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. Truth will privial...

    To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
    The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
    Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
    No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all - William Shakespear's (Hamlet)

    Just because a person can die without fear, doesn't mean they shouldn't. None of us will "know" by first hand experience what happens after death until we take that path to our final destination. In America, we dont think about death enough. There is suffereing here, but not like in other contries. Its not so easy to cast off God when your mortality is evident. Moreover, atheism, though not a religious system, takes more wishful thinking than coherant reasoning.

    That's one of my qualms with the initial article by miss Mitchel. She offers too simplistic of argument against the existance of God. Just because there is suffering in the world, there cannot be a God? Just because every prayer (even very good humanistic one) are not answered with "yes" but many times "no" or "no now but lattert" there is no God? Just because it is very evident that our individual and temporal happiness is not God's main perogative, he cannot exist? Anyway, to be more gracious, Ms. Mitchel really was sharing the reasons she refuses to believe in God - or trust him. However, I think more serious inquiry could change - but it apears to not be her desire at this point. Moreover, I can see that she has been turned off, by too much prostelization.

    As a human race we may be getting more technoligcally advance, but have become spiritual and intellectual dwarfs. Many of the ranters on here just are not going deep enough.

    We are so weak. So science has given certain folks more courage to refuse to acknowledge wat obvious to all - yes there is a God, stop lying to yourselves! Even if your disregard for our Creator is fueled by resentment toward religion and its feeble adherants, it doesn;t change the truth. There is a God.

    However, I do understand certain folks aversion to religion, especially when you hear weirdo horrow stories of those who would try to exorcise a demon at all, let alone one out of your daughter! That's retarded and very dis-heartening, I appologize for the pastor that failed to teach that woman against such actions!. Moreover, I understand ones aversion to religion after being pestered, like mentioned in the article, by unrelenting Christians. That is sad - but it really comes back to one fundamental error in their understanding of the Christian Faith - God is soveriegn in salvation. There is nothing any Christian can do to actually cause anyone to believe - we may share our faith, share the good news of Jesus Christ, but God has to command light to shine in the darkness. If such a "believer" really knew that, if they do really believe in Jesus and are "saved" its only because God's sovereign power granted them faith in the Gospel. Salvation is monergysitic - He is the one doing the work, creating saving faith in the previous unbeliever. It is not due them simply reciting a creed or a simple prayer. If they understood this, they'd back off when people really show that they are not interested in hearing the gospel.

    Moreover, I think you "free-thinkers" at least should be willing to discuss these topics, and not right "believer" off as people believing mere myths - we could say the same (and we do, disrepsectfully at times I admit) consider the scientific ideologies of evolition, singularity (big bang), etc, as mythological as well. Its not about who is smarter, that has nothing to do with it - its what is true. But if you are a consitant "free thinker" you probably believe that truth is relative, but how can you be so sure? So you believe its true that truth is relative, or unknowable, thus, you admit you don't even know if that is true.

    Lastly, I just want to very briefly describe the Gospel:

    For His own glory, God created this world and then created us in His own image and likeness, making us intellegent and rational beings to reflect His glory and enjoy him and and His glorious creation. But shortly thereafter our first parents (Adam and Eve) chose to eat from the forbidden tree, electing to be be like God, that is autonomous (a law unto themselves). Consequently, the effects of their trangression have marred and defaced the image/likness of God in us to the point where it is no longer "natural" for us to regard God in our thinking and day to day life. Rather than glorifying and worshiping Him, we have become narcesistic idolotors of any and every kind and thing. However, though we have gravely and greatly fallen, GOD sought us, designing a way to restore His image in us and our relationship with Him. He gave the Jews His divine law to reveal His Character and to point out their deperate need for atonement (payment for sins). All the Jews sacrifices pointed to the ultimate sacrifice that was needed - Jesus, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Eventually, the second person of the Godhead, the substance of His glory, Jesus Christ, came clothed in human flesh, was fully God and fully man, fullfilled all God's laws demands, doing what Adam and us were supposed to but failed to do, then offered Himself, without spot or blemish to God, as the perfect atoning sacrifice for sinners, restoring what was lost in Adam. On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the penalty and curse of God against all our sin . Yet, He raised Him, Jesus, from the dead three days later, signify His perfection and acceptance before God. Moreover, God promised that all who would believe upon Him, Jesus Christ the righteous, would recieve full pardon for their sins and life everlasting, being sealed, sanctified (in life) and glorified (after death in heaven) by the Holy Spirit. Negetively, if one doesn't believe the gospel, the only assurance one has after death is God's judgement and wrath. This is the gospel.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      What a breathy self-righteous, judgmental rant.

      God will reward you in heaven – with a trap door at the Pearly Gates. Ha ha ha...

      January 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • niknak

      Too long, too boring......

      January 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • keyser

      The gospel is a bunch of stone age nonsense

      January 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Gir

      So many words, so little sense.

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

      Very well stated and if you love someone you tell them the truth its not ours but God's.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • visitor

      I'm sick of the boy gods. HIM didn't create me. HIM doesn't determine my sins, and I don't care about some deal with the boy devil god about HIM pardoning my "sins".

      Get it? I'm sick of the men gods.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Ashlea

    And the point of arguing about religion and God is?

    January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • niknak

      Because the believers want to force their stone age myth and morals on the rest of us, based on the existence of some sky fairy that cannot be proven.
      If the fundies would just go out and howl at the moon and leave us alone, then there would not be any arguement.
      But they are not content to do that, they require the rest of us to go and howl along with them.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  3. Nova

    “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.”
    When I first clicked on the link to the article a couple days ago it came up as "flagged as inappropriate." While I was reading it I asked myself, what is inappropriate about this?
    To me it just says something about religious people that they have this desire to suppress the viewpoints of others who disagree with them, their desire to stay brainwashed and hide intelligent discussion from others so they too can become brainwashed.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      Nothing poses a bigger threat to religion than the free flow of information and exposure to different points of view. Nothing undermines the stranglehold more than erosion of the underlying beliefs.

      Discussion of the support for those beliefs, will lead those that are capable of rational thought, and have a willingness to apply it, to shed those beliefs.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  4. Subtley Silent

    My wish for manking would be that everyone at least get the chance to experience what a person who succeded in attaining enlightenment has experienced. When I say his name, the walls of prejudice will rise up and prevent any further discussion. But I have learned that doing the right thing is not always easy and the compassionate thing doesn't always look compassionate. So I will risk it, since so much good can come from it.

    Simpy attend a free course on vipassana meditation given by a group named dhamma (dot) org. This is experiential teaching directly handed down from Buddha, teacher to student, teacher ro student...NOT "buddhists". Once the truth of the self is EXPERIENCED with no dogma, then a conscious choice can be made. Until then, religious discourse remains "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    I have nothing to sell, nor belief system to perpetuate. It is difficult to face the self, but the best thing that has happened to my family in 60 years of my life.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Subtley Silent

      *mankind...thought I proofed it well...guess not

      January 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • MEI

      While I agree with you that vipassna is a great form of meditation and I have personally experienced it, I think this is not the forum to publicize it. Moreover, majority of the audience here are unlikely to understand it.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Subtley Silent

      And I love what has been credited to Billy Graham, Sr..."I have read the last page of the bible, and it's going to be alright." This universe is perfect in its function. Al wrongs will be righted. We are, after all, eternal beings.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Subtley Silent

      Me! Thank you. However, I feel any place is a good place for compassion, even if it is in the midst of heated argument. Dhamma is taught eevn in prisons.

      Thanks again. And Be Happy.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  5. R Burns

    “I just want to have children grow up and be able to not be afraid to say ‘I don’t believe that,’ and what if your own children do the same thing you did: reverse the teachings they were raised with? What if your child is given to understand that God is very real and that He can be relied on, that His morals are universal and necessary, and that we do go on from here, despite what your "logic" tells you? Are you going to gracefully allow for that, as you are willing to allow for it in others far away from your own home?

    January 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You didn't read the whole article, did you ?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • niknak

      Your god only exists in your head Mr. Burns.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      Are you going to allow yourself to make self-righteous, sacrilegious, judgmental rants?

      Judge not lest ye be judged, ye christian hypocrites.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  6. Seriously?

    I find it curious how anyone can be so certain that God does or does not exist. I see no unrefutable evidence that God exists. On the othe hand, I see no way of proving tha God does not exist. If there is a God, it probably exists on a plane that is far beyond our current comprehension. If you want to believe in God, great, if you don't that's great too. Just keep your sanctimonious judgement to yourself.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Michael

      Thank you. More people need to realize this. This is my stance. People just need to keep their religious, or lack thereof, beliefs to themselves, inside their homes, or inside their place of worship.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • niknak

      And I see even less evidence for the existence of god, yet that won't stop all you sheep from blindly going along with the hoax.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • John

      You can not force someone to invest their time and effort into proving God exists, if they don't want him to exist, as he is. There are witnesses all through history that knew during their time, that God exists. They faced the same skeptics claims, and God turned his back on those skeptics too... because likewise, you can't force God to prove himself to someone he doesn't want to know either.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • niknak

      Then whats the point Johnboy?
      And all the other religions say the same thing about their god(s) too.
      Who's right?
      You will say you are, yet you have no more proof of that statement then the other guy from the other religion.

      A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion.......

      January 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  7. Universe

    God in Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      Thank you for specifying the flavor of your god. It gets confusing with so many of them in our free, diverse country.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      can i get a refund on my wasted time?
      empty claims; the same nonsense typical bible-thumpers post

      January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  8. Nattyone

    I too do not believe in God, etc....However, I respect the view of those who do believe, and understand "why" they need to believe. I am totally happy with my non-belief.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • mark

      The problem has NEVER been atheists pushing their views on believers, but believers FORCING their views on those of us who are not...I'd love it if the "religious" people just shut up, but that will never happen...It's fine to have respect for their beliefs, but don't expect them to have any respect for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Grimble Grumble the gnome

    Lance Armstrong is an atheists, he's a selfish, greedy liar like most atheists. All atheists are stupid idiot

    January 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      GG – Great ad hominem attack by a self-righteous "Christian".

      btw – watch out for that trap door at the Pearly Gates.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Greene Liberal

      Sorry to ruin your brilliant theory but I am an atheist and not greedy nor selfish. And I am certainly not stupid. Try not to generalize

      January 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Rmoody

      Keep you opinions to yourself Numb Nut and learn correct grammer so you don't sound completely ignorant when you feel it needed to open your mouth.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Correctlycenter

    When American society takes the bible out of public schools and God (Who created all things) out of their lives, you get kids who are obsessed with violent video games, kids dropping out of school, young girls having babies and tolerance for addictive drugs. Congrats ultra "hip" moms...

    January 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      In real life, exactly the opposite seems to be true.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Michael

      God being out of schools is not a cause of any of that. That is caused by bad parenting. I hope you don't just trust God to raise your kids right if you have any. You're really too stupid to have any, I hope you don't.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Blake

      Apparently you do not know anyone who has ever attended a Catholic school because you just described it perfectly.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • niknak

      Prove that offcenter.
      That is right, you can't.
      Just like you can't prove the existence of your god.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • dan tisch

      the comment that if you take God out for your life you are left with violence is just ignorant. There is only one major "religion" on the planet that did not expand its beliefs at the tip of a sword...only one that absolutely never espoused violence. That happens to be Buddhism. Its a "religion" followed by billions of people, and the majority of those under its banner who actually live by its idea are a peaceful, loving, thoughtful people who create wonderful communities defined by self reflection, respect and compassion. IT ALSO JUST SO HAPPENS THAT BUDDHISM IS A GOD-LESS RELIGION....IT FLAT OUT DENIES THE EXISTENCE OF A GOD OR EVEN A SOUL FOR THAT MATTER. So, when you express an ignorant view like one that says "without God we have violence and discourd" it would help if your sheltered view was not PROVED FALSE by the living example of biillions of people who have managed to live in peace and harmony since the very inception of their system of belief. Thats far more than i can say for virtually all other religions. God think on it and open your mind.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • ex-religion

      Spoken in true ignorance of the facts, as usual... Studies show that the majority of the people guilty of these types of actions believe in god.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Greene Liberal

      christianity does not equal morality. Christianity is not the established religion in public schools because we have this thing called the 1st amendment

      January 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Green Sunshine

      Believe what you want...But don't try to push it on anyone else.. its your belief...keep it that way...moral of the story.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Aaron

      I am past sick of these Anti-Christ CNN comments all the time and the blonde headed know it all in the belief section. I will go to fox news from now on. Keep believing your lies that we came from nothing, are here from nothing and are going nowhere when we die. Everyone will face Christ one day and it is also a lie that no one or everyone goes to heaven. You are also wrong on what the evidence supports too.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Alex Westerlund

      The Crusades, The Spanish Conquistadors during the Inquisition, European Protestants push of Christianity to Native (True) Americans, Catholicism and scores of young boys... or maybe the Bosnia Conflict or rather the Islamic extremist purification of opposite faiths of their own people in Africa or India. I dont go on the offensive often, but one may want to refrain from statements that without the Bible/Quran/Torah there would be violence and young girls having babies. Organized religion is synonymous with violence. Primarily the three Abrahamic faiths.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • visitor

      The percentage of young girls having babies is MUCH lower than 100 or even 75 years ago. The difference is girls were married off by time they were 17 to protect that oh so precious hymen and Religious Men didn't want women to be educated.

      You can keep that past. No Angry Men Gods for Me.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • visitor

      Go ahead Aaron. Last time I looked (admittedly a year ago or so...) Fox site didn't allow comments. So you all can breath easy in your opinion-free bubble.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  11. Greene Liberal

    I have taught my kids to make up their own mind about religion. I do not force my views on them. The reason most people are christian, muslim, jewish, hindu, etc etc is because their parents were. They were exposed to it early and just accepted it as fact because they had no other influence. I remember my father first taking me to church around the age of 10. It was my first exposure to christianity and I did not fall for it from the get go. It went against everything I had observed up to that point. Burning bushes, parting of the red sea, world wide floods, people walking on water, and being rasied from the dead. Even as a 10 year old I knew that it was pure mythologyand totally went against reality.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Rick

    Let's ask Jesus how he feels about this. Jesus, please let us know how you feel. Jesus? Has anybody seen Jesus lately? Oh, that's right. I forgot. He's invisible.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Dean

      You will see him one day and probably won't like the results of your visit.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • niknak

      Back to the threats again Bean?
      We are so scared of your sky fairy.
      Actually, we are so tired of it and your threats about the fiery pit.

      Plus, is boring people like you will go to heaven, then I would prefer the pit.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  13. Leah

    For a long time I went to church because I felt I was supposed to even though I didn't really believe – growing up in Texas I felt like there was something wrong with me because everyone else seemed to be able to believe with a whole heart. After having kids I continued going to church for several years and even had my kids in a Christian school. After the last election when all my "good, Christian" Texas family and friends started forwarding all these racist, vile hate emails about the Obama's I realized that just because someone goes to church doesn't mean they follow any of the teachings or are decent people. That's when I finally quit going to church and quit feeing guilty about it.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      Cheers to you and your superior evolutionary process. It doesn't take much pondering to realize the degree of hate and intolerance within the religious right.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • ex-religion

      I understand completely.. I myself grew up in the Dallas suburbs and experienced all of the things you speak of... My 17 year old son was raised to decide about religion on his own.. He has grown to be an incredibly polite, well mannered young man,.. on his way to a great university.. without any religion involved!!

      January 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Science

    Science peer reviewed right here at is best. Thanks CNN.
    25 pages so far, with more to on the way.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Science

      Oops no to all thumbs.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  15. Alex Westerlund

    Miss Mitchell, I enjoyed your essay and applaud your efforts and bravery for speaking your mind (and brain!). I hope you do know their are many folks out here that feel the same way as you do and I want to state you are doing a great job with raising your boys. I love seeing this discussion on here as this is an important topic and affects many. I am elated to see so many fellow agnostics and atheists supporting their often heavily ridiculed position. I fall inbetween both catagories so evolutionist would accurately depict my stance. If indeed their is a deity, it is most probable that this "supernatural being" is nothing like religious folks think and thus being impossible to interpret (they do anyways in very controversial fashion). A deity in the traditional sence conjured up in the conscience of humans just is not plausible when given the fears and faults of man and his thoughts coupled with a shroud of deceipt provided by those who wish to control. I dont particularly like to go after religiuos folks as I am a strong advocate of choose your own beleif system and philosophy so long as you do not offend the positions that stand opposite or adjacent. I will say this, love is an emotion. its a chemical reaction in our system. The line "Jesus is love" is a taylored marketing ploy to decieve. I would love to see better constructed statements than that. To beleivers I also state that lets not forget the overwhelming irony of countless failures to "practice what you preach" attempts. Lastly, to the Atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists, though we may have been persecuted (worse throughout human history) lets not fall into going after beleivers to vigorously as we would be doing the same thing they do to those precious humans unsure of this philosphical dilemma. Thanks for reading! – History Major

    January 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  16. Buddy

    When reading her writing, it occurred to me that she was almost in a frenzy of attacks, and I am amazed at the writing of so many with the uninformed attacks on those that believe.

    Einstein deplored the atheist. He resented that atheists claim that HE was atheist, which he deeply resented. He believed there was something that was in his words humbling....

    Einstein wrote the following
    A person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts to which he clings. For science can only ascertain what is, but now what should be.

    Einstein considered himself to lean toward Pantheism

    When people mock the believers, indicating they are praying to "imaginary friends" to me....they show their lack of intelligence, feeling, loneliness, sadness, and fierce insecurity.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And All Living Things

      And Einstein made his thoughts well-known about theists. You going to post those too?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      fantastic examples of appeal to authority and non-sequiturs
      thank you for that, buddy

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Nathan

      I know that BOTH sides love to bandy Einstein quotes around as if they mattered, but the fact is that unless the man produced any actual empirical evidence in support of his belief, what his personal belief was has no actual bearing on the reality of the situation no matter how smart he was.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tea Clown

      "Judge not lest ye be judged"

      You sure are doin' a lot of judging this morning, Buddy.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And All Living Things

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." – Einstein

      January 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." – uncle al

      January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  17. Stay Sane

    Do push, flaunt or bully. We need privacy to stay sane in this world. If there is a next world, then God will provide.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Stay Sane

      Correction: DON'T push, flaunt or bully. We need privacy to stay sane in this world. If there is a next world, then God will provide.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Michael

      My answer is just " I don't know". Because I don't know for a fact if their is or isn't a God, and neither does anybody else.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  18. wolfpackbob

    More CNN anti-Christian twaddle. This woman believes that religion is like a "toothbrush". Yet she feels threatened because she is asked in the dentist's office what church she attends? "I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs." So now our 1st Amendment of free speech, to even talk about religion "outside of our homes or church" is now forbidden? I guess CNN must now agree to shut-down this "Belief" site because talking about religion outside of our homes and church is offensive? This woman wants to censor what topics can be discussed at the water-cooler? And CNN thinks this is newsworthy?

    January 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And All Living Things

      Again: twaddle is indoctrinating your children before they understand religion and coloring their personal choice and beliefs with your own. Thousands of Christian denominations, a never unified church, even early Christians arguing, fighting and killing one another over their ideas about Jesus and his teachings... but you still insist your truth is the real truth and everyone elses are false. That's twaddle.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ann

      You've missed the point. No one is challenging your freedom of speech. What is being challenged is your "right" to shove belief down the throats of others. I took my PC in for repair and was asked about my beliefs. I did not initiate the conversation, but answered honestly that I am not a believer and got raked for my honest answer. I can't believe I was paying money to be berated and never went back. The religious don't get a pass to be obnoxious.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • jmsbois

      Your logic is flawed, your anger misplaced. Now your beliefs are being attacked because someone writes honestly about how they feel about religion? That you see yourself as a victim speaks volumes of your lack of confidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  19. Greene Liberal

    I could not have said it any better than this "godless" mother. What courage! I am constantly being berated for being atheist, even though I have the facts on my side. I am not shy about it because people need to know that christianity is not the only world view, but I do not engage in dialog with christians because they obviously do not respond to facts and reality. When they show me one shread of empirical evidence for the existance of a god I might start to listen. However, everything I've observed, studied, and understand points to the non-existance of a supreme being. There is no god folks. It's ok. You don't need a God to make your life meaningful and you certainly don't need it to justify morality. Life is so much better without the constraints and repression of organized religion. Religion started out simply as human's way of explaining the unknown. We have no need for it anymore

    January 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • keyser

      Because I agree with George Carlin I worship the Sun. Unlike "god" I can actually see the Sun. It is there for me everyday. And it does things for me. It gives me light, food, warmth, a lovely day. There is no mystery. No one asks me for money. I don't have to dress up or attend boring pageants. And I have found that the same prayers that I now offer up to the Sun that I used to offer up to "god" are answered at about the same fifty per cent rate.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Merc

      Hooray for the Sun God!
      He's a real fun god!
      Ra, Ra, Ra!

      -Principia Discordia

      January 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  20. A Deist

    One can believe in God, and not believe in religion. I, like several of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, am a Deist. Deist believe in God, but reject the need for having to rely on God to take care of us. We have been given everything we need to live prosperous lives, and what we do with it is up to us. I too did not raise my son with religion, I taught him about religion, and allowed him to decide for himself whether he wanted to belong to any religion.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Alex Westerlund

      A truly admirable and commendable way to raise your your son with education about both sides and the freedom to choose.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
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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.