Godless in Chicago

Up to 94% of teens leave Church after high school

Great news!

"Studies show between 64 and 94 percent of Christian teens leave the Church within a few years of graduating high school."

Says, who?  A bunch of atheists?  No.

The Church Communication Network ("CCN") says so, in this desperate report.pdf.

The real question, here, is:  What's wrong with the other 6% of Christian young people, that they don't see the light?

In response to having the vast majority of their flock waking up and leaving the church, shortly after graduating from high school, CCN, a satellite and internet provider of training and ministry content to churches, and Focus on the Family, the ultra-conservative religious organization based in Colorado Springs, are holding a "Christian apologetics" seminar for teens called Big Dig, later this month, to try to stop the tidal wave of Christian youth running for the exits as fast and as soon as they can.

By contrast, other, independent studies are show that atheism is the fastest growing theological perspective in America.  Obviously, my effort to get the word out is working.

The "Big Dig" Christian apologetics seminar for teens isn't going to stop the bleeding.

The problem for Christians is that there is no god.  God is make-believe, and the better educated that young people are, the more likely that they are to realize this.

In every society and in every culture, people have created a god that looks like them, that acts like them, and that has the personality attributes of the people in that society.

That's why, the god of the white males with the beards and the long flowing robes from the Middle East, is a white male with a beard and a long flowing robe, just like them.

The god that is created by black people from Africa who wear few clothes, is a black person who wears few clothes, just like them.

The buddha that is created by people from Asia, who sit with their legs crossed and arms folded and are passive, sits with his legs crossed and arms folded and is passive, just like them.

When people say that they believe in God, what they are doing is making believe that there is a god.  God is make-believe.

Here's another way to look at it:  God is supposedly a super-natural entity.  People who believe in the super-natural are, by definition, superstitious.  Atheists are merely people who are not superstitious.

Teach that to the kids at your Christian apologetics Big Dig seminar.  I dare ya.

Being an atheist means having nothing to apologize for.

The price of a ticket for Big Dig is $30, but one local venue, Elk Grove Baptist Church, has cut the price all the way back to $10.  Apparently, they're having lots of trouble just giving the tickets away.  After all, why would any teen want to get up so very early on a beautiful, warm, summer vacation morning, to go to a church and hear about that stuff all day long, beginning at 8 a.m.?

Elk Grove Baptist laments, on Page 2 of their July newsletter, that "over 80% of students who grow up attending good churches will fall away from their faith as young adults."  I have a question for Elk Grove Baptist:  What's your definition of a bad church, and what percentage of students who go to bad churches fall away from faith as young adults?

Elk Grove Baptist Church also contends, in the next paragraph of that same newsletter, that "over 50% of college professors believe the Bible is a book of myths and fables."  So, what's wrong with the other 50%, that they don't realize the same thing?

Atheism:  Nothing beats being right!

I look forward to your comments on this one, whether you are an atheist or a god-believer.

Subscribe to Godless in Chicago and receive an automated e-mail each morning, letting you know what new posts I've added during the past 24 hours.

For more about Rob Sherman, visit www.robsherman.com.

My page view numbers in July were quadruple what they were in June, thanks to you who visited this site last month and spread the word, so it looks like the nice people at ChicagoNow are going to keep me around for a while longer.  I still need lots of page views in order to be retained by ChicagoNow, the management of which has treated me very, very well, so if you care about these types of issue, please subscribe to Godless in Chicago and encourage others to visit Godless in Chicago and subscribe.



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espian2 said:

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I fully agree that what most people mean when they use the word 'God' does not exist. But that's where you and I part company. Your logic is not my logic. 1. I see no inherent relationship between the words 'supernatural' and 'superstitious.' Supernatural means beyond nature. Superstitious means a belief in ominous outcomes determined by unrelated powers. 2. When people say that they believe in God, what they are doing is making believe that there is a god. God is make-believe." This statement is posited, but not proven. People could also say they believe in God and not be make believing anything. It depends on what they mean by 'God.' If I mean 'something beyond my knowledge', for example, I would be very pretentious to say God does not exist because there is nothing beyond my knowledge. Further, just because certain notions of the word, God, are erroneous does not prove that all notions of the word are also erroneous.

One could reject all common notions of God and still retain faith. The God of Jesus, for example, is the power of love. There is such a thing as love. To Jesus, love is the original force that brought into being everything that is, albeit in some less than direct manner. It is that which was before there was anything else. It is a sustaining power that is present in the human condition when humans reflect it (live it) communally and inclusively. That notion, God/Love, has nothing to do with superstition. It puts the burden of responsibility on the community. The individual and the group live a life in full accord with their potential when they enter into a complete relationship with love. That is our purpose and meaning, I believe, and has nothing to do with the God you say does not exist. That's my view. What do you think?

Rob Sherman said:


Peace and love! I'm into that.

However, when anybody but you prays "to" God, they aren't merely saying that they affirm the concept of love. They are engaged in direct lobbying. They are specifically asking for the intervention of a celestial entity to alter and affect an outcome.

I stand by my statements.

espian2 said:

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"Direct lobbying" is only one form of prayer, and that which religious saints and mystics consider the lowest form. Prayer is conscious contact with what is. Entering into conscious relationship with the power of God/Love. This--not lobbying- is the concept of prayer that is much older than the so-called prayer of lobbying. Far more folk than I are NOT specifically asking for the intervention of a celestial entity to alter and affect an outcome. Consider, for example, the entire monastic tradition.

Most of what passes for Christianity today is not in any way, shape or form related to Jesus the Christ (meaning 'the anointed one' or 'the one who knows'), the first person known to have come to a complete understanding of what it means to be fully human and in positive relationship with all that is, as well as the consequences of so being. He doesn't teach any of the crap that so-called Christians feel obligated to hold as true.

Rob Sherman said:


Sounds like what you do is engage in placebo-effect feel-good praying. Your characterization is probably different. I'd enjoy knowing what your spin is.

concernedfortruth said:

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speaking of peace and love, aren't you the Robert Sherman that was busted a few years ago for beating up your own son?-just asking!

Rob Sherman said:


I'm glad that you asked, because I get asked about that on a regular basis.

In May of 1997, my son, Rick, who was 15 at the time, applied to join the Buffalo Grove Police Department ("BGPD") Explorer Post. Even though the Buffalo Grove Police Explorers was operated by the government and subsidized by my tax dollars and other public funds, Rick was refused entry into the program because Explorers is a program of the Boy Scouts of America ("BSA"), and BSA has a policy of "No atheists allowed." The BGPD is the franchisee, the operator of the BSA program, but bound by BSA rules.

I objected, to both the Police and the Village, about this "No atheists allowed" policy for a youth education program that is subsidized by public funds, but my objections were rejected. So, I sued the BGPD and the Village for ten million dollars, claiming that my son's civil rights were violated.

The next day, the Chief of Police called me to say that the BGPD had terminated it's relationship with the Boy Scouts, reconstituted the program as the Buffalo Grove Police Cadets, that Rick was welcome to join the Police Cadets, would Rick please join the Cadets and would I please drop my lawsuit for ten million dollars?

I said, "Yes and yes."

Several months later, the police officer who had run the "No atheists allowed" Explorer program, and who now was no longer a member of BSA all because of me, filed domestic battery by bodily harm charges against me, claiming that I had supposedly caused bodily harm to my son. However, he didn't accuse me of actually doing anything that violated the law. He just accused me of violating the law, without alleging any specific bodily harm that I had supposedly caused.

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, from the case of People v. May, 437 NE2d 633, 636 (1982), in order for a person to be found guilty of causing bodily harm to another person, it must involve physical pain or damage to the body, or both. The Written Complaint (the charging document), however, didn't allege either of those necessary elements to sustain a conviction. I had never caused physical pain to anybody, and I wasn't accused, in the Complaint, of causing physical pain to my son. I had never caused damage to the body of anybody, and I wasn't accused, in the Complaint, of causing damage to the body of my son. So, I asked the police officer what bodily harm he was alleging that I caused to Rick, but he responded that he didn't have to tell me.

The prosecution was turned over to an Assistant State's Attorney (a prosecutor), who I found out later was also the Chairman of one of the local Republican Party organizations, and you know how the Republican Party is just as anti-atheist as BSA. Meanwhile, at the same time, I was the host of a prominent radio talk show. The slogan of my radio show was, "Bringing America coverage of the Great Democratic Landslide of 1998." You don't suppose that had anything to do with the Republican Party Chairman being the one chosen to prosecute me for the crime of nothing, do you?

Since I have never caused bodily harm to anybody, nor been accused of causing any element of bodily harm in the Written Complaint, I asked the Republican Party Chairman / prosecutor what bodily harm I was supposedly accused of causing to my son, but he, too, said that he didn't have to tell me.

A trial, with a randomly assigned judge, began, but after a couple of minutes, the randomly assigned judge announced that she was too busy with other cases to hear this case, so the case was re-assigned to a different judge. The replacement judge, it turned out, was a plant. This Judge used to be a prosecutor for the State's Attorney's office in that same courthouse. So, I had a lawyer from the State's Attorney's office, prosecuting the case, and another lawyer from the State's Attorney's office, adjudicating the case. This judge also, it turned out, was about to run for elective office as -- you guessed it -- a Republican. So now you had a planted judge who not only was the former law partner of the attorney for one of the parties to the litigation, but you also had a Republican candidate for public office, adjudicating a case in which the Republican Party Chairman is counsel for one of the parties to the litigation. Sound fair to you, so far?

I asked the judge what bodily harm I was supposedly on trial for causing to my son, but he, also, said, "I don't have to tell you."

I insisted, over the strong objections of the prosecutor, that my son be put on the witness stand so that I could ask him what bodily harm he was supposedly accusing me of causing to him. The judge overruled the prosecutor's objections. So, I asked my son what bodily harm he was accusing me of causing to him, and he said, "I'm not accusing you of causing me any bodily harm. I didn't go to the police and I didn't file charges against you. This is all the idea of the police officer who used to run the Police Explorer Post. He's the one who filed charges against you. Ask him."

So, now I'm on trial for the crime of nothing, as alleged by nobody. After a short trial, in which no element of bodily harm was alleged, the judge entered a finding of "Guilty."

I said to the judge, "Now that you've entered a finding of guilty, what is the accusation of bodily harm that I'm supposed to have caused my son?"

The judge responded, "You don't understand, Mr. Sherman. Now that I've entered a finding of guilty, you've lost your presumption of innocence. Therefore, you have to tell the court what bodily harm it is that you caused your son, and not the other way around. In addition, stop going to your son and daughter's public schools and saying, 'That's not safe.'" (That referred to my going to the principals and the school board to object to their policies of leaving all of the exterior doors to all of their public schools in the School District unlocked while school was in session, because anybody could walk in, off the street, grab property, grab a kid, do anything, with zero security. This was one year before the mass murders at Columbine High School in Colorado. The schools have since adopted all of my security recommendations.)

The judge continued, "Stop going to the schools and saying, 'I not going to sign this waiver.'" (This referred to my refusal to sign a waiver or liability for the schools when they wanted to transport my children on field trips in school buses that did not have seat belts. I refused to put my kids on such buses because, every time there is a side impact or rollover collision, kids go flying through the air and suffer major injuries or death -- completely preventable if there were seat belts on those buses. After many more years of pressure by me, and me alone, many of the buses that the local schools use for field trips now have seat belts.)

The judge concluded on that topic, "Don't be obstreperous!" Clearly, the link, here, was to try to destroy my credible as an advocate for the safety of children, by pretending that I was actually the opposite kind of a person, who endangers children by supposedly causing bodily harm to a child.

Each time the due date approached for filing an appeal brief (Brief of appellant, reply brief, or habeas corpus brief), the prosecutor demanded that I appear in court to tell the judge what it was that I supposedly did to my son that constituted bodily harm, or be sent to jail so that I couldn't file appeal briefs. When I refused to commit professional suicide by making up a false accusation against myself and confessing to it, the judge attempted to commit professional homicide by sending me to jail, not for committing a crime, but rather for supposedly "failing to cooperate with the Court's efforts to help me," and we all know how much the Head of the Boy Scouts and the Chairman of the Republican Party want to help the leading atheist in the metropolitan area -- not to meniton a judge who was the former law partner of the Republican Party Chairman and a candidate of the Republican Party for public. As a result, I was sent to the Cook County Jail on three separate occasions, for a total of 127 days, not for committing a crime (which obviously I hadn't done), but rather for "not cooperating with the Court's efforts to help me."

Subsequent to the trial, the Judge ran in the 2004 Republican Primary Election to be nominated as the candidate of the Republican Party for a public office. During the League of Women Voters candidate debate on February 29, 2004 (leap year), the Judge said, "I have lived my life as a Republican." A member of the audience then asked the Judge, "Then why did you vote in the Democratic Primary in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998?" (It is a matter of public record as to which Party's primary you voted in.) The Judge replied, "I did it to help a friend."

So, in a trial in which I was charged with the crime of nothing as alleged by nobody, I had a judge who had a professional conflict of interest (worked for the same law firm that was representing one of the parties to the litigation), a political conflict of interest (candidate of a political party when the chairman of that party is counsel for one of the litigants), a personal conflict of interest (pre-disposed to being hostile to me, in that he regarded me as obstreperous for my many successes as a social activist) and, on top of all that, admitted that his standard operating procedure is to corrupt the outcome of the governmental process to help his friends -- and you know from what I've said that I was definitely NOT his friend, and that the prosecutor definitely WAS his friend.

The result of this trial, with so many blatant examples of corruption in a court system that is regarded throughout the world as the most corrupt court system on the planet, is that the Circuit Court of Cook County is widely regarded as the House of Fraud, and the Judge is widely regarded as the Posterboy for Judicial Fraud.

Four last things.

First, if I had really committed any kind of crime, I would have just deleted your message to erase the issue from this site. I have the power to do that. The fact that I didn't helps to demonstrate that the charges and conviction were fake.

Second, Rick, who is now 27, and I have a fabulous relationship. We talk several times per week, both by phone and by e-mail, and we get together, usually for dinner, several times per month. When we do get together, it's hugs and kisses when we greet and part.

Third, as a result of the fake conviction and the repeated hostage taking to keep me from filing appeal briefs to challenge the fake conviction, I have gone from being regarded as an activist for good government to being regarded as a martyr for good government. My reputation has never been stronger.

Lastly, ChicagoNow is part of the Chicago Tribune Media Group. They have a world-wide reputation to maintain. You can be sure that there would have been ABSOLUTELY no way that any Tribune brand would have hired me if they thought that there was even the possibility that I had done something wrong or that the accusation against me could possibly have any merit. However, when you look at the Written Complaint (the charging document), you see that there are no facts that were alleged to support the underlying charge. None! It's not a matter of whether or not alleged facts of criminal conduct in the Written Complaint were true, or sufficient to support the underlying charge. There were no alleged facts of criminal conduct in the Complaint! Couple that with the multiple, blatant conflicts of interest in not just the Judge, but also with the prosecutor and the arresting officer, plus the fact that the purported victim, my son, had no clue as to what it was that I was supposed to be on trial for, and it's obvious to the management at ChicagoNow that this was purely Chicago politics at its worst.

Now that you know what really happened, I invite you, and anybody else who has read this far, to submit a comment in reply.

bennett said:

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You seem very certain – not only that God does not exist – but also that the material world is all there is (atheistic naturalism).

If these beliefs are the truth, then how do you account for the (immaterial, abstract, and unchanging) laws of logic and reason that you employ in your argument against theism?

Further, how would you account for (immaterial, abstract, and unchanging) laws of morality?

Ryan B said:

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The existence of man-made concepts such as logic, reason (even love, loyalty, trust) are completely unrelated to the existence (or lack therein) of a cosmic benefactor. It is entirely unreasonable to assert that because humans have the capacity to communicate higher-level thought such as logic and reason (which, by the way, are not "laws"), that they were "given" to us. Many animals are capable of displaying many of the emotions and behaviors that we would attribute to love, sorrow, and even morality.

Social rules that we call "morality" are simply survival devices. It benefited our ancestors to stick together, and work as a group, because otherwise life and survival were much more difficult. People who acted outside of the interests of the group were either cut off from food, exiled, or simply killed. If you look through a great deal of religious texts, and even older rule sets, many of them contain what we today collectively know as the "golden rule."

Again, none of this relies upon the existence of any deity, and the existence of many texts of law pre-date the most commonly cited religious texts. Hammurabi's Code being the most obvious example. A lack of tangibility of concepts does not make them divine, nor does it suggest divinity. God doesn't have to exist in order for people to be honest, nor does a god need to exist for people to be angry, cheat, lie, or love.

And to address your last point, the laws of morality are not consistent. If there was a god, and it was a single, unifying god of the entire cosmos, you would not see such a night/day contrast between Western morality and Middle-Eastern morality, nor the varying shades across the rest of the world. Your argument does not account for the fact that there are many customs in many parts of the world that would be not be acceptable in other places.

Morality changes with the time, it always has, it always will. Once upon a time it was moral to own humans as property. That is no longer the case. It is incredibly naïve
to assume that morals do not change.

jesusistheway1 said:

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Jesus Christ, the Son of The Most High God is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

May the Lord have mercy on your soul, Mr. Sherman.

God Bless

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