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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. jrl1234

    Its a slippery slope when you popularize atheism. Weather you believe in a god or not religion has been keeping society in check for hundreds and thousands of years. Many people do not fear the worldly punishments of man but do fear eternal damnation.

    Also there is a net positive effect of going to church, getting together with your community and helping each other out during hard times.

    just my 2 cents.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • edyoucate

      If by "in check" you mean used as an excuse to slaughter people or take over distant lands then yes, religion has certainly kept us in check for thousands of years.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • January

      A lot of wars are fought over property disputes. Should we blame property owners for slaughtering people and taking over distant lands?

      No, because I can also see the good that property owners can and do do.

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

      My response wasn't an all encompassing explanation of why wars are fought. It was merely pointing out that religion has not been the defining reason why society has been "in check", whatever that means.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • JFCanton

      *Many* more wars are fought over property, actually. Every time someone who claims to be intelligent and well-educated says that religion causes war, that convinces me just a little more that our standards for history education are horrible. And I'm not a history major or anything... I can just read without drawing preformed conclusions.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • edyoucate

      Despite the point continually flying over your heads, it's curious property keeps getting mentioned. I seem to remember a religiously motivated property dispute going on right now somewhere near Israel...

      January 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • sam

      Oh noes!! Cats and dogs, living together!

      Nice way of saying atheists = jerks. You're a tool.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  2. Theo

    I thought going to church was silly when I was 4, the fact that adults still think that robed men carrying crosses and singing does anything in the year 2013 is just idiotic.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  3. Big Blue

    Here's a good book on the subject: Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe by Greg M. Epstein.

    It's based in no small part on the notion that we should all do good or what's right just because it helps all of society and not because a God is judging you and being "good" will determine if you go to heaven.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Daniel

    now THIS is what I call a hot topic!!! And iiin the left corner we haaave the Atheists, 6"2' 190lbs. back by their coaches Logic and Reason, aaaaand in the right we have theeee CHRISTIANS at 5"4' weighing in at 200lbs of flabby GLOOOORY, in the ring with them are their coaches Blind Faith and Persissstence!!! LETS GET READY TO RUMMMMBLLLLLLEEEEEEEE!!!

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

      That just made my morning.

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

      LOL

      January 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  5. Mary

    I completely understand, however, being a believer I do not get the same respect in return. God haters are always putting me down for what I believe. I wish people would show some restraint.

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

      " God haters are always putting me down for what I believe. I wish people would show some restraint."

      Really we make up a very small portion of society, so you must be lying.

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

      Again, we can't hate what we don't believe in. It's impossible.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • sam

      "I can't understand why gays get so mad when I vote against their basic rights."

      January 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  6. Bruce

    We've replaced what some of you see as a hypocritical and petty God with a bunch of hypocritical and petty humans and all for the low low price of arguing about it on the web 24/7. We've really come a long way since people abandoned God for nothing. Crime is down, we have a President who values life and a strong economy. Everyone is fed and happiness is at an all time high.

    You're living the lie people. I get that you might not like hearing about what Christians believe, but I am tired of hearing about these poor atheist via TV, CNN and the ACLU. You want equality, then stop seeking so much attention. Your comfortable telling Christians to back off, then take a page out of your playbook.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Lenny

      You sort of sound like a five year old who is jealous of the new baby.

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

      Always happy to do so for those that voted in favor of gay marriage.

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

      Actually you cant really call the "poor" atheists. Most have University Educations and are in the upper echelons of the economy....good times

      January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • 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 4:01 pm |
    • JFCanton

      It might not be inappropriate that atheists be well-educated and of the upper class... it's might be a luxury.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  7. Wayne Cooper

    It is interesting that Mitchell wants to "come out of the closet" as an agnostic and recommends that those with a belief in God keep it to themselves, it is a private thing. In other words, we should go into the closet.......?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Mayahon

      Well, she's probaly just trying to remind you of Matthew 6:6 :-)

      January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  8. Brian

    God can have whatever nature he wants.
    An atheist's disapproval of God's nature is irrelevant to God.
    If God thinks you're a smug and smarmy butthole, then he can torture you forever if he wants.
    It's probably what you deserve for being such a smug and smarmy butthole.
    If you don't like God's sense of Justice, then that's too friggin' bad.
    If you don't want to live in such a universe, then make your own friggin' universe.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      Great! Prove it.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • JWT

      Thor is a cool god we'll keep him. The rest can go away.

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

      I am BETTER than god. Better man, better morals, stronger. I will always out-perform something that doesn't exist. If god existed... I would make it my female dog.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • 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 3:59 pm |
    • QuestionEverything

      How are you blind to the fact that your invisible boogie man is a complete j*g o ff

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

      it is impossible to even determine the existence of god, let alone his nature.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mopery

      Oooh Brian, your God sounds sassy and rather saucy! I have no doubt he'd enjoy torturing my smug and smarmy butthole all day and all night. When he was on Earth he didn't have much interest in women, did he? Always drinking heavily with his dozen "disciples", mmm hmm, I bet they were on their knees for him more than you can imagine, feasting on the body of Christ one naughty part at a time. I'm sure your god will want a word or two with you when you meet him, and he meats you. Have fun with that!

      January 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Ax

    @Austin

    Your delusions do not make my reality.

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

      But they do make for our entertainment!

      January 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  10. mmacee

    "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."

    mmmm...how many of these people do Santa every year?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • snowboarder

      very true. i can't count the number of times i have heard people say to their children to behave or santa won't bring them presents.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Mike

      Santa isn't portrayed as "the way, the truth and the life" (who will burn your ass forever if you don't suck up to him). Besides.... children grow out of Santa, just like they would religion if their authority figures didn't drive it into them.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  11. virginia

    can one atheist admite to having emotions there for believes has faith in something????it takes corage to say it in public cause in private one might admit to it but in public it's a weakness of the heart...we all deny our emotion cause we don't want to be weak fine even Christian don't want to feel emotion be we do even when we deny them we feel the pain it brings to us...why we feel or have awareness why god made us into feeling being aware of ourselves???? why his gift is so painful at time????was God who made us aware of ourselve? or was the sin its being spoken of in the bible the tree of knowledge gave us reason and logic and become aware of the pain we feel we become aware of our emotions of ourselve....

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

      Hey, coward troll can you stick to one name, it's funny your Christ would be ashamed of your trolling.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • dnsbubba

      Just what exactly are you asking for? Do atheists have emotions? What?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Peter

      Can you run this through a spell check before you repost it again? Thanks.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Mopery

      I suggest you enroll in a remedial English course. Not only will it make you look less like an idiot when posting your opinion, it might even persuade you to read more than one book your entire life. Good luck.

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

      English please.

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

      OK Virginia, I've been translating for you since page 99. You really need to run this stuff through a spell checker and grammar checker or stick to spoken communication, because you're not getting any information across this way. I do realize you may be laid up in the hospital typing letters out with eye movements or something so that could be hard. But one properly written post people can understand is a lot more useful than 10 posts we can’tunderstand.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You may be interested in this research I posted on page 100 regarding religiosity, atheism and emotion. In this study religious people had more vivid and intense emotions than atheists, but atheists were better at describing and thinking about their emotions.

      http://ibcsr.org/index.php/component/content/article/25-news/research-news/344-atheists-and-religious-may-differ-in-emotional-processing

      January 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Okay, I'm sorry but this made very little sense to me. I really do not get what you're trying to tell people. Are you saying people who do not believe in God have no feelings...? Please clarify.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you read her other posts I think she's saying that religion is a safe place to express emotion like the family, and that atheists believe that showing emotion is a sign of weakness and so want to avoid religion. Further she argues that atheists believe that all people should keep religion to themselves, because showing emotion in public makes you open to attack and that really when they say to keep religion private that is why they are advising it. I'm not totally sure about this latest post which is a bit different.

      The research link I posted I think gets at why she might be observing some differences between atheists and the religious with regard to emotion. It doesn't fully line up with her points but I think indicates she was a little onto something.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      After translation, this one is actually a bit different and more religious (than sociological) compared to her previous posts:

      "Can an atheist admit to having emotions and therefore believes and has faith in something?

      It takes courage to admit to such emotions in public. In private one might admit to it, but in public it appears as a weakness of the heart. We all deny our emotion because we don't want to be weak. Yes, even Christians don't want to feel emotions. But we do. Even when we deny them, we feel the pain it brings to us.

      Why do we feel or have awareness? Why did god make us into feeling beings aware of ourselves? Why is his gift is so painful at times? Was it God who made us aware of ourselves, or was the sin spoken of in the bible through which the tree of knowledge gave us reason and logic to become aware of the pain we feel and become aware of the emotions in ourselves?"

      January 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  12. Todd Ramone

    Something needs to be made clear in this discussion (because many seem to be missing this) :

    Just because we might not have "perfect proof" of something it does not hold that all supposed answers to the problem are equal in likelihood.

    Take for example, going to the medical doctor for an ailment. The doctor examines you and gives you a diagnosis. Nobody would consider this diagnosis "perfect proof" where disease classification is concerned. We know medicine isn't perfect, we know you can miss-diagnose. You won't walk out of the doctor's office feeling perfectly certain in your diagnosis.

    However, you'll probably feel pretty good about the chances of your diagnosis being good.

    Now lets contrast this with going to a witch-doctor or some other primitive attempt at medicine nobody has much confidence in. Nobody believes there to be good evidence for a witch-doctors craft.

    In both scenarios you won't have perfect proof, there will be some doubt.

    Which would you choose?

    The answer is easy - the medical doctor. Given your knowledge of the world you've got much more evidence to believe the medical doctor will do a much better job diagnosing your condition.

    And this is our situation with the argument over God's existence:

    While we can't be certain a god doesn't exist, our lack of evidence for him leads us to have much more confidence he doesn't exist than vice versa.

    Yes, everybody can have opinions. However... some are a hell of a lot better than others. Lets not pretend otherwise.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • 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 3:57 pm |
    • JanieNoo

      See Todd, here's the difference- you see a lack of evidence where I see an overwhelming amount of evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • JFCanton

      If all hypotheses were equally testable, this carries some weight. But there are behind us c. 2500 years of philosophical explanations of why God is not really a testable hypothesis. What made all that irrelevant?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  13. Shante's mom

    All this woman is asking for is respect. She respects your views and would lke to think you respect hers. Not asking for much really.

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

      she apparently doesn't respect my intelligence to offer such a childish argument against god: "he isn't fair"

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

    I was raised without religion and raised my son without religion. we are not bad people, in fact, my son is a very nice, caring person. I'm old and in poor health but he makes sure I'm taken care of, what more could a parent want. He didn't need belief in a sky god to be the perfect son he is. He is kind to animals and everyone he meets.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  15. Jennifer

    I'm so glad to read this article but very disappointed in some of the comments. The "Christians" or the defenders of God are very dismissive of this woman's ideas. You preach of how God is loving and all that but when someone doesn't feel the need to preach the same way, most say she is a bad person and she is wrong. Who in the heck are you to judge? And good job on criticizing her right to uitilize her Freedom of Speech in the same way you want your Freedom of Religion. Christianity isn't the only religion out there as there are so many others, which many of you dismiss because you believe God is the only one who MUST EXIST. Folks shouldn't be afraid to speak for not being AS religious because of the bully that is in most Christians. Shame on you. And good for her.

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

      The religious people hate it when someone dismisses their religion outright.

      It is okay if a person comes up and says something that affirms something to them. It is a psychological reaction to a rejection from another person of their belief system.

      It is essentially the religious person saying "why can't you see that you NEED god when I do need a god. How can you be like that?"

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

      Who in the heck are you to judge?
      ----–
      Right on Jennifer. This defines today's christian. Judgment and arrogance.

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

      I don't anybody is criticizing her right to freedom of speech, but they disagree when what is spoken (which, again, they have the right to do). In the eyes of a religious person, it's not "loving" to let somebody go on thinking wrongly about something that they care deeply about, even love. Both sides of the argument feel judged by the other, even though both sides know that the other's judgment over them holds no real weight (the religious person's judgement not being their own, but "The Judges"). But I think that's something we have to be ok with if we want to seek truth. It's kind of a road block when people are always afraid to sound "judgmental" or offend someone, and even moreso when people cry "judgment!" whenever they are disagreed with.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • JP

      Madtown, that's a judgmental and arrogant statement, by the way.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Jennifer

      JP: In the article it said that she was reported and flagged for her article because folks did not like what she said. If that is not dismissive on Freedom of Speech, I don't know what is. I've never flagged a comment or anything based on an opinion that is different from mine as it sounds here.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • JC

      People who feel the need to preach every time someone questions the existence of God or even the sheer thought of doubting it isn't arrogance? The idea that there is only one God isn't arrogance as well?

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

      Jennifer,
      "I've never flagged a comment or anything based on an opinion that is different from mine as it sounds here."

      Neither have I - a few dings for advertising spam or the charity cons or for posting an entire page of 666s, but that's it.

      It seems that some believers (quite a large number, gauging from the number of times that article flip-flopped back into the "inappropriate" category) are severely threatened by any dissenting opinions.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  16. Pat's Hair Piece

    When you finally figure out what life is all about...you have to make sure EVERYONE knows it too.
    You put your left foot in
    You put your left foot out
    You put your left foot in
    And you shake it all about
    You do the hokey pokey
    and turn yourself around
    THAT'S WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT
    ......all of it...
    ALLLLLL OF IT!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  17. Sunshine Girl

    My heart is heavy for all who have expressed a non-belief in God. My prayer is that somehow by some manner God will touch all of you with the gift of faith. It is a marvelous feeling to know that you have unconditional love of a heavenly father and to know that you will have a home to go to once this life is over. Some of your anthiestic remarks seem to have a great deal of "hate" behind them which is sad. And I say to "Sam" the path I have chosen which is as a child of God, IS THE BEST. Hopefully, one day you wll discover it. May God bless you with FAIITH, as well as all others who claim to be non-believers. What a marvelous gift you are missing out on.

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

      Most of the atheists posting here are former Christians or ministers.

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

      Condescending, arrogant, and just flat out rude.

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

      We do not claim to be non-believers we are non-believers. Your version of a god is unnecessary. Please keep it all to yourself.

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

      I would prefer you'd pray for all the children who are abused on a daily basis and no one helps them until it is too late. Where's God for them? Hmm...probably realizing that YOUR prayer about this woman's belief is much more important. Thank you SO much for your Christian help!

      January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Paul in NM

      How about simply appreciating different opinion. It's easy. And free.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • burnz

      I don't believe in witches. Zues, or Thor. Why would I believe any other claims about magic?

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • GorlakTheINVadeR

      "It is a marvelous feeling to know that you have unconditional love of a heavenly father"

      I feel the same way about the Spock, Chewbacca and Yoda they love me so much it gives me ZooLak Bumps

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam

      C'mon, guys, she's sure she's just being helpful. After all, we are headed straight to hell unless we listen.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • kayamar

      Tell you what, tell your god to show us some tangible proof of his existence and to appear to more than one person at a time. Then I might believe. Until then I'll keep on using logic and basing my choices and beliefs on what's tangible.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • January

      Thanks, Sunshine. That was nice.

      Have a blessed day, all.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Jens Gessner

      Sunshine Girl,
      Praying in public? What are you doing disobeying your god? I seem to recall a verse in the Bible to that effect (Matt6:5-7):

      "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."

      They did a study on that a while back. It seems Atheists know the Bible better than religious folk.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • IM Serious

      "My prayer is that somehow by some manner God will touch all of you with the gift of faith. It is a marvelous feeling to know that you have unconditional love of a heavenly father and to know that you will have a home to go to once this life is over."

      So why doesn't this happen as I die? Why does god seem to insist, as far as I understand it, that I believe in him in order to get to heaven? Sounds like a condition that I must meet to deserve his unconditional love.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Wolfman

      I grew up with a religious background, although it was a liberal religious upbringing and I was taught and read about many of the world's religions. I was not brought up to believe that there was only one answer, or that a book written by man did not have the authors bias in it. If most Christians I know were born into a different religious community, they would most likely be a member of that faith community. Very few have bothered to see what else is out there. Its a comfot level of not being challenged. I do think that both sides go to extremes. I think that non-believers need to respect the belief of others and that believers need to realize that their answers are not the answers for everybody. You cannot use the bible to prove your points with someone who sees the bible as a work of art...as a collection of stories. Am I an athiest? many might consider me as one, although I feel that I am a student of all religions and take a little of each tossed in with some of my own ideas...and you know what? I have complete peace with that and I'm ok that you dont.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Why would god give some people this gift and not others, and, most importantly, why would he take your prayer into account in making such a decision?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Beth Begin

    I too have stopped believing in God. Raised a Catholic, went to Catholic schools, brought my children up as Catholics, but I always questioned the validity of what I was taught. Now, after long and thoughtful questioning, I have come to the conclusion that God does not exist, at least for me. This did not come easily. I don't expect others to understand or agree with me, that is what personal freedom is about. I will not force my belief on anyone and I expect the same consideration from believers. Let's leave God in churches with his followers.

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

      What do you mean by, "God does not exist, at least not for me?" I think the question has a black or white answer to it – either people of faith are deluded or those who believe in no God are blind to it. But I do want to hear where your coming from.

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

      @JP

      It's simple. She is saying for her God does not exist and not asserting her beliefs on anyone else.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • JWT

      It would depend on how you want to define god. Some people can believe they experience a thing they call god. Other people do not. To state that I have no god means I have not expereinced anything that speaks to god being real in any form. I cannot speak for what other people have experienced. Now at a simpler level I do not believe in form of god but hey to each their own.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Beth

      What I mean is God is not a part of my life but I certainly respect and understand that people will disagree with me. I am not trying to change anyone's belief in God and don't try to change my non belief. Let's agree to disagree.

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

      Ahh got it – whenever I hear the "for me..." I get the feeling that the idea that everybody has their own "truth" and that there is no real truth, which I would disagree with. But your choice to not believe, I do understand. I would encourage you, however, to not settle with "don't try to change my nonbelief." I do believe in God, and I'm very confident in that belief, so I don't mind people trying to change my belief or pushing me to see it the way they do. By shutting myself off, I would be doing a disservice to myself and to those around me. Granted, there are some who want to argue and bait you into it just for the sake of arguing or trying to be right, but I think it's unwise to think that you're done thinking just because of them!

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

    Jesus Christ In God WE Trust Almighty God, The Lord Jesus, AMEN GOD BLESS THE US OF A!!!!

    insert a few lies here and there and BOOM!! Presidential Candidacy Speech.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  20. brent

    Not believing in trolls and wizards requires faith.

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

      Believing in Barack Obama requires gullibility and lack of memory.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:54 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.