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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

    Speaking the Truth in love, it takes more courage to show a sinner the error of their ways. All so called atheist types are liars, they cannot help themselves as is evidenced by their repeated filth on these blogs every single day. Repentance and eternal life are only a prayer away. As it is there is no use for an atheist in this world or the next.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Pete

      "ll so called atheist types are liars,"

      More lies from the xtians – 119!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Sensible

      jesus

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for adding proof to my statement pete, oh, there is no such thing as an xtian, but we already knew that as everything you said was a lie.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Josef F

      You're an idiot.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • ironman59

      This is a public forum, not a church. The fact that you cannot handle opinions that differ from yours is your problem, not this womans or mine. We are quite content with the way we live our lives not worrying about something that never existed judging our actions. You will also find that the majority of atheists are far better citizens than any religious person.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Obvious troll is dumb.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • truth be told

      Tom tom is one of the greatest proofs of my comments, thanks tom.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • HR

      And bonafide, wacko craziness is found right in your post.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Obvious herbie is butt-hurt.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • SamB19

      religion = brainwashed

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Jesus taught tolerance, non-judgement, love for all. You don't sound like you understand any of those things. You don't want to save anyone. You want to be RIGHT. The REAL TRUTH.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • truth be told

      Atheist a "good" citizen? Gutter slurping liar a "good citizen"? I think not. President George H W Bush has said an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of the USA. We are one nation under God. And that is the Truth.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Free Nuts

      Nut for free today

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TruthbeTrolled is an ignoramus.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Pete

      "Atheist a "good" citizen? Gutter slurping liar a "good citizen"? I think not."

      More lies from the xtians – 120!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Jules

      Yeah whatever man. When it's all over you'll be rotting in a grave like the rest of us...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • visitor

      Very loving post. You win the prize for best representative of the christian Taliban.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Education is my religion

      Your vitriol gives lie to the religion that drives you to spew it. Peace? Love? Not judging lest you be judged? Keep the heaven you cling to if it's filled with people like you.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  2. marcia

    Well for all you non-believers, I guess you will find out when your life is over. Me, on the other hand, I'll will be in the presents of the Most High Jesus Christ praising Him when he calls me home! All Glory to God!!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Gir

      People like this vote. That's more scary than the prospect of any of the 1000s of versions of hell that religionists claim exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Why do you Christians always sound like your gloating when you brag about where you're going and where we non-believers might be going?? Look deep in your heart... you want us to burn so you can be right! The REAL TRUTH.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "In the presents"? Do tell. Another idiot brays.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • lollypop42

      Ignorance is Bliss

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Jesus won't be happy with you standing on his presents. Those sunglasses cost $500.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Billy D

      And if you die and find Odin was the correct god, ten what?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • HR

      So very sure of yourselves, you religious freaks are. Your arrogance and judgment of others is sickening. Oh but you'll get into your magic kingdom. Suuuure...

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • SamB19

      this is proof how religion can mess up people

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Avocado Power

      Most High Presents? Those must be some good presents if you're willing to believe such fairy tales.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      But yours is a god of "love" right?

      Wrong....that is a god of hate and vengence.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Jules

      Well how can you be sure your god is the right one? How do you know it's not Allah or Moses or whatever the hell the Hindus believe? Given the number of religions out there, chances are you're going to hell after all (except there is no hell because it's made-up BS)

      P.S. I still respect your faith even though I'm basically an Atheist...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • sam stone

      The "presents" of the most high jesus?

      he is going to spray all over your face, marcia

      January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Tim

      Why does it seem that the more 'christian' someone is, the more they HATE those that aren't?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  3. Lemaitre

    I'm glad this mother is raising children who will fail to know right from wrong, good from evil. All they will know is not to judge evil and not to impose personal beliefs on others – even if those beliefs will save the other people's lives (Bonhoeffer)

    January 19, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      As long as they know sh!t from Shinola, they'll be alright.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Lemaitre

      I think turning over the moral education of children to TV, celebrities, public school teachers, the internet, and their friends is the hallmark of a good parent and a good citizen!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • August

      What a shame. Now they won't behave like George W Bush, Jimmy Swaggert, Oral Roberts, Osama bun Laden, Jim Baker, Catholic priests, etc. Knowing right from wrong has absolutely nothing to do with belief in a sun god, moon god or sky god, but everything to do with ethics and character. I suggest you read James Loftus, the ex baptist preacher who saw the light of deception and countered it with love and reason.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What a load of Cr@p. If your religion is morally superior to no religion why do so many of your leaders commit such terrible crimes? Why are our prisons full of Christians? Why are predominately secular countries known for being the least violent and happyist? Why are the divorce rates and teen preganacy rates highest in the most "religious" states?

      Oh...that's right...it's is because you are talking out of your ass...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you equate moral education with belief? There's no evidence at all that anyone needs belief in a deity to be good. Can you produce any, Lemaitre?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      August

      Yahweh was actually a storm god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  4. luker6401

    our country is in alot of trouble. We've kicked God out of everything.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      God isn't kicked out of anything, you can't swing a dead cat in this country without hitting a church.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really? Such as what?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Patrick

      You don't need a god to be moral and do what is right, this country is not in trouble. If this country is failing it's because of the greed and selfishness of Christians.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • HR

      How do you kick out something that doesn't exist?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Billy D

      Our country is experiencing historically low murder and violent crime rates, massive decreases in teen pregnancy, infant mortality, and illegal drug use. We were recently ranked the most charitable nation in the world per capita and have one of the highest standards of living the planet has ever known. Where is all this trouble we're supposedly in?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Rufus

      Oh Really? So a God that created all the universes, planets, inhabitants, all the people that ever lived on this earth and is all knowing and all powerful, etc, etc, etc. will let some silly man-made law or mere mortals such as us keep Him out of our schools, government, etc.

      That simply does not make sense.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      We came to this country to free from religious intolerance. Read a book and educate yourself.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • visitor

      God should grow a pair of labs.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • sam stone

      "this country is in a lot of trouble. we've kicked god out of everything" – lurker

      "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!" – chicken little

      the similarity is eerie

      January 19, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Any god that can be "kicked out of everything" isn't much of a god.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  5. lightingdarkness

    You can say that there is NO God if it helps you with your emotional issues etc... but the facts of natural theology remain. It is impossible to be an atheist and follow the scientific evidence where it has taken us in the last 70 years unless you step outside of reason and logic. You will also see, if your honest, how pointless life is on atheism. A Few examples:

    1) The Universe began to exist ex nihilo (out of nothing) – Atheist response = "Universe created itself!!!" This requires one to step out of reason and start doing magic. Atheist response #2 = The Quantum vacuum "creates" particles."" The Universe was NOT produced from this vacuum for the quantum vacuum itself was produced at the initial singularity. So again, how can the atheist explain the origin of literally all things?? They cannot! Therefore the believer sits firmly in line w/ the evidence.

    2) The initial conditions in the Big Bang produced a finely tuned life permitting universe. Furthermore, life began from non-life and biological sciences are revealing complexities that baffle engineers. Atheist response = "Everything happened randomly and for no reason." The odds of the universe randomly ordering itself to this extreme w/o any cause or reason is so improbable that one can call it a miracle!! Thus is evidence for God!! Also how did life begin?? Here we are in the 21st century and science is absolutely silent on this matter.

    3) As Alvin Plantinga has pointed out – if we are indeed animals, as evolution describes us, how can we trust our cognitive faculties in our search for truth? After all, Natural selection is focused on biological survival and reproduction, not truth. Furthermore, on atheism, why thin that humans are any more special than our animal brothers and sisters? After all, we came from the same stuff and all share the same space.

    A universe from nothing from no where for no reason. A finely tuned universe for life w/o cause or purpose or reason. And human beings are only 1 type of millions of animal that have evolved over time. In other words, whats so special about humans over say – bears, monkeys, or giraffes?

    GOOD JOB MOM!! Way to teach your children about the pointless existence we human beings live on this infinitesimally small speck of dirt called planet Earth. The Universe has no reason or purpose for being and neither do you. Oh and before you die, which you will – also make sure you warn them that it will be okay because they will never see you again and that your existence will be literally annihilated. Make sure you add that there ending will be the same.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Every point in your post is based on belief, not fact. If you can't tell the difference, you have no business criticizing anyone else's parenting. Go blow.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Sensible

      @ lightingdarkness

      i won't pretend to know about the quantum physics part of your argument to comment on it. i will say that i'm pretty sure that all animals, and probably even all organisms evolve not just humans.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why is it that so many thumpers can't manage to even write a simple sentence but think they know all about science, evolution, theology, history, child-rearing, psychology, and every other subject?

      It's really hard not to laugh at people who insist they are knowledgeable when they don't know the difference between "your" and "you're" and can't figure out how to use capitalization. Third graders do a better job.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Max25

      Everything you just wrote is simply white noise. Science does not point to, nor even suggest that there is a deity who created this world and our universe. You are simply ignorant of the scientific method, biology, astronomy, anthropology, and the natural sciences. Your position has no basis in reality and is not supported by fact. Please, if you choose to believe in religious ideas, understand that you do so out of faith. If you actually had evidence, there would be no need of faith. Peace.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Gir

      So the entire framework of the argument here is: if you find scientific truth inconvenient, turn to religion. Our future is bleak as long as there are parents out there who think like this.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Gir

      I love how the rebuttal to the entire science of Quantum Physics is, "It couldn't have happened!" Love it!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • ChrisM

      "judge not, lest ye be judged"; "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" – where is your religion when tearing into this woman? Like a poster said below why do you think you can do a better job than God Himself? Be comfortable in your faith and stop worrying about those that profess to not believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Eric

      It is possible to see the wonder and order and even God in the universe WITHOUT religion.

      There is a big difference between God and man's interpretations of God (eg – religion). In fact, one might argue that these stories we have told and have since indoctrinated as laws are extreme hubris and an offense to the glory and mystery that is Creation. Who is any man to say they speak for God?

      There are churches like Unitarian Universalist that understand there are many paths to a relationship with God.

      Religion is the problem. Religion is what this mom truly rejects.

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

      If you don't understand how science works I suggest starting with the definition of scientific method in an elementary school textbook. Your 'god of the gaps' argument has long ago been dropped from any intellectual god vs no god debate -see Neil deGrasse Tyson's youtube video for a simple explanation of why.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • sqeptiq

      So what you're saying is that almost all of the greatest scientists of the last 70 years are idiots?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • lightingdarkness

      @ all the doubters who replied: NONE, not even one, of you replied to the arguments I gave for the absurdity of atheism. You attack grammar, organize religion, and say I don't know science etc... but don't answer the questions. It seems your responses are therefore emotional and not intellectual. Please let me simplify and I will wait for a response.

      1) Science and philosophy agree to a initial beginning of the Universe (all space time and matter). This highly agreed on scientific theory is overwhelmingly accepted in the cosmological sciences. It says that everything that exists was created from literally nothing. Nada. So, because this is exactly within the scientific evidence, how does your atheism explain nothing producing everything?

      2) The fine tuning of the Universe is either to Law or Chance. Physical laws don't create and the chances of a life permitting universe given the fixed initial constants is vanishingly small. How do you account for all of the biological complexity? The balance of life and sustaining of life? Accident?

      3) If the universe was caused out of nothing and for no reason. And if life began magically for no reason. How do atheists, on atheism, derive reason from non-reason? The Universe will ultimately expand and collapse in heat death. All will be dead. Where is this reason you claim from obvious non-reason?

      Regardless of the many reasons why it takes great faith to be a committed atheist, atheism, if accepted is the darkest religions known to man. You start with no purpose, you die without purpose. You live to love for a while, and then lose all of the love and people you love. There is no answer to evil. No true justice. Everyone just eventually dies until all are dead. I do not make this up, it is the logical conclusion of atheism. Maybe you have not thought it through, but many of the great philosophers acknowledge this conclusion.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  6. Jesse

    I am a christian and no one should criticize this mother. It is better to be unbelieving than a lukewarm fake. It is between her and God and no one else's business. If God reveals himself to her and she accepts that is great. Simply just give her support and not direction. All God has ever called us to do was love and share that love. We were never instructed to guide or critique others. Our command comes from the New Testament and that is important. While the Old Testament talks about a lifestyle The new Testament gives direction. Pray for her to have a wonderful filling life and nothing more. Let God be God. Be kind and helpful and a good neighbor nothing more. Do not interject your own personal views of God into her life after all are you God? Why would you get in his way? Do you believe he can't do it and that you can do it better?

    This is what hangs Christians who mean well up. They judge, try to correct, try to do all the things that are the sole responsibility of God. Love thy neighbor in modern day times be nice help those in need. When praying, pray God give people a wonderful and full life. If you really believe in God and his power then leave it to him.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • HR

      That's the problem with you religious freaks. You simply saying it's between her and a god is incredibly disrespectful. It's not between her and some god because there is no god.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • lightingdarkness

      Hey HR -Prove it!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove there is, light. You tried and failed to do so in your silly little epistle above.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Sensible

      @ lightingdarkness

      as i said in another thread, it can't be proven. that's the beauty of it. can you prove your stance? no more than he can. but i'd have to say the burden of truth is on the believers in this debate. non-believers simply tend to believe in what they see, can be proven. believers push an idea that can't actually be stated as fact

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Max25

      @lightingdarkness-

      Can you disprove Santa Claus? Can you disprove that there are no fairies living under your bed? Of course not! Don't you see how silly it is to ask someone to disprove a mind-forged fantasy? It is VERY difficult to think yourself out of the religious mindset. Many never achieve the ability to shake themselves free of these religious ideas because the religions themselves are constantly moving the goalposts and expanding the "rules" for their deity. If their god can do anything and everything AND is invisible, how can you possibly disprove that? Can't you see how the entire enterprise is built on guilt, fear, and credulity?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • jonds

      It is not between her and a god, there is no god for it to be between. Why do christians insist on trying to save others, do you have a quota?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • ChrisM

      See this is what you folks who replied to this poster (Jesse) don't get.

      I'm not religious at all and would, in fact, identify as Atheist. However, their point was that those who do believe are in the wrong for forcing their beliefs on someone else. And, in fact, should question their own belief that their God can't handle this Himself – why interject yourself into something that has nothing to do with you but would be between your believed God and that non-believer? I actually appreciate this view and hold it as one of my own – if you believe that's great and good for you but if someone doesn't then why try to "help" them believe when your own God is supposed to be able to handle that Himself.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • lightingdarkness

      @Max25: HR said, "there is no god". This is a claim of truth- that no god exists. You must have a reason, or some evidence, for a truth claim. Otherwise, I could say that Santa was real or fairies are real etc. and say so without evidence or reason. Its easy to prove that there is know Santa and no fairies. Are you seriously resorting to such a analogy? God's existence has nothing to do with that non-sense. On the other hand there is much evidence that suggests a powerful transcendent creator of the universe. And there is absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • lightingdarkness

      I meant, "no Santa and no fairies"

      January 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Pete

      Santa was a real person. So yes Santa was real.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Pete

      "God's existence has nothing to do with that non-sense. "

      God and fairies, are man-made concepts, they came from our imagination. There have been thousands of gods and none of them have been real.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  7. outofprintmanuals

    "You can drag a kid to church, but you can't make him believe." That was my mantra when my mother insisted on going to church every Sunday. We were raised Episcopal, but I had the same questions her kids had, and my mother simply chose not to answer them. In time, even she stopped going to church. I'm agnostic. I do not want to be saved. If I have kids someday, I'll let them choose whether they want religion or not. Everyone finds their own path through life.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • George

      " If I have kids someday, I'll let them choose whether they want religion or not. Everyone finds their own path through life." A flawed an immature idea. Would you let a child decide what food he/she wants to eat or what cloths to where in the winter?? Give them some ideas to base their life onand then they can discard them later when they grow up, as so many seem to do.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  8. It is Called

    Cant teach creation in public schools in the US is a clue !
    Seperation of Church and State
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hTZ5AYzs8o&w=640&h=390]

    January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • It is Called

      Some more facts. Education works best with facts.

      Where Does All Earth's Gold Come From? Precious Metals the Result of Meteorite Bombardment, Rock Analysis Finds

      Sep. 9, 2011 — Ultra high precision analyses of some of the oldest rock samples on Earth by researchers at the University of Bristol provides clear evidence that the planet's accessible reserves of precious metals are the result of a bombardment of meteorites more than 200 million years after Earth was formed.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • It is Called

      Ooops for full article.and facts
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907132044.htm

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  9. Jack

    Perhaps instead of saying "there is no God", what's wrong with saying something like: "I do not see any God that I can recognize in the traditional sense"?

    January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • ironman59

      t's simple. This woman is not bound by your religious views. She has the right to Freedom From Religion the same way you have Freedom of Religion. Her choice has ZERO bearing or impact on your life so leave her alone.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • SamB19

      there is no single right or wrong way to say it, I guess.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  10. Lemaitre

    I'm here to demand that religious people keep their beliefs and opinions to themselves!!! You have no right to force your beliefs on us!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • George

      I'm here to demand that non-religious people keep their beliefs and opinions to themselves!!! You have no right to force your beliefs on us!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Lemaitre

      You theocratic jihadist!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • lightingdarkness

      Atheism is more militant than Christianity.....they mock, they ridicule, they judge. They are intolerant and demand others to be tolerant. The only way to handle it is w/ conversation. Respectful conversation. After all, science and philosophy point to God more today than it ever has. Therefore a open dialogue is necessary in the discovery of Truth.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, bushwa. "More militant"? And this statement is based on what? That people here make fun of your lack of education? Cry me a river. If you don't want to be ridiculed and mocked, then don't write ridiculous pap.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      More militant? ROFL... for hundreds of years you would be ostrasized, tortured or killed for questioning anything about religion. Hilariously ignorant.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • sqeptiq

      @Lighting. Who would not mock and ridicule the irrational and ridiculous is a fool.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • lightingdarkness

      it is self evident of your own militancy towards believers by what your write online. You can call someone delusional but one can say it right back towards you. How do you know that no god exists? Are you 100% sure you are right? Because if you can't be 100% sure, its possible you may be the delusional one. Finger points back at you. Atheists never want to deal with evidence and reason, they just call names like how little kids do it on the playground.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  11. Soshi

    I am the daughter of aethists whom I love dearly but they are very upset I am going to a Christian church. I don't voice my opinions and I certainly hold their political believes but I sure wish their constant references to my reiigion would end. Their smug intellectual demeanors just "fan the flames".

    January 19, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Patrick

      It's because they don't want a delusional daughter.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • visitor

      While I believe everyone should walk their own path, what kind of church are you attending? "Christian" is one wide definition. Do you believe they will roast in hell if they don't become Christians?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • lightingdarkness

      no offense to your parents but it is self evident online how atheism leads people to mock and criticize others who do not believe what they believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  12. Mack

    Thank goodness there are more and more people like Deborah Mitchell getting their voice heard. It's stories like this – and the subsequent response – that will slowly permit the atheistic to have big enough numbers to be heard once and for all. It's a growing trend, folks, get used to it.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Hacard

      And what will the atheist say? An empty, lonely, lost, message that will be taken by the wind to that Godless, enpty space where your souless body wanders?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  13. eclairer

    Thank God :) for moms like this.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  14. Banjo Ferret

    This pleases Tim the Destroyer of Worlds. We should not be indoctrinating children to worship false sky daddies. We should instead be filling them with paralyzing fear of the giant purple banjo playing ferret, creator of all things. Ferretianism is the one true religion. Repent! (banjoferret d c)

    January 19, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • New Convert

      Preach to me brother i have seen the light, but your views on TIm the Destroyer of worlds is wrong he is a loving forgiving Destroyer so now I have created a Reformation on the banjo ferret. Let us go to war

      January 19, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Are you predicting a future conflict between the Ferretianists and the Pastafarians?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  15. ND4190

    I was raised without religion, and I plan doing the same if I ever have children, but if my children decide they want to follow a faith when they are old enough to decide for themselves, I will let them.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • SamB19

      Thumbs UP. Had you been raised with religion, you might not have turned out so fair and open-minded. Your kids are lucky.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  16. sue

    For 25 years, I belonged to a deeply conservative church. I lived, ate and breathed church, as did my kids. But increasingly, I realized that the male leaders of the denomination controlled what I thought, ate and breathed. It, like most of the other churches in the U.S., was a mini-patriarchal society. Women did most of the work, but held none of the power. (And the men weren't even necessarily smart or ethical.) I finally left when I understood that these men had created the God I worshipped. While I'm happy to have had a place to help me raise my children, I feel we could have done just as well in a community of caring people who allow each other the respect of living out their choices.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Lullwinkle

      You have said what many people are affraid to admit or allow themselves to believe yet there is not a church goer who does not think of what you are saying on a regular basis. For some they consider it a sin and try to submerse themseves deeper into their religion but it does not make the doubts go away.
      Religion and churches are big business, the act of trying to convert others is no more than advertizing and door to door salemen. I think churches should be taxed on what they bring in and what land they occupy with everything they do for good being a tax deduction.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  17. SamB19

    I don't subscribe to a particular religion. I used to go to church every Sunday as a child and there is a lot of good teachings in the Bible. But as an adult, I have learned to think for myself. I think for some people religious faith does them good, i.e., it helps them be a better person. For others, it can be so detrimental – look what people do "in the name of God" – it's disgusting. I have seen "church-goers" with "values" who are so narrow-minded, imposing, arrogant, and devoid of true spirit of what a religion is supposed to be teaching. Just because someone is religious and attends church, it doesn't make the person have "values". Just because someone doesn't affiliate with a religious organization, doesn't mean that person is not moral or compassionate. We should be evaluating others by their CHARACTER, not by their religion. I salute this woman for expressing her view in a very clear, well-thoughtout, balanced manner, and still being respectful and open-minded about other views regardless of whether she agrees or not. She seems to be a level-headed, intelligent, responsible, and articulate person who can think for herself. Good for her!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Sensible

      your story mirrors mine very closely. some people get to a point in life where they begin to question and think. some don't

      January 19, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  18. josh

    there is no god. do you really expect me to believe that fairy tale,aka the bible.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  19. John

    The fact is that the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, created the universe and sent Jesus to die for the sins of all that would believe him.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Patrick

      Your book of myths is just like all the others in the past, not real.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • zaglossus

      Prove it.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Sensible

      @ john

      how can you call something that can't be proven a fact?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Banjo Ferret

      Wrong sky daddy. Tim the Destroyer of Worlds created all things. Ferretianism is the one true religion. Repent! (banjoferret d c)

      January 19, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • John

      Sensible, you can not deny you exist, it is a fact, to you. But everything else, you can deny, and like you, I can deny you exist, much like you can deny God exists.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Tom

      It's scary to think we are just like all the other animals isn't it? Take a moment to let it sink in.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Jan

      Not a FACT; a belief. No evidence. Don't you dare criticize evolution when we have all of the facts in the world. And don't criticize a mother who is doing the best she can (as are we all) but chooses not to impose archaic religious beliefs on her children. Hypocrite.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Sensible

      i have to say john, that is non-sense. i exist to me and to you. i'm writing you. you exist. my computer exists. it all can be proven. you cannot prove to me or to yourself or anyone, that anyone made the universe. it is a statement that can be made, but can never be proven. that's the beauty of the whole thing. it's a doctrine of thought that can never be disproven. no one ever knows until you know nothing (or everything)

      January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • sam stone

      you seem to really have an issue confusing facts with opinions

      January 19, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Dionysus

      Been there done that, long before them other guys came along, except dying for your sins, had plenty of my own to die for.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • John

      Sensible, prove to me that you are not an AI program responding with skeptics phrases matched up to create sentences as a blog reply. That or prove you are not a monkey typing on an experimental computer in a zoo. If those are what I believe you are, it is your job to prove to me you are not those things... right? The claim made by skeptics is basically, "God does not exist, now prove he does", when there are multiple accounts stating he does exist, eye witness accounts that state God exists... and you claim that isn't good enough, that it's not factual. Fine then, you are a monkey in a zoo until you can prove otherwise.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • CM

      Ba ha ha ha

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • VaAtheist

      John, just accept the fact that there is no God. Come to the realization that the morals that keep our society together come from the actions of thoughtful people without input from the imaginary pie-in-the-sky man. Look at the evidence without asking the imaginary personage to comment. And try this experiment: Fill up a gallon jug with water. Pray to it every day... for whatever... record the results. When you get what you wanted, say "praise the waterjug". When you don't get what you wanted say, "well the waterjug knows best, mysterious are the ways of the waterjug". Pretty soon your beliefs will shift from the imaginary god in the sky to the very real jug of water, and from that point you can pour the water out, recycle the jug and be through with delusional thought processes. I'll be praying to my waterjug for you!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • James

      " The claim made by skeptics is basically, "God does not exist, now prove he does", when there are multiple accounts stating he does exist, eye witness accounts that state God exists"

      Which God? Because throughout history all God's have had eye witnesses. LOL!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Wendy

      With all of the rather alarming responses, your response was right on the bullseye. God gave us free will and provided his word and Jesus' death on the cross to prove His love for us. Take it or leave it. I take it.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Pete

      "God gave us free will and provided his word"

      Which is full of myths and literary genre.

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

      @ john

      ok, my argument to that is, is fine. i'm a monkey in a zoo. or an AI program typing away. but i still exist. i'm still writing to you, no matter what i am. the only "eye witness accounts" are from other believers. i've never seen any of the wonderous things that the bible claims to happen.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • sqeptiq

      "Sensible, you can not deny you exist, it is a fact, to you. But everything else, you can deny, and like you, I can deny you exist, much like you can deny God exists." -John
      If this is a true example of theistic logic, then the theists have surrendered any right to be taken seriously.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  20. GG1000

    Welll, what do you expect if you're going to live in Texas? Move somewhere else where people keep their religion private as it should be.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • SamB19

      amen to that!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Tell us where religion is kept private? I doubt there is such a place. Religion = control. They aren't ever going to stop judging or worshipping privately. Converting is the name of the game, and children are the first in line.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Dan

      Are you honestly suggesting that someone should move their family because of others ignorant religious beliefs and over zealousness?!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Hawkguy

      It has less to do with Texas and everything to do with the culture throughout the majority of the country. The lower the income, the dumber people are, and the more ignorant they become. Just look at the most religious places in this country. There is a direct correlation with income levels.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • VaAtheist

      Dan, I live in Lynchburg, the buckle of the BuyBull Belt. My kids were harassed by the "Christian" kids to the point that one wanted to kill himself. Religion is a control tool that controls the weak minded, the lazy minded ones who don't want to bother to question their own existence. Religious people that will read something from a 2000 year old book that was edited and re-edited down through the dark ages to make it the tool of thought control that it is today. Christianity has been spread at the end of a gun barrel, or a spearpoint since it's inception. That tells me that no one really wanted it to start with, but it's better to pay lip service than it is to die at the hands of fanatics. No there's no reason to move, in this country, chances are you'd end up in another puss-filled pocket of rotting brainmass with a crucifix on it.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • visitor

      I would suggest moving to a more open-minded area, definitely, if possible economically. It might be awful to leave family ties if there are some.

      Why do you think Gays move to San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago? Ask them if they regret leaving wherever they came from?

      Why do people move to more economically advantageous areas?

      We are a mobile society. HECK YES the grass is greener.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:19 am |
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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.