holy Spirit that is biblically listed by St.paul and Isaiah as contempt and hostility.

  • What was the Pharaoh’s name in the Exodus mythology? Christianity attracts the most gullible and intellectually challenged.

  • Religion can be, and has often been, and is often now, used as an instrument of hate. Therefore it will never go away.

  • The Holy Spirit of the Trinity? But since Jesus’ father (Matthew 1:18) is also the Holy Spirit, doesn’t the Trinity collapse into a Binity of Father/Holy Ghost and Jesus. Looks like the Trinity was invented as a Buybull vehicle to deify the mortal and thoroughly confused Jesus.

  • Religion can be, and has often been, and is often now, used as an instrument of hate. The same can be said for love and service to humanity. Therefore it will never go away.

  • Billy Graham, the scam artist, who enriched himself by taking his religious fraud worldwide. Graham didn’t even believe the theological nonsense he was peddling (“It’s easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”) as he died a multimillionaire.

    You’re not much of a critical thinker if you believe apologetics (I’d be apologizing too, if I believed this nonsense) has explained the Buybull’s contradictions.

  • According to retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong writing in “The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic,” Jesus didn’t say anything in the Gospel of John or, by extension, Revelation. The purpose of writing the Gospel of John (written by 3-5 anonymous writers, none of whom was John) was to deify the mortal Jesus who is returning very soon or maybe not. It’s also a fact that John 8:1-11 is not in the oldest bibles from around 400 CE.

  • So how can the eternal and everlasting god die? If god died, doesn’t it logically follow that god isn’t eternal as the Buybull claims? Many bible scholars today, like UNC religion professor Bart Ehrman, believe Jesus’ body was left on the cross to rot or be eaten by wild animals, a fitting end to a traitor convicted of sedition against Rome.

  • Religion is obsolete as more and more people realize that christianity’s purpose is to steal your money, control your thinking/actions, and sexually prey on the vulnerable, like Catholic priests have been proved to do.

  • Apologetics branches off in various spiritual directions. The facts determine the reality of the situation. The Lazarus story is a first step in seeing the development of the New Testament. The gospels were written in the last third of the first century, and developed the human Jesus story as they went along. The last gospel written around the end of the century includes the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

    We can follow this process of development back to the earliest Christian writings around the middle of the first century. This is the Christian writings of Paul, about 20000 words mentioning Jesus 300 times. It shows how the Christian story changed from the middle of the century to the later part of the century when the gospels were written. As expressed in On the Historicity of Jesus, Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt, the only Jesus Paul shows any knowledge of is a celestial being, not an earthly man. Paul’s Jesus is only ever in the heavens. Never once is his baptism mentioned, or his ministry, or his trial or any of his miracles, or any historical details about what he was like, what he did, or suffered, or where he was from, or where he had been, or what people he knew. No memories from those who knew him are ever reported. Paul never mentions Galilee or Nazareth, or Pilate or Mary or Joseph, or any miracles Jesus did or any miraculous powers he is supposed to have displayed . . . or anything about the life of Jesus not in the Gospels. Paul never references any event in Jesus’ life as an example to follow (beyond the abstractions of love, endurance and submissiveness), and never places anything Jesus said in any earthly historical context whatever. So far as these letters tell us, no Christian ever asked Paul about these things, either. Nor did any of these things ever become relevant in any dispute Paul had with anyone. Not one of his opponents, so far as Paul mentions, ever referenced a fact about Jesus’ life in support of their arguments. And no one ever doubted anything claimed about Jesus and asked for witnesses to confirm it or explain it or give more details. The interest Tacitus showed in Pliny’s father is never exhibited by Paul in his eagerness to talk about Jesus-and yet Paul talks obsessively and repeatedly about Jesus.

  • The Lazarus story in any analysis of the New Testament by any competent exegete or theologian is not a first step in seeing the development of the New Testament.

    Copying this material from sources that you do not understand is not advancing your argument.

    Paul, btw, was writing to communities who already had the Gospel and were Christian, so it is completely unsurprising Paul does not mention facts about Jesus’ life.

    Writing material was scarce and expensive, time was not unlimited and writing took a considerable amount of it, so lack of repetition proves absolutely nothing.

    Perhaps you should find some material on the nature and purpose of Gospels and Epistles before attempting this misdirection again?

  • I guess as society progresses the gospel story must continuously be rewoven to make it more plausible to people of that time. After thousands of years it has become a tangled mess.

  • It can be a first step for us. Christianity is based on a belief the Bible is all true because it comes from God. I use the Lazarus example because it is the clearest easiest way to see this is a part of the Bible that is fiction. You don’t even have to question miracles or the power of Jesus to raise the dead. All you have to do is notice this story was not a part of Christianity, until it was, about a lifetime after the fact. I know people are not used to thinking about it this way, so it will be a process of discussing it over a period of time for people to get used to this idea.

    Also this is not about a lack of repetition. It is about something totally missing until it was added in on the end.

  • It is not a first step for anyone.

    It is a canned attack on Christianity which has been repeated many dozens of times by you in another forum.

    It fails right off because it mischaracterizes the Lazarus miracle as the “greatest”, which it was not.

    You won zero converts in the other forum. While I appreciate we need to keep busy in retirement, doing something productive strikes me as a better idea rather than becoming a transmission belt for such poorly constructed falderol.

  • It can be a first step. If you have been raised to believe the Bible is the perfect word of Truth, but you are starting to wonder, then this is the simple logical proof that this part at least of the Bible is fiction. Nobody has answered this, although they would say anything to try to make it appear to not be a problem for Christianity. You are a prime example.

  • Do you think a guy that thinks he is a girl should be able to use the girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms? Are you for discriminating against these men?

  • The worst one is probably the idea that if you try to have a rational discussion with somebody, they’ll respond in kind.

  • When some realise that religious belief is declining, they go on like Chicken Little and worry that the sky is falling. In fact, the decline of religion makes little difference. Mississippi is one of the most religious parts of the United States, but that doesn’t make it better than other states with less religion. Canada and Australia are less religious than the United States, but they don’t seem to be any worse off because of it. New Zealand is even less religious than Australia and Canada, but it doesn’t seem to suffer because of it.or are Christians persecuted because of its apparent lack of belief.

    So I would say to everybody here not to get too worried about a decline in religious belief. It’s not going to make that much difference.

  • It can be a first step. If you have been raised to believe the Bible is the perfect word of Truth, but you are starting to wonder, then this is the simple logical proof that this part at least of the Bible is fiction. Nobody has answered this, although they would say anything to try to make it appear to not be a problem for Christianity.

  • Says the raging homophobe who wants more parents to torture their gay and trans children to death.

  • People should be able to use whatever bathroom is available without being murdered for it, regardless of their genitalia. You are just a stupid trans-phobe.

  • So a guy who thinks he is a girl should be able to use the girls bathrooms and lock rooms if he wants to. Right?
    Please don’t be a bigot and deny men their rights to use the girls bathrooms and locker rooms.

  • You mean trans women, don’t you? Yes, they should be able to use the facilities of their choice. Stop murdering trans people about it.

  • The biggest mass murderers of all time were the atheist regimes of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao. People may be leaving organized religion in droves, but they aren’t jumping on the atheist bandwagon in droves either. Atheist numbers are less that 5%.

  • I know and have known many fine and upstanding religious people that I am proud to call friends.

    I have also known, at least as far as I care to, many people whose religion is just a reflection of themselves, something to use as a weapon, something to use to set themselves above and others below, something that represents the outward and visible appearance of an inward and invisible sickness.

    I don’t much care for them.

  • It wasn’t the judgment in this case, but the puppetteering and the murder of innocents. The more religious people try to justify the immorality of their god or gods, the more I am convinced that religion is about power and money.

  • So God healed a nurse. Ok. Great. But he ignored the prayers of thousands of refugees, war victims, plague victims, famine victimes, and so forth. What made her worth God’s attention, but them, not so much?

  • Wrong, and irrelevant, at just about every possible level.

    1 – Many who claim to be Christian will tell you that if you are a Christian you have to believe that your God wiped out all life (including the innocent non-human animals) other than eight people and two (or maybe seven) of each non-human clade/species/type (pick your own nonsense).
    Still – maybe you’re too sensible to be the sort of Christian who holds the Bible to be inerrant – in which case you are sensible enough to accept point 2 below

    2 – Atheism was not the reason for the deaths you refer to – people were not being killed for their beliefs – you need a religious leader like Hitler, or a crusading Pope, to get to that abomination.

    3 – We can argue about what constitutes “common” – I use it in the dictionary sense (there are others) of “not rare”.

    The Pew Religious Landscape survey reported that as of 2014, 22.8% of the American population is religiously unaffiliated, atheists made up 3.1% and agnostics made up 4% of the US population. (If agnostics are those that don’t know if there’s a god they are atheists – just, like me, agnostic atheists rather than anti-theistic atheists)

    Three years later – May 2017 – Gervais and Najle recently conducted a new analysis on the prevalence of atheists in America. And they conclude the number of people who do not believe in God may be even double that (10%) counted by these polling firms .That is – some 20% of Americans will admit atheism (the lack of belief in god(s)) when no harmful consequences are expected.

    You can find the article, which supports my contention, at https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/4/13/15258496/american-atheists-how-many

    Outside the US – in older and more advanced societies – non-affiliation is often in excess of 50% with correspondingly higher rates of non-belief – but so what – the USA is catching up. Your assertion does not invalidate my comment.

  • deflection some ?

    how much koine do you read ? yet my question is only slightly more worthy than yours .

    one does not need to read koine to know if christian authors or the greek church fathers spoke on a subject . they have long been translated . both the one who wrote in koine greek and those who wrote in latin .

    one can also get much information from modern commentators .

    as the christian scriptures normally speak of jesus being raised up by god, the resurrection is often not described as jesus’ miracle . the greatest miracle of jesus has been described as many different things . one preacher i recall pegs it as the forgiveness of sins; but the raising of lazarus is certainly high on the list . as it is the last of the miracles shown shown in the gospel of john before jesus’ death and resurrection, it’s position in john is precisely as the greatest of his miracles .

    you don’t engage . but pick apart . frequently your own argument

  • Atheism had no hand in their decisions to kill millions. It was about consolidating political power. Same as the Papal Wars and the Massacre at Munester

    That;s like saying that Hitler committed genocide because he had a mustache.

    It’s not really important how many atheists there may be. There are people who accept god claims..and others who do not. No big deal.

    I’m an atheist because I have yet to see a god claim that is compelling.

  • I “lost my religion” after doing some Net research to answer deeper questions I had. “Just have faith” was not enough to quench my curiosity.

  • I’m an atheist and I would honestly like to visit a synagogue..I think it would be a fascinating experience.

  • if a person identifies as a woman….she should use the women’s room..period. And vice versa..why is that hard to understand?

  • “””we’re like “just leave us alone” ”

    Except a huge subset of your We are people who want to inject their personal religious beliefs into law….that’s not “leaving alone.”

  • No ..the law is telling them. What is an abortion pill? Morning after pills are not aborting a thing.

  • Seems to me the Israelites were basically former Cannanites..they kept some of the religion..worship of El Elyon and/or Yahweh. They seemed to start as polytheists..turned to henotheism and morphed into monotheism..probably in response to the invasion of the Greeks or Macedonians.

  • How familiar are you with other Christian authors?
    Yes

    Do you read Koine? Yes..and some Hebrew

    Have you read the Church Fathers on the topic to ascertain what they considered the greatest miracle?

    Yes

    Beyond running across this argument a few years ago on-line, do you know anything at all about the topic?

    More than you.

  • I have two millenial None children….they are active in a lot of groups but they are groups they build on their own without need of an institution.

  • One person’s ephemeral community is another’s solid one. It’s subjective and probably a generational thing.

  • I dunno…see what many Millenials are doing int the realms of technology and relief/development via crowdsourcing and crowd funding with no face to face.

  • I agree….when I was a Baptist…I was just as depressed as I was as an atheist. But I realized my depression wasn;t “spiritual warfare” or “demons” etc but was simply an inherited medical condition.

    It stands to reason a person who trusts medical science is more likely to choose an actual solution that works.

    150 mg of Lamictal works more wonders than any preacher…amen

  • So many mundane explanations for the “healing.” Actually wearing a brace for a condition can heal it. Someone in a religious fervor can produce endorphins that make them feel euphoric. I am skeptical that you actually followed up to see if she stopped limping overall.

  • That is interesting to hear. Thanks for commenting. So they are getting face to face contact with their peers? Are they doing things together? Going out to movies or clubs or games? What are the groups built around?

  • Who told you there are only two genders?
    Who is saying all colonialism is European? Of course Persia and Egypt and CHina etc had colonies and empires. You are asserting a supposed controversey that does not exist.

    The amount of people any political regime kills says nothing about the actual veracity of the underlying ideas. You also do not take into account the advanced war tech modern dictators had. How much bloodier might the Crusdade have been with claymores and tanks?

  • Indeed…EL Elyon (which is the word for God in the OT was a sky god of the Cannanite people

  • To be fair..Bob is accurate about the overall Evangelical position (I say that as an ex-Baptist minister).

    The idea (although not well grounded in the Bible) is that babies and kids will not go to hell for unbelief until they reach “the age of accountability” (i.e. having the faculties to decide if they accept or reject the Christian claims). Of course, no one can point to a specific age so it’s a rather vague notion that I suspect was created to fill a troublesome loophole.

  • The same Paul who supposedly wrote:

    ““He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among those who have believed.”

    Feel the love?

  • Or like me who realize life has all the meaning we wish to give it…no faith needed. You just cannot accept that millions are happy and live meaningful lives without your religion.

  • actually a lot of Millennials are in the gig economy and have multiple jobs. Others are like my son who wisely got a degree in Comp Sci….took an Amazon Web Services certificate and now earns more than a great number of Baby Boomers at age 23.

  • Maybe the fault is less with Mellienials and more with poor hiring practices on your company’s part.

  • Yes because..unlike gods..antidepressants WORK.

    Perhaps they top in depression because they actually SEEK HELP and are thus recorded. The saddest most fear ridden people I know are the most religious.

  • it could also be true that these secular countries do a better job of statistical reporting and do not restrict assisted suicide.

  • “Ve are Nihilists, Lebowski..ve believes in Nossing…we cut off your Chonson!”

  • Good point. I am an atheist. Most of my neighbors are theists. You know how much our lives differ….barely…I sleep in on Sundays..that’s about it.

  • To claim that an affinity to a company product or brand meets the dictionary definition of god is stretching semantics.

    Millenials per capita actually donate more time and money to charities than Boomers.

    So you hope they get schizophrenia (i.e. hearing voices)?

  • What does it literally mean to you to “go to the depths of your heart” I’m not picking a fight..I am genuinely interested in what that means to you.

  • Sure…especially if they move to an area where churches are a major social component (like the suburbs in the South).

    In many Southern areas, only mega-churches have the resources to offer things like kids programs etc.

  • This nasty atheist slug has only been married 28 years and raised two high stable performing children. But what do I know..I must just hate God..right?

  • The one who made you. The one who is written on your heart; yet you suppress to live your sinful ways.

  • So they are getting face to face contact with their peers? Quiet a bit..they seem to integrate both social media and face to face..often social media becomes a chronicle for their in person adventures.

    Are they doing things together? Lots..often by coordinating via social media. My daughter just got back from studying in Spain with a group

    Going out to movies or clubs or games? Yep.

    What are the groups built around? Varies. For my son it was for the longest his original high school friends…cross country. Now, he’s at a new point where he has a new job and is out of college..I suspect his friends will be those from work and his apartment complex.

    My daughter tends to befriend people who like outdoors or who wait tables with her…about the same we we made friends.

  • My parents made me.

    I have nothing written on my heart…it just pumps blood.

    What sinful ways do you imagine I am living?..please use specific examples since you know me so well.

    Thanks.

  • That seems to be a goal post move here. You didn’t say anything about the factualness of the story, only about the moral content.

    But in regards to historical identification. I am wondering if Tacitus, in his Histories ever specified the names of the leaders of the Gallic tribes? In just a cursory glance of the first book, he mentions Gaul several times, but never any names of the barbarians. If that is the case, does that mean that Rome never conquered Gaul, or that the stories were all false?

    Finally, if the Bible would have indicated the name of the Pharaoh, and it checked out historically, would you then be willing to accept the message of the Bible? I imagine no. Meaning, the name of Pharaoh is really not of importance to you, as it is not at all an important detail in the overall story of the Scriptures.

  • that’s murphy and he is one of our irish characters, i think a churicaun rather than a leprechaun .

    and you better believe he’s real .

  • Do you think that I belong to you? Because that’s typical of Christians who view other people as possessions, including children.

  • “Now to fulfill a quota….”

    there is no quota like you describe . the only law is that you cannot discriminate against people of equal abilities .

    “…i you’re so big on freedom you should let business owners treat people like crap….”

    you can treat anyone and everyone like crap . we all agree on that . you just can’t do it based on race, religion, ethnic origin or gender .

    treat people like crap all you want . just do it equally .

  • Not difficult to handle. Thanks for offering your post. Good to see folks go past soundbites.

    — busy but will do response later today.

  • I now refer to Sunday as “Second Saturday”. It went from one of the worst days of the week to one of my favorites. 😉

  • Reed’s argument is the priority, but if I have any time afterwards I will destroy Spong’s trash. (“Trash” is the charitable interpretation for Spong.)

  • Your parents made you by the grace of God who gave you a soul.
    We all inherently know there is a creator.
    We are all sinners brother…to say you are not is to commit the sin of pride.

  • I have no problem if you find meaning in Rubik’s Cube or Arthur Conan Doyle.

    I simply point how common it is to run into folks with no faith who become educated and realize that without faith their life is meaningless.

  • I was rather looking for evidence it was accurate.

    PPRI and Pew have track records of missing the mark.

  • No, he is concocter of bs for money.

    If he writes “Matthew was the first Gospel”, book sales are zilch.

    If he writes “The Gospels are fakery”, he makes a wad of dough.

  • Are you doing a stream of conscious today and I am the recipient?

    This is the tenth of your posts I’ve responded, none very informational, none more than argumentative, today.

    That strike me as good evidence blocking you will free up some time and I won’t miss anything worthwhile, so you’re blocked.

    Try Jim Reed. I think he’s right down your alley.

  • #ThatsSoChristian
    I’d expect nothing less from someone crazy enough to believe that a virgin gave birth.

  • There are no Church Fathers or early commentators who call the Lazarus miracle the greatest miracle of Christ.

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is recognized East and West as Christ’s greatest miracle, the one which proved all that came before it, and of which the raising of Lazarus was a precursor.

    That is why is the major Christian feast, while Lazarus rates a mention in one Gospel every three years.

    Christians do not speak of “jesus being raised up by god” since they believe Jesus was God.

  • At this point anyone who does not understand that you have multiple axes to grind with religion is comatose or dead.

  • I believe “fine and upstanding” in your vocabulary means “agrees with me”, no more, no less.

  • Okay, I’m back. Thanks again for your post. Your conclusion (that the Lazarus account is “fiction”) is flat-out Wrong, but your post is appreciated.

    First, there’s NO contradiction there in the Webster’s Dictionary sense of the word. No other statements in the Bible rationally contradict the Lazarus account (John 11:4, see link below.) The Lazarus account is self-consistent; it is a coherent account whose specific details don’t contradict each other. So “contradiction” is actually the wrong word to use here.

    Second, your conclusion is based on the date of John’s Gospel. But according to Drs. DA Carson and Douglas Moo, in their textbook Introduction to the New Testament 2nd Ed, that date runs about 85-90 AD. Not later than that. 85 AD is only a mere 52 years from the time Jesus died and rose again. By comparison, it’s only been 53 years since the Selma Civil Rights March of March 7, 1965. Even now, you could write an accurate history paper just from the memories of still-living people who either marched (like Rep. John Lewis), or at least personally knew some of the marchers. Same for the Apostle John. His timeframe is definitely close enough to write an accurate Lazarus account.

    Third you’ve got an Argument-From-Silence and an Unproven Assumption in there. Just because John is the only Gospel writer to mention the Lazarus miracle, does NOT mean the other guys weren’t aware of it. In fact, two of the principals of John’s account, Mary and Martha, were known to the Gospel writer Luke (Luke 10:38-42). Plus he includes a geographic marker (the city of Bethany) that the other three Gospel writers, plus his readers, would be familiar with.

    So now you see that the Bible’s miracle story of Lazarus, CAN in fact be robustly defended against the Skeptic Gang.

  • Now, let’s get rid of Spong and his garbage mess. The Episcopal Church is all but dead from the nasty viruses Spong helped to inject (with plenty of dirty needles!) into that denomination. Anyway, skeptic Spong says that the Apostle John didn’t write the Gospel of John. So Spong is lying out the boo-boo again, naturally.

    “The most straightforward reading of the evidence is still the traditional one: It is highly probable that John the son of Zebedee wrote the fourth gospel.”
    — DA Carson and Douglas Moo, Introduction to the New Testatment, 2nd ed., (Zondervan), pg 253.

    So that’s that. But where can readers go to see some of that evidence? Well, try going here:

    coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-circumstantial-case-for-johns-authorship/
    http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/02/who-wrote-gospels-evidence-for-john.html

  • Argument from silence AND an unproven assumption. You have no evidence that the other three Gospel writers were unaware of Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead, and since each Synoptic writer had his own emphasis and purpose, they weren’t required to include the Lazarus account anyway. Especially since each of their books ALREADY show Jesus as a Healer and Miracle-Doer.

    Worse yet, since the Gospel writer Luke wrote about two of the principals of the Lazarus story (Mary and Martha) and thus he at least knew about them, it’s clear that you can NOT assume that the other three Gospel writers didn’t know anything about the Lazarus resurrection miracle.

  • Oh now, wot the Hades is THAT? Was that supposed to be a disproof?

    Here’s a little secret for you: I have no idea what King David’s last name is, and the Bible doesn’t say.

    So does that prove there was never a King David who once ruled Israel in actual history?

  • Right. If a guy thinks he is a girl then he should get to use the girls bathrooms and showers. No questions asked. Right?

  • They also have the right to free speech, including the right to openly declare their love for whomever they choose.

  • Try telling that to Christians who don’t want their kids to be gay or trans, and would just as soon kill them as look at them. Won’t someone please think of the children?

  • Why do you say people blindly believe? Why can’t they blindly believe if they want to? Why can’t they use their own basis to believe? What is repulsive?

  • Oh yes I know. That’s the same thing gay parents do when they find out their kids become Christian.

  • It’d be great if we could all do so without fear of getting murdered by Christians for it, wouldn’t it, now?

  • Opinions by biblical scholars that differ from your own are “trash”? Clearly, you have become trapped in this religious fraud.

  • Not the Pharaoh’s last name, his only name. Probably the Hebrews didn’t know the Pharaoh’s name or didn’t want it recorded because the Exodus account was written during the Babylonian exile in 580 BCE, about 850 years after the mythological Exodus. FYI, 2 Kings 23:33-34 identifies the unremarkable Pharaoh Necho who ruled Egypt from 610-595 BCE.

  • History records who ruled Egypt when the Exodus supposedly occurred in 1,450 BCE. It was Thutmose III, the greatest conqueror of the Egyptian kings, who ruled Egypt from April 1479-March 1425 BCE. Oops. This is just one of the approximately 35 gaping holes I’ve found in this Exodus mythology. Here’s another of the 35 although I’ll be happy to provide the entire list to you. The Ten Commandments, received from god by Moses on Mount Sinai, prohibit certain evil acts like murder, stealing, adultery, etc.. But why would any commandments be necessary since everyone knows what’s
    evil because Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17, 3:5-6). You should simply admit that bible mythology is indefensible.

  • It’s not complicated. It’s simply that when more information is available (the internet) and people are getting smarter (the Flynn effect), many less people will believe that telepathically telling a flying zombie who is his own father to remove a curse you have due to a mythical woman listening to a talking snake is a credible story.

  • I say “blindly” because most of them believe in their religion only because they were raised in it and told repeatedly at a very early age that it was true. Very few had no exposure to it until they were adults and then decided on their own to follow it. You can blindly believe if you want, but that doesn’t make it correct or justified.

    As for what’s repulsive, look at how Christianity has taken over modern right-wing politics. There is no political party for conservatives who aren’t religious. They use their religion to justify oppressing women, homosexuals, immigrants, and more. They use their doomsday prophecies and ancient fables as excuses to reject science. Do you need more details?

  • the bible speaks of jesus being raised up by god . the christians you know ? who knows .

  • If a person identifies as male..they use the men’s room..etc. This is not that hard.

  • Since you refuse to discuss things like an adult..I dismiss you.

    Please do not reproduce

    #WasteOfOxygen

  • It’s not common at all. Every faithless person I know is happy and live meaningful lives. Perhaps you are deluded.

  • “Your parents made you by the grace of God who gave you a soul. ”

    What makes you think this assertion is true?

    “We all inherently know there is a creator.”

    I do not ergo you are incorrect.

    I am not a sinner…sad you think you are. Pride is not a sin.

  • Maybe you blindly stop at stop signs because you were taught to as a child? Maybe you blindly believe in global warming because you were force fed it in school?
    Faith in general is a journey. The “Most” that you mention ebb and flow throughout life as events and age play out. Some believe and some eventually don’t. That does not mean that those who believe only do because they were duped as a child. You can blindly not believe if YOU want, but that doesn’t make it correct or justified either.
    Regarding Christians being the “right-wing”. That statement is like saying BLM and the metoo girls are representative of the democrat/socialist party. It’s unfortunate the the media have spun it that way; but it’s not exactly accurate.
    I think you are making a leap to equate Christians as conservatives or republicans. They may go hand in hand, but it is not always true. Believe me, I know a lot of liberal Christians as I live in a very blue state. We worship together but leave the political debates at the door.
    As far as your “oppression” innuendos at the end- all DNC talking points that are political issues that you are tying to Christians because you do not believe.

  • You have never stolen anything in your life?
    Not sure which way you swing, but; have you looked at anyone with lust that you were not married to?
    Have you not harmed someone intentionally?
    Have you cheated? Hated?
    I KNOW the answer to some of these is yes.
    Therefore my brother you are a sinner. And the fact that you are prideful and state that you are not; proves that pride (is often) a sin.

  • There are two reasons to participate in religion:
    1. It is true and/or
    2. It provides social benefits.

    Take a step back and think – the bible is about blood sacrifice to appease a deity. First offspring (Isaac, Exodus 34:19-20 ); then sheep, rams, goats and birds; then god himself. Blood sacrifice is just plain ridiculous.

    Christians claim god and the bible to be a source of morality, yet the bible condemns shellfish and tattoos, but never condemns slavery or sex without consent. The biblical deity ordered genocide and kidnapping girls as sex slaves. The bible is quite clearly a pathetic guide to morality.

    Christianity is silly. It is not true.

    That leaves social benefits. When people are told to hate people for existing, and they realize how unpleasant and ingrown churches can be, that motivation for belonging to a church evaporates as well.

  • You have never stolen anything in your life?
    Nope.

    Not sure which way you swing, but; have you looked at anyone with lust that you were not married to?

    Lust is not a sin.

    Have you not harmed someone intentionally?
    Except when I was a stupid kid? No.

    Have you cheated?
    On video games?

    Hated?
    Hate is a human emotion and not a sin.

    “Therefore my brother you are a sinner.” Only under your mental construct.

    Your opinions are noted.

  • And a person’s gender is determined by what is between their legs. Has nothing to do with identifying with what they want to be. Its not that hard.

  • no. Others are. Some think that when a guy puts on a skirt that makes him a girl. We know that is a lie. Do you?

  • Neither of those things are blind. I stop at stop signs because it’s the law and we can repeatedly observe that not stopping is a good way to get in a traffic accident. I believe in global warming because generations of independent climate scientists have examined the evidence and demonstrated how human-made pollution is changing the environment. I wouldn’t classify all Christians as being “blind,” but there are very, very few people who come into it as an adult after being exposed to other cultures and belief systems as a child.

    I never said that all Christians are conservative or Republican, and you seem to be putting a lot of words in my mouth that I never said. I assure you I’m not a Democrat. Some Christians are fine people and their religion is benign. My point is that there are many who are actively working to make society worse and they believe they’re doing the right things because their faith blinds them to facts; you saying “but some aren’t!” is not an argument against that.

  • That sounds great in principle, but it becomes a real problem when you’re black and 100% of restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies refuse service to you because you’re black. Turns out that about fifty years ago the government had to put its foot down and say, “No, you can’t refuse service to somebody just because they’re part of certain categories.”

  • Indifference is a vice.

    They’re leaving mainly because they’re lazy, self-seeking, wanting comfort, not struggle.

    Struggle in finding the truth, struggle in conforming their behavior in accordance with natural law.

    Narcissism in little ways, but growing.

  • So you have cheated, lied, and willfully harmed others?
    You are a sinner.
    Repent, be humble and ask for forgiveness. You will be forgiven by the creator.
    But for you, the sin of human pride gets in the way -so you dismiss God and argue that sin does not exist so that you can make it all go away.

  • Religion has been responsible for death and destruction for centuries. Young people may see religion as a cause for injustice rather than a helpful institution. Many see it as mean-spirited, especially when it is institutionalized against the weak.

  • The question is, will there be anyone in church, synagogue or mosque to even see you if you did come?

  • Who says these things are sins? Some are against the laws, some are probably not a good idea, but sin? I do not believe in sin.

  • God says they are sins. You may not believe in sin now, but you will at the moment of your death.

  • . To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

  • With an open mind, and especially an open heart, sit down for a couple of hours (the books are not that long), and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Ask the God whom you don’t believe in to show you that He does.

  • Just to be clear: are you saying Jesus was not divine, God, part of the triune unity?

    Or are you simply stating “the text(s) says(say) xyz” without the slightest pretensions as to parsing what is meant?

  • To one without faith, evidence is required…as it should be. Faith is not of value to many/

  • The same god who doesn’t want me to exist, because I am bisexual and genderqueer? LOL, who cares about such a being at all?

  • You can keep your outdated mental constructs. I have never sinned…because sin is not a real thing. Like everyone I have done things that are destructive..and I seek to make such things right with those I have hurt.

    I say sin does not exist because it is simply your groups made up word based on your belief in a god.

    I do not share your god belief..ergo I do not accept your terms.

    Repeating your mantra won’t change that reality but keep at it if you wish.

  • “And a person’s gender is determined by what is between their legs.”

    Factually incorrect,. You are referring to sex…that is a biological thing. Gender is a social construct. Again, not that hard if you do basic research.

    Unless you have something new to add to the debate, I am done. Cheers/

  • Has anyone tried actually ASKING the people why they’re leaving? Because random speculation about the ‘real reasons’ is pointless.

  • Religious zealots always wind up making threats in the end. You just get there faster than most.

  • Parker is the guy who will confidently tell you that you DO believe in a god, even though you don’t. He’s convinced that he knows your own mind better than you do. There’s not going to be much point in engaging with somebody that loopy.

  • It is hardly an isolated case. Not that you would ever care about children being murdered. #ThatsSoChristian

  • Are you a corporation, John? Then why worry about our system’s rules for corporations?

  • It’s quite isolated, and because of the Agenda and compliant press, it’s likely exaggerated.

  • “And a person’s gender is determined by what is between their legs.”

    Medical and psychiatric experts say otherwise. You are therefore wrong.

  • Yikes. You are a lot of things. I think he actually wants you to exist; otherwise he wouldn’t have made you.
    Also-you don’t have to be so angry all the time.

  • And this too, your evil wish, that reveals the self-centeredness and the corruption within.

    Always the self, first. Self-thoughts, interior complaint, always coming back to the self. Signs.

  • The fact that all community organizations seem to be suffering would appear to have something to do with it as well. If you don’t need to socialize with other people in person, and your life is so busy, then it’s not just churches but bowling leagues and Girl Scouts that ill feel the effects.

  • You don’t care about gay and trans children being murdered by their own parents. That tells me everything I need to know about you, Christian.

  • Oh I do care. I want them to be happier than they want themselves to be.

    I want them to find the unity that God had intended for them and which He wrote into their half-unity of their body.

  • And it’s the anger that should be noticed too. These are more signs of interior disunity.

  • Are they, though? Again, I can only speak anecdotally, but table top gaming has seen a huge boom in the last decade. Gaming stores and board gaming or role playing gaming groups are everywhere now compared to where they used to be.

  • Misoprostol is a drug that will induce a miscarriage. It can be prescribed in cases where an early pregnancy is no longer viable. This past week, a woman in Arizona was prescribed the drug in these circumstances, but the pharmacist on duty refused to fill it.

  • Knowing Ben’s history, it was Hebrew school not Christian Sunday school. Nevertheless, you’re right, questions should not be discouraged. The teacher’s answer, while theologically accurate, did not cultivate this value.
    Satan as originally conceived in the Hebrew Bible was not evil as supernatural force. You see this in Job, where he is presented as an agent of God. Etymologically the name means “accuser” and I don’t know of any non-Semitic linguistic connection. You’re right that Zoroastrianism introduced the concept of an evil force into Judaism, but it did not receive wide currency. There’s a reason the Book of Enoch was never canonized.

  • Then why do men think that when they put a skirt on that gives them the right to use the girls bathrooms and showers?

  • The Lazarus story is far from the only Gospel account that Paul is seemingly unaware of.

  • Does that also apply to the Hindu Vedas, the Quran, the Sanskrit Buddhist scripture, others?

    What if Odin or Shiva is the only god that responds?

  • The PRRI numbers are concerning why those Nones that left their childhood religion did so, something that generally occurs before turning 18. Jana is talking here about the broader None phenomenon, which also includes why fewer adults are choosing to affiliate with a religion.

  • It means laying your heart and mind open. It requires silence and humility. Some call it “hearing” a small, still voice. I cannot adequately explain it as it’s a personal experience.

  • Why the hostility? I do use my brain, it tells me to be what i am meant to be, no more, no less.

  • 5 hours ago
    To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

  • That seems backwards. Isn’t one of the supposed virtues of the church providing comfort?

  • No…God didn’t put us here to take naps, but to “subdue the earth”, to “work in the garden”.

    We must rest..SO THAT we can serve God more, mainly through our work for the family.

  • How sad for you! You do have a soul whether you believe it or not. May i pray for you?

  • You show severe signs of sociopathy, since you don’t care about children being murdered by their parents.

  • You can do whatever you want, it won’t have any effect in the real world, however.

    If you want to insist that the human soul exists you would need to need to offer substantial evidence completely upending the standard model of physics. Thermadynamics does not allow for such a thing to exist in this universe. If you claim the soul is in some metaphysical plane that is yet to be discovered, whether emperically evidenced or supported with mathematical theory, for something to interact with physical matter (i.e. your mind/body) there would be evidence of it. There has to be a signal carrier. I’ll be waiting for all that monumental research.

  • You obviously don’t give a crap about babies once they’re born. Who cares what a sociopath like you thinks?

  • thank you reducing your own argument ad absurdum .

    one of the many options that you miss is that the christian scriptures presents the idea of god as the creator, as the father, as the one that israel knew for a millenium prior .

    it also presents the holy spirit of god as the one that that jesus said he would send to be with the people of god until the end of the world : one who would guide and teach god’s people .

    and of course it presents a growing awareness on the part of the apostles and disciples that the jesus of nazareth shared a special relationship with god that went beyond teacher and prophet of god .

    if these different presentations of god were all the same – what one did all did the same – then there would not be a need of the doctrine of the trinity . there would not have been the definition of the trinity in several christian councils in the coming years .

    that you try to mash them together, when i mention the scriptures suggests that you miss the origin of the concept of the trinity in the scriptures .

    the resurrection of jesus was the greatest miracle of christianity and showed the power of the father and the favor he had for the son and the mission of the son .

    and it also suggests a reason why many millennials want out of organized christianity . if we argue why hang around .

  • “Many honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” -Jesus
    There are those who “appear” righteous. Clothing does not create righteousness. Righteousness is not imputed by works or sacrifices. God does not distribute righteousness to those who are perfect. The only perfect One is Jesus. Ancient men of God, like Abraham and Moses, had FAITH in God. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, and His work on the cross, we are credited righteousness from God. We are all sinners! Jesus is the only way to eternal life! He is the Way and the Truth and the Life.

  • “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved,” (NIV, Mt. 24.12.13)

  • Ask yourself these questions. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going after I leave this world?

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can’t agree on whether Jesus died on Passover or the day before passover.

    According to Matthew, 500 zombies rose from the dead, got out of their graves and roamed around Jerusalem at the time of the resurrection, but neither the other gospel writers nor actual historians thought it was worth mentioning.

    Perhaps you should read your book with an open mind.

  • I’m not indifferent to the harm and cruelty perpetrated by those who claim to speak for their invisible deity.

  • Hmm. You claim to know why “god put us here” and and kindly sharing your special knowledge with the rest of us.

    Who precisely is the narcissist?

  • If your all powerful, all loving deity cannot stop its own followers from committing atrocities, either it isn’t all powerful or it isn’t all loving. Or more likely, it is a bit if undigested mutton.

  • Says who? The authors of the gospels wrote decades after Jesus, never met him and didn’t speak his language.

    All you have is poorly written fan fiction.

  • According to the stories, Abraham was perfectly willing to murder his own child and Moses was complicit in the murder of thousands of innocent first born children.

    The word for that is “repugnant” not “righteous.” Today, those actions would be considered felonies.

    Fortunately, it’s all fiction.

  • Ask yourself this question that, after 30+ years as a christian, I asked myself:

    How could I have believed something so silly for so long?

  • truth is hard i know . especially if you are doing an average of over 31 comments a day on a variety of subjects . but no one forces you to comment .

  • It is clear you have never actually spoken with – and listened to – someone who has concluded that no invisible, supernatural deities exist.

  • Yes, so many are willing to close their ears and their hearts. It takes humility to really look on the Face of our Lord to be pierced by His love.

  • You did not create Christianity from scratch at 7 years old. Adults you trusted told you their beliefs. And because you trusted them, you accepted what they told you as truth. After that, adults used emotional manipulation to solidify those beliefs.

    All religion is spread through emotion, and nearly always involves teaching children one religious view before they are old enough to reason for themselves.

    Stories of a person adopting a religion for the first time as an adult based on an evidence-based comparison of multiple religions are close to non existent.

  • ? All you have are 4 poorly written, clearly plagiarized stories written in a language a first century Palestinian wandering preacher wouldn’t have been able to speak.

    If that wandering preacher existed, you have no way of knowing what he said or didn’t say.

  • I trust you know that telling a person you will pray for them is an admission that you know that prayer has no effect. If prayer had any effect, there would be no need to tell the “prayee” they had been prayed for.

  • I sense that you are holding on to a lot of pain and anger. I WILL pray for you whether you want me to or not.

  • 19 hours ago
    To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

  • Double blind studies show that prayer has no effect. However, when heart patients were told they were being prayed for, their outcomes were worse. Other than that, “prayed for” and “not prayed for” had identical outcomes.

  • Oh puhleeeze.

    Actually, I remember feeling that arrogant about “knowing” what other people felt and believed. Christianity reinforces and encourages that type of narcissism. It really feeds the ego.

    Sorry, your assessment of me is dead wrong. You best check in with your invisible friend and try again.

    The only thing I felt when I realized Christianity was make believe was a little silly for falling for something so patently absurd. That’s it.

  • You didn’t pay attention in history class, did you?

    There certainly have been cities and communities where effectively all of the business owners would refuse to serve you if you were black, or at least enough that it would be impossible to live there. “Just move!”, the comfortably middle-class racist responds, who doesn’t realize that moving to a different city is expensive, time-consuming, and basically impossible for somebody who is actually poor. This is why the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exists.

  • Agreed…which is why it is valueless for many

    Faith is accepting claims without evidence. It can be mostly harmless or it can lead someone to drive a jet into a building.

  • What would be more beautiful and glorifying…than for one’s creates to FREELY use their capabilities to come to know the truth, and to do the good?

    To use one’s intellect to reach an ever more perfecting grasp of the truth?

    To use one’s will to do God’s will ever more perfection.

    Two inclined planes of truth..and love, converging on the source of both all truth and all love?

    God doesn’t do violence to our free will, which He gave us.

    Only a lesser God would force, your god.

  • He made us out of love, to love, to share in His divine nature, first here, then perfectly in heaven.

  • I don’t find any value in such a thing. If Christianity or Buddhism or Hinduism works for a person and they do no harm to others..fine. It’s not my bag.

  • Because only in freely giving our will to do the good (for others) is there truth joy.

    Happiness is the knowledge or sense that we possess a good.

    The less substantial the “good” the more fleeting the happiness.

    The greatest happiness is to lay one’s life down for the greatest good.

  • No arrogance. I don’t know, i said i sensed it.

    God bless Mr. Lark – i wish you well.

  • But none of that requires a god to even exist, let alone to worship him. There are people all over the world who worship no gods and do good for others.

  • You told others to read the gospels “with an open mind,” yet when you are challenged to do the same you fall back on emotion (“heart”) rather than “mind.”

    I wonder why that is.

  • Likewise. If religion makes you kinder and brings you peace, that’s fine.

    But don’t pretend to understand why others have concluded that it isn’t true. You’ve never been there. And those of us who were once christian fully understand the passive aggressive lines like “I’ll pray for you” and “oh, you’re just angry.” We know exactly what is really meant. I suggest dropping that crud if you want to converse with non christians.

    Peace.

  • Then why are there so many different religions, and so many different sects within those religions, and all of them have changed over time? And since all of them claim to be the truth, how do you know which one really is?

  • You didn’t make yourself…and if you engage in a bit of logic..you’d realize that nothing can be the effect of an infinite causal chain.

  • You keep switching topics as soon as you’re challenged on them. You know that’s no way to have a discussion, right?

    You’re correct I didn’t make myself, but now you seem to be arguing that your god exists and I should worship him because he created life. There are several problems with that; first, while there are hypotheses on how life could have begun, even if the answer is “We don’t know,” that is not proof that it was created by a supernatural force. There have been countless natural phenomena, such as the sun, gravity, and lightning, that were once attributed to gods, but we have since come to understand them. Even if life was created by a supernatural entity, that raises the question of where did it come from, and there is also no reason to believe that entity is the specific deity you believe in. Even if all of that is somehow true, that is still not a reason to worship that deity.

  • The answer isn’t we don’t know. The answer is the cause of us exists outside of space and time. All the things you mention exist within space and time.

    It’s only an open question as to whether this cause is a personal one or not. Logic argues that it can’t be more than one cause.

    Parsimony suggests strongly that it was only one sufficient cause.

    And CS Lewis provided a powerful argument that the cause was personal and was outside of space and time.

    He pointed out the notion of right and wrong is one that couldn’t have come from us, since it seems to run against the grain of our [fallen] nature.

    No one would invent a morality as the one that rears up in all known cultures, abbreviated as the natural law.

    No one would invent a morality that tempers our actions; only a God would Who sees a greater good beyond our miserable and self-seeking sight.

  • Sin is an offense against god. There is no god. Things like gathering firewood on the wrong day, menstruating, and eating shrimp cocktail are make believe crimes against a make believe deity.

    There is no such thing as sin.

    Bringing harm to other people is wrong, but clearly one doesn’t need an imaginary friend to figure out right and wrong.

  • God is make believe. You have no way of knowing what happens at death. You only know what self appointed god spokesmen made up.

  • Look into your heart brother and you will realize that God exists. However, you can only do this with EXTREME humility and courage. Once you realize what you have done you will be remorseful and will ask for forgiveness. But do not fear, for you will be forgiven. All you have to do is repent and believe.
    Before you rapidly respond to refute me and put me in my place, please do me a favor and slowly read Psalm 51.
    Please brother, just read it once and then you can tell me to pound sand.

  • LoL. Your deity can’t even tell you I’m nobody’s “brother.” Seriously, how many guys call themselves “Lark”?

    Your deity is make believe. But I am far too ethical to worship the capricious, malicious and genocidal deity described in the bible, real or not.

  • Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
    2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!
    3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
    4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
    so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
    5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
    7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
    9 Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
    10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
    11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.
    13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
    14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
    15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
    16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
    17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

  • Numbers 31
    1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.” …

    7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man …
    9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

    … 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

    15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. … 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Your imaginary friend is repugnant and void of all morality.

  • People who, after thoughtful cconsideration, conclude that supernatural deities are make believe start believing in god again about as often as people who don’t believe in Santa Claus start believing in flying reindeer.

    People who drift away but still believe in the supernatural can drift back. People who conclude that the supernatural is not real do not drift back.

  • Yeah but we’re talking about today. If the Act was abolished by Trump that would be great.

  • If you’re a racist, sexist business owner who wishes you could discriminate against people who aren’t like you, that would be great.

    Unfortunately, the reasons why the Act was created still exist.

  • Your imaginary friend is repugnant and void of all morality.

    And blood sacrifice is silly, whether the victim is a sheep, a meso american, or a make believe man-god.

  • Ben has treated your comment with the disdain it deserves – but, just for the record and so that others can see how you misunderstand logic, –

    Are you suggesting that someone who has multiple axes to grind with religion is wrong simply because they have those axes?

    Is it beyond your powers of comprehension to understand that perhaps the axes are justified and religion, along with all superstitious thought, fully deserves to die of as many cuts as can be inflicted?

  • Yes, but that is an unbalanced viewpoint. One can also list good things that religion has done. Also, I see being mean-spirited as unacceptable to Christianity. Let us not forget that when slavery was legal in the South, many Christians opposed slavery.

    The second part of what is often called the Summary of the Law, which was given by Jesus (who was actually quoting from the OT), is, greatly shortened, to love our neighbors as ourselves. Obviously many Christians have not followed that and, instead, selectively quoted the Bible to justify their unloving and ghastly behavior.