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Why They Left God Leaving churches that are "shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant"
The Aquila Report ^ | 6-22-13 | Rod Dreher

Posted on 06/22/2013 9:02:59 AM PDT by ReformationFan

Following our 2010 debate in Billings, Montana, I asked Christopher Hitchens why he didn’t try to savage me on stage the way he had so many others. His reply was immediate and emphatic: “Because you believe it.” Without fail, our former church-attending students expressed similar feelings for those Christians who unashamedly embraced biblical teaching.

Larry Alex Taunton and his Christian foundation did a study of college students who are committed atheists, asking them why they chose atheism. What they learned is interesting. Excerpt from his Atlantic piece:

They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to Christianity. Not Islam. Not Buddhism. Christianity.

The mission and message of their churches was vague

These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice,” community involvement, and “being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Listen to Stephanie, a student at Northwestern: “The connection between Jesus and a person’s life was not clear.” This is an incisive critique. She seems to have intuitively understood that the church does not exist simply to address social ills, but to proclaim the teachings of its founder, Jesus Christ, and their relevance to the world. Since Stephanie did not see that connection, she saw little incentive to stay. We would hear this again.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Apologetics; Evangelical Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: atheism; christianity; christopherhitchens; collegestudents; shallow
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1 posted on 06/22/2013 9:02:59 AM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: ReformationFan

This is very common. Most atheists have bad religious experiences, or go through some sort of trauma that causes their disbelief.

2 posted on 06/22/2013 9:12:09 AM PDT by Viennacon
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To: Viennacon

Maybe so, but my money is on the concept that they love sin more than God....

Hence they chose to deny what they wish to dismiss liability for.

3 posted on 06/22/2013 9:17:29 AM PDT by Manly Warrior (US ARMY (Ret), "No Free Lunches for the Dogs of War")
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To: ReformationFan

The largest denominations are gravely misguided in their doctrine. This is why they fell under the spell of new world order, mostly the leftist contingent, which they now work for, either knowingly or unknowingly.

4 posted on 06/22/2013 9:19:03 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: ReformationFan
Why They Left God
Leaving churches that are "shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant"

Not to pick on just one as they all are among the seven talked about in Revelation, but let's start with the oldest:

No matter what the upper management says, we have the Catholic church and Nancy Pelousy, predatory Priests and the acceptance and encouragement of homosexual lifestyle choices.

Where is God in those equations, other than being ignored or dissed?

If the only "God" part is forgiving sinners of their sins, why encourage the sin?

God has enough to save without encouraging more to join with the devil. We do that just fine all by ourselves. We don't need churches to help, though I'm sure the devil appreciates it.

Is the atheist foolish for judging the tree by its fruits? Perhaps, perhaps not.

5 posted on 06/22/2013 9:21:19 AM PDT by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: ReformationFan

For the atheists I know, it comes down to two issues:
1. churches do not live up to their own values. They are boring not because they don’t have a rock band on stage (some do, and they may nevertheless be boring), but because the message itself has lost its vitality and relevance.

2. there is an element of coercion in many churches. Approval and ostracism are meted out based on the degree to which one “fits” in the millieu of the church. Many people go through a phase of their lives when they question their faith. This aspect of the churchgoing experience simply intensifies the doubt that there is any substance to religious belief.

6 posted on 06/22/2013 9:25:40 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: PieterCasparzen

I would say, “knowingly”, in the case of every major denomination.

7 posted on 06/22/2013 9:31:21 AM PDT by oblomov
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Nancy Pelosi may call herself catholic but she is not....a formal and public excommunication would not change that.

The beauty and miracle of Catholicism lies in the blessing of the Eucharist. It is not the age of the church but the miracle of Christ’s sacrifice and the gift that that sacrifice bestows in the heart of the believer at mass that helps the sinner find salvation. Are there sinners ( committing grave sins no less) at every level of the church...yes and yet Christ is present with them at every mass. Remember he surrounded himself with sinners during his human life here on Earth.... doesn’t it fit that He would keep company with sinners after His resurrection as well?

Where is God you ask in the Catholic church? He is in the tabernacle, on the altar and in the hearts of the faithful.

The fruits of the church lie not in vatican city..or the offices of the bishops but with the people who learn to love Jesus... their fruits are many if you are willing to look... by their deeds you shall know them.

8 posted on 06/22/2013 9:38:17 AM PDT by longfellowsmuse (last of the living nomads)
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To: Viennacon

But I have noticed that 100% of them suffer guilt and fear of judgement.

That’s why they accuse the church of being hateful, they don’t want to feel this guilt.

They don’t realize, even if they exceeded in removing the church from the earth, this guilt would persist. In their heart of hearts that they can’t deny, is the truth that this guilt can’t be relieved without God in their lives.

9 posted on 06/22/2013 9:50:47 AM PDT by dila813
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To: ReformationFan

In my case it wasn’t that the message was vague but that it was absurd. I tried to believe when I was younger because I thought that if you didn’t believe you were some kind of horrible person. I never could though. When I would ask questions that I thought the people should be able to answer they instead evaded them and told me I needed to have faith.

During my 20’s I continued to try and be a good Christian because that is what I had been indoctrinated with by the people I had grown up around. I prayed and prayed and suffered. As I got older, I examined the fundamental principles of Christianity and realized that they were wrong and that there was no rational basis to believe any of it. I eventually came to understand that it was all made up by men and I had never had to suffer with the anxiety all those years. On the day when I finally realized the truth, such a feeling of peace came over me. It was the feeling that had been described to me but which I never felt when praying to Jesus. Now I am at peace and I enjoy knowing that the world makes sense and I do not have to go through life begging forgiveness for an unearned guilt. And no I don’t think my life has no purpose or I can do anything I want to. I hear that all the time from Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think this world is wonderful and so much is open to me to achieve and learn. I don’t believe I am evil by nature and need a moral code to keep me in check. I know that being moral is in my own rational interest and morality is a guide to help me achieve the best possible life.

I can’t speak for other atheists but so many on these forums seem to do just that. I just thought I would add my own experience.

10 posted on 06/22/2013 9:54:43 AM PDT by albionin ( ,)
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This article ties directly into this book:

“Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics”
By Ross Douthat

11 posted on 06/22/2013 9:55:37 AM PDT by RBStealth
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To: albionin

I don’t know what Christian tradition you came from, but Christianity (other than some flake cults) has never regarded the world and creation as fundamentally evil.

Human nature tends to incline, naturally, towards selfishness, and that’s what evil is: it can be distilled as “I want this or that,” and it doesn’t matter how it affects other people’s lives.

The moral code which was given to us by God through Moses and then transformed from a negative ethic to a positive ethic by Jesus simply prevents individuals from feeling their own personal desires are supreme. These could be things like jealousy, a desire for your neighbor’s wife or money or even the neighbor himself, hatred or expedience in dealing with other human beings by killing them. etc.

This is called natural law. A lot of churches and even Jewish organizations have interpreted it badly. Some Jews got into tiny aspects of ritual law, while some Christian churches got into only one aspect of the overall Judeo-Christian view. That is, they focused on the human tendency to sinfulness (meaning selfishness) and ignored both the Redemption (that is, the way out of this) and the eternal drama of good and evil.

Protestant churches were way too subject to a sort of Jansenist view. But even the Catholic and Orthodox churches at times got way too involved in either their ritual or their social acceptability, so there is plenty of guilt to go around.

But look back at the message. It comes to us from God, through the Jews and also through the gentiles (the Greeks and Romans), distilled into God’s personal Revelation in Jesus, and can save the world.

12 posted on 06/22/2013 10:07:49 AM PDT by livius
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To: ReformationFan
You can’t get there through argument alone, at least not with most people. They need to see more. They need to see the faith incarnate in a meaningful way.

What is lacking here is the witness of the Holy Ghost and that will only be found when truth is taught.

There’s more, including the discovery that the high school years were decisive for these young atheists, in determining their religious (irreligious, I mean) path.

If our nation's children attend godless, compulsory, and government owned schools built on a socialist-entitlement model, they **WILL** learn to think and reason godlessly. They must just to cooperate in the godless classroom. How could it be otherwise?

And....These children risk learning to be comfortable with government compulsion. They also learn that any voting mob powerful enough to give them single-payer, tuition-free, and socialist-entitlement schooling is powerful enough to give them **lots** of "free" stuff!

85% of children from **highly active** evangelical homes are not active in their faith 2 years after graduating from high school. In complete contrast, homeschoolers were **95%** actives. BIG difference!

Finally...The author claims that the atheists were irreligious. Nonsense. All sentient humans have a religious worldview that is based upon belief because none of it can be proven. That religious worldview is either God-centered or godless. Neither of these religious belief systems or worldviews is neutral in content or consequences for the individual or for society as a whole.

13 posted on 06/22/2013 10:13:10 AM PDT by wintertime (Yuri Besmenov was a prophet.)
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To: ReformationFan

Jesus says that few are on the narrow way to heaven, while the highway to hell is one big traffic jam (modern translation of Matthew 7;13). Real Christianity is not popular because it is exclusive and so difficult that without the help of the Holy Spirit every day, we would all be lost.

14 posted on 06/22/2013 10:15:26 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: albionin

Do you believe there is right and wrong? Not just what is expedient or serves the interests of yourselves or others but genuinely right or wrong?

15 posted on 06/22/2013 10:18:53 AM PDT by butterdezillion (,)
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To: albionin

The fundamental principle of Christianity is to love one another, as Christ did.

Jesus of Nazareth existed as a human.

The fundamental question becomes was Jesus divine and did he rise from the dead. Certainly it is possible to acknowledge the positive message he proclaimed even if one denies his divinity.

Christianity is not about feeling persecuted by the guilt of one’s sins.. It is about loving Jesus and following his example to love, while understanding we will always be sinners...Christ does not expect perfection from his followers ( remember Peter’s denial) We may have many atheists because the true message of Christ is missing from many of our churches.

16 posted on 06/22/2013 10:19:32 AM PDT by longfellowsmuse (last of the living nomads)
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To: butterdezillion

Of course I do. There is an objective right and wrong because there is an objective truth which comes from an objective universe.

17 posted on 06/22/2013 10:37:16 AM PDT by albionin ( ,)
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To: butterdezillion

You obviously didn’t read my post.

18 posted on 06/22/2013 10:38:45 AM PDT by albionin ( ,)
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To: longfellowsmuse

I suggest you look again.

19 posted on 06/22/2013 10:40:16 AM PDT by albionin ( ,)
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To: albionin

Christianity is NOT about wallowing in one’s sense of sin... but in perpetuating love...

20 posted on 06/22/2013 10:41:18 AM PDT by longfellowsmuse (last of the living nomads)
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