Editor's Note: Deborah Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas, blogs about raising her children without religion. An avid reader of the Belief Blog, she said she shared this essay on CNN iReport because 'I just felt there is not a voice out there for women/moms like me. I think people misunderstand or are fearful of people who don’t believe in God.'
By Deborah Mitchell, Special to CNN
(CNN)–When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.
For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.
One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale—not unlike the one we tell children about Santa—to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.
And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.
Read Mitchell's 7 reasons she's raising her children without God
hmm – we felt obliged to send our kids to a Catholic school just so they would not feel different living in a small rural community – uncomfortable about this as felt we were not being honest with ourselves.. freedom to chose is all important, yet sometimes we compromised for their sake to avoid conflict. Ironic, as religion these days is mostly all about conflict. All's well that ends well so no long term damage done!
Only 1668 comments on this post I thought it would have angered more people then that. Deborah Mitchell I don't think America needs to lower it's religious fever I think the world needs to lower their fever to catch up to us. I believe the world needs more what you call "free thinkers". I think we would live in a less stressful world if that was to happen.
CHILDREN OF GOD?
Does the term"Children of God" include all mankind, regardless of religious belief? Is universal salvation a factual concept? God loves everyone, however, there are requirements and conditions to be accepted as "Children of God."
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
Only those who believe in Jesus have the right to become children of God.
Galatians 3:26-27 For you are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
It is through faith in Christ and being baptized into Christ that men become children of God.
Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.
Those who have believed in Jesus and have been baptized are "children of God."
Acts 4:10-12 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Only those who have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ are "children of God."
ALL OF US ARE NOT GOD'S CHILDREN!
THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL SALVATION!
YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com
I appreciate the article. It is very difficult to answer such questions when having that type of discussion with a young child of only three years. It seems difficult even for most adults to have these types of discussions without feeling offended or feeling the need to defend their own belief, whether it is a person of deep faith or a person of reality. In the society that we live in, non-believers are almost surely the most feared and feared for as well as discriminated against. We are taught at a very young age to be fearful of what may happen to us after we pass away if we don't believe in god or accept Jesus as our savior. Try telling anyone you know that you don't believe in God (even if you do) to see the look on their face and then listen to their words. They will be shocked and they will either distance themselves from you (even if you have proven to be a wonderful person) or feel the need to talk sense into you.
Personally, I strongly believe that most people in this world are good and moral. I believe that what has transpired throughout history is an inability to understand the true value of this one life we have. If we believe that someone has already died for our sins and that we are destined for a life after this one then what is truly the motivating factor to be a good friend, a contributing positive person in the community and to see that we have this opportunity to do good things? What drives our behaviors? Is is a fear of what might happen if we are not good people or do we just genuinely want to be good to others? If we think we have another life to live after we die because we say we believe in God then we can be lazy about our morals. If we think that this is the only chance we have to be with people we love then perhaps we will be more aware of how we spend our time with them and the love we show them. If we think that we have another meeting place once we pass that leaves an idea that we have more time, more chances to treat them well, love them more, talk to them actively. I think I have one life and I think I should live it well for myself and for all those I encounter and to set an example for my kids and loved ones, not because I am afraid of what punishment I might endure in the afterlife. One life, live it well.
This idea of someone watching over us and guiding us, controlling all things, being all things and knowing all things. It's about controlling the masses through fear. Throughout history leaders have feared what might happen if people didn't believe. They didn't have faith in humans making good moral decisions without some greater fear of life in hell or life in heaven guiding their minds. I don't think they thought it through well enough though seeing how so many people actually hurt others in the name of their religion.
It does not hurt anyone to believe what they believe. The problem arises when we start judging each other based on our religious (or lack thereof) beliefs. Good people are good whether God is in their life or not. If we all truly treated one another with respect, it wouldn't hurt to tell our kids that we don't believe in God.
My parents were both believers but did not push their beliefs on us as kids and I am thankful that I was able to experience my own life while developing my own thoughts and ideas of what happens to us as humans. I am trying to do the same with my kids. I do not tell them there is or isn't a God. I tell them the truth, nobody knows what happens to us until after they are gone. If my kids come to me when they are older and ask what I personally believe, I will tell them the truth. Until then, I don't think I should force my opinion on them but guide them through my actions with others and within the community, being a good citizen and person, helping others and treating all people with kindness.
If we all stuck to non judgement while focusing on doing good in our world, the world would be a better place.
Air purifiers are devices employed in homes and business all over the world. Due to the amount of dust etc indoors, air purifiers are used to clean and ‘purify’ the air inside the building, circulating it until it is free from unnecessary particles.'-
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Free speech helps educate the masses................politicians too !
Where do morals come from?
By Kelly Murray, CNN
Gravity is not up for debate !
BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !
Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet
Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before
Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.
The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?
The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species
Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.
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Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young
And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !
From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life
the wrong path is Adam and Eve !
Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought
Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.
No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US
Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.
No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !
Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History
Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.
Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute
Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...
Good stuff !
The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !
Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle
Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.
For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !
Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.
Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’
Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
bears his name as the “God particle.”
Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \
Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Make sure to read comments
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NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.
NASA: Mars could have supported life
Star Dust we are
I dont undersatnd how this is a problem. You know you could always educate yourself about the thing you don't know, or just say that you don't know. Humans don't understand everything in the universe why should you be expected to.
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So true! I believe people have morality of what's right and wrong, but that it didn't come from God or the Church. No one can prove that morality came from God that they just claim it did!! They think claiming this is proof which is bull. I believe its just our natural instincts of what humanity does. If there was a God how could all this horror go on around the world!
Since even before the first caveman stuck his hand in a fire and learned "fire – hot – bad," humans have been learning wrong from right. Our ideas of right and wrong, our morals, our empathy, have been growing ever since.
Not only do we not need a god to command morals, many religious texts (and the commandments therein) are IMMORAL. Specifically the Christian bible condones and promotes slavery among other atrocities. Most of the world has recognized the immorality of that concept.
Check out the link to a very detailed view on why there is suffering in this world, but only if you are looking for answers. I challenge you. There is nothing to lose but more knowledge to gain.
The last thing anyone needs is more religion and its ridiculous value system. Suffering exists because PERIOD. It is our condition to be born and experience all which that means, including happiness and misery. There is no god working anywhere in there, and what's more, none is required. Peddle your snake oil elsewhere, clodhopper.
In Response To: “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” Why I Raise My Children To Have Faith In God’s Will?
Please see point-to-point response here: http://zahidhkhalid.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/in-response-to-why-i-raise-my-children-without-god.pdf
This isn't news! This woman can raise her children however she wants. (As long as she isn't harming them).
Hey here is a novel idea: mind your own kids.
Frans de Waal shows that even monkeys employ "morality".. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GcJxRqTs5nk Thank you for posting this video. People as well as non-human Primates can absolutely have morality and compassion without religion. It would serve us all well to be more tolerant of others and their beliefs. I'm glad to see more people willing to give a voice to that end.
Don't let the Christians or Muslim know!! They will start trying to convert them and then the monkeys will start killing each other based upon which invisible being they choose to follow...
How can she say that without God her children can be moral? Atheism rejects objective moral values, there is no such thing as actually right since we evolved without divine intervention and so we do things for survival rather than to actually be good. In other words what we do is only good for us and not actually good. We have morality today because moral values have been passed down through religion/spirituality to the current times, I'm not saying an atheist can't be a good person, but down the line eventually people will realize this and the evil will become more evil seeing no ground for moral values.
Morality: Using empathy as a guide for human interaction. AKA, "treat others the way you want to be treated" and "put yourself in my shoes". It has nothing inherently to do with the bible.
When morality is based on religious text, its OK to:
• behead one's daughter to restore a family's "honor"
• deny emergency medical aid to a child
• kill gays, children who misbehave, anyone who works on a particular day of the week, entire groups and races of peoples, and many others for equally capricious reasons
• buy and sell humans as chattel, including one's own family members
• kill anyone who visually depicts Muhammad
Karen Wynn of Yale has a study showing even babies have an idea of wrong versus right. Neuroscientist Christian Keysers has done research to show that the brain of those who see others receiving pain themselves have similar neurological responses. There is a curve to empathy; some feel it more than others. But it certainly doesn't come from a hateful book about imaginary people.
Humans and probably other animals exist on a spectrum of empathy.
Frans de Waal shows that even monkeys employ "morality"...
You're reading way to much into atheism. All it rejects is belief in gods. Many atheists have very absolute ethics. I don't believe in a god but I am a modified rule utilitarian who believes that the greatest conscious happiness of all sentient beings is the end goal. I am not wwavering in this. I know other non-believers who are militant rights based ethicists. Many atheists have belief systems such as Buddhism or Unitarian Universalism that guide their beliefs. There are a huge diversity of beliefs among those who just happen not to believe in a god, just as their are among god-believers.
Our morality was one of the reasons our species survived. Social evolution has grown our empathy and the need to work in groups for survival is still seen in some of our great ape cousins so it is not hard to imagine how our ancestors needed each other for survival. The most ignorant conclusion one can reach is to say without religion humans are not moral because all the evidence says otherwise and the laws found in the bible and other religious writings are merely parroting earlier secular works such as the code of Hammurabi. Religion has attempted to usurp our evolved bottom up morality with it's own brand of top down morality that has only done more harm than good to society as they often interject extremely immoral practices, such as killing and pillaging other non-believers in their God's name since they dehumanize those not of their faith.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk&w=560&h=315] Sorry the link didn't show the video so I'm posting it as embedded.
How can you say that your religion gives you morality when your basic statement here is nothing more than an ignorant lie about what atheists believe and think? Instead of learning the truth, it seems you would rather sit in judgement. The fact that you let a book or a pastor, instead of real life experience, tell you what to think is not a virtue.
The sad truth is that if you need someone to tell you that hurting others is bad, if you need the threat of hell or the promise of heaven to be a good person, then you are not a good person at all.
Its laughable that you think this woman can't pass down a level of morality and not subject her children to 'God'!!! America is full of 'religious' people that claim GOD and are complete idiots and have no moral backbone at all! Come on! Americans have the most Christian mega ministries that I have ever seen preaching doctrines of faith and goodness (ya right) and you guys still have some of the worst crime that can be imagined. Your preachers are getting caught for having affairs and stealing money! This adherence to this GOD is the reason for all the arrogance, intolerance and crap that floods the population. Get a grip! This really chaps my ass.
religion doesn't answer any questions, it only demands you to stop asking and stop thinking.
Your opening statement exposes the flaw in your belief system. You didn't believe and you lied. It's like selling a product to customers that you don't believe will work. Sort of sets you up for failure from the very beginning. I would like to propose you read 'Why I'm Raising My Children With God' by Sara Debbie Gutfreund. http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Why-Im-Raising-My-Children-With-God.html
we do not need your indoctrination pamphlets. Religion does not answer any questions. Instead it commands you to stop asking them and to stop thinking.
Oh, no thank you, Brian. I agree with the author that one shouldn't lie to children.
More people like this mother need to step forward and proclaim their lack of belief in myth.
God is a bad parent and role model. This charge assumes that God is supposed to serve as a model for parenthood. But while there are analogies between God as our heavenly Father and a human parent, the disanalogies are so great as to undermine the assumption that God is to serve as a role model for human parents. For one thing, the analogy should be between us and our adult children, and in that case we do let them make their own free decisions without interference. But even then the analogy is not tight. For we and our children are equals; but God is our Creator and Sovereign. A human father who thought of himself as the end-all of his children’s existence would be egomaniacal. But the infinite God, who is the locus of goodness and love, is the appropriate end of all beings (even of Himself!), the summum bonum (highest good). I am charged with the moral and spiritual education of my children; but God is involved in drawing all people freely to a saving knowledge of Himself. It is not at all improbable that only in a world suffused with natural and moral evil would the optimal number of people freely come to know Him and His salvation. I am bound by certain moral obligations and prohibitions vis à vis my children (e.g., not to harm them); but God (if He has moral duties at all) is not bound by many of these (e.g., He can give and take life as He pleases). God may ask me to bear terrible suffering (though not without recompense!) in order that others might freely find eternal life.
God is not logical. This mother is obviously not aware that the logical version of the problem of evil is recognized as bankrupt even by atheist and agnostic philosophers today. (See the discussion of the problem of evil in my Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview.) When we say that we do not understand why God has permitted a specific instance of suffering, it is not because we refuse to “think about it or deal with the issue.” Rather it is because we recognize that we are not in a position to make with any sort of confidence guesses as to why God permitted this specific incident. His morally sufficient reason for allowing some instance of suffering might not emerge until hundreds of years from now or perhaps in another country. Every event sends a ripple effect through history such that its consequences are impossible for finite persons limited in time and space to predict. Thus it is the better part of intellectual humility to say that we do not know the specific reason why God permitted some instance of suffering. What we can show is that the occurrence of such suffering is neither inconsistent nor improbable with respect to God’s existence, as the atheist presumptuously asserts.
Obviously, no one is advocating that we should abdicate our responsibility for mitigating or eliminating the evils that afflict our world. On the contrary, Christians have led the way in the fight against slavery, poverty, disease, ignorance, and the manifest evils of our world. What have atheists done for us lately?
God is not fair. This is just childish whining. Life is not fair. Get used to it. God is not under any obligation to be “fair.” (God is not Santa Claus, remember?) That does not imply that God allows “luck to rule mankind's existence.” No, it is God’s sovereign providence that rules the affairs of men. God neither promises nor provides an equal lot in life to every human being. What God does do is give sufficient grace for salvation and eternal life to every person He creates. The inequities and shortcomings of this life are not even worth comparing with the glory that God will bestow upon us in heaven. He sovereignly orders the world so that His plans will be achieved, and we can trust Him to do what is good.
God does not protect the innocent. Right! Nor is He under any obligation to do so. He did not protect His only son Jesus Christ, who was the most innocent of men, from the horrible death on the cross. But God rightly orders the world so as to achieve His good purposes for the human race. Christ’s innocent death, in particular, brought about the redemption of mankind.
God is not present. How do you know? Because we “cannot see, smell, touch or hear” God? If you could, he would be a finite, physical object, an idol, in effect, not God. Modern physics teaches us that there all sorts of realities that are not accessible to the five senses (QoW #273). Should we not believe in them? But we have indirect evidence of their reality, you might say. Indeed, and in the same way we have similar evidence for God.
God Does Not Teach Children to Be Good. This is not an argument against God’s existence but just an alleged reason not to teach your children about God. I agree that we should teach children to do what is right because it is right. But the reason it is right is because God commands us to do it. By contrast on atheism there is no basis for moral obligation or prohibition. It’s wonderful that this mother wants to teach her children to do what is right, but on naturalism there is no objective right or wrong. If her children eventually see through the sham, they may become relativists in spite of her. She can only hope that they will “make her proud” and “become decent people” because once they see through the baseless morality she has taught them, there’s no reason that they should do so.
God Teaches Narcissism. What nonsense! Jesus taught us not only to love our neighbors as ourselves but even to love our enemies. I challenge anyone to produce even one psychological study showing Christian children to be narcissistic. To the contrary, a number of studies show religious people to be psychologically better-balanced and happier than non-religious people.
Finally, although this mother claims that she doesn’t want religious belief to disappear from people’s private lives, the thrust of her whole column is quite the opposite. She already has the freedom to teach her children whatever she wants. So what more is she angling for? She wants to convince readers of her column not to teach their children to believe in God. In other words, she is trying to eliminate religious belief in the private, not merely public, sphere. She is thus a part of the aggressive New Atheism.
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-we-raised-our-kids-to-believe-in-god#ixzz2MkTcCeSv
@ aNTHONY ...
I like the way you make excuses for your myth.
RA the sun god is the one true god ... prove he is not.
Oh and while you're at it ... Explain why god is male? Why not female? You realize that if a woman had a virgin birth it could only be female. Genetically, biologically that's all that's possible. Please dazzle me with your magic.
As I interact with Christian friends, I realize that many of us lose the conviction to pray as time goes by. Also, we face difficulties in seeking God's will.This book, Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's Will, looks at real-life problems that we face in prayer, as well as seeking God's will. It then present biblical truths NOT realized before – truths that we can see and apply in our human journey. By clarifying wrong notions about prayer and God’s will. it will change the way you see – and seek – God’s will. When faith is strengthened by knowledge and understanding, we will go on to pray and serve God with conviction. Learn more about the book at: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781620241431
There are 12 chapters in this book:
1. Inner Doubts
2. What does the Bible mean?
3. Prayer: What did Jesus Intend to tell us?
4. "Why doesn't God answer more prayers?"
5. To Pray Again
6. Does Sin impede prayer?
7. Faith in God
8. How does God call people?
9. Understanding God's Will
10 Being in God's will
11 Journey of the Bible
12 Reading the Scripture Fruitfully
we do not need more fiction on gods and prayer such as the bible or this training book on how to use a bible. If your god were so awesome why would need a book to teach us how to do what could arguably be the simplest thing in the world? All anyone needs to know about prayer is summed up in a sentence or two: Prayer works as well as wishing on a 4-leaf clover. Grow up.
Check your god(S) at the cave enterance before entering.. No god(s) required for studying humans..
updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago
Jan. 29 2013
Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.
Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp
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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.