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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. Travis Deckers

    Honestly why do you all care. Let her believe what she wants, and you can believe what you want. Whatever happened to freedom of religion? Let people believe what they want to believe, if you know so well that "god will strike them down" or however it will happen then keep it to yourself because in the end you will know you will have the last laugh. These are one of the few reasons our country is dividing even more. Because no one can shut-up and keep it to themselves, they take everything to the next level, bashing everyone around that doesn't agree with them. Just stop people, just stop.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Mobius077

      We'll pray for you, so that you can see the true path.
      ;-)

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

      I swear this guy sounds like Rodney King! Is that you Rodney?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  2. tastycles

    "If you could reason with religious people then there would be no religious people." – House

    January 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Mobius077

      That's classic.
      ;-)

      January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Erik

      So true! I miss House...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  3. cathy

    Mitchell ends with, "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." That sounds fair. By the same token, I want the same respect. I am a member of a church in which members were persecuted and killed and now the members are belittled. And it's not just my religion. I had a teacher that expressed his atheist views in a class years ago and while he has the right to his views and I respect his right, he didn't have the right to teach it in class. He should have kept his view as a "personal effect". Fair is fair.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      Better grow some thicker skin, sweetie.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • darkelemental1

      Fair is fair. The burden of truth is on your shoulders then. In class we are taught evolution and the chemical process of life and how stars are formed and theories on how the universe came to be not out of spite of religion but because there are facts, evidence and ever updating information on such topics. Religion bases its information from quite some time ago and though new questions arise such as how did that quasar millions of light years out there get to be that way, it is only met with old answers that are not backed by any facts other than a book written by humans a long time ago. You may very well be right but to be fair I need you to prove it with verifiable facts and evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *getting popcorn*

      January 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @cathy – "teacher that expressed his atheist views in a class years ago and while he has the right to his views and I respect his right, he didn't have the right to teach it in class. "

      You're absolutely right. Religious and irreligious views do not belong in public school (although I do believe there would be benefit to providing courses that discuss the beliefs of all religions...I think this would make clear how unlikely they all are). Now, if religion would just stay out of politics, we'd be all set.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • cathy

      @ End Religion, my skin is thick enough, I didn't go crying to anybody about this, just told the teacher that he can keep his atheism to himself. He could argue back. @ DarkElemental1, nope I don't need to provide proof, don't want to force my religion down your throat. @Really-O, I agree!

      January 22, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • cathy

      @ End Religion, I have poor typing accuracy. My teacher couldn't argue back. It's like Really-O said, religious and irreligious views have no place in a public school unless in a class as suggested.

      January 22, 2013 at 1:40 am |
  4. Job3

    It's on your own head in Rebellion. Remember that if you are the downfall of a child then it will have been better not to have been born on the last day.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OK. I'll try to stuff myself back into my mom.

      You are an idiot.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • joe

      Your last day won't be soon enough.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So your god would punish a child for the actions or inactions of his parents. What a great god! I can see why you would worship the all mighty dictator. You would make a great North Korean!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • atty23

      Oh, Job3, you nailed the whole reason why rational people reject organized religion. What kind of loving deity would punish someone just because his/her parents didn't raise them believing in that god? If he does exist, and is a rational being of greater power than us, her child is safe from eternal hell-fire.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Job3

      It doesn't matter. Most of you won't listen anyway. Atheism is not about listening – it is a message of hatred, anger, pride, and arrogance. Because these belong you, you may hear but you will never listen.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Job? We are arrogant, hateful, proud etc, just because we don't do what you want us to do? Do you ever actually think about what you say? What a hypocrite you are.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "it is a message of hatred, anger, pride, and arrogance"

      But your religious message is that the creator of the universe can be your personal friend forever but if we don't believe the message he will punish us for eternity....what exactly could be more arrogant, pridefull, angry and hatefull than that?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  5. Reality

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No god(s), koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  6. ShruggedShoulders

    I am not here to bash people's belief or disbelief in a God but rather to reflect with you for a moment. I understand that many of the posts I have read here have been deliberate attacks on others because of their point of view. Whether you are religious or not, what do you have to gain from bullying others online? Some of the posters here claiming to be religious are attacking others and doing the opposite of what your beliefs ask of you. Those attacking the religious are acting no wiser or better than middle school bullies you tell your children not to become...why?
    I'm not a religious person by any means. If anything, I would consider myself agnostic. Does that mean that I attack those who hold beliefs (or ideas) that differ from mine? No. Whether you believe or not, I respect the fact that you have made such a decision one way or another. As humans we tend to argue to make others think that we are correct. As a former attorney, I understand the need to debate and argue but why over religious beliefs? How are you benefiting from calling someone dumb because of the beliefs they hold?
    I know after some of you read this post you are going to start calling me names and attacking my THOUGHTS from this post. It is okay- I can't and won't stop you. If you'd like to pick apart my use (or lack of) grammar, do so if that makes you feel better. Just know that I respect your opinions and beliefs whether you reciprocate or not.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      People deserve respect, ideas do not.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • joe

      I don't agree that standing up for human reason is "bullying".

      January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  7. Susan

    It takes far more energy to convince yourself of unbelief than it does to believe. It's interesting to me that most non believers stay stuck on the need for proof, facts, etc. If our entire lives ran on proof and facts, we'd have little to go on. Rather than opening yourself up to faith–things felt but not seen–most non believers stay stuck inside a head game of refusing to believe, b/c the moment they do, they acknowledge they really have no control in this world and that's truly a scary place to be sans Jesus. The truth is, for most non believers, there's no amount of "proof," look at the Bible...even when great works, great miracles or great things were done, people still chose not to believe Jesus was the Son of God. They had all the proof they needed...they still chose to ignore it. The proof you seek is inside you. You just have to let yourself go there.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      How much energy did you spend not believing in Zeus, Thor, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, or the monster hiding under your bed. Your opening thesis is taking irrationality to a new depth.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "It takes far more energy to convince yourself of unbelief than it does to believe."

      You are right, belief requires very little thought, how insightful of you.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Mobius077

      Susan
      It takes far more energy to convince yourself of unbelief than it does to believe.
      -----
      Seriously?

      You've REALLY been brainwashed.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Nacho

      Then the Mahabharata from the Hindus is enough proof of the existence of Lord Vishnu, Brahma, etc. And the Iliad is the proof for Zeus, Hades, Poseidon...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Madtown

      If our entire lives ran on proof and facts, we'd have little to go on
      -----
      LOL!!!!! Oh man, this is some good stuff. Some of you people should seriously consider careers as sitcom writers. I'm not kidding.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, Susan, it takes very little energy to be a believer. You just stop all critical, logical thought and follow the sheep. How is that hard?

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

      " If our entire lives ran on proof and facts, we'd have little to go on. "

      Really? Read that again and ask yourself how can a person be so stupid. You're ridiculous.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Just because it is in the bible doesn't make it true. There's plenty of science that disputes the myths in the bible.
      Also what else in your life do you do without proof – do you buy a car based purely upon what the salesperson said? do you buy investments based purely upon the claims of the salesperson? if your doctor said the cure for an ingrowing toenail was to amputate your leg, would you agree? I suspect that the answer to those questions is no so why to you trust a centuries old book proven to have been edited for effect, translated through various languages, with many of its stories untrue or unverifiable?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • joe

      Oh yeah, great. Why work at it. Just believe any old crap.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  8. vinster76

    I have been a witness to this blog for four days. I have never seen so much hate and intolerance from any people, anywhere......to those of you who do not believe, fine, stay in your situation, I dont have to answer for your life someday, you do......but know this: If He is real, you have a lot to answer for....including your vile and hateful comments......dont bother responding, by the time you read this, I will have signed off here forever....Now to you christians, some of you should absolutely shut up that you know Jesus......just shut up......you will never reason your way with people if you continue to use the tactics some of you have chosen....Please, if you are a christian, and you just cant help yourself from blasting others, dont tell them you are a follower of the King.......Finally, I leave you all with this statement from The King of Kings, " Before Abraham was born, I AM"

    January 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Christo

      don't let the door hitcha where the "Good Lord" splitya.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Blah, blah, y blah. *yawn*

      More threats of retribution for anyone who isn't JUST LIKE YOU.

      It is to laugh. If your god is that stupid and intolerant, he can go fvck himself. And so can you, you little fvckwit.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      "I have never seen so much hate and intolerance from any people, anywhere"

      I guess you missed the part in the Bible where God killed almost everyone on Earth.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "I have never seen so much hate and intolerance from any people, anywhere....."

      Yeah, the way christians on this site insult non-believers and lie about them is pretty awful. I don't know why they think that their venomous hatred would compel anyone to join their religion. Quite the opposite, really.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Mobius077

      DrewNumberTwo
      "I have never seen so much hate and intolerance from any people, anywhere"

      I guess you missed the part in the Bible where God killed almost everyone on Earth.
      ---–
      Drew, god only did that because he LOVES us.

      Such is the nature of all-powerful beings – if you don't devote your every living breath to them they will Shiite on you.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  9. Erik

    All anyone needs to know is I would challenge any religious fanatic to a morals review, and I would win hands down. While the religous nut pushes his AGENDA, I have no need to convince others to believe as I do, time is on my side, and time will pass and people will one day realize that organized religion is an evil greater than money. While the masses are brain washed into believing in a GOD of someone else's choosing, making derogtory remarks about Atheist or other religions, attacking people personally for being free thinkers, even killing people for not beholding their religous values. All I can do is wonder in amazement, and surmise all GOD pushers are evil killing machines, unable to accept people for what they are, human beings.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  10. Christo

    Ok, I give, I've been saved...it was Noah's Ark that did it...I was a non-believer until that story and a transformation occurred!

    January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  11. virginia

    Gawd

    """""Belief is the end of intelligence."""""

    Intelligence is a belief itself you belief there for are intilligent – of course it doesn't apply to you for you have demostrated to be unintilligent for lack of belief...dughhhh

    January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • the AnViL

      virginia – you are a shining example of the very essence of the dunning-kruger effect – AND – a magnificent example of xian thinking in the united states.

      keep up the good work, kid!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Virginia, did you really graduate from an accredited high school?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • mama k

      OK, let's try this. virginia, how did you get the name virginia?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, Virginia. That was a profound comment. Now if I could just figure it out.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  12. Way Out There

    Wow, this has been a "featured" article on the here for 2 weeks. CNN must really want to make sure everyone keeps seeing and reading this.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  13. wippitgood

    sad uneducated commentary. Any correlation between a growing godless population and the downward trend of society today?

    January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Way Out There

      If you spin the numbers one way, yes. If you spin the numbers another way, no.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Considering many of the most godless countris are the safest, happiest and healthiest. No there is no correlation. It is quite possibly the opposite. Your religion teaches people are inherently bad, look up "self fullfilling prophacy".

      January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • mama k

      ok. educate us then. tell us more of your theories on societal trends.

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

      There is no correlation because in case you did not notice things keep getting better over the long term. Longer lives, less starvation, better education. We would have been much farther along had it not been for religion slowing us down.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I suspect that at lot of the crime we experience these days stems from poverty. If only those religious "right" politicians who claim to be guided by god would stop trying to destroy the middle class for their own personal profit.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • edyoucate

      Yes, let's weep for society as we wave good-bye to believing without questioning.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      All of these people think they are 'good people' yet society is not good. A mystery? Maybe indiviudals don't need religion as much as society does. I don't think charity was done much by atheists except maybe with some effort to compete with their Christian counterparts. For that matter, most atheists follow most of the Ten Commandments anyway, and maybe at the same time fighting their display in public places.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Erik

      Religion is why the world is in such decay. Religion itself is killing people daily because one faith can not accept another. The old my GOD is better than your GOD nonsense is responsible for
      hundreds of millions of deaths in the last 500 years alone, perhaps a billion or more over the last 2000 years. I suspect any religion is not a progressive club I would want to belong too.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Well wippit, since 40% of Americans deny evolution and another 20% aren't sure, it's not the godless who are causing any decline. It would truly be a miracle if a country with a majority of scientific illiterates weren't declining.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • trolsm

      actually there is isnt. Many European countries are without god in many ways and forms such as England, Norway, Sweden, Germany and they are actually thriving and quite frankly better places to live than here. Sure they have some tragedies but they arent blamed on god or blamed on a lack of god.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  14. virginia

    @FreeFromTheism- do you realize that you are saying free from belief then if you don't have belief that what are you doing here posting your belief system????or is at that now you belief but keep asking for freefrombelief???? isn't theism= to belief- system. or a logical thinking void of reason you are.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sure that made sense in your head.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What are you doing here on a site that requires people to type something remotely resembling English, virginia?

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

      Have another drink.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Athy

      Can someone translate this to English for us?

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

      Virginia, are you related to LionlyLamb by any chance?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe she's his illegitimate daughter....

      January 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      OK Virginia, did you make it through 8th grade english with a passing grade?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  15. J Fear

    There is a simple reason this type of story gets over one hundred pages of comments; underneath it all everyone knows God exists. Some of us just don't want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, although that is really such a loss for you.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Care to provide any stats? Proof? Evidence?

      Never mind. Such is not the stock in trade for Jeebus worshippers.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • vinster76

      well said, and so true....this one item causes so much emotion.... could it be some people are running from god, while others are running to HIM

      January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Ed

      BLASPHEMY!!! Every one knows deep down that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is our Lord and Savior. If you continue to deny His Noodliness you will boil in the spaghetti pot of pain forever being flogged by his Noodly Appendage. It's YOUR choice. Either repent and kneel before His Greatness or be doomed.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • mama k

      You know, I just copied some questions that a poster named John below posed to someone else because they reminded me of some of the reasons I left Christianity years ago: perhaps you can answer them:

      [John: ] Since the guy never wrote anything down and the first words were writen down about 70 years after he died, what provides you the confidence that those were his exact words other than your belief? Following that up, the words were spoken in Aremaic and written in greek or hebrew so what verifies the translations were correct. None of the original gospels have been recovered, only copies of copies, other than belief what do you consider adequate that they are true copies. There are over 30 gospels of Jesus yet only four are in your bible, what makes the others wrong? Lastly, there are historically over a dozen translations of the bible into German and English, what makes a particular translation that you use the correct one other than belief?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The reason an article like this gets so many comments is that it frightens and annoys christians when non-believers dare to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Ed

      The reason it gets so many comments is because those who believe in nonsense feel very threatened when reason is applied to their beliefs.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Mobius077

      All other religions of the world believe that Christ is a false god, and that Christians will burn in hell for their false beliefs.

      It's time for you to convert to a "true" religion. Which one is the true religion, and worships the only true God?

      The Muslims say it is Islam. Convert – or burn for all eternity in hell.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • dvndsn

      mama k, the 4 Gospels we have in the Scriptures were chosen over the others for numberous reasons. 1 – Apostleship – the writers of the Gospels had close relationships with Jesus. 2 – Use – If a book was widely used by a church or general area, it had more credit than one that was not used by many churches or people. I would not want a book used by only one house church in my Bible. God was providential in the making of the Bible, and I have faith in that.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I'd say Thomas, Judas, and Mary had close relationships with Jesus – what is your explanation for their omission?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      really? a relationship? what does jesus look like? what does jesus sound like? what does he like to eat? what does he like to do? does he listen to music? is he a heavy metal fan or more a fan of the christian sycophant music?

      January 22, 2013 at 4:49 am |
  16. AL

    never engage the devil in conversation

    January 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your god allows the devil to exist, they get along just fine.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • mama k

      So, in other words, someone has convinced you to stay in a basement for the rest of your life?

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

      Anybody remember god and the devil sitting around betting on Job and destroying his whole family, ON A DARE? That should be proof of their evil collusion (if you believe the bable is true).

      January 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  17. just wondering

    ever consider what goes around comes around the maggot ended with what he deserved, follow your leader.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You do so much to remind me why your loving god and your religion is absolute cr@p. Thank you.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • mama k

      I some of the garbage you've been screaming. You need professional help.

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

    Just like we no longer worship the the sun and the moon, humans will eventually evolve to not worship such trivial things as gods. It may not happen in our life times, but there will be a day when the major religions will all be dead.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  19. dvndsn

    How do we know there is a God? The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declares there is a God; but his word and spirit only do effectually reveal him unto us for our salvation! Romans 1:18-20, Psalm 19:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:15. Taken from the DG Baptist Catechism – http://www.desiringgod.org/about/our-distinctives/our-beliefs/a-baptist-catechism

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

      How do you know there aren't three gods? Man is fallible.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Because it says so in the Bible Bob! Circular logic is the best kind!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • dvndsn

      Thanks for the response, Bob. Look one verse up from 2 Timothy 3:15 to v.16 and it says "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness." There are not three gods, but one God in three persons. Deuteronomy 6:4, Jeremiah 10:10, and Psalm 96:4-5.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Personal ignorance and bible verses are not proof of god.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      See....!! I was right Bob.

      What do I win?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • dvndsn

      I tell you, you suppress the truth by your unrighteousness. What is plain about God has been revealed to you! His invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine natue have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world inside the things that have been made, so you are without excuse.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Why would an all powefull god need, want or require belief. The concept is contradictory.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • dvndsn

      Are you referring to salvation? Why does God require us to believe on Him for salvation? Because it is only through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are saved. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, and because He is holy and we are sinners, we need to be redeemed of our sinfulness. This is why God sent His only Son to earth: to die in our place and bring us back to himself.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • TenCent

      The 'light' of god found in babies is known as a 'mirrored emotion' and from that babies begin to empathize with those they see. They don't know a god or really anything for that matter until someone says, "You are good because god/Jesus/Mohammed (well, maybe not mohammed) wants you to be good". Babies, in their mind without words, understand the happiness and good feeling that happens with smiling, laughing, loving, etc. I am good to people because it makes me feel good to see others smile. Not because if I don't, I'll burn in your hell. We are here for a short enough time as it is. How much better are you for putting others down?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would an omniscient, omnipotent being need to create a universe full of inferior, fallible beings to glorify him and then send them to hell if they didn't do so?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • dvndsn

      TenCent – No one is good except God alone. You reveal this in your own post...it is out of your selfish desire to make yourself feel good, that you make others feel good (not that it will make them happy). It is better to give than to receive.

      Tom, Tom – Because He is so worthy. :) We are a sinful people with selfish desires, the heart is deceitful above all things. I think many people here would say the world is in bad shape. I aim to share His love not for my personal gain, but that He may receive glory and honor. He is glorified through us when we let Him reign in our hearts.

      Furthermore, what good is it if I love those that love me? Would it not be better to love those that hate me? To pray for my enemies, and not just my brothers and sisters in Christ?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      dvndsn: Blessed are those who reason in CIRCLES for they shall be called BIG WHEELS.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • dvndsn

      sqeptiq – I assure you I am no big wheel. I am but a member of the body of Christ seeking to glorify Him.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • TenCent

      Ahp! You got me! I give good feelings because I'm selfish! I should rot in hell! Thanks for opening my eyes. I'll stop being nice to people now.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Because it is only through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are saved."

      That is not an answer. Was that the only option the all powerful god had?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • dvndsn

      TenCent – You miss my point. You are selfish because your desire to make others happy is rooted in yourself, not in Christ. If you would believe on Jesus, He would supply you with everything you need to make others happy, namely the power of the Holy Spirit. Our ultimate aim is to not make others happy, but to glorify, or reflect, the glory of God. People around you look at the things you say, your appearance, anything outside the body. Praise be to God that He looks at our heart! I do hope everyone is content with the answers I have given. All, I will pray for our conversations tonight. Have a blessed evening.

      I assure you, Christ is the only way to get to Heaven.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "...it is out of your selfish desire to make yourself feel good, that you make others feel good"

      It is out of your selfish desire to avoide your god's wrath that you help others, that's worse.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  20. Max25

    "I find it curious how the invisible and the non existent look so much alike." ~Christopher Hitchens

    January 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • just wondering

      does a dead drunk whose blasphemous lying throat rotted out of him do all your thinking for you

      January 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, jw, but you sound like you have extensive experience in that area. Why don't you fill us all in?

      Bwah!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      jw: how do iron age sheep mounters do all your thinking for you?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Ned Flanders

      Like him or not, Hitchens dealt in reason and common sense, not in blind faith and thuggery.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      ned f: blind faith and thuggery is all that god has to offer.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 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.