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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. Nerakluvs

    O taste and see that the Lord is good!

    January 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I was a Catholic growing up. Had that dry wafer over and over again – so, I tasted, and no, the lord god is not good – dry and tasteless.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • OTOH

      Some folks groove on aspartame (NutraSweet) too:

      – man-made artificial sweetener
      – not all that beneficial for human consumption

      January 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • bygracethroughfaith

      the Holy Spirit has testified of Himself, and this is the reason for spiritual light. One truth. Jesus Christ is the only redeemder for the soul of mankind. there is a broad road that leads to destruction and the satisfaction of your worldly flesh. ask God who gives faith, and forgiveness. our flesh is at enmity with Go

      January 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      bygrace: "the soul of mankind"? amazing that you actually believe this tripe

      January 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  2. Correctlycenter

    "Yet you have forgotten the LORD, your Creator, the One who placed the stars in the sky and established the earth." Isaiah 52:13...

    January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Dan

      It amuses me when people quote fiction to make a point.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, it's sort of a last-ditch effort, isn't it?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam

      Sounding desperate...

      January 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  3. One one

    So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk. [Thomas Edison]

    I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. [Thomas Alva Edison, Columbian Magazine]

    I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States. [Thomas Edison]

    January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    The reason that so many people of "faith" are so reviled by the rest of us, is because WE are patriotic. The religious are mucking up our government and society. Despising them is logical.

    I’m an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation.”
    _ Daniel Radcliffe
    “Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.”
    _ Greg Graffin

    January 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you look at it historically, though, the countries generally secularize following insti tution of a strong social system and increased economic equality. Rational discourse alone has a lot less power than most people think.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      Well, the USSR was offically athiest. Those other countries had something like 500 years of Christian history. Sweden for one has a high rate of suicide and alcohol abuse. Beyond that you can believe what you want. Is it scientific to come with a conclusion first and then seek evidence to prove it?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Orygun, Swedens suicide rate is about 5% higher than in the US while the US murder rate while the US murder rate is 500% the Swedish murder rate. You're comparing apples to oranges.

      And perI'm going to bet most people would rather live somewhere where, oh, bummer, they weren't worried about being damned to hell for killing themselves than where they had to fear getting shot when they walk down the street.

      As for alcoholism, this appears to be about 70% genetic so it is, unfortunately, going to vary by country. Ireland and Poland have high rates as well.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      @Saraswati. My point would be that these comparisons don't really prove anything about religion. By all accounts, the Nordic countries are great places to live. But not utopias. My grandfather came from Sweden. The older generation there is still mostly religious.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      They will never "prove" anything, but they certainly disprove the idea that everything goes to hell without religion and provide evidence that, for whatever reason, people are living under arguable "better" conditions in places where there is less religion. I think history provides good evidence (again, not proof...as there is no proof even in more restricted sciences) that a strong social support system and increased equality precede secularization.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Dana

    Remove brain. Insert dogma.

    January 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      Science is a great field, except for the part that builds atomic bombs.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Orygun,

      "Science is a great field, except for the part that builds atomic bombs"

      Science doesn't build bombs, engineering does. That's a different field which draws on the knowledge of science. As does philosophy, psychiatry, medicine, and, to some extent, religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      @Saraswati. Robert Oppenhiemer was considered a 'theoretical physicist' just for the record.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Orygun,

      Insofar as Oppenheimer was involved in building the bomb, he was doing engineering, not science...and it certainly wasn't theoretical.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  6. Damocles

    Headed to work. Have a good night/day/evening.

    January 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You too, Damo.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  7. Glenn NM

    @Omar Ibro

    ............words written by man.

    January 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  8. Nietodarwin

    I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
    Bertrand Russell

    Religion. It`s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
    Charlie Chaplin

    It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    Mark Twain

    January 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Pleased to at least see Russell here instead of one of his more recent pale imitators.

      His conclusions are a bit of a tautology though, because he was raised with them.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  9. Dana

    You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep-seated need to believe. – Carl Sagan

    January 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Answer

      Another is that the believers themselves are taught that the matter of -faith itself- was a direct blessing unto only them.

      Tie this little factoid in with the dogma and you have surefire way of enforcing a system of being "special". The little darlings love to be special. Try to take that away from them will make the baby cry when you take away the candy.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  10. joshmo

    Life has never been observed to emerge from matter in isolation. All life appears to be an inherently systemic complex whose purpose is to host consciousness. And by all scientific indication, sentience appears to be within the realms of the supernatural. Physics and physiology cannot explain the sensation of color(Schrodinger).

    January 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      so, what makes him right?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • One one

      Does this prove Jesus rose people from the dead ?

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

      Perhaps the fitting question is not 'what is consciousness' but rather 'who' is consciousnss. Who are you, and who am I, if not offsprings of the great I AM?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • edyoucate

      What is the full cite for that quote?

      January 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  11. Nietodarwin

    This woman in this article is being a good parent. The mentally ill people in this article are the believers. The article describes a truly mentally ill one; "“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!’.” That's basically child abuse. That's what religion is.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Hear, Hear!!!

      January 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • religion,,

      one woman grabbed her son by the arm when he was just 9,, "How dare you accuse a catholic priest of touching your private parts', she scolded.

      Religion,, pure crap.

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

      You are right- there is definitely a difference between the religious and those with a healthy relationship with Christ the Savior.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • NatL

      Nerakluvs
      I'm just happy with having a healthy relationship with reality.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  12. That Guy

    During the first fourteen years of my life, I was Catholic. My grandmother is a very devout believer in the words of the Bible. My parents were not big in religion (by that I mean we didn't pray or regularly attend church or things like that), but we I was still brought up believing in a God and that Jesus would save my soul from a pit of ever-scorching hellfire so long as I followed his rules. Well, around the time I was fourteen I was being exposed to a wider range of media and had become addicted to the internet-it was like an endless wealth of knowledge and humor that I'd never really known how to exploit before. It all began with a single video about God not existing.

    Now, still being so young, I immediately refused to accept what this video said as true. A belief in a God and an afterlife was all I had ever known, it was more or less my entire life. For the next few months I frantically looked around myself every day to find or hear something that could reaffirm this belief, to make myself feel better, and it was to the point where every little thing I saw I would relate to God, because I was afraid. My view of the world up until that point had been fairly simple; God created us, and if you believe him and are good, you'll go to heaven when you die. But now it was all falling apart around me, piece by piece.

    But, after a while, I sat down to think. I realized that I was blinded by my own upbringing, and that was the reason that I had become so afraid. I realized that I didn't have to believe in a God. I had the choice of believing in something other than what my parents and grandparents had told me. It was then I realized that it was okay. It was okay if there wasn't a God. It was okay if there wasn't a heaven. If I were to suddenly die, it wouldn't matter if there were no afterlife, because it wasn't like I would know anything after I were dead, which also meant there was no pit of hellfire waiting for me if I wished to live my life by my own wishes, rather than listening to words scrawled in a book. I began to think about what I had been taught, and couldn't believe how ridiculous some of the claims made by the bible were.

    I began to look to science for answers, and began to be skeptical of taking things at face value (an important trait in society, if you ask me). Over the years, my mind had been opened by my education, I have learned things that would be considered blasphemy by some, and from it all I have become a better person because of it. Because I dropped religion. I dropped the thing that taught me to hate gay people when I was ten. I dropped the thing that taught me that if you thought differently from me then you would sit in a lake of lava for eternity. I got rid of the thing that had been dilled into and implanted in my brain, like a parasite, feeding off of my humanity, teaching me to hate, teaching me to blindly follow, teaching me that anything I thought differently was wrong.

    And I am happier than I have ever been in my life.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Ed

      BLASPHEMY!!! How dare you deny the existence of the one true God and creator of the universe, His Noodliness the Flying Soaghetti Monster! Only a FOOL says in his heart there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster! We shall see, smug unbeliever, how arrogant YOU are when His Noodliness returns to redeem all true Pastafarians! You will be WHIPPED for all eternity in the spaghetti pot of torture by His Noodly Appendage. REPENT! REPENT! Ohhhhhhhhhh!!!

      January 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Yours is a very good post. Maybe it will help some of the poor "believers" on here come to logic and reason. Losing ones "faith" without resenting the family that imposed it on you against your will is possible. Well put Sir.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Athy

      Very well written, Guy. Welcome to the truth.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I know that feeling – many former believers describe it. Instead of seeing the dark world – where more than half of the people you see are evil and out to trick you and/or doomed to eternal hellfire, and your only task is to stay clear of the world and all the traps – you see a real world, with people who are good and bad and everything inbetween, all doing their best – a far better place – and the place you live, not a temporary trap.

      I never believed, but my husband used to – and he's experiencing the same relief, the same happiness, the renewed ability to connect with people.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Maybe that's the source of a lot of people who are supposedly brought up religious and later decide that they are atheist-lazy parents. But this isn't new; the only possible difference is that it is more acceptable in the past 250 years or so to talk about it.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ed,

      yes, the FSM was boiled for our sins, but the dead who chose not to follow the ten suggestions from the Loose Canon during their lives will spend their eternity not boiling in the pasta cooker, but in the presence of a beer volcano and a str!pper factory, where the beer is flat and the str!ppers are ugly.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • kevin

      I had a similar experience. I was baptized presbyterian, grew up methodist, confirmed episcopalian. But, I began to question this at age 9! I couldn't get out of the confirmation at age 12, but by 13.5 yrs old, when we left texas, I was done with religion. We ended up moving to the state with the second lowest rate of church attendance and belief at the time.

      And, I do not regret a thing about that decision.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  13. religion,,

    religions and their books remind me of kids and tree houses,, make up stuff, including the rules.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  14. Larry L

    The Belief Blog always brings out the squirrels in big numbers... and based on my comment I'm one of them.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  15. Cindy

    What about Pascal's kegger?

    January 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Hmmmm – you must sample all beers, because any of them might be the one true brew.... no non-drinkers can apply.

      I'm a non-drinker as well.... guess I miss out on both Pascal's wager and Pascal's Kegger too.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  16. Cindy

    What's wrong with Pascal's wager?

    January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      It's a brilliant example of what happens to even the greatest minds when they are infected by the disease of religion. So sad.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Damocles

      I think you are putting your posts in the wrong place, but I'll attempt to answer the question.

      If you say it is better to be safe than sorry, then you have to take into consideration that you should worship any and all so called deities on the off chance that you may pick the wrong one. Say for instance you pick this God as your deity and come to find out, after you die, that it is Odin that is truly the ruler of afterlives. What, then, is Odin's response going to be for you worshipping a false deity? Your safest 'bet' is to worship all so as not to offend any.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      many things.. but i would suggest you just do your own research if you actually care to explore the topic in better detail

      January 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Pascal's Wager:

      1: What if you choose the wrong God?
      – it might be Shiva, Odin, Allah, Jehovah, Xenu, FSM, Thor, etc. – there's a great many possibilities – to play this game, you'd have to put in some service to all of them. You're pretending there's only one choice because this is really a conversion game to you – you just want people to turn to your side, and you can only imagine your god being true.

      2. If someone believes as a 'wager' – just to gain the prize – it's not a real belief. So, either your god is incredibly gullible – and thus not a god – or he's not – and will not be fooled – either way – there's no prize that you'll win here.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • NatL

      Any of the thousands of other gods and goddesses are equally as likely to be hiding out there, each with their own nasty afterlife consequence for not worshipping them, so why just hedge your bets with YHWH? Besides, being a Christian is a 24/7/365 commitment that involves a lot of work, believing in irrational things, and money paid to pastors. It sure isn't free.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • NatL

      Pascal's wager is like trying to sell people vampire insurance while saying that getting insurance against zombies, Godzilla, werewolves, mummies and all the other monsters is just silly.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  17. Cindy

    So you don't want me to have the right to express my opinions here? Then why should you?

    January 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Answer

      You have the right. We're better at logic to settle the matter.

      You're annoyed that you can not hold the argument in your favor. Tough cookies.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      You've got the right to express your opinion. But not to have your opinion unchallenged by facts, other opinions, etc.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You have a right to say whatever you want. You can bit@h and moan, whine and complain, proselytize and preach. No one is going to stop you. I have just as much right to ridicule, scoff, and scorn your opinions.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Why do you expect a special privilege here, to have your perspectives unchallenged? Think about it – you're used to being in the majority, having an abundance of fellow believers – and whether or not you know it, having atheists and agnostics and non-religious people near you being cowed into staying in the closet due to the social and sometimes extreme penalties for being out of the closet (people lose jobs, promotions, friends, etc. for being 'outed' as not Christian).

      January 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • mama k

      There is a word filter that can get in the way. But there are ways around it. I'm always screaming about the Const itution, so you have to separate the naughty word in the middle as I have just done.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  18. Answer

    Everybody who has every talked to a religie knows that whichever god you CHOOSE is the wrong god, unless it is the same god the believer has chosen.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Dictionary

      Not true.

      Some claim to be imperfect human beings who unable to know God's ways perfectly.

      The bible makes clear that God's ways are not our ways.

      He has a plan for salvation greater than anything we can think up.

      So, you better be nice to your neighbor. And love your enemy. And other difficult things Jesus asks us to do.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  19. Cindy

    Any choosing of God is sincere, because it's the opposite of not choosing.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Cindy

      (Regarding a nonbeliever feigning belief in Pascal's wager)

      January 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Says who?

      January 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      granted one of the objections to Pascal's wager is that one cannot simply CHOOSE not to or to believe, right?
      did this help?

      January 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Answer

      So in your own words Cindy.. I will choose Zeus.

      Why don't you choose Zeus also? Oh ya – you believe you are right. That's kinda your problem isn't it?

      January 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what Free said. How can I "make" myself believe in a deity? How can I suspend disbelief for the rest of my life and not live a lie?

      January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Larry L

      Not choosing a god is sincere as well – that choice is well-founded in logic rather than the blind acceptance of mythology required by all religions. Hedging your bets is the act of a fearful person afraid of a vengeful god.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      OK, so when I choose a flying pink unicorn, I'm sincere? Really?

      Or when I choose your god – but not because I really believe he's real, but only as a just in case he's real, and he's enough of a sucker to take my fake belief as real, and will give me a nice reward if I pretend?

      January 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Dan

      When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • bygracethroughfaith

      poly theism is the second art of the devil second to atheism and self worship.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • bygracethroughfaith

      cindy they throw eggs thats all. thats it. rotten eggs.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  20. Omar Ibro

    "the fool said in his heart.. there is no God"

    January 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, a quote.....how impressive

      actually, the fool is the one who thinks they know the mind of god through the translated, edited iron age comic book

      January 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • UtauKudasai

      The bible says the bible is true so the bible must be true! :D Best logic ever!

      January 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Omar Ibro
      "the fool said in his heart.. there is no God"

      This little Bible ditty is a quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Gawd

      Is that what mommy and daddy told you so you would behave?
      Grow up you brain-washed fool.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Ernest Hemingway

      “All thinking men are atheists.”

      January 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      Hemingway blew his brains out.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.