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Source: (consider it) Thread: Millennials and the Church
Gramps49
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I came across this very interesting survey that shows promise for the church and the Next Generation (as the survey describes them). Some of the info is mundane, but the last part of the survey has what millennials want in a church. Primary, preach the gospel and be authentic. Interesting read. I think evangelism committees should look at it.

Link.

(Gramps - please remember to use tinyurl or similar when posting links with very long addresses. Also, please check whether a link is working without busting scroll locks before you post. Thanks B62)

[ 23. December 2016, 19:24: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Martin60
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Millennials are over church.

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Love wins

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Mark Wuntoo
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gramps49:
I came across this very interesting survey that shows promise for the church

I don't agree. It may show promise for those already committed to a certain type of church / christianity. Martin60's post has a link which shows that the majority of millenials have little or no interest in the church, full stop.

So: and the Next Generation doesn't follow.

the last part of the survey has what millennials want in a church. Nope, it shows what those millenials already committed to the church want. It's clear to me that the small target group probably were found amongst people already known to the researchers (in kind if not personally).

That's how I read the survey.

PS And it ain't only millenials who have no interest. [Devil]

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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anteater

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Can someone explain what millenials are, in such a way as to clarify why it makes sense viewing them as a group with a coherent attitude?

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Can someone explain what millenials are, in such a way as to clarify why it makes sense viewing them as a group with a coherent attitude?

Easy to answer the first part of your question, as I'm sure you know. The second part is impossible to answer and points to the futility of such surveys.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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mousethief

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If you want to reach the lost, and there is this big group of unchurched people with many things in common, it might behoove one to find out something about what they have in common and how one might present the gospel to them. This doesn't seem like rocket surgery to me.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Can someone explain what millenials are, in such a way as to clarify why it makes sense viewing them as a group with a coherent attitude?

The generation born roughly between the early 80s and the year 2000, give or take.

As for why it makes sense to view them as having a coherent attitude, well, obviously, there are no ironclad rules for how everyone in a cohort is going to think. But I think anyone who is being honest would have to say that there are obsersvable trends that distinguish one generation from another.

So, for example, if someone were to ask "Which group has more people who would be interested in downloading a prayer app for their cell phone, people born in the 1930s or people born in the 1990s?", without even taking a survey, I would confidently predict the latter. That's an extreme juxtaposiiton, but you get my point.

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Bishops Finger
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Is there a kindly Host or someone who can reduce the length of the link in the OP, so that it fits on the screen....??

[Roll Eyes]

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Churches have a bad name for the Millenials of my family. Because they are mostly anti things. Like cohabitation, gender equality, support for the rich vs poor. And seem bent on dismantling all of the principles of the Founder. While they fundraise for building maintenance.

(I think I represented it as told me earlier in the week. One of them miraculously agreed to attend lessons and carols. Later asked why some of the readings are gibberish. And we laughed together about that. "First there was the Word..." We agree organs are pretty cool. )

[ 23. December 2016, 17:43: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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anteater

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I think a probable reason for the turning away is down to the education system, and here we have a lot to learn from the RCC that has always seen the importance of education and establishing schools.

The reason? Most people will take seriously what they have been taught, unless very badly taught, and even if they reject it, they will know something about it, and it is part of there inheritance from society of "things to know". So, in those countries (I was told this by a Finn, but this is going back some years) if the school system re-iterates the value of an equal society, the importance of public services etc etc, it is much more likely that those who grow up under it will have a different attitude to those raised in a very individualist societies, where paying tax is for the birds and getting to the top of the tree is the "sole aim of man".

But here's the problem. So much of what constitutes orthodox christianity is legitimately debatable and not supported by a majority, that those who would attack indoctrination in state schools will have a strong point. The same is arguably true of instilling social democrat principles. It only works so long as the majority are behind it.

So we are probably seeing the end of those with some connection to christianity, and it is not so much rejection as ignorance.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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Barnabas62
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Busted scroll fixed. A brief reminder to all: please check the length of links - or any odd characters in the link - and if necessary use tinyurl to provide a shorter working link address.

B62, Purg Host

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If you want to reach the lost, and there is this big group of unchurched people with many things in common, it might behoove one to find out something about what they have in common and how one might present the gospel to them. This doesn't seem like rocket surgery to me.

It might help (might!) if we were not referred to as 'the lost'. Even if talking amongst yourselves, we hear. Some of us feel that we have become 'the found'.
And I seriously doubt that there is much that so many have in common which can be addressed by 'the gospel' to which our ears are deaf.
Yes, I value some link, however slight, to 'church' but any sense of someone trying to tempt me back to faith will fail.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Enoch
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As the survey,

a. starts off with the phrase,
"The facilitation of a pioneering gift or entrepreneurial grace upon
millennials.".
I've no idea what that means. And

b. not only didn't survey my country, but the nearest country it did include is 1,000 miles away from it,

c. ends with bland or meaningless recommendations like,
"Create leadership incubators and accelerators for NextGen leaders in strategic regional locations". And

I've written off the survey. That may be unfair, but if so, so be it.

Pity, as this is one of the most important issues we face.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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TurquoiseTastic

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It is indeed striking that no country in Western Europe was surveyed. Perhaps we have been written off as a bad job?
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TurquoiseTastic

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Looking at it a bit more closely, this document is not really at all to do with drawing in the unchurched but about developing young church leaders. So we shouldn't really be surprised that it doesn't address the (totally different) question we seem to be discussing on this thread.
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Gramps49
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I refuse to accept that the next gen, or millennials, have totally given up on the church. Nor do I accept the millennials are lost. We have a sizable group of millennials in our congregation and we are not doing anything special to attract them.

We have found it is very important for them to be included in all aspects of the church. This next year we will have three millennials on the church council. One other person, an electrical engineer will be leading a task force looking at installing solar panels on the building.

The four key points I took away from the survey was:

Turn up the heat! Preach the Gospel

In our congregation, we have moved away from an Augustinian view of the Gospel to more to a Pelagian understanding of the Gospel.

Model a Gospel-Centered lifestyle in our community.

Again, in our congregation we are a Reconciling in Christ body, meanining we accept LGBTQ people without question. Last year, about this time, we had a visitor who had been kicked out of a Mormon university because he was seen holding hands with his male lover. He told me when he saw that we were open and affirming he decided to give the church one more chance. He is now considering becoming a minister.

Give us a voice Let us communicate the Gospel in ways that are more effective in reaching millennials.

There is no better way in reaching millennials than having mmillennials lead the way. That is why 1/3 of our church council are millennials. They are coming up with ways that are working.

Open the doors. . .

If we discover a door we work to open it quickly.


This stuff works. While it is looking at future leaders in the church, it also matches nearly every other survey I have seen about millennials and the church.

Yes, the survey admits it did not have good results in Europe. It had hoped to survey about 5,000 millennials and only had 400. A statistician can question its validity. But it hopes future surveys will address this survey's shortcoming.


We

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SusanDoris

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My granddaughters and their partners are millennials (although they do not refer to themselves as such as far as I know!) but they are non-believers as are quite a few of their friends. (I was going to say 'most of their friends', but I'd have to check about that with them first.)

I wonder how millennials who are God-believing reconcile their beliefs which are based on faith without objective (etc etc) evidence with the knowledge-based scientific and technological world they inhab it and, sensibly, take for granted? Why would they accept the beliefs and stories of nearly 2,000 years ago over the up-to-date understanding of the facts?

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
My granddaughters and their partners are millennials (although they do not refer to themselves as such as far as I know!) but they are non-believers as are quite a few of their friends. (I was going to say 'most of their friends', but I'd have to check about that with them first.)

I wonder how millennials who are God-believing reconcile their beliefs which are based on faith without objective (etc etc) evidence with the knowledge-based scientific and technological world they inhab it and, sensibly, take for granted? Why would they accept the beliefs and stories of nearly 2,000 years ago over the up-to-date understanding of the facts?

I don't know whether I count as a Millennial or not. But I can't be far off - how are we defining the term?

My suspicion is that such a limited rationalistic view of the world is actually far more the preserve of those older than me. The strident atheists are far more common amongst the generation of Dawkins and the like. Though if anyone does want to offer an exclusively objective presentation on how love works, or beauty, or joy, then I'm listening. After all a kiss is rather more than just the exchange of saliva!

There is a vision of something deeper within many younger people, it may not be something they express in the language of traditional religion - and those of us who speak that language too well may be trapped by that - but it is there. The question of authenticity looms large. He may have written it before I was born, but I think Alasdair MacIntyre was right, 'We are not waiting for Godot, but for another - doubtless very different - St. Benedict.' (The quotation is the concluding sentence of his After Virtue)

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Mark Wuntoo
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Some Christians find it difficult to accept or understand that people outside of the church can be deeply spiritual. And rational!
And I do wish people wouldn't suggest that atheists are usually 'strident'.
One member of my family who is 'atheist' is a deeply spiritual person. He attended Mrs Wuntoo's church for the annual carol service in support of other members of the family who were taking a prominant role (including this 'atheist'). He was very deeply moved by the playing of a trumpet solo whilst a video clip of the wise men travelling was being shown. He's not a millenial but the trumpet player (another non-attender) is.
Doesn't prove anything, of course.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Barnabas62
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Based on recent surveys, many folks find God improbable because of the global evidence of suffering on a large scale, particularly of innocents. The world gives ample evidence that 'no Good God is sovereign over it'.

So belief in God is seen as superstitious weakness by many people and, given the more extreme actions of various people's of faith, faith-based beliefs are increasingly seen as doing more harm than good.

It's a two stage process. God gets blamed out of existence because of suffering and His followers get blamed for causing much of the suffering.

Actually, it is a classic example of scapegoating thinking. What's wrong with the world? We are pretty reluctant to start with the G K Chesterton answer. 'I am'. Since that implies that there may actually be profound truth in the religious beliefs that human selfishness is at the heart of much of the wrongness in the world.

That doesn't answer all the questions but at least it opens the door to the possibility that the challenge to set aside human selfishness may actually be a major component of the solution.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Martin60
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That scapegoats us.

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Love wins

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
Some Christians find it difficult to accept or understand that people outside of the church can be deeply spiritual. And rational!
And I do wish people wouldn't suggest that atheists are usually 'strident'.
One member of my family who is 'atheist' is a deeply spiritual person. He attended Mrs Wuntoo's church for the annual carol service in support of other members of the family who were taking a prominant role (including this 'atheist'). He was very deeply moved by the playing of a trumpet solo whilst a video clip of the wise men travelling was being shown. He's not a millenial but the trumpet player (another non-attender) is.
Doesn't prove anything, of course.

My apologies - my intent with the word 'strident' was to separate a particular group of atheists of particular mindset, in much the same way as I would identify a particular group of 'fundamentalist Christians'. In both cases I'd suggest the adjective considerably separates those it identifies from the majority of those to whom the noun applies!
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That scapegoats us.

Not if you accept the basic 'I am' premise. It is possible to identify scapegoating as a process that all of us are in danger of using against anyone else. 'I am' is a good antidote. 'You are' isn't.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
Some Christians find it difficult to accept or understand that people outside of the church can be deeply spiritual. And rational!
And I do wish people wouldn't suggest that atheists are usually 'strident'.
One member of my family who is 'atheist' is a deeply spiritual person. He attended Mrs Wuntoo's church for the annual carol service in support of other members of the family who were taking a prominant role (including this 'atheist'). He was very deeply moved by the playing of a trumpet solo whilst a video clip of the wise men travelling was being shown. He's not a millenial but the trumpet player (another non-attender) is.
Doesn't prove anything, of course.

That last sentence is true of course - scientists will always acknowledge that the word proof does not mean 100% proved - but what you have said in that post definitely needs saying. I mention occasionally, not just here, that the word 'spiritual' is not for the exclusive use of believers!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Equally, I think many people outside the church think of churches, with their flower rotas and the like, as deeply unspiritual.

The charm of the Christian faith - expressed supremely in Jesus, of course - is that it conjoins the mundane and the supernatural. It is not an escapist faith.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Based on recent surveys, many folks find God improbable because of the global evidence of suffering on a large scale, particularly of innocents. The world gives ample evidence that 'no Good God is sovereign over it'.

So belief in God is seen as superstitious weakness by many people ...

Yes, and I think that is unfair. The beliefs, traditions and rituals of religions have been so much a part of life for thousands of years, that for people to move away from that to having the confidence to see them as, in fact, superstition isn't going to happen in a hurry.
I very much like your post.

,

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SvitlanaV2
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In the British case, most millennials have had very little if any exposure to the church and would neither expect nor be expected to be involved with church life.

These people represent one stage in the generational decline of institutional religion in Britain, being less religious than their parents, who were in turn less religious than their parents. Two Christian parents have about a 50/50 chance of transmitting the faith to their children, while the non-religious tend to transmit their own world view more successfully.

The situation is obviously hugely difficult for the British churches, many of which at some point soon will face large scale closures. In many churches (especially outside London and outside some well-heeled suburbs), millennials are simply not there, and neither is there an awareness of how to reach them. Church culture and Christianity itself simply come across as alien - although aspects of Christian spirituality (i.e. music, candles, old church buildings, crucifixes on chains, angels, etc.) might be vaguely appealing in an occasional, postmodern way.

Peter Brierley makes some interesting comments about the kinds of millennials who have got involved with church life in recent times (see page 22+).

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That scapegoats us.

Not if you accept the basic 'I am' premise. It is possible to identify scapegoating as a process that all of us are in danger of using against anyone else. 'I am' is a good antidote. 'You are' isn't.
Bugger! That means I scapegoated you!

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Love wins

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Barnabas62
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I'm used to it. [Biased]

I hope you have a peaceful Christmas, Martin.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Gramps49
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quote:
I wonder how millennials who are God-believing reconcile their beliefs which are based on faith without objective (etc etc) evidence with the knowledge-based scientific and technological world they inhab it and, sensibly, take for granted? Why would they accept the beliefs and stories of nearly 2,000 years ago over the up-to-date understanding of the facts?
Because there is more to life than knowledge base science and technology. Such disciplines can explain the how of life, but they cannot explain the why of life, nor can they cannot give purpose to life.

That comes from the discipline of spirituality. I for one can agree athiests can be spiritual, and many of them find spirituality in what amounts to religous practices. In my mind, religion is a form of spirituality.

Why should one pay heed to stories that are 2,000 years old? Actually, much longer than that. Because they still have meaning today. For instance let's just take the first creation story. It affirms God was actively involved in all levels of creation. It also affirms God created out of love, and it affirms all creation is good. Other than God saying "Let there be..." it does not answer how it came into being.

Now scientific theory has shown that the development of the universe has taken billions of years. It has also given us a good idea of how life has evolved, but it does not explain why nore does it give value to the world as we know it.

Comparitive religion also helps us to understand the basic assumptions of our various cultures. Technology is not interested in our presumptions, but we use our presumptions to use technology to advance our purposes.

Science and technology are constantly changing. What we hold "true" now may be discounted twenty years from now, but many of the questions religious stories address will remain. Does that mean their answers will hold true? Maybe not. But they do give us a basis for finding the answers to the challenges of tomorrow.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I wonder how millennials who are God-believing reconcile their beliefs which are based on faith without objective (etc etc) evidence with the knowledge-based scientific and technological world they inhab it and, sensibly, take for granted? Why would they accept the beliefs and stories of nearly 2,000 years ago over the up-to-date understanding of the facts?

The same way that many of the rest of us believers—including, I'd wager, most believers here on the ship—do. Gramps49 gives a good description. I'm not knocking science at all, but there are many questions in life that science simply can't answer and facets of life where science really has little of meaning to contribute, at least for my money. For me at least, those questions and facets of life tend to be the ones that matter more.

[ 24. December 2016, 19:06: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:


Turn up the heat! Preach the Gospel


Yes. I just watched some of the A&E documentary about the Church of Scientology. Actress Leah Rimini and a few other ex-scientologist were trying to explain why they stayed so long in a system that was abusive and expensive even after they began to realize they had been conned. They all agreed that they found it hard to give up the main thing Scientology offered them -- certainty. I think Christians make a big mistake when they try to water down Christ's message for the young.
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Mark Wuntoo
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Twilight: -- certainty. I think Christians make a big mistake when they try to water down Christ's message for the young.

If I was a millenial I think I would find that quite patronising. As if there is no certainty outside of 'Christ's message' for 'the young'. They also might ask what this 'certainty' is.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Pancho
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
Twilight: -- certainty. I think Christians make a big mistake when they try to water down Christ's message for the young.

If I was a millenial I think I would find that quite patronising. As if there is no certainty outside of 'Christ's message' for 'the young'. They also might ask what this 'certainty' is.

I think Twilight is onto something. This past month I saw a study of Canadian mainline churches that showed the more "liberal" or "progressive" ones are declining at a faster rate than the "conservative" or "orthodox" ones. If I can find a link today or tomorrow I will post it.

Honestly I think Millenials (speaking very generally) are setting themselves up for a bit of disillusionment over the next twenty years. I say this having worked and been friends with them and having observed them in real life and online.

Yes, many Millenials question much that others take for granted but then, people in general have been doing that for the past 40+ (even as reality and common sense come back and bit them in the butt.) Watering down what one believes doesn't work for Christians. I think the decline of mainline churches in the U.S. and Canada is evidence of that. I do think peoples needs and concerns have to be addressed but as as far as bringing more people to church the key isn't just entertaining questions. The key is entertaining questions and proposing answers.

[ 24. December 2016, 20:57: Message edited by: Pancho ]

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’"

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Gramps49
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Problem is what is the Gospel? There are so many heresies out there that claim to be Gospel. Joel Oesteen's message is about prosperity, but not Gospel, for instance.

For me, the Gospel centers on the humble inbreaking of God into history. It is of a commitment to social justice and care for creation. The Gospel is not about me, but the other. Not what I gain, but how others receive care.

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Horseman Bree
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Judging by the election of Donald Trump, riding on the evangelical vote, there is a large proportion of Christians who have no idea what Christ actually taught.

Check off the 7 Deadly Sins: he fulfills every one of them. But too many "church" people applauded him, and joined in on the racist, "me-first" diatribes.

Millennials see that as not living as Christians. So why should they WANT to come to church? (by extension, just about any church: every church seems to have a large share of homophobes, misogynists and outright bullies)

Whether someone subscribes to every bit of science, or every detail of the Christmas story is just about irrelevant: if you aren't pushing your church into working with "the least of these", then you aren't living out your Christian life, and you are seen as irrelevant or actively nasty.

Why should Millennials, or anyone else, want to come to meetings of an organisation that doesn't know what it is supposed to do? or that does the exact opposite of what it is supposed to do (and is probably nasty and off-putting to the very people it is trying to reach)?

Assuming that you are an unredeemable sinner because you are friendly with gays, for instance, is simply not going to work any longer. Even kids in middle school understand that.

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It's Not That Simple

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Pancho
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Here is the blog where I saw the study I mentioned earlier: Growing Churches vs. Declining Churches: Canadian study says 'Theology Matters'.

The study itself is behind a kind of paywall but the blog highlights these bits from the study:
quote:
Focusing on 2003-2013, the researchers defined "decline" as an average loss of 2 percent of church attendees a year. "Growing" churches were gaining people in the pews at a rate of 2 percent or more. ...

Crucial findings in this study showed that, in growing churches, pastors tend to be more conservative than the people in their pews. In declining congregations, pastors are usually more theologically liberal than their people.

quote:
* Clergy in growing churches affirmed, by an overwhelming 93 percent, that Jesus rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, while 56 percent of clergy in declining churches agreed. Among laypeople, this divide was 83 percent vs. 67 percent.

* In growing churches, 46 percent of clergy strongly affirmed, and nearly 31 percent moderately affirmed, this statement: "Only those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ will receive eternal life." Zero pastors in declining churches affirmed that statement and 6 percent moderately agreed.

* In growing congregations, 100 percent of the clergy said it's crucial to "encourage non-Christians to become Christians," while only 50 percent of pastors in declining churches agreed.

* In declining churches, 44 percent of pastors agreed that "God performs miracles in answer to prayers," compared with 100 percent of clergy in growing congregations.

I see no reason why this would apply differently to Millenials from other Canadians.

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’"

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Horseman Bree
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There is the possibility that the "growing" churches preach a return to some imaginary version of the 1950's, when Everything Was Just Alright (while ignoring the huge disparities in the Western cultures). This provides a comfortable space for people who feel threatened by the world as it is. Lord knows, we all feel that need at the moment - it's just that most people don't want to be that hateful.

But the "diminishing" churches aren't offering anything but theological arguments. There nothing "there" there. If those churches started to actively DO something (not just hold whimper sessions), there would be some chance to see growth. Trouble is, most of those churches have older people, most of whom are just tired from trying everything that might help for the last generation or more, and can't get up the energy to try once more.

Neither of these churches will attract more than a smidgen of the available people (of any generation); most will find other things to do, such as the work of helping other people without needing a church to validate that they are doing the Right Thing.

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It's Not That Simple

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Horseman Bree
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Tangent, relating back to my earlier post: I checked in on the "Homosexuality and Christianity thread, just for old times sake (it goes back to 2001, FPS!) and read a note saying that I should check back on a specific topic which had come around 4 times already and was well into the fifth iteration. Reading for July 6, 2003, to get the context, I came across this post:
quote:
quote: Imagine this situations: what if there was a vocal group within your church pressing for those with extreme racist views or those who supported domestic violence to be held up as examples and teachers of the Christian faith? What if there was a group that said that life-long drunkenness, usury, gambling or gossip should be accepted as a Christian virtue? How do you think your church would respond? Maybe it would be quite natural for rules against promotion of such things to come into force?

And what's the common denominator of all these things you mention, Anglican Rascal?

Clue: they all harm and hurt people

Basically what I said about the American evangelicals voting for Trump. You'd almost think nothing much had changed in 13 years, except that the nasties had caused more damage to the church in general this time.

ETA: posted by Louise on July 7, 2003

[ 24. December 2016, 22:32: Message edited by: Horseman Bree ]

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It's Not That Simple

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Because there is more to life than knowledge base science and technology. Such disciplines can explain the how of life, but they cannot explain the why of life, nor can they cannot give purpose to life.

It has become more and more clear to me over the years that the answer to the question, 'why are we here?', is, 'there is not a reason 'why'. We are here because we were conceived and born, because our parents mated. We are fortunate if we were wanted and nurtured well, but the act was biological, in an unbroken chain since life began. We evolved with language, so the question 'why' must have been thought of very early on, and is still running well after a million or so years! There is no reason why I am here; all aims and purposes I have had or will have are generated by my brain/mind. Other people may suggest purposes, but in the end the decision is always mine alone. If there is a question, why, to be answered about us, humans, then the same question must be asked about all other living creatures.
quote:
Why should one pay heed to stories that are 2,000 years old? Actually, much longer than that. Because they still have meaning today.
Yes you are right of course; the best stories from all times in history help to teach us how to live, behave and become better people.
quote:
For instance let's just take the first creation story. It affirms God was actively involved in all levels of creation. It also affirms God created out of love, and it affirms all creation is good. Other than God saying "Let there be..." it does not answer how it came into being.
I think 'asserts' is more accurate than 'affirms’!
quote:
Now scientific theory has shown that the development of the universe has taken billions of years. It has also given us a good idea of how life has evolved, but it does not explain why nore does it give value to the world as we know it.
There is no reason why, and any value attributed to the world is entirely subjective and man-defined.
quote:
Science and technology are constantly changing. What we hold "true" now may be discounted twenty years from now, but many of the questions religious stories address will remain. Does that mean their answers will hold true? Maybe not. But they do give us a basis for finding the answers to the challenges of tomorrow.
Could you elaborate on this, I wonder? If the question, 'why are we here' is still being asked way into the future, then I believe it is the wrong question!!

Thank you for an interesting question to think about on this Christmas morning! i'll be off out for my regular Sunday morning walk as soon as it's light enough and will be out exercising while hearing the church (recorded) bells not far away. [Smile]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Mark Wuntoo
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SusanDoris, thank you soooo much. The concept of 'why?' outside of faith has troubled me a little. To accept that there is no 'why' is liberating. You've just made my Christmas that much better. [Overused]

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Barnabas62
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There is not a lot of difference between unasking the "why" question and accepting that you are a player in the Author's mysterious long term plot.

The conclusion is the same; we'd better get on with what is in front of us. I heard the ex-leader of the TUC (and staunch Methodist) Len Murray express it this way. "I believe Christians ought to get stuck in". Widening that, I don't think it matters what you believe, opting out is not really an option.

Though I can appreciate that bad experiences may encourage us to say "stop the world, I want to get off", despair is best avoided.

[ 25. December 2016, 09:02: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
I wonder how millennials who are God-believing reconcile their beliefs which are based on faith without objective (etc etc) evidence with the knowledge-based scientific and technological world they inhab it and, sensibly, take for granted? Why would they accept the beliefs and stories of nearly 2,000 years ago over the up-to-date understanding of the facts?

The same way that many of the rest of us believers—including, I'd wager, most believers here on the ship—do. Gramps49 gives a good description. I'm not knocking science at all, but there are many questions in life that science simply can't answer and facets of life where science really has little of meaning to contribute, at least for my money. For me at least, those questions and facets of life tend to be the ones that matter more.
Thank you. When you do ponder the questions that matter more to you, is there a sort of format you use? That sounds like a daft and too vague a question, I suppose, but do you start with the assumption that your beliefs are a given? When I contemplate existence, life, the universe and everything, I do not give any time or credence to the possibility that there might be a God.

[ 25. December 2016, 10:21: Message edited by: SusanDoris ]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
Twilight: -- certainty. I think Christians make a big mistake when they try to water down Christ's message for the young.

If I was a millenial I think I would find that quite patronising. As if there is no certainty outside of 'Christ's message' for 'the young'. They also might ask what this 'certainty' is.

It seems the AofC has said something about Christianity providing certainty. I will have to find out the details later, but of course for me there has to be better certainty than faith alone.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
SusanDoris, thank you soooo much. The concept of 'why?' outside of faith has troubled me a little. To accept that there is no 'why' is liberating. You've just made my Christmas that much better. [Overused]

Many thanks for saying! I have been a member of BHA and NSS for years now and live without belief in anything coming under the heading of supernatural. However, I have always enjoyed discussions where there are so many different aspects of belief and this forum is about the best I think.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
There is not a lot of difference between unasking the "why" question and accepting that you are a player in the Author's mysterious long term plot.

Hmmmm, well I think there is a huge difference! [Smile] However, I agree with your nextSentence:
quote:
The conclusion is the same; we'd better get on with what is in front of us.


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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Barnabas62
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I meant in terms of our attitudes to purpose. A life lived without purpose is a pity.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I meant in terms of our attitudes to purpose. A life lived without purpose is a pity.

Oh, I see.
Actually, at 80, I do not think I have a purpose! I'm just an incurable optimist and wake up each day thinking, wow, how lucky I am to be able to carry on doing what I do, organising the weekly tap group, and continuing to learn as much as I can about the world. I suppose the purpose is to live each day in the best way I can until I run out of time!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Gramps49
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Hi SusanDoris. I hope you had a happy Christmas morning walk with the "bells" in the distance.

I suppose how you approach the question of the supernatural you will come to different questions as to whether there is a why, a value, or a purpose to life. My point is that the mere recitation of facts, or data, does not completely give us all knowledge. There is also philosophical knowledge in addition to natural and social knowledge.

When I referred to the first story of creation from the Bible I purposely used the term "affirms" because I see the story as a creedal statement of faith in answer to the chaotic creation stories of the surrounding cultures.

While you say the question of why is the wrong question for you, it is only for you. Many people do ask that question. Many people still seek value. Many people still wonder if there is purpose. People look for answers through their spiritual practices.

I once took a course in Adlerian Psychology. The professor that taught the course stated he was, at best agnostic, but I found that many of us religious people preferred him as our advisor. He had some of the best theological understandings of the world of the mind. One of his points was that Adler stated all of us have to develop our own fallacy for meaning. Adler used the term "fallacy" to mean personal understanding of the world. There is no right or wrong to any fallacy as long as is functional--it allows one to interact with the world. Some people develop their fallacy around a particular philosophy (Existentialism, for example), others use religion to develop their meaning.

One other reason religion is still relevant is that it offers an ethical approach to the world. We can see how unethical people have used science and technologies to advance their own goals. Religion offers a counter-balance to an amoral science or technology. We have already proven we can build nuclear bombs but ethical people ask why should we. That is not to say atheists aren't ethical people, most subscribe to a benevolent humanism--but even that has its roots in religious teachings.

Anyway, I know we will remain at polar opposite ends when it comes to the supernatural, but I have enjoyed your insights on many questions--there can still be a lot of middle ground.

[ 25. December 2016, 20:29: Message edited by: Gramps49 ]

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:

I suppose the purpose is to live each day in the best way I can until I run out of time!

That'll do.

(Wanders off, singing "One day at a time, sweet Jesus..)

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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