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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 • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. Army Wife

    I come from a long line of people who were never baptized and my children and grandchildren were never baptized either. We have never burst into flames for our beliefs and we are all healthy and well adjusted functioning members of society. I taught my children to not be focused on what others do, but to focus on themselves because we are responsible for our own actions. Seems to have worked pretty good for them! Good for this mother!!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Skip Stealey

      This mother is within her rights, I just feel sorry for her. I will be praying she finds the joy of knowing the Lord Jesus personally.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Douglas

      " I will be praying she finds the joy of knowing the Lord Jesus personally."

      Since it doesn't exist, we all know your prayers will go unanswered.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  2. realistInWestTexas

    Am glad that people like Deborah Mitchell have the nerve to stand up for being rational. I am encouraged to see that there are others like myself who reject the myths that so many of our society hold as "truth" when there is ZERO evidence to support any notion of a god. History is full of examples of incredible violence based on one or another belief in god. Society could accomplish much more if we as a whole could get past this god belief and focus on reality instead. Thank you Deborah for your bravery. Keep up the good work

    January 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Lemaitre

      many societies have tried to live without god. they all ended up killing millions!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Lemaitre

      BTW, your claim that there is NO EVIDENCE for a notion of a god is false. There is evidence, just not irrefutable proof. Know the difference.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Skip Stealey

      This mother is within her rights and faith is a personal thing. I feel sorry for those who don't know the Lord, She also seems to want blame God for things man has done, or expects Him to intervene with the system he put in place. Man put sin in the world, not God. God doesn't torture other men, people do. God put a system in place for weather, how the earth changes, and does not arbitrarily interfere with its function, just to please men. If people build where a flood can happen, they may get flooded out. You expect God to interfere with a system that has worked for thousands of years quite nicely just because you want Him to? He is not here to please you, He came so you could have a shot at eternal life, but it is entirely your choice. He won't force you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • ??

      @ Lemaitre...Just curious.What EVIDENCE ?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  3. El Jefe

    I'm so glad I live in the North (Illinois) – I am religious (not weird-religious like some of the people mentioned in the article), but I can't stand people not only pushing their views – that includes atheists as wee as the religious. I don't even want people to care or inquire about others' beliefs. Its simply not done here. When I'm in thse South and people pry into others' beliefs, it is absolutely appalling to me. When the door-to-door creeps come by, I politely tell them I'm not interested. They never leave graciously though, so then I ask them if it is ok if I come to their house, start asking personal questions and then pushing my views on them.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • El Reason

      All religion is weird in that it is not supported by any evidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • JWT

      I never worry about religious people coming to my door – it gives the dog something to do.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • El Reason

      JWT, my dog and I hear you on that one.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  4. Beth

    I never really believed in God until I broke down and started praying with the intent of getting a response. It worked. I got a huge response on everything I asked about, and it has worked ever since. That's why I believe. If you want to try it, it can't be half-hearted. It has to be completely sincere.

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

      It's impossible to sincerely pray to something you don't believe in.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      It's called the power of belief, Beth. It works for other religions/spirituality and beliefs also, that have nothing to do with your Christian God. Hmmm...

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

      It's called the power of positive thinking. I get the same results but don't believe in your god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I love the condescending "you were just doing it wrong" argument.

      And

      Look up Confirmation Bias.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • visitor

      I believe in spiritual experience having had such experiences myself. Yet I do not believe in single creator God, certainly not as defined by any of the major religions.

      But for me, I need to be open to the experience and shut my brain down, such as through meditation. Prayer for me is just talking to myself.

      I still have no need to tell anyone that if they don't think like me they will roast in hell. That belief to me is born out of the evil within men.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • El Reason

      Beth, present one specific instance of your prayer having "worked", with proof that it was your prayer that was the cause of the result. Good luck with that.

      Then sincerely pray for all the hunger in Africa to go away right away. Seems like you should be able to sincerely ask for such a good outcome. Not happening? Oh, maybe you just aren't sincere about black kids getting help.

      Actually, your sky creature really isn't there. If he was and you did the above with no result, he'd be a racist, uncaring bigot.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Jef

      Beth,

      Have you ever considered that you are suffering from "confirmation bias"? Christians say god answers all prayer in the form of "Yes, No, or Wait" . Well any "god" answers prayer in that for. Your sofa would answer prayers to it in that form. Give it a try, pray , sincerely, to your sofa for a month and see how many prayers it answers. I guarantee you it will answer you with a 100% success rate.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  5. Colin

    Rather than wanting to live a life "without accountability" or being "without hope" you’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:

    The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.

    Throwing the three together into one being cubes its already dispositive implausibility.

    We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe. The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive) makes no sense to us. We can’t help but ask ourselves, “did God make the Jews or did the Jews make God?”

    The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, the Judeo-Christian god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

    We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.

    We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”. Likewise, we know how all faiths evolve, morph and change over time and do not think we were lucky enough to have been born in the one generation that “got it right.”

    We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the pre Dark Ages Mediterranean.

    Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away,” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more näive, timid minds among us.

    We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”.

    “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, or even a relevant point, because an inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them. It is not even evidence for their existence. It is impossible to prove a negative in this context.

    When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, a talking snake, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.

    It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Mao Zedong was a great man because The Little Red Book says so, and the reason I believe The Little Red Book is that it was written by Mao Zedong, who was a great man.” Do you even have the slightest idea of how your Bible was compiled over the centuries or who decided what to include and what to exclude and on what grounds? Can you even name one of hundred plus authors who contributed to it? One of the many people who decided what got in and what didn’t?

    To be bluntly honest, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.

    So, before any Christian next proudly proclaimsthat you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, simply because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from late Bronze Age Palestine as a child, you might like to reflect upon the overwhelming enormity of the claims you are about to make and the complete paucity of evidence that underwrites those claims.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • El Jefe

      ...or maybe early people thought God created everything but was really just the ET creator of humans. The Bible makes an awful lot of sense if you interpret it "right" (we,, if my interpretation is right, that is) – nobody is forcing anyone (this century) to believe it a certain way.

      "When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – ..."

      Adam and Eve – prototype genetic experiments?

      Noah’s flood – strong evidence to support this; common knowledge that pairs of genetic samples could easily fit on a huge ship

      People living to be 700 or 900 years old – such longevity is almost a foregone conclusion in the future – why would it have been impossible in a past which included the building of the Giza pyramids?

      The Red Sea splitting – there's scientific basis for this possibility

      Water turning into wine – I've seen water turned into energy drinks just by mixing in powder. Easy to see how advanced technology (nanotech?) could change water to wine.

      A talking snake – obvious allegory

      A man living in a whale’s belly – probable allegory

      People rising from the dead – happens every day, future tech will likely allow us to re-animate those dead for years

      Just examples and possibilities – you assume too much.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Jack

      Yeah, what Colin said. In light of all of that, I think it is still possible to entertain the idea of something else, even if we don't know whether it exists or not. But using religion as a defense for doing or not doing something, for justifying one's actions needs to stop. Too many discrepancies and the deeply religious can't even agree with each other! This is the best comments section I have read in years...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • ??

      Great post Colin.Don't expect too many reasoned replies.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • ??

      @ el jefe..one word.WOW.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  6. Another version

    Funny how each of you non-believers can arrogantly run around professing some deep understanding of the Universe and a lack of belief in the divine. Yet, when something happens like the mass murder in Newtown or Columbine, you shake your fists in the air and wonder where God was on those days and why 'He' would allow such things to happen.

    Evil is the definition of existence without God. Just as there is darkness without light, hatred in place of Love, Stupidity in place of knowledge, arrogance in place of humility, Divorce in Place of Marriage.

    Do any of these trades ring a bell? I'll bet the majority of you share at least a few of these traits.

    Take your sacrilegious monkey chirping to an audience that cares. Maybe one of you can eventually rise up and evolve enough to realize how insignificant you are without a 'GOD' offering you a path. You might want to thank the 'Myth' for providing the strength to all of those who came before you who sacrificed themselves so that you can sit around offering each other praise
    in your false ideals.

    Sad thing is, you equate the weakness of mankind with the word of God. Blame God for the actions of the priest or minister.

    Your secular wannabe make believe world that runs on fairy dust and vehicles with green Unicorn power doesn't exist. God on the other hand, does in the lives of those who have enough humility to experience the presence.

    I will pray for you. God help you.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where do you get the notion that atheists run around asking "where is god" when horrible things happen? When atheists ask such a question, they're asking YOU believers to explain why YOU believe there is a god when it's pretty apparent that if one exists, he does nothing.

      You don't really think very much, do you?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I wonder whether Jesus knows the difference between sh!t and Shinola?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • SImran

      Tom,
      Reason and faith don't work together. So, no, they don't think.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • visitor

      Don't pray for me.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Colin

      Thanks. You pray for me and I'll think for both of us.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      "Evil is the definition of existence without God."

      Isiah 45-7: ""I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

      January 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • SImran

      Benjamin Franklin
      “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”

      Søren Kierkegaard
      “Certainty... lurks at the door of faith and threatens to devour it.”

      Martin Luther
      “Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.”

      Bertrand Russell
      “We may define ‘faith’ as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substi.tute emotion for evidence.”

      Mark Twain
      “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • ironman59

      I didn't shake a fist at anyone or scream for "gawd" at any of these events. What I did scream at was a change to the secular laws of the land that allow people to be armed to the teeth.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • End Religion

      "Funny how each of you non-believers can arrogantly run around professing some deep understanding of the Universe and a lack of belief in the divine. Yet, when something happens like the mass murder in Newtown or Columbine, you shake your fists in the air and wonder where God was on those days and why 'He' would allow such things to happen."

      Why would an atheist wonder where god is? We know he has nothing to do with any of the events. This concept isn't that hard to grasp, even for you.

      ***
      "Evil is the definition of existence without God."

      There is no evil, and the word is only defined as "existence without god" by nutters. In our shared reality we have what is called a dictionary where we try to agree on what words mean. The definition for "evil" does not contain any comment on god. You realize lying is a Top 10 Sin right?

      ***
      "Take your sacrilegious monkey chirping to an audience that cares."

      I am a part of this audience. I care. Chirp, chirp.

      ***
      "Maybe one of you can eventually rise up and evolve enough to realize how insignificant you are without a 'GOD' offering you a path."

      You need a path, I don't. The difference is that you cannot think for yourself, you need others to tell you what to think, how to act, etc. Folks like you need religion because you have no morals and need a fictional book to tell you what kindness is. The bible is "kiddy bumpers" on the bowling lane of life. And then you dare preach to those who can bowl a strike without the bumpers... Preposterously hypocritical.

      ***
      "Your secular wannabe make believe world that runs on fairy dust and vehicles with green Unicorn power doesn't exist. God on the other hand, does in the lives of those who have enough humility to experience the presence."

      You're right that fairy dust and unicorns don't exist. Same for your god, Jesus, Moses and the Lot. (did you get my funny joke? "and the lot" Get it? Lot and his wife are fables from the book of lies called the Bible. Get it? Huh?)

      January 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Jack

      Good point.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • California transplant in Bama

      Living in alabama now having come from California I feel like I've lived at the nucleus of both the religious Bible Belt and the more secular, libertarian west coast. My observations are the religious right is very intolerant of contrary views or beliefs and even more so now and in the south than I've ever witnessed. The secular, agnostic, atheists etc... Appear more fearful than ever and appear to channel this fear of the unknown against the religious right. Here's the deal, I'm religious and believe in God without a doubt but we should have respect and tolerance for all people's beliefs whrether Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, Jewish or Christian. The secularist view that attacks the religious or belief of a higher being as many of these posts do show and prove to me that those individuals have a fear they do not have something to call upon or lean on during tough times as we do in our belief in God, and for that I feel sorry for them. I not only pray that they find a peace but also learn thru these conversations making fun of the belief in God or a higher being doesn't or won't make you feel better or ease your fear nor will it impede the religious right from professing their faith, because in the end were all gods people and though your lost now there is always hope. Ps not hope in Obama hope in God!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • ??

      It might be interesting if you could cite ONE example where prayer has been proven to be successful.Just one.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  7. Rachel

    I find it interesting that all these people who claim not to believe in God are the first ones who want a prayer vigil at Sandy Hook. Hypocrite.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where did you get that idea?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • visitor

      Doubtful.

      By the way, it's a myth that there are no atheists in fox holes.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • El Reason

      Rachel, your post is not supported by any facts, and is misleading. Please retract it.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  8. Another version

    Funny how each of you non-believers can run arrogantly run around professing some deep understanding of the Universe and a lack of belief in the divine. Yet, when something happens like the mass murder in Newtown or Columbine, you shake your fists in the air and wonder where God was on those days and why 'He' would allow such things to happen.

    Evil is the definition of existence without God. Just as there is darkness without light, hatred in place of Love, Stupidity in place of knowledge, arrogance in place of humility, Divorce in Place of Marriage.

    Do any of these trades ring a bell? I'll bet the majority of you share at least a few of these traits.

    Take your sacrilegious monkey chirping to an audience that cares. Maybe one of you can eventually rise up and evolve enough to realize how insignificant you are without a 'GOD' offering you a path. You might want to thank the 'Myth' for providing the strength to all of those who came before you who sacrificed themselves so that you can sit around offering each other praise
    in your false ideals.

    Sad thing is, you equate the weakness of mankind with the word of God. Blame God for the actions of the priest or minister.

    Your secular wannabe make believe world that runs on fairy dust and vehicles with green Unicorn power doesn't exist. God on the other hand, does in the lives of those who have enough humility to experience the presence.

    I will pray for you. God help you.

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

      There is no such thing as evil. It's only a term that a human gives to an idea that they strongly disagree with.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  9. Kat

    I think a lot of the arguments about fantasy God and science pretty much can be either way. Today's magic is tomorrow's science... always has been, always will be. The truth is, you really don't hurt God by not worshipping. Not one iota. They existed before you, and will exist long after. As a pagan, I believe in many Gods and Goddesses. I connect with whom I feel affinity for. I've never been happier for it... That's a a fact. Oh, and we don't recruit :)

    January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  10. Lemaitre

    And Father Nicolas Copernicus . . .

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

      And let's not forget Father Francis Bacon. . . "the father of the scientific method"

      January 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  11. BJ

    Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV

    God loves us. He the universe and all that was created and a place for humankind to dwell. After we fell, he then sent His son, the only acceptable sacrifice to die in our place that we could be reconciled to Him and by believing in His Son, the Lord, Jesus Christ, we could enjoy eternal life. Each of us has a free will and a choice not accept God's grace and life. Or you can go it alone.

    "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
    Joshua 24:14-16" NIV.

    If you truly seek God. You will find Him. He is never far from you. And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9 ESV

    January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • End Religion

      "Train up a child with God and ye will have created another nutcase." – Me

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

      "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. "

      I was raised in a very hard core Christian household and yes, I departed from it. So your point is moot.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Was also raised in a strict Christian household. There are millions of us now, showing your passage is absolute BS. Religion spreads by brainwashing children. Of course there are passages in the bible that command you to indoctrinate them early (BRAINWASHING). It also states that children who don't mind their parents are evil and should be stoned to death, but you'll never embrace that one will you (at least not in the West, anyway)?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  12. Angel

    Ask yourself:

    1) "Who am I?"

    2) "What is my purpose in this life?"

    Without God....pretty empty....;(

    January 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Douglas

      "1) "Who am I?"

      2) "What is my purpose in this life?"

      Without God....pretty empty....;("

      If you need to have a god in order to have those things then you are a shallow person, since your god actually doesn't exist and you've been lying to yourself.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • ted

      my purpose in this life is to take care of my kids and family, then grow old and die. Thats it!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Who I am has nothing to do with religion, and our purpose is as obvious as nature: survival and reproduction.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • visitor

      How shallow you are.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • ted

      when i die, god will reward me by taking my soul to heaven( because i belived in him and sang his praises...etc). In heaven, god shal give me:
      a bently, a bugatti veron, a ferrari, many beautiful virgin wives, a mansion to raise our kids in, and angels as our servants; god will give me the best foods in the world in abundance. There shall be no suffering , sickness, and the air my soul breathes shall be pure and fresh. and my soul will have the most beautiful hair you´ve ever seen, and my eyes shall be blue, and my d-1ck shall be 30cm long...and all my wives shall lllooooovveee me.
      Infact, everything i wished to have in this life shall bem ine in heaven. Heaven shall be just marvelous!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  13. Lemaitre

    I hope when these kids are learning "science" that they study Lemaitre!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  14. JSC

    CNN this is one of the best iReports I have read in awhile. I am very proud that we live in a country in which we have the ability to voice our different views and opinions. Deborah Mitchell I hope you are proud of yourself for this well written essay. I think you have spoken for may people who share the same views (such as I) who can't quite express them as well as you did. Kudos to you and much success!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  15. Have Hope

    Without a belief in God, there is no hope. I feel sorry for the people who believe that this life is IT, and that there is no heaven or after life. To think that we will never be reunited with our love ones that we have lost is pretty depressing to say the least. I think that some people choose not to believe in God, because they don't want to believe that they will be accountable for their actions on this earth. With this way of thinking than it is easier to commit adultery, steal, lie, cheat etc. However, we will stand before God one day, and be accountable for all of our actions on this earth. Some people think that God is a angry, hard, and unmerciful, but he is not. He is kind and loving. Sometimes he will intervene to stop terrible things from happening, and sometimes he will not. God knows us individually, and he knows when it is our time to die, and he will not take us from this earth until it is. For those who are searching for the truth, please investigate "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".

    January 19, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Patrick

      "With this way of thinking than it is easier to commit adultery, steal, lie, cheat etc."

      Not all atheists don't do these things. You do know that divorce is highest among Christians. Why do you have to lie in order to feel better about your belief?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Pete

      "God is a angry, hard, and unmerciful, but he is not. He is kind and loving"

      The stories in the bible show otherwise. Your god is not loving when it will torture people for all eternity. That is not loving, that is a monster.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • glades2

      Why are military suicides at the highest rate ever – because they have lost hope – God gives mankind the hope he needs to continue, even in the worse of times...

      I'd have probably pulled my own plug a long time ago regarding health problems, but God keeps me going every day – even when I'm angry with Him or sin against Him – as I type this there's physical pain, but as a former weekend athlete it's like a race – you keep going, even if you don't think you can go any further, and it's God that keeps me going!!!

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

      It's the belief in the afterlife that is scary. People are completely ok with destroying the only world we know exists to reach what in their mind is a religious goal to get them in heaven. There is no more crime in places that are less religious, perhaps there's even less crime in such places, so it looks like people can be good without the idea of some deity watching their every move.

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

      i don't think there's anything wrong with thinking this is it. there's one life and live it to the fullest. the rest of the animals of the world don't obsess with seeing loved ones for the rest of eternity, what's wrong with realizing that's not the case now? i have the hope that the rewards for me living life the way it should be lived, i receive in this life. an increasing amount of people don't need the comfort blanket of believing it all ends happily ever after in the end

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

      "I'd have probably pulled my own plug a long time ago regarding health problems, but God keeps me going every day – even when I'm angry with Him or sin against Him – as I type this there's physical pain, but as a former weekend athlete it's like a race – you keep going, even if you don't think you can go any further, and it's God that keeps me going!!!"

      The reality is, it's yourself that keeps you going. It's in our instincts to survive. An atheist can meditate and feel the exact same thing you're feeling, it's not a god but a chemical reaction in your brain.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • just mike

      Please provide empirical evidence of your "belief". Then we can have a reasonable discussion.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Weakness

      You're weak and afraid. Every thought you have is sullied by your weakness. It is I who feel sorry for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • philliyboy

      Seriously? I used to believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa. Over time and through education an individual should realize that religion tries to answer questions that were and some still are hard to answer. We are organic compounds with independent thought. There is not a special heaven for dogs, cats, or humans for that matter either.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • SLC Atheist

      The beautiful thing about not believing that I'll be standing in front of your god and judged after this life is the standard of morality I must live by to be a member of society. We shouldn't have to pray for forgiveness or think that a deity controls our actions, as human beings that's just who we are. We live every day knowing that our actions are judged by fellow man, which gives me more of a reason to do good now than answering to my actions postmortem. To think that our actions are not accountable on Earth is naive and bigoted, I'm pretty sure our prisoners on death row would say otherwise.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  16. Andy From Arkansas

    The response people have to her is the same way most respond in everyday life. It is sad that we still live in a time that people with different beliefs are told they are wrong and shunned. It is not much different than the mentality of radicals from the mid-east. I am a father of two and will continue to bring our children up without god and look for ways to protect them from the religious intolerance passed down from parents.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  17. Lemaitre

    Mom is certainly passing along beliefs and values to her children. They're just typical of contemporary slackerism.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • glades2

      The problem is that there aren't any believes and values – that's why the children of these God-less parents kill other children in cold blood – their consciense is dead...

      P.S. She might have "struck a cord" with parents – but you can bet it was a sour cord...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Religion is the ultimate slackery. 'God did it' is the ultimate cop-out answer for lazy people.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And another illiterate thumper yips. There is no evidence that most murderers are atheists. Our prisons are full of believers in god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      glades2

      The problem with syrup is aluminium hay, forever bouncing on shiny javelin stones. Cold syrup is burning the sun's mantelpiece.

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

      How do you know these people killing are Godless? Look around the world, nearly all killing in the world is due to religious beliefs. And you are telling my their Godless beliefs are the reason for killing? Idiot! I find Athiests to be the least bigoted and judgmental people I have ever met. Looking at these comments from you religious folks (I was at one time a devout Christian myself) you show how small minded and judgmental you are.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  18. ted

    when i die, god will reward me by taking my soul to heaven( because i belived in him and sang his praises...etc). In heaven, god shal give me:
    a bently, a bugatti veron, a ferrari, many beautiful virgin wives, a mansion to raise our kids in, and angels as our servants; god will give me the best foods in the world in abundance. There shall be no suffering , sickness, and the air my soul breathes shall be pure and fresh. and my soul will have the most beautiful hair you´ve ever seen, and my eyes shall be blue, and my d-1ck shall be 30cm long...and all my wives shall lllooooovveee me.
    Infact, everything i wished to have in this life shall bem ine in heaven. Heaven shall be just marvelous!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • John

      When I am in heaven, I want to see someone say, "I love you OK, 'cuz I love you" and then the smile. That is pure bliss.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Higherluv

      With those conceptions you need not ponder truth. You do not need to seek for you have and know all the answers. Why believe in anyone or anything when you know it all begins and ends with you? Simple nature has blinded the fool, and a soaless body is the reward. It seems you have found that you are the only one who matters and the only true God. A free will is Gods greatest gift. Why do you assume all who humble and temper their lives are sheep? You are only fooling yourself. If a soal has no fundation to stand on it will fail in the tempest. Why give of yourself when there is so much to be taken for yourself? Godless people end up following godless men. Good luck to you and your mirror image deception Frank Marshall Davis Jr. more commenly known as Barack Obama .

      January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  19. Lynn

    It is easier for some to believe in a fairy tale heaven than to believe in science. They have no proof yet act as if they do and condemn those who do not share their fairy tale. All they have is a story that makes them feel good. There is no problem with that until they start to force it on others. I can't say if their story is true or not. They can't say if my different story is true or not, but they should realize that and not try to force their story to be my own. Without proof, they only have a story.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Higherluv

      That is between you and God. Try telling that to a millitant muslim

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  20. Nana Bowman

    God is not equal to religion. Religion is man made and God is not.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • ReasonableXX

      That makes no sense. They are both man-made. There is no reason to believe otherwise. Were Zeus and Thor man-made gods? What makes your god special? Just because you say your god is not man-made doesn't make it so. In reality, facts must be backed up with evidence not opinion.

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

      All gods are man made. Watch this.

      I just made a God. His name is Pete. He knocked up a virgin with himself to save the world.

      It's that easy.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.