Comments about ‘Checking out of church: Are young people giving up on God?’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 18 2011 11:17 p.m. MST

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Fairenough4U
Draper, utah

This world seems exactly like the world I would expect to see if there were no intervening God. Believers make excuses for God's failure to intervene and attribute all kinds of random and natural occurrences to their God, but in the end, existence testifies to the improbability of an intervening supernatural being.

My atheism is actually very merciful to God, because if God did exist, He would deserve to be put on trail for neglect, abuse and malfeasance of duty. What an incompetent oaf or cruel demon God would have to be if He existed.

And it only gets worse, because most religions say God will dish out eternal punishment to some people because of their finite sins or disbelief. How can you all call your Gods just if He is willing to punish infinitely for finite actions? That makes no rational or moral sense.

Dennis
Harwich, MA

Dropping the burden of guilt and anxiety that all religion brings into everyone's lives is possibly the smartest thing this younger generation has contributed to society. Well done in my book.
Living under the "fear" that religion creates is a felling worth living without.

AT
Prospect, KY

Interesting article - thanks. While reading I wondered if the issue of church drifting from God might be an influence. This paragraph was interesting:

Dean agrees. "If churches are indistinguishable from the popular culture, there is no reason to go to the churches. You can get what you need in 13 other venues - and probably in a better package."

Perhaps Churches are part of the problem. (and no, I'm not knocking religion - just encouraging some introspection)

diddy
Salt Lake City, Utah

I agree that many churches don't give people an opportunity to have real conversations about the real issues they have with faith and God. If you bring up those issues often times you're looked down on or your are judged. The first reaction is to remove yourself from that environment because you can't get the answers you need. Heaven forbid your doubt were contagious. Try having a real conversation about evolution sometime. Any belief worth having must survive doubt.

diddy
Salt Lake City, Utah

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. Galileo Galilei

Cedarite
Cedar City, UT

As the focus at many churches has drifted away from the teachings of Christ and has focused on singling out sectors of society and reviling and berating them as path to some mythical puritan City On A Hill , and as they have become more aggressive, I think you'll find that many young people are turning away from aggressive petty obsessive churches, not God.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Interesting article. And some well thought out, reasonable discussion on the posts, as well.

Sutton
Cedar City, UT

God said: "I Think I will Bring Religion to the people"

Devil said: "Great! I'll organize it."

As an young Atheist, in the demographic that is discussed in the article, it's not God I have a problem with, its his fan club.

Craig
Salt Lake City, UT

It seems that people are becoming exactly like Paul prophesied 2000 years ago in Timothy chapter 3."1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."
Some of the comments on this story prove this.

EDM
Castle Valley, Utah

This is encouraging news. It's getting easier and easier for young "no-religion" types to be out of the closet with it. Good for them, and good for all of us.

Sterling Allan
Mt. Pleasant, UT

Our society in general is growing up, evolving spiritually into a more independent relationship with the divine; not needing or hungering for the strictures of dogmatic religious tenents, but preferring to be free to think for themselves and not be controlled by their ecclesiastical leaders.

Reasonable Person
Layton, UT

There is no connection between morality, God and church.

ANY "Church", as an organization, is merely a corporate function that taxes its consumers and lives as a nonprofit entity.
Churches are therefore supported by the taxpayers, whether we believe in them, or not.

No wonder the young people are leaving in droves.
And it's not just the young people.
I left a Protestant religion as an adult, after 19 years of hearing the same pap every Sunday and during the week.

That came after years of our family being denigrated as even and as "gentiles" by a neighbor-relative of the President of the LDS Church. After years of seeing as much conflict WITHIN our own church, as outside. It was obvious that the church wasn't improving anyone's life.

If you want to support and attend church, fine.
If it gives you the answers to things that scare you, fine.
But I don't think we taxpayers should be supporting you and your political interference.

diddy
Salt Lake City, Utah

Craig - Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Clearly you have honed your ability to judge others. I would argue that society today is many times more moral than it was at the time of Paul.

Hellooo
Salt Lake City, UT

Thank God that the Infinite has not given up on them. The finite condemning the Infinite as some posts here in do, shows the why- He is infinite and they so finite.

MoJules
Florissant, MO

I am a baby boomer Mormon and raised my child in the LDS church. And of course I am first and foremost a Christian. My child choose to leave the LDS church at the age of 20, I encouraged her to at least attend some religion, she instead opted to become and atheist. Of course I would love her to believe as I do, and she knows that, but she also knows that I love her and we have learned to find those ways that we agree.

The other day there was something that I called to tell her, and I started out and said, I am going to tell you your right about this as long as when you die and find out that there is a life after death I can say I told you so then.

So if I as a mother can love my daughter just the same, even though she stopped accepting God, then I know without a doubt that a perfect loving Father in Heaven will love her more then I possibly can, and He will too say, "I told you so".

Gr8bald1
San Diego, CA

It seems to me that young adults drift away believing that they will find answers to their concerns/desires and wants (and acceptability)from "the world". Some continue to float from one approach to another, and then another. Some return -- some do not. Much of this is due (in my opinion) to the expectantcy of quicker/immediate answers. They are seldom found.

Our minds want certainty, the gospel wants and operates by faith.

Bro. Maxwell stated (I'm paraphrasing here) that knowing the true nature of God keeps us pretty close to the gospel. But there are many that have such a pre-conceived notions of who God is, and what His plan is that they are easily deceived, discouraged, then doubt -- and finally are led away.

Doubt is natural. It is OK. Shelve the concern for awhile. Then return to investigate it some more at another time.

One of the lesser known truths is that of freedom to choose -- and that God will NEVER force his will on anyone.

Vanka
Provo, UT

The biggest factor driving youth and older people away from organized religion is the kind attitude displayed by Craig above.

When you are raised in a Church to believe that God "is no respecter of persons"; that God "sends his rain on the just and on the unjust", then you see such judgmentalism, arrogance, condemnation, and irrationality as Craig displays... well, you just figure it makes no sense to associate with such people as that.

Craig says we are "lovers of ourselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power." Therefore, Craig and his religionists conclude that God has told them: "Have nothing to do with them."

So we are just going along with Craig's God! You want us horrible, evil people out of your lives, we will happily oblige!

runwasatch
Ogden, UT

Very interesting article. Some of the posts are equally insightful.

I hear a "60's" type rebellion in the voices of those who have posted their anti-God and anti-religion opinions on this thread. They, the youth of this article, can more acurately be described as anti-anything authoratative that may require them to act or perform other than what they WANT to do at the moment. Just like the drug lost 60's.

The issue is less about God and religion, and more about a general attitude of "I'll do as I please". These same youth bemoan professors who actually expect assignments to be turned in and give poor grades for poor work. They complain about employers who actually expect them to work the whole 8 hours for which they are being paid and to turn off their cell phones during those hours. They rant about the unfairness of having to live in a dingy apartment in a less than perfect neighborhood because they feel entitled to a starter castle funding by the public through sub-prime mortgages and their associated bail out.

Abondoning God / Church? Not really. Abondoning responsibility and accountability? Likely. A whimp genration? Absolutely...

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Craig

One thing that turns people off of religion is when people use religion to attack them. That's why hellfire preachers are mocked and scorned rather than taken seriously at college campuses. People don't like their churches attacking others since those other churches are places where they probably know someone that goes there.

Denominations seem to like competing for membership claiming they have the whole truth and nothing but the truth but the problem with that is if any single thing doesn't add up right to a person it can make them quesiton the whole "100% truth" thing. My personal beliefs don't really match up with any denomination very well at all (I believe in eternal marriage, don't believe the trinity doctrine, believe Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet). If you start building up my list of beliefs pretty much everything is systematically eliminated which for me leaves church activity to the question "Does it matter or do they care if I'm not 100% following exactly what they teach?"

The Vanka
Provo, UT

runwasatch gives us the same nonsense.

Believers tell me there is a God.

I am intrigued. I sincerely want to know if there is such a being.

But so many people for so long have told about so many different Gods and different stories, how can I know?

You tell me "Read the BOM and pray about it. The Spirit will give you the answer." (Moroni's challenge).

I read the BOM. I pray.

Nothing.

You tell me: "You didn't pray right. You didn't have a 'sincere heart'."

I try again. I do the best "sincere" I can muster.'

Nothing.

You say "You didn't have 'real intent'".

I really get intent. I write out a plan. I read and pray.

Nothing.

You say, "You didn't have 'faith in Christ'".

I am puzzled, because this seems to presuppose the very thing I am asking about. In other words, I have to believe there is a God in order to ask that God if there is a God.

Gotcha.

I try (somehow).

Nothing.

You say "you are just 'anti-' and unworthy. Repent and try again."

What?

This is why people are leaving religion. It is irrational.

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