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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. Steph

    I guess a fairy tale is okay if it's Harry Potter or Iron Man, or some crap like that.

    January 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • grainofsalt

      Wait, are you suggesting that religion is as much a fairy tale as Harry Potter or Iron Man? lol

      January 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      A fairy tale is fine, if you don't try to make laws forcing me to live by someone else's fairy tale, don't try to teach it to my kids in public school as if it's fact, don't discriminate against me for not believing in that fairy tale...

      The day you can say that about Christianity – there won't be any trouble with Christianity.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  2. PO

    So a religious minority complains about living in the Bible-belt. It would probably drive me nuts too, but I don't blog about it. From my experience living on the coast, I think if Ms. Mitchell would move out here she would feel quite at home. Specifically Napa, where they wine a lot. ;)

    January 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Napkin

      PO,

      I resemble that remark ;)

      January 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • grainofsalt

      Well, wasn't too long ago that blacks weren't allowed to sit at the front of the bus or sit at a lunch counter. Of course, there was no internet then so they couldn't blog about it. But are you seriously suggesting that because they lived in the south they should have just accepted it or moved? That demanding equal rights was nothing more than whining?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Napkin

      Yes, I admire her for speaking out. Even here, I pretty much keep my non-belief to myself. Perhaps because of blogs like these things will get better for realism.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • PO

      Ah yes, let's bring race into it. Why do people always point at civil rights or Hitler like they exemplify the situation at hand? This article is about a religious minority, as is my response. One can't say for certain, but I would suggest that speaking face-to-face with the people she feels infringes on her rights of belief will go much farther to change her situation than writing a monologue about it on a blog.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  3. catherinecares

    I love how many people think she's stupid or blind for not believing in God. Maybe she's stronger than people who need to grasp at a supernatural being for something they should be able to find within themselves. So often religion is a cop out.

    January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  4. Respect- We are all adults

    Peter 4:8 Teaches us to draw close to god and he will draw close to you. But nobody should sit behind a computer and tell anybody on how to live their life-we are all grown adults and should make whatever choices we want in life. Our choices do have consequences. I'll respect yours even if you don't respect mine. Thanks for reading

    January 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Respect- We are all adults

      *James 4:8

      January 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Answer

      I see your respect as the true kind of respect as highlighted by your words. You're probably a decent fellow to get to know.

      Respect.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • sam

      Fair enough!

      January 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • JP

      Ironically enough, that's the first respectful thing I've seen Answer post.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • JWT

      When it comes to god both ways – belief or non-belief have the same ending.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  5. JMichelle

    The book stores couldn't decide where to put the bible fiction or non-fiction so they created a new catagory religious.

    January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Douglas

      you are right that is because its both. due to our lack of translation and understanding that many phrases were someone trying to say what they saw with out having the words to do so. Also the word God may just have taken on another meaning. Gods may have = Master, King, Alien. Angels may mean soldiers.. I wont go any further just things are not what we think. look up sumerian culture and its very plain to see.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  6. austin

    the point i want to make is that tolerance is key, but the truth is not multiple. its a tough situation. and multiple religions are the deceptive masterplan of the devil. What glorifies God, is searching for the one truth and finding it. READ the BIBLE and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Answer

      Yep read the bible and become an atheist.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Todd Ramone

      I agree. Tolerance is great. (unless we're tolerating something harmful to people)

      There is one truth to the question of whether or not there is a god.

      Lets not pretend as if the likelihood of god is as probable as improbable.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • sam

      Wait...who created the devil, again? I forgot.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Justinian

      Why do people persist in the belief that all a nonbeliever needs to do is read their holy text and they will be enlightened? Most atheists are more educated on what's in the Bible than most Christians are. I know you'll probably dismiss that, but do a search and you'll find it's true.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Mayla

      Aaaaaand all those other religions say the same about yours. Confucious say "People who don't get dizzy spinning in the hamster wheel have a skull full of bull. "

      January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Madtown

      and multiple religions are the deceptive masterplan of the devil
      ------
      LOL!!! Yes, of course. Actually, there are multiple religions because there are multiple cultures throughout the world. Religions develop culturally. And, every adherent to a specific religion in that specific culture believes their way is the "correct way", and all others are false. I guess you're just really lucky you were born into the culture who's religion is the "correct" one, huh?!? Coincidence?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Dictionary

      For me The Bible is helpful. But it is not the end. What is important is what it points to: God.

      I didn't find God by reading a book. But I do get a better understanding of Him.

      Once I started doing things that I believe Jesus would want me to do, like praying for people I hate... things started to change.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Dictionary

      > And, every adherent to a specific religion in that specific culture believes their way is the "correct way", and all others are false.

      That is not what I'm taught.

      We do believe that God has a plan for salvation for his whole creation. Not just our part of it.

      "The Christian Bible more than once makes the point that God’s ways are not our ways, and that the mind of God is vastly different from our own minds. " – The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus

      January 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      That is not what I'm taught.
      ----
      Sounds good to me. You don't believe the christian way is the "1 and only way"? I don't either. I'm with you.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  7. John

    Freedom of choice is what you got.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Answer

      But if you don't believe in my god then you are screwed.

      –Is that what you wanted to add further? We know your kind intimately.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • austin

      if you reject redemption of your soul, you are without God. this is not good.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Thug

      Your free choice. Give me all of your money and jewelry or I will shoot you in the head.

      (Skinflint Jack Benny used to say, "I'm thinking. I'm thinking...")

      January 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Answer

      And why do you reject the other gods?

      Your god is just your need. Let us see your explanation for why your god will grant you your salvation. Explain.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  8. wolfpackbob

    So this lady wants to forbid talk about religion at the water cooler? Uh, isn't that a violation of the 1st Amendment, CNN? Never mind. Just more anti-Christian twaddle from CNN to stir the pot.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • aergern

      No, you are mistaken. What she doesn't want is to be proselytized to or have strangers tell HER children THEY will take them to church or for those folks to tell her or her kids they are going to hell or some other far fetched silliness.

      I do not think this is about watercooler talk at all and I do not think you got it if you did not understand it.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Nick

      No what she's saying is have your views and express them. Just don't judge me for mine. Seems logical enough.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Susan

      That's not what she is saying at all. Furthermore, the laws that allow you to have freedom of religion are the same laws that allow freedom from that religioin. So, whether you are talking religion around the water cooler or not....should someone choose to participate doesn't require them to speak the same language of said religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Angel

      This is about as much of a 1st Amendment issue as not being able to bring a rifle to work is a 2nd Amendment issue. I think you need to sit back and think before you leave stupid comments.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • grainofsalt

      This is the fundamental disconnect I have found when discussing religion with most so-called "Christians". If you can't comprehend a fairly simple set of ideas set forth in a blog on the internet, how can you possibly comprehend spirituality or the Bible? Where did it say anywhere that this woman wants to control speech at the water cooler? Or anywhere else for that matter? The woman just wants to be left alone to raise her children as she sees fit and not have other people's ideas rammed down her and her children's throat. Would that be such a bad thing if you were being accosted by athiests demanding that you abandon your faith and telling your children to stop believing in god? If you want to enjoy freedom of religion, that is your right, and I will defend it vigorously. As vigorously as I would defend my right to be free from religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  9. houston

    commentor, repeat ad nauseum:

    There are No True Scotsmen.
    There are No True Scotsmen.
    There are No True Scotsmen.
    There are No True Scotsmen.
    There are No True Scotsmen.
    ...

    January 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  10. curiousbeings

    Religion will always stir passionate responses from both those who believe and those who do not. It is a person's right to choose their belief system and I will instil this in my children. I hope to educate them on the world's religions allowing them to gravitate toward the one that makes the most sense for them – if any at all. Whether or not I believe is irrelevant. Religion should not be banned from schools, it should be treated as an academic discipline in much the same way history is. Such an education would create more compassionate and empathetic citizens that are able to understand the views of others. No one person should ever claim their religion to be the "true" religion. Nothing good has ever come from such ignorant views.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I agree religion should be taught as an academic discipline, but the practicalities of doing so i a place like Texas would cost millions (or more) in legal fees.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • PJ

      yes, true, but the deeply religious cant accept that. they fail if they do not PUSH it on you. this would make too much sense and therefore isnt advancingb the word of god and the practice of worship.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Madtown

      treated as an academic discipline in much the same way history is
      ------
      I agree with you that no one should say their religion is universally true for all(none are). Religion is probably closer to anthropology as an academic discipline, though, and not history.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • aergern

      Nope. She just doesn't want to be proselytized to. *ding* Try again ... find something else to be condescending about.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  11. melende

    This woman has missed the message. She obviously feels that religion restrains her leading a life she wants to live and so she rejects the existence of God. Sounds like a spoiled child who prayed for a puppy and didn't get it so now there is no God.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      Reading comprehension... FAIL

      She says nothing about religion restraining her from accomplishing anything... She merely prefers to use logic and common sense to get through life, instead of childish fairy tales... Logic and common sense are enemies of religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Will

      So she doesn't share your belief, and now she's spoiled?

      That's no more useful than me telling you that you don't get everything you want in life because "god has a plan"

      January 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya she missed the message and somehow you are the privileged person who received the right message. Poor you.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why wouldn't an omniscient and omnipotent god give a puppy? In fact why wouldn't an omniscient and omnipotent god already know and produce the puppy at the right moment? These answers just twist and turn because of the inherent inconsistency in any god myth.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  12. grainofsalt

    I can see how refusing to bring God into your children's lives is such a big problem for believers – after all isn't how the majority of believers were indoctrinated? Seems to me that most believers didn't get there on their own, they were taught to believe at such an earlier age that it became as much a part of who they are as their hair. So how can this truly be a choice? As an athiest, I have no quarrel with those who believe. I only object when I feel those beliefs are being forced upon those of us who do not (and likely never will) share them. The force being exerted by laws that are designed to govern all of us, believers and non-believers alike. That looks a lot more like tyranny to me than steps taken to extract religion from the law of the land. I raised my son to be a thoughtful, kind and compassionate person, even as he was being taunted and picked on by other children who were raised by "believers".

    What the athiest learns is that there are two kinds of "believers" – those who talk the talk and those who walk the walk. Sadly, there are far fewer of the later than the former.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  13. Ex Atheist

    I believe in GOD now- I was diagnosed with a rare infectious disease. I was laying on the emergency hospital bed. At that moment I didn't have any members of my family but just the Hospital Staff. I was in such pain that I asked GOD to help me. Not realizing that I didn't believe in him. I was still asking for his help. After being in the hospital for 2 weeks I still came out thinking I didn't believe in his power that it was all science. God showed me mercy again after my wife passed away and not being able to cope with the pain I went searching for drugs and alcohol abuse. After 2 years with the abuse I said that their is more to life. I decided to search for an answer and did a research of the bible and some religions. I opened my mind and experience the full force of the scriptures I start practicing what God wanted us. And decided to join a congregation that is based solely on the teaching of Christ. I am a Believer, But I accept and understand the atheist mantra

    January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Answer

      The emotional comfort of a religion.

      You went through how many other religions? Settling upon "your" religion now as the right one.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • End Religion

      Glad you exchanged your habit for something not so immediately dangerous to your health. Please remember to keep it that way for yourself and others.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  14. Angelo

    The atheists mock and ridicule God just like the demons mocked Aslan the lion when he was tied down with rope.
    Just because they are not instantly punished for their insolence by a bolt from the blue in the here-and-now doesn't mean they won't be punished in the there-and-then.
    God has been around for billions of years, so he can wait a few decades for them to die before punishing them for real. What's a few decades to God?
    I'm okay with the idea of God punishing people for being the insolent, arrogant, haughty, disrespectful demons that they are.
    (I'm not one of them, thank God, so I have nothing to fear.)
    It's what such people deserve.
    Just because they aren't okay with it doesn't mean it isn't what it is.
    Just like a man on death row might not like the idea of lethal injection doesn't mean he's not going to get it.
    The laughter of the demonic non-believers is a nervous laughter because they know it might not be the last laughter.
    These haughty, arrogant non-believers can mock and ridicule all they want, but they sure as hell won't get the last laugh.
    Death will get the last laugh.
    When they are dead, they will be dead for millions and millions of years. And then some.
    That's a long time.
    I hope they all have Tempur-pedic mattresses while they are taking their dirt nap.
    They will need them.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      Scare tactics... The final refuge of the weak-minded.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • lolmonster

      L O L talk about arrogance!

      January 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Justinian

      You may not realize that what you are saying just points out how ineffective God's methods are. If he's really interested in people believing in him and thus getting saved, he needs to make himself more obvious.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      blah blah blah, god and demons.... getting the last laugh seems to be a large part of the "loving" christianity. *snore*

      January 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • CJammin

      So basically what you are telling me is that you believe in a vengeful, angry God. Not only that, but based on your reply it seems that you only believe in what you believe to get your ticket into Heaven as opposed to a true love for God. You are also criticizing all non-believers as demons and immoral when most non-believers live healthy, fulfilling lives and have no problem in helping there fellow man despite not having a God. That's not how Christ would characterize them. All you are telling me is you are not a true follower of Jesus Christ and his teachings. You are only vengeful and hateful against those who do not agree with you. You may be a fan, but you are not a true Christian.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Sounds like your classic blackmailer or thug.... better pay me off, wouldn't want to have something nasty happen to you.... would you....

      January 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Zero

    My biggest issue with religion is the fact that people take it too far and tend to be hypocritical of what they are even saying. Christians I know would introduce themselves as being Christian, as it meaning they are nice, good people. However, what kind of "Christian" would do adultry and steal another man's wife, who claimed to be Christian as well. After all that, religion is pointless. I disregard myself from any of it and follow my own ideals and my own ways. I am a good person with morals, but I dont follow the sheep of today.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  16. Eric

    All of these people on here denying that God exists while their President uses God over and over in his inauguration address.

    Question is... How many of you non-believers voted for this President?

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

      Um, what choice was there? They all claimed to be believers, right?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Do you agree 100% with all opinions of either of the candidates?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Eric

      But if you totally disagree with everything related to God, how could you vote for a leader who claims to base his decisions on God's direction.

      If the only people running for President were non-believers, i would just not vote.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Justinian

      Most people aren't one-issue voters.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • billplaney

      As this country isn't mature enough to elect an out-and-out atheist at this point in time (unlike Australia, who has an atheist prime minister), politics must be played. Obama is neither a Christian nor a Muslim (too smart for that stuff). In another 20 years, we should have the maturity (and the demographics, as the religious right dies off) for an atheist president to have a chance of being elected.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Eric,

      "If the only people running for President were non-believers, i would just not vote."

      OK, to test this out lets use a hypothetical. There are two non-believers running for President. One is, let's say, politically identical to the first President Bush. The other has two main positions: First to nationalize all utilities, and second to implement a policy that reintroduces slavery. The polls show a really close vote coming up. Do you vote or not?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Eric

      One will never believe 100% with any candidtae's views, but i would never vote for a candidate who didn't at least have the same core belief. Our country was founded on the principles of God. One nation under God. And probably since those words were put in place people have been trying to get rid of God from our country. Instead of trying to get God out of our country how about everyone who isn't for God, please leave.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Eric, I take that to mean you would not vote in the scenario I described, which would leave you, by my ethical standards (and those of most people I suspect) morally responsible for the enslavement that would result if the candidate I described were elected. Standing on some idealistic high ground when not "perfect" option is available and doing so at the expense of very real lives of real people is just a selfishness that puts your own desire to remain pure above the interests of others.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • sam

      We still live in a world where a president doesn't dare NOT throw god-speak around to keep the Chik-Fil-A crowd happy and voting. No telling what people in office really believe....

      January 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Eric

      Saraswati you seriously took it to an extreme. How likely would anyone get the chance to run for president based on that type of platform.
      Regardless, I would not vote for a leader who didn't base his core foundation on believing in the one true God.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • George

      He ran for President, not Pope or prophet.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • li'lbutte

      What has Obamas religious beliefs got to do with it? I judge a man by his character, not his religious belief. You do NOT have to believe in a god to have good morals / be a good person.
      I am agnostic, and I am greatly annoyed by people that want to push their way of thinking, or their beliefs on me. Part of what chased me away from organized religion (and almost every religion has one) is the threat if you don't believe what I do, you will be forever damned. Please leave that at the door of your church.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Eric

      Exactly, he ran to be your leader. So you are being led by a man who claims to be led by God. This God that you do not believe in. So to most views on here that Christians worship a fake God, that makes you led by an insane person who gets direction from a made up deity.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Eric

      li'lbutte at least pick a side. Being an agnostic to me says that I can't decide what to believe. You either believe in God or you don't.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Jade

      Actually, I voted for my candidate of choice because I liked his politics, platform, and character. His religion and my lack of was not a deciding factor, because I respect his choice and because our opinions/morals matched. I don't care what religion someone is, but I do care to not have it forced down my throat (something he did not do). Nor do I believe it would really affect the majority of his decisions. For example, I doubt he left church thinking..."It really feels like God wants me to raise taxes..."

      January 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "li'lbutte at least pick a side. Being an agnostic to me says that I can't decide what to believe. You either believe in God or you don't."

      Do you have a "side" on every question? Will red be a more popular fashion color in 2040 or blue? What do you believe?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  17. austin

    where are the evolution classes that teach the reality of God? they are combined with classes that talk about Abrahamic myths apparently. why does this not suprise me. it seems ligical to conclude that they both desire God to be a myth. thats exactly what the bible says. that men hated and rejected God. why would I want my child to go to a public school? do i want kids who learn to be seduced into hell by "teachers". may it never be.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      "where are the evolution classes that teach the reality of God?"

      The 'reality of god' is just what you make of him... You created a god in your mind just like every other 'believer'... Don't criticize those of us who can get through life without hearing voices in our heads.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • houston

      austin, your beliefs are as incoherent and pathetic as your writing.

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

    The comments are better than SNL

    January 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  19. commentor

    Everyone is free to express their beliefs. A true Christian does not judge anyone for their beliefs. The true form of Christianity is to love everyone and to practice tolerance. I am ashamed of Christians who are judgemental and try and make others feel bad for who they are. I do not try and force my beliefs down others throats. If someone ask me what I believe, I share with my beliefs and nothing more. I do not preach. For me, God is real. I know this through my experiences. Living in Joplin, Mo. and witnessing tradgedy firsthand and what I personally went through. My house like so many others was damaged/destroyed. We survived due to all of our trees falling in a semi-circle around our house to protect it from total distruction. Our trees were the only ones in the area that fell. After the storm, the only help we received were from churches. We received no help from FEMA (we were denied three times), we recieved no help from state or local agencies, just from churches ( both local and long distance). So as far as I am concerned, just due to this small sample of my life, it is enough for me to believe in God and miracles.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Will

      Thank you for your story. While I don't believe in god, I am 100% happy that things went well for you, and 100% fine that you believe as you want. I'm very glad that your home and family escaped harm.

      I think most of the non-believers on this board (and non-believers is not derogatory to me) just don't want to be told that we are wrong, sinners, going to hell, etc for our position. I don't want anyone trying to legislate their beliefs over me. It's really as simple as basic courtesy, which you by your position seem to support. Now if there were more people like (dare I say) us...

      January 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "I do know that the witness of Jesus is true when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives."

      No, fred. You don't "know" anything of the sort. You know what has happened to you. You know what others TELL you has happened to them. You don't know that what they tell you is factual at all. You like the idea of it, so you believe them.

      That is not "fact." That is "belief."

      There's not a thing wrong with belief or faith, as long as you acknowledge that's what it is. It is when you pull the crap you just did that I take issue with your behavior. You do not KNOW a thing. You believe. That's all.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  20. John

    Some people can't see the intelligent design all around them. They just think it's all be chance. Poof, one minute we're here, and the next we're gone. From my perspective atheist are blind and confused. Just how Satan wants them.

    January 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Answer

      Rant on about you devil/satan. The same inane delusion as your god.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      It's called 'Natural Selection', not Intelligent Design... Educate yourself, unless you're one of those who thinks education is evil.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Sven

      "Poof, one minute we're here"
      No, that's the Christian/Creationist view. You're getting them confused.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      Exactly how is your delusion any better? Agnostics who do not know at least are honest.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Answer

      @fred

      You wanna try that same spiel with me again? Do you?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Anglican

      @illogical. Your words or Mason's. Just wondering. You go to MIT?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • fred

      Sven
      Sorry but the best you have is spontaneous creation which is unsupported and guess what? Spontaneous creation claims “poof here we are”

      January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • John

      The Creator created you.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Michal

      There is no Satan just as there is no Hades, Ra, or Ferrymen or women.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Will

      Amazing, but no. In fact, we actually generally do not believe in the "poof!" and there we were perspective. That would be the creationists and religious.

      Get your facts straight. Let me make it really simple:
      1) We see evolution happening in plants and animals just in the past 100 years that we have been looking.
      2) We as humans can't comprehend millions and millions of years of time.
      3) Our evolution took that long.

      Given the above, it's obvious that we aren't wired to intuitively grasp evolution, so of course we want to believe it happened some other way, because otherwise we are admitting ignorance. But make no mistake, yours is an emotional argument based in insecurity, where as the facts overwhelmingly support the evolution path.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • John

      Stop beling controlled by the fear of the unknown and pray to your creator who loves you dearly. You waste precious little time servant.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Anglican

      @Sven. Seems to me that the Big Bang was pretty quick and "spontaneous". Wonder how and why it happened? Spontaneous creation of the universe is what you as a scientist believes in is it not?

      January 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • houston

      fred's really heavily deluded. Don't waste much time on him. He'll keep on changing the subject and he'll never grok what you are saying.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Todd Ramone

      No. Evolution via natural selection is not chance at all. Over great periods of time small changes took place that led to a radically different form of creature coming about. The creature slowly evolved as it did because its characteristics either thrived or struggled in the world around it. In with the good, out with the bad.

      The closest thing to "random" we see is genetic mutation. And certainly you're alright with this as we can all observe genetic mutation through science. (I'm sure you'd know it through its processes in cancer and other viruses and disease)

      There has been genetic mutation of organisms for millions of years - but on a very small scale, not as if a mutation turned a kangaroo into a donkey or some such nonsense.

      Again, it's the giant timescale the makes possible evolution and the incredible variety of life we see.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      Every aspect of young earth creationism has been refuted. Here are all the arguments and refutations: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc

      January 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • sam

      Who created Satan?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • fred

      Will
      Get real only a minority of people who understand evolution doubt it. The problem is when you take biologic evolution and turn it into a world view. There is no evidence or basis for that anymore than there is for Creator from a scientific standpoint. The abundance of evidence however suggests science is stuck with baryonic matter and cannot possibly expect to extend theory, studies or measurements into the things of God. God did not come from and is not composed of baryonic matter. As such any intellectually honest scientist will agree we do not know and cannot know based on our current understandings anything regarding purpose of creation or the origin of life.
      Now, if you want to make up some nonsense about how evolution proves anything other than things we can observe and measure came from non baryonic matter then you just made up a god of your own. Problem is you do not even realize that is what you have done.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • fred

      Houston
      Normally that is reply when an atheist realized they painted themselves into a corner and I don’t know becomes the best answer. If that fails name calling is plan B.
      Your thoughts are over 2,000 years old and come from the Greeks who in all their brilliance erected a monument to the unknown god.
      I imagine you also find yourself smarter and greater than Jesus?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      Simply admit an atheist position cannot be supported anymore than a new age creationist. Given your moral relevance you at best can only be wrong for limited period of time.

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

      "I imagine you also find yourself smarter and greater than Jesus?"

      -fred

      LOL

      Take a hard look at yourself. You put forth the very epitome of your stupidity there in that sentence.
      You know what it is? Call upon an authority. You may love this authority – no doubt – but what do you know?

      Putting emphasis that nobody can challenge your jeebus? Your jeebus is a joke.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Answer

      "Simply admit"

      Oh you want to play that game... why don't you admit that you're just an idiot with a bible?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • mama k

      My goodness what are you boring people with now, fred. Sometimes the very best and most honest answer is 'I don't know'. for instance regarding the creation of the universe. That is the best answer to that question. Now finsh your applesauce, dear.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • fred

      Answer
      Jesus regardless of your opinion of divinity was the single most influential person in all known history to this very day.
      The name of Jesus still ruffles your feathers yet you deny His authority over you. Dr. Phil will be very disappointed you have once again taken refuge in the great unknown rather than take on small step to admit your addiction to the things of this world.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, and sliced bread has been pretty popular as well for quite some time, fred. you better finish your meatloaf before they take it away.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • fred

      fred

      mama k
      There is a difference between I don't know and covering your ears and eyes. I am speaking of those who claim to be atheist that claim there is no God not atheists that are intellectually honest and admitt "I don't know"

      January 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, freddy, and there's a big difference between "I know for a fact" and "I believe." There is huge difference between "I have faith" and "I have proof."

      If believers like you would admit that you don't "know" but do "believe" because you have "faith," it would be the beginning of honesty. Instead, you continue to pretend you "know" and "have proof" And those statements make you liars.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • mama k

      Well, are you asking them questions, fred, so that both of you are on the same page regarding which god? The existence of the Abrahamic god has always been a highly contested issue. No credible evidence has been brought forth either way to prove or disprove it. Now if the person was claiming to have proof that there was no god of any kind, I would argue that, and I have. But for me, no one has presented credible evidence for the existence of the Abrahamic god. For instance, the heresay "historian" Josephus is of no help in my book – there are plenty of critics of his works. That wouldn't even be credible evidence even without the suspicion that words were added to his story about the death of Jesus.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      Go figure, the Sanhedrin demanded proof from Jesus and he said: none will be given you but the sign of Jonah.
      Before I leave for my meeting, I thought I would leave you with step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening , we tried to carry this message to atheists, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

      I never said I had proof that fits with scientific method or is measurable in terms of matter we can understand. Sorry, still cannot admit I could be wrong so it is possible that there is such evidence I just have not heard it yet.
      What I do know is that the witness of Jesus is true when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives. I have personally seen this power transform hundreds of lives. Now, the non believer will demand proof that it was the Holy Spirit and in the absence thereof insert all other possibilities for the observable affect. All manner of options other than the Holy Spirit are more plausible to the non believer.
      The transformation is sudden and opens the eyes of the lost where they now know the difference between the talking serpent and the voice of God. The transformation is complete and the great flood presents itself not as a geologically measurable event but rather Gods hand on that new believer while the world about moves obliviously towards judgment. A very real event indeed! We know it, see it, feel it and try and rescue the lost without losing ourselves in the process.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Posted in the wrong spot. Here it is again:

      "I do know that the witness of Jesus is true when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives."

      No, fred. You don't "know" anything of the sort. You know what has happened to you. You know what others TELL you has happened to them. You don't know that what they tell you is factual at all. You like the idea of it, so you believe them.

      That is not "fact." That is "belief."

      There's not a thing wrong with belief or faith, as long as you acknowledge that's what it is. It is when you pull the crap you just did that I take issue with your behavior. You do not KNOW a thing. You believe. That's all.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |

      January 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • fred

      mama k
      I normally refer to the one and only God who would be the God of Abraham.
      Interesting that the proof was not necessary until about 400 years ago and we have about as much credible proof as we do for other stories of antiquity from thousands of years ago. This was the God of the Hebrew and the Jews did a remarkable job carrying forward the laws and ways of old. It was not doubted in the days of Jesus who himself was a Jew. The letters of Saul of Tarsus are widely accepted and he was a well educated Jew. Atheists even claimed the Old Testament was made up and without credible evidence until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. All reputable scholars agree the books of the Old Testament from 1500AD pretty well (99%) match up with those parts of the scrolls pieced together so far.
      Now the argument shifted to there is no proof the Dead Sea Scrolls were not made up. This will never end nor was it intended to end as faith does not come by scientific proof or scientific reason.
      Does the Word of God answer the same question today as in the day of Adam, Abraham, David, Jesus and John….Yes?
      Has science arrived at anything better than first cause or causation as shown in the Word of God?
      The purpose of creation was the glory of God and man was uniquely created to exist in that creation.
      Man has the gift to choose existence with God in Gods creation or outside of that creation.
      Able, Noah, Abraham ………have souls inclined towards God
      Your proof is before you today as you can choose existence with God as did Able, etc. Exactly what is so hard about that? You cannot claim it is not credible because that choice was given to you. Jesus did the same and you have your proof because you have the choice to be in Christ or just be mama.
      That choice is not just for you as everyone makes that choice. It is universal.
      Look around you the world is just as the Word of God describes yet there are few like Noah who against all odds in all countries will choose by faith to live their lives based on what cannot be seen.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      That is the strange thing about it. It is not the “I know” that comes with tangible proof such as I know when I jump off the roof it will hurt. I do not know God as a physical thing I could draw or sculpt. Even the voice of God is not the voice of God but some imparting of thought or direction.
      You know the sun is going to come up tomorrow and I believe God already knows who will see it. You can argue that you have a reasonable expectation, well so do I. The reality of tomorrow is independent of what we know or believe. Tomorrow is not subject even to our existence we are subject to the existence of tomorrow. That is part of life eternal which God wants you to be a part of.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      freddy, honey, I believe the sun will rise tomorrow because I have seen it rise every morning for over 50 years. I've never seen a thing that indicates there's a god. Not one.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I could argue that the various miracles and answered prayers I hang my hat on are possible in the absence of God. I could also argue that a few things I have seen may well have been an illusion. I could also argue that the Holy Spirit is simply the welling up of strength that resides within the potential of man. I could argue that Jesus just happen to have a message people wanted to hear and Saul carried the torch that lit up the World as we still know it today with a hope. That hope just happen to much the same as the hope Abraham had.
      I guess I would not know how to live without that hope. I would not know what to place my hope in. Putting you hope in man or the things of man brings death and without an eternal record it all eventually is meaningless. That would mean a lot of beauty and awe inspiring moments and events are meaningless as well as times of suffering. We can attribute meaning or purpose yet it is not that different from a family of apes.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • John

      God wants all of his children to believe in him and has the patience for those slow to mature.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:45 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.