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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. SDSVA82

    I was raised not to believe in god. My dad is an ex-Jew and my mom was an ex-Lutheran and they both converted to Buddhism in their early 30s (before I was born). People thought that we were weird because we didnt believe in god and didnt know anything about other religions. Kids in school would constantly ask (Well, if you dont believe in god, then how do you think you got here? Where do you think you'll go when you die?) I couldnt answer these questions because I simply didnt know the answers – can only really chalk the answers up to science.

    While I'm in my 30s now and have my own beliefs, I moreso believe in the whole 'Do unto others as others would do unto you' mentality and believe that you create your own destiny.

    The only part about growing up in a god-less household that I regret is not learning about other religions. While I might not have believed them or agreed on what they preach, it still would have been nice to know about biblical terms and stories and testaments instead of getting "How can you NOT know these things??" jaw drops when I ask what something religious means or why certain religions do things certain ways. If and when I have kids, I will have them educated about religion and let them choose their religion/beliefs.

    I'm okay with being a skeptic about god because I believe that [If there is a god] I have done and will continue to do a lot of good in my life to go to heaven [if one exists] when I die.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      This will sound mean but it isn't meant to be: did you have a library around? Fortunately, with the internet, these days kids who don't have a religion can more easily go find the info if they want to know the stories, and at the same time, more folks will be falling out of religion as ignorance is diminished so there won't be as much of an issue with christians holding such a majority. hopefully it won't be too many generations before its rare to find any kid who knows those silly fables.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Jessica

      That whole "Do unto others" thing = the Golden Rule.

      It has served me well over my lifetime. They are the words that I try to live up to but occasionally I fail and try to make that a learning experience.

      I wish some of the more religious on the far right would try to take up the Golden Rule but they often can't see past themselves at times and seem to be filled with hate for those that believe differently than they do.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      It's not possible to be an "Ex-Jew". If you are an Ex-Jew then you were never a Jew in the first place. The nationality of being a Jew is determined by the bloodline – ie, you must be of the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you are of that seed, then you're a Jew – and you an never stop being a Jew. If you're not of that seed, then you can never become a Jew – no matter what you do...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure. Because you're a "authority" on the matter, JTF, right? Post your credentials. I can hardly wait.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Have a DNA test and you'll find you're "of the seed" of no one JTF has mentioned.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      jft, I'm sure you're "truth be told' posting under an alias. I know several people who have converted to Judaism which seems to contradict with your statement. Care to explain?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  2. the AnViL

    doubt all these tolerant xians would be very happy if an avowed satanist ran for any public office.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are these lovely folks EVER 'happy'? When? Must be in the middle of the night in a very dark cave, because I've never seen ANY of these fundies look "joyful" anywhere on this site, EVER.

      Why would anyone want to be as miserable as they are?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • the AnViL

      it may have something with all the sustained beatings they receive when they decide to pop-off on these forums.

      they tend to be a little fussy over it.

      *nyuk nyuk*

      January 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  3. Bob

    I have faith that Jesus was the son of Satan. Nothing you say can sway my faith. Until my dying breath, I will worship Jesus and Satan as my only path to Heaven. May all praise be on Satan.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Dan

      Praise Satan and the Easter Bunny.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • AntiReligous

      Santa too.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  4. J

    So tell me, do all these antievolution folks still believe in DNA evidence? Paternity tests? If so, how do they explain the genetic similarity between apes and man?

    January 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Bill Nye

      This will explain it.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU&w=640&h=390]

      January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, most of the dolts can't figure out how monkey differ from apes, so there ya go.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Edited: Well, most of the dolts can't figure out how monkeys differ from apes, so there ya go.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      God's not a particularly original thinker. He recycles a lot.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Christo

      read up on domesticated dogs, how they were created by man and are a simple proof of evolution.

      http://eveloce.scienceblog.com/10/dogs-prove-evolution/

      January 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Christo

      read up on domesticated dogs, how they were created by man and are a simple proof of evolution.

      eveloce.scienceblog.com/10/dogs-prove-evolution/

      January 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
  5. discouraged bystupidity

    I clearly stated that I intend to raise my kids "pieless" – why no outrage, so much wasted anger for a god you don't believe in and yet we all believe in PIE and no OUTRAGE – what is the deal – I'm trying to "strike a chord" ppl – discuss...

    January 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What outrageous claims are people making about pie (before I commit to believing in pie)?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Dan

      Someone needs to tighten your straightjacket.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  6. Correctlycenter

    God bless America!

    January 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Cthulhu bless Zambia.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  7. Correctlycenter

    Atheists contend that they are very intelligent, sophicated, knowledgeable and intellectual people and highly educated in science right? Then explain how the heavens and the earth were created? Their answer: Gee, we really don't know for sure! Hint hint: The answer has been located in Genesis chapter 1 for many centuries...

    January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you think that the intelligent response to that which is yet unknown is to throw up one's hands and yammer, "I don't know, so therefore, God musta done it'?

      You ARE stupid.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Explain how poo whittles cheese from marmalade duck cottages.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      "Then explain how the heavens and the earth were created?"
      Ok, two huge problems with this question (it's a loaded question; a logical fallacy):
      do the "heavens" actually exist? ... probably not
      was the earth "created"? ... i doubt it
      i don't bother helping you adjust your entire misunderstanding of what atheists "believe", but i'll ask you to look up the definition of atheist, because it seems that you don't have a good understanding of the term

      January 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Athy

      CC, how can you be so blatantly ignorant?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Dan

      There is no heaven and we know how earth was created. Look it up. It was created pretty much like most planets in the universe.

      Just because you don't know something doesn't mean that an invisible guy in the sky did it. Open up a science book once in a while.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • bram

      & your answer is to proclaim that a magical sky dude with the ability to create the universe came out of nowhere.
      science is the search for answers. religion is the search for the easy way out so you do not have to use your peabrain.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Gawd

      Belief is the end of intelligence.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      @Cc: Go on the YouTube and look up Brian Cox and "Universe" and Carl Sagan and "Cosmos." They are videos and don't require reading comprehension, just a thinking mind. Soon you will know that science has a really good handle on your two questions. That is assuming that you really want to know and are not just trolling or wallowing in your ignorance.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Your ignorance is not proof of god, "Correctlycenter". Your willingness to accept the easy, quick answer instead of waiting for the true and difficult answer does not grant you any special virtue. In fact, quite the opposite.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Christo

      Genesis was written by guys in robes who thought the Earth was flat. Hence, "God created the Earth in 7 days" even though the Earth must exist to measure the first day. Or, on the 4th day God created the Sun? How could the first 3 days have occurred without a sun? I know it's silly grade school logic but that's where you have to lower yourself when considering Genesis and Walt Disney Paul Bunyan tall tales like Noah's Ark.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Nathan

      All the best evidence points to a Big Bang for the cosmos and a nebular hypothesis for Earth.

      Any other questions?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  8. Christo

    All people should have the right to an imaginary friend if it gives them peace and emotional support. If it reinforces good behavior and is not destructive to society then imaginary friends are good.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dan

      I agree UNLESS they go around threatening people with burning in an imaginary hell if they don't believe. They need to keep their mythology to themselves.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Gawd

      I had an imaginary friend once but then I grew up.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Who needs an "imaginary" friend when we have God, whom we know is not imaginary...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't "know" anything of the sort, you moron. Your god is no more real than Peter Pan.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • poopie

      my friend benny tells me to burn things

      January 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Dan... So you don't want us to tell you the truth, right (that you're going to hell)? Instead, you only want us to lie to you and say that you're alright. Sorry. We cannot comply...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Christo

      Justthefacts, how has your imaginary friend, i mean God earned the right to claim the Supreme God? Or will there be billions of Chinese, Hindus, Native Americans, Muslins standing at the gates of heaven holding "Christianity for Dummies" book scratching their heads wondering where it all went wrong?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Dan

      @just, we are all going to become worm food. Why is that so difficult for you to handle? You won't feel a thing.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Lack of facts

      Any god that would act the way you claim would be worthy of worship and wouldn't be a god. What you worship is an all powerful asshat.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Christo, are you really that ignorant? I find it hard to believe but I guess it's true. But to answer your question, God was God from the beginning. He didn't need anyone to appoint him as God because he was God already in the beginning. And he was God when there was nothing else. Or are you too unintelligent to comprehend and understand all that…

      January 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • SincereAgnostic

      Facts: An all-powerful, all-knowing Creator would have no reason to condemn His creations to eternal damnation because they believed incorrectly. After all, regardless of the whole "Free Will" dodge, He must have been aware of how we'd believe when He created us. The only ones who benefit from that whole "Believe Right or Go To the Eternal Torture Chamber" belief is the ones who collect the money that the fearful believers toss in the collection plate.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Dan... Whoever told you you won't feel a thing, lied to you. You will not lose your awareness when it happens...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      DUH, JTF, if I "lose my awareness" then I WON'T FEEL A THING, which is exactly what you claimed was false.

      Are you a fvcking idiot? Or just a liar?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Christo

      Justthefacts, so Zeus, Allah and all of the 1000's of Gods were mere fairy tales EXCEPT for the allmighty Christian God? What gives you the right to claim Supreme Being or the ONLY God ever for the Christian God? Heck Christians came from Jews and disagree with you on the Jesus thing. They in a sense have their OWN God. So who's right here? You calling me ignorant? Your ignorance keeps you a believer in your imaginary friend.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Christo… I don't have any rights at all. I'm not God. Nor am I pretending to be God. Nor are my word of myself, but I am only speaking the words of God (which are clearly spelled out in any Bible for all to see). It was God himself who stated that he existed in the beginning before everything else. And he alone has stated that there is none other but him. And when his Son, Jesus, came to earth, he confirmed it. So who are you to question it?…

      As regarding an imaginary friend, I have no imaginary friend (but perhaps you do). The friend I have is not imaginary. I believe in Jesus Christ, and he was very real. And he alone has stated that his Father exists…

      January 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So, JustTheFacts, where is the independent, objective, factual and verifiable vidence to support your claims? I don't think you have any. In fact, I think you are mentally ill, a liar or both. Go ahead, prove me wrong. Or shut the fuck up and take your rightful place with those that beleve in astrology.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  9. GregtheThird

    The core message of religion is to give of yourself to help others. The core nature of the concept of God is to believe and accept that there is something greater than yourself that you should aspire to be like. Athiests cannot accept, or have great difficulty accepting both of these notions. In their universe they are at the center, hence they are God. They cannot get past themselves. They tend to be arrogant, narcissistic, and/or intolerant of differing points of view, as their's is unquestionable. They cannot join a community to share a common faith, since it means making accomodations of their own which are superior. They tend be to materialistic and selfish since if there is no afterlife and their universe ends with their death, you may as well take as much as you can in this life and enjoy it while you can. Their intolerance tends to lead them to take offense to other people's freedom of religious expression and creates a desire to shut it down. Unlike most people i consider atheists to indeed be quite religious. Each one worships a religion with one member and one God, themselves. it is not surprising then that they paint and stereotype other religions in the standard fashion, by speaking incessantly about their weaknesses and mentioning none of their strengths. The sad truth for them is that the real God does exist beyond death and can save them in the afterlife. Fortunately for them I believe that God will not grant them their belief of non-existence after death. But I cannot envision an easy path to his side if this is where they start from in death.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      Since you brought up religion, why has it been 2000+ years yet still no empirical evidence for god, heaven, miracle jesus, satan or hell? Christians seems as impotent as their god.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "The core message of religion is to give of yourself to help others."

      No it's not. Helping others and the message of helping others does not require religion. And the rest of your post is drivel.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Greg, you sound like one of those pharisee fellows, so arrogant in your self congratulation.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      How dare you call atheists arrogant when christians are the ones who think that the creator of the universe is watching them 24/7, waiting to sweep them to paradise where they can live forever after they die? Have you ever considered the amazing arrogance of your belief?

      Why is it so difficult to accept that you are just a small part of a much, much larger picture? Why can't you accept that your life is finite, and that a supernatural watchdog is not needed to be a good person?

      Why do you think your god is any more special than any of the thousands of other gods humans have worshiped? There is not a single shred of evidence to show that even a single god exists, yet you judge non-believers as if you had some moral high-ground? Please, please explain again how atheists are arrogant and christians are so humble?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      some of the biggest social darwinists are christians.. most recent high profile example is Romney.... said he wasnt concerned about the poor as they have 'safety nets' . He and his party have been trying to gut those programs at every turn.

      "They tend be to materialistic and selfish since if there is no afterlife and their universe ends with their death" - this statement is utterly assine! – and tells me Greg follows rules only when someone has their boot on his throat.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jens Gessner

      Greg the Third,

      The core message of your religion (which I assume to be Christianity) is not 'helping others', but rather 'faith'. In fact, Paul, the foremost apostle of your religion stated repeatedly that deeds without faith are dead. Thus, Christians can (and surprisingly often do) go through their entire life without charity, and are justified doing so, as long as they believe in their god and accept Jesus as their saviour.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      tallulah13… Here you are again telling the same old lies when you know it is untrue (saying, There is not a single shred of evidence to show that even a single god exists…). Where do you GET such ridiculous nonsense from when you know that is untrue? There is in fact "overwhelming evidence " to support the fact that God really exists. In contrast, there is not a single shred of evidence to prove that he doesn't…

      And you know this is the case and true. Yet you love to continue trying to deceive people by pretending that he doesn't. Which only makes you both a deceiver and a pathological liar. It appears you are a liar who cannot even help yourself from lying. You need help…

      January 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      "All these books harmonize with each other written in different times and centuries"

      Sorry.. just cant let this one slide by.... there are literally Hundreds of contradictions in the Bible. Greg has a funny definition of harmony. As for atheists being religious... ok....ill stretch a bit ..and grant you that..... But I can prove my 'religion". ..I can provide hard Evidence for my 'dogma' .... can you Greg?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • tallulah13

      JTF, if you have proof of your god (or any god), why are you hiding it? Humans have been searching in vain for this proof for thousands of years. Stop holding back. Share your proof. Share the miracle.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Nathan

      "The core message of religion is to give of yourself to help others."
      That's fine and dandy, but it is entirely possible to help others without religion. Religion may encourage helping, but it not a prerequisite to it.

      "The core nature of the concept of God is to believe and accept that there is something greater than yourself that you should aspire to be like."
      First, accept it based on what? Your say so? A 2000 year old book of the collected fables of a semi-nomadic, desert-dwelling, technologically-primitive shepherding people? There is no evidence of "something greater than one's self," at least not in any intelligent, purposeful sense.
      Second, even if the god of the Bible were real, why would I "aspire to be like" it? God remorselessly slaughtered entire planets when they wouldn't bow down to him–including entirely innocent children. God ordered wars, invented hell, and a host of other atrocities so egregious that no human should desire to emulate them.

      "Their intolerance tends to lead them to take offense to other people's freedom of religious expression and creates a desire to shut it down."
      Besides the fact you just descend into a sad, petty, small-minded rant based on stereotypes, most atheists have no desire to shut down your right to religious expression–SAVE for when you attempt to wield that expression in such a way as to infringe upon the rights of others. You can tell your own kids about Genesis all day long, but you can't put it in a public, secular science class, for example. You can believe your god hates gay people, but the second you use that belief to vote against civil rights for gay people then your personal expression is no longer personal. I have no desire to infringe upon your personal religious rights, but so long as you are wielding those rights and beliefs as a club to forcibly infringe upon the lives, rights, liberty, and property of me and other people, then I will stand up to those abuses...and my doing so is not an infringement on you.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  10. End Religion

    Atheists: Teaching Christians How To Be Good Christians, Since 1AD

    January 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Please tell us how a devil can tell us how to live like God, when a devil can't even live like God himself...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You don't have to love your enemies if you believe they are the spawn of Satan.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      Atheists: Trying Desperately To Keep Looney Christians Out Of The Nuthouse, Since 50AD

      January 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      If it takes a nut to know a nut, then I'm sure Atheists are experts...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  11. ken

    we must all remember that faith as defined by the religious community is nothing more than a fantasy!

    s

    January 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Who taught you that, Lucifer? If so, he lied to you...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  12. Bryan

    You know... Being a bit older I have seen areas around this country where areas were zoned unsafe to build. So for years nobody built there. Then someone questioned the authority and punched against the system long enough to build there. So let's take an area along the Mississippi not next to the levees but close to them in this area once deemed unsafe to build. Years went by and nothing happened. Seemed OK so lot's of people built there. Small shops and roadways came. A year came where it rained more than it had for a long time and the banks overflowed and the area by the levees was washed away. All sorts of people said that they knew that was going to happen one day. That the people should have seen that coming. How could the local Government have allowed that to happen. What does this have to do with religion? I see families torn apart by what the Bible calls sin all the time. I see individuals in trouble, or struggling where they don't need to be, or without the hope that your faith can give you. Something happened 2000 years ago that has left it's mark all this time. Every culture since has heard of it, most have had to deal with it in one way shape or fashion. Someone wrote these scriptures down. Someone had the foresight to bring all these letters, and all these books into one scripture. Someone drew the line and decided no other scriptures would be allowed to be mingled with these books we call the Bible. All these books harmonize with each other written in different times and centuries all with one common theme, to know and understand your place with your Creator. I am not naive enough to think that there is not horrible examples of people in the Church, but I have seen over the years wonderful examples of the Church played out in peoples lives time after time. I would rather have been one of the people going door to door telling the people they need to move, that one day the rains will come and wash away what they have built. How much would I have to hate my fellow citizen to not tell them if I understood and knew the truth. Jesus is the way.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • vinster76

      well said, Bryan, thank you

      January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  13. bluejayrecovery

    Who Are you to say there is no God ? do you not believe there is a power greater then yourself ? are you willing to believe that their is power greater then yourself ?

    January 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Who are you or anybody to say there is a god?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • visitor

      Sure. Just not stupid enough to believe obvious myths nor arrogant enough to think I am special and "saved" nor evil enough to believe that others that don't share my religion will spend eternity roasting in hell. Hope that clears it up for you.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      then-than
      their-there

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • everettreb

      "Rational Libertarian Who are you or anybody to say there is a god?"
      Who are you to say or prove that there is no God?
      Can you prove that there is no God?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      everettreb

      I can prove there is no God as comprehensively as you can prove there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • everettreb

      My point exactly. Rational Libertarian you are telling someone here that they have no right to say that there is a God (I assume) because that person can not prove that there is a God. Yet you can not prove that there is no God so you don't any room to talk.
      I can not prove to you that there is a God but you can not prove to me that there is no God.
      I have a belief just like you have a belief, That's all it is a belief. But until you can prove to me that there is no God you have no reason to tell me that I can not say that there is a God.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      So somebody who has a belief in Smiggles the junkie rabbit god shouldn't be questioned because we can't disprove their god?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  14. John

    "If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?" Wow, your contempt for God runs so deep you can't abide merely disapproving of him, you have to irrationally claim your disapproval snuffs him out of existence altogether. With that kind of all-knowledge and all-power, I guess that makes YOU God.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hardly. If I were omnipotent and omniscient, I wouldn't stand around playing with my pud while 20 kids got slaughtered.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I wouldn't allow ass wipes who think they're superior beings to others blather their sh!te on the internet, either.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And if I were all-powerful, I'd smite jerks like you just for the satisfaction of seeing your amazed expression when you land in hell.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Gawd

      I am the true god. You probably believe me since you believe whatever you are told.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • bram

      oke, i'll even take it a step further. Why does "god" himself killl children? why does god cause suffering? why does god not stop people killing in his name. why does god burn & torture BILLIONS of people in hell?
      either because
      A. there is no god
      B. he is a megalomaniac that is also a psychopath that is nothing more than a blood thirsty self-loathing insecure monster
      I will let you answer.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • John

      Like I said, CONTEMPT.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      LIKE I SAID: Stupid.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Your god is the most prolific abortionist ever.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • GregtheThird

      Well, Tom. I guess God is not all about using power, then is he? I believe that what God wishes is to guide others to him, to be like him. Being able to find him may be of particular importance in the afterlife.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GregtheThird, If go wanted to. guide me to him, why wouldn't he just co me down and introduce himeself. The Christian god is believed tohave this power, and I'd be readily persuaded were he to use it.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  15. Julie

    Most christians posting here were brainwashed from birth with these religious myths. They continue the cycle of madness by indoctrinating their own children from birth just as they were. Fortunately more and more people break the bonds of ignorance each day. Religion is dying a slow but painful death in America.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • John

      Where's your TOLERANCE, hypocrite?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • discouraged bystupidity

      Religion, will never die, much like your arrogance....people will always look for meaning, especially when they are confronted by someone who can so definitively speak on the state of something they have no control over...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Gawd

      I hope I am around when religion is finally buried.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • vinster76

      julie: here is a rebuttal to your comment that religion is dying.....In Third World countries, and even in some muslim countries, christianity is on the rise....in some area, they meet in secret under threat of death. Yet, in the West, beginning with western european nations, they are spiritual mausoleums where they are dying a cultural and social slow death. We are witnessing it here in the USA, surely the last few decades will show that to you......society without Jesus is cold, lifeless, and narcissistic....

      January 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @John, julie said nothing i n her post about tolerance. On what grounds do you call her a hypocrite?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Dan

      That will be a happy day when mythology is finally put to rest.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • John

      Saraswati: OK then, be intolerant. That's just as bad.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where's your BRAIN, John?

      January 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • FDBS

      Unfortunately Julie, not nearly quickly enough. In fact, there is obviously a hard right, deeply religious faction within our country that would love it if evolution were never taught, and people were never encouraged to question.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ John: I can and do tolerate ignorance. I don't and won't tolerate stupidity. You're stupid. There's no excuse for your ignorance.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • edyoucate

      Here's a sample of John's tolerance.

      "John
      Don't let the mothership leave without you, freak."

      January 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Religion will never die. Ignorance combined with stupidity will never be erased.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  16. Maree

    II have always told my children that religion is much like a club – all sorts, belong or not, but if you do, it becomes a part of you. As for God, I equate it to a feeling, much like love. It cannot be touched, or seen, but it most certainly can be felt.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Dana

      That is the priest that your children are feeling.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • John

      You form an opinion out of nothing but your speculation, then put all your stock in it. Brilliant.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  17. Just say no

    This is simply the 2013 version of Julia and Julia. Manufactured for clicks and revenue. I seriously doubt its about "god".

    January 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  18. Dana

    The bible is getting pretty absurd with all of the knowledge that we have today. Count me in if anyone wants to rewrite it to make it more believable. I'd love to start a new religion and take money from brain-washed people.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • discouraged bystupidity

      I love how our generation has iphones and vaccines and suddenly we know everything, I'm guessing every generation behind us thought the same thing – lol – the arrogance is mind boggling.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Just say no

      Go in for the current fad then, climate control. All the mainstream science fear factories are is ancient problems regenerated under an "acceptable" package.

      Climate = Gaia

      Mandated Health Care = witch doctors.

      Just about taking money from the brainwashed and taking power in society. Period.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Dana

      discouraged, your ignorance is mind boggling.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • John

      Go read that "absurd" bible before you comment on it. You're so smart you know things you don't even know. And you're enlightened? Give me a freakin break.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • FDBS

      It's not meant to be believable; it's meant to test the limits of blind faith...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • discouraged bystupidity

      Its always nice to have a rational conversation with you, I'm sure you truly are as smart as you believe you are :)

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • discouraged bystupidity

      Oh wait, probably not :/

      January 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  19. Straydog

    This is the 21st century. No need for fleshless sky phantoms or celestial dictators.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • John

      Don't let the mothership leave without you, freak.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • edyoucate

      Better head to the confessional for that one, John. There will be no ticket for you on the super rocket to heaven if you call people freaks. Jesus tsks at you.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  20. discouraged bystupidity

    I'm quite amused by the anger, hopefully my "pieless" article will also create this much pointless anger, here's hoping (fingers crossed)

    January 21, 2013 at 8:30 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.