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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. Jeremiah

    As a Christian I am torn from this post. One side of me wants to share the good news with this lady and her children, the other side of me thinks someone already has and she has rejected it... in which case that is between her and God and I will move on...

    I am moving on now...

    January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • JWT

      Keep your good news to yourself. It's certainly nothing better than what she has.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  2. Truth

    God is a word left to the interpreter. If we believe in TRUTH then we all believe in the real God. Truth and God and inseparable. A lie does not really exist except in perception. We are separate from the lie, so that a lie never really appears except in thought form. If there are Truths that can be scientifically proven then also God can be proven. No proven Truth equals no proven God. Prove Truth then we can prove God. God and Truth are the same. The Universe was created by TRUTH. True eternal principles that are as real as the sand particles on the ground. True principles do in fact lead us to better our lives and if truth exist after death, then God will be present with us. Love is in fact a True principle. So Love is also Truth. Love overcomes the illusion of hate. Truth is Love, but earthlings have little understanding of what Love is. If you Love something you will speak Truth to it. Hope that helps.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So everyone interprets their own versions of contradicting gods and you call that "Truth"?

      You spelled "delusion" wrong

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  3. sue

    I am not out to change anyones' mind or opinion, but I had 2 personal experiences that lead to my belief in God. So you can believe howeveryou want, I am comfortable with my belief. For me it is a very personal and private thing.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Really??

      I have had hundreds of experiences, likely thousands of experiences that assure me that there are no gods.
      If there are any gods that care about humanity, they are doing a lousy job, and therefore are as useless as every other god that has ever been created, and every religion.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  4. Scott

    I applaud Ms. Mitchell's courage and I thank CNN for providing a forum. I too have children, and I'm completely insulted by those "believers" who feel compelled to try and "save" me and my kids.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  5. Lemaitre

    science has been corrupted by leftist politics. can't be trusted.

    man made global warning. case closed!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      But you trust the thousands of years of religious politics that have shaped your belief in the chistian god.

      Irony.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Quite an assertion. Got any evidence? And just saying "man-made global warming" doesn't support anything; you need to prove that it's groundless, or provide evidence from a credible source.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  6. Colin

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.

    Q1. The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Children’s fairytales;

    (b) Medieval mythology;

    (c) New age pseudo science; or

    (d) Christianity

    Q.2 I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Q3. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.4 I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    Q.5 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) mentally challenged historian;

    (b) drug crazed geologist;

    (c) waannabe NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    Q.6 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A failed psychologist

    (b) A fraudulent geneticist

    (c) A sociologist who never went to college; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    Q.7 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q8. What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they must believe under threat of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is one god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.9 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • terri

      Too funny and unfortunately too true! hahaha

      January 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  7. Kepan

    There are no atheists in foxholes. See ya on the other side

    January 19, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • roadrunner321

      I have bad(?) news for you.

      militaryatheists. org/atheists-in-foxholes/

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Douglas

      I am an atheist and I was in a foxhole.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • visitor

      Wrong. Family member repented religion just before his death. Even requested no religious funeral. This was after years of being religious. He might have remained spiritual, but decided he had no use for churches, period. Literally a month before his death.

      I could call that the foxhole.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Roger that

      Been there.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • ME II

      http://militaryathei http://militaryatheists.org/ sts.org/

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Billy D

      But apparently there are false, meaningless plati.tudes in comment sections.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  8. snarkjeg

    I was deeply religious for 40 years. Finally decided that the existence of so many differing religious views was evidence that all religion is a creation of the human psyche so that we don't have to face the fact that the buck stops with us and we are totally and exclusively responsible for our own lives and the world we live in.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  9. Randy

    She seems to think God is not real, well I hope her children never have imaginary friends then, because they will probably be punished for it. She should give her children the option as I did mine to freely explore religions if they choose to do so, she needs to stop controlling their lives because she doesn't believe in someone or something. She comments religion should stay at home and is like a personal artifact but it really isn't as religion teaches those to share their beliefs and feelings. But on the other hand this woman rants about her personal opinion on not raising her children with God to begin with, when that is something personal and she didn't need to bring it on the internet.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • snarkjeg

      Read more carefully. She DID say, in her article, that her children were free to explore and join a religion when they were old enough for it to be their own choice.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Faith

      That is so true!!! She has not been imprisoned by any other person's belief. She has chosen her faith–atheist, and that is O.K. for her because she has the right to choose.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  10. Eric

    Religion is the problem, not God.

    When the stories we tell to interpret the universe become religious laws, we're acting with extreme hubris. We judge those without the same stories. We enslave, exploit, and imprison others. We defend our stories to the death. Religion is at the root of incredible human misery. It's no wonder people are rejecting those phenomenally evil attempts to OWN truth.

    It's a shame though that we are losing God it the course of losing our religion.

    Just because you can't explain the beauty, mystery, wonder, and majesty we see every day in the heart-stopping splendor of a morning mountain range, the vastness of a midnight sky, the birth of child, the perfection of love does not mean those things, that experience – which is what we all keep trying to summarize as God – does not exist. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't have to be proven. It's can't be. Just enjoy it. Every day.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Faith

      Beautifully said. If we could figure God out and alll the things around us, then God would not be God.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  11. indy

    If highly educated, intelligent people, who honestly believe in any religions founded thousands of years ago, actually exist. I urge them to watch a few Sam Harris videos. Or read the bible cover to cover

    January 19, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • snarkjeg

      I have read the bible cover to cover. Twice through actually. It's amazing how many contradictions there are in.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • visitor

      I've read cover to cover. AMAZING how many "Christians" never did, ever. My three most religious friends didn't and moreover, see NO NEED TO!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  12. Kate

    Well, you got your wish.

    The amount of believers has dwindled.

    But, right along with that we see the total disintegration of society. Community. Marriage. Families. The world has never been a worse place to be. The planet is at risk because of the selfish disregard of its inhabitants.

    This is progress you say. This is better than times when a sense of community – always fostered by a church – brought people together. This total isolation resulting from an increasingly device dependent population who are disconnected from each other more than ever.

    Yes, this is MUCH better.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      For the most part, the world has never been safer.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Roger that

      How many times has this been said over the centuries? Thanks for the update grandma.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Roger hit it on the head. Society must have been at it's pinnacle during the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, during the Depression era, the Fall of Rome...etc. There's never been a utopian civilization, never been a time when there wasn't social strife, war, and corruption. Please stop perpetuating this nonsense.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • jini

      Do you realize that in your grandparent's day, child abuse was hidden, children had no recourse at all in that situation except to survive it. And it was rampant throughout society, thanks to people thinking that old Christian chestnut "spare the rod, spoil the child" should be literally interpreted. There was nowhere for women who were being abused to go to feel safe either, for the most part women had few options for leading productive lives without a man.

      Minorities could be openly discriminated against in those days and the law would usually not support them. They could live in fear and if they could hide their status, for instance if they were gay or a light skinned African American, they could live a lie. Try that sometime, it sounds like fun.

      And before all these newfangled breakthroughs in technology, children would routinely die of childhood diseases that we have mostly been controlling through vaccination and medical advances.

      The world has gotten better in every measurable way. The problem is that we now see everything that goes on – 24/7 all over the world every day. We never had access to this barrage of information before. These things were always happening, but now they are getting better precisely because they are openly seen and solutions to problems can be achieved. And none of it has anything to do with your, or anyone's deity.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  13. Under the radar

    Tolerance is key, and it works in every direction with the exception of those who wish to convert everyone who disagree with their position. Instead, try living together in peace and not being judgemental of others, regardless of the type and size of their belief. Read up on religious history, including the Bible, the Koran, and everything else you can find. If you disagree with what your are reading, consider the why and wherefore of your disagreement. FYI, I am an active churchgoer who continually doubts everything related to unsubstantiated belief. If that makes me a sinner in your eyes, that is your problem and not mine. The church is a powerful tool for getting things done in our society, especially those involving charity and kindness and relief to those in physical need, regardless of their beliefs or unbeliefs. Just consider that before you condemn the believer or the unbeliever.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      You make some good points, but you completely ignore the other side of religion. The control, the corruption, the immoral behavior (such as brainwashing children, for example!). Also, I hate to break it to you, but non-judgement is an idealistic fantasy. We judge everything, consciously and subconsciously, you brain is always making judgements, it's what it does, as a survival mechanism and a way of accessing situations and the environment around you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • End Religion

      Tolerance is a little overrated. Atheists have been so tolerant of Christians that you've overstepped your bounds. it wasn't enough to be able to practice your faith in quiet. It wasn't enough for nutters to spread their disease across the country, to insert passages about absurd beliefs into government oaths and onto money.

      Nutters have attempted to affect the country's legislation again and again. No more. We've been too tolerant and now the pendulum swings back. Your religion is being crushed in the light of truth – how appropriate. They'll be coddled no more. They will receive instead the ridicule they deserve for the incessant need for respect of imaginary creatures.

      One does not need a church to be nice. There are many secular charities.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Under the radar

      Just keep in mind that the nutters and abusers and controllers are really just a small minority of the people. Don't paint everyone with the same brush, please.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  14. the AnViL

    those who believe in an imaginary man in the sky should be prohibited from holding public office, voting, serving on a jury, purchasing/owning firearms and teaching public school.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  15. Colin

    If I am worried that my children, who I love very much, will not believe something I tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," I should:

    (a) have our family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking.

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Inst.itute for Health on the topic.

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist they rely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if I ever catch them smoking.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  16. Lemaitre

    Do you believe in the science as proposed by Lemaitre?

    January 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Colin

      So, some monk does a bit of basic cosmology. So what? Even he disdained the idea that it proved creation.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Lemaitre

      Bacon, Copernicus?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Copernicus was a scientific pioneer.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Colin

      virtually every astronomer pre 1800 was religious to some degree. Try Einsten and those after. You're down to about 3%.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Science is not a belief system, it is a way of investigating the world.

      It doesn't matter what a scientist believes, but whether the evidence supports their claims.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Lemaitre

      Yes copernicus was a scientific pioneer – and a catholic priest

      January 19, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      So what?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Pete

      If Copenicus hadn't been religious he would have been put to death, so who is to say that he really believed. In my opinion you can't count anybody whose choices were claim to believe or be burned at the stake. I don't believe but if I thought I would be executed for my non belief I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen that I was a believer.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Rufus

    My cleaning lady who cleans my apartment – and who has crucifexes, religious pictures and icons hanging all over her own home, and thus appears to be very religious- steals from me(small stuff, no biggie).

    Go figure.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      I can tell you this with complete confidence: any religious person who loved their children would steal food in a heartbeat if they were starving. They would murder anyone who threatened their children as well. And the real fun one: study crowd behavior... morality goes right out the window in an angry, fearful crowd of people.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • End Religion

      If she has a son named Jesus it may work out well for you, meaning he may be able to do your lawn as well.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  18. georgez

    "For now we see through a glass, darkly." Nobody has the absolute truth. Nobody. Just try to get along and quit carping.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Marilyn

      Thank you, George. Well said. And the correct answer the Mother should have given to her child when asking questions about heaven. We don't know now, but a loving God will provide nothing but the best for us. God Bless

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Douglas

      "but a loving God will provide nothing but the best for us."

      That's why your god created satan and hell to control you through fear. Oh, then there are the droughts, tornadoes, tsunami's, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the millions of starving people every day. Yeah your god really knows what best for us. Since it doesn't exist it's always us human that end up helping each other, not your god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  19. Mike in Florida

    I have hope. I do not believe in allah, yahweh, the big jerk or whatever you want to call that myth. My hope is that life will go on evolving, and something better will come along. In the meantime I hope that people will learn to be more responsible, peaceful, and cooperative. The fact that I won't get to see my Dad again is indeed very, very sad, but he lives in in my heart and the hearts of all of us who knew him. I am not "terrified" of death. The only thing that is scary about death is that I might not get to fulfill all my responsibilities and obligations here if I pass away too early. Unlike Christians who believe in forgiveness of all evil that they do, we do not. We believe in accountability RIGHT HERE on Earth. We don't believe that a god created child molesters, cancer, aids and tsunamis because he was oh so loving. Your "God" didn't create anything at all, certainly neither the universe, nor the things inside it such as Adam Lanza and John Wayne Gacy. And by the way, Joseph Smith was a complete fraud. Do a little research.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Historical Reality

      Mike, it would be nice to agree with you on your comment. However, simply evolving out of this has not worked. If anything, I would argue that we have de-evolved. As I look at the level of cruelty in our world and in our history, I can't help but think we are destroying ourselves and have done it on a mass scale. The extreme examples – Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia, the gulag system in the USSR, Rwanda, Darfur, Guatemala, El Salvador, East Timor, the Cultural Revolution in China, time after time – incident after incident – leads me no hope that humanity will snap out of this violence. The Holocaust showed us that the nation that brought us art, music, architecture, and the printed word as well as countless other achievements, still launched a campaign to destroy millions in systematic murder. I think many want to blame "backward thinking" on religion and true, religions have been the cause of several wars. However, the two World Wars as well as some of the worst cases of human oppression and murder were not perpetrated by traditional religion. Some were. We can find examples on both sides. Religion as a cause is no better or worse than other reasons. So what do we do now? Hope we don't do this again? I'm afraid we will. It is in our nature to destroy ourselves and our environment. Our depravity needs a remedy.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  20. pwmcgill

    We as humans do need something to believe in! However, it does not require a supernatural myth that is totally contradictory to our scientifically based world! Perhaps we would take care of our planet and each other much better if we sincerely believed that we all deserve compassion, respect and love from each other – throughout our very brief lives.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:35 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.