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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. Steve

    This is Amercia and everyone should be able to believe and even voice their feelings without being labeled "inappropriate." I am not part of any religion and have many mixed feelings about God. I do not believe we are the chosen or there is a hell for nonbelievers. I do believe that many established religious versions are not beneficial to humans. They create division, bias and in many cases hate for someone different. Deborah Mitchell did a good thing by bringing this out and she is free to believe what she wants as a human and mother.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • davidosage

      You should read "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris. In it, he talks about how morality can be upheld without the church and instead by secularisst. Its an amazing thesis and quite possibly the future as there are simply more non believers today in america than ever before.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  2. texas

    what do you think ? if a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety nine sheep and go to the mountains to seed the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety nine that did not go astray.. Even so, it is not the will of the Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

    Fishers of men, I pray for strength and long suffering. that you would know what to say in love.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • texas

      SEEK the one lost sheep

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Answering questions about misunderstood phenomena by claiming absolute knowledge of magic forces at work is great for providing superficially satisfying answers. It is also great for experiencing unwavering confidence about those superficial answers. It has no proven track record at all when it comes to finding answers that are reliable in the long term." – Russell Glasser

      January 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam

      It's ok, we'll tuck that Freudian slip away for you....

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Steve-O

      Well, God bless her.......... wait, what?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Ron

      Why does he need to go into the mountains to 'seed his sheep'? He can buy it dinner and 'seed it' in the privacy of his own home.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • texas

      hahaha oooooops

      January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lori

      Nothing like some good old fashion bestiality to make your point.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Will

      Is it really seeding it if no offspring can result? I would think that euphemism would only apply if he could have children with it.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Will

      I think the sheep might disagree.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Sarah

      I guess the animal cruelty laws in Texas are a bit lax.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "no no NO! i said EAT my sheep, not feed my sheep, idiots!" – jebus

      January 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Only ewe, can make my dreams come true....

      January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • HarryJ

      No shepherd would leave 99 sheep unprotected just to go after a lone stray unless he was very, very greedy. Raising sheep is a business; always has been. They keep them to fleece them at their leisure and, ultimately, eat them once they've outlived all other use. Is Jesus really like this, or a fisherman who has to lure, or net his prey?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Texas, I would like to believe that the 1 sheep in a moment of clarity realized there was more to life and possibly recognized he was bound for slaughter to end up on someone's dinner plate. Upon this realization, he orchestrated an escape. Better to be free in the wilderness, than a slave in comfort. We can surely find that the most narrow selection of peoples (sheep), I.e., the less than 7% are the most likely leaders for the rest of the sheep out of the wilderness.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  3. ThermalJockey

    Atheism is a religion the same way that Bald is a hair color.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • davidosage

      Yes and ye shall perish for an eternity in a pool of rasberry jello and endure the everlasting torment of Dane Cook jokes, for the athiest are the chosen people of......ummmm.....errrr .

      January 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  4. Maria

    Most people that do not believe in GOD just mentioned the main reason: I never have seen him, therefore, I do not believe in him or her. My question is: have you ever seen electricity? We depend everyday on it and even myself haven't see it. We take for granted the oxygen that we take in every day, the sun that shines and comes even after a big storm but nobody have ever claimed to go and turn on the sun or supply everyone on earth with oxygen. Now these are questions that do deserve answers if we are going to start questioning the existence of GOD. Because you do not believe it does mean I have to follow you. Just think for a moment about the electricity and we take it from there and like intelligent people we can discuss the subject without insulting and disrespect.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      Everything you mentioned can be tested, and shown to exist. It's not a question of seeing something with my eyes, but of seeing actual evidence for it's existence. So, no, it's not as simplistic as you're trying to make it seem.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      we cannot measure god. The other things you mentioned are measurable.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      More nonsense. Do you people read what you write?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • gager

      There is plenty of evidence of electricity and none for a god. See the difference?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "like intelligent people"

      Are you serious? Look at the stupid premise you've proposed there and re-evaluate that statement pronto!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam

      Maria, most of these things you've mentioned were covered with a grade school education, even in the south.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • ??

      OK you go stick your finger in an electrical socket.I will use the lord's name in vain.We'll meet back here in five minutes for a chat.GO !!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Thoth

      It is difficult not to be insulting when you ask questions that my third grader could answer. Electricity – ever seen lightning? An arc when you unplug something? Felt a static discharge when you touch metal after walking on carpet? The sun does not turn off and on, nor does it rise and set. The earth simply rotates and the sun is no longer in view....no magic there. Oxygen can be made visible with dye.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • One one

      Have I ever seen electricity ? Isn't that what lightning is ? Besides, it can be objectively measured. How do you think the electric company computes your monthly bill. We also create electricity. All of these things can be demonstrated.

      There is nothing about gods that can be shown to exist outside of people's minds and imaginations.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bet

      the sun that shines and comes even after a big storm but nobody have ever claimed to go and turn on the sun

      That's because we've known that the sun doesn't go "on" and "off" for a few thousand years of so.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Atheist Mike

      We can TEST for electricity. Please show me the "god test".

      January 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • texas

      hang in there maria, Jesus was tortured, and you will get eggs thrown at you . God bless you! be strong. Strengthen yourself in the Lord.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Raiden

      You've never seen lightning or rubbed your feet on the carpet and touched something metal? Seriously, electricity is a really bad example.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The analogy is far from perfect. But how many people have the knowledge base to say that they can measure electricity? I "understand" electricity perfectly well, but couldn't make the tools to measure it from scratch... not without more time than I have to spare, anyway. So there's a lot of irrational confidence in making too much of the measurability of things.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • OTOH

      Maria,

      Have you ever seen garden fairies? How do you know that they are not under there pushing up each blade of grass and making the flowers so pretty - yeah, and the evil ones kill plants and create weeds too!

      It was once believed that Apollo carried the Sun across the sky each day in his chariot. Thor and Zeus and some other gods caused electric lightning bolts. Aeolus and Boreas and some other gods blew the air around. I'm thinking that you don't believe that stuff?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      @JFCanton: At some point we have to build on the knowledge we have. If we want to answer "what is 1 + 1" in Math class, we can't stop to go back and debate the definition of the word "one" or "plus" each time. We cannot progress if we continually stop to talk about how man came to understand abstract thought, touch on Aristotle and 40 others among those who helped form the concept of mathematics.

      We rely on axiomatic "truths" we've already agreed to within our shared reality. We've arrived at these truths via science. We don't need to personally understand how to conduct electric experiments ourselves to trust that science has a pretty good understanding of how to observe and measure that phenomena. However ANYONE who doesn't buy into what we know of electricity can indeed absorb the knowledge necessary to go conduct experiments himself in attempt to falsify that information.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      Hang in there with your total lack of basic understanding of how the world works, Maria! Jesus got nailed to a cross for his beleifs, maybe you can too if you try! Martyrdom: it's for everyone!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Yes, we have seen electricity. Check out the sky on a summer night as a front passes through.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Wow! You've never seen electricity? You've never gone to a science center as a kid? No wonder you're so ignorant as to think the sun is turned on and off. Ignorance is not an insult – it's a condition where you don't know something – a bit of reading and you can cure it, you can know where oxygen is, and how we can see it, as well as electricity and so many other things you mistakenly think are impossible to see.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • (sigh)

      I dare each of you who say that God doesn't exist to just pray one time (just once) & ask God to show you if he truly does exist, to show you who he is and see what happens. Just test it to see. I would like to hear about the results.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Pete

      "I dare each of you who say that God doesn't exist to just pray one time (just once) & ask God to show you if he truly does exist, to show you who he is and see what happens. Just test it to see. I would like to hear about the results."

      Dude, most of the atheists posting are former Christians or ministers. Been there done that, your god still doesn't exist.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • OTOH

      (sigh),

      I was a believer for nearly 50 years (quite devout for many of them). Before I gave it up, after years of pondering, discussing, reading and listening) I prayed mightily for some reassurance. Result: Dead Air. Crickets. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  5. Red Dog

    I believe in the One True God whose name is unpronounceable. You can speak to Him personally by calling 1-888-TRUE GOD. Your (deductible) cash donations will be used to spread the word and assure you a wonderful afterlife (after a "small deduction" for His continued comfort). Thank you and bless you.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Gary

      That is a crime reporting hotline

      January 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Boruch N. Hoffinger

      'The 7 Noahide Laws' are the first and foremost civilized laws.
      There are many web sites.
      http://www.7for70.com
      G-d Bless

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  6. GAPeach

    And I wonder if she were facing death would she said "Oh, God!" I would bet on it.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      I don't, and those that do have particularly craven view of humanity.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Red Dog

      Why would she call out to George Burns?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • JWT

      Don;t bet more than you want to lose.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • blkdoutgsxr

      Even if she did, that would not be ridiculous of an agnostic atheist... To simply say that there is no evidence of a god so we do not believe in your god is completely different then asserting "There is NO god". An agnostic recognizes that it is possible for there to be a god, though unlikely, but doesn't follow any gods we have invented because its apparent that we have just invented them.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • HarryJ

      And, if her leg were caught in a trap she might saw it off in order to escape. People might do just about anything if they're desperate enough, but if she just got up one Sunday morning and decided to cut her leg off that would be crazy right? Why do you ask people to do something that they might do on their worst, most desperate day that they wouldn't do normally when they're thinking straight?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Well, the saw about atheists in foxholes wasn't made up...

      But we should certainly have a view of humanity that doesn't expect her to renege on what she presents as her belief system.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • PJ

      So what if she did? All that would prove is that she is capable of wishful thinking, like practically all humans. Everyone falls into this situation once or so in life it seems to me, and that response was probably indocrinated into us by our well-meaning parents. It's more likely caused by the much older portions of our brain that create/control our response to fear. The phrase "oh, god" and related is very common, but usually means "oh, crap" or a reference to surprise. Most people say it unconsciously, they're not really involking god in the moment.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      GAPeach: and you would likely lose

      January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • It goes both ways

      JFCanton "Well, the saw about atheists in foxholes wasn't made up..."
      And every christian that jumps out of the way of a speeding car or goes to a doctor when they're sick instead of just praying an going to church is a temporary convert to atheism

      January 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      reportedly, Steve Jobs said, "oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!" Must be like a giant acid hit.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      You'd be wrong, I'd bet. I'm an atheist, and I've faced death. Both times with plenty of time to worry about it – neither time did god come into my thoughts until weeks later, realizing that some would have prayed in those situations.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  7. John 5:38

    And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Abrahamic Monotheism is an evolutionary coping mechanism that has outlived its purpose and is now akin to an infected appendix" – Mason

      January 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      happy shall he be , that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones psalm 137:9

      January 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Anglican

      Mason. Who is this Mason?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Steve

      Now that you have written someone else's views, what do you think? What are your feelings?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      anglican, it is kind of a joke... People are sensitive of plagiarism, even in the relaxed context of a public blog. I have no idea who Mason is, or if that was even his real name since it was posted here, but someone using that moniker said something eloquent I wish to repeat without others crying about who said it first. Whether Mason was a "no one" or a "someone" doesn't matter.... he could actually be Rush Limbaugh or Keanu Reeves wasting time on here like anyone else.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      Steve, here is my view: Abrahamic Monotheism is an evolutionary coping mechanism that has outlived its purpose and is now akin to an infected appendix.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Anglican

      @ End. So you really do not know who you are quoting. No original thought, just cut and paste.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Anglican: You may want to arrive at a point soon. Another human being formed a sentence using words I agree with. I felt it appropriate to say those words here. Because someone else used that combination of words before me, I gave him credit. Is there a problem somewhere in there? Are you living under the assumption every human thought is novel? Would you like me to subtly rephrase so I don't need to give credit?

      "Abrahamic Monotheism is an evolutionary coping mechanism that done outlived its purpose and is now akin to an infected appendix." – End Religion

      January 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Anglican

      @End. Man, whatever liquid floats your boat. It's just most people I know who quote others know the credentials of the one they put their confidence in. Just a thought. Peace out.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      While we're exchanging thoughts...

      People like to pretend the credentials of someone matters, which is why we tend to see quotes only from famous or prominent people, however it doesn't matter in the slightest. In fact, routinely on this very blog a believer will post a quote from Einstein with the intent to show he was a believer. Then an atheist will post a quote from Einstein with the intent to show he was not a believer.

      Since Einstein said both quotes, what does his credentials have to do with the righteousness of either comment? We can cherry pick any human's words: he doesn't have to be Billy Graham or Arnold Schwarzenegger to have said something which resonates.

      What if it turned out Mason was in reality your best friend, your brother, your father? Would you value the comment less because he wasn't famous? Do you only value the words of authority figures and celebrities?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  8. Domine

    You know what I want to see; an atheist presidential candidate. Maybe it will happen in the relatively near future, but not today. This individual would never win with such a theist majority in the population.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      We have already seen a couple. They just couldn't come out and say so because of religious discrimination.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  9. virginia

    the athiest need all t his attention it has alway being deny to them they feel they have to be strong and deny their feeling cause feeling are a display of weakness and religous people go to church cause they can't handle their emotion on their own with our support from other as the athiest do with the help of scientific discoveries right,,,, just saying .

    January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Colin

      Heh?

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      your Google Translater from gibberish to english is not working properly

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • ??

      Ya nailed it there V !!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      And there I was thinking you couldn't out-incoherent your last post. Wrong again.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  10. Ithappens247

    Remember everyone – this is America – where we tolerate all viewpoints – even the insane religious ones that believe in an "almighty-creator-super-being" that will someday judge whether the hypocrites that were created in the image of the said "oracle-deity" played according to five common sense commandments (and the other self-serving ones) get to go to cloud land or fire land for eternity...

    January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Some Guy

    I understand her sentiment – but, as a christian, when I share my faith with someone it isn't because I am trying to shove my ideology or beliefs down their throat. It is because I truly want them to experience what I have experienced and give them the greatest gift that I know.

    Why is it that we have to be mute on the things we hold most dear? I am not offended when someone who believes differently then me approaches me. Mormons have come to my door and I have carried on several conversations with them afterwards. I didn't agree with their views but I understand that they wanted to share something with me they viewed as important. It is their First Amendment right to do so.

    Why do we have to just label our beliefs, which play a large role in forming our world view and ethic, as "private" – to be filed with socks and what not and hide them away? Why can't we all engage each other and have intelligent discussions instead of hurling insults at each other saying someone is Godless or the other person has an imaginary friend in the sky.

    It is just frustrating. I love my atheist friends and they have a right to think the way they do. But, we can talk about our thoughts and beliefs and not have it come to blows. As a Christian my greatest showing of love to you is to share Christ with you. If it annoys you then I can put it on the shelf and we can still be friends. But know, it is a part of who I am as being an atheist is part of who they are. They try to clear up my apparent delusions while I do the same to them. No harm done either way.

    Discussion and engagement is healthy. Suppression and hiding isn't. Why should beliefs be any different?

    January 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • sam

      No, that's fine; it's the people who are convinced that everyone must think the same way, and try to pass it into law. That's where the real trouble starts. There's a huge difference between sharing and forcing.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      The "greatest gift you know" is a lie. That's why we resent you trying to share it with us. We'd feel the same way if you tried to share your heroin with us. We know all about Christianity. There's nothing you can share with any reasonably aware American adult about Christianity that they don't already know. You have no evidence for any of it and those of us who consider ourselves rational insist on evidence and logic. It doesn't matter if your belief in a lie makes you happy. It's not relevant. Bring the evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Sharing with friends is always good. Ringing a doorbell to share with a stranger is not. Approaching a stranger on the street is pushing the limits.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  12. Joe

    Actually it's good that she didn't raise her child with God because her view of God is so distorted. God has his own way of reaching people who seek him with a sincere heart, which she was clearly incapable of doing.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • sam

      Oh honestly.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Bet

      Father Joe, are you out on parole already? You must be anxious to "hear confession" at the elementary school again, huh?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • sk

      Your last comment spoiled everything, you judged her.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Correctlycenter

    Take the LORD out of everday life, and drugs, violence, kids having kids, out of control and defiant children, juvenile detention centers flourish. Congrats godless moms...

    January 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ja/panese culture has never had God as a part of daily life and their rates of teen pregnancy, violent crime, youth crime etc. are all far lower than that of the United States – and their level of education far exceeds that of the US.

      Furthermore – if that is the case, why is it that so Bible Belt states have the highest rates of youth crime, violent crime, teenage pregnancy, abortion etc. ad nauseum?

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      How does telling kids lies about a god stop any of the lies that you just said. You need to prove any of what you said, and since I know you can't, I'll just call you a liar to your face.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam

      Most of those problem children come from nice christian homes, btw....just saying. Good luck with that!

      January 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Take a look at reality instead – the less 'god' a state in america, or a nation around the world has – the better off it is – the less crime, the fewer teenage moms, etc.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • PJ

      Mindlessly attributing these things to [everyday life without the LORD] is in part the reason why we have these problems. Giving young adutls the tools we've learned as human beings to cope with our lives in this complex world would help. Misinformed comments like this and simply praying to the LORD, not so much.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • JWT

      God or no god it makes no diffeeence to any of that.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • TBN

      Lets see... less then 1% of people in jail are atheist yet 10-20% of the population is atheist... Hmmm.
      The kids with the highest pregnancy rates are the ones taught abstinence only... again, Hmmm

      January 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • darkushost

      We need to rise to the challenges of our time and prepare ourselves for the future. It is vastly more difficult to do this when large swathes of the population selfishly live in a fantasy world. A fantasy land where they can exhaust our environment and ruin our world and then wipe their hands clean of it saying it is "God's Will" or "Everything will be fine in Heaven".

      Moral fiber and ethic are not built on the "lord", plenty of people twist the "lord's teachings" for their own twisted agenda. It is just there to scare people into doing "the right thing" as defined by a narrow theology and group of people. Our youth and society will flourish when we take responsibility for ourselves and our community, and it is not appropriate for people to continue believing in religion when we face so many challenges.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Yeah, it was all different and so much better back in the old days. Back when Noah sold his own son into slavery. Back when Joshua and his buddies killed women and babies in the name of god. The good old days when only the people who needed killing got killed.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • sam stone

      And those things never happened before, right Corruptlycenter?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bristol Palen

      Pregnant teen, poster child for a good christian up brining and abstinence only s-ex education

      January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  14. Michael

    Never knowing what the meaning of life is is progress and evolving?

    January 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Why do you think there is a meaning to life?

      January 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      LIVING is the meaning of life.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  15. (sigh)

    Ignorance: Lack of knowledge or information! That's all the article is. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I may not fully understand everything about the sun, but it still comes up & shines every single day. – First off, "religion" was created by man, NOT by God. God created a "relationship" not a "religion." Either you choose to have that relationship with him or you do not. It's each persons own individual choice & that is the choice God has given us. He allows you to choose just like Christians should allow you to choose & just because they share something with you doens't mean, they aren't allowing you to make your own choices. They are sharing things to comfort you or bring you peace.
    In my experience, however, it is a relationship of peace, love, joy, unity, strength, serenity, knowledge, wisdom, blessings & abundance! I just choose that over being bitter, angry, upset, miserable, confused or frustrated about who I am or where I came from or any area of my life. I've chosen to have a good mindset even when I wasn't a "Christian" but nothing ever felt this rejuvenating or invigorating than having a relationship with God, but hey, that's my choice! Excuse us "Christians" if we get a little excited about something that feels so wonderful & invigorating to us, that we are so anxious to share that incredible feeling with others.
    I look at it like this, the bible teaches "love." Just as most these days want gay people to be able to love one another, is no different that what Christianity teaches, "To Love One Another." What is so wrong with teaching love?

    January 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You seem to have glossed over the part that is...
      men made god, and have made thousands of gods.
      All but one is currently looked at as mythical, and that one soon will join them.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Madtown

      just because they share something with you doens't mean, they aren't allowing you to make your own choices
      -----–
      Christianity is not a universal truth. There are many people right now, who have never heard of the tenants of christianity. They have their own thoughts about God and spirituality, and are likely equally excited about their views as you are about yours. Religion is personal. Just because it works for you doesn't mean it's absolutely true for the whole of humanity. If God intended christianity to be the way for the whole of humanity, then he would've provided it to the whole of humanity. He didn't.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      And if we know all of that, and are just tired of hearing it from every Christian around who thinks their personal experience should suffice as evidence for something we've already investigated and rejected as not only implausible, but irrational?

      You have the right to free speech. You do not have the right to an audience.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      The difference between God and the sun is that we know the sun exists. You can see it. As George Carlin said that sort of solves the whole credibility problem.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Gary

      I didn't know that there were Christian emos

      (sigh)

      January 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • To Richard Cranium

      You seem to be a little confused. Man did not make God .... God made man. Or perhaps you prefer to believe you evlolved from a monkey. Like it or not, God will never be a myth. God gave you and all of us free will. You can ignore or dismiss Him if you want, but it doesn't make him any less real, and He most assuredly still exists.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • (sigh)

      Fine, @SDFrankie....take your wisdom from people like George Carlin (a raunchy comedian). lol Do as you please. I am not pushing my beliefs on you, just sharing my experience. See, this is exactly what I am talking about....rude, nasty, angry, bitterness, thoughtless, confused & frustrated human beings.

      Appreciate the Emo comment too, @Gary! Excuse me for being compassionate, I wasn't aware that was considered being an Emo. That's one of the major problems in the world, NO COMPASSION for others.

      DNS Bubba – Can you share your evidence from your investigation, please? I would like to see. Thanks!

      Richard Craniam – Since when did men create God? God created man! Would you like to tell me where you came from or why you are here on this earth? Have you thought about it before? Who made you? I am just curious to know where you came from, that's all.

      Each of you enjoy your day. Live as you wish. Athiest or Christian or whatever you may be, just learn to have a little compassion toward others. Agree to disagree. :)

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  16. Angela

    "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins." Mark 2:22
    It's curious, I am atheist, my mother is Catholic. We talked this morning about my new friends from an Atheist group I am attending. She had this verse for her prayers of today. Her book said something like "We have to understand that "new times' are already here, and we have to live according to that. Why don't we understand this? Why the representatives of religious organizations insist in not understanding? Because for them and for us it is more comfortable to keep doing what we have been doing... follow the same paths, even though they don't mean anything anymore, and they don't even know why they practice such things"... (well it was originally in Spanish... so my apologies for what gets lost in translation), but anyway, I was impressed... that's the spirit. Science has shown new paths now and we need to learn to travel through them.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Eric

      "Science has shown new paths now and we need to learn to travel through them"???????????

      "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.", Jesus.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • sam

      Eric totally missed your point. I'm afraid that's the standard answer you'll get, too.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Eric

      No point missed. The point is that people try to invent "paths". The people(human) in us thinks we need to solve it all, when it is so much more simplistic. The "path" has already been made and most are too selfish to just believe. I understand that it is difficult to face that we as people are sinners and getting us to admit that we have done wrong is hard. But we all have done wrong. So the path was made to heal us as people and fix what we have broken so we can stand unashamed before God. All we have to do is ask. No other "path" can wash away our sins except the blood of Jesus!!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam

      Eric, you were almost ok until THE BLOOD OF JESUS!!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Eric

      It is what it is. I'm not going to sugar coat it for those who think otherwise.
      It's not like we can fix what is broken ourselves. Hence the reason for a "path"
      I didn't create the path, I just follow it and I'm glad it was made available for us.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • davidosage

      thousands of years of death, persecution and war at the hands of zealots. The middle east still brandishes a strain that is comparable to midieval christianity. We have so much knowledge now about our humble origins yet people continue to believe in stagnant 2000 year old beliefs. When will our mammalian species awaken and accept our simian dung flinging past.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  17. Utter support of Deborah Mitchell

    She is exact and completely correct by asking this excellent question "If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?".

    Any of her opponents can answer this single question, BEFORE you open your mouth to say anything to bother her view of this indeed godless world??? To believe god is just like you do not believe your very existence in this world as a human being!

    Deborah Mitchell: you have the strongest support from the majority of the human being in this world, a godless world!!!!!

    January 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Beanie

      “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen.JOhn 16:33

      January 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • To 'Utter Support of Deborah Mitchell'

      Bless your heart for making such uninformed comments. God gave every one of us free will to do whatever we want to do. Of course His desire is that you choose Him and his path for your life ... but that's just it .... it is a CHOICE. People who commit horrendous crimes have made their choices to end up where they are and do what they do ..... and I will say this very slowly so everyone gets it ..... it all started with a CHOICE. If this world is God-less, it is only because people have CHOSEN to remove God from it. God is indeed very real. And by the way, the most recent statistics report that approximately 16% of the world is non-religious and/or atheist. Majority? NOT. You do the math.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  18. james

    Gays wants us to be open to their view, or at least have a right to practice that view

    Athiests want people to be open about no religion.

    Christians want to be able to spread the word of God.

    Whether you believe or not you still have a right to express. The problem with Gays, Athiests etc are that they want you to understand their point of view and listen to them but they don't want you to hear about God or any religion. its hypicritical

    Christians who believe in Jesus Christ= Heaven

    non believers who don't believe in Jesus Christ = Hell

    Responsibility of every Christian = Teach about Jesus Christ.

    Love and forgiveness, that's what God teaches, What does your believe teach?

    Once taught it's ultimately your decision, but you should be able to hear and decide.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      So God allows me the free will to choose. But if he doesn't like my choice I suffer forever. That God's a big jerk.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Peter

      People who are gay and/or atheists don't want you to 'hear about their views' they just want you to stop shoving your views down their throats, in person or through the legal code.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Joe

      I am sorry that your deity requires you to be a obnoxious jerk trying to stick your nose in other people's lives but I don't tolerate salesmen regardless of what they are selling.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Anglican

      Love one another. Offer your coat to another. Pray for those who stone you. Thats all. Peace.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jade

      Hear and decide? You really think we don't "hear" the religion all around us? As an atheist, I hear about religion constantly...on TV, on the streets (Oklahoma evangelists), at the dinner table (friends of ours don't eat before a prayer), at church (my mom asks me to go with her to support her in tough times/holidays), in times of tragedy, at weddings, at funerals, from my neighbor who is concerned about my soul, and at the university where I work. Oh we hear you all; loud and clear, and in all those times, I say nothing. Not a word for or against what I'm hearing. Is it really asking too much to occasionally "not hear" what you have to say?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • hee hee

      @James: you should consider taking up reading.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • hee hee

      @James: what atheists "don't want you to hear about religion"? I've never, ever, heard any non-believer in North America ever advocate shutting down churches or take away anyone's right to profess their religion. What are you talking about?

      Or, are you one of those people who think that asking that state-run schools follow the law and not advocate a particular religion, is the same thing as taking away your free speech?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  19. Brian

    I have always said in the U.S. you can have freedom of religion, you just can't have freedom from religion.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      Of course you can. The freedom do a thing includes the freedom not to.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      freedom of religion includes freedom from religion

      January 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  20. blkdoutgsxr

    I would love to see more and more articles about these types of topics. The more Atheists that can shine a light on reality without god, the more theists will question their own beliefs. It is simply not rational to believe in something there is no evidence for, lets force theists to go try and find some, and realize there is none. The ones try to be rational will eventually switch stances. I can not wait for this country to have the majority of its people consider themselves non-theists, it'll solve many problems!

    January 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
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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.