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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. NGB4M

    They obviously knew there would be doubters. That's why their "good news" is backed up with threats. And they were sure it was all going to go down very soon so spread the word that others might be saved. Except they had no concept of the size of the earth or of the numerous groups of people who populated it. Not to mention the earths place in the "heavens" and the time scale of the universe.

    January 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  2. Marie

    Why do they make ad hominem attacks against me simply for asking questions that they cannot answer?

    January 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      They have been answered – you simply didn't like the answers. Next.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Christians don't like unanswered questions

      They like unquestioned answers

      January 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  3. truth be told

    When it is recognized that all so called atheists are liars, the other 99 % of the worlds honest decent population can put the bottom feeding atheists in proper perspective. There is no use for an atheist in this world or the next

    January 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • some schmuck

      You mean like the catholic leadership was honest and decent when it came to molesting little boys?

      January 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • I am an Atheist

      truth be told is absolutely right!

      January 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • PJ

      A "lie" means there is a clear and reproducible truth against that which someone states isn't true. How can just being an atheist be a lie, exactly? By what clear and reproducible truth is being an atheist a lie? Ultimately, if there is a god, it is god that produced atheists, and therefore produced the lie.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • TBT is right

      Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are just horrible people for giving all that money to non-religious charities

      January 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  4. PJ

    I really want to say, that I truly feel the love from those posting that agree with this woman's story. I am not specifically "atheist", but I am specifically non-religious. None of the bible made any sense to me whatsoever. However, algebra does, the special theory of relativity does, our place in this solar system does, cosmology does. All the tools that humans have discovered before me, that I can rely on again and again and come to the same answer, these things make sense. They are the base from which we know is solid and true, and only from this base can we move forward. Many things are unknown, and it's wonderful for that that this too is true. I look forward to this unknown, with wide eyes and an open mind with wonder and i enjoy every moment of it. Just because a person doesn't believe in these religions or even god, doesn't mean they do not love, are not compassionate, and it doesn't mean the abosolute collapse and end to humanity. It simply means that we are taking responsivility for ourselves, and when you do that and not defer responsibility to someone else, you become a better human being, and so goes the human race. I feel a real love and brotherhood (yes i'm a man :-) with everyone who is posting along this vein, and I feel utterly shut out and DAMNED by the intolerant and unwavering religious zealots.

    January 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  5. NGB4M

    I was quite proud of my boy the day he came home from preschool and asked me if jesus really died and came back to life. A 5 year old smart enough to question the implausible. I don't tell my children not to believe. I'm content to let them decide for themselves what to believe. Real belief cannot be imposed anyway.

    January 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • some schmuck

      You should be careful with that. Just because you are content to allow your child to come to their own conclusions doesn't mean there aren't people out there who would GLADLY come brainwash your child into belief. If an authority figure tells them something enough times without you saying "No, that's false" they might start to believe it.

      That is after all how belief in gods comes about. Authority figures tell children before they are old enough to think critically.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      that is true about faith, it isnt imposable. but your unbelief you feed you kids and college students is certainly imposing unbelief.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  6. PJ

    @ Some Smuck : I love you, man. Testify!

    Honestly, I like your comment on how none of us were taught or told there is no god, or NOT to follow some religion. We came to these conclusions oursevles. I too was raised catholic, in a catholic house, next to a catholic church, went to a catholic school, my father was a lecter, you name it, we were it. Religion as it was being taught to me just never made any sense. However, that doesn't mean I'm sure there isn't some type of "higher being". It just isn't the one described in the bible, or any of the other hokey religious texts.

    January 24, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • some schmuck

      Well, I have admitted I cannot ever be completely sure there is not some "higher power" pushing the buttons and pulling the levers. I have stated that I can come up with a list of 3 possibilities that I feel cover everything and one of them absolutely MUST be true.

      1. There is no god.
      2. If there is a god, it is not the god described in the holy books of the Abrahamic faiths.
      3. If it is, this being is not worthy of worship, and my resistence to his will is a moral imperative.

      I find 1 to be by far the most likely, and 2 to be the next most likely. I find 3 to almost surely not to be the case, but I throw it in to cover all bases.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Absolutely agree on all 3 schmuck.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  7. 2 Peter 3 :3-6

    @ one word. check our 2 Peter 3:4-6 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning (uniformitarianism, no catastrophe) ". For this they willingly forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water...........................

    Hutton and Lyell coined uniformitarianism in 18th century, and all i have heard is that Peter "was a fraud book" , still doesnt credit to the book for the theory of uniformitarianism, or the" hypothesis". at any rate, Peter warned us about you scientists.

    There is no name like Jesus.

    January 24, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • some schmuck

      The fact that a false story predicts that people will call it a false story is not proof that it is true.

      If I told you that there was an invisible pink elephant in my garage, and that no one would believe me, the fact that no one believes me isn't evidence of an invisible pink elephant in my garage.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      I AM, the great I AM.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Which God?

      So schmuck. If it's invisible, how do you know it's pink, and how do you know it's an elephant? Did it tell you ?

      January 24, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jesus already failed his own prophacy of returning.

      “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:34

      January 24, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Which God?

      2 pec/ker 3:3-6. Using a book of fairy-tales is not the way to make a intelligent argument.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • 1word

      Yes, these are the end times. I get hated on for doing good. They despise us because we want people to know the Truth. These people are fighting the same battles Jesus freed us from by his dieing on the cross.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • some schmuck

      Which God?,

      Isn't that part of my point?

      January 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " yes, these are the end times. " Men have been predicting the end of days since roughly 40 A.D. They have all been wrong. So are you.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Wholly Babble

      1word,

      The likes of you were 'predicted' too:

      "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; " - Matthew 17

      (we expect that your symptoms will increase in the next few days, as the full moon approaches)

      January 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Bet

      Are you still beating this tired drum?

      January 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Saints, Sinners and demons

      Look! satan posting as wholly babble

      January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Yes, these are the end times"

      CHristians have only been repeating this for 2100 years. It is like predicting earthquakes by saying every day.... "an earthquake is going to happen very soon". Eventually you will be right but it doesn't make you a prophet.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  8. Shannon

    WHAT is she whining about? Oh, right. She posted her essay on Ireport for the ATTENTION, which sadly, many people and me included are giving her. Maybe she'll end up on the Today show. Christianity has been taken out of schools and workplaces...so she's upset because she gets comments here and there about her lack of faith? I think I'm going to post an essay on CNN ireport because my kid's friends won't stop poking fun at me for the sports teams I support, or the type of music I listen to. Cry me an f'ing river. There are starving and abused children by the thousands in our country....and also people who are executed for their religious beliefs in other countries...maybe she should post an essay on the injustice of that. And grow a thicker skin.

    January 24, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • PJ

      To me the issue is about the intolerance shown by those of religious faith towards those that are not religious. More importantly, it's also about the influence that the religious right seeks to impose upon the american people through their efforts to control what is legal in this country, turning religious morals into legislation, thereby turning the US into a christian theocracy.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      now your going to be blamed for hitler, the crusades, and and all the other atrocities that "religion caused".

      January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • some schmuck

      She isn't whining at all. She posted an iReport with her views. CNN did a story based upon the backlash and the support that article received.

      I do find it interesting how the mere act of an atheist actually having the GALL, the AUDACITY, the very NERVE to actually post about their beliefs (or lack thereof) could get some many people to report the article as inappropriate though.

      Is your god really so weak and ineffectual that a little criticism can cause harm?

      January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • The Taught Police

      2 Peter, your post shows that you're not all there.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Bet

      It is entirely proper to bring attention to the intolerance, discrimination, harassment and persecution that nonreligious people experience at the hands of evangelistic christians all over the world.

      Currently, an American influenced bill is gaining support in Uganda, which originally would have made homosexuality a crime punishable by death. It is being promoted by christian evangelists who want to eliminate "se dual sin" and convert Ugandans to fundamental christianity.

      Aggressive evangelists, like the stalker mommies in this article, need to be exposed for what they are – intolerant, bigoted, and hateful.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bet

      That should read sexual sin. Dang autocorrect!

      January 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  9. NGB4M

    Jesus may or may not have been a real person. It doesn't mean all that we find written about him in the new testament is real. It could be that the character we know as Jesus is a composite figure of many of the messiahs running around at the time. Even if Josephus did write about him, it was long after the fact. Plenty of time for the legend to take on a life of it's own and be told as history. I don't think anyone is trying to say the entire bible is pure invention. Matter of fact, it's the lie with a grain of truth to it that is most believable.

    January 24, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  10. PJ

    Why is god "him" or "he"? Why is "he" referred to as a "father" when he does no such fatherly things, in fact is completely absent from our 5 senses? At one moment, religious people and leaders use the image of "father" to explain what "he" is, yet at the next this image is dismissed as the correct image of god. And what's the point of giving us brains to think, only to be told not to think but blindly follow static words written in a bunch of texts that someone edited and coddled into one "book". Yet, at the same time, it's this thinking that even allows one to survive and read and understand launguage or even TRY and understand what is written in the bible, which mostly doesn't make sense?

    January 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • PJ

      Even though it still wouldn't make sense, wouldn't "she" be a better image for god? After all, women give birth and are naturally and physically nurturing to their young, much more so than men. To me, it obvious that the bible, and the use of the "he" and "father" images of god, was written by men and not god.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think in the modern world it's just English being annoying. In Finish they would use the gender neutral, as with spoken Chinese and Indonesian and other gender neutral languages. Originally it would have been a hang-over from the more human gods of older times, but I don't know that Christians really assign their god a gender these days.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • PJ

      It's not an english problem, it's a problem with the bible itself. In every bible I read growing up, Jesus referred to the "father" many times in the new testament. It's also a problem that god created "himself" when "he" supposedly created all the different languages. So the only vehicle god supposedly leaves us, the bible, to figure out "his" message was complicated and obfuscated by "his" own actions. Good move.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • some schmuck

      God is referred to as "He" and "Him" because the culture that invented him was a patriarchal society in which women were property and had no rights whatsoever.

      Seriously, how could you justify keeping women as property if your god figure is a woman? Since their god is male, they not only don't have that problem, but his commands are in line with their cultural power structure. Amazing coincidence that isn't it?

      January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  11. Lisa

    What ever happened to the time-honored American principle of minding your own business? What business is it to Christians where other people take their kids Sunday mornings, or what consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their own bedrooms, or how other women manage their reproductive lives? Just mind your own business, OK?

    January 24, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • 1word

      Lisa, we all live in a Community. Now, if you home school your child and they will never enter Society; I would agree with you. We're all a part of society, so when we enter the world if we were not raised with good morals we will end up being a hinderance to Society. That's why we have so many people behind bars today, that's why we have so many thrashy TV shows on TV today. I am not saying you have to know God to be a good person, but really knowing God can help.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • some schmuck

      Well, Atheists used to mind our own business. Then we realize that crap like this is happening.

      http:// www dot huffingtonpost dot com/2012/04/10/tennessee-evolution-bill-haslam_n_1416015 dot html

      I had to sneak that past the filter, but I'm sure you can figure out where the dots go.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • some schmuck

      1word,

      If religion keeps people from committing crimes and winding up in jail, why do prison inmate populations have a higher rate of religiousity than the population outside the prison?

      January 24, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • $#@(&^

      says who

      January 24, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • 1word

      some schmuck

      1word,

      If religion keeps people from committing crimes and winding up in jail, why do prison inmate populations have a higher rate of religiousity than the population outside the prison?

      A lot of people find God while in Prison. A lot of these men or women have no hope and they are given Bibles to read, so all they have is time on their hands to seek God. Today, we are too busy to read the Bible; most people would rather surf the web than read a book. The Bible is a daunting Book to read but it's also a rewarding book.

      I have a question for the nonbelievers how can you explain pastors like T.D Jakes success? NOBODY but God can take a crooked person and use him to help others.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XAcd56dfWM&w=640&h=390]

      January 24, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Science

      Evolution at its best

      Apes Get iPads at National Zoo

      by LiveScience Staff
      Date: 22 January 2013 Time: 04:07 PM ET
      http://www.livescience.com/26490-orangutans-ipads-national-zoo.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Livesciencecom+%28LiveScience.com+Science+Headline+Feed%29

      January 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      1word, I know you have read the bible. Have you read "Elmer Gantry"?

      January 24, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • some schmuck

      1word,

      I have read the bible. I've read it cover to cover, paying special attention to verses that mention such gems as rabbits chewing their cud, and divine sponsorship of genocide. The idea that a r@p1st can pay his victim 50 sheckels of silver and she can be forced to marry her is one of my absolute favorite examples of your god's "morality."

      You see, that's why I'm an atheist. I wasn't raised wrong (well, from my perspective I was, but not from yours). I wasn't taught that there was no god by a science teacher or my parents. It was the only conclusion I could come to after actually reading the Christian holy book.

      You see, that's the problem with Christians today. They claim that god is all about "love" or "forgiveness." They never stop and read and see what their god is about. He's about some pretty horrible stuff. Deuteronomy 22:28-29, it's in there.

      Sadly, Christianity is still alive today because most people don't read the bible. It's not because it's a "daunting" book either. It's because they go to church on Sunday to hear the good bits, and don't care the rest of the week. To them, the bible is like an online terms of use agreement. They just scroll to the bottom and hit "I agree."

      January 24, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  12. 1word

    God is real, there is historical data that Jesus existed. There is Historical data that the House of David existed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/mckenzie-david.html

    To find God you must accept him into your hearts, if you do that and diligently seek him with all your heart he will reveal himself to you. Once that happens you will live for him, and he will live through you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    January 24, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • some schmuck

      Almost every major religious "scholar" agrees that all secular history scholars agree that Jesus once existed.

      Meanwhile, real secular history scholars are silent on the subject as they are too busy studying things that actually happened. It is no surprise that those who cite wide agreement on the subject are ALL theology professors rather than history professors.

      One of the most often cited "proofs" that Jesus was a real historical figure is a reference to him in the works of Josephus, however it was proven in the 50s that this reference dated 300 full years after the other works of Josephus. It was written after he was long since dead.

      No, I'm afraid that there is no consensus that Jesus was a real person, regardless of how effective his PR team is.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Saraswati

      I believe there was at least one person who is actually the basis of the Jesus story, but I also believe there were a ton of prophets at the time. This guy ( or guys) had some good, imaginative PR. It's just not that unique or interesting.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Lisa

      1word
      Even if there is historical data that Jesus and the House of David existed, how does that indicate that God is real? The Jesus of history is not the same thing as the Christ of faith. Jesus could have been real, and might even have thought he was God, but that doesn't make it so. We have far more evidence that the Roman Emperors were real, historical figures, but that doesn't mean that they were actually gods, like many of them claimed, right?

      "To find God you must accept him into your hearts,"
      So, if you first really bring yourself to believe that God exists, you will "find" evidence for him in everyday life? Don't you mean that, if you are expecting to see signs of God because you believe that they must be there, then of course you will see signs? Every religion taught it's believers how to interpret nature in order to see the evidence for its gods. Native Americans could point to animals and tell you which spirits were at play.

      You talk to Christians and they will tell you that they got a "sign" from God when they happened to see a church billboard while trying to work out their problems on a drive. They probably passed that very same billboard a thousand times but, somehow, that particular time was God speaking to them. Amazing!

      January 24, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • 1word

      The proof is in the pudding, everything Jesus said we should do to know the Father I did. I have experienced Supernatural visions "While Dreaming Ofcourse" and I know for a fact in my heart God is real. I have seen Jesus " I am not ashame to say it" YES I have SEEN BOTH JESUS AND THE FATHER!

      January 24, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Science

      @1word The proof is at the zoo. ! They have a thought process !

      Evolution at its best

      Apes Get iPads at National Zoo

      by LiveScience Staff
      Date: 22 January 2013 Time: 04:07 PM ET
      http://www.livescience.com/26490-orangutans-ipads-national-zoo.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Livesciencecom+%28LiveScience.com+Science+Headline+Feed%29

      January 24, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      There's far more evidence that the founder of Mormonism existed – so does that mean that Mormonism is more plausible than Christianity? There's even better evidence that the founder of Scientology existed, so should you believe in that instead?

      And Harry Potter books get the London geography just right, so that makes that book right, yes? Facts that fit a little bit of history, and some highly questionable data don't prove anything.

      January 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      1word, What does he look like? Middle Eastern? Italian as in most depictions? Long hair? Beard? Dirty hands?

      January 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Big foot too

      To find UFOs you must accept them into your hearts, if you do that and diligently seek them with all your heart they will reveal themselves to you.

      January 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  13. NGB4M

    If, hypothetically speaking, we were at the same place in history that we are now and the bible was just discovered, would any one believe it? Is it only the weight of 2,000 years of tradition combined with a lack of real interest on the part of many marginal believers as to it's history and content that keep it going? Maybe we should have academically oriented religious studies classes in schools. What if children were free of religious indoctrination until they reached a more reasonable age?
    Imagine there's no heaven.? It's more like one has to imagine that there is.

    January 24, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Saraswati

      We certainly would be well off to have those classes in schools, but the cost the lawsuits that would result would be enormous. Many private schools and university town public schools do already teach such courses...but you won't find them in you average public school for a long, long time.

      January 24, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • ams

      My public middle school taught ABOUT religion. In our social studies class we learned about Christianity, Judaism and Islam. We got a intro from the teacher to the effect: I'm not encouraging these religions or any religion. Just because you don't believe in a religion doesn't mean you shouldn't know something about it. Religion has has several historical implications and one can be aware withougt being a follower.

      In my public high school in another state, there was an after school Bible study group. Someone objected that school facilities were being used for a religious cause. The school said it would welcome an atheist group, or any other religious group organized by the students. Somebody did start an atheist group, but no one showed up and the group quickly ended.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  14. Zero

    Most people who have no religion do not go to every person they see and advertise their beliefs or lack thereof. Normally it is not until people start becoming persistant in their belief and the need to push them onto them after clearing informing them that they are not interested is when we voice our opinion. You cannot get mad at the bullied for fighting back at some point.

    January 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  15. End Religion

    I'm considering getting drunk this weekend and running over a cat to see if I can find Jeebus.

    January 24, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You could just get drunk with the cat.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • the AnViL

      haruspi.cation?? extisp.icy???

      January 24, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Lisa

      Just don't run over a black cat. Not that I'm superst_itious or anything, it's just that my Mixie is a black kittty, and I just spent a lot of money to have her fixed. :-)

      January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      She was broken? ;)

      January 24, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Saraswati

      Wasn't there a line similar to this in Fahrenheit 415, or am I misremembering?

      January 24, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  16. mark cacchione

    so many stupid people in this world. how about a REALITY check!

    January 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  17. ???????

    Pick up remote control fo the TV, now what digit as humans do we use to operate the remote ?

    That proves something does it not ?

    January 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • End Religion

      You find significance in a remote control?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Apes

      Thumb da

      January 24, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • adam smsofdm

      I hope this is a troll. That's absolutely moronic.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      I believe this was a joke.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  18. KiKi

    Sweetie, good luck with that. I firmly believe the world's problems are rooted in so-called religious beliefs & profit above all else.

    January 24, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  19. Robert

    The bible has always been about death, slavery, servitute, and conquest. And christians have the elite position in history as the warrior aristocracy. They must feast on war, bigotry, conquest, genocide and bloodshed. You only have to look at history to see that this religion has produced more carnage to mankind than all the world's plagues and wars combined. Don't take my word for it, look it up!

    January 24, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • lol??

      It's not Saturday night yet? You need a bath.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Zingo

      Did austin lend you his sniffing glue again, lol?? You aren't making any sense at all.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • JackDMontana

      Actually the reasons for war were simple: power, wealth, resources. Religion was usually the excuse.

      January 24, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Lisa

      Wars are usually fought over power and resources, but religion is usually what rulers use to rally the people into killing their neighbors by demonizing them. It's a whole lot easier to slaughter people when you've been led to believe that your god wants them dead.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  20. Colin

    The average Christian child spends two hours a week learning about the Christian religion for about 8 years of their lives. 2 x 52 x 8 = 2080 hours. They also spend an hour a week at church from birth to age 18 (and later if they continue with their religion). 52×18 = 936.

    Imagine if those 3,000 hours were instead spent learing math,science, a foreign language or even doing constructive work for society. Now multiply that number by the number of Christian children in the USA. Then ad Jews, Muslims, Budhists etc.

    Religion, apart from its other shortcomings, is without doubt, the greatest waste of human resouces in world history. And the saddest part of all is that it is a plague we have 100% visited upon ourselves.

    January 24, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Athy

      Well, I haven't visited any of that on my three children, much to their advantage. The parents that do are the losers. Pity.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • lol??

      colin sayz,
      "................we have 100% visited upon ourselves."... There's that commie mommie Athenaite "wegod" again. She sure likes to play around and even daddy Athy sayz she's just fine with him. God chose to relate as Father and family, not a motorcycle gang where you pass around da broads.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Is it just me, or are the trolls getting even more desperate around here?

      January 24, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • Zingo

      Like austin, Chad, truth be told (et al), Topher, and Robert Brown, lol?? serves a very useful purpose. Their "recruiting atheists through repulsion" campaign is going very well.

      January 24, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Kevin

      Religion as a waste of time?! Come on, Colin... What about the brainless hours of television that so many within our society use as a babysitter for their/our children? And this isn't a weekly issue, then...It's a DAILY issue that our children waste their time on. Or rather, we allow our children to waste their lives on. You complain about 2080 hours wasted over a span of eight years while the Nielsen Co. states the average American child spends four hours per DAY watching television, and that doesn't even take into account the hours spent on Playstation or XBox. Perhaps, instead of turning their backs on God for those spare moments, maybe they should just switch off the cable and do their homework. Then they'd learn their math, science, a foreign language, and maybe even have a chance to go outside and see the world.

      January 24, 2013 at 4:02 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Kevin' is an instance of a Red Herring fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 24, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Kim

      Zingo
      The sad thing is, I think Chad actually believes that he has valid arguments. He keeps posting that same five "proofs" that end with the resurrection of Jesus as though they're irrefutable. I suppose that he's just hoping that people get bored with explaining to him why he's wrong and just leave his posts stand unopposed. Then he can sit back and say to himself how brilliant his defence of Christ is, I suppose. Sad.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy, Colin argued that, with hours of time as evidence, religion was the greatest time waster. Kevin argued television took more time. This, once again, is not the fallacy you're listing. Please stop wasting everyones time with your half-baked understanding of fallacies, the problem of misusing these terms is out of control enough without your contribution.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Lisa

      Kevin
      I can do you one better; watching Christian television!! :-)

      Especially that 700 Club bull. Old Pat Robinson has to be the stupidest old coot allowed to speak on air. Have you heard what he says about wives? Divorce them if the get alzheimer's, and if their husbands start to lose interest it's probably because they're just too ugly. Is this the kind of advice I'm missing by not taking my family to church?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Lisa, Lol...that wins the day.:)

      Poor Pat probably is getting alzheimer's, though, and whoever suffers it is sad to see.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • mark cacchione

      nicely said

      January 24, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Saraswati is, as usual, unfounded and incorrect. Kevin's statements do not rebut Colin's case for religion being a waste of time, and are not on-topic in regard to religion wasting time. The Red Herring fallacy in Kevin's post was correctly identified and flagged.

      Note also that TV is a relatively recent invention, and then integrate the usage over history. Over human history, Kevin's conclusion is also incorrect.

      Saraswati, you would be well advised to spend some time studying the content at the following link. Perhaps, all your time:

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy, Colling claimed religion was the "greatest waste", not just "a waste". An argument claiming there is another greater waster may be wrong, but it isn't a red herring. I do agree, though, that the wording of Kevin's initial sentence could be read one or two ways, either as challenging the concept of a waster of time at all (as you are reading it) or of identifying this as a particular waste of time in light of a larger waste (as I think is supported by the rest of his post and the OP's rather extreme claim). But yes, I can see how you could read it that way, too, so I'll give you this one.

      January 24, 2013 at 12:28 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.