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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 • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. Science

    Scientist seeks 'adventurous woman' to have Neanderthal baby
    Where’s Fred Flintstone when you need him?

    A professor of genetics at Harvard’s Medical School believes he’s capable of bringing the long-extinct Neanderthal back to life – all he’s lacking is the right mother.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/01/21/scientist-seeks-adventurous-woman-to-have-neanderthal-baby/?intcmp=features#ixzz2IdrhQbpJ

    January 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • ztom

      Sounds like a scientist's dating site advertisement. Scientist seeks "adventurous woman" to have Neanderthal baby and for long walks on the beach. Interested in long term relationship and possibly more...

      January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam

      Not much worse than most of what you can find on Match.com....

      January 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  2. Setrimacoky

    "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." – Teddy Roosevelt
    Although I can appreciate somebody that is wary of their own faith, especially when dealing with the flawed human nature that permeats religion, I have never heard of a convincing argument as to why a godless world is better. In addition, if there is no God then Nietzche is correct in his assertion that uberhuman might means right. That is a more dangerous thought than one of a benevolent creator. Ms. Mitchell needs to understand where the customs and values of our great nation come from and wonder in deep thought where they would be without these customs and values. Where do the values and customs we follow come from?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Justinian

      "I have never heard of a convincing argument as to why a godless world is better"

      Ever heard of 9/11?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "a benevolent creator."

      Where? The only one I know is the one who'll roast you for eternity if you doubt him. I guess, following his example, I need to throw religious loonies in a bonfire because they don't agree with me.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Answer

      "Where do the values and customs we follow come from?"

      –You want to know?

      Here:

      As mankind developed "he" used his body to communicate. Grunts, pointing out with limbs/ fingers... and kicking and shouting. The repeated usage of common abstract pointing and shouting creates a base for familiarity. These became the accepted signals for the start of the communication chain. We call them "STANDARDS".

      You work and develop the patterns within the brain.. the brain makes for more neuro-pathways thus increasing the brain capacity. Develop more of a society (less barbaric-like) ..which we have been steadily doing and we get to our modern thinking brain.

      Simply put – mankind has ALWAYS LAYERED the acquired knowledge onto it's future generations. That is how we humans have developed.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Madtown

      Religion pits people against one another. It creates divide. You don' t need religion to believe in God.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Setrimacoky

      That is a God of hate not Love. I know I would never convince an atheist to convert to Christianity by winning an argument. In fact, I don't think that has ever happened, but Love. Love does convince. Love is the most important of these things. Humans are flawed yes. They have free will yes. Even so called religious people are flawed.... but if you take the message of Christ at face value at apply it with Love, then there would be no argument. The flawed human constantly gets in the way and focuses on those things that drive people away from God. But please do not allow another flawed human get between you and God.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • PJ

      The values of this country come from, in a large part, the Free Masons. It was they who initiated the idea of the separation of church and state.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Atheists insist that the world will be better without religious belief. This can't be verified because we can't point to any society and say "see how well society has done without god." However, in 150 CE, Claudius Plolemy, in his work Tetrabiblos, made this observation: " The inhabitants of Coele Syria, Idumea, and Judea are more closely familiar to Aries and Mars, and therefore these peoples are in general bold, GODLESS, and scheming." (emphasis mine).

      January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Practical examples of the problem with an atheist society are the French Revolution, eugenics, and all the various offshoots of Bolshevism. By comparison 9/11 was just a hiccup of bad management.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • ??

      This god-fearing nation had NO problem massacring the natives of one continent and enslaving the natives of another.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Justinian

      JFCanton – Those atrocities were the result of politics, not religion/atheism.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • austin

      you are not condemned. you are justified through the atoning blood . if you reject this communion, you condemn your self. this is your choice and responsibility to honor your soul creator or not. you do have a choice.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Catholic Engineer sez:
      "Atheists insist that the world will be better without religious belief. This can't be verified because we can't point to any society and say 'see how well society has done without god.' "
      I would disput this. There are many docu.mented cases of morality displayed by primates.
      I remember one very distinct situation where a young boy ( maybe 5 or 6 ) was visiting a zoo and fell into the gorilla display.
      He was knocked unconscience by the fall for about 2 min. The gorillas were curious and a female espcially so. The boy awoke and started to cry. The males felt threatend and started display aggresivness. The female basically fended off the males and protected the boy until the zoo keepers came. Compation from a gorilla .... I'm pretty sure that gorilla doesn't attend church on Sunday's

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

    emotion or true believer tell the truth, while reason logic or science many time are deceptive or not yet well understood by must pretend to have all the answers cause what would logic reason or science be with out answers- nothing?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      What?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Mopery

      But if then we how could shown down left around light post when blue sky under moon sun for bring them more cracked weasel shiny biscuit.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Translation:

      "The emotions of the true believer tells the truth, while reason, logic or science many times are deceptive or at least not yet well understood. Despite this, science must pretend to have all the answers, because what would logic reason or science be without answers? Nothing."

      Not commenting, just translating.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • GorlakTheINVadeR

      Call of the ATTACK we must not be infected by this human ignornace

      January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mopery

      Good job Saraswati, that was exactly what I meant.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • austin

      lets use physical science to argue spiritual reality. does that work people? no that does not. and you say israel was not in slavery? that is sick. but what else can you do?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Jens Gessner

      Science never 'pretends to have all the answers'. But the answers that science does give us are researched, tested and tested again – until even better answers are found. And that is already' light years' ahead of any religion that I have ever studied, especially Abrahamic religions, which invariably rely on outdated sources. Their answers are convoluted, illogical and never provide adequate evidence for their validity.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • austin

      you have to test faith in Christ in a true sense. reading the whole Bible, studying it , and asking for the guidance of the holy spirit. that is your resposnsibility . this is your greatest responsibility in life. i have, and testify directly to you, that the seed of abraham, the seed of faith, salvation, has been a covenant by God to man, to provide a way to live in communion with God. direct communion. and the Holy Spirit testifies of Himself, the 3rd person of the God head, and is alive within me. and I have been lit up, by the the Lord Jesus, the risen Lord. ten yeas ago I was a major apponent of christianity. but the Holy Spirit intervened in my life. I had my eyes opened to the devil, and I have proof of God within me. The holy spirit communicates with me through the word of God.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  4. texas

    zirconium chrystals date to 6000 years old in sediment dated at millions of years . the great rift , ocean floor, dates to younger than the crust of the earth proving continental drift of noahs flood. there is the acheopterix, but no fossil record of evolution. darwin admitted a major problem with the cambrian fossil record. i believe in a rapid sedimentation of the earth from the flood. there are sea creature fossils on every mountain top. an orchid looks just like a bumble bee, and the bumble bee tries to mate with it and pollinates the next orchid.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      And it's true because texas says so. Don't ask for any references. Don't ask if texas has read any criticisms of the creationist websites he copy-and-pasted this from and thinks const-itute scholarly material. Just go with the flow.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Ron

      Congrats on that home school degree.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Peter

      I think you have some serious deficiencies in your knowledge of bumblebee behavior.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • austin

      God created the universe in life for, functional. He put light in place. and radio carbon dating doesnt go past 60000 years. the only doubt is dates basted on light equations. and after you experience the Holy Spirit, you realize the the strongest force and law is the doctrine of sin.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • austin

      or the behavior of the orchid that has stripes on its lobe, wings, eyes and tentacles. you like to take advantage of the little ways you can manipulate are deceive in an evasive fashion. but you understand my logic just like i understand the devils logic. people dont have to us the correct punctuation or spelling.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • austin

      why does the bee land on the orchid that looks just like a bumble bee? for pollen?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "there is the acheopterix, but no fossil record of evolution."

      Oxymo-ron Man to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!!!

      "proving continental drift of noahs flood."

      Because floods on the surface can influence tectonic plates. A geologist you are certainly not.

      "darwin admitted a major problem with the cambrian fossil record."

      Because Darwin's understanding of evolution is all we've had for 150 years. Note that Mendelian Genetics wasn't even around in Darwin's time.

      "there are sea creature fossils on every mountain top."

      Prove of stratification going on for MILLIONS of years.

      "an orchid looks just like a bumble bee, and the bumble bee tries to mate with it and pollinates the next orchid."

      Batesian Mimicry. Nothing supernatural about it.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • austin

      no the cambrian fossil record speaks for itself. and floods on the top came from a major catastrophe. and if i am wrong, then the old earth would still be God's creation due to the undeniable Holy Spirit. I would never take an atheists scientific word for anything because they are the desperate ones tring to justify themselves. and I would too, had I not been given faith from God. It is sad that there are false religions out there. I would whole heartedly embrace evolution and athiesm had the Holy Spirit not given me faith. I believe that the devil is creating false religion and hope that as evolution is a rallying point for people to reject God, that young earth theory is correct ,. if old earth is correct. this does not disprove God or the law of sin. God could have evolved man to the point he saw fit and breathed the soul of life into an animal I guess. point is we have an eternal soul. dont decesive yourself. spiritual life is real, and so is evil deception. be careful.

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

      Way to think out loud T.Now go to talk origins.com and READ a rebuttal to your creation-science blather

      January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • IM Serious

      Perfect example of why I don't want you around my children. Thanks for providing it.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • austin

      besides the point i stand on the podium and testify of the Holy Spirit revealing Himself. explain to me the zirconium chrystals. yes it is young earth creation. how do you get a decay rate that dates the crystals at 6000 years in a layer millions of years old. there is no explanation. it does raise a question about the scientific model . poly straight fossils of trees going through millions of years of rock? millions of years of rock, layered up just perfectly curvy? from dust settling? that looks like a rapid sedimentation!!!!!!!!!!!!! ok so if I have experienced the testimony of the Holy Spirit, why should I stray from the book of Genesis and the doctrine of sin? that would not be wise. and I have a responsibility to stand true to the gospel, entrusted to me. it is connected to the doctrine sin. there is a reason God wrote the book the way He did, through His inspiring spirit.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  5. Olam

    I've worked with kids in developing countries who only have the shade of trees as classrooms and concrete blocks or rocks for desks, rain or shine. I've seen these kids rowing across stormy rivers in leaky canoes or walking for tens of kilometers just to get to school each DAY. I've seen these kids being rescued from the s-lavers to whom their own parents sold them because there wasn't enough money to sustain the houshold. And I've seen them ask more intelligent questions and show a greater desire to learn than any religious loon here.

    Don't ask me to respect a person who lives in a developed, post-industrial country, with all the advantages that come with such a status, with INTERNET ACCESS, in the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, and yet is still ignorant enough to make such arguments as, "How do you know electricity exists if you can't see it?"

    January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • miller

      congrats?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Ron

      I have seen electricity before.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • austin

      olam I have experienced the testimony of the Holy spirit within my soul, and i realize that some day i might be persecuted or killed for it. I love people and although i have technology, God and his soveriegn ability to take the scales out of a persons eyes will provide me with enough fear and humility, to know that eternal life through redemption is what i live and die for. Truth. Mercy.
      second chance. forgiveness. patience.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • sam

      Sorry Olam, some are so lazy and incurious that they would just rather say 'god did it'.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  6. virginia

    Reason or logic so called science only make us aware of our religius believe and our deep emotional states of mind...emotions gave live to reason only to have logic or reason or science make us aware of our Religius believe and our emotions=feelings. there for logic or reason attempt to supress emotions seen it as a human weakness even when emotion gave birth to reason, logic and consecuently scientism the relligion of the atheist....

    January 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Larry

      Spelling and grammar...so important.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Translation:

      “Reason or logic (so called science) only make us more aware of our religious beliefs and our deep emotional states of mind. Emotions give life to reason, only to have logic or reason (or science) make us aware of our religious beliefs and our emotions and feelings. So logic or reason attempt to suppress emotions, which are seen it as a human weakness, even though emotion gave birth to reason, logic and consequently to scientism, the religion of the atheist.”

      This was actually better, but you see people are still commenting on grammar and spelling and not content?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  7. Robert Bryan

    Load of nonsense. You raise your children without God because you don't like some arbitrary moral code being put upon you. That's uncomfortable and inconvenient. Just tell the truth. You want to live how you want, and a moral code be damned. Of course you feel "immersed" in Christianity. Light shining in darkness reveals alot. Darkness FLEES from the light, and lies FLEE from the truth. Take it or leave it, but don't blame your irreligion on those who are religious.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Answer

      Oh yeah... rant on about that light and darkness.

      In those fantasy novels they're a hit. In reality all it means is turning off your lights with a switch.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      I personally don't blame my lack of belief on those who have it. I attribute it to the complete lack of rational evidence for a god. Period.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      One theologian said "We are either a light in the midst of a great darkness, or a darkness in the midst of a great light." For atheists, I would add a third option: "We are a great darkness in the midst of a great darkness."

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Because you live in her head.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Ron

      So nobody has ever lived with a moral code without Christianity?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Pat's Hair Piece

      Robert Bryan is having a bad day. It is ok Robert Bryan. Today is Blue Monday...you will feel better. Such a grump.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Science

      Darknes = lights out = for humans = deplited carbon ok fact.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • ztom

      I actually believe much of the core moral code of Christianity and other religions. I'm not running from anything. I simply do not believe that bad things are bad because a god said so. I don't believe in your religion and gods.

      If you cannot understand that killing is bad without someone writing a commandment about it, then I agree that you need religion. I personally have pretty much the same morals that many Christians do. And I came to these moral decisions without thinking that either I come to those conclusions or burn.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  8. some schmuck

    I see repeated for the past couple of pages "What if you're wrong?"

    Well, what if I am, but what if we're BOTH wrong? Do you think Mithra is going to be ok with you worshipping Yahweh? We know of over 3000 gods that human beings have believed in. This is only what we've found evidence of. This does not include the thousands of gods that have probably been lost in antiquity. What are the odds that you picked the right one? Statistically, you're not looking so hot.

    Pascal's wager is not some statement of wisdom. It is a false dichotomy. It assumes that belief in god gives the possibility of eternal reward with a downside of nothing, while belief in no god gives the possibilty of nothing with the downside of eternal torture.

    If the muslims are right, 2 billion Christians will suffer an eternity of torture.
    If the Christians are right, 1.6 billion Muslims will suffer an eternity of torture.
    If I'm right. No one has to be tortured.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Paul

      I am going to go with Dionysus. Right or wrong we're in for an eternity of partying.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Mopery

      As a Fictionologist I have chosen Gandalf as my personal Lord and Savior.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • One one

      Eternal torture is a major feature of both religions. What does that say about the religions of love and peace ?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The first two statements are a misconstruction of Pascal's argument, though-it was made from a Catholic point of view, in which unbelievers are not condemned per se. His argument may in fact not be very helpful, but it is really directed at personal behavior.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • ??

      Eternal torture-the great threat of the religious is exactly the same as the-NO GETTING OUT- clause of the Mafia,or the 'I'll kill you if you leave', threat of the wife beater.But they LOVE you too !

      January 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  9. linda

    All these people who allow their religion to dictate every aspect of their life are likely the same people who scream and rant the government is too intrusive. Religion is nothing if not hyprocrisy on steriods.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  10. PJ

    The whole six/seven days of creation really is confusing. I mean, how do you measure that first "day" while it was being created?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Paul

      Little known fact, god first created the Rolex.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mopery

      Why that's easy, you see, God never says what he means. He says days, but means millions if not billions of years. He says "Do not commit murder.", then he orders the Israelites to commit genocide. God is an enigma wrapped in a contradiction and smothered in hypocrisy.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Paul

      what about the idea that it took God each day to show Moses what he was talking about and that on the seventh day he rested, or more accurately put, he let Moses rest

      January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  11. Red Dog

    Hello. This is God speaking. You people have been a big disappointment. You have 30 days to leave the Earth. Other, less troublesome parties are interested in the property.

    Thank you.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Answer

      Hear the laughter aimed at you. XD

      January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Gorlaks#2

      yes Gorlak is coming for your land and women, but you dont have 30 days you have 2 minutes

      January 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Red Dog

      Gorlak? Isn't that some kind of gentler-yet-more effective kind of laxative?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • PJ

      I think you meant the "Vogons" and the galatic super-highway.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Gorlaks#3

      Well it is known that eating a Gorlakian Tentacle does give your 100% the us RDA of fiber.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  12. Brian

    Whatever is powerful enough to create billions of galaxies with billions of stars
    is powerful enought to stay hidden for billions of years, for its own purposes and reasons, if it so chooses.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Dan

      To be fair, Zeus has come down to earth every once in awhile and banged some chicks. He isn't staying that hidden.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Answer

      Sure.

      And freaks like that fact so much that they keep on reciting claims that they know they've found their god. Gotta love it when they make their claims.

      "You can't know god like I know god."

      January 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • phearis

      Prove that your God didn't create Dinosaurs in his image.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • JFCanton

      If dinosaurs had created writing, maybe we would have a basis on which to debate this.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  13. Todd Ramone

    People say we can't disprove that god exists.

    This is true.

    Of course we can't disprove that invisible elephants don't exist either.

    So apparently saying you can't disprove that something might exist isn't saying much at all.

    What to do?

    Ask why the subject might exist. Given all evidence and understanding we have at our disposal I think most would be quite skeptical an invisible elephant exists.

    We'd probably say we're 99.9 sure invisible elephants don't exist.

    So what about god?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Answer

      You can dismiss a need for a god just like you do for all the other fantasies that you hope would be true.

      If you're wrong about it – so what – just admitting you're wrong and adjusting your world view does fixes things.

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

      well, if we are to tackle your object rationally we'll need to know more about these invisible elephants. where did they come from? are they merely transparent physically existing elephants? that would seem to go against everything we know about the biology of elephants. are they some sort of contingent deity? if so, then why do they exist rather than not? if there is "one" ultimate invisible elephant that is the cause of all reality then I would actually give it credence.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Todd Ramone

      re Miller:

      I hope people are laughing right now.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Ironic that an elephant would be the vehicle... cf. the Hindu aphorism cited in the Tao of Physics.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  14. GorlakTHeINvader

    These humans still worship gods, they will be easy prey

    January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mopery

      For the Profit!
      Let us prey.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • fact

      oh great, return of the nephilum, reptilian alien demons.!!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Gorlaks#1

      The death-rays have been places in crucifix's for last 1000 years, the count down has begun

      January 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Gorlaks#2

      Activating the popes scepter to turn on deathrays

      January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • texas

      i can smell you from here.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • texas

      when is your leader coming up out of the abyss? book of Enoch says it was 2008? after 70 generations

      January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Gorlaks#3

      We have no leader, we have a shared consciences, via the rift of Zorgon and its unlimited power over time and space.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • matt

      um, i think you mean Prophet...moron

      January 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Pat's Hair Piece

      It....has...begun

      January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Mopery

      Yes matt, your Prophet was a moron.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  15. Penny1034

    I can only say Thank you Deborah for the article. You are not alone. Although I don't have any children, I think I would raise them the same. One of my sister's has raised her kids the same way and they respect all religion. I was raised Catholic and became a Christian later on in life. I no longer am part of any religion. It's good to know there are many out there who are Atheist or just have no religion at all. Shows I am not alone either. I just wished all religious people that I've seen posting here, show a little more respect and not try to shove their beliefs on us that do not believe.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • miller

      Good for you Penny. I hope you beliefs are based on rationality and not simply an emotional reaction like Deborah's.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Even when they pretend that they are not pushing their religion they do a fine job of letting you know that they have the correct religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • DDW 1946

      There's money in religion. Wonder how many churches and television evangelistic's there would be if their tax exempt status was removed?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Aziz

      Just as one would not go up to a person and ask if he/she is gay, lesbian or straight, one should not walk up to a stranger and ask what his/her religion is. This should be a matter of simple courtesy. We do not have the right to ask how much money someone has at the bank; we should also not ask questions pertaining to personal beliefs, or lack thereof.

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

      I don't understand why secularists believe that a community wishing to place a nativity scene feels the religion is being pushed on them? nobody drags you into church. the first ammendment cannot establich religion but it also can't prohibit the free excersize of it. I think all you atheists are whiner's who could use some vision of God (whatever you persieve him to be). give you something better to do than carry on about the beliefs on others and try to turn it as if its being pushed on you. that's probably why liberalism and atheism are so closely related.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  16. Brian

    There is already some semblance of degree and order to the universe as it is, with gravity and such.
    Why be half-assed about it by not following-up with a meaning to life?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      Your life can have whatever meaning you want it to have. Just don't delude yourself into thinking that whatever you find is the ONLY meaning.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  17. virginia

    here is the athiest 15 minute of fame- maybe now they will admite to having feelings and emotions just like every one else...their logic-reason or science tell them so...and reafirms Religious believe even when that is their own religion scientism...or the OMNISCIENCE GOD...OF THE FUTURE. ALL KNOWLEDGEBLE GOD OF ABRAHAM THE FATHER OF JESUS CHRIST...CAUSE science if far from all knowing as is today...

    January 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Answer

      The caps have ruined your petty rant.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Try again.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Eriberto Aguilar

      Atheists never claimed to not have feelings or emotions. Where did you get that from?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Thoth

      What is the basis for you belief in your particular version of God? To simplify: How can you dismiss all other gods, and only believe in your version, when your same logic can be used to justify any god?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      it is curious how you seem to think that atheism removes emotion? an atheist simply believes in one less god than you.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • JWT

      I have all the emotions except sad and happy.

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

      Aaaaaaand this is likely the most entertaining of all posts I've read thus far! Oh wow....I think I may have just felt something!! YES FINALLY AN EMOTION!! From beginning to end your prose is filled with massive grammatical errors, errors in spelling, errors in judgement, etc. The list goes on. You should be a comedian! After you get a high school education of course.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  18. Mopery

    If a 4 year-old boy really hopes and believes that Santa Claus will bring him a bicycle for X-mas, they have been fooled.
    If a 40 year-old man really hopes and believes that Santa Claus will bring him a motorcycle for X-mas, he is a fool.
    When a child truly believes in imaginary beings we call it innocence.
    When an adult truly believes in imaginary beings we call it ignorance.

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

      i guess this would be correct if you have such a childish view of reality.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mopery

      Spending your entire life reading the same book over and over again does not make you literate.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • NeverTryToDefineGod

      When an adult believes it is ignorant to believe in something just because there is no proof – THEY are being ignorant.

      This is not to say that there is any particular reason to believe, only that the logical fallacy exists in ignoring the possibility of something beyond our "known" (or even knowable) world.

      The universe can be considered a black box of observable knowledge, with an event horizon separating the observable and the not observable. While there is no proof that God exists, there is also no proof that He doesn't, and our ability to extend the knowable from the unknowable is tied to the observable and not observable.

      Instead of allowing for the possibility that God exists, many atheists rely on arguments that make assumptions about God based on the very religions that they reject. But I propose that each and every religion on earth *could* be flat out wrong about the nature of God, and yet he still may exist, as any "proof" of his non-existence would be necessitated by an ignorance about his true nature.

      It may be more accurate to say that they debate the religious beliefs indirectly via God's existence – which doesn't require atheism at all, as most believers are all too willing to denounce each other's religion as it is. This is another way of saying that they are defining distinct God's while claiming they are the same – because, after all, there is only one. The logical extension is that both definitions/depictions are flawed enough to eventually obtain "proof" that such a God (as defined/depicted) does not exist (so like evolution, all that is needed is to redefine God in a manner consistent with observed knowledge...). There are a few logical gaps here, but I think I've covered enough so that anyone understanding the concepts can connect the dots. The short version: religions generally suck at defining God so your guess is as good as mine.

      Essentially, whether you believe in God or not, and how you exercise that belief, is up to you. I believe that either way, the manner in which we treat each other as human beings will factor in our afterlife. That by itself is enough to offer (not force) hope and support rather than condemnation and judgement. I just wish more religions focused on that perspective, but who am I to define their beliefs?

      One thing I would like to comment on is the article's reference to "why would God allow murder", etc... Evil is as important to us as Good (as pure concepts). More than just "how can we appreciate Good without Evil" – it also provides us a basis for evaluating our use of free will. We don't always get tested to the same degree, but the possibility is there, and thus, the experience ensures that we form our own limits. Much much more can be said on this topic alone, but I can sum it up by saying that God *ensures* that we experience true evil, either directly or indirectly – to measure our compassion and empathy. Besides, if eternity truly awaits our death, living for 10 years instead of 110 really won't matter in the long run. What would matter more is that we learned to reach out and help those in need when we can.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  19. Hungry Hungry Hypocrites

    I ope that one day the same people who scream and shout for their religion to be respected will understand that they need to respect those who do not share the same beliefs. I hope one day all of the people who say they are loved by God and follow a religion of love actually represent the teachings they cling to so dearly. When you stop judging others, maybe you will find the peace on earth you sing about each December.

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

      They will not allow other beliefs, that would be admitting they might be wrong, Hence that is the problem and why it will never get better until adults stop believing in magical stories that make no logical sense.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  20. PJ

    This is so entertaining, I must say. The non-religious are outwitting the thumpers by a long shot. Thank you, I've laughed outloud so many times today!

    January 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
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About this blog

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.