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Godless mom strikes a chord with parents
A CNN iReport essay on raising kids without God draws record-breaking number of comments.
January 18th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Godless mom strikes a chord with parents

By Daphne Sashin, CNN

Deborah Mitchell remembers the time, when her boys were younger, and another mom asked her about her religious beliefs.

Mitchell was raised Catholic but moved away from religion in her early 20s. She told the other mother that she didn’t go to church and didn’t even really believe in God.

Then, she says, the recruiting started.

“She used to call my house and tell me she was praying for me. She’d leave me messages and leave cards in my mailbox with scripture,” Mitchell says. “I do realize that she meant well, but at the same time, I know my views were seen as wrong. I needed to be ‘saved.’”

Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn’t want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she's not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform.

It starts:

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.

Mitchell posted the essay detailing her seven reasons for raising her children without God on CNN iReport because she felt there wasn’t anyone else speaking for women or moms like her. As she sees it, children should learn to do the right things because they will feel better about themselves, not because God is watching. She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?

Lots of people disagreed with her. Tons. They flagged her iReport as inappropriate and criticized CNN for linking to her essay on the CNN.com homepage. But there were plenty of others who wrote thoughtful rebuttals, respectfully disagreeing with Mitchell while not foisting their own beliefs on her. Take, for instance, a Methodist dad, who said faith can be hard to nail down, but “not to avail ourselves of the power of something we don't completely understand is silly.”

Others said Mitchell presented a simplistic view of religion.

“Presentations such as these seem to ignore a substantial percentage of believers - well-educated, compassionate, liberal folk, Christian and non-Christian alike - who, I feel, are able to worship without being blind to the realities of the world, or without lying to their children about their understanding of these complexities,” wrote commenter RMooradian. “I'll be raising my children with God, but I understand those who cannot!”

But Mitchell’s essay also struck a chord with hundreds of like-minded parents raising children in a world where lack of belief puts them in the minority, often even in their own family.

“Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you say, but I’m not brave enough to tell everyone I know this is how I feel,” a woman who called herself an “agnostic mommy of two in Alabama” posted in the comments. “Thank you for your bravery and letting me know I’m not alone.”

It’s a growing group. One in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion, and that number has grown by 25% in the past five years, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Of that group, 88% said they were not looking for religion, although 68% of the unaffiliated said they believe in God. 

Brittany Branyon, an American graduate student and substitute teacher living in Germany, was also compelled to express her thanks to Mitchell. Branyon was raised Southern Baptist in Georgia and Alabama. In high school, when she began to question the theory of creation and befriended gay and lesbian students, she says her mother tried to perform an exorcism.

“She opened all the windows and doors in the house, brought me to the door, held my shoulders and shook me while screaming, ‘Satan, get out of this child!’, ‘Satan, leave this child alone!’.”

After moving away from the South, she and her husband “became more comfortable in our secular ways,” but still take criticism from family members. They are now expecting their first child.

“Though we are elated to welcome our child into the world, we can’t help but dread the religious uproar that is to come from our families,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Such an uproar is familiar to Carol Phillips, a stay-at-home mother in northern Virginia. When she gave birth to her first child, she said her family was shocked that the baby wasn’t baptized. She said her mother-in-law cried and told her the little girl’s soul would not go to heaven.

Then there are the comments from strangers. Last year, Phillips said she and her daughter were at a birthday party when a tornado warning sounded.

“We were all in the basement keeping safe. A little girl was saying baby Jesus will keep us safe. My daughter asked who Jesus was. The rest of the time was spent hearing ‘I'll pray for you sweetie, we can take you to church with us if you want,’” Phillips told CNN.

Commenting on Mitchell’s iReport, Phillips said, “To live out loud and to speak freely about my beliefs brings many clucking tongues. I would think it’s easier to come out as gay than atheist.”

Mitchell said she spent years studying the history of religion and does believe it has “an important place in our community.” She has told her children that she’ll be fine if they decide to join a church when they are older.

She ended her essay:

I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we—along with the children we love so much—will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.

I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

After her post ran on CNN, Mitchell said she was encouraged by the number of people who agreed with her, or who disagreed but wanted to have a respectful discussion.

“I’m not saying that everybody should think how I do. I’m saying the people that do should have a place in our society and have acceptance and respect,” she said. “I just want to have children grow up and be able to not be afraid to say ‘I don’t believe that,’ or ‘I’m not part of that.’” 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. Religion Is Dangerous For Children and Living Things

    No, really. Just ask the Caanites and the natives in the Americas that got wiped out. They won't just try to convert you. They will try to wipe you out and all your culture and history. Satan doesn't have nothing on Catholicism.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • Live4Him

      And evolutionists are trying to wipe out Christianity today

      January 19, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Live4Him

      I'm signing out for now

      January 19, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • George

      Native americans were wiped out by disease. in turn they transferred syphilis to europe. read guns, germs and steel. it's an interesting read. you obviously dont like Catholics, and you dont have a strong grasp on history. True the spanish and french tried to evangelize the indians but the genocide was due to small pox and expansion of the country after 1800. Catholics, in fact, were marginalized in the early days of our country.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • JimNasium

      Hey George, way to whitewash history. Also, black slavery didn't happen. Christians found blacks already shackled in Africa ( who knows how they ended up that way ) and they transported them here in search of a good locksmith to set them free. I published a book about it so it must be true.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • CreatorLove

      God is love! And God is just! Our planet is fallen in sin, which is disobedience to Divine law, and is soon to be destroyed because of that disobedience. Those who chose sin, or transgression of divine law, will die and those who choose to forsake sin and trust in God's plan of redemption will live. It is that simple. Evolution saves no one. God saves the righteous who will trust fully in HIm. I choose life and I do love God and His version of religion. Most religion today is false and perverted. Nevertheless there is true religion and it can be found by those who seek for it with all their heart. False religion, which is common and based on vain philosophies of men, is very dangerous for all of us. True religion, which is only found in the Holy Scriptures, is safe for all and will prepare you for eternal life in a perfect and awesome universe.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • sam stone

      "And evolutionists are trying to wipe out Christianity today" – lie4him

      jesus is waiting. what are you doing here?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • sam stone

      oooooh......fallen in sin....that's bad....

      why do you believe this? because an iron age comic book told you so?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  2. HelpMeUnderstand

    I see post are blowing up with the same old evolution/creation, but I would like to know from athiest. You are a pretty confident group.

    Do you athiest really feel like you are being discriminated against?
    Do you feel like your children are not free?
    Do you fear getting trapped in basements with Christians during a tornado?

    If you don't, this isn't much of a story. Except for the fact that CNN published an essay by a person that refers to peoples beliefs as personal effects, "like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes". I think that is pretty offensive.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • JimNasium

      I have to admit, if I had to choose between a) being trapped in the basement with a group of sermonizing Christians and b) taking my chances with the tornado, it would be a tough decision! :)

      January 19, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Roy G. Biv

      The tax-free existence enjoyed by religious organizations is oftentimes discriminatory. Many of them would have a hard time proving their non-profit status.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • CreatorLove

      What are some religions state supported, while others are not? ... The Christian religion is self supported while the State supports the religion of evolution and humanism? At least Christians pay their own way.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • sam stone

      CreatorLove: How are evolution and humanism state supported?

      Christians pay their own way? So, Christian churches do not get tax free donations?

      Can you support your blather, or are you yet another post and run cowardly Christian?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  3. KinimodD

    People often forget that societies have tried to be created apart form God. I grew up in Yugoslavia, post world world 2 country. Like Russia, the idea was that there is no God and people are the moral standard and all is done in the name of humanity and for the good of people. Outcome, Russia killed over 20MM of its own people. In Yugoslavia, excluding the war in 1994 when Croatia and Bosnia were attacked, close to 500K. Only God, "that does not exist", knows how much in China. The aftermath is ever worse. The corruption and lack of accountability, morality in post communism countries is beyond short term fixes. It will take 20 generations to get this countries back on any 'normal' track. This is not my opinion, but simple fact. You don't believe me... take a trip abroad. Btw, it is easy for atheist to bring up a children in the country where believers live. Why, because they feel protected. True believers will always love people regardless of their beliefs. Bible says "Don't be fooled. You cannot love God and hate people." Did you notice that even most successful drug dealers live in nice neighborhood? Of course they do! They don't want to live around junkies. Atheism does not need to care for people. Christians must! I want to live around people that naturally care for me... Don't be deceived folks. Godless societies already exist... just look at the outcome.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Live4Him

      Excellent insight. Thanks for sharing

      January 19, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Robert Brown

      KinimodD,
      Yes, Russia is a good example of what happens to atheist nations.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • JimNasium

      America was founded on Christian principles. Outcome: genocide of native Americans and enslavement of blacks. So what's your point?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • CreatorLove

      Actually, Jim Nasium, America was founded on masonic and occultic principles at the core of the nation and there just happened to be some Christians around also. I am native american and as I see it, it was prejudice that killed my ancestors, not Christianity. Just like the jews, blacks, etc that have been killed due to prejudice. Genuine Christians helped the native americans and continue to do so. False Christians, who live by worldly standards instead of heavenly standards, have done much damage as has the evolutionists who teach we are all animals and take away moral standards of right and wrong.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Santi Clause

      Yes, bang on. See how happy the devoted Muslims are living in Iran, Saudi Arabia. How many Christians want to live in the Middle Age when clergy ran the show?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  4. aparatrooper

    I'm wondering if the lady also believes that George Washington wasn't our first president.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Cindysriley

      Because he wasn't? Just like everyone re-writes history, ours tends to ignore that George Washington was not the first president. There were 14 presidents of the Continental Congress.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:42 am |
  5. brad

    I love all the people that come on here and use quotes from the bible to prove their point that god exists. It is like using quotes from harry potter to prove that harry potter exists. circular logic. I can write on a napkin that i am 20 feet tall but that doesnt make it true. now 5 thousand years from now if someone finds that napkin i just created a new religion.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • Live4Him

      brad : It is like using quotes from harry potter to prove that harry potter exists. circular logic.

      Is it acceptable to you to use the dictionary to define a word? Is that circular logic?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Live4Him

      Here are the premises that I base my conclusion upon for the Biblical God / Jesus.

      Is God Necessary?
      __ a) Given the lack of a natural explaination to create matter, energy and time,
      __ b) Given the lack of a natural explaination to create life,
      Therefore, this implies some supernatural being (i.e. God) is necessary, but not necessariuly the Biblical God.

      Which God Did It?
      __ a) Given the Biblical account that begins with the creation of matter, energy and time,
      __ b) Given no other religions (other than the Abrahamic branches) begins with the creation of matter, energy and time,
      Therefore, this implies that only the Abrahamic religions are worthy of consideration.

      Did the Judism God Do It?
      __ a) Given accurate transmission of the Jewish Bible,
      __ b) Given the fulfillment of foretold specific prophecies (incl: Eze 37) in the Jewish Bible
      Therefore, the God of the Jews is a viable answer contender.

      Did the Islamic God Do It?
      __ a) Given inaccurate transmission of the Koran Bible,
      __ b) Given the factual inaccuracies (i.e. members of the Trinity)
      __ c) Given the lack of specific prophecies in the Koran
      Therefore, the God of the Muslims is not a viable contender.

      Did the Christian God Do It?
      __ a)Given accurate transmission of the Christian Bible (i.e. Jewish / OT and NT),
      __ b) Given the fulfillment of foretold specific prophecies (incl: Eze 37, Rev 13) in the Christian Bible
      Therefore, the God of the Christian is a viable contender for the answer to how we got here. Since it includes the Jewish beliefs as well, it is the better answer.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • amg

      i bet there will be a harry potter religion a couple of hundred years down the road

      January 19, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • amg

      @live4him, language is a tool created by a society to communicate with each other, of course every word has a meaning and a dictionary is just a compilation

      January 19, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  6. George

    hey Robert, I was introduced to religion by family tradition as many people are. that doesn't necessarily mean one believes. i have my doubts at times as well, but for me i actually feel the presence of God in my life often enough. i can only describe how it feels. perhaps you have experienced this w/o faith. i have had times during my life where i felt so down/sad that it was debilitating. each time this happened (not too often) i would contemplate my relationship with God and each time i felt comforted – almost like a close friend or parent sitting next to me and assuring me to move on, that all will be ok. for me tjhose are key moments that have buttressed my faith. its a very personal thing.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:35 am |
    • Robert Brown

      George,
      Yes, he has spoken sweet peace to me as well and I believe he does to all believers. I also believed in God and have had doubts which in the end have strengthened my faith.

      How would someone who didn’t start out believing that there is a God, come to that realization?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • George

      I have a friend whose wife has a lot of faith. She suggested her road to faith started with an emptiness. She was brought up in a family that didnt excersize their faith and she became discontent with how she was living. She simply started looking for meaning beyond the temporal. Even people w/o faith contemplate why they are alive, or what their purpose is. I suppose for some that leads to broader, more open contemplation that their purpose may also include a spiritual reality. I had another friend who didnt practive any given religion but she believed. Her daughter had the flu ot something, with a really high temp. The child was in bed with her and asked if she saw "them". Apparantly the child was seeing angels. She chocked it up to the fever but within a few mins the fever was gone. So there are different paths I suppose.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:52 am |
  7. thinquer

    Perhaps a parent never "gets" phsyics, and doesn't want to pursue it. Fine, but it doesn't mean that physics doesn't exist or that a parent should limit their child's opportunity to benefit from learning it from a good teacher. God exists whether people want to believe it or pursue it. Don't limit your children's life by telling them he doesn't exist, when you cannot prove it. Very closed minded, and not scientific.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • JimNasium

      Are you open to accepting everything you can't disprove as plausible? For example, if I claim that the universe was created by leprechauns, you wouldn't be able to disprove it. So, by your logic you now have to expose your kids to the leprechaun theory of creation. Are you going to do it even though you don't believe it? Very unscientific of you if you don't.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • leslee

      Agreed. This woman's logic is useless.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • timothyclee

      This is silly – there isn't a shred of proof that any god exists – warm and hopeful feelings aside

      January 19, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • amg

      if you disobey the laws of physics there are real consequences, disobeying religious edicts not so not so much

      January 19, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Roy G. Biv

      It is logically impossible to prove a negative statement, so I agree that we shouldn't tell children that God doesn't exist. It is better to tell children that the universe is governed by mathematical and scientific principles, and since we cannot use religion to prove that these things are wrong, we must accept them to be correct until someone (God/Santa/Stephen Hawking) proves otherwise. Just like the people who believe in God because they are afraid they will go to hell if disbelief is wrong, I believe in science because I am afraid that I will waste my lifetime being scared and uninformed (a living hell) if I believe in God.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:51 am |
  8. GB

    I believe in the Bible and what it says. God created all of us and allows choice. Evil exists because of choice and the choices we (human beings) made and continue to make. Earth is not heaven. We are all flawed which is why its a tragedy that people ruin the love of God and the story he is trying to tell by taking his message to the extreme (flaw). I understand why people are looking elsewhere. I would ask that you don't let the people ruin it for you (because they will let you down – flaws) and keep looking for the truth.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Matt

      The Book of Amos is quite clear: bad things happen to people because they have strayed away from God.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  9. Roy G. Biv

    I will only turn to religion once it can be used conclusively to disprove scientific theory. Otherwise, it's no different than any other snake oil. The best is when "real" Christians start wringing their hands about Scientology being a cult or "fake" religion. They're all fake; they're all cults. If you really need to lean on the crutch of dogma, please try to choose something unobtrusive so the rest of us don't have to hear about it.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • CreatorLove

      If you really believe in science then why not dig deeper into "religion" until you find out what is true and what is not. Evolution is not science at all. It cannot be proven in any scientific way. It is a religion based on many assumptions and a belief in unprovable theories. True science on the other hand is observable and is in reality very much in harmony with true religion (faith based upon truth) as revealed in the holy christian scriptures. Every day true science is found to back up the claims put forth in the scriptures. Even if the whole world believes something is true or false, it still must be proven to be so by the individual. If God did not exist you would not be here to be able to promote the religion of evolution. Sometimes faith is the best evidence we have. God has given us much evidence to rest our faith upon. Why not open our eyes and behold the wonders of creation. The Creator is obvious to those who are not afraid to stand before the judge of the universe and marvel at His wonders.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Roy G. Biv

      @CreatorLove

      Please provide a specific example where religion has been used conclusively to disprove science. Here is an example of science disproving religion: carbon dating disproving the Judeo-Christian concept that the universe is around 5,000 years old.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  10. mystyc74

    I agree with the commenter who said she was brave. I read her essay and felt like she was inside my head. I wanted so badly to post it to my Facebook timeline because I thought it was a great piece and very descriptive of how I live, but I just don't have the guts to do it. I know too many of my "friends" would want to try and "save" me. "Coming out" as atheist or agnostic is not easy in this hyper-Christian society, especially when you are raising children, and I greatly respect her for stepping up and speaking out for those of us who simply cannot.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • JWT

      It's a start at least. As more and more people open about their lack of belief it will be more common and hopefully those who feel compelled to spew their bs about how we live will just shut up and live their own lives.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:36 am |
  11. TruthPrevails :-)

    My mommy has to come clean me.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  12. LizaB

    I took my children to church when they were little so they would know it as a place where they are welcome and accepted, just as I introduced them to the art gallery and live theatre. Now, as adults, they attend only occasionally, but I know they feel relaxed being there. As well, children are missing out on a huge section of cultural/general knowledge if they are never exposed to Bible stories–in addition to Jesus, who's Noah, Samson, David & Goliath ad infinitum?

    January 19, 2013 at 7:25 am |
    • mystyc74

      It is possible to "expose" your children to religious beliefs/bible stories without "indoctrinating" them. I have never denied my children any opportunity to learn about religion, if they so choose. In the end, whatever they want to believe is their choice, not mine. In fact, my oldest son, who is an atheist, has read the bible entirely, and it only confirmed his choice for him.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Bonnie Cleaveland

      We are athiests but also believe the importance of understanding all kinds of stories. We expose our daughter to Greek and Roman Gods, Christian stories, and Jewish stories as well! Wish I knew more about other religious traditions, but we'll learn together.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: who's who of The Babble, all mythical characters of no relevance other than as characters in a not very good fictional story.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:40 am |
  13. Just a John

    Live/Chad/Topher/etc.
    So many gods and religions, they all can't be the one true god guy/gal. Only one logical and resonable theory of the development of life, evolution.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Developement, maybe. Origin?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • CreatorLove

      Many religions, ideas, and types of people, but only one TRUE GOD! The main problem is most people misunderstand who God is and what He is all about ... His character of Divine love. God allows whatever we allow though He would love to keep us from it all. We kicked Him out of our schools and in many instances out of our daily lives. Evolution is for those who believe in made up lies. Evolution is another false religion. There is no real science behind evolution. It is a convenient place to hide when you don't want to believe in a moral God who will hold you accountable for all your words and actions. If you really want to meet the one true God then read, "The Desire of Ages" by E. G. White. Our Creator is awesome and yes He does love his fallen children.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Just a John

      Origin? The best answer is, we do not know yet, not that one of the many creation stories is real. Intresting thar complex molecules that are required for the begining of life, as we presently know it, have been found in gas and matter clouds around young stars (RNA a precursor of DNA).

      January 19, 2013 at 7:49 am |
  14. .

    There are no hate theists in fox holes or on cancer wards. Somehow, they all believe in something.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • JimNasium

      Nonsense. It may comfort you to believe that, but it just ain't so. Also, you're clearly projecting your own obvious hate when you speak of atheists.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • brad

      All of the times I spent in Iraq getting shot at the only thing I believed in is myself, my buddies, and my rifle. You know the things that I can trust are real.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      No, he's not. I hate everybody. But I'm just a big moron... and so are you.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Matt

      Here you go: http://militaryatheists.org/atheists-in-foxholes/

      January 19, 2013 at 7:59 am |
  15. elijahi34

    But the hour is coming and that hour is now, when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and in truth, for the father is seeking such to worship Him. For God is a Spirit and those that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. The Lord Jesus spoke these words in the book of John in the 4chp 23 and 24 verses. You can not serve God with your flesh. The word of the Lord is based on what He thinks. To understand God you must make a real effort understand him. He who is of God hears the word of God, therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. Words rightly spoken by the Lord Jesus in John chp 8 v 47. The Lord says you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • Just a John

      Oh good bible babble that is always covincing. All the other religious tomes are not as valid?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  16. BigBang

    I am an atheist, but I do respect those that choose to honor a god. I do believe that religion belongs at home or in church and definitely should be kept out of the public realm. Also, you do not need religion to have morals.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • .

      Finally, a sensible atheist who doesn't spew hatred. I wish your brethren were as respectful as you.

      Of course, this post will spur a host of hateful responses from people who have no idea what they're talking about other than what they've been sold about 80 percent of the American people who may not belong to an organized religion but do believe in God.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  17. Tony

    Look: I *don't care* if its Mohammad, Jesus, Yahweh, Jehovah or WHOEVER, but, as my mother used to teach me: "believe in a higher authority–whatever gives you a 'moral compass' and keeps you OUT of JAIL.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Sadly it's that belief in a higher authority that puts many in jail. They use it to justify all kinds of immoral acts-denial of medicine in favor of prayer; hearing 'god' talk to them and instruct them to kill; reading their holy book and taking it literally. The population of prisoners in the USA that are christian is 75%, only 1% of that population is Atheist.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • JWT

      There is no need for a higher mystical authority to have morals an stay out of jail.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I'm a complete idiot.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  18. JimNasium

    At the end of the day, whether we view existence through the prism of religion or science is of minimal consequence.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  19. bradlarochelle

    this reads like and anti gun control piece.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:07 am |
  20. Derek

    I started going to church a year ago because I was dating a believer. I don't mind. It's a nice social scene and the people are nice.. but listening to the sermons has totally reaffirmed my non belief.

    January 19, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • George

      Derek, its nice that you go to keep your girl friend company but make sure you are honest with her about your beliefs. I'm sure she'll respect that.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:39 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.