7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church Attendance in America

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Are people really attending church? What do the facts say?

1. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church — half of what the pollsters report.

While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage — about 40% of the population — of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given Sunday.

Initially prompted to discover how church plants in America were really doing, Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church (covchurch.org), began collecting data in the late “80s, gradually expanding his research to encompass overall attendance trends in the Church. In his study, he tracked the annual attendance of more than 200,000 individual Orthodox Christian churches (the accepted U.S. church universe is 330,000). To determine attendance at the remaining 100,000-plus Orthodox Christian churches, he used statistical models, which included multiplying a church”s membership number by the denomination”s membership-to-attendance ratio.

The Numbers

His findings reveal that the actual rate of church attendance from head counts is less than half of the 40% the pollsters report. Numbers from actual counts of people in Orthodox Christian churches (Catholic, mainline and evangelical) show that in 2004, 17.7% of the population attended a Christian church on any given weekend.

Another study published in 2005 in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion by sociologists C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler — known for their scholarly research on the Church — backs up his findings. Their report reveals that the actual number of people worshipping each week is closer to Olson”s 17.7% figure — 52 million people instead of the pollster-reported 132 million (40%).

“We knew that over the past 30 to 40 years, denominations had increasingly reported a decline in their numbers,” Marler says. “Even a still-growing denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention had reported slowed growth. Most of the mainline denominations were all reporting a net loss over the past 30 years. And at the same time, the Gallup polls had remained stable. It didn”t make sense.”

The Halo Effect

What Hadaway and Marler, along with Mark Chaves, author of the “National Congregations Study,” discovered was at play is what researchers call “the halo effect” — the difference between what people tell pollsters and what people actually do. Americans tend to over-report socially desirable behavior like voting and attending church and under-report socially undesirable behavior like drinking.

Gallup Poll Editor in Chief Frank Newport agrees that the halo effect factors in to poll results. During a Gallup telephone survey of a random sampling of about 1,000 Americans nationwide, interviewers ask respondents questions such as, “In the last seven days, did you attend a church service, excluding weddings and funerals?” to determine their church-going habits.

“When people try to reconstruct their own behavior, particularly more frequently occurring on-and-off behavior, it is more difficult, especially in a telephone interview scenario,” Newport says. But he stands behind Gallup”s 40% figure: “I”ve been reviewing [U.S. church attendance] carefully,” he says. “No matter how we ask the question to people, we get roughly 40% of Americans who present themselves as regular church attendees.” He adds, however, that if you were to freeze the United States on any Sunday morning, you may find fewer than 40% of the country”s adults actually in churches.

“Although about 40% of Americans are regular church attendees, it doesn”t necessarily mean 40% are in church on any given Sunday,” he explains. “The most regular church attendee gets sick or sleeps in. The other reason may be people who tell us they go to church but are worshipping in non-traditional ways, such as small groups, people meeting in gyms or school libraries.”

A Disconnect

In another study surveying the growth of U.S. Protestants, Marler and Hadaway discovered that while the majority of people they interviewed don”t belong to a local church, they still identify with their church roots. “Never mind the fact that they attend church less than 12 times a year,” Marler observes. “We estimate that 78 million Protestants are in that place. Ask most pastors what percentage of inactive members they have — they”ll say anything from 40–60%.”

Even with a broader definition of church attendance, classifying a regular attendee as someone who shows up at least three out of every eight Sundays, only 23–25% of Americans would fit this category. Olson notes that an additional million church attendees would increase the percentage from 17.7% to only 18%. “You”d have to find 80 million more people that churches forgot to count to get to 40%.”

Clearly, a disconnect between what Americans say and what they actually do has created a sense of a resilient church culture when, in fact, it may not exist.

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  • Lori

    HELP! — Please list your sources ala MLA, APA, etc.  I would like to quote some of these statistics, but need to credit the original researchers as well as the authors of this article. Specifically, what is the name of Thom Rainer’s 2002 study?  Does the “Denominational Differences” information come from this same study?

    • Pastor Bryan

      Amen Lori – I have been given so many stats at Church planting conferences and I just spent yesterday trying to find sources to bring these things up at my denominational district conference

    • Dr. Jon F. Dewey

      You can find some of Thom Rainer’s study is a book called “High Expectations” ISBN 0-8054-1266-2

  • Bradm

    Wow! So many great revelations. I’m going to have to read this a few times. Way to go churchleaders.com!

    Brad Murphy
    Lead Pastor
    http://www.eaglelifechurch.org

  • Errol Hale

    I am interested to learn if anyone can either verify or correct my observation regarding church attendance numbers.  While every pastor wants to see as many of his flock in church each week (a good indicator of spiritual health for the people), I cannot find anything in church history until the mid to late 20th century where attendance became such a consuming topic among church leaders.  There have been mega-churches in history, but I can find nothing historically that indicates numbers as being the litmus test to determine a church’s health or a pastors effectiveness.  Has it ever, like in our modern consumer culture been a topic among laymen–one by which they choose a church and judge its viability?  It appears to me to be a recent cultural phenomena. Am I missing something?

    • Pastor Bryan

      Rather than it being a measure of vitality (though it can be – consider the 3000 and the 5000 in the Book of Acts) try thinking of the impetus for this discussion in this light… we have lost over 100,000 Churches in the last 10 years! And they close because no one is attending. If people were attending they would not be closed. Now of course the question of health can be, “Why are people not attending?” But nevertheless people are trying to sound an alarm – a Clarion Call – “The Churches are dying and closing; here are the statistics…”

      Probably the main reason Churches are closing is that they have turned into Churches providing services for the people who attend them rather than as outstations of mission to reach a dying world. Even our growing Churches are mostly growing through transfer – in other words they indirectly say, ‘Did you just move here? Come worship with us.” or “We have more to offer, come worship with us.” So, as for both the growing and the shrinking Churches, the culture has become non-Christian around them and they simply don’t know how to be missionaries.

      This is why our Church has teamed up with 3 other local Churches to start a local missionary society (for the Churches to take local missionary initiatives) and school of mission (to train Christian students at a local secular college how to do missions here in the US).
      I think that you can google it with “google sites freeschoolofmission”

      • Dr. Clayton

        By the way, your note that the US church has lost 100,000 churches in the last 10 years must be overstated, because there are only about 330,000 total churches in the US. Also, Eddie Gibbs notes in a recent book that presently there are more churches being planted in the US than at any other time in our history. If we are closing churches that are culturally out of step, and opening young and vibrant ones, maybe the future of the church is not so bleak…

      • Mar Komus

        The numbers given in Acts were given until they reached 5000. After that they stopped numbering.

        • Peter Mahoney

          True that actual numbers are not offered, but I would point out 2 things…

          First, typically only men were counted so it’s possible and maybe even probable that the “numbers” are actually greater. Second, if you read the Book of Acts you will notice that by chapter 6 the word “added” was no longer used. What took its place was the word “multiplied.”

          Any way you slice it, metrics were a part of measuring God’s movement in the culture… not the only one, but a big one for sure.

          • Mar Komus

            And?

            I’m still not sure I get what the implication of “numbers” is. Maybe you can tell me why it’s such a big deal. Because my default impression is that numbers are something a lot of pastors who are big sports fans use as a bit of a score card for their ministry that they use to compare with other pastors. Three most common questions pastors ask each other at conventions: 1) where are you 2) what’s your average 3) what’s your budget like. I also get the impression that pulling out the score card is a way to best another pastor with whom one has a disagreement. “How many people did you win to Christ this year? What’s your average weekly attendance on Sunday morning?” These all smack of pride.

            On a more minor point: the Greek at Ac 2:41 reads “souls”, so arguably that we’re only talking about the men here. We also see Luke–ever the “go to” guy when it comes to social issues–mention men AND women in several texts throughout the two volume Luke-Acts, though here, as stated, he uses “souls.” Probably to be inclusive of women? Can’t say for sure, but it wouldn’t be out of character for Luke.

          • f. J.

            To answer your question regarding many-a-pastors pre-occupation with numbers, I would say: Because healthy things tend to grow. Congregation size may well, as you say, be used as a score card and is surely a pride issue for some. I think, however, you pass an unfair judgement on most pastors when you make the assumption that a desire for growth (or even big numbers) is something nefarious. In fact, they may just be looking for signs of health.

          • jpf

            We are told to ‘forsake not the assembling of ourselves together’ , … so , when we see the numbers drop in those who are assembling together it may well indicate a drop in true believers . I agree that numbers should not be a factor in determining anything . Besides , if God doesn’t build it , then it’s in vain anyway , … so , big numbers don’t indicate a whole lot anyway . But still , faith comes by hearing the Word of God , … so , I would say that the numbers are dropping because there is a lack of preaching the whole counsel of the Word . The true success of a church is not that it is full , but that it is teaching and preaching the Truth , the whole Truth , and nothing but the Truth , and doing it in the love of the LORD !

      • SmithDoc

        perhaps you lost these churches because you built too many churches to begin with? or simply that the churches you built were aimed primarily at the an older generation, and the church focused on them because they had money. and now those older generations are infirm or dead, and can’t attend anymore?

    • toryshane

      Depends on your point of view. As a general rule quality of church attendance has always been preferred over quantity. But at time quantity has been the desired goal. For example the Great Awakenings that have occurred periodically in America have been dual natured with one facet being the genuine measure of faith and new converts and the other being the numbers of people in attending church meetings, revivals, etc.

      I for one am not really bothered by the “numbers” when you consider that numbers do not exist in a vacuum. Today in America we are a highly secularized nation with what amounts to an often open hostility towards religion. So that means that at least 20% of Americans are willing to walk through this firestorm of anti-religious fervor just to be in Church on Sunday. And 40% of Americans are willing to confess to a belief that is far from socially popular. That is very telling. What the church needs is not a change in message but rather a change in how the message is delivered not to mention a return to focus on discipleship in its purest form. I dont mean prayer circles and Sunday visitations but genuine honest human presences in the public sphere. Not just talking about God, Christ or the Church but living in an actionable and accountable way that commands attention and calls for emulation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/buck.fleming.7 Buck Fleming

      I am reading through 1 chronicles, and I think of the plague caused by the census. The problem is the more we talk about numbers and statistics, the more people feel like numbers and statistics.

      • Pastor sam

        Yes! Amen you said it my brother Godbless you

  • Eliz

    Errol Hale,
    Well as you may already know there is not really a correct way to observe such facts. But there are some techniques that can be used. Pastor James Macdonald has some good resources, as of late , The Vertical Church .. Its a book and he also has materials for church leaders.He is on tour right now, if you have the opportunity to attend. These materials are free for leaders who attend. Also Pastor Andy Stanley from North Point Communtiy church has a great variety of ways for the congregation to test themselves and if they openly wanted to share that with you or among themselves. It helps them understand themselves and moreover there attendance and commintment, not only as a church but to God. Look those up.. I hope and pray that this information serves you well..

  • Pastor Bryan

    I spent my whole day yesterday trying to find sources for statistics that I have heard at numerous Church planting conferences. This article turns out to be the best one I have read for revealing the disparity between what we all have seen and the Gallup and Barna numbers. And it gives sources; so, ‘Bravo!’ But the sourcing or annotation could still be improved. With good sources we can take these things up and present them at our conferences and our Churches – the message will multiply.

    Some of the stats I have been told include:

    – 87% of evangelical Churches spend 100% of their budgets internally on themselves.
    – Around 1990 the attrition rate for the faith of people who spent their teen years in youth group was about 46% but in 2010 it grew to about 82%.
    – We have seen a net loss of 100,000 Churches in a recent 10 year period.
    – We expect to see a net loss of another 100,000 Churches in the 10 years that follow.
    – There are less Christians and less Churches in every single county in the US in a recent 10 year period.
    – Church plants have a conversion growth rate of about 7% while established Churches have a conversion growth rate of less than a 1/2%.
    – 80% of our Churches are in plateau or decline but if you take a longer period the whole 80% are actually in decline.
    – Of the 20% that are growing 18 percentiles are through transfers while the remaining 2 percentiles are through conversion and these are mostly ethnic or immigrant Churches.

    I have heard these at various conferences – I would love sources for them if they are true. So by all means – please reply with any sources you may have. I have already looked at the Gallup and Census material.

    Thanks.

  • Pastor Bryan

    Observation:
    Regarding Number 4. Mid-sized churches are shrinking; the smallest and largest churches are growing. 1994 to 2004, the country’s smallest (attendance 1–49 – 16.4%) and largest churches (2,000-plus- 21.5%) did (Olson p. 52) see graph on page 52). This is greater than national population growth of 12.2%. But mid-sized churches (100–299 – avg size 124- declined 1%).

    Personal Note: Keep in mind that Churches that cease to exist cannot report – so smaller Churches naturally have their numbers skewed upwards.

    For Example: My District of my particular denomination has in the neighborhood of 20 of our 160+ Churches that we expect to close in the next 5 years and another 40 in the next 5 years after that. If 10 of our smaller Churches reverse trends (even temporarily) and grow by 15 people they will have a 50% growth rate (or more) and if 10 stay the same while 50 close – the research could show a 25% growth rate for Churches under 50!

    • Dr. Clayton

      And one wonders how many of the “mid-sized” churches are shrinking into the smaller size, thus also causing “growth” in the smaller category. In other words, if all the churches were loosing ground to the “mega church,” the smaller church category would still show a bump for awhile. Unfortunately, at the present time aproximately half of all Christians now attend a church that runs 2,000+.

    • Dalia

      Bla, bla, bla, numbers and percentages… Who cares!!!

  • Hermes Mercury

    Very even handed, Thank you. I’m only a visitor here. I am not Christian and have no interest in being — to quote a bromide — been there, done that, have the t-shirt (still, literally), but I appreciate the honesty and even handedness, it rarely exists in religious circles on something this divisive. For what its worth, I think that we will match Europe in religious observance within a few decades. The hatred and phobia evidenced by so many Christian leaders (even now in this election season) against “out groups” like gays will finish off the historic willingness to associate with any “orthodox” religious group among more and more youth — and that resistance to reality and learning will, I think come close to ending the faith, which is sad, because it has added much to humanity. I know that NONE of my son’s friends have remained in their parents’ churches (most who were religious were evangelical) and the most often cited reason is that they won’t tolerate bigotry against gays being dressed up as religion, they have gay friends (or in some cases, they are gay), some have become outright atheists, and I do not believe will be back, others have become “spiritual” which is something I’ve also seen with more liberal Muslims, and a few have made the leap to other faiths (primarily Wicca) I do not understand the self and other destructive impulse that many religious people have, but I recognize it. Unfortunately, sooner or later, and I think sooner, critical mass in the contraction will be reached, and it will sink to cult status, no matter how much growth some leaders think they can magically manage.

    Kind thoughts to all.

    • mytruejoy

      while the intolerance to other beliefs may be a small factor in church attendance declining…. I really think that’s a minor minor issue. The real issue is the intensely boring service in most churches. Even churches that are interactively involving (versus boring lecture based… “we sit, you talk at us”), eventually are transformed by power hungry leaders that demand a return to lecture based boredom.

      • toryshane

        I agree. Consider also that in places like Africa and China people of faith are growing because they understand what hardship is. In America we have become so self centered that any faith beyond faith in ourseles is difficult. This is true of religion or even faith in our loved ones. But it is only a cycle and in a few years it will change. Rememver that with Charles Darwin ther arose proclamations that the church would be dead soon. Every dry period gives way to what are called awakenings. Today is no different.

        • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

          Check some reliable statistics — the fastest growing segment of the population in the world are nonbelievers, non-affiliated and Atheists. And, it is the only segment that is growing faster than population growth. Also it is emblematic of advanced, egalitarian, democratic, educated and technologically advanced populations — i.e. the future.

          As for “…so self centered…” the growth so secular relief organization belies your faith…

    • toryshane

      Hermes, Thank you for your honesty. This is actual my first time here as well and if you dont mind, and indeed if those regular posters here dont mind I would like offer my insights. You say that you have been there and done that. I know exactly what you mean. But what I have discovered is that I only thought I had been there. After my son was born I began to revisit a lot of my old notions and came to the conclusion that while many of the were right, bad churches, hypocrisy, etc these were really only surface matters. I had never really been anywhere. I was in fact only at the periphery of a much larger experience, both social and spiritual but was held there by a combination of my own bias and by the very real failures of the church to make itself a place a refuge.

      “The hatred and phobia evidenced by so many Christian leaders (even now
      in this election season) against “out groups” like gays will finish off
      the historic willingness to associate with any “orthodox” religious
      group among more and more youth”

      What you say is a real problem both in its real world application an in a flawed perspective. I can only suggest that you look at the whole picture. You seem to focus on Christian hate but how do you feel about atheist groups that constantly sue people for even expressing their faith in public? How often does an honest Liberal openly condemn Christians in the broadest possible terms? This in no way means that Christians should be given a pass but like all things there are actions and there are counteractions. In this case for many years Liberal groups have been so vigorous in attacking traditional Christian values, calling Christians racist and hate mongers that a reaction rose up in the form of hard line evangelicals. In other words anti-Christian attacks have actually created the thing that the attackers hate so much. This is a failure on the part of the Church in confronting hate with truth but it is also a failure of our society in how much the ability to publically express our faith has been restricted. A case in point most recently is an attempt to prevent a theatrical play of Charlie Brown Christmas story because a local community was allowing public school buses to be used to transport attendees. It was the atheist group argued a violation of the separation clause. But I ask you in all honesty if religion must be separated from all things public then are you not in effect enslaving religion to the edicts of the state?

      “they won’t tolerate bigotry against gays being dressed up as religion”

      This is important. The fundamental question for me is this. IS being gay a choice or a matter of biology. I know that official answer for homosexuality but I believe differently. All sexuality is a matter of choice, we choose to engage in the act of sex, thus homosexual sex, heterosexual sex, incest, rape, pedophilia are all voluntary choices we make. Now let us look at biology. We are born (call it created or evolved, it doesn’t really matter) to procreate. Every facet of our biology in terms of sexuality is geared towards procreation and anything that does not serve that function against nature. Now what is against nature is not necessarily a bad thing. But in regards to homosexuality what has happened is that a minority have sought to simply end the discussion by rewriting the very nature of human biology and to do so they have used tactics like making it a civic right, which it really isn’t, or a human right, which is subjective or more often than not they seek to end any discussion by simply calling those who disagree with them bigots. Children are subjected to this in schools by a society that has no trouble calling their parents bigots if there is any deviation from what amounts to a political agenda.

      Now as for homosexuals as individual people. Their lifestyle is not one that I will even endorse but I will never openly condemn any individual because that serves no purpose and in fact does a lot of harm. I am happy to count homosexuals amongst my friends and if asked I am honest with them about my beliefs and feelings and ask that if they want me to respect them then they must likewise respect me. If there is to change on any side then that change must be organic and it must be honest and it must be met with an open heart. Not through forced legislation, show votes, or hostility. For me, as a heterosexual I understand that procreation is a natural state . I can choose not to have children, I can suffer from a condition that denies children but my sexual relationship is in accord with that basic premise of human life. So for me and here I may not be in the majority but I believe that scripturaly I am in line, but Homosexuality is no different from masturbation or sex for pleasure. A morally neutral act that can if allowed become a hindrance to fully realizing yourself as a person and that places greater emphasis on the self rather than on others. It is neither a natural act nor an inherently evil act.

      ” I do not understand the self and other destructive impulse that many religious people have, but I recognize it.”

      With all respect I dont think you do recognize it. Or at least you are so focused on seeing it in Christianity or religion in general that you fail to see it elsewhere. I can promise you that atheist, Wicca, Muslims, etc are all prone to the same moral failings as the best Christian.

      I will ask you to think about one thing. Forget for a moment the history of the church as a body politic. Forget about church scandals, forget about the people you have known who have clearly done much to damage your view on Christianity. Put it all aside and think about the message of Christ as it is, without commentary. Love thy neighbor, Do good works, Be humble, Don’t cast stones. Are these ideals worthy to teach your children? Would a society founded on these ideals be more worthy than the society we have today with so much vice, so many murders, so much ego?

      If you walked into a church and found these ideals in action would you walk out in disgust?

      This is what real Christianity means. Homosexuality, among other things is a hot topic today but in reality it is the same old issue of self versus others. Will we define ourselves through sex acts or will we define ourselves as something more? Will we be self possessed or will we live for others?

      • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

        “But I ask you in all honesty if religion must be separated from all
        things public then are you not in effect enslaving religion to the
        edicts of the state?” — We live in the first overtly secular state ever created. Government resources should not be used for the benefit of any religious organization. In my experience the Atheists among us have been very tolerant for very long but now that we are asserting our rights the Christians feel it is taking away from what has until recently a free ride. Religious intolerance did not start with “liberals” but with the churches and it went on for thousands of years. Soon religious organizations will have to be tested to get not-for-profit tax exempt status — that is when we will find out how many of the churches are con jobs and how many are for real…

        • toryshane

          Government resources are not used to benefit any religion. Rather religion is not asked to yield to the government. It is no different than other exemptions for various reasons, from non-profits, to senior citizens.

          We dont actually live in the first secualr society ever created. There is strong evidence to support that the Huns initially had no religion. And of course there is no disputing the fact that Communist states are secular. What they all have in common is that they crushed the individual will of the people, criminalized personal faith and ultimately failed. Pure secularism does not have a great track record.

          ” In my experience the Atheists among us have been very tolerant for very
          long but now that we are asserting our rights the Christians feel it is
          taking away from what has until recently a free ride.”

          This is a fallacious argument. Let me explain. No atheist is harmed by the ringing of a church bell. Yet atheists frequently sue to have church bells silences… No atheist is harmed by the presence of a cross and yet athiests frequently sue to have crosses removed from public view. No Athiest is harmed by the presence of a traditional nativity and yet they sue every year to have them removed. Further, church bells, crosses, nativity scenes, even the ten commandment in courthouses are not in any way, shape or form an endorsement of religion. They are merely a recognition of religious traditions. Liberals try to contort this into something it is not.

          “Religious intolerance did not start with “liberals” but with the churches and it went on for thousands of years.”

          Another fallacious argument. Intolerance exists everywhere. From secular forms to religious ones. What is the difference? Religion, and here I am referring to all religions, have historically placed emphasis on service to mankind. During the Christian expansion through Europe the old pagan cults may have been violently suppressed, but we tend to forget that Christianity was also eagerly embraced by many because it offered something less violent and less dependent on the capriciousness of sacrifice. For every individual harmed by the church there was an individual liberated by the church. Look at the eagerness with which the Vikings embraced Christianity. It offered a less violent way of life, one not so dependent on amassing treasure, which meant risking ones life every year in raids.

          It would be correct to say that the very idea of individual worth exists because of Christianity. Without it the individual would not matter. There would be no freedom, no inherent uniqueness at all.

          “Soon religious organizations will have to be tested to get not-for-profit tax exempt status”

          Give a good reason why? By what measure would we use? This poses a real problem simply because the decision would be arbitrary and couple be used to suppress a religion you don’t agree with. Atheists are wrong and I believe that in being wrong the more militant of them actually pose a real threat and yet I would never advocate a test for a persons commitment to atheism.

          “that is when we will find out how many of the churches are con jobs and how many are for real…”

          You don’t want to find out anything. I wager that you already assume that all churches are “con jobs” and any church that comes to you for this test would fail. I doubt you would call for a voting test to ensure that a voter shoudl be allowed to vote? So why would you support a religious test to ensure that a person is properly religious as defined by you?

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            Oh yes, the world famous Christian tolerance of others… wonder how the Muslims felt when in 2004, the Al-Islah Mosque in Hamtramck, Michigan, asked for permission to broadcast its call to prayer (like church bells). How do you think the ever loving, tolerant Christians reacted?
            You are wrong about the Huns — read something more than just Christian sponsored “history”.

            So you’re fine with displaying verses from the Koran or Rig Veda in our court houses? They would also not be “in any way, shape or form an endorsement of religion”, right?

            “…Vikings embraced Christianity.” — ah yes, I remember, the peace loving, intellectual, tolerant, never hurt a fly Vikings. You make your points well.

            “Give a good reason why?” — today all religious organizations are exempt from testing for qualifying as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)status. I see no rational reason to treat religious organizations any differently than any other business or nonprofit.

            I know all superstition is a con job but I would like to find out which religious organizations are run for profit and which qualify as charities. If it’s a business than it should be taxed like one — I feel no need to support somebody’s folly.

            Since as this article points out the number of active religious people is dwindling and the number of non-religious people is rising (over 20% in America today, should be over 50% by 2050) all over the world the religious hegemony held for thousands of years by the likes of the Christian church and others is collapsing — maybe that’s why you seem so uncomfortable — the world does not want to pay for your superstition anymore.

          • toryshane

            I wonder if you even pay attention to what you post. You would defend secular tolerance by first openly mocking Christianity. I find that very sad and very telling of your agenda here. I wonder why you immediately mentioned a failing of Christianity and yet did not bother once to talk about the failings of the secular communist states I also mentioned unless your desire is nothing more than to espouse your own bias and hatreds hidden behind false compassion.

            So lets look briefly at history. Both Islam and Christianity have committed violent acts. And yet you only talk about Christianity. Would you victimize an equal partner is violence?

            “So you’re fine with displaying verses from the Koran or Rig Veda in our
            court houses? They would also not be “in any way, shape or form an
            endorsement of religion”, right?”

            Sure. If the verse in question was pertinent to the legal traditions of America then I am fine with it. And no this would not be an endorsement of any religion. I appreciate cultural traditions and don’t seek to openly attack them.

            “”…Vikings embraced Christianity.” — ah yes, I remember, the peace
            loving, intellectual, tolerant, never hurt a fly Vikings. You make your
            points well.”

            You clearly have little understanding of the history of Viking culture. I wonder if you know that the Rus, actually of their own accord sought emissaries from world religions and listened to each of them openly. They chose to embrace the Christian faith and thus ended the period of extreme violence that had been common to Viking culture. By today’s standards they were still violent. But I don’t think you comprehend just how bleak the world was for a pre-Christian Viking.

            “I know all superstition is a con job but I would like to find out which
            religious organizations are run for profit and which qualify as
            charities.”

            And here again is your bias on display. You would weigh a faith on a scale that you arbitrarily assign a counter balance. To you all faith is superstition and thus a con job and thus can never weigh up to yoru standards.

            “Since as this article points out the number of active religious people
            is dwindling and the number of non-religious people is rising”

            This is unfortunate but consider this, all things change, things lose popularity and they grow in popularity. In Russia under Soviet Rule there was little embrace of religion in the open. After the fall there was a sharp increase in religious fervor for almost two decades and then it began to slowly recede again. The Church in American is on decline, but the Church in China is growing. In South America religion is going very strong.

            “maybe that’s why you seem so uncomfortable — the world does not want to pay for your superstition anymore.”

            And yet again the hatred. I believe you feel safe to say these things because of the anonymity of the internet but I doubt you would be so spiteful to a co worker or neighbor. For this reason I actually have pity for you. I am not in the least uncomfortable because my faith is much stronger than you desire to tear it down. But if you want a secular answer as to why I am not in the least uncomfortable then here it is. If Christianity is right then the rise of secularism is not important, and in fact is even promised. There has never been a promise of Christian state. If organized Religion is correct then I have nothing to worry about because what passes will come again as history has shown time and time again. If atheists are correct than none of it matter to begin with. In short if what I believe to be right is right then truth will always win out, even when it seems to diminish. But more importantly for me to be right I have only to be a good person, believe, and try my best to live a life based on these principles of helping others, being compassionate and doing what is right. You on the other hand seem to need to validate yourself and your belief that I am only superstitious by mocking attacks and attempts at ridicule. This makes you a small person. I may very well be wrong. But I am still bigger than you because I do not seek to destroy anything.

            “the world does not want to pay for your superstition anymore.”

            You wont understand this and you wont believe it, and no doubt you will try to find some way to offer more ridicule but I can promise you the world will pay a much higher price for what you believe. In fact the world has paid this price time and time again. And I don’t mean a world without Christianity. I mean a world with no faith of any kind. That is a world far worse than any medieval image of Hell.

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            “I believe you feel safe to say these things because of the anonymity of the internet…” — I have no qualms expressing my views openly in any work or social setting. My daughter is founder of the Atheist Club at her high school and I’m a member of NAP and American Atheist. And it is not hate but a statement of fact — religions are by definition superstition and they should be treated like any other business or nonprofit.

            “You would defend secular tolerance…” — I don’t think I have — that’s an assumption you made. I just don’t think it deserves special treatment…

            “embrace the Christian faith and thus ended the period of extreme violence” — oh, you mean the pacifist history of Europe under Christian rule that was later exported to the rest of the world. Yeah, the Africans, Indigenous Americans and Australians are all so grateful for all that Christian love you put on them…

            Come on lets get real all the Abrahamic religions are some of the most intolerant, violent and hateful humanity has ever come up with. The whole thing starts with attempted infanticide ordered by your so called God, than multiple genocides by order by the same loving being, 10 commandments of which the first 4 are declarations of intolerance, another sacrificial infanticide and than brutal conquest and conversion by Christianity and Islam. Lets also not forget the bloody internal squabbling over liturgical minutia that still goes on to this day. Oh yeah, almost forgot — continual suppression of social and economic progress.

            Sorry Bubba, but the scale by any reasonable account of history or even current activity does not tilt in your favor. But that’s fine with me, I’m don’t personally care what you do in the privacy of your house or gathering place as long as it is within our legal system. I simply don’t think religious organizations have earned any special treatment.

            ” I can promise you the world will pay a much higher price for what you believe.” — you should not make promises based on superstition. Religion has been part of the human experience at least since homo sapiens learned to speak. When we were primitive and couldn’t figure out how things worked it served a real purpose — it gave people a sense, although unwarranted, of security and control over a world they had no hope of understanding. We need this less and less not because we know everything but we are as a species becoming mature enough to face the world as it really is. It’s like when you realized your belief in Santa Clause was just some elaborate farce — no difference.

          • toryshane

            I really do pity you. There is so much hate in what you say and the way you say it. Everything you have said shows intolerance.

            “Come on lets get real all the Abrahamic religions are some of the most
            intolerant, violent and hateful humanity has ever come up with.”

            Here is why you are mistaken. You could have put some context perhaps mentioned the mass blood sacrifice of the Aztec or the millions dead in secular communist camps but instead you want to focus only on Christianity. You are not really an atheist. You are an anti-Christian. This places you in the same camp as White Supremacists, Black Panthers, Nazis, etc, all groups that based their value system on hatred of some other group.

            By your own statement Christians represent the most violent religion in history, a con job, mind control,primitive, genocidal, even equating it to Santa Claus. These are not unbiased statements, they are hateful rhetoric that require a person to look only at one side and not look a whole picture.

            “We need this less and less not because we know everything but we are as a
            species becoming mature enough to face the world as it really is.”

            Tell us then why as secularism rises do we not see fewer wars? War has nothing to do with religion or secularism. It is the invention of mankind an as such will always be used. Yet Atheists see their world view as one of liberation from all violence and myth. Tell me, does a dead man care if his death came from an atheist or a Christian soldier?

            Or look at it this way, in war Christians have managed to find small ways to show compassion. John McCain had his bonds loosened by a Vietnamese prison guard who was a Christian. During the Civil War, when almost all soldiers were devout Christians enemies stopped fighting on several occasions to help one another, to sing songs, frequently hymns even to trade medical supplies. The same thing happened during WW1 when Germans began to sing the Christian songs like Silent Night. During WW2 Christian Chaplains were active in helping the poor of recently liberate countries. Europe was literally rebuilt on the backs of Christian initiatives. There have been no similar secular displays of peace and good will to all men. Perhaps this is only because secularism is so young but you cant deny the value of Christianity in these and so many other efforts. Though I suspect that you will do just this.

            “Yeah, the Africans, Indigenous Americans and Australians are all so grateful for all that Christian love you put on them..”

            And yet these groups once freed form any formal religious control have still fully embraced Christianity. Often they have taken the best of their cultural beliefs and mingled them with Christianity in surprising and amazing ways. I wonder if you have ever been to a black church on Sunday? Or seen an Indian reservation where Christian churches are a fundamental part of the community. You see, unlike you some people can separate the bad from the good.

            Now, before we continue, and I would be happy to do so But you must stop being so hateful and so eager to mock. There is no gain in it and I have no use in debating anyone who refuses to accept even the possible value of another argument. I don’t argue with closed doors and I will not continue to discuss with you.

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            BTW — the “embracing” of Christianity by Africans, Native Americans and Australians is not a testament to the value of Christianity but to the genocidal brutality, dogmatic efficiency and unforgiving nature of Christian conversion driven by the Christian/European Nations unrelenting greed and conviction of divine guidance and supremacy. Had Europeans been lucky enough to have had Constantine reject Christianity we would probably be about 1000 years ahead in scientific progress and many parts of the world would not have gone through the suffering we have placed upon them.

          • toryshane

            Here I will end further conversation with you. The above statement is perhaps the most biased, bigoted hateful statement I have heard in a long time. You manage to discount all the good done by Christianity, blindly refuse to acknowledge that much of western science is owed to the spirit of seeking that is the halmark of Christianity and to top it off discount the very real faith of millions of Africans, black Americans, Indians, ets as if they lack the intellectual capacity to make their own choices, as if today, with complete freedom to choose they are nothing more than idiot slaves to imaginary religious masters. Visit any black church,one founded in the hope provided in Christ of liberation even in the face of slavery, a hope that was non existant in traditional African religions, and tell them the Christ they follow, the hymns they sing in praise, the things they have overcome is a meaningless myth to which they are nothing more than intellectual chattel. Tell the doctor who just cured AIDS in a child, a doctor who places science secondary to her Christian faith that her prayers for guidence were empty, tell that to the child she saved. You see only the failings while rejecting the successes and until you learn to overcome the bigotry you hide with your athiesm then you will remain a very hollow man. For this I pity you because you make yourself pitiable. I really do hope that in time you open yourself up to something beyond your own ego and narrow worldview. But until then I am very sorry to say, your lack of respect, your lack of open mindedness, your narrowness makes you unworthy for me to further deal.

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            Biased is as biased does — you just don’t like it when facts are put in front of you plain and simple. There are plenty of good Hindus, Muslims, Shintos, Animists, Wicca and Christians but it has nothing to do with their faith. The only reason you are a Christian is because you were taught that way. Born in India you would be Hindu, in Japan Buddhist, Iran Muslim, etc, etc. And guess what? — you would still be the same person. If you’re good you would be a good Muslim, Hindu, etc. If you’re an SOB your religion wouldn’t matter — it’s an arbitrary social/geographical/family accident.

            As for all the Christian scientists from Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, Newton, Descartes, Pasture, Curie, etc — what choice did they have but to be Christian? Even than if their findings, how ever true, disagreed with Christian dogma of the time they would face exile, torture or even death. Copernicus, a very pious priest, didn’t publish his revolutionary (pun intended) book until he was on his death bed because he so feared his fellow Christians.

            “…hope that was non existent in traditional African religions…” — shows how little you know. They tried to hold on to their religion but whips and the threat of hanging can be very persuasive and all that uniqueness, the singing, responding, the display of personal passion you see at a African American church — has nothing to do with your Near Eastern, authoritarian, dessert religion — that’s their African faith still holding on.

            “…as if today, with complete freedom to choose…” — many Native Americans are making that choice today and leaving Christianity. Many Lithuanians, the last country in Europe to be baptized in 1386, are returning to their Earth friendly pagan faith and over 50% of Europeans have left the Church and even faith itself — and are much happier for it. But as I said before — your religion in most cases is an arbitrary social/geographical/family accident. Remember all newborns are Atheists.

            Yeah, I figured at some point you would start calling me names because you ran out of rational arguments.

          • Joecool

            Um dude, if you only believe something just because you’re from that region and following your culture, that means you don’t think critically and are gullible. And all of your attacks on Christianity has nothing to do whether God is real or not.

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            So the majority of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Shinto, etc, etc were not born into their faith and are critical thinkers, right? It’s just a coincidence that 98% of people born into a faith never bother to change it, right?

            Talk about a lack of critical thinking… LOL

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            “Now, I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion and organized religion. Absolutely convinced of that. And I think it should be—religion—treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt. And I claim that right. So when I say—as the subtitle of my book—that I think religion poisons everything, I’m not just doing what publishers like and coming up with a provocative subtitle. I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says we can’t be moral without ‘Big Brother,’ without a totalitarian permission, means we can’t be good to one another without this, we must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone whom we fear—the essence of sadomasochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the master-slave relationship and that knows that death is coming and can’t wait to bring it on. I say that is evil, and though I do, some nights, stay home, I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and ultimate stupidity.” — Christopher Hitchens

          • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

            I guess they don’t want links in the post. This one I posted earlier:

            ” but instead you want to focus only on Christianity” — nope, I said Abrahamic religions, all of them.

            “equating it to Santa Claus. These are not unbiased statements, they are hateful rhetoric” — how is that hateful? Santa is a nice guy, fictitious but nice. All religions, I would like to emphasis the word ALL since you seem to ignore it in my previous statements, are superstitions and believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Baba Yaga, etc is no different than believing in Allah, Shiva, Jehovah, etc. All belief systems are equally valid, right? I mean you are not going to tell me that just because you believe something it is a better belief system than say Shinto or Buddhism? On the other hand if you would that would be so Christian of you ;-)

            “Tell us then why as secularism rises do we not see fewer wars?” — check your data — “The statistics suggest that this may be the most peaceable time in our species’s existence.” — STEVEN PINKER you can check out his article Violence Vanquished in the Wall Street Journal and also his book filled with data called “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”

            I don’t see my argument as hateful, I don’t hate Christians or in fact
            any other group and I judge individuals as such regardless of their
            beliefs, ethnicity, etc. Calling Christianity a superstition is equally
            valid as calling Shinto, Wicca or the worship of Odin as such. I’m not
            saying Christians are bad, most that I have met are good people. But, as a way of organizing and motivating people religion (all religions} has
            run its course and is now a hindrance to humanity’s progress. The
            Abrahamic religions because they are in their inception political rather
            than spiritual entities are particularly noxious and lead to all kinds
            of reprehensible behavior.

  • mytruejoy

    I just came from a church service in a mid-sized church. It was so boring that I’m not sure I’ll go back. The hymns were very old fashioned, with no energy, and the sermon had no humor, and was too long. The most eye-opening concept is that I’m 62 ! Do you realize how boring most youth would have found these services? The other part that’s so hard to wrap my head around is that I and Billions like me have an intense longing to experience the presence of Christ in the Church. Why not an interactive discussion group & more Christ bringing music instead of such a boring lecture based presentation. Is the present type of church service Satan’s way of destroying our hope to relate to God in a real way?
    The problem in the churches is the upper management who can’t change.

    • Peter Mahoney

      Not to judge or be critical… but as a pastor I would ask you to consider that the issues you mention may have more to do with you then the service you attended. How can anyone be “bored” when worshiping the God of the universe who payed the ransom for your salvation? Old music… new music… God’s Word being preached… how can any of that be boring.

      The “consumer” mentality among church goers is both silly and scary. I don’t go to church to get something, I go to be a “living sacrifice” and to worship and praise my God.

      • josenigeria…

        well, i suspect that you suppose the church to be just for a hard-to-find revived soul like you. on the contrary, the church is a place meant for the cure of the bored, the sick, the despondent, the mourners, the dying,etc. how can you present Christ or His message in low keys and hope to be patronized? i anticipate that every church should be sensitive to the “nature of market of souls” before it. may be we need to also learn from the way the enemy of the church is doing it to record more wins than we do!

        • mytruejoy

          The problem for the church is that traditional boring comfortable and without real change is more important than the Kingdom of Heaven Within.

      • Hartch

        Because most churches are irrelevant. Christianity is Jewish. Start studying the Moeds, the Hebrew calender, prophecies for the mature. Every Christian male I know will nt attend church. Our church is our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, not fellow Starbucks and Dunkin Donut lovers.

      • Tanis MacInsky

        it’s true it’s not a product that we are “buying”,,,but at the same time, we KNOW that people do not learn and retain well from lectures. that’s why Christ used parables and spoke in natural surroundings, addressing the real issues of the time and the challenges of life.

        people crave a message that is important to them and draws them closer to God. they crave a purpose and reason to get out of bed. it has little to do with the music or the message, it has to do with whether or not they feel like the church is relevant to their lives and bringing about personal and community changes for the better.

        how about talking about things that matter most to people? Money, relationships, jobs, politics, SIN….

        most churches i know will not dare to actually call sin out for what it is, and push people towards holy living. most churches think they are somehow separate from political concerns.

        we should be marching on a weekly basis to support our brothers and sisters in the mid east and all over the world that are being beheaded and tortured on our tax dollar!!!!

        but no…lets turn to blha blahblahabllh and learn about hmmmmmmm zzzzzzz

        ok lets sing ” i am sad and i am needy “24x’s….followed by “god is goood god is great” x’s 6 with an awesome guitar solo.

        ho hum

        thx but time is short and this is a waste

    • Hersh, or is it Harsh

      I agree that we can do a better job…. If it’s just about hearing the blood of Christ preach I could stay at home and play my cassette player sermons. There’s a balance somewhere between being “entertained” and being over-joyed at church. Also, let’s be honest… some days I’m moody and impossible to “please” and other days Leadership/Pastor does a lousy job. I’ve sat in a church and heard (Parable “C”) preached by someone who brought it to life and another Pastor/church who seemed bored at having to preach again…. Enthusiasm in the pulpit can make a difference!

      • mytruejoy

        I appreciate your comment, Hersh. Still, the problem isn’t the power of the sermon, it’s that lecture based services, education, business management… is inherently dis-empowering for those that have to just sit and listen. I wonder if ministerial colleges even teach non- lecture based spreading of the word of God??? Thank you Hersh.

    • mytruejoy

      I’m making a reply to my own comment because of all the replies to it. Most churches ares boring to most people. It’s a fact. The infilling of the Holy Spirit is real and can be often experienced. Billions desperately desire on at least some level, communion with God (I’m not talking about just crackers and grape juice). Any business that has billions of potential customers desperately seeking a product that it can easily provide would completely dominate the market. So the conclusion by those that seek the Truth (He is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Light) more than just comfortably doing services the same old way (lecture based and old music boredom)… is serving the purposes of the Devil (the great Deceiver). People that don’t know how to do more than just talk and talk and talk in front of others must not have experienced God. It’s just all “TALK”.

    • Jill

      Become a member and make the change. Many persons want the church to operate like the world. It can’t happen. God has placed enmity between the CHURCH and satan..

  • tedstur

    Three years our family began a house church with a few friends. We now have four house churches that meet as a network. We do not turn up on any of these statistical studies because of the nature of our “non-institutional” structure. I would encourage anybody who feels that church is boring to just start one. Grab a few friends and spend some time praying about it. There are lots of resources available on what you can do – the opportunities are limitless. It’s a ton more fun than sitting in an auditorium and calling that community. I have never loved church more than I do now.

    • Tom

      Because “fun” is what its all about right?

      • mytruejoy

        No, it’s because boredom is what it is NOT all about.

    • mytruejoy

      This sounds wonderful!!

  • debra

    I tried church. What I found was a crummy bad rock show, a lot of hands waving (why? Do they think God won’t notice them?) and young pastors who think they are THE chosen ones from God Himself, with ego to match. Oh, and they want money. And numbers. Once they have the person’s name on their list they no longer care if you go back. I found it outlandish, loud, everything BUT God’s presense. You guys can have it. I am done.

    • Ryan

      I don’t go to church either, any more. I grew sick of the big production every week… grew sick of working it. I didn’t leave God though and of course He’s promised not to leave me. I pray and I read my bible still after 3 years. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, He’s still pushing me to holiness, not that I feel like I’m getting very far very fast. I have my bad days. I found Christianity can be free in more ways than one. I’m not all that social so church doesn’t fit me personality wise.

      • dndgaddy

        Why did Christ die for the church and Heb.10 say not forsake assemblying together if church attendance isn’t important?

        • Ryan

          Hey! I come to this site almost daily just to read what’s on people’s minds. Yea, I know it’s not exactly church as it ever existed before. We’re not hear all together all at once… But it works! Praise God!

  • papo1957

    End of Church Age & Beginning of the Kingdom Age

  • Dave Ekstrom

    This is somewhat misleading. The 17.7% figure refers to how many people are in church “any given Sunday.” How do we define “regular attendance”? While I think that everyone ought to be in church every Lord’s Day, the fact is that many attend about 2 weeks a month. I would still count that as regular attendance. That would bring Olson’s figures in line with the other polls. Plus the population is growing very quickly and it’s true that Evangelical growth isn’t keeping up. But that’s not the same as saying it’s declining. That mainline churches are in decline is no concern to me. If they can’t be faithful to the Scripture, they don’t deserve to exist.

    • PNut67

      “….every Lord’s Day”….every day on the calender, all 365 of them, ever since man began measuring time, are ALL His, because the very first book of the Bible tell how He created all SEVEN of them. You can worship 24/7/365…as a matter of fact, you SHOULD ALWAYS, be in communication with God…. that’s why He created you, I, & us.

  • http://johndobbs.com John Dobbs

    I find this disheartening. I fail to see how starting a million new churches (that will ultimately become old churches doing things the same old ways) is the big solution. And for those who have such disparaging views of the ‘boring’ church services … I have to wonder how much of yourself you have poured into worshiping God? We are not going to a circus … nor are we trying to engage God for one hour a week. If this is not part of the flow of worship, study, fellowship, prayer that takes place throughout the week, then no one can make that one hour interesting enough for you. If a preacher is boring (and haven’t all preachers been boring at times?) can you look for the spark of his message in the Word? He/she are humans – not celebrities. They are not reading from a script that’s been audience tested, but a message from the Word. Yes, there are preachers who’ve grown so discouraged that maybe they’re not putting much into it. But I find the complaints about old preachers and old songs to be the whining of brats who want the show to be better. Perhaps that’s why some have quit attending. They tired of the monkey’s performance and seek a better circus. I’m sure they can find one. And when that one bores them … I hope they will return from the wells with no water to the living well Jesus Christ … and a daily relationship with him that helps one find spiritual refreshment in places the worldly eye views as dusty and stale.

    • mytruejoy

      In response to your comments “much of yourself you have poured into worshiping God?”… Actually I pray and focus on God’s will at least an hour every day. I’ve read the bible cover to cover many times (especially the words of Christ). I pay out of my own pocket, and do the shopping and food preparation… for kids church snacks, so they will have fresh fruit, vegetables, good cheeses (not American,etc.). etc. I do this for the kids because those pillars of the traditional church were insisting on feeding them cookies, candy, sugared and artificial drinks, etc… and then complaining because of their being hyper I help with the kids lessons and afterwards spend time asking them (AND LISTENING MOSTLY!!!!!!!!)… about if they exercise, pray, eat healthy foods, if they need help with math and science (which I’m good at), etc. It’s because I actually love them and don’t just look upon them as numbers and followers of doctrine. I encourage them in contemporary christian music and singing, as that will keep them in church. Too many quit and don’t come back because it is often like their schools, only lecture based and boring. I want it as exciting for them as the Holy Spirit of God is for me. Ministers, staff, elders, etc. work so hard for God. But if they can’t adapt to changing needs of the congregation in delivering that opportunity to be close to our Creator, then what good are they doing??

  • Mar Komus

    Define “Church.”

    • PNut67

      UMMMMMM….OKAY….I can do that….church is where 2 or more people are talking about God and agreeing…..Looking & shifting thru ALL the posts on here….THIS is church right now….so if you don’t wanna be labeled in with the “Holy Rollers”…you atheists, as being church going like them… you better not post on here anymore… because He is watching…..funny how followers of GOD are ALWAYS gonna get the last laff….although in the end… things aint gonna be too funny.

  • ben

    Hi Saints of Our Lord Jesus and His work on the cross.I love reading the letters that have been posted and listen to other saints o pion which i Believe we have a right to have. as human being. I have many faults one of them is laziness. The topic, going to church, as a child many moons ago Sunday was a festive day, we got up got dressed went to church and came home had lunch neighbors came over to visit each other. because of the t.v. and televangelism. I haven’t far to go I do not have to get up get washed get dressed, I just have to do is turn on the T.V. . However the Jesus who died on the cross is the same Jesus who is I am and His is still the head don’t you agree just because we do not see what he is doing so what He is doing it. Church attendance isn’t what it used to be, why people have been lied to robbed of there hope, in this day and age. Just think it took the romans 1000 years to get to we are in 250 years. mortally speaking we are at the bottom and getting worse, why it is the sign of the times. May we who hold on to Faith in Christ be blessed. Ben

  • Olive

    Hi just reading and see your name is Fleming. I live in Ireland and I go back to the settling of the lace makers in co Wexford in the 17th century THEY CAME FROM FLANDERS, A PLACE BETWEEN HOLLAND AND BELGEUM. Also they were banner or pale bearers with Lord Braboxon, the lord of Meath and Wicklow. who was given estates in Ireland from Queen Elizabeth 1st. We also came in through northern Ireland during the persecutions of christian peoples.you may be interested as this is the year of the Gathering, I know we are all gathering for Jesus the KING but you may be interested in this little bit of info. Olive.

  • humptydumpty

    I personally think there are many more people who have their own relationship with the Lord than can be added together by a few bean counters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/george.gallant.733 George Gallant

    First of all the Church is the People NOT building as many pastors preach.

    Matthew 18:20 (NASB95)

    20
    “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

    This is the meeting of the true church.

  • ddo2013

    True Christians already understand that poll numbers have been grossly exaggerated. The statistics say that 70% of people in US profess to be Christian. I suspect the number to be closer to 33%. It’s one thing to call yourself a Christian; it’s a totally different thing to be a born-again Christian.

  • Timbo Fowler

    Where’s the map?

  • SLD4CRST

    As a young church planter I can tell you there is no lack of people who are searching. There is a clear lack of people reaching and teaching in a relevant and real way. I came from a church that despised young people. It ran nearly 400 people. When the youth group exploded to over 100 they were mortified. They told us to stop busing in “those kinds” of kids. Nearly 5 years later they have less than 10 teenagers, a dozen kids, and no young adults. This mentality is alive and well in the modern church and it is destroying a whole generation. Ministers/boards desperate to hold onto control drive out vision and passion. Those who were unfortunate enough to stumble into one of these churches may never give God’s house a second chance. My prayer is for God to correct these churches or let them die. More than that I pray for passionate, visionary leaders to reach the huge populace desperate for hope. They are there, and they are looking. Are we loving and seeking?

    • PNut67

      This I can believe. We have a church in the “Bible Belt” which at one time when I was a young adult, had over 250 members. This is a church that was established in 1861! When I started attending, it was back in the 1950’s, when we “re-opened” the doors due to it being shut down due to the depression in the 1930’s. Anyways, fast forward to the latter decades of the 20th century, and the first of the 21st…we have had 3 …THREE pastors in over a 30 yr period now…..NONE of them are doing or have done ANYTHING to bring in the kids OR the young adults who are just starting families. If this trend is conducive to MOST of the SBC and other Christian and Catholic denominations….its NO WONDER church attendance is FAILING! They WONT COME if you don’t give them a reason to come…HELLLLOOO!!!! DUH!!! UNFORTUNATELY… the YOUNGER ADULT members blame it on the “old fogies” such as myself….because THEY say WE are resistant to change…..HOGWASH!!!! I say!!!! I’m all about if there is a newer, better way to evangelize to an unchurched people, the only thing we can do is try it once…If it don’t work, let’s listen to the next person’s idea…because Jesus Himself DID SAY…go unto all the world, preaching the Gospel!

  • Jill

    Why more women attend church than men? I would really like to know

  • Buel Stewart

    We are told in the Bible that in the last days there will be mockers of God, blasphemers of all kinds, false christs, false teachers, etc. As believers we shouldn’t be alarmed by the vociferous accusations of Godless people. People will fall into all kinds of false doctrines and even making up some on their own. But we can take heart in knowing God is still on the throne and there is only a handful of prophecies left to be fulfilled, one of those is the great apostasy, a great falling away from the faith. There are those who are giving up on their Christian attitudes and following the world. Today’s technology has produced thousands of new idols in society.

    • Greg

      Buel, people like you say to take the Bible at face value. If you do that, it seems like Jesus certainly implied he was coming back within the life spans of those still alive at the time. His disciples also clearly took it that way, and Paul even urged people not to marry because Jesus was coming at any moment. How is Jesus then not a false prophet, and in view of it, why should anything said by or attributed to Jesus be trusted? The Bible itself says not to follow false prophets.

      • JM

        I wrote it before why do many people feel threaten by Jesus Chris, God and the bible there must be something too it, again if you don’t believe you don’t but I am thankful I will see my loved ones again and live in a glorious place with my Savior.

  • Mark

    Church has, unfortunately, become largely irrelevant – through its own fault. People are no longer willing to believe literally in the Bible, and churches largely have not offered alternative theology.

  • Name

    I am told that I “have to believe.” The question is: Why do I have to believe in Jesus? There is no proof of a Jesus, there is no proof of god. And certainly I am not going to believe just because you tell me to. And to have faith, means you have stopped thinking and become blind and deaf….and refuse to act like a Grown Up. Little five year old kids “believe” in Santa Claus, because adults lie and make such stories us. The original Santa Claus stories were created myths to make children “behave” well….it was kind of an emotional blackmail, a threat, and extortion used on children, and highly dishonest. There is no difference between belief in Santa Claus and Jesus. Both are myths.
    And where is hell? What’s the address? If you are going to threaten us with “hell” shouldn’t you at least know where it is? Then, there is the problem of “god’s love.” God is supposed to be our “loving father”….except the Real Fathers that I know of would not let their children run in the street to be hit by a car….ergo, your imaginary god and impotent surrogate Father allows all kinds of horrors, murders, rapes, robberies, wars, and abuse against innocent children.
    But, yet, I am to believe in this imaginary god, who cannot do anything, or won’t do anything WHY? After all, according to the old Jewish rabbis who “created” a history for the Jews and a religion based on previous religions, god created evil…which I find morally impossible for me to believe in.
    You believe because most of you were brainwashed as children; live in fear; or are, as Albert Einstein said, believers are simply just “weak people”….who cannot figure out reality, and are scared to death of living in a real world. Atheism is the fastest growing philosophy, because the entire “jesus and god myths” are just that…proven myths. Not one single “original” (key word) Christian text or even a scribbling somewhere, exists before the 4th century AD. Christianity was created by the efforts of Pagan Emperor Constantine for administrative and financial reasons: Rome needed a church tax, the income of which would be used to fight Rome’s expanding wars and move the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinope (which Constantine did).
    Many people are now aware of the “reality” of Christianity and that it is a myth, a forgery, a fraud, and a hoax…and just down right silly. People are good without god, and to attack Atheists means you also have to attack and then morally refuse to use anything Atheist Scientists, Researchers, and Doctors have invented and created….which is just about everything you use: Electricity, computers, modern medicine, etc.
    Its time to GROW UP…and leave such silly myths of religion behind. Religion was used in times past to explain things, which is what Science does today. Religion is not needed, and furthermore it is a Big Fat Lie. ‘
    The very worse part about Christianity are the Liars for Christ, especially the twits on the American Family Radio station who not only LIE their faces off, but suppress truth and reality, and then SELL Jesus products, and Sell the Impossible. And we know this because Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have collectively 2000 years of practice that:
    NOTHING FAILS LIKE PRAYER…its time to grow up and start thinking, using reality to solve real problems, using real solutions.

    • Plumbrman

      Name, There is more proof of Jesus Christ and his ministry than proof of Socrates or many other ancient writers.

    • JM

      As far as being made to believe, we can no be made to believe. We believe in many things we don’t see with our own eyes, so proof, I am told I have a heart, kidneys, lungs but I have never held them in my hands or seen them, I am told there is a place called Egypt, but I have never seen it, I am told that many things that I have never seen but believe they are there. To believe is more than seeing, touching, it is a heart felt. God despises those who do the things you speak about but it happens, God did not create evil, I don’t have the address of heaven or hell but I prefer heaven no matter where it is, faith is free, and I chose faith, heaven, understand we make choices, people murder, rape, rob and create wars, God does not, but if believing in God is everything I am told and have studied than I rather believe, you may ask what do I have to loose, I have nothing to loose by believing, I have everything to loose if I don’t. I know there is a heaven and some day I will stand next to my loved on I miss so much, I will see God in all his glory, so I rather believe

    • Common Sense

      There are a mountains of evidence for God and Jesus. There is more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ than any other event in ancient history – as a start if you want to investigate (of God might be real is that not a good idea?) – start with 1) The Gospel of John, 2) ‘Case for Christ’ by Lee Stroebel and 3) TrueU ‘Does God Exist?’ Videos – these are excellent sources but there is much, much more…

  • rampart ranger

    Judy,

    You state “….your imaginary god and impotent surrogate Father allows all kinds of
    horrors, murders, rapes, robberies, wars, and abuse against innocent
    children.”

    The question of “why is there suffering” is the primary reason people refuse to respond to God. If God allows freedom, that means he allows us to make choices. Good choices as well as bad choices, constructive or destructive, loving or hateful. Am I wrong in suggesting that the only God you would respect would be one who made little robots?

    • Greg

      rampant ranger, you are assuming that allowing freedom and choices is an all or nothing proposition. We already have some limits (we can’t jump tall buildings, fly, etc). God could easily give us freedom to do almost anything (and anything positive) but not rape or kill each other or abuse children. That would not make us robots, but would make the world a far better place. As a parallel, good parents do not allow their children to do whatever they please. They allow them to have some fun and freedom, but not play in a busy street, or run around with knives and loaded guns. Another problem for your argument is that a lot of pain and suffering is no caused by human choice, but disease and natural dissasters which God also could do something about if he existed and wanted ti.

      • Plumbrman

        And yet, Greg, children are willful against their parents. Despite what a parent wants, how they cajoule, beg, threaten, their chidren continue to disobey at some point. Greg is love still considered love if it is love by no other choice, compelled love? Can a man be made to believe something he doesn’t? Free will is an all or nothing proposition, there are no half measures of free will. Without free will you cannot have love. And afterall, what God wants most is to love us and we love Him as it says in the Great Shema, “…love the Lord with all your heart….”

      • Common Sense

        If the God of the Bible presented things as if this world is a paradise because He exists your argument would be legitimate and so I don’t blame you so far as you don’t know… But the God of the Bible has revealed that we live in a broken creation which He allows to continue so that He can have mercy on more people – on Judgment Day all of these things are put to right but then it is to late for those who are enemies of God. So He delays waiting for more to come to repentance – but He does not delay for ever. BTW the Bible does not teach that we are all God’s children but that we can become the children of God through adoption by Him – this is made possible to a Holy God by the sacrifice of Himself for our sin which we can appropriate when we turn to Him in faith. Jesus at one point told religious leaders who were trying to obstruct people from coming to Him that they were children of satan. The one thing God seems to be consistently angry about in the BIble is people blocking others from coming to Him and receiving mercy. Ironically when such are judged their fate is pointed out as evidence that God is not merciful when it is God’s mercy they were trying to thwart when they came under His judgment. Do you not treat your children in a similar way? If a child is guilty and blames another to get out of trouble do you not discipline that behavior to end it? Or God forbid: If one child went mad and started killing your other children would you not with great sorrow of heart (if necessary) take out the killer among your children to save the others? We live in a broken world and we have spiritual enemies – but the Bible reveals that God is at work to save His creation.

  • ForeverFaithful

    Faith is a difficult thing. It’s meant to be. Do you love someone only when they give you what you want? Do you trust someone if they always agree with you? The people who have replied here say that they cannot believe in God. But the truth is that you don’t want to. Chances are your angry about something you think God did wrong. Or you know that believing in God would make you change your lifestyle and you don’t want to. That’s fine, that is your choice. Please don’t belittle mine. And for the record, believing in God does not require a limited IQ – I am quite intelligent – or a perfect life, removed from suffering. I have lost people I love to illness, lost my home multiple times, seen my father go to prison, watched my brother drop out of school to help support my family. But I can tell you that I had God through all of it, that my experiences made me a better person, and that I would never change who I am today. Today my father is home, we have a good home of our own, and my brother owns his own business. I am currently in college. Life isn’t always easy, but it’s better. There’s a line in the bible – A man’s heart deviseth his way, and the Lord directeth his steps. We choose who we want to be; God chooses how we get there.

    • JM

      Faith is easy, it is us who make it hard, God stands by us, we are the ones who walk away, we make the choices, bad or good, we have free will. As far as God allowing things to happen and occur, man is the one doing the “deed”, remember we choose

    • Denis F

      I think that you missed a key point – that Christians are lying BIG TIME about how often they go to church !! That sounds like a sin to me !!

      • Common Sense

        Good observation – but I work with populations that admit to be estranged from Church but when you first ask them they say they are Christians and attend Church – as the conversation goes on they admit that they never do – their first response seems to be a defense mechanism – a projection of something desirable so that they can charm/etc… So these pollsters calling people – the question probably0 translates in the mind of some as, ‘They think I’m not a good person. I am too – so I’ll affirm that by saying I attend regularly.’ This of course is not everyone but I see it enough in my daily work that I could see it skewing results significantly. Anecdotally a woman I worked with who was a supervisor in a Catholic institution but was not Catholic often talked about her church and how she volunteered there – yet nothing much in her behavior indicated that she was a Christian – but in the course of time it became apparent that she attended church at different places every so many years and once was involved for a little while in a church teaching Sunday School.

        • Gustav2

          And in conversations with believers people will say they attend a church regularly in order to be left alone.

  • David

    I find it interesting that you use the pix of two beautiful women to draw our eyes to your promotional material. I don’t mean to sound judgmental or puritanistic, just an observation.

  • CarlyBgood

    Repent! Repent! Repent!

  • Matthew

    When capitalized, “Orthodox Christian” refers to the Greek or Russian Orthodox Church.

  • Vivian

    Why are church leaders, lay members and members so surprise with the present and future that the church is declining. It is clearly written in the Word of God for our benefit to know what God has said will not fail nor return to Him void. “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing” .Isaiah 55:11. Have you not read in the Good News, Sisters and Brothers that the majority of professing Christians today are departing from the faith. The Holy Bible tells us, in the last days many would depart from the faith. “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;” 1 Timothy 4:1. What else does the Good News tell us? Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Matthew 7:13,

    1. In Satan’s world, the broad and easy path is the one that leads to destruction.

    “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13).

    2. Just because something seems right, that doesn’t mean it is.

    “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

    3. Our natural tendency is to seek the smooth and easy things.

    “Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits'” (Isaiah 30:10).
    He (Jesus) is Coming Back for His Bride (the church). Will His BRIDE be ready and waiting for HER BELOVED Groom, Jesus?

  • Rationalist1

    The Archdiocese of Los Angeles reports on their web site 4.6 million Catholics and 267 parish for an average of 16,000 Catholics per parish. If 20% attended each Sunday they’d have an average of 3200 attendees per parish per week. I doubt it’s half of that.

  • Dave Ekstrom

    There is a confusion between “attend regularly” and “how many are in church on any given Sunday.” “Attend regularly” does not mean attend each and every Sunday. I think “attend regularly” means “attend twice a month.” That’s not an unreasonable standard. If someone attended 26 baseball games in a year, that would be really something. Even season ticket holders probably don’t attend that many. They sell their seats. How many people go to the movies 26 times a year? attend 26 operas or stage plays? Even bowling leagues don’t go all year. Can you think of any event that someone attends as many as 26 times a year? And if they did, wouldn’t you call that regular participation?

    So, yes, the numbers of those who “attend regularly” is twice as high as the number you might find in a church pew on any given Sunday. Because on any given Sunday you’re only going to capture about half those who regularly attend.

    Yes, as a Pastor I think people should attend each and every week–but every pastor knows that if all their regulars showed up on the same week, there wouldn’t be anywhere to put them all.

    We evangelicals love to cry how the sky is falling. But we’re cutting ourselves off at the knees. We’re placing an unrealistic standard for ourselves.

    Why does this matter? Because the world is trying to marginalize us. We don’t need to help them do it. It is perfectly reasonable for us to count as regular attenders those who come over 20 times a year.

    • Common Sense

      You are clearly describing the cultural concept- as a consumer culture we have taken our consumption norms into our church attendance. This is not surprising of people but it should not be so of believers. Because I can name some things that we do more regularly than twice a month: we see our families more than twice a month, we eat out more than twice a month, we eat more than twice a month, we shop more than twice a month and so on… It wasn’t long ago that Church attendance was daily (in masses) or three times weekly in evangelical Churches (prayer meeting, Sunday morning and Sunday night). The mainline church with member rolls far greater than their attendance may survive with bi-weekly attendance (and propagate marginalism all the more?) And the mega church may survive this way as 3.5% tithing and the rest giving $20 bucks when they show can keep their consumer oriented program functioning because paid staff and the regulars can pull off the program for all and sundry. And people love going – it is exciting and I am in favor – mega Churches and conferences are like going to a concert. But how deep will the things of God be in the individual Christian and how much will be cultural change agents with this kind of consumption? Remember Acts 5:42 – they continued to meet together daily from house to house (small churches and home groups) and in the Temple courts (mega churches and concerts). But it was daily – not bi-weekly.

  • mtrphx

    As a Humanist I try to stay current on things such as Church going…one stat I’d really like see is just how reliant is the Catholic Church on illegal alliens, specifically Spanish Speaking? Pretty much, I rather suspect. Just an example here in Phoenix, when you call various Catholic organizations…if you want to speak in English, it’s choice two on your keyboard. The default is Spanish. And of course the desperate need for clergy for that church forces them to pull in foreign born to fill the Pulpit. And as to the Nuns? Are they really just about gone as young people in the States? Obviously it hardly matters to me personally, but, should it come to be that the Church just disappears, no love will be lost. The deep bitterness with all things religious as it becomes a political tool to use in suppressing all and sundry is growing and deepening with each day.

    • Common Sense

      Sometimes the organization of ‘church’ is used
      for social causes politically. Historically it was such that led the
      fight against slavery, against segregation and for Civil Rights, for the
      American Revolution and so on… It does tend to fight social ills such
      as alcoholism and while prohibition appears as a black eye I work in addictions
      counseling and I can say the opposite effect is devastating – it is a rising
      storm. If trends continue the country will not be able to handle the
      level of addictions. In contemporary history it fights against
      infanticide, euthanasia, slavery, sex slavery, pornography and the exploitation
      of children and the like. But since the late 1800’s active movements have
      been launched to silence or at least marginalize churches as societal
      influence. John Dewey, a humanist and known as the father of modern
      education is on record for his intentional desire to destroy Christianity.
      Lenin outlined policies for Communism to support other movements (‘fellow
      travelers’) as the organized churches as well as anything else organized could
      not be allowed to exist and challenge the absolute power of the party.
      Meanwhile evangelicals as a demographic group give more to charity, adopt
      more orphans, pay more taxes and tend to have cleaner records. Has power
      interests and demagoguery sought out high positions in church institutions for
      the sake of power? Of course – much of the formation of denominations
      throughout Church history has been the attempt to flee from this when it happens.
      The record of the Medieval Church can really be laid at the feet of
      Medieval feudalism (etc) since underground Biblical churches were oppressed and
      adherents were haunted to their bloody graves. But all of this is as the
      Bible said that it would be – if the Bible did not say this we could question
      it perhaps – but (again, but…) Jesus said that it would be like this yet we
      (believers) were called to be salt of the earth – to preserve it and practice
      justice and mercy even while the world would hate and revile because the world
      (and the people of the world) love its sin. A person might do well to
      ask, ‘What is my sin that I hate God or God’s people?’ Keep in mind that
      God (nor healthy Christians) are out to judge you or condemn you – that could
      to easily be done and has no point – God’s purpose is for people to come to
      repentance so that He may have mercy on them. For ‘God did not send His
      Son into the world to be condemn the world but that through Him He might have
      mercy…’ (~ John 3:17). Between the witness of God’s Spirit and the
      historical evidence (there is more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus
      Christ for instance than any other even in ancient history – when evaluated
      with the same measures and without anti-supernatural bias – see Stroebel, ‘Case
      for Christ’ among many others) there is every reason to consider God.
      While the record of religion (which God condemns) is spotty the secular
      humanist wars of the 20th century claimed more lives than all other wars in
      prior history combined. If the objection to Christianity was war – then
      humanism is not the answer. Yet Jesus Christ warned that it would be this
      way- that there would be false shepherds, false churches and false teaching
      while the followers of Jesus would be persecuted by the world and the false
      churches. So the Gospels are yet to be refuted – perhaps start with John
      (Jesus’s teen aged disciple – the only one not to be murdered for speaking of
      Jesus who grew to be an old man and wrote an account of what he heard and saw).

      • mtrphx

        Well, frankly, Common Sense, your arguments as stated above go pretty much nowhere with this Homosapien. When you point to church leadership having led so many fights for good, I can point to church leaders that where doing are still doing exactly the opposite. And such behavior is hardly buried in time, it continues to this day. As to John Dewey and his “… intentional desire to destroy Christianity”, I call nonsense. As a reader of the man’s work I’m entirely aware of his thoughts with regard to education and find them profoundly accurate. I can also say that he now has about nothing to do with our present education system. And more’s the pity. And this whole bit about his desiring to destroy Christianity is pure bunk. All of it a creation of practitioners of your Faith. He most certainly advocated for religious free public schools, but that’s about separation of church and state. As long as we’re quoting Communists, how about, “Religion is the Opiate of the Masses”? Or if you prefer the full quote from Marx, ” “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a
        heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. As you can see, Marx is not running down some indictment of religion, instead he speaks of religion as a pain killing medication. Hardly a put down. Not that anyone much chooses to find that out. And certainly not the Christian propaganda machine politics of this or virtually every other era. Evidence of a resurrection being well founded in fact? That statement isn’t even worth the arguing against. It’s the statement of a Sunday School class filled with kindergarten age children. If you are going to spout profundities about the Holy Bible how about we start with the Old Testament, more correctly known as the Written Torah or the Tanakh? It is after all nothing more than a translation with a bit of fiddling of the order of the books within the Jewish peoples most hallowed work. And get over the Humanist destruction of Christianity bit ASAP. Why bother when you folks are doing such a good job of self destruction on your own?

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  • ddo2013

    here you show your ignorance. Don’t criticize of what you have no understanding of. Christianity isn’t a religion.

  • ddo2013

    religion is all about man searching for God or some higher power, etc. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ, God come to earth looking for man and providing the means of salvation so that unholy man could stand before Holy God.

  • Tyler Mase

    Respectfully, you are incorrect. You’re history is false. Your premise if false.

    Come and visit my church. I dare you. As far as magic is concerned are you talking about claims of physical healing? We have them. Documented medically. One lady at 61 who was a professor at a medical college has the documentation that after she received prayer and went in for surgery to replace her tibia with a rod because it had disintegrated and was on SSI disability had on the day of her surgery the doctor take a last X-ray and tell her she has a new bone growing where the old one was. That doesn’t happen to 61 year olds. We had another healed of a documented case of 4th stage pancreatic cancer after prayer. Even his primary care was in tears when he told this man who only had weeks to live that his cancer was gone. The doctor said, to the best of his knowledge, in all of medical history there has never been anyone with this advanced level of cancer that has seen a complete overnight spontaneous remission. All documented.

    But that is not the kind of stuff we put up front. We are not a church that leads with a message of healing or any other kind of flashy thing. Our primary message is that people who are sinners can find forgiveness because a savior died in their place and rose again to prove he could do it. So the big question here is, are you without sin and in no need of a savior? Are you willing to spend eternity in hell because you have been lied to by your history professors? I know you think you are smart and well educated. Your blustery arrogance can be felt through my computer screen. But like it or not. There is a God to whom you will one day give account. May God have mercy on your soul.

  • SmithDoc

    hey diana, i’m an atheist. but i’m pretty sure the old testament predates the roman empire by nearly a millennia, and that it was translated into greek by alexander the great. there are historical records of this. perhaps you were just referring to the new testament, though….

  • MasseyTom247

    Obviously, you believe that the space shuttle was an arbitrary accident as well, begotten by the accident of the Big Bang. Where you see chaos, it is simply a failure to recognize the order. “The hairs on your head are numbered”. You are no accident, and the place of your birth was not arbitrary. Someday, you may come to understand that we use “odds” to predict things we don’t yet understand. If we knew every detail, we could predict the toss of every coin. No arbitrary accidents.

  • MasseyTom247

    ddo has it correct. You are confused about “religion”. God is not defined by a church. THE church is the group of believers in Christ. The many many pretenders among us are there for a reason as well. They give deniers what they want to see. If you enjoy focusing on the pretenders and denying the Creator, then you have what you want.

  • David Bush

    Interesting, but you have a faith (“knowledge”, learning) as well it appears, reading through your other posts. Not sure why bashing on someone else’s makes yours more relevant. Unless you’re so sure of your faith that it suddenly makes it superior to all else. I have relationship, real miracles, real unexplainable “God” moments, etc. I don’t now or ever have felt a need to prove it to anyone else. It’s my story and I’ll share it like I would about watching a basketball game tonight, but if there’s not an interest, then there’s not. Mocking and all the other stuff just doesn’t make sense. Strong beliefs don’t make you insane. I imagine you have a strong belief in the fact you have a hand. I’m not going to attempt to tell you otherwise. I agree with ddo, but only because I’ve been there and it’s my story. No Sunday School teacher curriculum, no striving to fill a set of rituals, and no boat anchor of a religion made it so. It is what it is.

  • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

    It is fine to have your story (faith, a relationship with an imaginary friend, etc) but if from that you extrapolate a common world that I also have to live in — doesn’t work. Just because you experience something as if it was real does not make it so. A game we can experience together and although we might have different opinions about the teams performance the fact that the game took place can be empirically demonstrated.

    It is common for believers to confuse faith with knowledge…

  • ddo2013

    keep the faith brother. He’s coming soon.

  • David Bush

    Been trying to come sit back at the “coffee table” all week, but it’s been busy. I’m not a coffee drinker either so it’s probably a bad analogy. :-)

    Anyways, like I said, interesting. I definitely don’t extrapolate a world that you “must” live in. We all live…in a world…but hopefully I don’t dictate that yours must be on some level equal to mine and I’m the judge of that. (And I don’t think or dictate that.)

    But I have to seriously question the supposition of my experiences. I didn’t say I experience it “as if it was real.” I said it “was” real. My wife is almost an LPC. I know plenty via her of the brain and those who imagine things “as if they were real.” Mine is a story, and it is real. Truthfully, verifiably, emperically happened. (Trying to leave details out and keep it simple, but it’s hard.) So where I have a hard time is when someone comes along who understandably hasn’t experienced that same realness, and then castigates me like I’m the ignorant one who hasn’t experienced something real. They are taking it on faith, and their knowledge, that I couldn’t have possibly have experienced something real and there’s another mystical (or delusional) reason for it. It’s not much skin off my back, but it also doesn’t alter me much. Yes I have faith, and yes I have knowledge.

    Also, for what it’s worth, the authoritative source of Wikipedia lists faith as: “confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion.” Putting confidence in a person (or their “findings”) who starts with a presupposition that there is no God, is faith, just like putting confidence in a different person who starts with the idea there is. We rarely escape true faith, whether believer or unbeliever. And “knowledge” can be twisted easily, whether believer or unbeliever. (Ever seen a group of scientists look at a set of “statistics”?)

    Enjoying the limited conversation for as long as I can jump in and be a part of it. I enjoy the intellectual side of faith which isn’t discussed much (probably because people stick with what the Rev said instead of learning it on their own for “real”).

  • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

    Not sure that I understand what your argument is. Are you saying there is no difference between knowledge and faith? If that is the case let me explain my view.

    For starters we must have a strict definition of both because the colloquial uses are very broad. When somebody says “I believe” or “I know in my heart” — they are saying the same thing and it has nothing to do with religious faith or scientific knowledge.

    Faith (religious) — belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence, secure belief in God, accepting claims about the character of a deity, nature, or the universe. Proponents of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence.

    Knowledge (scientific) — the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning and experimentation. It is thus an irony of proper scientific method that one must doubt even when correct, in the hopes that this practice will lead to greater convergence on the truth in general.

    So in this context I can safely say that I know, with a probabilistic certainty equal to knowing that a beautiful Kaiser teacup is not orbiting Mars at the moment, that the whole realm of superstitious faith in all its forms — garden fairies, unicorns, Rainbow Serpents, Onagi, Abrahamic God, Hindu Gods, etc, etc is but a superficial, defensive creation of human minds that have evolved with a need of an “agent” in order to explain that which they don’t understand.

    The difference between your faith and my knowledge is that because of how the scientific method works I can never be 100% certain and must always present a means of having my knowledge/theories falsified. So if a fossil of a fully formed modern rabbit was conclusively demonstrated in the rocks from the Devonian I would be forced to rethink evolution, if conclusive evidence was acquired for the Universe being a computer simulation, etc, etc — my stance is always open to change because I follow a self correcting method of finding out the truth about the world. Can you describe any way your faith can be falsified?

    I would also like to point out that I have experienced faith and so I do know how powerfully blinding it can be. It has actually been demonstrated to be a common human experience and that its strength and persistence is greatly influenced by individual susceptibility and social environment…

    If your personal subjective experience can not be demonstrated by observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning and experimentation than it is as valid to me, at best, as reading a good book of fiction. It might reflect on your mental condition but not on the real, knowable, material world.

  • Greg

    David, your analogy about the faith of believers and nonbeliever does not hold. Many atheists and agnostics do not claim they know God does not exist, just that there is no credible evidence for it. In other words, it’s a lack of belief, not firm conviction that there is no God. You may see it as splitting hairs, but it is a valid distinction.

  • PNut67

    I love to sit back and read posting and ramblings like yours….here’s why….all “scientific knowledge” comes from the Great Creator Himself….He lets us “learn” what we must to survive on this earth. We call that learning “science”….know this to be fact…. there is not an ATOM or PROTON moving in this ENTIRE universe or YOUR BODY….WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE…. See if YOU can know that much with your so called SCIENTIFIC mind…. I think not.

  • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

    I do know from your post that you have still not grown out of believing in fairy tails. What difference is there between your blind faith and a Muslim’s or a Hindu’s or even a little girl’s faith in Santa Clause? When the light of knowledge is turned on you it turns out have nothing…

  • ddo2013

    keep the faith, brother. we know the truth.

  • ddo2013

    Do the muslims and the hindus have a book that has predicted with 100% accuracy what has happened for the last 2000 years? Is what’s happening now in the Middle East predicted in any other book the way it was predicted 3000 years in the Bible? I doubt it. But even now, you will still refuse the truth.

  • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

    Well that’s just silly talk… for starters the first 5 books of the Torah are anything but accurate. Even a story as pivotal as the Exodus account can’t be verified by archeology after over a century of intense searching for evidence by biblical and professional archeologists. As for prophecies most religions have them and all you need to do is google Muslim or Hindu prophecies to get lists put up by people who believe in their truth a vehemently as you believe in the Biblical voodoo….

    In your argument you keep forgetting that even though deep in your heart you believe with all sincerity that what you have is the truth — without actionable proof all you have is faith. And anybody’s faith is worth as much as any other persons faith. It amuses me that you challenge the Muslims when they are basically of the same faith as Christians and Jews — all Abrahamic religions.

    I’m not denying that your faith is true I’m just saying that is all that it is. Although somebody can believe deeply that it is the will of God that keeps things attached to the Earth and makes apples fall to the ground — I can safely say that science gives a more testible, logical, provable, rational, workable, etc explanation. With science we can lead the human race to the stars and beyond with religion we can only sink into the darkness of blind faith.

  • ddo2013

    see, you have no clue what you’re talking about. Muslims are not of the same faith as Jews or Christians. Jews and Christians worship Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel. Muslims worship allah, and contrary to popular belief, they are not the same. As to your last tenet, scientists have proven nothing except that they do not know how to interpret the data that science affords to them. Science affirms that what the Bible says is true. Archaeology continues to prove out the history of the Bible, even the Torah that you claim to be anything but accurate. The fact is that the Bible is the only one true and accurate book by which faith can be based upon. The koran, the book of mormon and other texts that various false religions use are just tools of the devil. Don’t expect you to ever agree or see the truth. In fact, until you become a Christian or Messianic Jew, you cannot see the truth because you cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit who is the one who leads and guides into all truth. It’s also why I’ll not reply to you again. I have fulfilled the requirements of Titus 3:10 and Ezekiel 3::27. I will add may God have mercy on you.

  • newzealander

    Sorry but with science, your faith is misplaced. It does not hold the answers it will only testify how confused mans reasoning is. Evolution disproves itself, why are there so many theories if it has the answers?

  • Greg

    Actually women are on average less conservative than men, on many social issues. I think the bigger reason more women attend church than men is that women are more emotional by biology (that’s been well established), and to a large extent faith and religion involves emotion more than reason. If that sounds sexist, sorry. It’s largely just biology, and science has demonstrated that there are many biologic differences in the brains and endocrine systems of women vs men, which does influence the way we think and behave.

  • Greg

    Massey, you’re making more fallacies and mixing apples and oranges. FIrst, when people say things happen by chance, they mean by complex and hard to predict physical processes. And while on a macro level we could theoretically know the outcome of many of them (like a coin toss) on a subatomic scale, where quantum mechanics gets involved, evidenty there is true randomness, which does translate up the ladder. Second, regardless, none of this implies a supernatural being. We got here by evolution, and the main mechanism of evolution is natural selection, which is not a random process. If you don’t understand that, please Google the term and educate yourself about it.

  • ddo2013

    It’s because you don’t know Scripture that you mock. Before Jesus could ever come back, certain prophecies had to be fulfilled. One is that the two kingdoms of Israel would be reuinited and they would be returned to their land. So this is the one supersign that people over the years have ignored. So you see He isn’t a false prophet; people just haven’t listened correctly to the prophecies. How can we trust the Bible on anything? Go read the Book and see how many prophecies have been fulfilled so accurately, some even down to the very day they were supposed to happen.

  • norton

    norton You can say man is a creator there are so many things man create yes you would agree.there are vast amount of things if you look around you like the sea the son man has nothing to do with there exsistance if you science can proved , science is discovering what already exsisted.who is the arcetic for all these things? that men has no part in creating them. it most be God the all Powerful , all knowing and His sun Jesus. You cannot refute that

  • newzealander

    No, natural selection was disproved by science. Second law of thermodynamics. What you are propagating is spontaneous generation. That man came from absolutely nothing. Then grew into something more complex over billions of years. HA what a joke. If the earth is billions of years old the magnetic field that protects the plant would have died out way log ago, to say nothing of the sun which would have been too hot for life to exist. Go back to your Unitarianism science for that.

  • http://grafikagraphics.com/ Cichawoda

    Sorry, but you obviously have no clue what sience and the scientific method is.

    To figure out why don’t you live one year with just the answers your sacred scriptures, of whatever religion you follow, provide. After that year you can turn your computer back on and give us a report of what it’s like to live in the Bronze Age. Even than you would still have to use logic, reason and experimentation to get anything done because the scriptures have very little practical use.

    Science works, it solves problems, it gets ever closer to the truth and most importantly it spreads doubt about our preconceived assumptions and pushes us forward into the future. Want to wallow in the dark — choose faith.

  • JM

    I have been reading your writings if you don’t believe than you don’t, why do you try so hard to have other choose your way of belief, you must think there is something to Christianity, God and Jesus Christ or you would not try so hard to have others believe what you do, I do believe there is a loving God and that Jesus is coming back again I have nothing to loose with this belief and everything to gain, if you don’t believe in hell than you don’t have anything to worry about, if you don’t believe in heave you don’t, but understand my belief makes me want to be a better person and no one has the right to tell me any different, and this is my choice, I have free will.

  • Alex

    Judy, you have some very passionate arguments against Christianity. A common atheistic view is that Christain propoganda is relentlessy pushed upon society. Once one steps back and takes an unbias look at American culture you see this isn’t the case. Our culture has reached a point where the Christian voice is quiet and often unheard while the atheist view is often loud and demands to be heard. The human soul strives for a purpose in this short life. For Christians this purpose is fulfilled by serving God. Because the devout atheist rejects God, their purpose often becomes to justify their rejection of a God they don’t believe exists.

  • Alan

    This idea has been put forward by many people to try to prove that evolution is impossible. However, it is based on a flawed understanding of the second law of thermodynamics, and in fact, the theory of evolution does not contradict any known laws of physics.

    The second law of thermodynamics simply says that the entropy of a closed system will tend to increase with time. “Entropy” is a technical term with a precise physical definition, but for most purposes it is okay to think of it as equivalent to “disorder”. Therefore, the second law of thermodynamics basically says that the universe as a whole gets more disordered and random as time goes on.

    However, the most important part of the second law of thermodynamics is that it only applies to a closed system – one that does not have anything going in or out of it. There is nothing about the second law that prevents one part of a closed system from getting more ordered, as long as another part of the system is getting more disordered.

    There are many examples from everyday life that prove it is possible to create order! For example, you’d certainly agree that a person is capable of taking a pile of wood and nails and constructing a building out of it. The wood and nails have become more ordered, but in doing the work required to make the building, the person has generated heat which goes into increasing the overall entropy of the universe.

    Or, if you prefer an example that doesn’t require conscious human intervention, consider what happens when the weather changes and it gets colder outside. Cold air has less entropy than warm air – basically, it is more “ordered” because the molecules aren’t moving around as much and have fewer places they can be. So the entropy in your local part of the universe has decreased, but as long as that is accompanied by an increase in entropy somewhere else, the second law of thermodynamics has not been violated.

    That’s the general picture – nature is capable of generating order out of disorder on alocal level without violating the second law of thermodynamics, and that is all that evolution requires.

    The idea of evolution is simply that random genetic mutations will occasionally occur that lead an individual organism to have some trait that is different from that of its predecessors. Now, it is true that these mutations, being random, would probably tend to increase the “entropy” of the population as a whole if they occurred in isolation(i.e., in a closed system). That is, most of the mutations will create individual organisms that are less “ordered” (i.e., less complex) and only some will create individual organisms that are more complex, so overall, the complexity goes down.

    However, evolution does not take place in a closed system, but rather requires the existence of outside forces – i.e., natural selection. The idea is that there can be some environmental effect that makes organisms with a particular mutation (one that makes them more “complex”) more likely to survive and pass their genes on to the next generation. Thus, as generations go by, the gene pool of the species can get more and more complex, but notice that this can only occur if the gene pool interacts with the outside world. It is through the course of that interaction that some other form of entropy (or disorder) will be generated that increases the entropy of the universe as a whole.

    If the above is too esoteric, consider a simple analogy: a poker tournament. In poker, good hands are less likely to be dealt than bad ones – for example, the odds of getting three of a kind are much less than the odds of getting two of a kind. So in a poker tournament, most people will be dealt bad hands and only a few will be lucky enough to be dealt good hands. But it is the people with good hands who will be more likely to win and “survive” to the next round. So the “outside forces” (in this case, the rules of poker) acting on a random distribution (all the poker hands that were dealt) will tend to select out the best, least likely ones.

  • David Bush

    :-) That was a comical editorial stretch.

  • ddo2013

    as a matter of fact, Jesus was predicted to enter Jerusalem the week He died on the cross, and He did so on the very day He was predicted to do so. You can find that prophecy in Daniel 9:24-26. You may well check out the date of May 14, 1948 and find out what happened then that was predicted in Ezekiel 37. And if I supplied you with specific dates that have fulfilled specific prophecies I’d be spending the rest of the afternoon and I don’t have time. And btw, you neglected to post the Scripture that said “He would return during His peers’ lifetime UNLESS certain conditions were not met.” Also, these are not “predictions”, but prophecies, a vast difference. And, just so you’ll know, if you are left behind at the Rapture, you can expect to see a war between Israel and the neighboring enemies of Israel within the next year, possibly two, as prophesied by David, Obadiah and others. You can also expect to see the total destruction of Damascus in Syria as well as Russia attacking Israel with another federation of Israel’s enemies, with the result of those nations being supernaturally defeated and destroyed with the exception of 1/6 of all those nation’s armies so they can testify. You can read about it in Ezekiel 37. Russia will be invading to take control of the gas/oil fields in Israel but it will be for naught. Hope you will discover the truth if you endeavor to make this study.

  • ddo2013

    the last time you checked, you no doubt checked the wrong source as people like you generally do. Sad, but true. There’s only one source for absolute truth: God’s word, the holy Bible.