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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. truth be told

    In order to have something to say atheist types lie, truth be be told no atheist really has anything of value to say. The other 99% of the planets population has no use for them.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Mxh

      Actually, you can look this up, the less religion a place has, the better educated, healthier and happier. Maybe you could learn a bit about the facts before you disparage people who you don't agree with.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Lance

      People are free to believe what they wish. However the rational among us prefer facts to fable.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • call4fire23

      Ahhhhh to the person's comment about the less religion in a place the better off they are. I bet they are. Must be nice to abort all your "problems" for monetary gain! The argument is weak!

      January 19, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • RK

      And TRUTH BE TOLD...as christian as you sound...with all of that hate spewing from you. Doesn't it say to love thy neighbor? Sure does...and that would mean those "athiest types" and "gays" and "minorities." The hypocrisy of religion is alive and well...thanks for showing us all...TRUTH BE TOLD...good stuff.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Oh really?

      Lie about what? That's a pretty narrow minded statement.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • CreatorLove

      The truth be told ... Christians should genuinely love atheists and everyone else on the planet and should hope that they find eternal life before its for ever too late. Hate is Lucifers philosophy and love is the Creator's philosophy. True love will die for another person. Hate takes lives. Lucifer loves for professed Christians to hate others. It serves him well. True Christians will never hate the sinner but they will hate the sin. And they will seek to always tell the truth, even if it is not popular or safe to do so.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • truth be told

      Do not expect to hide behind a lie and find success. Atheism is a lie any Christian knows better than to accept a lie because the liar in this case the atheist doesn't feel loved. Love enhances the Truth love does not justify the sin of atheism, lying.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is it that you're too stupid to understand punctuation, or that you are too lazy to use it?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      To "call": Calling an argument "weak" is weak. If you have no facts to present that will show how the argument fails, then the argument is strong enough.

      The fact is that countries like Norway, which is quite secular, report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction with life than do theocracies like Iran.

      Can you show any sources for your claim that this is "weak?"

      January 19, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  2. Joe

    I don't care either way.
    I am glad that the NHL hockey season is back though.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • chentwinks

      I don't believe in hockey. Should we start an argument about it? ;o)

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • froghair

      May God be with all those crazy hockey players as they head to the penalty box for cross-checking

      January 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  3. Lemaitre

    Actually, if you talk to money-minded people, they make convincing arguments that almost all wars are fought for economic reasons.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • JWT

      Most wars are fought over resources. Religion is merely one tool in getting people to actually fight.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Sensible

      that's an argument that could be made. but i also remember from school that a lot of wars throughout history have been fought under the guise of religion

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Lemaitre

      Well, you can do a lot of things under the guise of something else. That doesn't make it the real reason you chose to do it.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • zeyn2010

      However, it is justified to the public via religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Sensible

      but you wouldn't say that the catholic church in the middle ages inciting the people to fight for jerusalem's resources, land, and other spoils, under the guise of "god wills it", would be considered evil? or maybe just un-christianlike?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Lemaitre

      A lot of crimes were committed in the crusades. The first being when the Muslims came and slaughtered everyone of the land, and to subject the survivors to Islam.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Sensible

      yeah i'm sure that's the case. but one question would be: what does what happens in jerusalem (israel) have to do with crusaders in france, england, italy, etc? and another would be: why fight evil with evil? plus i'd imagine (since i wasn't there), that it was more about money than their religious motives (it always is)

      January 19, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • CreatorLove

      Atheism is also a religion and is in truth a denomination or group that believes in no God. I choose Theism and you choose Atheism. We both believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Sensible

      @ creator

      if you say so. they're all just a label. it means nothing

      January 19, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  4. CreatorLove

    Why does CNN (the Communist News Network) favor atheism, communism, and evolution? They also seem to favor Catholicism at times, which is not true Christianity anyway (just compare it to scripture). Is it because they too don't believe in the Creator? Where are the articles that provide solid moral answers for society, evidence for creation, scientific support for scripture stories and places, etc.? Just wondering why men are so easily sold out to Luciferian control. Yes, the devil exists also and he is so effective in deceiving the masses. The lying serpent yet lives on planet earth. Thankfully it won't be for much longer.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Julie

      Too much LSD and other drugs when you are young can have lasting psycological effects.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • gager

      Atheism is not communism. Does religion make people stupid?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • visitor

      Anyone who teaches a child that a child will burn in hell for not believing in Jesus (in the fashion you require no less, no Catholics need apply) is an emotional and verbal child abuser.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • sam stone

      CreatorLove: Oooh, Communist News Network. How hip and edgy. Who the fvck are you to determine who is a "true christian"?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Redneck Rogue

      Creator. If that's not a knee-slapper, I never heard one! It must be scary living in that fairy tale world of yours with serpents lying around, fire-breathing dragons, and places you can fall off the edge of the Earth. You probably check under your bed each night for monsters
      .Here's your scientific proof: no such thing as a virgin birth; no one walks on water; no one rises from the dead; the earth is not flat and is billions of years old; evolution is not something to be believed in-it is ongoing; and last, but not least, "having faith" is believing in something for which you have no proof.

      I hope you can't get a Bushmaster.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  5. Jay

    I believe in God – I just choose not to believe in God as defined by any other person. Faith and religion is about a One on One with God. I believe that more harm than good has been done in God's name when Man (or woman) decide that they are an "authority" and speak on behalf of God. I also believe that everyone has the right to believe as he or she feels. This woman is merely expressing her thoughts and opinions and she has that right. Those who condemn her while saying that they are Christians and that they believe in God should be ashamed. Judge not lest you be judged! He who is without sin may cast the first stone. Religion should be a private matter and thats the way I approach my faith. In the end we will all be judged by God by our lifes and I will take my chances without being involved with Religion by Man. I'll take my chances with my day to day conversations with my God. I'll take my chances doing it my way that goes against the religious elite because it is my right to worship as I please.!

    January 19, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Lemaitre

      It must be nice to be the arbiter of all that is good and true and right. Everyman is his own pope; everyman his own scripture scholar.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • chentwinks

      Your beliefs, on your terms. I like it. As an atheist who feels that beliefs should be private and personal, I'm glad to hear about your "one-on-one" relationship with your God. Peace to you.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  6. freedom liker

    Another negative article about religion. Keep up the good work CNN. People do good things to feel good about themselves.
    Why do people do bad things? Is it a failure of government?

    January 19, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  7. Justdad

    Wow nothing but hate and hatred from the athiests here. Perhaps church attendence would at least teach you compassion. Most of the people I know who go to the various churches are the ones who ru. The food drives, chlothes banks habitat for humanity houses and are bringing coffee and dinner to first responders during emergencies.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Sensible

      i could believe it. but i'm sure that non-believers can be just as charitable.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Bud

      well balance artiocl;e..tolerance and diolog should be be our rule about this..enjoy your good faith and allow it to change for your well being.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Bev

      I volunteer, support charities [both local and foreign] and for my child's 8th birthday she asked for food for the local food bank in leu of gifts. We are not a wealthy family nor do we believe in god. We help others because it is the right thing to do; morality, integrity and human decency is not derived from religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • johnsullivanmusic

      Anything "good" a believer can do an atheist can do too. This demonstrates the fact that morality or the desire to do good is furnished by our minds in the form of morals. If one were to really follow the Bible, which only Westboro Baptist Church does in our country, The streets would be awash in blood. Thankfully most religious I know are in practical truth, agnostic or athiest and think the Bible is a cute thing to have in the home but....DONT READ IT!!!!! Almost all moves toward humanitarian progress arose out of secular impulses following the enlightement. I frankly find it disturbing when a believer will say, "If you don't beleive, then what keeps you from killing and raping?" To me this type of orality is so immoral it's astounding. I thank God I'm an athiest!

      January 21, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  8. SmarterThan You

    That I don't believe what you do is not a reason to criticize me, for the same reason that I don't criticize you ... for the same reason.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  9. DJensen

    Oh Deborah, you are so mistaken. To believe once a person dies they step into a state of unconsciousness or just cease to exist is incorrect. Immediately upon death, the first One you will face will be Jesus Christ Himself, and you will give an account for your life. I end this post saying to all – it doesn't matter who you are, one day EVERY KNEE WILL bow. EVERY knee. That includes you Deborah – Please, please for your sake and the sake of your children, get in to and study The Word of God. Please.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • SmarterThan You

      That is the whole point of the difference between people. Your view is just a belief, nothing more, and you seem nice but incapable of accepting alternate views and beliefs. I don't care what you believe – I really don't. But I'm offended by your ranting and raving that your version of what happens "next" is anything more than pure fiction. Me, I think you cease to exist when you die. But you likely hate me for thinking that. Very Christian of you.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • CreatorLove

      http://www.truthaboutdeath.com OR http://www.helltruth.com OR http://www.ghosttruth.com - for those who really want to know!

      January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • bradbene

      Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces..." Malachi 2:3

      "...I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the light of this sun." 2 Samuel 12:11

      Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes, their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished." Isaiah 13:16. Keep your sick, vile fiction books to yourself.. My kids are not going to study the vile filled bible with god killing over 10 million people. God sent she bears to kill 42 kids in the book of kings for making fun of a bald guy. Sick sick sick. Chrisitans with selective reading just drive me insane.. you have the moral low ground via this book, and real prison stats.. get over yourselves. This is man made.. come to terms that you were brainwashed as a child and are part of a cult!

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      I consider myself a believer, but Christians like you annoy me.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • MrClean

      No, don't project your fear/hope/belief. You don't know. No one does.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • JJ

      Oh, stop. Religion is nonsense, and the basis of prejudice, hatred and insanity in the world. Wars have been fought over an invisible man in the sky for 5 thousand years, and are still being fought today. When we had fundamentalist Christians in office who thought nothing of invading Muslim countries for the sake of finding weapons of mass destruction, that was nearly the beginning of our end. Wake up; countries without faith have less mental illness, better economies, and longer life spans than the United States...maybe God(s) favor their disbelieve? That's sarcasm...stop being nuts, believers. Just stop. And don't try smite me with a metal rod because I don't believe as you do (as the bible commands).

      January 19, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Bud

      it is with a heavy heart that i read the intolerance. actually every religion believes they are right. so enjoy what ever you are persuaded to believe and allow others theres

      January 19, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • JJ

      "belief"...typos are inevitable on the internet...long

      January 19, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • JJ

      long live Sam Harris!!!!!

      January 19, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  10. Steven

    I am an atheist and have been since I was 17, when I found the courage to say it out loud to others. If there was a God I would say "FU, you ego maniac!" When I accepted that God and the afterlife was total BS, I felt a huge sense of relief. We are all worm food and I am good with that. There is no divine meaning or purpose of life; its what you make of it, its the now. I am heading out NOW, to watch my son play basketball, to live in the moment, because I may not be around for the one after it. I am content, humble and at peace with my mortality.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • CreatorLove

      If I'm traveling down the road of life and there is a bridge ahead and people tell me it is washed out ... what do I do? Believe it is ok and feel a sense of relief ... at least till I hit the bottom of the gorge? OR do I investigate the claims and see if they are so and thereby save my life? It is your choice.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • oggie

      couldn't agree more. I'm here for the same reason a fruit fly or rock is. I guess this idea is terrifying to most folks, I'm totally OK with it and I look at the world with awe (on a good day). Unlike you though I never had the courage as a kid to state my beliefs. I was too afraid of my violent parents who used us all as whipping posts due to their inner demons but still made a point of going to church every sunday. My sibs and I all paid a heavy toll for this violent upbringing. Maybe all this needless suffering will get me a "get into heaven free card."

      The human mind has to be a real contortionist to believe in some all powerful, all knowing god. Growing up I became more and more dismayed by the number of people who believe, to me it was so obvious that the whole god thing was conjured up by men.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Oh really?

      ... What are you talking about Creator? That's just stupid. To imply someone who doesn't believe would just step into a gorge is non-sensical. It's more likely the exact opposite, hoping your almighty protector will just fix that for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Steven

      @Creatorlove – Your response is not well written. Please try again.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • johnsullivanmusic

      Remarkable claims require remarkable proof. All religion based on ancient texts, are remarkable claims with absolutely no proof of their truth and overwhelming evidence of their innacuracy, inconsistency and downright lies. I am more moral than the God of the Bible. I would never kill a fig tree because it wouldn't give me a fig when I wanted it (out of season).

      January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  11. Mxh

    In the same boat as other atheist parents. Thanks CNN for showing the struggle that the nonreligious, the most hated group in the country, have to deal with on a daily basis.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Lester Singleton

      It is hard to believe that you are the most hated group by a sampling of the comments on these CNN boards.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • JWT

      Personally I am pleased to say that I have never known a person that cared what my religious affiliation is. The only time it was ever an issue was when I was in elementary school and teachers forced us to recite the lord's prayer. Thankfully that nonsense was stopped long ago.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • CreatorLove

      Atheists should not be hated by Christians at any time, but they are to be truly pitied. They, along with unrepentant pagans, occultists, and sinners in general ... will lose out on eternal life and all that is included in that understanding. You choose to die with no future, while true Christians, who trust in Jesus and obey His commandments, choose to live with hope and know they have a future that will not end. We may rest in the grave a short while, but soon our Creator will raise us to eternal life. A glorious and wonderful life. We just wish you were there too. So which is better? To live with eternal hope or to live for the moment and then perish? I choose life eternal.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • JWT

      You mean we lose out on your personal fairy tales. No loss at all.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Sensible

      @ creator

      if that makes you feel better, then fine. but the simple truth is, me and you both know the same about death...absolutely nothing

      January 19, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Mxh

      Actually, numerous polls in the US have shown that Americans trust atheists the least and are less likely to vote for an atheist than any other group. As for death, I've seen enough of it to know that there isn't much to it. If you analyze death without the spirituality, like any other biological and chemical reaction, it can be understood fairly well.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Sensible

      @ mxh

      i agree with you. i think the voting for an atheist is only because the majority of americans are still religious. people tend to vote for their kind of people. i'm more likely to vote for something who isn't religious. like bill maher said, i'd rather have someone steer a ship using a compass, than someone reading the entrails of a chicken. or something like that

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  12. raptile

    I think I was born an agnostic–my mom tried really hard to get me to believe what she believes, but even as young as age 12, I thought it was all mythology. Going to college and majoring in philosophy and religion made me a confirmed agnostic, and I've recently been reading Dawkins and he has moved me more toward 'confirmed atheist' than just a pretty confident doubter. When I tell people where I stand on religion (only if they ask, of course) they are shocked and either try to convert me (without any success as I know lots more about the Bible and its origins than they do) or they look at me as if I were the local axe murderer. The concept of an atheist with ethical humanist leanings seems totally lost on them. The most interesting question to me is "why are those who believe so devoutly fear impending death so much?" Almost every born-again Christian I know is absolutely terrified of death and that's the part I do not comprehend. If you're truly "going to a better place" why not look forward to it and be at peace? I am comfortable living my life as if each day might be my last and knowing that once it ends, I will truly cease to exist. What's so terrible about that?

    January 19, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Bud

      for 50 years i judged others, believed that the bible was the literal words from god . this brought me anguish especially when the studying of the bible became very confusing . well i am much happier as an agnostic

      January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Lester Singleton

      Every person has to make a decision for themselves and it is not the place of anyone to judge you for that. However, it was your decision as well to judge others for 50 years. I'm not sure why you proposed a link between Christianity and judging others. Sounds like a personal issue to me.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  13. Jim

    If your confident that you are correct in your understanding of the universe why should you care what others believe? Certainly their is no need for debate or discussion from either side if you truly believe you are correct.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  14. marc

    God has a very sick sense of humor. Where was he when the NRA were killing 20 innocent children? God must be an advent NRA member.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Jim

      Adam was officially representing the NRA? Have the NRA been charged?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Justdad

      Perhaps you should seek counciling for your hatred.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:41 am |
  15. A believer in secularism

    Keep religion at home and in church....unless I write an essay about religion and have it posted on cnn. Then it's okay to talk about religion in public. I'm not sure why this woman simply did not say to her children when they asked about religion "I do not know if I believe in this but some people do and some don't and that's ok." Pretty much ends the confusion and ambiguity of her problem right there. This woman took a cowardly approach to a situation and is now basically complaining about her own indecisiveness in addressing religion. Nobody should support or criticize her, they shouldn't even read this article. Follow your own advice and quiet down lady.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Mxh

      The point if these articles are that a majority of Americans don't believe in secularism. Just look at our politicians, we don't elect anyone who doesn't publicly express their religious beliefs, get the approval of religious leaders or mention god in every speech.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • centred1028

      "quiet down, lady"...."no one should read this article"......Do you even hear yourself? I'm absolutely sure that she DID tell her children that it's okay to believe otherwise- in fact mentions that later in this follow up article. She said she write it because she felt marginalized and alone, wanted to connect with others who think the same way, which she obviously did. How can you call this a cowardly approach?!!! Do you know how much strength it takes to speak your beliefs when the community is SO judgmental and separatist? Brave, I'd say. "quiet down, lady". I laugh every time I say it in my head. You're funny.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Melvin Sturley

      If I have to listen to stories about your skiing trip, and your drinking party and the TV show you watched, then it's fair that you have to listen to what my interests are. How egocentric that you feel you can dictate what I talk about.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • JJ

      Politicians have to LIE about their beliefs to be elected; but then, they lie all the time anyway so what's another lie to them.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  16. zeyn2010

    I think we have reasonable evidence to consider that we may have been engineered by 'gods' or beings more advanced than us. All religions speak of a similar genesis story. However, to think that they wanted to be worshiped seems to be an incorrect translation of primitives who misunderstood certain events.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Mirosal

      Please provide us with your "reasonable evidence" that shows humans to be engineered by "gods" or some other extra-terrestrial being/society.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • zeyn2010

      I thought I made it clear – the genesis story is the base of all religions, comes from Sumerians, which can also be found in cultures on different continents, which should not have been in contact at all with Sumerians.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      Of course all religions have a Genesis story. It's one of man's oldest, if not THE oldest question ... "Where did we come from?" Since man could not, and to this day really can't, answer that question, the "god of the gaps" was created to answer it, just like the "gods" of the gaps were used to answer simple questions about how the natural world around him worked. How many people pray to Zeus, Thor, and Apollo these days?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • zeyn2010

      Yes, that's why I agree that praying and requesting the help of gods probably was invented by us. I have no problem considering we may have been engineered since we can bio- engineer even now. Also, there are too many uncertainties in our history. I can't believe not many people know of crazy archaeological places like Puma Punku – we didn't have the technology to build this place back then and even would have a hard time today. Also, we could also be talking about past advanced civilizations that did not survive a catastrophe. But, I am open minded to consider these facts and try to hear out our ancestors.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:54 am |
  17. Mirosal

    About that tornado story the author wrote about.... I'm sure the religious family was thanking "god" for their saftey after the tornado dissipated (sp?). Did they forget to thank "god" for sending the tornado in the first place? I grew up, and still reside, in the northern part of Tornado Alley. I guess "god" doesn't care too much for the midwest does "he"? Oh, and thanks, "god", for last year's drought. Way to show your love for us!!! I'm sure the Northeast appreciates the love you sent for them in the form of Sandy too. You religious people have to take it both ways here. You always thank "god" for your safety, but you always forget to thank "him" for the disaster in the first place.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Lester Singleton

      I'm curious where you have obtained this notion that God is some sugar daddy in the sky that should do nothing all day but give you all of your hearts desires. Take a few days and read through the Old Testament and you will see that your proposed description of God is way off base.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • call4fire23

      God made lava hot and lethal to the human body if touched. Did you build a home near an active valcano? Probably not, Don't live in tornado alley and then complain about death by tornado! You're not moving to Antartica right? You're not, because you know you'd be more likely to freeze to death! You have no concept of the rationale of God and His plan. We can't even begin to think that we have our heads wrapped around the plans God has for us. Who knows, maybe Hurricane Sandy could have been meant to impact the spiritual lives of a select amount of people and was worth the catasrophe that it caused for other people. The salvation of one person is more important than an earthly impact. Think about it. Eternity with God or saving a couple finite lives that last about 80 years. Eternity::::::80 years.? Your lack of faith will drive you to the worst of conclusions. It's in your nature as someone who's heart is without God. God's word said you would do this and say things like you have. Repent and turn to God. You can reject that, but it's not going to hurt me if you do. Toodles!

      January 19, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • JJ

      god kills everyone who disagrees with him.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Lester Singleton

      "Who knows, maybe Hurricane Sandy could have been meant to impact the spiritual lives of a select amount of people and was worth the catasrophe that it caused for other people. The salvation of one person is more important than an earthly impact."

      Lets be honest, this type of rationale doesn't work with people who don't believe in God. The reason why is because when you don't believe in anyone outside yourself you have a tendency to judge all things on a scale created by yourself. If it is painful for you, then there can't possibly be any good in it. Atheism is nothing more than self worship.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  18. Jillian

    Good for this mother for writing what she did. I support the fact that people should not try and impose their belief system on others. You are a wonderful example for your children and an excellent mother. Reading the comments from others, I pity the adults who grew up having parents impose their ideals on them and now make them feel guilty because their children chose to have different belief systems. Shame on those parents. The world would be a better place if we were a bit more accepting of others' viewpoints and a bit less insisting that ours were always the only right views!

    January 19, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  19. Luis Wu

    Good for her. She actually THINKS for herself instead of blindly accepting ancient mythology and primitive superst!tions as reality. We need more people in the world like her.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Ha ha

      You make sense

      January 19, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  20. Science

    I believe in science. While using known, factual testing procedures, if something/anything is NOT proven "TRUE", then it is false and I do not spend much time thinking about it. To my knowledge, not a single religion has ever met the above testing thresholds.

    When you the reader of this story understand why you dismiss all of the other world religions (you don’t study them as you do your own primary religion) then you will understand why I dismiss your religion. Besides, it is my opinion that all religions are just fairy tales that we propagate onto our children, which they complete the cycle by doing it again to their own children.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Luis Wu

      They don't study their own religion, they have it brain-washed into them from the time their born. That's why religions persist, because of indoctrination practically from birth. Not because there's anything valid and real about them.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Sensible

      the test is to have someone go through life, having life teach them their lessons and around 20 years of age teach the bible. i believe most times someone couldn't believe in those stories after having seen life in reality

      January 19, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • J R Brown

      "If something is not proven 'true' then it is false" is not a scientific theorem...it is, however, a logical fallacy.

      Something can be "true" regardless of the abilitiy of an individual to prove it to be true or not.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Sensible

      @j r brown

      i think you're correct about the true/false argument. but then you're left to base your hypothesis on probability. how probable are the biblical stories?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Lester Singleton

      Your view on this is all wrong. By default, you have to be assuming that at this point we as humans have complete knowledge of everything. To be able to say that if you can't prove it then it doesn't exist is a bit extreme. How many things are discovered each year that we "never knew existed" the year before? Does this mean that they were any less real at any point in history? No.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Sensible

      @ lester

      well i agreed about the fact that you can't say something is false because it can't be proven true. but like i said, you have to base your assumptions off of probability. what are the odds that there really was a man named jonah that lived in the belly of a whale for 3 days? you may say different, but i say pretty slim

      January 19, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • CreatorLove

      Was there a great flood? Just ask science and observe the current world. Evidence for the flood is everywhere. Are the names and places in scripture true? Just ask science and observe the many archeological proofs that support scripture. Are the biblical prophecies true? Just study them carefully and see their fulfillment in history.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • CreatorLove

      For fulfillment in history of bible prophecy: http://www.bibleprophecytruth.com AND http://www.prophecytruth.com

      January 19, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Sensible

      @ creator

      i'd say no to your flood assumption. was there evidence of the ENTIRE world flooding. i've never heard it. i'm pretty sure that the earth hasn't been covered in water. other than maybe before volcanos created land. are the names and places true (or have existed). probably. but that doens't prove the stories about them are true. i could tell you some fantastic stories about florida, things you wouldn't believe (and shouldn't believe). it doesn't make them true. are the prophecies true? the world hasn't ended yet. which prophecies do you mean?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:30 am |
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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.