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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. Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

    What get me about humanity is we ve created thousands of Gods, and for the most part, we ve discarded them...one by one, why? because of no evidence. If we disappeared tomorrow, ALL of our Gods..including the few we are still fighting about today, will go with us.

    atheists for the most part trust science..... Science is humanity figuring out and labeling what is already here, a process that has been unfolding for 13 billion years (and change) before we started assigning ti tles to everything.
    the proof is in our telescopes, our geological core samples..ect......

    an afterlife in Christian terms started with the rise of Judaism..your god didnt even exist 3500years ago... Babylon and Egypt had already been around 500? and 2500 years respectively.....the Chinese and a forerunner of the Incas even longer...
    hense Heaven and hell .... not possible.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      You are one "confused" individual. If you call yourself a "pastor", then please only tell people you are a pastor of "science" (and of false science at that). Please don't tell people you are a pastor Jesus Christ. Because clearly you are not. Not with all that nonsense you've just got through spewing...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      HAHA ..where do you get that im a pastor of christ? .. I view the whole lot of you Clergy clowns as conmen...because you are...... Yoiu act as if you deserve respect.... you dont....not at all.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet... I was only going by your name. Thanks for letting us know you are an imposter...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      show me where I ..as in ME claimed to be anything? Pope, pastor,imam, rabbi, bishop, priest, prophet, reverend... they are names ...they are anthing but holy or sacred, men have been using them to gain a respect they never, ever should have been enti tle to. And I use it in the satirical sense...... see you on another of YOUR tags....:)

      January 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  2. Nietodarwin

    “Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There`s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”
    _ Bill Gates

    January 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      For a nano-second, I read that as "Bill Deacon," and thought, "oh, if only you would."

      January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  3. Nietodarwin

    “Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
    _ Thomas Jefferson
    “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
    _ Stephen Hawking

    January 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

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

      Those are the effects of gravity, not gravity itself. We measure gravity, but have little understanding of what it is. Like the effects of faith, we can measure how faith effects us, but don't have a solution that explains what it is.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  5. TenCent

    Wait though? Don't you feel good trying to save everyone? What do you gain by saving all of us? More Heaven? Or does it make you feel good too? Don't be selfish now. . .

    January 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  6. Randy

    Nobody alive has ever seen George Washington. How do we know he actually existed? There were eyewitnesses, lots of stuff was written about him, but how do we even know if it's true and if he actually did exist? How do we know it wasn't some guys who all got drunk and decided to play a joke on everyone and made a bunch of stuff up?

    January 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Christo

      ON ole George, we have bones in the coffin and DNA from his descendants...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Antonio

      Its great that you embrace evidentiary standards in establishing proof for something. Do you think there is more or less contemporary evidence for Jesus than George Washington?

      I'm interested in what your impression is.

      Thank you.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's amazing, the things christians do to try to rationalize the utter lack of evidence for the existence of their god. It's kind of sad and desperate.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      tallulah13... You are a pathological liar and a deceiver. Please stop posting your lies and saying things to others that are untrue. There is overwhelming evidence to support the existence of God, and none to support that he doesn't exist. So get your facts straight and stop telling lies...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Athy

      Lay some of that "overwhelming evidence" on us, please.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      hahahhha. JTF sounds a little "annoyed." A little "perturbed." A mite "irritated."

      I wonder why? Poor little dumb fvck. He doesn't get it. He has no evidence to support his belief in the existence of a god.

      Gosh, the poor, pitiful little dick.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • OTOH

      Randy,

      Do you know that George Washington wasn't dead a month before books and stories about him began to circulate with quite wild legends about him... the cherry tree story, and the tossing the dollar across the Potomac, and several other lulus. Fortunately, it is/was a time when these things could be followed up and checked out and eventually be debunked (some people still believe them, however). This was not the case in the 1st century and the legends about Jesus (if he truly existed) persisted and gathered momentum over the years.

      Here's just one book which discussed these legends about GW:

      Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, in Myth and Memory

      January 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JustTheFacts

      You said, "There is overwhelming evidence to support the existence of God, and none to support that he doesn't exist."
      Put up, or shut the fuck up.

      Unless you want to be known as a moron and a liar, show us that "overwhelming evidence".

      January 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      LinCA… Just so I won't be wasting my time with you, I will state this…

      I will be glad, happy, overjoyed, to lay PLENTY of overwhelming evidence on you, evidence which can prove God truly exists, only so long as you as an atheist can show me even a SINGLE shred of undeniable proof or evidence that he does NOT exist. That is my challenge to you – only a single shred of proof from you – in exchange for a lot of evidence from me…

      I ask that because I already know you don't have even a single shred of evidence to provide. None whatsoever. All you can offer is just your own personal opinion. You want me to spend all of my time providing you with proof you can argue about and deny, yet you don't have even a shred of evidence you can provide yourself. I will not be drawn into that. I refuse to waste my time with you or anyone else who cannot provide me with sufficient counter proof. If you don't have such counter proof, then you're wasting my time…

      Understand, I don't want excuses from you. I don't want evasive answers. I don't want to hear long drawn out explanations for why you can't provide any counter proof (such as saying, the burden or proof is on me, or you can't prove a negative, etc). None of that is proof. Those are nothing but excuses. Nor do I want you to write back pretending like you're too ignorant to understand what I just said. It's all as simple as yes or no. Either you have counter proof to provide me – or you don't. If you have such counter proof, then prove it to me by showing me even a single shred of evidence that is reliable and undeniable. Once I see the evidence, I will proceed. But if you don't have such evidence, then stop wasting my time…

      January 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      This gets so tedious. . .

      JustNoFacts, you are the one making the claims. The burden of proof is on you. Atheists are only reacting to your unsupported claims, not making a claim such as you are. So, where's your evidence? I'm betting you have nothing. . .

      January 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      HotAirAce… Are you the only "totally unintelligent" person on this forum? Or are there others like you as well? I've already stated in my post the following…

      ..."I don't want excuses from you. I don't want evasive answers. I don't want to hear long drawn out explanations for why you can't provide any counter proof (such as saying, the burden of proof is on me, or you can't prove a negative, etc)…

      And then, here you come responding back to me, and doing the very thing I've already asked you NOT to do or say – to say the burden of proof is on me. Are you brainless? Are you totally unintelligent? Are you utterly incapable of comprehending and understanding even the simplest of statements? By your actions, it appears so. And even your comrades are not as stupid as you are. At least all I'm getting from them thus far is silence. And that is wise. Which is more than I can say for you. You don't seem to have any wisdom at all. Just stupidity. And I don't have time for stupidity. I don't respond to stupidity. I only debate with people who are both sensible and intelligent. And if you're not one of those people, then please stop responding to this post and wasting my time…

      January 22, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Just Facts

      Why don't you stop posting and wasting your time anyways?

      January 22, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • HotAirAce

      JustNoFacts, clearly it is you who is too fvcking stupid to understand that what I wrote is reality, despite your desire for it to be otherwise. Believers have made delusional claims for centuries without providing anything to support their delusions. You are no different other than likely being more mentally ill than most. Bottom Line: you have absolutely nothing to support your beliefs so are trying to deflect your inadequacies onto those asking the hard questions. Now fvck off and go talk to your imaginary friends azzhole!

      January 22, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like JustNoFacts knows when he's lost an argument. . .

      January 22, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Hear This

      JusttheFacts,
      "... responding back to me, and doing the very thing I've already asked you NOT to do or say..."

      Sorry, kid, you do not get to set the rules of logical debate. You make a claim - you offer evidence to verify it.

      (not wasting another second on you... just don't try to trumpet that silence is a form of agreeing with you)

      January 22, 2013 at 5:09 am |
  7. Nietodarwin

    This is a great article and it is very encouraging to see all the posts from parents who are NOT teaching their children religion.
    It's also encouraging to hear from the xstian woman who wrote that it's time for xstians to " tone things down.There might be hope for this country yet.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  8. Randy

    She's probably one of those hypocritical types who doesn't believe in God but celebrates Christmas and Easter.

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

      I'm sure that's true... it has to be

      January 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Nate

      You mean the winter solstice and spring equinox, which was celebrated long before the christians hijacked the holidays?

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

      I celebrate Christmas and I'm an Athiest. It's a holiday of giving and love represented by the birthday of our greatest imaginary friend. I have no problem with it.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why do christians celebrate a day named after Eostre, the ancient Saxon goddess of spring-time and fertility, anyway?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Being hypocrytical is doing something oposed to what you say or what your moral principles are. All she has said is that she doesn't believe in god, so the only thing she could do that would be hypocritical is to believe in god.

      If celebrating these holidays made her a hypocrite, it wouldhave also made Christians hypocrites when they stole the holidays from the pagans. But in fact neither meets the definitionof hypocrite, and both groups are merely continuing the process of cultural change.

      I'm kind of surprised by how often people misuse the word "hypocrite". It really only specifically refers to a person going against their own principles, so you really want to understand those before making the accusation. It is, in fact, quite difficulttoidentifyhipocrisy insomeone you don't know well

      January 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Antonio

      So do you know that you can celebrate largely social and commercial holidays without actually beleving them?

      Or do you actually believe that you kid's Iron Man costume is scaring away evil spirits with the help of the Saints on Halloween?

      How about going to church on Valentine's day and pray to St. Valentine?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  9. Scott

    If Jesus did exist why did not a single person write a single thing down about his life during his lifetime?The new testament wasn't even began til 70 years after his death.Have you ever played the game telephone??????

    January 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      What are you talking about? The whole bible is about Jesus – from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus was prophesied about long before he was ever born, telling the world that a savior would come. Only his name was given until the New Testament. In fact, there is no man in history who has been more written about than Jesus. No one. He has been written about across thousands of years. Jesus was even there in the beginning when his father created the earth, when Lucifer fell, and when God created Adam and Eve. Jesus saw and witnessed it all. And that fact has been written into the scriptures. There are scriptures to back it up. So what are you talking about...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      JustTheFacts, please prove that The Babble is not a steaming pile of sh!t, that it is in fact the word of some god. I bet you can't do it.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  10. Nietodarwin

    Tallulah wrote "Religious fanatics are some of the most horrible people in the world. I can't imagine why they think empty threats and hatred would make non-believers convert to their faith." I AGREE, but sadly throughout most of history those threats haven't been empty. Religion has kept it's power, not because there is a god, not because it's the source of morality, but quite the opposite. Religion keeps on going by means of murder, or other lesser punishments for those who DARE to say that religion is a manipulative lie.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  11. Caliche

    I actually also do not teach my kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy and all the other tales we tell our children.
    We celebrate Christmas, they just know (they are 1,3,4, and 5) that Mom and Dad get the presents. We get our picture taken with Santa, just when they ask they are told he is a a way to tell a story of giving to one another.
    We don't celebrate Easter, but we let them make Easter baskets and eggs. If they ask we tell them it is a way to
    celebrate the return of Spring, the Bunny is a way to tell that story.
    I also educate them on how advertising affects our decisions, and what to watch out for in the media.
    We don't have cable or broadcast television in our house.
    We don't allow racism or hate in our house.
    I am very happy with the results, eradicating ignorance in my children
    and letting them think for themselves.
    And if one day they came and said that they are joining a church, I would be cool with that.
    As long as they weren't Republicans or worst Tea Party!

    January 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Roger that

      You're going to let your kids think for themselves and make their own decisions about religion? Sounds like a good plan to me.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  12. Nancy

    11, 000 comments! OK CNN are you getting the picture? Lets hear more from the "rest of us".

    January 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell what consti tutes the "rest of us."

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Madtown

      Answers the question of why the story is still on the front page, web hits and ratings! Good for business.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Roger that

      It's a Festivus miracle!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You realize that every time you comment you bump up the the rating and ensure this stays longer?

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

      Sara, if that's to me...of course I realize that! I consider it a form of entertainment, I'm not a CNN employee.

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

      @madtown, no, I meant Nancy, since she was the oneconcerned about it.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  13. Howard

    This begs the question, should we teach our kids our doubts along with our beliefs? Should we teach our kids our process for discovering and verifying the beliefs we wake up to each day, or just give them the beliefs themselves? What I find most irritating about these discussion threads is the encampment in our positions. Can't we all be seekers? Some more scientific and other more intuitive? Some more independent or creative in their pursuits while others are more traditional or religious? I think all persuasion from the atheist to the devout follower are guilty of this encampment and likewise, I read some very insightful and beneficial comments to fellow journeymen, the un-encamped, the processing, the seeking. I hope I teach my kids how to process, how to seek, and how to stay un-encamped in what we think we know, knowing that there is always something more, something greater to be captured.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Sounds like your kids will become Scientists, good for you!

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Madtown

      Great thoughts Howard. I'd say yes, everyone should be encouraged to question everything, certainly unproven belief-based systems.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Howard, all children should be taught to question what they believe. Curiosity and courage took us out of the caves. Those who advocate blind faith are trying to shove us back into those caves.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  14. PJ

    How can one be an American when they believe in a monarchy?

    January 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  15. Anne

    I completely understand where this woman is coming from. I myself am a Catholic living in SF but I am always chagrined when i hear catholics or other christians badgering some poor person regarding belief. It's an entirely personal thing. Trying to force your way into someone's psyche and make them believe as you do is a form of violence and has nothing to do with God at all. My fellow Christians: it's long past the time to tone it down! Cut it out already! We have freedom of religion in this country!

    January 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      More importantly is the freedom FROM religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Bink

      to Vocal Atheist – thank you! I'll be using your choice of words in the future

      January 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  16. Nietodarwin

    This woman should be proud of the response she is getting. "Believers" need to at least admit that they are believers because they had these beliefs "forced" on them when they were young. Forcing a young person into a R E L I G I O N IS C H I L D A B U S E. Listen to Bill Nye, don't tell kids this hogwash that you believe, this country needs people who can THINK, not blindly obey lies and myths.

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

      Spot on! We need to stop force-feeding religion down are children's' throats. It is child abuse. We'll never have a peaceful world as long as there are religious beliefs. Islamists and terrorism is the best the best example of what religion has done to the world.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • JustTheFacts

      If forcing a young person into religion is "child abuse", then what do you call it if you don't say anything and they end up in hell? Huh? What's it called?...

      January 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  17. Greg H

    As a 32 yo man brand new father i myself have had this talk with my wife. im an atheist and have always been, it is however an incredible response when i tell people that im choosing to not tell my child theres a god or santa claus etc. the level of hypocrisy is astounding. i have been told ill go to hell, that my child will go to hell etc. personally none of these opinions matter to me but there are times when it feels a bit unreal. my child doesnt need the unhealthiness of religion nor do i.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • tweety1900

      So what is wrong with Santa?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Christo

      that's the problem with Christianity..its interpreted individually by everyone like no snowflakes are the same. Some will tell you you will go to hell, some will say you will not but be judged later, some will throw holy water in your face, some will hold up a rattlesnake. There is no consistent story. It is mass confusion of misinformation.

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

      Don't worry Greg H. I went through the same thing, my daughter turned out great however! Thanks for speaking up Dad!

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

      Religious fanatics are some of the most horrible people in the world. I can't imagine why they think empty threats and hatred would make non-believers convert to their faith.

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

      Greg, I see where you're coming from, but maybe reconsider the Santa angle. Don't deny your child the magic of xmas morning, that's good stuff to a kid. We all grow out of those things, but it's fun when you're the kid. I'm sure you and the wife would enjoy watching them go through it as well. Just a thought, cheers!

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

      Good for you!!!! I'm older than you, and I still love my parents, but I RESENT having religion forced upon me as a child. As a teacher, it is so sad to see these brainwashed kids fall behind other students of the same skills, just because their parents have indoctrinated them with lies, hate, discrimination, intolerance, and every thing else that goes along with religion. When somebody says "The bible says" I usually can't stand to listen to them, and just go deaf. Your kid is WAY BETTER OFF WITHOUT RELIGION.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • qqqqqjim

      Good for you!! You have my admiration and respect!

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

      Greg H... It appears that you have fallen for several deceptions. First, who told you that religion is "unhealthy"? Nothing is more beneficial to the soul than religion. You cannot feed your soul steak and hamburgers. Except your soul is saved through religion, you will still end up in hell...

      A second deception you have fallen for is you have categorized Santa Claus and God to be in the same category. They are not the same. Santa Claus is fantasy. God is real. Or didn't your parents teach you that distinction? If they didn't, then they lied to you, and it's time for you to break the cycle and to believe the truth...

      A third deception you have fallen for is you do not believe you will go to hell by doing nothing and by remaining an atheist. You must certainly will. Belief is not a requirement to go to hell. But belief IS a requirement to go to heaven. If you fail to believe as the scriptures say, then you will "automatically" go to hell. Because that is where all unbelievers go...

      Lastly, do you love your son? If you do, then why do you want to drag him along to hell with you? It is best that you tell him about God and then let him choose to reject it (that way the act of rejecting it will be on him and not you) rather than for you to not say anything to him, and then when he ends up in hell, he will not only ask you why you didn't tell him about God but will also hate you and blame you for being there...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  18. virginia

    Let's keep emotions at home – let us not cry infront of the boss Let us pretend emotions don't exist and lie to other as if they don't exist....let's keep religion at home private be ashamed of it- let know one know of your belief or intelligence...let's pretend we are untilligent being aneble to compete with the boss the athiest thinkest to himself in silence, he uthers let's deny religion and belief or intelligence.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      What is "aneble"? I don't get it.

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

      and i thought I was confusing...

      January 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Greg H

      id say work on that grammar and spelling first, then you can bring your ignorance and hatred out into public ;)

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

      Yes, Virginia, there is a dictionary. Eye almost understud wat u sad

      January 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Virginia, maybe you should get a grownup to help you write your comments. You just can't do it by yourself.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Don't listen to the critics, Virginia. Keep up the blithering. You are doing more to drive intelligent people to atheism than all the atheists can possibly do.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No, really. What is "aneble"? For the life of me, I can't figure out what that word is supposed to mean.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Athy

      Shit, I'm still trying to figure out "disifer."

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  19. Bob

    God is a ho mose xual.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  20. Christo

    Christian Values
    1. Thou shalt not lie.
    2. Thou shalt not steal.
    3. Thou shalt not kill.

    How did they come up with these original ideas? I mean without these edicts specific to Chrisitianity the world would be in utter chaos. Basic human behavior would never have allowed for stuff like this...brilliant.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • mama k

      So let me get this straight. You think Christians were the first to receive and practice those rules, right?

      January 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • rational63

      11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Bob

      You forgot the other values
      1. Stone adulterers to death.
      2. Make the lives of gay people as difficult as possible.
      3. Molesting children is a terrible, unforgivable sin unless it is done by clergy. Then it is merely frowned upon.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      (I'm suspecting sarcasm, mama k.)

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

      im being sarcastic mama

      January 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • mama k

      ok, thanks. lol.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      And still it misses noting some of the basic principles of Ashoka's edicts, such as

      "Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion. Therefore contact between religions is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others."

      January 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You ignoramus, Christo. Are you that ignorant? Really? The very values and principles you enumerate were known long before Jesus lived. They are universal laws and truths, common to many civilizations.

      Are you really so stupid that you didn't know that? Do you really think YOU are so special? That NO ONE else ever had these principles BEFORE YOU, YOU, YOU??

      Ass waffle.

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

      ass waffle, lol. ok whatever butt bandit.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The original post was sarcasm, Tom Tom. But can I borrow "a$s waffle"? That's a great term.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Great comeback, moron. Let that be your legacy.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sorry, but the sarcasm was far from obvious. And anyone is welcome to use "ass waffle." It isn't mine–it is from a silly site "damn autocorrect."

      January 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It was definitely sarcasm.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I plead exhaustion, then. I apologize.

      Still, ass waffle is a great term and I espouse its use far and wide. Mostly far. And also wide.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Christo

      ass goblin

      January 21, 2013 at 10:23 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.