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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. Devoted Christian

    Han shot first, you atheist deniers! Burn in hell, the whole lot of you!

    January 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • The_Pacifist

      What will you Christians do when you die and discover that God is Islamic?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • BillB

      Fact for you: it's the same God of Abraham

      January 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Devoted Christian", but "hell" is an element of mythology, therefore no one can "burn" "there". Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      January 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      Got a map so I can roast the nuts

      January 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I can think of no act more evil than allowing a place of eternal torment to exist when you could destroy it; thus, god is the most evil character ever imagined by humans.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • BillB

      Humans let Hell exist, not God.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @BillB

      Who cares, Bill? God could destroy it, and he chooses to let it continue. Fvck that azzhole and any fvckwad that would do the same thing. I can think of no greater evil than allowing a place of eternal torture to exist when you have the power to eliminate it.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  2. kllund

    I do not believe in God for many reasons, science and education only a couple. I want to raise my children to be loving, accepting, free thinking, empathetic, and to have a very large world view. The Bible does none of that, in fact quite the opposite. My children were all baptized. My father in law is a minister and at the time I really did not give any of it much thought. I have a brother who found his God in a big way. He now lives in a very rural area with guns and fear of the modern world. He is escaping the world he says his God created. My children have to live in this world. They should see the beauty in it. Bad things happen in this world to all of us. Welcome to being a biological life form. This is the world they will grow up in, they should embrace it and hit it full on without fear and worry of a malevolent non existent creator who seems to only care for those creations in the first world. In my house we look at all religions, ideas, and facts.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      Kudos to you. Well stated. :)

      January 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • fred

      Somehow you managed to get it all upside down. The knowledge of God is what liberates the mind and frees you and your children from getting all tangled up in the stuff of the world. The world will leave you empty and men will fail you but God is faithful. Sorry you have decided to teach your children the way of the world. They will miss the blessings that come from walking in the way that is life.
      Whoever is packing a gun and hiding in the woods does not know God. A quick read of the Bible and you will see that God brings peace to the heart and says fear not that which can kill the body but fear that which can take the body and the soul.
      Do not offer you children’s soul up to the unknown or block their chance of blessings simply because you love the world and what is in it.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      In response to Fred, while your thoughts are obviously filled with love and caring, I might add that "a quick read of the bible" is a very dangerous thing as it likely will only feed your predispositions and wishes. A thorough reading of religious texts (the Christian bible and otherwise) is the only way to truly understand what these ancient human texts are really saying. There is much to love in the bile, and much to be offended by... it is a study of human behaviors, power-grabs, love, and lust, and victory, and sorrow, and hypocrisy, violence, and the importance of family, and the dangers of family, and betrayal... and all that it is t be human. Fred, you write that the bible shows a reader how to overcome the love of this world. I disagree. The bible shows what it is to be a human.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      I meant to say "there is much to love in the Bible..." sorry for the mistype.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • fred

      Gabriel Being

      "The bible shows what it is to be a human.”
      =>yes, and part of the human experience is acceptance or rejection of the ways of God. There is a great deal of detail on the impact of that decision on the soul. Now, personally I have not found a downside to going the way Jesus makes clear. The study of all religions should lead one towards Christ yet it seems to point towards all being questionable. That is the negative in the review of religion verses the truths we have already in our hearts.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • vpkwriter

      I have no words to adequately sum up your statement. Oh wait...yes I do! IGNORANT. To think that all religious people are uneducated, hillbilly, doomsday preppers is completely asinine.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      fred, I am certain that you are earnest in your belief. But other people look at the "evidence" of your god and your bible and realize that it has no basis in reality. Religion is responsible for too much evil to be accepted without question, and when you honestly question, you realize that there is no substance to god. Any god.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  3. Free Nuts

    All around today !
    peace
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVJ8-te8jAo&w=640&h=390]

    January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  4. Gabriel Being

    This is supposedly a free country where the individual has the right to freedom of conscience... but a large number of religious zealots will never allow that freedom to be fully realized. Those of us whom require proof before believing in the invisible are at constant risk of being harassed, vilified and stigmatized by insecure "believers" as this brave woman has been. Maybe there's a "higher power" out there that places us mere humans at the center of his/her love, but the evidence is severely lacking. Why is it that so many "believers" feel the need to force others into their belief system? Does it somehow make them feel more secure if others validate their mythology? Just because I love a certain food, or music, or person, doesn't mean I MUST harass and force others to agree with me. That's simply childish. Believe what makes you feel good and right about the universe and our place in it, but don't harass or force others to believe the same thing. Freedom of conscience is one of the most important liberties we hold. Don't deny it to others. And don't stigmatize those whom you disagree with.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Aerin

      you hit a nerve there: the religious NEED others to validate their beliefs because there is no there, there. They believe because others believe. So the more people that they can recruit, the more 'valid' they think their ideas are. Dominance and conformity instead of proof.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • BillB

      As long as you admit that this works both ways, I'm with you.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Jerrod Fishback

    To Christians:

    When evangelism is anything less than an act of true love and concern for others, it is destructive and harmful. Christians who engage in evangelism simply as a way to spiritually check-off an expectation on the "ought to" list leave only judgment, confusion, and hurt in their wake. Maybe you are well-intentioned; maybe you're not - maybe you like to use the Bible as a bludgeoning tool. But, if the love you have for someone is affected more or less by their belief or disbelief in God, then you aren't really exhibiting God's love - and you probably shouldn't be evangelizing until you do.

    To Everyone Else:

    Sorry for those of us Christians, including myself, who so often fail you. But, please know, that there are those of us who do truly care about you. We will be there for you, like any true friend, regardless of your acceptance or dismissal of our God.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Concerned American

      That's nice. But knock on my door again peddling your myths, and I'll introduce you to little friend named Mr Shotgun.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • The_Pacifist

      Very well said. It is God who decides who goes to heaven, according to the Christian beliefs. If the Christians truely believe this, then they will let God decide and mind their own business.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Sure. Right.

      I have never never NEVER run across that.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Len

      They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, there are evangelicals with bad intentions and the ones you say are doing what they do out of love, or good intentions. Face it, meddling in other people's lives because you're motivated by your own, personal sense of morality only drags you down. I haven't seen many evangelicals who who don't become mean and opinionated. Just look at Pat Robinson's latest! Ugly, judgmental, and bigoted, that's what you become once you start "judging" others.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Wow...

      Caring or not ITS NOT YOUR BUSINESS so get off your high horse and stop thinking my lifestyle is wrong. Your stupid religion isn't even the most popular one! So you fools honestly believe your God is going to send the majority of humanity to hell for eternity?! Have fun with that logic must be nice to be American and get to believe in God.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  6. BillB

    "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. " -from the original essay by "Godless Mom"

    Is this not the most bigoted, hateful statement that one can make against anyone's belief or creed? Is this any better than someone mandating that you follow a religion? How dare she or anyone place their freedom to NOT believe above those who DO believe! This is the biggest problem I have with the whole tone and credo of the atheists and agnostics today – they are actually oppressing basic freedoms and human rights in both personal and political discourse. Hateful bigots.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      KEEP YOUR MYTHS TO YOURSELF! How much simpler can this be?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Bill, it's not a hateful statement. Like your private parts, it's okay to feel good about it and get personal strength and pleasure from your religion and god, but it's not okay to wave it around in public.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BillB

      In light of all available evidence, gods are about as likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. Are you a firm believer in those?

      You are free to remain blissfully ignorant, but please keep it to yourself.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • BillB

      Nazi

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Aerin

      so my right to freedom from your religion somehow threatens YOUR religion??? how is that? keep it to yourself and you can believe in any fairy tale you like.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • BillB

      If I have not right to express my belief in public, then you have no right either to express your dis-belief. How simplistically stupid that is. But that's what you're advocating.

      You are talking just like a Nazi in 1940. Look it up. They were atheists too. No worse than butchers who claimed to be Christians hundreds of years prior, to be sure, but NO BETTER.

      You're all on the wrong side of hate and history.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Akira

      You have just given the finest example of religious bigotry yet.
      Well done.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT, DUMBA-SS! No one should be "expressing" anything concerning belief or disbelief in fairy tales in the public arena.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • BillB

      "it's not okay to wave it around in public"

      Why can't I? Is it not my right? I can't wear my cross? What are you proposing? Suspension of civil rights? All in the name of anti-religion. WOW! You are more dangerous than a religious bigot.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • BillB

      YOU IDIOT! Read the First Amendment. It specifically applies to the public arena.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • The_Pacifist

      Wow. Seriously? Do people have a right to spend your time trying to convert you to Islam or Mormonism or some other religion? Would you not get annoyed by it? Just choose your religion, of your own free will, and follow it, and respect the rights of other people to do the same.

      If I choose a religion that is different than yours, then deal with it... Let God decide the wisdom of my choice. No person alive today or in the past has more wisdom than God, so let God decide the wisdom of my choice.

      Of course, this is all assuming God does exist. If there is no God, then this is all mental masturbation...

      January 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @BillB

      If you're going to wave around your belief in public then be prepared for whatever statements come your way from us nonbelievers. You can't have the right to express your beliefs in public without allowing us the right to express our disbelief in public. If you keep your belief private then there's nothing for the unbeliever to hassle you about, but if you express your belief, then prepare to be hassled. Pretty obvious.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • BillB

      Ok, Moby, than is what you're advocating as a balance to non-believers being hassled in public by believers, more non-believers hassling believers. I'm advocating neither. Let each not hide their beliefs, but not hassle each other either. Seems like part of a basic freedom. But that's not what seems to be happening – either in society or on this board. And BOTH sides are guilty of it.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      BillB, your rights end where the rights of others begin. You do not have the right to insert your religion where it does not belong or where it is not welcome. Why do christians think they deserve special privileges?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  7. Aerin

    There are many atheists about. It's time we all came out of the closet and stopped hiding who we are. There is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, religious people should feel defensive, it is they who have odd ideas.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      Yes...! There is no reason anyone need be ashamed of their beliefs, religious or atheist or agnostic or still thinking about it. If we are to truly have a country of freedom, the we must be able to discuss it all without a bunch of mindless screaming taking place. Make your voice heard...! :)

      January 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      As an American, I believe we all have the right to worship or not worship as we choose, but I agree it's time for atheists to take their place in this country as equal and valuable citizens.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  8. SomeoneE

    I THOUGHT THIS DISGUSTING ARTICLE WAS THROWN IN WITH THE PIGS POOP : ( ALL ATHEISTS AND INCLUDING THIS ARTICLE REMIND ME OF THE VOMIT I SEE IN THE CORNERS OF THE STREETS WITH A BAD SMELL FULL OF DISEASES AND VIRUSES .. FACT REPENTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT OR GO TO HELL. NO OTHER WAY... AFTER THIS LIFE THERE IS EITHER HEAVEN OR HELL THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Aerin

      what a loud fool you are.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      God is going to let people like you into heaven? I thought the guy was supposed to be omniscient. Sounds like a true dolt to me if he wants to spend eternity hanging around halfwits like your kind.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • GenerationXMan

      You aren't wrong, but you also are not preaching the truth in love (or proper English, or proper use of capital letters)

      January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Delusional much?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @SomeoneE

      It is dimwits like you that help people shed their infantile beliefs. So, thank you.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Akira

      Tsk, tsk...judgmental and breaking the 9th Commandment and improper capitalization foul, all in one post?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Wow...

      Hahahahaha and your phony God would send you to hell for saying that you stupid idiot

      January 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • lIKE THIS

      Hell was made up by ancient churches in order to keep people under their wing and remain in control of European politics.....HELL IS FAKE! Im atheist to so this "God" you speak of doesnt scare me.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      someoneE, I'm sure glad I don't live on your street with all the vomit and stuff. Oh, and YOU!

      January 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'M SORRY, "SomeoneE", BUT "HEAVEN" AND "HELL" ARE ELEMENTS OF MYTHOLOGY, THEREFORE YOUR ASSERTIONS ARE UNFOUNDED.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      Have a map so this nut can sprot wings and fly there.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'd be really insulted if I actually valued the opinion of a person who can't understand how the Caps Lock key works.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  9. GenerationXMan

    Does this response make her feel more right?

    If I stood alone I would know my beliefs are right.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  10. LisaA

    Did it ever occur to you as one who does not believe that many Christians attempt to share their faith with you out of love and concern, rather than judgement and condemnation? If a person truly believes in Christian doctrine, then they will naturally be worried and desire that you, their friend or neighbor, not spend your whole life, not to mention eternity, separated from a loving God. In fact, if your friend does NOT attempt to witness to you or share their faith with you, maybe you should wonder about THAT. They may be praying for the grace to overlook your obnoxiousness long enough to care about your sad soul.

    "Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant to us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord." - Saint Augustine

    January 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • LinCA

      @LisaA

      Maybe they should take a hint when told that, while they are free to believe their fairy tale, it isn't for everyone. Some people outgrow silly beliefs in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Aerin

      just because you are scared and need a father figure in the sky to take care of you and promise you who won't die if you are a good little girl does not mean everyone else does. Your "concern" is just coercion. You are dreadfully afraid if everyone does not support you in your belief, that maybe that belief crumbles and you lose your crutch. Grow up, take responsibility. You don't need a god to be a compassionate and wise human being and an asset to your fellow man.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • MEI

      So, they don't just indoctrinate you, but recruit you to become the next set of recruiters! Chain reaction eh.
      Seems to be working in the wrong direction now!

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I appreciate your comment but I guess that only a few American Christians have the power to practice this. Too much rebaptism in America.

      I was once member of a Free Curch for some years, and when I think back my former sisters and brothers more resemble Islamists, only that they don't behead the infidels.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • apstar

      If someone comes up to you, grabs you, shakes you and screams, "Satan, get out of this child!, Satan, leave this child alone!’” that is supposed to be "an attempt at sharing faith"? Extremism in all aspects of life is not a good thing, even and especially concerning religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      Yes, many proselytizers believe they are "helping" or guiding others whom they have judged as lost. Yet they do not approach others as equals whom are willing to both give and take. I have had soooo many proselytizers ask me to read biblical passages with them, but they refuse to read with me the historical mythologies of other cultures. To approach another human being who has not requested your guidance, and to act as if you have nothing to learn from them or their perspective, is demeaning, patronizing, and downright rude.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Lisa, If they want to stand on a street corner and preach salvation (as long as it's not a quiet residential neighborhood), I say go for it. But when they come to my door to sell their insanity, I say they have gone over the line.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      LisaA, most atheists in this country are well aware of your religion and have rejected it for their own reasons. Proselytism, no matter how earnest, is nothing more than the vanity of believers who think that they are right and all others are wrong.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  11. woodie

    People want you to be like them. They are very insistent upon it. But you have religious freedom legally. So you will prevail if you choose to.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Forsake American Capitalism, Islam or Catholicsim and join the loveable Jesus who will once return, and be our righteous Judge!!! The most dangerous enemy of the current mankind is the American or Anglo-Saxon Capitalism. It is worse to adore Mammon than Allah or the pope-rat.

    The good old faith of Jesus doesn't say: "you need to be saved!" but says: "you need to behave Christian daily in the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection!".

    Today many members of the mainline churches only know that they could behave Christian in Jesus' power but they don't do it. What is the reason why? Well, it is a multilayered problem. Maybe they did not really repent, or they don't really understand the Christian doctrine. Repentance is necessary, and a correct understanding of the doctrine is sufficient to achieve a successful life of faith which causes real Christian behaviour in daily life.

    There is a paradox: The more sb. repents the more he feels his sinfulness. The one who has repented will cry for a Redeemer who gives him the power to overcome the lust of his body and the hatred against God and his fellow human beings.

    What is the locus in space and time where we receive the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection? It is the sacramental baptism which was insti-tuted by Christ himself (not by the unholy, Catholic pope-rat). The sacramental baptism (also infant baptism) is the locus where Jesus death and resurrection get made present. The metaphysical side of Jesus' sacrifice you cannot grasp by reason but only by supernatural faith, and this faith must be caused by the Holy Spirit. God has laid it out like this that the receiving of the faith or the Spirit is connected with the Holy Baptism which is not allowed to be repeated. Through faith and baptism we get metaphysically connected with Christ's sacrifice.

    The only things which a Christian should practice daily in order to make visible Christ's power are fasting and prayer or prayer and fasting. If we do this things we act diametrically opposed to the lust of our body (the sin dwells in our limbs). If we fast and pray, Jesus' power will change our life, and we will overcome the lust, and love God and our neighbour. We will love our neighbour with an unbiased love.

    However, we can nothing add on to Christ's redemption. Prayer and fasting are not more than a serious "yes, I will!" to Christ's deliverance.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • GenerationXMan

      You lost me at all of it.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Sorry, but your post just sounds like "blah blah blah blah blah". Just parroting an ancient book of mythology and primitive superst!tions. It's not real. It's a fantasy world.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Wow...

      PRAISE JEBBBUS

      January 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Wait..what?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • ElizaK

      I had some trouble following what you were getting at. People experience spirituality differently, even within the same religion. Your experience is not close to mine, at least from what I gather – and yes, I happily own up to my garbage on a regular basis.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  13. Wow...

    It's so amusing hearing all the religious people say the same exact thing, quoting a book they have literaly no evidence of being true (no you don't I used to be a "believer") I mean to each their own if you choose to live your life by a doctrine of a vengful God who doesn't care about what happens to you as long as he proves a point (the book of Job) then you go right ahead and continue living in ignorance and intolorance. The Bible breeds the worst kind of bigots because they now have some supreme authority to be a*****s to the world and its now their devine quest to save your soul from yourself. Good job mom letting your kids choose, I didn't have that choice and had to make it later in life and it caused serious problems with my still religious parents but now they can see past that with me at least which is great and needed for a healthy parent/son relationship.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Justin H

    I also enjoyed Michell's essay. As an atheist, I feel like it's becoming more accepted to talk about my non-belief and not be viewed as a horrible person. And I think essay's like Michell's go a long way toward increasing that acceptance. Hopefully our nation will soon come to a place where non-belief is widely accepted by all.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  15. Runtumblerun

    My thanks to Deborah Mitchell, and to the many commenters on here who feel similarly. It has been almost cathartic to read all of this. I am a father of three kids and my wife and I both continue to struggle with similar challenges. Thanks for the great article, Deborah.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    Drink some beer but not when you are in a sad state. Alcohol is good to amplify joy but it is a poison when you try to overcome sadness with it.

    I earn money with distributing beverages, also beer – this is noooooooooo problem at all. And remember how Jesus made wine in Cana in Galilee in order to amplify the joy of the guests of the wedding, and the joy of his disciples which we were rejected by their Jewish brothers.

    Only don't drink beer when you are alone, and when you soul is in a sad state.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Just a John

      Rainman, out on day parole. Schnapps, peach for you?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Akira

    Where's Apple?

    January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Haven't seen a post from him in weeks.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Akira

      I know!
      Huebert, either...

      January 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Just a John

      Miss Apple, not a lot of clever stuff without him/her.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  18. pancho

    I sse the essay as a person who needs reassurance for their beliefs. I wonder why she needs reassurance if she is so strong in her beliefs about a lack of god.....Does other people agreeing with her make her feel her convictions are correct? Does she require other people to support her to have the belief.......

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

      Why does anyone write an essay?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bob

      She doesn't need reassurance for her beliefs..she needs the support of other like-minded people to help her in her fight against those who assault her on a daily basis with THEIR beliefs, people who won't accept her right to believe as she wishes. I find it amazing that when usually good people wrap themselves in either their flag or their religion, they are fully capable of doing great evil.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I see an essay by a person who is raising her children without god or religion and is willing to be open about it. Looking at the responses written by parents in similar situations, it appears this article is welcome and reas.suring.

      On the other hand, I think pancho is kind of whiny because there are people who don't believe exactly what he does. Poor baby.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  19. evan

    I was raised by an atheist Mom. I remember weird it was trying to join the very christian boy scouts. They almost wouldn't let me in until my Mom, in a moment of total genius, told them I believed in mother earth. The point is, that its daunting to navigate childhood without religion. I give Mrs. Mitchell two thumbs up.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I like your mom, but it's sad how some christians persist in their discrimination against atheists. It really reflects poorly on their morals.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  20. onemorehere

    I know for a fact the same advice apply to you my friend – when it come to reapeating the same assertions –even when you attemtp to denie it...I hope this to be true for other wise the one suffeing from sever confusion usually known as demensia is you ...where does Mythology come from and be this are you attempting to descredit science the believe you stand on to declare you believes cause as you might be know know Sciece itselve derives from Mythology from wish pholosofy ariginates from so what it gonna be you believe in god or you do and are just trying to be deceptive or are you suffering from dementia???

    hal 9001

    I'm sorry, "onemorehere", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your repeated assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

    I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

    January 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Does your religion ban proper spelling and syntax?

      January 19, 2013 at 1:19 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.