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January 15th, 2013
08:28 AM ET

iReport: Why I Raise My Children Without God

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Opinion

soundoff (1,688 Responses)
  1. Science

    FACT !!!!!
    Science is "Exhibit A" in a landmark trial on the teaching of evolution
    NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/intelligent-design-trial.html
    Nov 13, 2007 – Science is "Exhibit A" in a landmark trial on the teaching of evolution. ... with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the ...
    ndmark Case

    January 15, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Pete

      From the article you posted.

      "Ironically, when you look at what they actually would like to teach, it is simply the collection of anti-evolution arguments that were always part and parcel of intelligent design in the first place. So it is simply relabeling the intelligent design critique of evolution. And this idea of teaching the controversy is built upon a false premise, that there is a controversy within the scientific community on the issue of evolution. Well, there isn't. Evolution is, in fact, mainstream science."

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Science : FACT !!!!! Science is "Exhibit A" in a landmark trial on the teaching of evolution

      Logic fallacy: Appeal to Authority

      Grade: Failure

      January 15, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you stalling, Liver?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What "set of beliefs" do all atheists hold?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Live4Him' mendaciously mislabels evidence presentation as an appeal to authority.

      http://fallacyfiles.org

      January 15, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Science

      L4H take a blood test. go figure it out.

      We have traced our fanily tree that way. Over 80 people living in the tree. Fact

      January 15, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      This is an excellent piece by NOVA. It's the Dover trial. Intelligent Design LOST. Declared thinly veiled creationism and thereby religious. It coundn't be taught as an alternative scientific theory because it's not science. Evolution is presented as "Exhibit A", the best evidence AGAINST Intellligent Design. To be fair the show doesn't deny the possible existence of God and in fact many theists believe evolution is the method by which God acted. Belief in God isn't incompatible with evolution but the science still stands on its own without needing to invoke one.
      I highly recommend watching this NOVA episode.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Origin of Life

      Origin of Life: BRAND NEW !
      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics
      Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway - which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells - has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Science

      Thanks Steve Recomended for all parents and the new PBS show posted below on DNA decoding.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  2. Pedro

    So telling her kid that a frog can turn into a prince is better? Evolution is a myth that is full of fairy tale stories.
    "a deity or a 'super-intelligence' [is] the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature,"

    January 15, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Pete

      "So telling her kid that a frog can turn into a prince is better? "

      No, that's just a good fairy tale book. It might help if you actually studied evolution so you don't look like such an idiot.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Pedro

      Ok, so Pete believes we evolved from a fish

      January 15, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Pedro
      Can you point out the holes in any of the 5 laws of the theory of evolution?
      I'm waiting on tenterhooks....

      January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Pete

      "Ok, so Pete believes we evolved from a fish"

      You might want to stop posting since you're only proving further you don't understand evolution.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Pedro

      People who believe in evolution, do look like 'an idiot'

      January 15, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Toby

      Pedro wants everyone to believe that a big invisible friend created everyone out of nothing and their friend was created out of nothing with no facts or evidence to prove it. I have a piece of property on the moon to sell you.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Sue

      Pedro, read the following carefully and then go off, study, and reconsider your false statements. If you have courage, you will retract your statements. If not, you are simply a dishonest coward:

      The evidence strongly supports evolution. In fact, evolution is among the most strongly supported science that we have. However, note that origins are not really the subject of evolutionary science, so your statements were absurd out of the gate.

      In comparison, the bible stories have no support in evidence, at least insofar as their claims re a divine entity and its actions and intent are concerned. In fact, the evidence that exists contradicts bible stories at every turn.

      Now we also have strong DNA evidence for interbreeding of Neanderthal and relatively modern humans, before the timelines of the bible fables and strongly in condradiction to the bible lineage and creation myths.

      The world has moved on from your silly bible stories. You can choose to be left behind in your delusions, or you can get with modern science, but don't expect others to stand idly by while you make false claims such as you just did.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Pedro

      I'm still waiting for a legitimate response

      January 15, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      I find it hilarious that Pedro is calling some of his own kind idiots. You know Pedro, some Christians believe in evolution.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • sam

      Another attention-seeking troll.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Gir

      There is more evidence for "people evolving from fish" than there is for your imaginary sky wizard.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Ted

      Per Sue's remarks, Pedro has just demonstrated himself to be a dishonest coward. Pedro, grab a towel and wipe that egg off your face before it drips.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Pedro
      Your original post dones't contain a question.
      My response to it does – and you've yet to answer it.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • meifumado

      You ever go to school? Pedro?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Bigot

      I bet you are a good, authentic burrito

      January 15, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Bigot

      I bet you make a good, authentic burrito

      January 15, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Bigot

      Make* not are

      January 15, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • lalala

      How about an unemotional binary computer that just randomly spits out infinite physics laws/universes and you are just the result of one of them.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Awilda

      Pedro, I hope you can one day pick up a legitimate book of science and read for yourself the "evidence"...funny word, as this is the only way you can "prove" a person is telling a lie or not in court, "evidence" a word, that can prove many realities in this world, as only in this world. But know this, the heavenly blistering of clouds or firery chariots emitting from the sky, could they really be talking about aliens and UFO's? Pedro, think for once in your life. Not what you have been told, or you've been made to swallow, but think about everything before making your decision. And if you're wrong, then you will be better for it. Don't let your big brained ego get the best of you, just think for yourself, make a smart informed remark and then bask in your new found intelligence. THINK!! I'm sure you will think, even "God" gave us a brain for that, huh. Or we would still be screwing our brothers and sisters, right?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  3. truth be told

    When filth is accepted as a good thing America is in trouble. The filth of atheism is only accepted by other atheists, decent people already know better. Atheism represents all lies all the time.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • OneInChrist

      Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, Seek repentance for your constant lying.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yet you can't seem to produce any description of said "lies." Or any "filth" that atheists promulgate.

      It would seem that you're the one telling lies here, or you wouldn't make claims that are false. They must be false, since you can't produce any evidence to show otherwise.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Pete

      "Atheism represents all lies all the time."

      more lies from the xtians – 112!

      January 15, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • K-switch

      Atheist K-switch says, "truth be told has testicles." But since everything I say is a lie...

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • lalala

      You mean like the non "filth" excepted by Iran and Saudi? They seem to have far more in common with your mind set

      January 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  4. VanHagar

    She's brainwashing her children!!!!!!

    Tee hee. See what I did there? I took a page out of the atheists book–employing made up facts and hyperbole, In made an unsubstantiated, insulting statement– and tried to make it look like a simple observation about truth. That was fun. somebody set me up again.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How is she brainwashing them?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Toby

      It might help if you understood that cults are extremely skilled at brainwashing people, slowly but surely co-worsening, changing believes manipulating reality so that the individual is indoctrinated and fully convinced that what the higher power wants is what is best for them and what they want.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • meifumado

      Children are very impressionable to what they hear from adults.
      As an adult you should not indoctrinate children to believe in imaginary friends.
      We do not let people vote unless they are 18, So if we do not let children make important decisions when it comes to politics why would we let them make decisions on religion when they have not matured?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • VanHagar

      Tom...Really? She's not–at least no more than I when I teach my children that there is a God.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Bigot

      Teaching children there is a god (using fear mongering) without proof is brainwashing

      January 15, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • VanHagar

      @bigot....I don't know if using fear mongering qualifies as brainwashing or not...but I'll leave that up to others. Its a moot point for me because fear mongering has never been my evangelistic style. Unfortunately, too many Christians have bought in to a gospel of "no" - No you can't do this, no you can't do that. I'm not purporting that Christian's no longer recognize sin for what it is. I'm suggesting that getting people to say "Yes" to Christ is a better approach–the desire to no longer sin will inevitable follow once that is done. So, that said, I don't drive fear into my kids. I don't tell them (or you) that hell awaits those who choose not follow. (I find it has little value.) So, instead, I focus on the love He has for us. The example he set. The sacrifice he made. His victory.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • VanHagar

      Typing too fast..please excuse the typos.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Which God?

      Van Hagar. We all mispell. Fatfingering the keyboard, type too fast, not proofreading carefully. We all do it. No problem.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Irrational Exuberance

      @VanHager

      Mom: I know this person, his name is Jesus, who says if you don't honor and respect me he will throw you in a lake of fire, where you will burn in agony forever, and ever, and ever.
      ...
      My friend also says if you really loved him you would accept that he not only ordered the killing of thousands of children, but personally killed tens of thousands of them by drowning them since they didn't love him enough to do what he told them to do.
      ...
      In fact he even killed a whole bunch of kids one time just to try and get their parents to do something.

      Rinse and repeat every Sunday, Wednesday, and on the occasional Friday depending on your church.

      January 16, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  5. Thoth

    I don't tell my kids what to believe either way. If they ask questions we talk about it and I give them my perspective, and why I hold it. The only truth that can be stated about god(s) is that they can neither been proven, nor disproved. You can no more discount Anu, Ra, Osiris, Odin, etc.... than you can the Christian god dominating American culture. By the same logic you arrive at "your" version, you can arrive at any diety.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Science

      Old news
      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says – CNN ...
      religion.blogs.cnn.com/.../heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-ha...
      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 ...

      January 15, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  6. Charlie

    Belief. What is it ....really? How is it no two of us believe the same things in the same way yet we are all right about our belief and the other wrong? I choose to believe in God. I choose to believe in that place called Heaven. Because I say this, there are some who believe I am a non-thinker because I am religious. Yet when I stroll down a path in the woods and I wonder about how we evolved, how we have passed information down from generation to generation and how the stories have changed over time because of our understanding of the world and ourselves, I seek to better understand things like quantum mechanics and what this may mean in terms of how things may work and how that fits with what I believe. I do believe in honesty. The most important honesty is with ones self. If we do not have that, we cannot be honest with another even if we try. So, when I speak to my child I explain to them things like, 'there is a Santa but not in the way you may believe". When they came to understand Santa was not as they thought, I then explained I am Santa and he/she is Santa too. I ask what the stranger we shopped for and gave gifts to without them ever seeing or knowing us would call us. I think they might think of us as Sanata and so we are and you will be to your children and people in need. And when I speak of God and I speak of Heaven I do tell them what I think and I tell them that I may be wrong and this is OK because being wrong about things only changes the way we view the world and not how it works. I further explain just as people who wrote the Bible wrote of the world in the way they understood it, we do too. And just as those who wrote the bible are looked on as ignorant, someday we will be looked upon that way too. We are all wrong about many things we think we are correct. We are all ignorant as well. The only truly unfortunate thing is many of us choose to allow our ignorance to be the source for how we treat each other. We use our ignorance to look down upon others because they believe something different than we do and we disrespect them. All the while we each seek the same thing- to have the best life we can before we leave it for something we really truly have no idea. You may call it the final darkness as I once viewed it? I now call it Heaven. Words...simple little symbols. They remind me of grains of sugar. There are ways to pass down traditional stories to our children and allowing them the joy of believing without being dishonest. The dishonesty comes not in the telling of the story but in how we bring true and honest meaning from the story into their own lives as they outgrow the story. Some believe adult honesty is what is best for a child. Funny thing is children come into this world as purely honest and we teach them dishonesty when we teach them to cloak the demand for food, to smile when they are not happy and to think we, their parents, have all the answers.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Damocles

      Wow *nodding* that's a lot of words, I'm not sure you said anything though.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Len

      Problem is, we expect people to outgrow the story of Santa when they mature, but we only encourage people to believe in God more when they get older.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Belief. What is it ....really?"

      Belief is what we accept as true. However knowledge is a subset of belief. You could call knowledge "justified true belief". So while we can all be comfortable about the veracity of our knowledge the same cannot be said for things we believe where our knowledge falls short. This is the trap faced when considering religious belief. If you must accept on "faith" meaning you don't have the requisite knowledge then you are opening yourself to having false beliefs. In fact if faith is your metric for determining truth then you can easily believe in anything. I care enough about my beliefs that I want to avoid believing in false things. The only way to ensure that is by limiting my beliefs to things I do have knowledge about. If I lack the knowledge then I choose not to believe...plain and simple.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Gir

      "and how that fits with what I believe."

      This right here is why I label some religionists non-thinkers. It's not because they don't think. It's just that they refuse to do it PROPERLY. You don't jump to conclusions, and then try to bend the facts to conform to them. You let testable explanations arise from the facts, and then devise methods to test those explanations. THEN you form conclusions and modify them if any new evidence comes along.

      This emphasis on what individuals believe is extremely dangerous. Don't you see how all sorts of evil could be justified if all it took to make a convincing argument was to stand up, thump your chest, and shout "I BELIEVE X IS TRUE?"

      January 15, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • meifumado

      Wall of text

      January 15, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Jill

      Charlie, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently. So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea. Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond. Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • meifumado

      @Jill

      "Vacate the corncob profusely "

      Love your posts!

      Are you single?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  7. truth be told

    It is important to recognize that the lies of an atheist type parent can be over ridden by the love of Gods people. Filth never trumps faith, but woe to that deceiver who would deny a child eternal life, it would be better for them to have a great weight fastened to them and be cast into the depths of the sea.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, bushwa.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Damocles

      What lies?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • OneInChrist

      "it would be better for them to have a great weight fastened to them and be cast into the depths of the sea."

      Thou shall not kill was one of the messages of Christ. You are not a real Christian.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Question, If we do not teach our kids about God and we don't allow anyone else to teach our kids about God, will they ever learn about God?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Damocles, for this doofus, apparently it's a lie to tell kids that the word "truth" is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Damocles

      @john

      Insert pink unicorns, gandalf, fairies, drow, Cat and Proxy Cat, Thor, that pasta deity, intelligent fungus people, 3 drunk dwarves and an average head of cabbage in place of god and tell me if we should learn about the possibility that any of those could be the designer of the universe.

      I'd be all kinds of tickled if it turned out to be the dwarves.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Damocles

      @tom

      I'm just Going to start Capatilizing random Words to make Myself seem more Than what I am.

      Wow I feel all Special and whatnot.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • OneInChrist

      truth be told, remember whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

      January 15, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Damocles

      Oh good, is this the part where one believer shows up to tell another believer that they are wrong? Fvck I love that!

      January 15, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Damocles

      *raps tbt gently upside the head with a brick baseball bat* Hurry up and make with the post exposing all those evil atheist lies! Times a wastin', slick.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Pete

      @Damocles I don't think TBT is a real christian, just an annoying troll especially since they lie so much.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What Damocles said, TubeTop. Stop your stalling and post all the lies any atheist has told.

      Be sure to capitalize random words as it makes you look ever so intelligent and well educated.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • truth be told

      If an atheist says it, its a lie, no gray areas there at all. Proven on these blogs with every post.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only thing "proven" is that you are sitting on your ass behind a computer and typing drivel. If you had any "proof," you'd post it. You're a troll.

      I would suggest to OneInChrist that he/she write you off as such. You're no more Christian than my cat is.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      obvious troll is obvious.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • lalala

      Like woe man, like woe

      January 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  8. Mohammad A Dar

    a three years old asked you How do people walk without a body? Really!!!

    January 15, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Len

      They ask how Santa can visit a billion homes in a night, and get into an apartment without a chimney, so why not? The answer to both sets of questions is to say that Santa/God just uses magic. That usually satisfies a child.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  9. meifumado

    Indoctrinating children to religion is akin to child abuse.
    I applaud your choice and you shall reap the rewards of raising two well grounded humans.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Live4Him

      Even when you teach them the religion of atheism?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what would that "religion" entail, exactly? Not going to a house of worship? Not praying? Not getting together with a group of people and singing hymns?

      What are the atheist "hymns," Live4Stupidity?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • sam stone

      Live4Him: How is atheism a religion?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • meifumado

      @Live4Him

      Your confused, Atheism is not a religion.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • it is Called

      l@4h Pick one below let us have fun today.

      All media channels have to get the message straight.
      Which one below is true ?
      Creation Adam and Eve/bible ?
      or
      Human Evolution ?

      Clue below. creationism/ID can't be taught in public schools in US.
      A pebble and a cave....
      The Oldest Rock In The World Tells Us A Story ... larger rock, and when scientists checked, it turns out this little grain formed around 4.4 billion years ago. ... After all, this planet, geologists say, is only 4.5 or 4.6 billion years old.
      http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/10/169047159/the-oldest-rock-in-the-world-tells-us-a-story

      January 15, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son : Not going to a house of worship? Not praying? Not getting together

      You're confusing traditions linked to a religion with the set of beliefs that comprise the religion. Second, atheists tend to "meet together" to disparage Christians on these forum, which is a form of community.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      "Which one below is true ?
      Creation Adam and Eve/bible ?
      or
      Human Evolution ?"

      Both. The creation story is as old as humanity. It was revealed in way that could be understood by prehistoric hunter-gather people. The revelation was that God created not HOW he did it.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell, LiverDoneFailed. Where's the collection plate?

      What set of beliefs do ALL atheists hold? What traditions do THEY have?

      Hurry up, now, or TubeTop will beat you to it.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How would one go about "teaching atheism?"

      January 15, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Science

      @l4h your BUDDy is back.

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says – CNN ...
      religion.blogs.cnn.com/.../heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-ha...
      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 ...

      January 15, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • NClaw441

      We cannot help but teach our children our views and beliefs. They are watching us. I personally am a person of faith in God. That is how I taught my children. The writer is an atheist and teaches her children in keeping with her beliefs, whether she intends to or not. I cannot disagree with that. My faith is my faith, and hers is hers. We each believe we are right (or why else believe it?).

      January 15, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Science

      @chic bible is not fact accord to the courts. can teach it in public schools as fact

      Take it up with the congress or the courts.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Pete

      "We cannot help but teach our children our views and beliefs. They are watching us. I personally am a person of faith in God."

      That's not really true, my parents raised me in a Christian home but after seeing what hypocrites and intolerant they were, I realized before I reached my teens I didn't want anything to do with their religion. Even as an adult I continue to see the same hypocrisy and intolerance of the Christians. So, no thanks, your cult needs to die.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Live4Him

      it is Called : Which one below is true ? Creation Adam and Eve/bible ? or Human Evolution ?

      Both depend upon some evidence and some faith. So far, the Bible hasn't been proven to be factually incorrect. Meanwhile, there has been many examples of so-called evidence for evolution that has been falsified (i.e. Piltdown Man. But, in the end, the decision still hinges upon the matter of faith.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Live4Him

      @sam stone : How is atheism a religion?

      By definition, a religion is a set of beliefs. So, any view that depends upon beliefs is a religion. Atheists don't have all the facts (i.e. they cannot prove there is no god). Therefore, atheism is a religion.

      Second, the courts have also acknowledged that atheism is a religion. However, this the logic fallacy of Argumentum ad Verecundiam – or Appeal to Authority, so I don't depend upon it.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Live4Him
      If you take the Bible as the literal and exact Word of God, then there are countless errors and contradictions.
      Most Christians reoncile the inconsistencies by calling the more absurd stories allegorical.
      Do you really think that females are the magically transmogrified rib of the first male, who himself was made of clay?
      Or that bats are actually birds?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      The beautiful thing about science is that it's self-correcting. That's why we know the Piltdown man was a hoax (perpetuated in part by a jesuit priest).

      On the other hand, the bible is filled with supernatural events for which there isn't a shred of evidence. In fact, the evidence shows that most of the story of Christ's birth was simply made up so it could "fulfill" old testament prophecy. The bible is nothing more than a book of middle eastern mythology and has no more authority than the Iliad.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Science

      L4H LANDMARK TRIAL Science WON !!!
      According to the courts
      Science is "Exhibit A" in a landmark trial on the teaching of evolution
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/intelligent-design-trial.html

      To change the FACTS take it up with the courts of The US.
      Have a common sense day .

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "By definition, a religion is a set of beliefs."

      What is the "set of beliefs" that atheists hole, LiverDoneFailed?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Live4Him
      The prefix "A" = lack of
      Theism = belief in gods
      A + Theism = Lack of belief in Gods.
      Lack of belief is not a belief in and of itself.
      If you rush to the emergency room and tell the doctor that you're asymptomatic, what disease you think he'd diagnose you with?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not "hole," "hold."

      January 15, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come on, Live4Lies, this shouldn't take you any time at all. What "set of beliefs" do atheists "hold"?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Sense0326

      @Live4Him
      You seem to be mistaking where the burden of proof lies. While it is true that I cannot disprove that your God exists, I cannot disprove Baal, Thor, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster either. I encourage you to look up Bertrand Russel's celestial teapot thought experiment if you would like to read more about this matter.

      January 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Live4Him just loves the number one on my top thirteen list of the most irritatingly stupid ‘arguments’ that religionists make here.

      1. Conflating atheism with belief
      eg: “Atheism is a religion” – Ummm, no, really, it’s not!
      Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby,
      Atheism is a religion like health is a disease,
      Atheism is a religion like not smoking is a habit,
      Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color,
      Atheism is a religion like off is a television channel,
      Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex act.
      Atheism has no sacred text, no orthodoxy, no rites or rituals, no houses of worship … it is not a religion or a faith. It is the absence of faith in God. Sure there are militant atheists, some of whom act as zealously as believers, but it is not a belief system. Atheism does not require the positive belief in the non-existence of God.

      Disbelief is not belief, it is the absence of belief. According to the OED, ‘atheism’ means: “Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God.”

      January 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Sane Person

    Good for you Deborah Mitchell. Teaching children religion is the same as brainwashing. You are telling them what to believe before they are old enough to understand or make up their own mind. Good for you, for being a good parent and not brainwashing your child.

    January 15, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Kev

      Unless the existence of God can either be proven to exist or be proven to not exist, how can one parent's teachings about God be considered brainwashing while another parent's teachings that are the opposite be considered not to be brainwashing?

      January 15, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Gir

      The lady above is raising her children WITHOUT god or the question of its existence. She is not making any positive statements to her children concerning the existence of god. That's the right way to go about it.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Kev, the trouble with that argument is that it applies to almost anything you can imagine, Any God throughout history, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Loch Ness, I could go on but I think you get the point.

      Where do you draw the line? I draw the line at " teaching my kids only things I know to be true" not things I wish were true.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • meifumado

      @Kev
      For thousands of years humans have had gods.
      In all that time there has NEVER been any proof of any god.
      Seems like if there was a god or gods there would be some type of proof after all this time.
      Also the onus of proof is on the believer.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Wrong Kev.
      You can't prove a negative. Deborah is doing the right thing. We should raise our children to approach everything with a healthy skepticism. If they grow up learning a skill set to question and demand evidence instead of simply accepting what they're told they'll be far less likely to be deceived. Give 'em a good bullshit detector and religion will always fail the smell test.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Sane Person

      Raising your child to believe one certain religion, before they are old enough to understand or make a personal choice, IS brainwashing. Unfortuntately, most of the country brainwashes their children.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Kev

      Apparently there are suffering views as to what brainwashing actually is. So, how is it that in one family if one is taught about God and is encouraged to find their own path in what to believe is considered brainwashing while the other is not? The writer in the article had definite opinions about God, which included if you could not actually see God that God is not there while there would be others that would strongly disagree. Each has their own viewpoints, and both see their own viewpoints as being valid, and neither can prove the other viewpoint to be false. So how is it that one's viewpoints that are being taught is considered brainwashing while the other is not?

      January 15, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Kev

      @Athiest Steve, You can't prove a negative? Like you can't prove that there is an omnipotent being who does not want to shown but rather wants people to believe, I would agree with that. That also goes to show that ultimately there is always the possibly that there are truths out there that cannot be proven, but are still truths nonetheless.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Gir

      If they can't be proven, how do you know they are truths?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Kenny, dear, can you prove that unicorns don't exist? If I claim they do and that I believe in them, is that sufficient for you?

      Why should I abide by your belief that there is a god?

      January 15, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Kev

      @ Tom Tom, who says you have to? If there is a God out there who wants you to believe and follow that God's teachings on your accord, then you have your freedom to make your own conclusions.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Kev

      @ Gir, That is a good question. As far as actually proving goes of course I can't prove anything in order to give assurance one way or the other. To paraphrase Socrates, that to know the good I'd to the good. Now what does that mean? That basically you have to find out for yourself and make your own conclusions. For myself I had to go through allot of study, pondering, and experiencing through following the teachings and experiencing first hand. This also includes even praying to God with an open mind of just wanting to know if God was actually there without expecting or anticipating any results. Now to say that you would come to the same conclusions as I did, I cannot say. It's just something you have to try for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • lalala

      Kev, then she should teach them every religion equally... as always what makes one better than the other.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  11. Origin of Life

    New show everyone needs to watch , PARENTS. Schools already have access to show.
    Watched the other day.
    Simple Blood test (FACT) will tell us how much neanderthal is in our tree .

    NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals – PBS Pressroom
    pressroom.pbs.org/.../n/NOVA/4002-Decoding-Neanderthals.aspx
    NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals. Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Check your local listings. Decoding Neanderthals Ep Main. Find out what

    January 15, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • William Demuth

      Nova needs to decode Republicans

      I suspect they might find they aren't that dissimilar

      January 15, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Origin of Life

      @WD
      Cant forget the pope. Someone shoul tweet it to him. That would be a blast up the _______ .

      January 15, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    My 6 year old loves it when I tell long stories. On those nights when Mom is working late, I'll sometimes expostulate all through dinner, bath and bedtime depending on how much she gets into it.
    I must've spent about 3 such evenings telling "The Greatest Story Ever Told" – in my own words and with some of the nastier bits omitted, as well as the tale of Moses and the exodus.
    She's also heard "The Story of Arthur Dent" and "Frodo and the Ring" in the same way.
    In so far as staff wielding wizards go, she's much more a fan of Gandalf than Moses.

    January 15, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • William Demuth

      Doc, forgive me, but I must admit I have images of a bespeckled not so young anymore gentleman rambling on to a brood of captive toddlers who desperatley want the story telling to end so they can play some Nintendo DS under the covers!

      Poor Kids!

      January 15, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "No screens" is a pretty standard punishment in my house, so sometimes the DS gets locked up.
      Enduring Dad's rambling is considered a punishment by Mom, but not yet by the little one.
      And while I may be bespectacled, I'm only 33! Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyways...

      January 15, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  13. Southern Humanist

    Well done Deborah! A daunting prospect In Texas no doubt. I too am teaching my children "how" to think, not "what" to think.

    January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  14. it is Called

    Agree it is all about the children and facts.

    All media channels have to get the message straight.
    Which one below is true ?
    Creation Adam and Eve/bible ?
    or
    Human Evolution ?

    Clue below. creationism/ID can't be taught in public schools in US.
    A pebble and a cave....
    The Oldest Rock In The World Tells Us A Story ... larger rock, and when scientists checked, it turns out this little grain formed around 4.4 billion years ago. ... After all, this planet, geologists say, is only 4.5 or 4.6 billion years old.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/10/169047159/the-oldest-rock-in-the-world-tells-us-a-story

    January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Reason Over Religion

      Thank you, William, for speaking out. I particularly liked your closing paragraph.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  15. William Demuth

    This is just a natural evolution. You know the same stuff the Fundies deny!

    I have often seen a parallel between Gays and non-believers that might offer insight

    They have both always existed and always will

    Both of their numbers were intentionally understated for over a century

    Both groups have been vilified, tormented, assaulted and even murdered for resisting the artificial status quo

    They have both also irreversibly risen up demanding equality

    Both groups FORCE change on the older generations by admitting truths that many are in denial of.

    During the 70’s, coming out gay was likely to get you thrown out of the house, abused at school, and stigmatized at work, yet MILLIONS took the risk so future generations might see benefits the sacrificers might not even live to see.

    Being straight, I must admit I never understood their sacrifice, but I have always admired the courage of those that outed themselves.

    It is now time for the millions of fearful non-believers to do the same.

    Say it loud, and say it proud, because the world of tomorrow is the one we are building today. We cannot afford to lose this moment in time or it may be another century before we have the chance to finally free from religious domination.

    January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Yes! Please visit http://outcampaign.org/.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Reason Over Religion

      Thank you, William, for speaking out. I particularly liked your closing paragraph.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Which God?

      Nice going, William, and well said. I have appreciated the sacrifices of those oppressed. While I will not deny one their Private Thoughts, I will go against them it they are forcing it upon others, through legislation, or trying to claim it is real and all should bow before their idea of a deity. Not going to happen, not while I live, it will fight it, as I will fight for you to keep your t practices to your self or group. I really dislike proselytizing of anykind.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • truth be told

      What one filthy deceived atheist lies to the others swear to.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a troll says once he repeats ad nauseam.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  16. truth be told

    To deny a child a relationship with God and the hope of eternal life is the worst form of child abuse. It has been long established that all so called atheists are liars.

    January 15, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "truth be told", your assertions regarding the "God" of mythology and atheism are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 15, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We are all born atheist. We learn language and then we begin to hear lies.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • sam stone

      tbt is still yapping like a mouthy little punk.....

      January 15, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Mirosal

      Your bigotry is astounding. To threaten a child with eternal punishment because soemone is always "watching them", and scaring the crap out of them is emotional abuse at its worst. Please provide your evidence from published studies and peer-reviewed reports that tell you that all Atheists are liars. If you cannot, and I know you cannot, then YOU are the real liar.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • truth be told

      No threat just Truth. Sorry about you, but thanks for proving so called atheists are all liars all the time.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • sam stone

      tbt: yap, yap, fvcking yap

      troll cvnt

      January 15, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • William Demuth

      Prayer Troll strikes again!

      Perhaps if you showered as often as you change names the world might despise you less.

      They would still think you are crazy, but they might leave you alone.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Southern Humanist

      Interesting observation: who created this "punishment in hell" thing in the first place – seems like your accusation of child abuse is being pointed at the wrong person.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Pete

      "it has been long established that all so called atheists are liars."

      more lies from the xtains – 109!

      January 15, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'truth be told' begins with a false premise and concludes with a lie.

      http://fallacyfiles.org

      January 15, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Which God?

      tbt.I would deny any child the stigma of growing up believing in a deity that doesn't give a flying fukk about them. A deity that lets mankind slaughter each other, and if we don't do it, this "goD' will do it for us, by sending all to hell.

      Fundies approched a close freind of mine about their deceased daughter, age 9 months. They asked if the child had been baptised in the name of the lord. When the reply was a negative, they replyed that the child was condemend to hell. This only days aftre the child was buried. Great xtian compassion there. Years later, the mother still has problems with this. Sick fukks, these fundies, and you, tbt are one of the sickest.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • truth be told

      The lie is identified as atheism. It is impossible for the so called atheist to ever tell the Truth. Thanks for the many responses proving the fact.

      January 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • meifumado

      Indoctrinating a child IS child abuse

      January 15, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Pete

      "It is impossible for the so called atheist to ever tell the Truth."

      more lies from the xtians – 111!

      January 15, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • OneInChrist

      1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

      January 15, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • sam stone

      OneInChrist: Quoting from a book only resonates as truth with people who accept the supposed authority of the book

      January 15, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Mom of 4

      OneInChrist
      "1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"

      My conscience screamed at me for years for trying to pass off as real those legends, fantasies and superst'itions to my trusting young ones. I had to stop doing it. They are now wonderful, loving, responsible adults.

      January 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  17. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Way to go Deborah! You and your children are a beacon of hope for America in the wasteland known as The Babble Belt.

    January 15, 2013 at 8:42 am |

    • Don't cry
      Don't raise your eye
      It's only teenage wasteland

      January 15, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  18. midwest rail

    Stealing handles is childish no matter who does it.

    January 15, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Isn't God always the missing father? Even Jesus was taunted as a child: "Where's your daddy at?"

    January 15, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Which God?

      TTtOO, I think it's now, in the vernacular, 'Who you daddy?', philly style.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  20. lol??

    could it just be the faithful are stone cold phuck nuts??

    January 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • lol??

      just maybe?

      January 15, 2013 at 8:32 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.