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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. Jacqueline

    After reading this article it brought to mind a family I heard about that did not raise their children with any type of religious beliefs and my first thought was how sad I felt for them. For myself I just feel lucky that I do believe in something greater out there. When I lost my mom a few years ago it was the most painful event of my life and if I did not believe I was going to see her again someday well I think it would of made her passing so much worse. Now the reason I mention the family raising their kids with no belief in anything is because they too lost their mother and the experience for them of not thinking they were ever going see her again was devastating. I have a hope and belief that I can turn and when you have that it can get you through a lot.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Douglas

      "Now the reason I mention the family raising their kids with no belief in anything is because they too lost their mother and the experience for them of not thinking they were ever going see her again was devastating."

      I've lost many of my family members and I know we will not be seeing each other again. Their legacy lives on through us but that's it, that's called reality. It's why I appreciate and love those in my life intensely, because you only get one shot at it.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • DeeCee1000

      Religion helps if you have the mentality of an iron age person who knows very little or nothing about science.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • DeeCee1000

      Jacquline, did you exist before this life you have now? How did you feel about not existing as "Jacquline" at the time?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • roadrunner321

      That is why many people believe, because it give them comfort. It takes the trials of life and compares them to an eternity of bliss and makes them seem less important.

      I have lost people, and my lack of belief did not do as you think it did. It did not make their passing sadder, because their life was complete unto itself, and I was happy that I had known them. I did not expect to see them again, so while I was sad to see them go, it made me cherish their memory and resolve to live a fuller life in honor of that memory.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  2. julie Poswell

    good for her. more people should do this.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  3. Byrd

    Good on you, Deborah. Now you can look forward to years of intelligent conversation with your kids.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  4. Seyedibar

    To believe in a god in this modern day requires an insane level of defiance of common sense and a disregard for science and history. This will be easiest if I just aim this at Christianity/Judaism/Islam... Look at what modern society has proven:
    – no need for a god in harmonious cosmological models.
    – that man evolved from less complex life rather than be shaped out of mud.
    – that civilization long predates the first civilization of Genesis
    – that our planet is but an infinitesimal pebble in a vast ocean of universal bodies, not the center of the universe.
    – that the Hebrew god originally began as a pantheon of many gods and goddesses.
    – that JHVH was originally a lineage of Egyptian kings.
    – that Moses was the pharoahs Thutmose II and III
    – that the people who made the Exodus were Asiatics, not Hebrews.
    – that the Ten Commandments were originally the 42 Confessions of Ma'at.
    – that the majority of the Old Testament's language is of Egyptian etymology.
    – that Methuselah was originally Mithra-Suyra, a name commonly given to Avestan Mithraic priests meaning covenant-maker.
    – that over half of the New Testament was borrowed from the messianic prophet Mattia (known to christians as Matthew)
    – that the miracles of Jesus were borrowed from the gods Horus, Attis, Tammuz, and Mithra.
    – that the temple cleansing originally occurred during the reign of Alexander the Great.
    – that the Massacre of the Infants was borrowed from Vedic mythology.
    – that God's massacre and flooding of Tyre was the work of Alexander's forces.
    – that Satan is a mistranslation of the term "enemy".
    – that Hell is a creation of Teutonic wordplay regarding death and was never an actual place the Hebrews believed existed.
    – that the "Bible" was never meant to be a holy book and only existed in antiquity as a loose library of culture-related articles.

    At the very least, a thinking person must admit to themselves that the Bible cannot be the literal words of God(s). In my opinion about 95% of believers do not actually believe, but only wish strongly that they did... a behaviour they refer to as "faith".

    January 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • seaann

      Seyedibar Really! and what other lies can you tell.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Ben

    How do you keep a belief at home? It's not like a pair of sneakers you can leave in the closet. Who decides what is just and fair? There is always some belief that informs or directs action. It's completely unavoidable. To think otherwise is illogical.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • DeeCee1000

      You are one of the many reasons religion should be outlawed in this country. If you can't stop yourself from trying to shove your idiotic religion down everybody else's throats, the best thing to do is to get rid of it.

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

      That's quite a hostile response.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  6. Chad

    Before she teaches her children to reject God, shouldnt she have first done some investigation into the reality of the God of Israel?

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

      Chad,
      Why do you think she didnot investigate? And why just the god if Israel?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      And how would one do that, exactly?
      Should you investigate whether Santa, the tooth fairy, unicorns, vampires, and so on too?
      Let's get real

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Douglas

      You obviously didn't read the article.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  7. Hemet Jeff

    Good for her! I am so tired of being looked at like a pedophile used car salesman when I tell people that I am an Atheist. People who don't believe in those fairy tales just want the same respect as people who do. Only sheep need a shepard. god did not create Man; Man created god.

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

      How do you know that man created the God of Israel

      January 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Douglas

      "How do you know that man created the God of Israel"

      Just like they have created all the other thousands of god throughout human history. They are all fake.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Chad

      @Douglas "Just like they have created all the other thousands of god throughout human history. They are all fake.
      "
      @Chad "so, you believe that since some gods are fake, the God of Israel is also fake? That's the extent of your logic?

      There are fake Elvis's... does that mean that Elvis Presley never existed?

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

      "There are fake Elvis's... does that mean that Elvis Presley never existed?"

      There are fake Santas doesn't that mean Santa never existed?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • MEI

      God of Israel and Elvis Presley... Interesting. What more do you have up your sleeve today?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  8. hang3xc

    I'm SO glad CNN didn't remove the original article. It's amazing that religious freaks would flag it as inappropriate in the first place. The article was very well written & not insulting to anyone. I enjoyed and agreed with it

    January 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • C'mon

      Flagging her article as inappropriate was a sign of how intolerant religious people are. They are afraid of free speech, free thinking and the truth.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  9. Hamruniz

    She's a disgrace to motherhood and her children........

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

      What an awful thing to say.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      begging the question, how so?
      Or do you do what you do with your religious reasoning, not properly justify your ideas?
      Grow up

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • C'mon

      Nope. She is a fine mother who is raising her children in the truth. There should be more moms like her.

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

      Wow I sure hope you're not teaching that hate to your children, now that is a disgrace!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • DeeCee1000

      Not at all. She's an inspiration to many who think the same way but who have been to afraid of being condemned by evil people like you.

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

      Doesn't seem like a disgrace to motherhood to me! Seems like a mother trying to do what she thinks is best for her children -which is what a mother is SUPPOSED to do!

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

      She's a discgrace because she's providing a comfortable upbringing for her children? How is making your children believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy and then telling them it's all fake any different that telling them to believe in God? Just like those made up characters, you have NO proof that God exists, only a belief. And your belief does not make it fact. If someone chooses to believe in a god or to not, that is their choice.

      As an atheist, it's funny to me to hear religious people so easy to condenm. If you are supposed to be accepting of all of "God's creations", you should be accepting of those who believe and those who don't. I think believing in a god is about the most ignorant thing you can do, does that mean I wish those that do any ill fortune.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Germsy

      Whoa, forgive that last statement. That *doesn't mean I wish ill fortune towards those that do.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  10. L.H.

    I can understand both sides of the issue. I lived a very Christian life and attended church regularly until one day my husband came home and announced he was walked on on his family because his wife was not pretty enough for him. 19 days later he was hooked up on Facebook with a prior woman he employed. I turned to my church, Calvary Chapel, to help our family get through the tough times, but was told over and over that the church did not have anything to help single parents. I tried for several years to keep going, but finally slowly gave up and felt completely alone in life because I was not married. I have not given up on God, only those who preached it and the non-existing support groups for us to get through the hard times.

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

      L.H. I'm sorry to hear your feeling alone. It can feel isolating when it seems like there's no one who understands what you're going through. It sounds like your CC is a small community, I attend one that is fairly large. When I was in a women's bible study, there was a wide range of people, young, old, married, single, kids, no kids, unmarried with kids, mature, and new believers. If your location makes it hard to find a more supportive church, maybe you can get some encouragement online? "revive our hearts" and "kwve" come to mind. Blessings.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  11. C'mon

    I thank this woman for speaking her mind and raising her children they way she believes is best. BUT, she is not an anomaly, there are many people who don't believe in god, and who do not invent one for the sake of their children. Many like her live in fear because of America's rabid religiosity and the harm that religious people can inflict if you do not believe what they believe. Time for religious people to stay out of other people's lives and laws.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  12. Patricia Phillips

    I am so proud of Ms. Mitchell. I consider myself a free thinker. I was raised in a strict Lutheran family and church. When I was in the 6th grade I had my confirmation and the minister said I was up there on my own free will. I thought that was a a bunch of hog wash and thought of all the bunking parties and other events I had to miss so I could be at the church memorizing among other things the meanings of all the sins and creeds. I stopped believing that day. I stayed away during my young adult years and finally went back when my husband and I had children. Doing the "right" thing was important. We put up this charade for many years until our boys were in high school. To make my mother we agreed to attend church with her on Easter. The preacher's sermon was on the evil people who only attend church on special occasions. I could not get out of that church fast enough and my husband and I and our adult sons have never been back. I too cannot have faith in something so esoteric. I don't believe in prayer, the virgin birth, the ascension, or life after death. I am still really unable to talk to people about it because I think I will be highly criticized. It is time I just "come out of the closet" on this subject. Thank you for loving your children enough to teach them how to be good people without the worry of some god looking over their shoulder to make them feel guilty.

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

      more people should adopt the label freethinker, but too many have no idea what it means

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • seaann

      Patricia, sorry for your bad experience. There is so much pain people feel because of the false teaching of the church.

      When you step outside look at the beauty of our planet. The skies the earth itself. I get excited when I look out my kitchen window and see the winter garden (first time) growing. Who put those laws in place? The Designer of this Universe, 1John 4:8 " God is Love" what does that mean? You want the best for your children, do you think the Designer of this Universe wants any less?
      Do not allow the ignorance of these so called leader rob you of getting to know the Creator. If you search for Him with a sincere heart ,and humility He will let Himself be found.

      Psalms 53: 2"As for God, He has looked down from heaven itself upon the sons of men, To see whether there exist anyone having insight anyone seeking Jehovah.

      Much success to you Pat.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • tami

      Thank you Patricia, I love the term Freethinker. Like many others I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, even in college. But I never found religion right for me, even as a little kid. I also do not like to refer to myself as an Atheist because that just seems like another organization where people feel superior to others that do not have the same beliefs as them. My husband and I are highly educated and travel the world helping others. As Lisa Simpson says" I believe in science and reality". I use my resources to help others, human and animal, and have the happiest life possible. I love my nieces and nephews more than words can say, and I don't need a supreme being to live an amazing life. Freethinker, I love that!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  13. JustNotSure

    I struggle with this thought/question...was religion introduced to man as a way to ease our fears over dying? Simply because MOST religions reflect upon some sort afterlife promise. I want to believe in God, but can't get past this thought/question.

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

      That is my belief.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • seaann

      Just Not Sure,
      There are correct answers to every question you have. I would like to give you a little encouragement. There is not need for fear of after life. That fear robs you from living your life now. Take a deep breath and think. Why are we here? How did we get Here? What happens we die? Why do we die in the first place? What does the future hold? Who is God? Why does permit suffering?Does God really care about me and MY family?
      Every one of those questions have clear, truthful answers.

      If you would like send me your questions and we will go through them one at a time.

      Please don't give up.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  14. spokes

    I could not agree more with this outlook, I do not believe in god or religion, but if it works for you, so be it, just stop trying to convert me, you only reinforce my belief there is no god.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Second this. Just don't be accused of being close-minded.

      I might be converted if presented with evidence, just not personal assertions and anecdotes that are indistinguishable from flights of imagination.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Richard

      In the same way, people who don't believe in God should stop trying to convert people who do believe. For example they should stop trying to ban the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. I mean if you don't believe you have a right to not say the pledge, but don't try to make other people like you.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • seaann

      Really! Why are we here? How did we get here? what is the purpose of life? There are correct answers to those question.
      To be closed minded means you miss out on the greatest joy of life.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Roger that

      I'm with you Richard. I say keep the pledge, but we should change it to read:

      "One nation under God (flying spaghetti monster)"

      The believers will say "God" and the others will say "flying spaghetti monster" in unison. It'll work trust me. We can all get along.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  15. David

    Read the Bible again. You will see everything you told your child is false. The worse thing you can do is tell them there is no heaven. Just look outside at the world.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      I'm surprised the bible isn't R rated...

      January 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • C'mon

      But there really IS NO heaven. Why lie to them?

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

      "Just look outside at the world."

      Oh, you mean the tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunami's, droughts, starvation, earthquakes, tornadoes, greed, selfishness, prejudices, intolerance and hate. Yup if that's your heaven it sucks!

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

      oh, and the problem of evil is a classical problem that Epicurus introduced before Christianity even came about
      over 2000 years, now, and the best answer theologians and various other philosophers that like to wiggle their way out of contradictions is "but we can't know what god's reasons are"
      give me a break
      it's nonsense and it's only a mental exercise to think about things such as these... basically analogous to playing a chess game that never ends

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

      Didn't you mean to preface that with "In my opinion"? In your opinion, the worse thing you can do...

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

      Comments like this make me realize what awesome parents I had.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Roger that

      A child suffering from cancer may be the most visible sign that there is no god or at the very least a loving and caring god. You can rationalize it until the cows come home, but you know I'm right. So just keep on worshipping your evil egotistical dictating deity.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  16. FreeFromTheism

    Face it, atheism is inevitable

    January 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • just wondering

      Some fools will inhabit hell by their own choices, and some like atheists are just not wanted anywhere.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • dzp

      lol nice shotgun blanket statement. too bad its not true

      January 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • C'mon

      We're coming on...

      January 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  17. The Bible Commands Us To...

    "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."

    "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet."

    "For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him."

    "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."

    "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."

    ""Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    "The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says."

    "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

    It's all right there. Why aren't we living by these and other verses, but only some of them???

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

      because religion does not have to be logical and once one allows themselves to justify truth through it, they are well able to justify anything else in exactly the same way
      that is, primarily, why religion is a very dangerous thing for the mind

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • nobody

      Because the "Bible" is not the word of God. "Jesus" is the Word of God and no religion or book can replace him. He is alive and if we do not KNOW him by seeking him... we are lost. We are already judged and condemned without him to show us the way.. not the "Bible". No church, book, religion or law can help anyone... only "Jesus" himself.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      @nobody, I have no idea what you're talking about
      you speak in a language that makes no sense to me
      everything you say is just a chain of claims and you provide NO support for any of them
      why should I care about what you're saying, then? Am I supposed to assume that everything you say is true?
      I don't think so

      January 19, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • retired Jarhead

      Funny but the bible also commands to:
      stone your children to death if they disobey..
      to have your wife sleep outside until her menstrual period is over etc etc
      why aren't you listening or living by that one either? I find your 'selected' verses rather bigoted and idiotic. yeah its all right there.. cherry picking are ya?

      Thought so!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  18. Nana Bowman

    One of first agendas communists took over Russia and China was wiping out all believes. People couldn't even choose being a human being. We're lucky living in this country, we can't afford spliting personalities like this.

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

      What you're implying is the same thing. To marginalize any belief is to be replicating the forced secularity of communist regimes. By silencing non-believers in your, or any other religion's god, are we not silencing the voices of people just as you suggest communist agenda silenced religious voices?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  19. Jack

    Atheism is rising in the United States, and I would be willing to bet that it is fervent Judeo christians who will, in the future, be the ones most criticized and ridiculed by the by then atheist majority. Christianity is prevalent due to the actions of governments, acts of violence, stomping out previously held beliefs. It is entirely plausible that within 100 years we will laugh at Christians the way some people laugh at the Amish.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • just wondering

      Recent reports make your statement false. Atheism remains an extreme minority in America and across the world. Having no religious affiliation does not automatically make one a liar, thief, murderer or the equivalent – atheist.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  20. Nicole

    I am a wife,and mother of three all under the age of seven.We are a christian family who attend church faithfully,and believe in God.My family would not be the loving family we are today if it were not for our Lord, and Savior.I grew up Catholic just like you did,and when I reached my early twenties I became a christian,and then begain to really know,and have a relationship with Jesus.That is what i am passing on to my children.Like I had commented when I first read about this is that your children think what we teach them.That is what my pastor once told me.Jesus is love.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • roadrunner321

      I grew up Catholic as well. Then I stopped. I still love my family, but maybe you would not call it love. I don't attribute my ability to feel love to a deity.

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

      You say you were raised Catholic and then became a Christian? Well ready for this mind blowing fact? Catholicism is a sect of Christianity. Woah!, mind blown.

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

      You know, I have heard so many times from religious folks how sorry they feel for us atheists. But I have to say that I feel sorry for you. You cannot comprehend love without a book and a pastor explaining it to you. I love my child, I would do anything for her. I would lay down my life for her. No one ever had to tell me that. The joys of being alive and loving our friends and family come naturally to humans. I think that book takes all that away when it tries to explain who and why people should love.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • visitor

      You are free to submit to a Pastor's definition of love. I didn't need some guy to tell me what love is, nor did I need some guy god to tell me that. Funny I also have a loving family without all the religious trappings, but good for you that it makes you and yours happy. A solid family doesn't make you unique, except maybe in Evangelical circles, which has the highest divorce rate of any Ethnic or Religious group in the U.S.

      You are still not free to enter any of our personal spaces and preach that one will burn in hell if they don't submit to the guy god as you did. That thought is freaky and evil in my personal book.

      By the way, Catholicism is Christianity. You found a church that suits you better, and that is the path you choose, but don't be so ignorant about Christianity's diversity. Pedophile priests and all, I would match the brains and background and spiritual background of a Catholic Priest against a Evangelical Pastor any day. Most Priests I have met are very smart. All Pastors I have met are ignorant and intolerant. Every single one.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Agnostic & Loving It

      I guess I can sum it up quickly and put this nonsense to rest, if you religious people need a bible to make you better people then you weren't good people to begin with. And like the author said where is God when you need him with all of the suffering going on in this world any intellegent person with a half of brain and some common sense would be able to figure out what is real or not real. Religion which has been present for tens of thousand of years hasn't change much it stills injects fear in people by brain washing and finacially sucking the life out of people. I was forced at a young age to become religious and to attend a religious school but it only lasted one year because I couldn't stand the nuns and the words of God that they were telling me, even at the age of 6 I knew what was real and not real so I drifted away from the religious movement. Most of the evil people in this world presently and in the past have said that they are in some ways religious, but has religion help in the suffering that they have caused, no it hasn't.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 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.