home
RSS
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. the AnViL

    keep noticing a lot of xians who are ignorant to the discrimination atheists face for their lack of belief in an imaginary man in the sky.

    in more than one state – if you do not profess a belief in an imaginary man in the sky – you are prohibited from serving on a jury or holding any public office.

    we hope to reverse things.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Chip Smith

      I wouldn't want to serve as either. Another win for atheism!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • the AnViL

      while you or i may not necessarily have any desire to serve in either capacity.... the fact remains.

      monotheistic religions are predicate on discrimination, division, bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance.

      it's ok when they do it.... it's righteous and justified.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  2. Pea

    In Canada people don't care what you are. We don't go about trying to indoctrinate the agnostic neighbour or the Sikh guy we work with or try to get the atheist teacher fired. What is wrong with America? TOO MUCH religion!

    January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Tea Clown

      ...and way too much tea.

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

      Pea,
      I agree with your observation about the difference between US and Canada, and have always enjoyed my vacations in Canada more than I did in US.

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

      and not nearly enough Hockey!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Roger that

      Never met a Canadian I didn't like and I've met a lot.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • the AnViL

      yay poutine!

      thank you canada

      January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Canadians aren't pumped full of fear and hate by a fascist GOP party 24×7.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  3. Truth

    Truth is our only Saviour. We can not be saved if we do not have Truth. This planet will not be saved without Truth. We can not save anything without a True principle. If you want to pray then pray to Truth. Truth is God. If your preacher does not represent Truth then your preacher does not represent God. If we do not follow Truth, then we do not follow God. True eternal principles never forsake us. Truth is always present, everywhere. Truth is the only power that exist in reality. Truth is God.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Um, what "truth"? Allah, Buddha, Confucius, Zeus, Jehovah, etc, etc?

      God people – please start specifying your flavor of "truth" to prevent confusion among us free, diverse Americans.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Chip Smith

      No god.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • SImran

      Yeah, please identify your truth (with a capital T) first.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  4. El Lobito

    All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for imposters to preach and fools to believe.....Thomas Paine, The Father of the American Revolution

    January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  5. 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 11:02 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Hopefully that will compensate for your terrestrially inadequate genitalia.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  6. elgeevz

    If there is a god, I hope it's not the one depicted in Chapter 31 of the Book of Numbers.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  7. ChristianFromPhilly

    Well, as a Christian, everyone has a choice as to how they want to live their lives, including myself. I have given my life to live for Jesus Christ, however I still have free will to turn my back on him if I choose. So for many of you that believe there is no GOD, that's your choice.

    However, what you can not say is that you know GOD isn't real, because myself and millions of others have had a personal experience and seen evidence for ourselves that he is real. Now if YOU haven't seen it, that doesn't mean that there is no GOD just because of YOU not having had the experience.

    I've met people that have said the exact same things many of you having been posting about GOD being an imaginary figure, a myth, a fairytale. I can assure you, in your life and others like you that think like you, that is absolutely true. And in your minds GOD will always be a magical myth until the day you all die or decide to think differently.

    But, I personally know a person that was diagnosed with HIV by board certified physicians, was put on the retroviral medicine for years, and just didn't want to live that way anymore. They totally decided to give Jesus Christ a try, being that they had nothing to lose at this point but their life. And, not by accounts of themselves, but by the same physicians that told her she was infected by HIV, now telling her that she no longer have the virus in her body, not understanding how she was healed! Don't care if you believe it or not, it's a fact, it did happen, because I know the person personally. It's a fact regardless of what lies you've been told.

    I know another Christian that was diagnosed with cancer by a physician. Battled with it for months. The doctors scheduled him to have an operation to remove the tumors. He prayed and prayed to GOD about his condition for a long time. When he got to the hospital for they operation, they ran 1 last test on him before the procedures, they found no traces of cancer whatsoever, completely different than their previous diagnosis!

    I know another person that was diagnosed with a termianl disease, and he had enough of dealing with doctors, and medicine, just using him as an experiment. GOD did finally heal him, completely, and is alive and well today, when he was supposed to have been dead 30 years ago!

    I personally know these people, all of these things are true, as well as others besides myself that can verify these facts. So believe what you want to believe people. It is absolutely your choice to deny GOD and whatever else your intellect tells you.

    But know this, the same way some of you accuse Christians of being closed minded, some of your are living your lives the exact same way to believe that everything in existence can be defiend by science alone. I don't discredit the validity of science for most things. Science has been extremely helpful. But to this day science still can't even get rid of the common cold or flu. Science still doesn't have a cure for cancer after all this time. Science is not supernatural power, science is just man's explanantion of what he sees.

    But there are things beyond what you can and can not see, and science doesn't always know why, science can't explain absolutely everything.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill

      However, what you can not say is that you know Santa isn't real, because myself and millions of others have had a personal experience and seen evidence for ourselves that he is real. Now if YOU haven't seen it, that doesn't mean that there is no Santa just because of YOU not having had the experience.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Tea Clown

      You sound quite conflicted. It must be sad to be a chastised Christian suffering from HIV. I can appreciate your fears. But, be honest with yourself. It's merely your fears that are driving your thought processes.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Do you also count the people who did turn to Jesus Christ but still died? Where was their divine intervention. Also, why are no amputees ever healed if they pray for it?

      I don't claim that God doesn't exist. I simply say that believers have never given credible evidence for it, as they need to if they are the ones claiming that he does exist. The burden of proof is on the believer.

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

      ChristianFromPhilly
      But, I personally know a person that was diagnosed with HIV by board certified physicians, was put on the retroviral medicine for years, and just didn't want to live that way anymore. They totally decided to give Jesus Christ a try, being that they had nothing to lose at this point but their life. And, not by accounts of themselves, but by the same physicians that told her she was infected by HIV, now telling her that she no longer have the virus in her body, not understanding how she was healed! Don't care if you believe it or not, it's a fact, it did happen, because I know the person personally. It's a fact regardless of what lies you've been told."

      This story is a lie and you know it!

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

      I know an atheist that was diagnosed with cancer. She ate well, felt good about herself, didn't live in fear of the cancer, laughed a lot and she too was cured, no surgery, no chemo. I think we need to do more research on the brain because the answers are there waiting to be unlocked.

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

      How old is the earth?
      Do you still have your wisdom teeth ?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Sarah

      I am 100% agree with what you said. I had experience in God in my life. And just the prayer I can save another 2 my family member already. God is like love. You can feel it but you can not see.And He is provider. He will find a way for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • El Lobito

      And we all know about families in the news whose children had a simple treatable lung infection. Instead of doctors they prayed for health and the kid died days or weeks later in agonizing pain.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Chip Smith

      What a load of crap.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Sheri

      Science cannot explain everything YET. It wasn't too long ago that penicillin was invented. It wasn't too long ago that we thought Pluto was a planet. It wasn't so long ago that we couldn't see deep into the universe. Shall I go on?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • El Lobito

      Science will eventually be able to explain everything and that is what scares you! Could you imagine where we would be as human beings right now if we just chalked eveything up to god's plan and not investigated the age of earth, medicine, fossils, solor system, universe?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • ironman59

      You are the problem. Just because you have delusions doesn't make someone else wrong because they don't have them. You say she is free to have her choice but go on to say her choice is wrong, that she hasn't "found the answer". Yet when science says "it hasn't found answers to things yet" you scream it's becuase "gawd" doesn't want the answer found. In your own words you prove the double standard & hypocrisy of religion.

      This woman doesn't believe in your nonsense plain & simple. It's not because she hasn't had your delusions. Just because you think something happened science & logic can prove answers as well.

      This woman needs to be left alone, not condemned. She spoke on an open forum on her views, not condemning your life.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @El Lobito – Please show me where I said that I didn't think science was valid... I never said that anywhere. In fact I credit science for many things. But science can not explain everything, a lot of things, but not everything. And I hope science can explain some more things in the future. It would help with removing many diseases and other things.

      But that could but 200 years from now! Some people don't have that long to wait for a cure or a change in their life. That's my point.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • End Religion

      SillyFromPhilly: "However, what you can not say is that you know GOD isn't real, because myself and millions of others have had a personal experience and seen evidence for ourselves that he is real."

      There isn't the tiniest bit of evidence for the existence of your god. You have strong emotions and believe that as proof. In short, you're an imbecile.

      ***
      "But, I personally know a person that was diagnosed with HIV by board certified physicians..."

      You understand what "anecdotal evidence" is, and why it is not *actually* evidence of anything? You understand why "eyewitness reports" are the lowest form of testimony? You've heard of misdiagnosis, of mistakes? You've heard of "inexplicable events" that eventually find a perfectly reasonable explanation after scientific inquiry? You understand that bodies can heal, cancers can go into remission, diseases can abate?

      We understand these rare events can happen naturally and yet you feel the need to attribute it to an imaginary creature. because you can't cause these events to happen yourself you imagine a superhero, someone without your human limitations, must be performing them. It's very retro-caveman of you. Time to drop that security blanket...

      ***
      "I personally know these people, all of these things are true, as well as others besides myself that can verify these facts."

      The thing you probably can't see is you haven't provided us with any facts at all, except maybe that you know 3 humans. that these humans had any medical condition to start with is not know to us, the extent of the condition, the competency of the doctors who examined them, and on and on. No facts, Philly, no facts. You are basing your life on a strong emotion that you just MUST believe is true WITHOUT FACT.

      ***
      "I don't discredit the validity of science for most things."

      Of course not. Science is awesome until it crosses into your god delusion, at which point you're forced to grow up, which doesn't appeal to you.

      ***
      "But to this day science still can't even get rid of the common cold or flu. Science still doesn't have a cure for cancer after all this time."

      We understand why we have limited power against disease and bacteria. It either evolves faster than we can deal with it, or to target bad cells we have to kill good cells, meaning the "medicine" itself is deadly to a degree. Does it bother you that the bible doesn't let us know that bacteria, disease and insects may end up being the dominant organisms on the planet?

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

      Lying for Jesus is just sad.

      So all of these "miracle cures" should be verifiable but like so often with these stories nobody has a name and the stories are conveniently non traceable. Now your response will be "Well it's up to you to believe, I've given you the facts" but truth is you've given us nothing but some anecdotes with no evidence to back them up. Oh and I know from personal experience when you go to have a tomur removed, they don't conduct "tests" right before the surgery , they just start cutting . The test have already been conducted , nice try but that part gave your story away as being on the false side.

      I realize you have a tremendous need to believe in miracle but faking these stories is just deranged .

      January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @ironman59 – The only hypocrite is you. I told you and everyone else here that you can live exactely the way you want to live, and change nothing. I never told you what to believe. I told you what has worked for me, according to what people like YOURSELF have tried to say that what I believe in doesn't work!

      That't the double standard that YOU can't accept. I never condmned that woman or anyone else. But what you've done is what's done all the time here in America. You can freely bash christians and GOD all you want to, calling christianity a fairytale, crazy and anything else you want without a care in the world.

      Then when someone challeneges you with factual events that they experienced, that can be verified by others, all by the doing of what you originally called a lie and a fairytale, then you don't know what to think, because it goes against everything that you've believed as the truth!

      That's the problem. It's not that I told you what to believe, I just simply to you that what you've told me DOESN'T worked, HAS worked for me and others personally! That's the difference.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • End Religion

      SillyFromPhilly: no need to get angry. It can be frustrating to learn your life was based on a fairytale. We forgive you for lying about the medical cases, even without you asking forgiveness (wink, wink). We understand since there are zero facts of evidence for the god of your religion that you will feel the need to make things up. It's natural. Come on now, precious little child, put down your binky. Stow away that banky. It's time for mommy's little wonder to wear big boy pants!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @End Religion – Tell me this, how is it that you can believe in science, but when I give you facts from science you tell me I'm wrong, by your own standards? Isn't it science that we can determine if HIV is real? Isn't medicine science? Isn't drawing blood a science? Isn't discovering a virus in a person or animals blood stream science?

      You first tell me that science is awesome and factual. Then when I tell you that a person who's profession is based on science (a physician), that used science to be able to run mulitple tests on a person to determine if something is wrong with them, NOW all of a sudden science doesn'e apply in this case? You're the perfect example of a hypocrite.

      The same doctor that was qualified to diagnose someone with the disease, was then just as qualified to diagnose them of being free from the disease. All verified through the technology of science. Listen if you don't want to believe it, that's your choice. But that doesn't mean it's a lie based on YOUR belief or disbelief.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @Jef – What planet are you from? A doctor has a right to run whatever tests they want to run, I've heard it done plenty of times from people in my family and others; are you kidding me? No that did happen, you just believe what you want.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      OK, for some of you that want to say that Christians will make these claims of healing, but not give any names or evidence of it. Well first of all what type of person posts another person's name online that was infected with HIV? That's just morally irresponsible and wrong, you do understand that right?

      Also, what difference will it make. It's not like any of you really are interested in finding out facts. You've made up in your minds what you want to believe, and it doesn't matter what you're shown or told. You're not going to change your mind. The only thing you'll do is come up with another list of rebuttals continually trying to discredit anything and everything I say, just for your pure enjoyment of arguing, and nothing else. You have no desire to listen, just to prove someone who thinks different than you as being wrong. WHy would I waste my time.

      So I can give you a name of someone I personally know that was diagnosed with a terminal illness that should've died, but defied all doctors on this planet. Dr. Cornelius F. Range III, pastoring in Chester, PA. He wrote a book called "Heal Me, or Kill Me". It gives an account about his entire ordeal and how he was miraculously healed.

      Now, there's something to go on. Other than that, do what you feel, I'm not losing any sleep.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Jef

      You're lying .

      Look three stories, no names, no specifics, no supporting evidence. The HIV one would be written up in a medical journal for sure because outside of infants shedding the infection after 6 months this doesn't happen in adults. We know you're lying , now all we need to figure out is why.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @Jef – No Jef, don't try to put other people's name into the picture. You think I"m lying, not everyone else. If you don't believe, don't believe, I really don't care what you think. It would be as stupid as me debating with you what name my mother gave me at birth. That's how silly you sound right now. You can not disprove what I'm saying.

      The only thing you're doing is basing your disbelief in what I've seen, because of what you deepley believe to not be true, plain and simply. If you don't believe in GOD, don't – it's your choice. But you show the height of arrogance & egotism to tell someone else that they're lying because their explanation doesn't fit with your beliefs and philosophy for life.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Jef

      So what you're doing now is trying to shift the burden of proof onto me where it doesn't belong, thats for you to prove and you have failed to even try. Then you are trying to equivocate your belief in a god with my atheism, and you get the basic definition of atheism wrong. I don't "believe" there is no god and atheism doesn't state that there is "no god" . And you could prove your claim quite easily by providing us with a medical journal sighting the HIV case because believe you me such an event would be written up in a medical journal like the JAMA or the New England Journal of Medicine, because no such even has ever occurred in medical history.

      So either point us to the article or stop this silly story . It's people like you who prey on the weak and credulous and rope them into a life of delusion. It's time you people be held accountable for your lies.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @Jef – Well to be honest with you Jef, I never bothered looking into the JAMA, because the 1 person I'm referring to that had HIV was a friend of mine. So a medical journal of what occurred was irrelevant to myself when I saw the person on a day to day basis that was living with the virus. Now of course I will not give her name, and if you don't find it in the JAMA, oh well, it's not my job to convince you of anything.

      You freely say that you believe that GOD is not real, and nobody has pushed you to say prove that he's not? They've merely taken you for your word. I believe there is a GOD almighty. What makes you think I have to prove anything to you or anyone else? That's what I believe, just like you believe what you believe. Why the double standard? I'm not going to post someone's name on the internet that was diagnosed with HIV, not without her permission. And I wouldn't expect her to give it to me, nor would I require it.

      You're going round and round in circles for something that's not going to happen. But the truth is not based on what you think is credible or not. I don't give 1,000,000 rat's you-know-what's what you believe, you aren't in my shoes to have experienced what I have to say otherwise. The only thing you can do is reftue what I say based upon your opinion, because the facts are you don't know me.

      And no it isn't a lie, the person is real, the person does exists, and it did occurr as it was said. If you really want to find out the truth yourself, then why don't YOU search through all of the medical journals for a case like that. Why would I do work on your behalf, for something I've seen with my own 2 eyes, for someone that doesn't even like what I have to say or stand for anyway? Does that make any sense?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      SillyFromPhilly: "Tell me this, how is it that you can believe in science, but when I give you facts from science you tell me I'm wrong, by your own standards?"

      'Facts from science' – a fact of our shared reality would be supported through testable and peer-reviewed evidence. You presented an anecdote. An anecdote is not evidence. You have not begun to approach the standard for evidence.

      ***
      "Listen if you don't want to believe it, that's your choice. But that doesn't mean it's a lie based on YOUR belief or disbelief."

      Until I see proof, it didn't happen. You haven't provided anything but your pleadings to be believed. This circumstance is the same for god. No evidence, only people pleading that they know it to be true. It is pathetic rally, like a toddler's temper tantrum.

      ***
      "You've made up in your minds what you want to believe, and it doesn't matter what you're shown or told."

      Not true. I would be embarrassed, and have quite a bit of apologizing to do, but if you showed me tested, peer-reviewed and generally scientifically accepted evidence that god cured HIV it would change my mind. Why isn't the medical community interested in your friend's case? Why hasn't the hospital where your friend recovered stopping all cancer treatment and taking on only prayer?

      ***
      "Dr. Cornelius F. Range III"

      So now instead of 3 personal friends whose names you won't mention (which I wouldn't either) it's one famous doctor who is a close personal friend of yours? Why not just start the story off with this famous friend instead of your other 3 nameless ones? You aren't simply making stuff up again, are you?

      Is it doctor or reverend as listed here? Both? From where is his Doctorate? He calls himself "Bishop" or "Pastor" not "Doctor". I see no reference to his book in any book store. This page lists it as out of print. Was it a vanity press printing?
      http://pages.uoregon.edu/sshapiro/Pemphigus/Resources.html

      He does seem to have been referred to as a Doctor here:
      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r103:E23FE3-66:

      What was the doctor's illness which you claim is terminal, Pemphigus vegetans? I see that while it is difficult to control I haven't found a mention that it is terminal. Can you provide a link?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemphigus_vegetans

      January 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jef

      To be honest with me????? That would be a first for you. You may not have bothered to look up the case in a medical journal simply because you knew the woman but if you're going to float this story around to others to convince them god is real then you DO have a responsibility to supply people with evidence to back up your story and truly this story would be in a medical journal and in the media because it would be the FIRST CASE IN HISTORY of a cure for HIV.
      I know facts and evidence aren't that important to you because you just lied about what I've said in this conversation. You said I said I know god doesn't exist and I demand you show me the line where I ever said that......you know I never said that, but little matter , everyone can see I never said such a thing.
      You are a sad , sad little person . You may think what you're doing , misrepresenting the truth is for a greater good but you are just leading people into a life of disappointment and in some cases far worse. You should be arrested . People who need actual medical help have died because of people like you , selling false hope and fake cures. You may call it freedom or religion but what you are doing is selling lies . It's one thing to believe in a magically "daddy" to take care of you but it's quite another thing to perpetuate the idea that people are "cured" by this unprovable being. One day you'll end up killing someone with your "good intentions" .
      I'm done with you , you have given no evidence for your claims and none will be forthcoming any time in this decade. Your claims can be disregarded as easily as they were made and with the same amount of evidence. Good day to you and please seek help , you are a sick person.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • ChristianFromPhilly

      @EndReligion – "Until I see proof, it didn't happen." So when did you become an all knowing diety? To think that way shows the height of arrogance on your part.

      "You haven't provided anything but your pleadings to be believed." – There is absolutely NO WHERE in my posts that you can point to where I told anyone to please believe me, please show me where I've said that; or else you're showing yourself as a hypocrite bloviating your ego again.

      As far as the HIV evidence; what gain would a hospital or the medical community have to post someone being cured of an incurrable disease by GOD? They would then prove themselves as not being all helpful or knowing, would they? They would be discrediting themselves.

      The man I mentioned is a pastor, and theologian with a doctorate, Cornelius F. Range III. He had Foliacious Pemphigus, that he was healed from.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      SillyFromPhilly: "There is absolutely NO WHERE in my posts that you can point to where I told anyone to please believe me, please show me where I've said that; or else you're showing yourself as a hypocrite bloviating your ego again."

      By insisting you have evidence god exists and that it cured someone, yet cannot provide such proof, you are pleading to be believed. From the very start, however, you have posted lies, even going so far as to post an urban legend I've heard a few times about the mysterious immediate-pre-surgery test showing no sign of disease (and it wouldn't be complete without "smart doctors stumped"). As Jef pointed out, there is no immediate-pre-surgery test that would show lack of cancer because when you arrive at the hospital for surgery the testing is done.

      ***
      "As far as the HIV evidence; what gain would a hospital or the medical community have to post someone being cured of an incurrable disease by GOD? They would then prove themselves as not being all helpful or knowing, would they? They would be discrediting themselves."

      Ah, good, this is what I was hoping for. Now you're even further into the Kookville Woods with the conspiracy theory that hospitals don't want to cure you. I suppose this means neither you nor your family ever see a doctor or have visited a hospital to mend a broken arm, etc., because it's all a grand conspiracy. What were you saying about "i don't discredit the validity of science for most things"? Now you're saying it isn't just cancer and HIV but all the whole of medicine which works via prayer power. Hopefully someone will call social services to take your children before they come down with a fever, Neanderthal Man.

      ***
      "The man I mentioned is a pastor, and theologian with a doctorate, Cornelius F. Range III. He had Foliacious Pemphigus, that he was healed from."

      A doctorate from where?

      "Pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is generally a benign variety of pemphigus."
      http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1064019-overview

      "Pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is the least severe of the three varieties"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemphigus

      It isn't terminal unless untreated – like a bad flu or high fever could be. Thank you for admitting your lie that it was terminal. His recovery was anything but miraculous since the milder cases can be cured with topical ointment. I think your hypocrisy and fraud have been illuminated well enough for now. Enjoy your godless day!

      January 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  8. WhoKnewIt

    " “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.”

    Actually, it's easier to come out as gay than as a Christian in this society. Christian bashing has taken on a life of it's own over the last few years and CNN seems to take great pleasure in bashing Christians on Sunday's CNN front page. While everyone in this country has a freedom to express oneself and freedom to worship (or not) any way they want the venom injected by "non" Christians has hit an all time high. You don't have to have my beliefs but you should at least not tear down those beliefs and attack me because of them. Just because I believe in Christ doesn't make me, "delusional, stupid, crazy" or many other things. While I'll speak of God to those that ask about my beliefs I don't try and shove them down your throats. She is trying to shove her "non belief" down my throat and CNN is helping her push.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Actually, the self-righteous "Christians" on this blog are doing quite well dishing out their usual doses of hate and intolerance.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I know you Christians REALLY want to feel persecuted because it makes you feel like you are suffering on your gods behalf but this is ridiculous. No one is saying you should be tortured for your opinion, that is the realm of religious dogma. We are not damning you, we are saying your opinion is wrong, we are not threatening you for being wrong. Saying you are wrong and saying you should suffer for BEING wrong are not the same thing. Nice try.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • roadrunner321

      I'm sorry someone sharing her opinion on the existence of God is "shoving it down your throat."

      Also, CNN has a Belief Blog and weekly articles on belief, so your complaint about CNN engaging in Christian bashing seems a little uninformed.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Chip Smith

      B.S.

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

      You have had neighborhood kids call your children delusional?

      Because I have had neighborhood kids tell mine they were going to roast in hell.

      What say you??????

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • ironbird

      WhoKnewIt is right on. I mean really. Christian-bashing is at an all-time high in America. The persecution of Christians has been around for centuries, no doubt and soon they will be jailed and imprisoned in America for speaking out. For example, Chick Fil a makes one statement on their definition of marriage, and suddenly they are bashed as 'gay-haters' 'bigots', 'self-righteous'. Huh? Who said anything about hating on anyone? What about the freedom of speech? And only proves the ignorance of Christianity. Christians are Christ-righteous, not self-righteous. Duh. If a gay person state their definition of a marriage, would that enlist a stampede of straights whining about 'straight-haters'?

      Christians have no rights anymore. And CNN is heading the pack. Another unfortunate and biased article by CNN .

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Krys

      Not being Christian is not the same as "Christian bashing". No wonder you feel persecuted, if you think not sharing your belief is the same as "bashing" it.

      But no... its not harder to "come out" as Christian in this country than to come out as gay. People saying they do not agree with you, even people saying it rudely, is not the same as the rampant discrimination and violence gay people suffer every day. Every state will allow you to be married as a Christian. Gays can't say the same. No one tells you that you can't be there with your dying life partner because you are a Christian. Christians have always been able to be Christians in our military. If not having every single person you meet agree completely with your point of view is all it takes to make you feel "persecuted" be grateful for your extraordinary luck in life... you have it VERY easy.

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

      Really? You have no clue what it is you're talking about.

      In wide swaths of the country, you are considered "odd" or "weird" if you're not Christian. The news articles about athiests or others challenging things in court are there BECAUSE they are unusual. You simply don't see it because you are used to it. If you took every single aspect of your daily life –from conversation topics to music to film– and switched the subtle Christian overtones and converted them to, say, Buddhist, you'd think you were under assault.

      But that's the point. Americans are so used to Christianity, they don't notice how it saturates the country. It is only when you become an outsider –like being Catholic in the South post-Reconstruction– that you see how much your religion permeates your social fabric.

      As for the original article, I have witnessed with my own two eyes the proselytizing that goes on by Christians, from within my own family and by others who don't know when to butt out. "I'll pray for you" and "I hope you find Jesus" and "You're going to He-double hockey sticks if you don't reform" are the most obvious ones, but there's also the birthday gifts of Christian novels, Christian music, Christian movies, and other assorted items "with a message" that people are inundated with. There's the "Our school is better than your school because WE'VE got Jesus!" from kids who go to Christian or Parochial schools.

      Does it look familiar? It ought to, because I see it all the time, and I'm not even in the Bible Belt.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • ironman59

      The "bashing" you refer to is nothing of the sort. It is simply those who live a secular life putting the seperation of church & state back where it belongs. What you do in your sanctuary or your home is your choice. You want to build a private religious school, your choices as well. However, beyond that your religion has no rights in my secular life. More importantly you religion has no place or rights in my SECULAR GOVERNMENT. You want government to stay out of religion and your life, yet you don't want to stay out of religion. You want to base every law on some religious code.

      The bashing has come from the religious nuts, not the secular side of life. We are simply tired of religion intruding into places it does not belong like my home, my bed, my family & my government. If you don't like it, go to one of the many theocratic counties in the world and you can tie it all together as much as you want.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  9. the AnViL

    .
    .
    xianity, liberty, equality, and freedom do not go together – and they are not compatible.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  10. Robert

    I know of several child abuse / kidnapping stories where the kids died alone. I would like to think that all of them at least had God to keep them company in their last dying moments. What if her kids found themselves in the same situation one day?

    Further, preaching is preaching. Be it for the existence of God or the non existence of God.

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

    Good post. Thanks!!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  12. sybaris

    "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."

    Ah yes, religion and the worship of god(s), a filthy perverted disease of the mind.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  13. Bow33

    Why is someone considered a bad person, or someone who needs to be saved, simply for questioning the existence of God or not believing in your God? To many, just asking this question is blasphemy. I respect everyone’s religious beliefs, why can’t most other people respect the beliefs of those who don’t agree with them. Whether they are Lutherans, Catholics, Jews, Muslims or Hindus, if they don’t believe in the same deity, people are real quick to break the 5th commandment (in the Christian bible). The 9/11 hijackers were religious people. They prayed to their God just prior to crashing the planes. Other religions wouldn’t do that, right? Jim jones was ordained as a Christian minister when he was young, and he was responsible for over 900 deaths. Yes he strayed far from those teachings but that’s where he began. David Koresh was a Christian and many innocent children died in Waco, you can debate who actually caused the conflagration but one thing is certain. Religious fanatics, regardless of their affiliation, who refuse to see anything but their own viewpoint are dangerous. Are all Priests child molesters? Are all Muslims suicide bombers? Of course not! Why are people vilified for not believing in the same God as others, or any God for that matter? Should you not be accepting of others and love them for who they are? Or are we still in the 12th century during the crusades when we needed to convert or kill those that did not accept God as they saw it at the time? We may be living in the 21st century but many people still cannot accept others who do not pray to the same God as they do. Unless we as a culture change, humans will undoubtedly vanish from this earth within the next few generations. It is sad, but we have brought this upon ourselves.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Don't expect love and tolerance from the "Christian" right.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill

      ". Unless we as a culture change, humans will undoubtedly vanish from this earth within the next few generations. It is sad, but we have brought this upon ourselves."

      We are our own worst enemies, what's so dumb is we could bring about serious change to this world if we could just find a way to get along. Religion allows people to justify their prejudices because of their gods.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • sensible

      i'd say it's because of people's natural want to win an argument, not seek the truth. a believer and a non-believer will argue 'til the cows come home but they only want to win an argument. that's why a certain type of christian is more "right" than another. because he has to win that argument. a small thing such as truth or reality won't stand in the way of that

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  14. Darlene Buckingham

    Religion is a control grab to have the direct pipeline to God – every single one of us has a soul and a spirit that can commune with our spirits without an intermediary. All athiests are rebels against the controlling human system that keeps us from our higher selves so that we will serve well. Religions take away our power and we end up finding it again. How can anyone know about the mathematical perfection of nature and not believe in a higher state of being? Discovering the beauty and perfection of life is our magical mysterious journey. Enjoy! Breaking through the ugly dogma and control dramas of religion, politics and economics is not easy but it sure is worth it once on the other side.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Actually it's a money grab – right into the bank accounts of obscenely wealthy churches.

      Just like Pharisees in the Temple. LOL

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  15. spectrumborealis

    I do not believe in man made religion' they have a history of the bloodiest wars I have ever read about, they have all been tied in with political interests with those who would be kings and those who are destined to be paupers. Leaders must have followers and since there are more followers than leaders.... a book was written (the bible) to give the followers something to believe in while living their miserable lives. I have faith in the supreme being but, not in the man made religions of mankind.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Cool. What is your imaginary friend's name?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • End Religion

      What color Tshirt does your sky buddy wear?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  16. gager

    I'd rather lead an evidence base existence. That excludes religion.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Douglas

      except no evidence can explain existence

      January 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • El Lobito

      "except no evidence can explain existence" .........yet!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  17. Mike

    This is stupid... If I wanted to "Raise my kids without God," I wouldn't be living in Texas...

    January 19, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • End Religion

      Austin, Texas hosts one of the most well known atheist TV show/podcasts. It can't be all bad.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Roger that

      I agree that of all the states she could live in, Texas is the most hypnotized by religion, just look at their governor, but not everyone has the luxury to move at a whim and she may also be leaving a lot of family behind if she did.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Roger that

      End Religion is right. There is Austin.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  18. Lewis

    Godless mom hits chord with CNN's war on Christianity agenda.
    An inconvenient truth.
    Nobody is fooled.

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

      CNN has a belief blog. A useless belief blog because religion is nonsense. Find out how nature works.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Todd in DC

      Sorry, Gager, you are trying to preach science to someone who is ignorant.

      May as well try to explain colors to a blind man.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • It is Called

      DNR came on private property (Grandpa's place) for a reason to do core samples.. The conculion is the resourses that came with what happened back then is amazing to say the least !
      Thank you
      Peace
      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.

      Dr Willbold continued: "Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion billion tonnes of asteroidal material."

      For full article
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907132044.htm

      January 19, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  19. Kanageloa

    I can't say that this is any thing new to the world. Doubt, questions, resistance and freedom come into play. Let's not make to much of this mundane article.

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

      Too late there are already 1700 response, including yours. LOL!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Okay. And we won't make much of your mundane bible either.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • sybaris

      Yet much of the world subscribes to mythology perpetuated by ignorance and feeds it to their offspring. No, nothing different here except the voice of a minority who challenge the status quo.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • End Religion

      @Kangaroo: you sounds a little frightened about the death of religion, or am I reading too much into your need to post on such a mundane topic?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  20. David

    As lucid and well thought out as Mitchell's essay is, it employs the same type of demagogy she is condemning. To insist with utter faith and claim with conviction that God is imaginary, and then to make a purposeful effort to communicate her belief as widely as possible is a behavior indistinguishable from the type she is reacting against. Different beliefs, same purposeful attempt to persuade others to her mindset.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Todd in DC

      Except she isn't trying to recruit anyone, or demand laws change to reflect her views.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Bob

      " Different beliefs, same purposeful attempt to persuade others to her mindset."

      No, she is making people aware that not everyone is brainwashed like you. Plus there are more articles on here supporting your religion trying to persuade others to their mindset. What a hypocrite.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • the AnViL

      you should probably look up the word demagogue so you stop using it incorrectly...

      also...

      all this woman did was share her thoughts. maybe you should re-read the article because you seem to have misunderstood what she wrote.

      good luck with that ignorance tumor.

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

      i'd have to agree. to say with absolution that there is no god is as foolish as to say that there is. the truth is no one on earth knows

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Nova

      When you take the time to fully understand why you don't believe in the gods from the thousands of other religions, you will understand why I don't believe in yours.

      Atheism is to religious belief like health is to disease. It's something you don't have.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • sensible

      @ todd

      well i'd say this article is displaying some of the annoying things that the believers do, but not all of them

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

      So David,
      May I surmise from your post that you feel her proselytizing to others so they can understand her views is unseemly or somehow disrespectful? You used the words condemning and demagogy to describe her post-both fairly negative in connotation. I can only gather that you also feel the same way about believers who feel compelled to push or pull others toward their beliefs. In my case, since believers feel no compunction about speaking publicly or privately about what their heart tells them, I have no regrets expressing my agnosticism/atheism to these same people if for no other reason than to vocalize my feelings that my intellectual deductions on the issue are every bit as valid as their emotional conclusions.

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

      Demagogue is perhaps too strong a term, I will concede. But I believe my overall point is accurate. As for the trolls, did I make a statement about my beliefs? Why jump to conclusions and be insulting? Please don't be part of the problem.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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.