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My Faith: Raising religious (but not too religious) children
Laurel Synder is raising her two sons Jewish, but not kosher.
April 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Raising religious (but not too religious) children

Editor's noteLaurel Snyder is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a poet and author of many books for children. Follow her on Twitter at @laurelsnyder.

By Laurel Snyder, Special to CNN

(CNN) – A few years ago I was invited to my local Jewish Community Center to do a reading of my picture book “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was going to be a child-friendly event, so I took my kids along.

Now, “Baxter” isn’t really a book about being kosher. It’s about wanting to be accepted into a community. But I always like to make sure my listeners know what the word kosher means before I read it, since the joke at the center of the book depends on that. So as usual I asked the Jewish Community Center crowd if they could define the word.

Before anyone else could answer, my own son Mose, who was 5 at the time, jumped up and shouted out, “I know! I know! Kosher is us! We’re kosher!” Then he sat back down again, beaming proudly.

And I might have been proud too. Only, you see, we’re not kosher.

On the drive home I tried to figure out what to say to Mose about his mix-up. I wanted him to know what it means to be kosher, to live by a rigid religious dietary code, day in and day out. But I also needed him to understand that we’re not.

How could I show respect for this part of our Jewish tradition while also suggesting that it doesn’t seem relevant in our own household? Should I just blame it on my own parents, who didn’t raise me that way?

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

It’s not easy to explain something to a kid when you haven’t yet figured it out for yourself. One of the most helpful/terrible things about having children is that they require us to think things out explicitly. That often means they make us face the very things we’ve been avoiding.

Sometimes, as a result, kids challenge us to become more mindful or observant. I hadn’t been a member of a synagogue for years when I became a mom. I hadn’t hosted a Passover Seder or found the time to light Shabbat candles.

Even though I worked for a Jewish agency and wrote about religion professionally, when it came to my home life I was almost completely unobservant. Judaism was something I thought about more intellectually than personally. Religion was an interesting idea more than a belief system.

Now I light candles each week and say the blessings. I belong to a havurah – a cohort of local Jewish friends who get together for monthly potluck dinners – and also a synagogue.

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Because there’s something about having kids that makes me want to be a better version of my Jewish self. I want something special to pass on to them. Something more than “You’re Jewish because I’m Jewish.”

But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes my kids help me recognize the limits of my faith.

In truth, I do not keep kosher and I don’t really want to. My husband is not Jewish, though we’re raising our family to be. So, yeah, we eat tacos for Shabbat dinner most weeks and usually skip Friday night services.

This is the truth and I have to own it. I can only shift my life around so much without feeling inauthentic. Lying to my kids about my religious life is no way to model the value of faith.

So when, after the “Baxter”/kosher fiasco, I set out to write my new picture book, “Good night, laila tov” (laila tov means “good night” in Hebrew), I wanted to paint an honest portrait of my largely secular household.

I wanted my kids to recognize the family in my story as Jewish, but also as, well, like us. Which is to say, not exactly kosher.

On some level I was reacting to the fact that most of the Jewish picture books in my home feel like they’re about someone else. They’re usually set in a Polish village a century ago, or on the Lower East Side of New York City, where mothers cook and fathers pray.

I wanted “Good night, laila tov” to be a sort of lowest common denominator. Contemporary and universal. It’s not about Jewish history, and it doesn’t have a single rabbi in it. It won’t teach you new Hebrew words or show you how to say a certain prayer.

It’s just a story about a Jewish American family going camping, experiencing nature, love, work and rest. In writing it I hoped to capture something typical, something natural, something simple.

And it does present, to my mind, Jewish values: Nature is spiritual, and takes us beyond ourselves. Time spent with family is sacred.

The family in the book plants trees and picks up their campsite, because caring for the earth is part of Judaism, I think. Along with caring for each other.

But as I wrote, I found myself a little afraid that, in attempting to write a picture book for everyone, I was letting the Jewish particularity go. Aren’t family nature, and environmentalism tenets of faith beyond the Jewish world, in every religion?

What did it say about me, my choices, my household, that the Jewish life I was choosing to depict looked like it could be any household at all?

Then I come back around to that moment with Mose, that moment of realizing I’d somehow misled him. Because whatever I’m unsure of, whatever I don’t know about faith, I do know this: if it isn’t honest, it doesn’t count.

The purpose of faith, as I understand it, is to infuse life with greater meaning. To make it more real. Not to dress it up. Not to pretend.

My kids and I are on a journey together. We’re setting out for parts unknown.

And while we may find ourselves changing as we trek along, there is a sacred quality in simply being who we are today. Of stopping on the trail and taking a deep breath. It’s enough, I think, to be exactly who we are, kosher or not.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laurel Snyder.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • My Faith

soundoff (3,114 Responses)
  1. Desi

    Rest assured, you are certainly not alone in this journey. Despite the denials, majority of people raise their kids religious (but not so religious) and this includes ALL religions!

    April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  2. Welled

    But NJ what do you do if your kid is a Hebew deny him his history?

    April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • NJBob

      A lot of that "history" such as the 'Exodus' is pure nonsense. You can tell the kids about the myths as long as those stories are presented as myths and not facts.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • JLasaque

      NJBob...just a few posts below you opine that telling mythological stories to children, as you decribe them, is tantamount to child abuse...now it appears you're suggesting we CAN tell mythological stories to children as long as we provide proper disclaimers..

      So...are you advocating child abuse by myth impartment (but self-exhonorating by proper disclaimer placement), or should we simply not take seriously what you say post to post?

      Or has a long night of Skyrim, cheetos and Mountain Dew clouded your otherwise brilliant athiest observations?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  3. J

    I recognize in your article a phenomenon that I have seen many times before: the non-observant Jew's attempt to reconcile the deep contradictions in their life. It is a contradiction that often comes to the forefront once kids become old enough to understand spirituality and ask good questions. The contradiction is: despite living a life that includes at most a few token observances, you can't shake the feeling that being Jewish is deeply important, and that you have a duty to pass on that feeling. To resolve the contradiction, you are taking a well-trodden path: redefining Judaism to include your choices as a valid Jewish path, and invoking the unassailable concepts of honesty and personal authenticity to justify that redefinition. This doen't resolve the contradiction. You are still a Jew who identifies as Jewish, feeling the inner conflict of not living a Jewish life and seeing herself and her kids getting more distant from the source of that inner feeling you have.

    You write "In truth, I do not keep kosher and I don’t really want to." People who do not really want to keep kosher do not write articles about their inner conflict with not keeping kosher.

    Honesty and authenticity to one's self is of course very important, but it can often be used as an excuse to not grow or challenge oneself. Make sure you're not using those concepts that way.

    I suggest you connect with a Torah-observant rabbi, show him this article, and ask the question "why should I care about being any more observant or religious than I am today?" Try to have a discussion. Ask questions. Disagree. But engage Judaism.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  4. NJBob

    Let's be honest for once. Encouraging children to believe religious myths is a form of child abuse.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • JLasaque

      NJBob...

      Solve for us the question of the reasonableness of athiesm, where you get something (big bang) from nothing – there must be a first cause of everything; explain implications of the anthropic principle and the wildly unprobablistic likelihood that our universe could even form in such a fashion as to be capable of sustaining life (which has, interestingly, your athiest heavy hitters (i.e. Dawkins, Schwartz, etc.) necessarily positing multiple universe theories to get around the near probablistic impossibility of all conditions be present at time of big bang for life to be possible without acknowledgement of a divine designing hand guiding the process); explain The probablistic impossibility of non-irreducibly complex basic cells (life) coming together spontaneously (DNA, cell membrane, etc), even the most basic, simple forms of life allowing for reproduction, metabolism, etc...the odds are trillions upon trillions to one that life could just occur spontaneously without a gameplan and a guiding "hand"; explain the missing inter-species paleological evidence of intermediate life forms...these myths you speak of are modern myths perpetuated by your ilk – the types who make broad generalized claims about "myths," yet offer no sound argument to refute the same.

      You suggest Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, wasn't a living historical figure...please! There is more evidence pointing to the life of Christ, his birth, death, AND resurrection than any other living person in recorded history...myth...nonsense! Where's your proof of myth...

      Sadly you also throw around the term "child abuse" with a cavalier looseness that suggests you don't have the foggiest idea what child abuse is...it's a shame abused children everywhere can't write in and tell you about their trevails at the hands of an abuser...Jesus Christ was no abuser...if I'm wrong about Jesus, he was at least a Rabbi who loved his followers, and who taught, peace, compassion, forgiveness, and inclusiveness...If I'm right, Jesus is the most amazing, wonderful gift GOD could ever give to his beloved creation...in either event, belief in him, and sharing those beliefs with children is not abuse, it's loving and nurturing fact based belief, not mythology....

      April 15, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  5. Mark

    Believing anything to they point where you have stopped thinking and questioning is wrong. A person should question their deepest beliefs frequently You don't have to reject them, just question them. If you don't, you can be victimized by propaganda and act on false convictions. Remember, there are no rules, only reason. Example: " thou shalt not Kill ", unless someone is trying to kill you or one of your children, then you might have to. Right?

    April 15, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • NJBob

      If you aren't prepared to reject them, you haven't really questioned them.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • JLasaque

      Mark, it sounds like you are confusing the implimentation of the rule with the rule itself...

      Of course their are rules, and how we implement those rules results necessarily from our reasoned approach to implementing them. Suggesting there is only reason implies that adjudications never occur...let me assure you, they do...

      April 15, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  6. Reality

    An update on Judaism:

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:----->>>>>>>>

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    April 15, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • NewMexico720

      Jewish religion was rejected by God. They were once a chosen nation by God, but they chose to live by their own standards and beliefs. The Jewish religion is not based on truth, its all based on tradition and pomp. Just like Catholicism.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • to: Gloria

      to: Gloria
      Wow, you are a perfect example of someone who drank the Kool-Aid.
      Thank god?(No caps in god) I don't think so...

      On a bright note the bible does come in handy around my house when toilet paper is out.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • strong vincent

      well then why did the rabbis not find another line of work when they discovered the whole premise of their faith was false? If THey are so convinced of the falsehood of their teachings, why do they continue?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • NJBob

      The book "The Bible Unearthed" by Finkelstein and Silberman is an excellent review and discussion of the archaeological evidence supporting Jewish and Christian myths. That evidence can be summed up quite succinctly: there is none.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • JLasaque

      Reality...I was looking for evidence of the Jewish Exodus digging in my backyard here in the midwest, U.S...found nothing but a rusty nail and what looked like very rusted bottlecap...perhaps these credible "modern" archaeologist types and I are both digging in the wrong spot...

      Consider this...a person goes to college, gets a four year degree in archaeology (or some antiquities preservation analog); spends summers sifting through sand and rock and gravel, all the while taking graduate level classes...person eventually obtains the vaunted PhD in archaeology...then works his/her tail off seeking funding for an archeological excavation, with the payoff being more funding, and more opportunities to dig in the dirt...do you think professional archaeologists are looking hard for evidence of the Exodus on a speculative basis...not a chance...they know their PhD buys them nothing more than a job at Tel Aviv Walmart if they don't discover and publish...so they write grants for digs near established sites/communities, and stay employed sifting rock in culturally safe areas...not unless some shepard stumbles upon a rare find in an unexpected place do you get archeological interest and action in remote places...not at all surprising that the pottery and other evidence of the Exodus and other biblical events lie waiting to be discovered...doesn't mean not there...just not found yet...

      April 15, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • JLasaque

      NJBob...still throwing around the term "myth"...noticed you didn't respond to my earlier challenges...trolling in a different part of the lake I see...

      No evidence...you are lying! To suggest no evidence exists...at all...indicates you've examined all the evidence, and it is devoid of reference to biblical times...simply a bold faced lie!

      For the rest of you, who are non-delusional types, yet are biblical skeptics out there, but unlike NJBob, want to embrace a truthful picture of what our universe has to offer, check out Bibilical Archeology Review (BAR) for example...http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/

      BAR publishes thousands of accounts of current and historically relevant findings in the field of biblical archaeology...

      You don't have to buy-in to the "truth" behind what the Bible puports to be divine revelation...but the idea that archeology has not unearthed historically supportive evidence of biblical accounts, is ridiculous...thousands and thousands of finds support an historically accurate account portrayed in the Bible...

      April 15, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  7. Sam

    I love coming on here and finally seeing atheists leave comments, it's about time we spoke up against this nonsense, enough is enough already! I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one who didn't fall for the BS. That's right folks, when you die....wait for it...you're dead! Now if you can't accept death just say that you can't accept death and that's why you invented an "afterlife" to comfort yourself because you are too cowardly to face the truth.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Gloria

      Right on Sam. Only a fool says in their heart that there is no God.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • martog

      Sam, ignore Gloria, she is COMPLETELY delusional.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • GOD

      Gloria, Didn't I tell you to put a lid on it?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • strong vincent

      Sam it not so much about being a coward; it's just that for many of us trusting in God brings more assurance than trusting in Sam.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Gloria

      Martog: I'm so happy to know that you actually have a brain to be able to read. Give thanks! And, with that brain of yours have the ability to THINK of someone as delusional you have never met! Amazing! How do you do that? Can you teach me????

      The search for truth uncovers many lies. I'll let you wrap your brain around that. It's okay, I'll wait.

      April 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Gloria

      To GOD: Well GOD, you created me with a brain and fingers and I THANK YOU. The only way I can put a lid on it is if I die and not able to think any more :(

      April 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Really?

    Religion, all, is a manufactured thing for the purpose of control. It has and continues to create misery in this world. And there is still a everlasting and present GOD! My grandmother NEVER set foot in a church but she was one of the most spiritual person that I've known. Rejection of such organization will free all of religious tyranny, the worst kind of tyranny.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  9. Welled

    Add to the fact that the guys name in proximation of time wasn't Jesus it was something else. So. You need to ask yourself. What have we got here. Cause what happened to the other guy wasn't anything near what that folk tale is saying.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Really?

      It is indeed a most troubling thing to think that the New Testament and the Biblical Jesus are manufactured by the Piso family of Rome. The Roman Catholic Church knows this too well as they are the beneficiary of all this deception. See, they are really terrified of the real Christ. They tried really hard to cover their tracks and even destroyed the Library of Alexandria in the process. No matter, people are waking up. The truth will come out and the Catholic Church replaced. It is inevitable. And all it took was a change upward in the cosmic vibrations that the Universe graces us with. Beautiful and welcomed.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  10. Welled

    What Christians may have is another semetic peoples folklore. Done on purpose of course. Its not Hebew however. There was a book to the Hebrews. They may have been trying. But Hebrews really aren't jews which once again slang.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  11. jdun

    Ain't guilt great? I was brought up in a christian home, my father was a minister. However, my dad and mom were of the Depression Era and saw education as the answer for success in modern America. Thus, they preached education over religion. My dad was a believer but knew that God couldn't be proven so he focused on moral behavior in bringing up his family. I am not religious at all but am a moralist which is the primary teaching of most religions I know. Ritual, dietary habits and holy day observations are fine, but how about just being a good person?

    April 15, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Jim

      That's a lot harder than the rituals!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  12. SidAirfoil

    It sounds like the author is trying to have her cake and eat it, too. She's wants to be part of the "community" but without actually having to share the community's values. My advice: If the community requires you to believe something that you don't in order to be a member, maybe you shouldn't be aspiring to membership in that community. Find a different community that doesn't require you to pretend (to yourself or your children) that you're something you're not.

    Sid

    April 15, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Jim

      What's wrong with pretending? Probably most of the others in the group are also less than devout. It's not like there's a real god you're going to offend.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  13. Welled

    See a Hebrew and a Jew may not be the same thing. You have about 3 or four different religions mixed in. LIke I say semitic people there are many different semite peoples. Have similar religions to the Hebrews. Another words what you got ain't Hebrew in many ways. I know that may sound strange. It's really not. Its actually done to ride the edges of being Hebrew. So don't use Jew thats slang. Use Hebrew. That seperates them from any semetic people. Someone says there a Jew. Ask them if they are Hebrew. They just may shut up. I have no idea what kosher is. Its not Hebrew. They may not be talking about the Hebrew God either.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  14. NewMexico720

    The Jews handed over a fellow INNOCENT Jew, Jesus, to the Romans to be executed because of their hypocrisy and Pharasaic wicked tradition.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Religion is pathetic!

      Actually, another fairy tale. A good story, but a fairy tale.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Gloria

      Well said new mexico. No wonder these jews are so confused. I would be too and very afraid....

      April 15, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Dr. Bob

      Hi NewMexico720- you are a moron- have a day.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • NewMexico720

      Actually, its not a fairy tale. Too many historical records prove that Jesus was a real person. Historical records also show that the Jewish relgion/nation are the ones that were rejected by God for their wickedness and for having Jesus turned over to the Romans to be executed. The Jewish religion is as bad as the Catholics. All of it belongs in the toilet.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Gloria

      LOL! NewMexico720. Right on! I love highly educated people like you.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • strong vincent

      It was the sin of all mankind that crucified Jesus.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • martog

      Gee,another Jew hater. Religion is just pure evil.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • joe

      Exactly, Jesus was a "person". Not the son of a God, not someone who died for our sins, rather just a mere mortal just like you and me.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • NJBob

      Jesus wasn't even a real person. His entire existence was manufactured.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Gloria

      Martog, Jews actually have the power to stop the hate. All they have to do is recognize the fact that they killed an innocent man and just start believing in him. Simple :)

      April 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  15. lol

    This just in: teaching your kids stupid garbage can be difficult.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Gloria

      Keep on laughing.....

      April 15, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • martog

      I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints!

      April 15, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  16. Welled

    It lives! I've got your pathetic.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • martog

      Cousin It? Great Hair!!!!

      April 15, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  17. Religion is pathetic!

    Hey people- They are all fairy tales. Use you time to live a little.
    Religion is for pathetic weak minded fools who cannot stomach reality!
    Get a grip people. You live and you die...Thats it!

    April 15, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Gloria

      To: Religion is Pathetic,

      DUH!!! We are living. A lot as a matter of fact, thanks to GOD. Every breath u take u should give thanks.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • kr

      To those atheists who kept on attacking Christianity and Judaism: Without the Christianity factor in the past 2000 years and Judaism in the more than 2000 years, you would not be living in the kind of civilization you are living now. Christianity which is an extension of Judaism has contributed so much in the development of civilization, science, education, medicine, laws, social work. Atheism and atheists have done nothing in the world but chaos and negativity.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • martog

      Gloria, please prove god if you are going to continue to speak as if god is a fact. Assertions without proof can be denied without proof.. Can your little mind understand that?

      April 15, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • martog

      KR....do you have facts to back up your opinion?

      April 15, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • to: Gloria

      Wow, you are a perfect example of someone who drank the Kool-Aid.
      Thank god?(No caps in god) I don't think so...

      On a bright note the bible does come in handy around my house when toilet paper is out.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Bionic

      I am not really a religious person but I have to admit your comments are the most stupid of all. Your world should be really really small thinking your purpose of being here is to live and die. Hmm, there is probably no ethics in your small garbage bag life. you probably find a reason if someone ask you to marry your sister. You probably have no compass to direct you in your journey except your 1-ounce brain. I doubt if there is anything in it. Surprisingly enough you cound type

      April 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • martog

      Gee, Bionic....name calling? That's VERY ethical!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Gloria

      Martog, God is not one to be mocked. Let's take this back to elementary school, shall we? Is there another place like earth in the entire universe? No wait, that might be too deep for you. But I can guaranty you MAN will NEVER find another place like earth in this entire universe. U better wake up and start giving thanks for all the wonderful creation in it because earth was precisely placed here for us to enjoy. Matter of fact the Hebrew scriptures says that GOD felt regret in his heart when he created humans. Let's put it this way, we can all have our opinions but if all human beings were to be wiped off the face of the earth today, guess what? The universe will still be here including planet earth. I don't know if u can wrap that big brain of yours around that but keep in mind that we are less than specs in comparison to te universe. Bow down & give thanks for every breath you take. Humility is a quality for LIFE!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Bionic

      Mr or Mrs martog, copy and paste of the original thread
      Religion is for pathetic weak minded fools <--–Who started name calling?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Bionic

      Nothing in the past. I just have not met an aetheist as of yet who has not had a messed up past. And usually their life style is what I have described. If you are not one of them, cool it!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  18. martog

    Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.
    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.
    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.
    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.
    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.
    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.
    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.
    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.
    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.
    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.
    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Religion is pathetic!

      AMEN!
      ABSOLUTELY ON THE MONEY!

      Well Said!

      April 15, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Mike

      I've seen you respond on every single religious article that CNN posts. Excellent use of the "cut and paste" function my friend. What is truly sad is that you believe your treatise of mere opinion adds credibility. It does not. Why do you judge others whose beliefs are different than yours? What do you gain? You should try practicing patience and tolerance. While you weakly attempt to look "rational", you instead appear hateful. Stop judging others.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • martog

      Mike, you are the Pot calling the Kettle black. You obviously respond to EVERY religious article too!
      Can you refute with FACTS one thing I cut and pasted(posted)??!?!?!?!

      April 15, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Mike

      @Martog:

      Can you supply facts instead of your opinion? I don't see any premise/conclusion pairs here. You obviously do not know how to construct an argument.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Bionic

      11- you are trying to figure out whether your sister or mother is prettier than the girl you are dating and debating whether you should marry one of them. Reason: because you think you are smarter than Bible and your reasoning brought you to this point

      April 15, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • martog

      If you can't see the facts in my post after reading it SO many times, I guess you never will.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • martog

      Bionic, you seem to have a thing about incest? Something in your past you are not sharing?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Mike

      @Martog:

      There are no facts present in your post and the world can see it. Please supply evidence to support your "facts" if they are truly facts. Also, you haven't answered the original questions I posed to you. What do you gain by tearing down others whose beliefs are different than yours? Is your goal to create division in an already divided world? Let us hear if you have any thoughts of your own since you "cut and paste" the same posting every time there is a religion article posted. I doubt they are even your thoughts.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • bob150

      Perfect! Very well written!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      Martog's Long Post of 10 ways to know an atheist is summed in one word:

      crap, I mean.. CRAP!

      April 16, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  19. april

    Many people believe Jesus was just a man on Earth....Biblical proof He has always existed along with God the Father.....

    Proof.... Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let US make man in OUR image." US and OUR in this verse refers to the Trinity...God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Next..... In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us (this is Jesus) ( John 1:1, 14)." "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet saying, I am the alpha and omega, the first and the last: ... And I turned to see the voice that spoke to me. And being turned I saw ... one like unto the son of man ... . And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not;I am the first and the last: I am that liveth and was dead: and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; 9 Rev. 1:10-18." Last....John 3: 16-17..."For God so loved the world that He gave His onlly Son that whosoever believes in Him won't perish but have everlasting life. For God SENT not His Son INTO the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved." Think of it... God SENT His Son INTO the world...
    Praise be to our Lord in Heaven...

    April 15, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • martog

      You do reaalize of course that NOTHING in the bible has been been proven and therefore it is NOT proof of anything?!?!?!
      Or is your delusion complete?

      April 15, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Ira Radnick

      Come on April, get real. What you offer as proof is just a regurgitation of fables and fairy tales. Man created god(s), not the other way around. Religion is (ab)used to control the thinking and purse string of the weak minded who choose to let other do their thinking form them. Grow up already.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Gloria

      Martog, please read your bible and stop playing...

      April 15, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Jim

      Let April have her fairyland. It's obvious she hasn't the intellect for anything else.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • jdun

      Biblical proof? Do yo believe every thing you read? Oh, that's right, its a sin NOT to believe what the Bible says! My bad.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • mema

      Actually there are many things in the bible that have been proven to be true through archeological discoveries. I think some research is in order here. It is atheist who have dissolusioned themselves to not believe in God. The denial of a greater power is what is a fairy tale. What proof of evolution is there? A few extict chim fossils! Do you realize how many fossils there should be if we had evolved? Thousands, millions even. And not just for man but also for every living thing. Trillions maybe? Where are they? Wheres the proof? There was talk of finding a missing link but in fact there would be a ton of links to that chain to get from the simple cell to modern man. Its not there! Man was created! Oh maybe a dog-fish- cow mated with a pig-frog-cat and thats how we got here. Geez

      April 15, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • martog

      Gloria, I read that hatefull book front to back. It is the most vile fairytale ever written. Have you read the damn thing front to back?

      April 15, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Vp

      To them ( the unbeliever it will seem foolishness to believe). Jesus is coming, sooner than you may believ, praise the Lord

      April 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • martog

      Vp, I will take care of all your belongings so you can get ready for Jeebus day. Shall I come get them now?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Vp

      You will have them for a short moment. Until they are destroyed by fire. Then you will get to worship the only true God, the Bible says All will acknowledge and worship Him. Praise the Lord, end of statement

      April 15, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • bob150

      I read it on the internet, so, it MUST be true!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Gloria

      Actually Martog, I have read it front to back. I recommend that you read it in an undertone day & night. Would you like me to help you? I can set up a bible study for you if you like?

      April 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can read it ad nauseam and it still won't prove a thing, Gloria.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    parents do a disservice to their children by telling them god is real. when they get older, you let them know santa claus, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny aren't real - tell them the truth about god. there's no such thing. teach them to use reason instead of believing in superst.ition.

    April 15, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Ira Radnick

      The one time my former wife I and did get into a disagreement about was when I told her I had no consideration toward telling out kids about Santa Claus as being nothing more than a old, worn out tale. She said, "I want our kids to have a childhood they can remember!" My reply was I preferred our kids to know I never deceived them, not even to hoodwink them into believing in something so innocent as Santa Claus, along with the guilt trips spun on kids about religion, the tooth fairy, guardian angels, etc. It is all conniving crud meant to help parents get mental control of their children when they are too weak minded to deal with doing a great job in preparing their kids for surviving in a cold and harsh world of reality.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Gloria

      Who put the funk in your booty??? U better recognize. Its put there to keep you humble.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Vp

      Soon you will face the judge of the universe. And you will worship Him. Praise God He is coming back.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Bionic

      VOW, I can not wait to tell my kids about your line of thought. There is no God, there is no moral compass. VOW, I can not wait until they wake up and tell them, guys, we just got here, I was wrong all along. no authority in universe. I do not know how me and your mom got here either, but just know something exploded and we got here. Do not believe anything about a creator, it is all fairy tale. Get dressed and let us go to our local Barnes and Noble and seek to find a book about mankind reasoning. That will do it. And if they had a question after reading those, I would tell them, you know what, if you still have question, then we go buy more books, and if that did not work, I just tell them, your reasoning is weak. You are a fool, kid. And if they got mad, I would tell them: Reason, Reason, Reason but not RISEN! Got it, thanks , you made my day.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:12 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.