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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. Angel

    In a word "emptiness"
    God IS Love, therefore if there is no God, there is no Love. Faith is beyond human understanding. If you live in this world believing that you are all "it" then what else is there? How sad and lonly a life that would be.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Which god??

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Billy D

      Except that those of us without belief in god live perfectly loving, fulfilling lives.

      So, your point has no merit.

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

      That's a false dichotomy!
      Perhaps you should stop listening to people like William Lane Craig (it just seems something you pulled out straight from something he would say)–people that instead of honestly wanting to understand the world only try to justify their beliefs

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

      "How sad and lonly a life that would be."

      This is the lie you have to tell yourself because the reality is we are not sad or lonely. How many times are you going to post this?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • C'mon

      You're repeating yourself Angel. And convincing no one.

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

      Angel, you really don't know what love is. Love is a lot bigger than your tiny little definition. How limited you are, even if you do pretend to be an angle.

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

      Oh no its not a lonely life at all my friend... It is freedom to experience the true miracle of LIFE, and if there is a God you will find it in that expression.

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

      Angel,
      That is your definition of god, but love does not equal god. Read the definition of love. It is an emotion.

      Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a more potent se.ntiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships.

      Impersonal love: A person can be said to love an object, principle, or goal if they value it greatly and are deeply commit.ted to it. Similarly, compas.sionate outreach and volunteer workers' "love" of their cause may sometimes be born not of interpersonal love, but impersonal love coupled with altruism and strong spiritual or political convictions.

      Studies in neuroscience have involved chemicals that are present in the brain and might be involved when people experience love. These chemicals include: nerve growth factor, testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Adequate brain levels of testosterone seem important for both human male and female se.xual behavior. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are more commonly found during the at.traction phase of a relationship. Oxytocin and vasopressin seemed to be more closely linked to long term bonding and relationships characterized by strong attachments.

      Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Psychologist Robert Sternberg formulated a triangular theory of love and argued that love has three different components: intimacy, commitment, and pa.ssion.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Peteyroo

      WrongAngle, I was talking to your mother and your pastor the other day down at your local biker bar and they both said you had become unhinged. You mother couldn't stay very long because she had to get back to dancing, but your pastor was able to have a few beers with me and we talked at length. He presented me with a Bible which I gladly accepted and promptly placed under my frosty mug of beer to catch the foam gliding down the side just as he had done with his.

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

      Angel watch this and smile homie and billy is right. I don't believe in GOB and I haven't stopped smiling and helping people. matter fact if you believe in god you should also take this chill pill. and I promise the video is TO-LEGET-2-

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU&w=640&h=390]

      January 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  2. Tom Cox

    God if there is one please save my soul if I have one.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • C'mon

      Uh... who are you talking to?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Alan

      The high read count of course does not indicate that "everyone resonates" with this Mom but rather that many resonate with the question. My wife & I raised our children to believe in God because He loves them profoundly. Today, as adults, they are living lives of beauty and doing redemptive things that benefit other human beings with their time... because of God and His love.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  3. Jehovah

    Turn or Burn!

    January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Billy D

      Ahh, yes. Threats. The last bastion of those without valid arguments...

      January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Is that the basis of this faith? Blackmail?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Jumpin'Jehovah, good advice for the grill!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  4. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    Right on sista!
    If there was or is a God (that I would respect or enjoy) then IT would have to love everyone and judge no one.
    So I do believe in a God ...just not the one the 24/7-drive-by-instant-salvation Christian crew implore on Sunday morning and return to normal hateful operations by Sunday lunchtime, belief in that God is a waste of time on this planet.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      Hey Sista, you are aware liberals and non-standard believers have mush higher IQs then the conservative bible thumpers... that is why they gather in crowds so they can sound smarter when they talk.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      I meant "much" not "mush" lol
      I sound like a republican now.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  5. Angel

    Prayer is the most important thing to develop and protect our souls from evils, without prayer one is lost.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Pete

      "Prayer is the most important thing to develop and protect our souls from evils"

      What do you consider evil? I think it's evil to try and make people believe in imaginary fairies and it weakens their mind.

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

      Prayer does nothing. If God can heal or protect people, why hasn't God healed a single amputee? You may as well pray to empire state building rather than praying to god, the results will be the same.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • visitor

      You so diminish yourself. Spread your wings and stop being afraid to fly.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • logan5

      I don't pray, and haven't uttered a single prayer since I was a kid. And I am not lost, far from it!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Peteyroo

      WrongAngle, prayer is absolute nonsense and a complete waste of time.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Angel: Maybe you're lost without prayer. That doesn't mean that other people are.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  6. Insane Dude

    God and religion suggest consequence for one’s actions. Without God it is easy let go of all morality becoming a person who cares not about others and only exists to further their own objectives. Perhaps this is why people can shoot up a school and then take their own life because they believe they will not be held accountable.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Tea Clown

      For the life of me – WHICH GOD?? There are so many in this free, diverse country.
      -
      Which flavor is yours? Please specify when you make self-righteous rants.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Billy D

      Oh, grow up.

      There are MILLIONS of atheists in this country and they are not moral-less heathens. Atheists have morals and know their actions have consequences. They just don't feel the need to believe in the threat of invisible men and eternal torture chambers in order to be moral. The fact some people have to feel that pressure in order to be good is much more disturbing than the fact that many people can be good without it.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Consequences like committing murder then converting on your deathbed to avoid everlasting punishment?

      Consequences like being as good a person as you can, but not having faith in God, and being condemned to everlasting fire?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • GAW

      Remember that people with a belief in God carry out the same acts of violence described by you in addition to swindling people out of their money and more.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • logan5

      I stopped believing in the existence of the mythical Christian deity long ago. And I refuse to believe in any other gods as well. Yet I have never been more in touch with my humanity and that of others. I am probably a much better person now than I ever was.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  7. Douglas

    From a scientific standpoint, there is not any evidence to explain existence itself. I mean the existence of everything. Yes, supposedly science has nailed down how things happened over the course of the creation and forming of the universe, but no one has yet to figure out how anything and everything has come to exist at the 'beginning'.

    Some things in science fall into the category 'fact stranger than fiction'. Believing in alternate universes, which is a plausible argument according to scientists, is no better than believing in a God. They have proved that atoms on one side of the universe communicate with atoms on the other, instantaneously, yet there cannot be a God. If there is some alternate state that does not exist in the physical universe as we know it, why is it such a stretch to believe there is a state with a supreme being, God to exist as well? And if this God created everything, which I believe God did, why could God not have created everything to work like our science tells us it works? A more human example: Do we create machines, computers and the like to function improperly, randomly? Do our machines not work how we intend them too? (most of the time haha). So if God wanted to create a universe, or many of them, why wouldn't they be able to be explained by science? If someone studied our computers and machinery, they would be able to grasp how they function, just as we study the universe with science and grasp (a good bit) how it functions. Science does not exclude God, and I think people are solely basing the exclusion of God because they do not like the explanation of the existence of humanity given in the books written by men. There is the first problem there, books of religion were written by men. So, until someone can prove to me how everything came to be, and can prove that the afterlife is a myth, then I have faith that God, and Jesus Christ, are not a myth and do in fact exist. And there are many parts of Christianity that make complete sense, and some that do not. But much of Christianity was not defined explicitly and there is much left open to interpretation, and much that was written by the hands of men of folly. So mutually exclusive? I believe not.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Well, it was all written by the hands of men. So now we just have to decide how much of it is folly. How do you tell?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Peteyroo

      DungMass, you are so confused. If I say unicorns exist and you say they don't, who has the burden of proof? Do I have to prove they walk the earth, or do you have to prove they don't? Exactly! Prove God and all his magic exist; otherwise, prove that unicorns and leprechauns don't exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Todd

      It is a free country and you can have faith in the invisible. However, if God was real, don't you think he'd check in? Jesus died a long time ago and we haven't heard from him since....

      January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Miguel

      So first off, GOD DOES NOT EXISTS. I am sorry for being blunt it's just the truth. When I hear people try to defend it and say thing's like, "I know where I am going when I die," or "until science proves it I'll believe it," etc. When I hear these responses all I hear is fear. The people who are SO AFRAID of death that they rather believe that when people die we check out to a permanent vacation. Really? I mean have you guy's heard/read/been handed a pentathlete/gotten knocked on for the S*&% that is being taught to people of all ages? Don't get me wrong there are somethings about religion that are good, like... the amount of money religious establishments earn, not having to pay taxes on any of it. If this was a business (which it is,) people would have been screaming monopoly decades ago, sorry lost focus. What I am getting at, is what good does religion have on our civilization? Because lot's of people seem to believe that we would not have our morals if it weren't for a book full of kid stories, (Bible.) And my response is always the same... If you need a book that is describing Narnia in order for you to do good in this world and help other's in need then something is wrong in your head, plain and simple. The fact that there are so many other religion's out there just goes to prove that there is no GOB (not a typo, just sounds cooler,) because choosing a religion has become a retail experience. Let me finish with this cause now I'm babbling. I am 27, I am not perfect, I drink, I smoke cannabis, (and don't worry: just after work,) I have a wife, two amazing kids and I don't concern myself with the things I can't change, like, "who created the universe?" I couldn't care less, I am here and I am going to live my life, if I decided that I am going to help people in need on my journey, (which I do, but who care because it should be our duty!!!!!!!) then I will, NOT because it's what I BELIEVE-IN but, because of what I FEEL is the right thing to do and I don't need book (bible,) to tell/ask/show me how to do so. And if I where to believe in something I would put my chips all-in on PEOPLE, because we are capable of wonderful and amazing things yet we are all so blind to it. So with that I leave you with this.

      Whatever you are, be a good one.
      Abraham Lincoln

      BOOM

      January 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  8. JoAnn

    I am really sorry for how some People go about "recruiting". God is so much more than that. He will answer your questions and just communicate with you if you ask him. He really wants to hear from you. I think these door beating Christians have been taught to be this way and they're not listening to God at all. I think he's about to throttle some of the "Churchianity" folks anyway. Just look for him yourself, what will it hurt? If you hear nothing, oh well, at least you tried...but then on the other hand....

    January 19, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Dang it! Which god? Zeus, Confucius, Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, etc, etc?
      -
      You god people need to get specific!!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Pete

      "God is so much more than that. He will answer your questions and just communicate with you if you ask him. He really wants to hear from you."

      Most of the atheists posting here are former xtians or ministers. Now what?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • C'mon

      Very nice JoAnn. Now just take one more step and say... really... there is no god listening at all. Mankind can do just fine (love, justice, tolerance, grace, humanity, compassion...) without the fiction of a god who punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous. Human society can be good all on their own – better, in fact, if it's not based on a myth.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Tea Clown

      No Pete, we aren't delusional people with imaginary friends.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Peteyroo

      JoGoAnn, God is nothing. He has never existed except in the minds of feeble-minded, gullible sheep.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • visitor

      So if Goddess answers, is that just as worthy?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  9. lrich_9

    Good for her, I myself am a lot like her in the way that I grew up in a very Roman Catholic family where even my grandmother was orphaned and raised by nuns. We didn't just go to church on Sundays or just for the big holidays, we attended mass for all of the incredibly obscure and even fairly outdated celebrations that most people don't even know exist. I was very much a strong believer, even severely butting heads with my science teacher in high school when he began teaching evolution.
    Today, I am the exact opposite, I could easily teach classes on evolution which I firmly believe to be fact whereas I no longer believe in God although one of my biggest hobbies is studying & collecting items surrounding religious history, I own copies of every holy book from every religion that I've been able to get my hands on. There is a great deal of historical fact within those books, almost as much as their is myth.
    I used to call myself an atheist but now if asked, I just say I'm a non-believer because I absolutely despise all of the atheist groups that are doing the exact thing that they don't like religious organizations doing, forcing their views upon other people and attacking our national traditions with no point in doing so. The entire point of being an atheist should be about individuality, the moment you organize into atheist groups, you became exactly like any other religious group. I cannot stand these people that want to force their beliefs on you, this goes for atheists and religious zealots alike.
    I don't usually speak on my beliefs unless specifically asked but there's always going to be at least one Bible thumper that comes around and is far to nosey for their own good so they can't help themselves from asking. In that case I respond as politely as possible and try to move on as quickly as possible but so often the just won't let you move on.
    TO ME, THERE IS NOTHING MORE ANNOYING THAN WHEN AFTER HAVING THIS CONVERSATION WITH A BIBLE THUMPER AND TELLING THEM I DON'T BELIEVE WHAT THEY BELIEVE, THEY INSIST ON TELLING ME THAT THEY ARE GOING TO PRAY FOR ME, JUST LIKE THIS WOMAN'S STORY BEGAN. I don't want your prayers, don't waste your time but instead spend that time doing something productive or prayer for someone that wants your prayers.
    Most religions out there are slowly going the way of the dodo bird as out of all the people I know from my generation (early 30's), I can't think of a single person I know from my age group that actually goes to church especially on their own. Many of them still very much believe in God as well as heaven & heII but the only time they ever go near any organized religion is when they want to get married or have their child baptized. About half of the time, the reason the want to get married in a church or have their child baptized, it's actually for the benefit of their own parents instead's of themselves or their baby. Most of the people I know that are my age and have a kid that was baptized in the church, never end up brining their kids back to church again after that but many of them still call themselves catholic or christian.
    Personally, even though I don't believe, I do think that religion itself can be a very good & helpful thing for a person, especially young people but their's a very big difference between being religious or believing in a religion and being a member of an organized religious group. I have a lot more respect for people that believer very strongly in their religion but don't associate with an organization than I do those that need an organization in order to tell them what to believe and how to interpret things like the bible or life itself.
    Last note: With the financial situation that this nation is currently facing, it's absolutely absurd that all religious organizations are tax exempt. The Catholic Church is by far the single largest property owner in the United States of America as well as the world yet they don't pay a dime in property taxes, they get more donations than anyone else but none of that money is taxed, they get a completely free ride in this country. If religious organizations were forced to pay property taxes then it would create a massive influx of tax dollars from an entirely untapped source. I couldn't be more against religious groups being tax exempt, there's no good reason for it.
    Good for this lady, it's tough to stand up against that crowd especially in places like Texas where part of my family lives. Although I'm not even sure if my sister makes the kids go to church on a weekly basis and the closest business (gas station) is at least a 15-20 minute drive from her house, so the closest church is about a half hour away which probably makes it difficult for her since she's got herself a tribe. Bible thumpers account for a large swath of the population down there and that includes most Mexicans whom are much more religious than most Americans are. My Texas nephews are 25% Mexican since my brother in law is 50% mexican & his mother is 100%, I know she is very religious but not a bible thumper like so many down there.
    My advice to this woman is to just cut people off immediately when they start in on her about religion, just immediately respond with "I do not believe what you believe to be true", I'm sorry if that offends you in some way but please do not force your beliefs upon me or my children" and she'll easily be able to tell who her real friends are because the Zealots will get angry either walk off in a huff or they will try even harder which means they don't respect your wishes so they aren't worth being around anyway.
    I'm glad to hear of a parent that is raising her kids without making them do things that even she doesn't believe in because that's pretty rare. Most people in raising their kids just have to "keep up with the Jones's" even in regards to religion and people that are capable of independent thought are becoming fewer are farther between.

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

      ItchyNine, I never read more than one short paragraph. I'm sure no one else does either. Why waste your time writing so much? Keep it short and concise.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  10. Angel

    In a word...."emptiness"
    God IS Love, therefore if there is no God, there is no Love. Faith is beyond human understanding. If you live in this world believing that you are all "it" then what else is there? How sad and lonly a life that would be.

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

      " How sad and lonly a life that would be."

      It's not, that's the lie Christians like you have to tell yourselves in order to keep your faith. The reality is we are not sad or lonely at all.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • C'mon

      In a word... "Fiction." There is no god, and yet there is love all around us. We don't need god to have love. In fact, many, many god fearing people are truly hateful, so god does not really equal love at all.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Which god?? I guess I'll assume it's Buddha.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Peteyroo

      WrongAngle, you are so confused. There is no God, no magic, no unicorns, no leprechauns. Religion is just a lame excuse to hate others.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      That's a false dichotomy!
      Perhaps you should stop listening to people like William Lane Craig (it just seems something you pulled out straight from something he would say)–people that instead of honestly wanting to understand the world only try to justify their beliefs

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Insane Dude

      Well said!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • roadrunner321

      Yeah, this is all their is. All the music, family, knowledge, books, sunlight, stars, smell of flowers, the feel of a kiss, the wind in the leaves, the pain of loss, the challenges, the failures, the tears, the laughter, the heartache and the joy. Yep, all this and more is ALL there is to it.

      Boy do I feel unsatisfied!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Lee

      So, when a longtime friend who I considered to be a good and wise person said to me that "God was trying to teach me a lesson" after a convicted felon beat one of my pets so severely the animal's spine was left in several pieces, I pretty much was speechless and to this day remain speechless to this person. Really don't see how "God is love" here. In fact, I'm pretty sure the criminal as he was beating my pet, was thinking "I'll show her". Interesting parallel between God and a criminal. Any God who thinks they are teaching me a lesson by a criminal beating an innocent and defenseless animal is a God I can do without.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • visitor

      Your life is not empty without your limited definition of love. I am sorry you feel so bad about your life. Feel better, dear.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Smack

      "God is love" – except when he floods the entire earth killing innocent kids, babies, pregnant mothers and animals. Except when he's commanding armies to kill any woman who has laid with a man and keep virgins as your own property. Except when he's causing plagues or having bears rip 42 kids apart for making fun of a Saints bald head. Except when he requires burnt animal sacrifices to stay in good graces and the animals cannot have any defects.

      Please try actually reading your bible.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  11. kya

    I was raised without religion or belief in god and I am glad i was raised this way. This is the way I will raise my children also.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  12. Pinewalker

    Welcome to the new workd order....where you can be anything you want to be, just not straight, conservative or believe in God....because if we believed in evil those words would define it.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Billy D

      Oh grow up.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Not clear

      Whatever that was, it wasn't clear

      January 19, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  13. stroker ace

    religion was invented so people seeking power had a way to controll the masses. ask any pharaohs, theyll tell you.

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

      I also believe religion developed out of a need to explain the unexplainable. To give us a sense of immortality in a world where we are the only species (that we are sure of) that is aware that we will one day die. This is the way we rationalize our existence.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  14. Feroxnoct

    My mother-in-law asked me when my daughter would be baptized. I told her when my daughter felt called by God to do so. It isn't that I don't want my daughter to have faith when she's ready to understand it, but is it really faith if she just repeats what she has been told?

    January 19, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Billy D

      As an atheist with Catholic in-laws (wife's atheist, too), the "who is going to be a the god parent" conversation was an awkward one.

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

      There are a number of non-Roman Catholic churches that will baptize without a bunch of fuss. Kid is Baptized, Family is happy, no long commitments asked for by the Priest.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  15. Angel

    Take time each day to be alone with God-in silence

    Prayer is the most important thing to develop and protect our souls from evils, without prayer one is lost.

    Prayer gives us the grace to fight sin and stay on the path the heaven.

    God is the greatest consoler.

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

      "Prayer gives us the grace to fight sin and stay on the path the heaven."

      Really, that's why Americans are some of the most greedy, selfish, gluttonous people on the planet, Just more proof your religion doesn't make people moral.

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

      WrongAngle, do you hear voices?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Um, which god? Buddha, Confucius, Zeus, Allah, Jehovah, etc, etc?
      -
      It's too confusing in our free, diverse country.
      -
      God people – I asked before, please specify your flavor of god so the rest of us free thinking people will know what you're jabbering about.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • visitor

      How about Meditation? You OK with that?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • txdude311

      Prayer removes people's responsibility to act as they place it all at the will of an invisible non present being, placing the outcome out of their hands. Why not place the outcome in ones own hands by getting up and putting your shoulder to the wheel.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  16. Bork

    The Bible is every bit as believable as Dianetics or the Book of Mormon or the Bhagavad Gita or Beowulf. I don't begrudge anyone for believing in any of those books – not until they try to leverage those beliefs to control my freedoms or affect my life. The separation of church and state in America means that Christians don't have to be controlled by Muslims, Muslims don't have to be controlled by Jews, Jews don't have to be controlled by Rastafarians, and Rastafarians don't have to be controlled by Scientologists.

    Believe what you want. But don't force it on other people. Don't expect YOUR beliefs to speak for others' or to oppress others simply because you believe your personal diety will passive-aggressively back you up in some nebulous afterlife.

    The greatest good you can do in this life is to serve others – serving others by feeding them when they're hungry, not giving them a Bible and telling them to pray. Holding them while they cry instead of inviting them to church. Fighting for their right to be who they want to be instead of trying to chain them down to fit your rigid standard of life.

    If you can't understand that, then you are at odds with your god.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  17. Science

    The courts and science agrees with her !!!
    Can't teach creation/id in public schools in US, is a big clue
    NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial – PBS
    in this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in ...
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hTZ5AYzs8o&w=640&h=390]

    January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      This should be shown in every Comparative Religion Course. :-)

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

      @TruthPrevails :-)

      Agree it is in the public school system in the US.
      Thanks

      January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Free Nuts

      They (children) come home from school one day and ask mom/dad god and the bible said the earth was created in 7 days
      and only 10,000 to 6,000 years old ?

      Why did science class say the earth is 4.5 billion years old mom/dad ?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  18. amywarwick

    I am an agnostic – at the least. I am very possibly an athiest, although I am still exploring my beliefs in regards to that. I don't believe in raising my children with religion. Man-made religions are too hateful. I cannot imagine telling my children that if they do not believe in God – whatever God is taught in my neck of the woods – that they will go to hell and burn for all eternity. However, faith and spirituality are totally different to me. I have taught them to keep an open mind, listen to everything and then make up their minds. I am totally fine with people of faith. What I have don't like is that people of faith are not okay with my beliefs.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Billy D

      Why not be both?

      I'm an agnostic atheist. I do not claim to KNOW there is no god (agnostic), but I do not BELIEVE there is, either (atheist).

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  19. Jonboy1974

    How could it possibly be heaven and paradise, if it's going to be full of Christians?

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

      Good point! No lawyers in heaven of course, but you're right–it'll be full of hateful, confused, gullible Christians.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  20. El Lobito

    All religion is a human invention, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Tea Clown

      Religion is the ultimate con game. The Catholic church and Mormon church have more wealth than most countries.
      -
      Pharisees?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Merritt Teddlie

      The simplest and most direct truthful statement! Thanks

      January 19, 2013 at 11:31 am |
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About this blog

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