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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. Truth1117

    lol. So answering your kids questions about Heaven is hard, so you just decided to keep it from them? Sounds about right. Go USA. lol.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      she was smart not to propagate the lie of religion

      January 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Damocles

      Explain to me how I would tell my daughter that, yes, a deity heard her prayers and she was able to win 1st prize in something, yet the deity was mum on the subject of prayers meant to save a life. Would I say that the deity values blue ribbons over a life? Perhaps I should heap some guilt on my child and say she didn't pray hard enough? Should I fall back on the old 'mysterious ways' copout?

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

      really.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Not too sharp on the whole reading comprehension thing I see. Try reading the story again.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  2. 633music

    We have the ability to breath.
    We have the ability to heal, and have an amazing immune system.
    We have the wonderful gift of the senses, eyesight, hearing, taste, smell.
    Most have the ability to move about, communicate, our amazing brain is truly a gift.
    When a person says, God, or our inventor does not care, they are ignoring thousands, really millions of signs that he cares beyond our comprehension.
    Most do not understand why the one who made us seems to stand back and watch his creation suffer.
    But to not search for the answer is to harm ourselves.
    One of the main reasons he does not step is is because we asked him not to.
    Man for the most part wants to choose for himself what he should or should not do.
    An important note, to ANYONE who thinks that the fairy tale that is evolution offers some sort of answer as to how we got here, you are going to have to find a new religion, because this one is broken.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Damocles

      You are so right. Some of us obviously do not evolve.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "One of the main reasons he does not step is is because we asked him not to."

      I never asked any such thing. It seems God wasn't very democratic in collecting opinions on this topic.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Got_You

      I shudder to think that people like you exist in the world. Grow up. Join the 21st century, let go of the Medeival era.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • gager

      Mixing truth and fantasy. Without an immune system we could not exist. That does not mean that an immune system came from a magical creator. If there was a god why did he make it so complicated when magic would work so well. This is why I don't believe in a creator.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Atheist

      Troll... No point even wasting time discussing why science has more credence than a silly 2000 year old book written by a bunch of delusional bozos who wanted to make a name for themselves.... Science is the true sacrifice by which we are all saved. It takes far more pain and suffering and time to build science than it did the fool jesus to so call pay for our salvation. No offense but I rather understand the universe I live in rather than worship some fool.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm really getting tempted to create that Religious Delusion Word Salad Post Generator ™. I need to find an anonymous way to host the app so everyone can use it.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      633music,

      Are we not but God's buildings where the godly of God dare takes up residencies deeply inside our embodiments? Is it not so written for this to be a Truth? Therefore, which of God's buildings are as holy temples and which are storage warehouses and which are condominiums? 633, Who among us are God's Holiest vessels? The rich? The most poverty riddled? Are we becoming our own adorations forsakenness? Does one belly up to the materialized rather then the spiritually cognoscente bastions who know not our own bodies templates?

      January 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • 633music

      To quote:
      "Atheist
      Troll... No point even wasting time discussing why science has more credence than a silly 2000 year old book written by a bunch of delusional bozos who wanted to make a name for themselves.... Science is the true sacrifice by which we are all saved. It takes far more pain and suffering and time to build science than it did the fool jesus to so call pay for our salvation. No offense but I rather understand the universe I live in rather than worship some fool."
      You folks are always so dogmatic and angry, reminds me of the religious fanatics I have met in my life.
      And what does the Bible have to do with it, let Evolution stand on its own.
      One theory has nothing to do with the other.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  3. ElizaK

    She raises a good point on boundaries. I do not tell people how to raise their children, and I appreciate the same courtesy. If you want to evangelize, go for it, but be respectful and know when to live and let live.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  4. EqualOpportunity

    This conversation has made me second guess my own beliefs, so I asked god if there is a heaven and what it is like. His response was noticeably absent, much like talking to a comatose patient. However, never one to give up, I subsequently summoned satan tempting him by trading my soul for his knowledge of heaven and hell. Yet once again, there was no response. I "rationalize" that both are on vacation or sticking to UTC+14 time zone where it is actually Sunday and per a rather lengthy book, no body works on Sunday....

    I guess I'll just continue to be an Atheist until either one gets back from holiday.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you get through to either on, pass on the number.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  5. Jan

    YOU FOOL!

    IT IS MORE EXHASTING TO LIE
    TO YOUR OWN CHILDREN THAN TELLING THEM THE TRUTH.
    IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU, SWEETY.
    ALL YOU WANT IS PUBLICITY.
    GEE MAYBE YOU’LL GET ON THE JAY LENO SHOW.
    I DOUBT IT THOUGH. HE HAS MORE CLASS,… WHERE YOU HAVE
    INCOHERENT CHATTER.

    I MEAN, REALLY!
    WHAT GIBBERISH!
    I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS SWEETIE.
    MARK: 8:36. READ!
    AND THAT’S NO GIBBERISH!

    January 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • 633music

      It is that kind of reaction that proof to most that God really does not care....tone it down..

      January 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Harry

      Typical Christian response, guess you missed the part of treat others the way you would want to be treated. CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR RELIGION TO DIE!

      January 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Keith

      Another wonderful example of "Christian" tolerance.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • 633music

      Amen Kieth. Not to worry, he does not speak for the creator.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • timmy

      I'm gonna cry cause mommy told me if someone calls you a fool they will go do hell according to the bible. I don't want Mr. T to go to hell – he is a good person.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Got_You

      Why dont you scream like a blithering idiot about it, that will prove your religion is right.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Tim

      Isn't it just like a bible thumper to yell at someone on a CNN forum at someone because they choose to have their own beliefs? Didn't Jesus teach you tolerance? Do you not understand that we have a freedom of religion which allows us to choose what we want to believe? Go back to your church and leave the rest of us alone!

      January 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Damocles

      @633

      How can one supposed believer say another supposed believer is not speaking for the deity? I always find that odd.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • david maheu

      You are everything that is wrong with religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • UseYourBrain

      WHY ARE YOU YELLING????
      Seriously, you are that crazy God-lady from the show "wife swap", aren't you?

      January 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Susan

      Jan, your harsh way of presenting your view is part of what gives Christianity a bad name. You're voicing your opinion as if you ARE God, and according to Christianity, isn't God the one we will all one day answer to? Views such as yours are what drove my son to a nihilist lifestyle. He saw the hypocrisy way too much, even by elders in the church (judgment, making promises that were not kept). If those who "believe" would dig deeper to gain a more personal understanding of God, Jesus, and the Word, then live it, our world might be much different. As written in scripture, speak less and listen more. Get understanding. Today's proverb from the Bible (Proverbs 19) is all about fools. Maybe we all can just work on not being fools ourselves. As also said, take the plank out of your own eye, then you'll see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. If you want to remove specks, think harder about the impression you make and the manner in which you do it. People learn more through love and good teaching, not hate and finger pointing.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, jan.....you make a fine argument

      for those you oppose

      January 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • donnajeanw

      After years of reflection on why I could not force myself to believe in a mythical "man in the sky," followed by more years of studying religion and non-religion, I have developed the following conviction. Religion was necessary for our ancient ancestors to make some sense of life and the universe, and to justify the hideous conditions of their mortal lives – an eternal reward in paradise! Like all of survival, it was beneficial to be born with a gene that allowed you to believe those things, as it cemented your membership in a deist, or pantheistic, society, facilitated the support and acceptance of the group, and created a moral basis on which to model one's behavior. Now we understand life and matter on a true scientific level, and we are well on the way to understanding the universe. We don't need religion to explain these things to us. And we don't need religion to do the right thing – we either have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong, or we do not; religion will never change that. If it would, why are so many christians and evangelists molesters, corrupt, and other sorts of felons? As always, some of us are born without a "god gene." My mom didn't have it, I don't have it, my daughter doesn't have it and my granddaughter doesn't have it – despite all of us having been frequently exposed to religion by various friends and relatives. I have no problem with those who still need their mythical beliefs, if it gives them comfort. However, I will not respect religion until people stop trying to cram it down others' throats, respond with rude and hateful words to those who do not believe, and stop killing others in the name of their "god."

      January 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • 633music

      @Damocles It does not fit what their Bible guidelines say they should say and do, "with mild spirit, love your neighbor as yourself". Sill I take liberties in making the statement!!

      January 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • donnajeanw

      Hey Jan, nice response, just what I would expect from a "good christian."

      January 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Damocles

      @633

      Yes, but you have no way of knowing if your deity decided to use a different tact and use Jan as a blunt instrument to pound faith into the hearts and minds of all, do you? I mean, it's not like you can make the claim of knowing your deity's mind, or its will, or who it chooses to speak to, can you?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Susan

      Doubt it, Damocles. Will you use that justification when someone follows through on what "God" told him/her to do when it includes some kind of violent crime?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Susan

      Not long ago, I had an interesting discussion with a picketer at our town square who was using vicious method to "spread the Word." His last words to me were "If this isn't the right approach, then will you please pray for us that we find the right approach?" Wish Jan would have a response to all these responses to the post. Jan?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Damocles

      @susan

      I wouldn't, but a believer would have to. If a believer did not take every claim of 'a deity made me do it' as absolute truth, it could be construed as a lack of faith in that deity.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Susan

      Hi Damocles, you're correct. I guess we have to go back to the fundamentals of the diety's mind-set, which, in Christianity, would be found in the Bible, which has many interpretations from the writer's view. After at one point being an uneducated radical Christian who blindly followed the pastor and not gaining a personal understanding, assisting in driving my son's current nihilism, I changed it up by stopping going to church and reading the Bible myself to see what it would speak to me. I needed to "gain wisdom," so I started reading Proverbs, a chapter each day (the chapter I read reflected the day of the month). I've learned a lot by doing this, primarily that I need to pay attention to becoming a better person instead of always trying to make others see things my way. Thanks for your posts!

      January 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Damocles

      @susan

      The problem is, you absolutely can not make the claim of knowing a deity's mindset. You can try to reason that your deity wouldn't allow bad things to happen, but there are plenty of believers that say bad things happen because the deity is displeased, then they try to hang it around the neck of free will.

      If you are reading one book and only one book, you are not achieving wisdom and you are certainly not helping your son by only reading and not helping him.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Susan

      Damocles, I agree with your points. The Bible offers a written understanding of the mind-set of God–although those writings reflect what has been "spoken" to the writer. I have a different understanding, and I keep that between my diety and me. I don't seem to fit in any type of organized religion, and that's OK with me. I read many different books and expose myself to many different types of people. As for my son, we have many, many interesting conversations. And when we get into our conversations about religion, Christianity, spirituality, etc., we maintain respect for each other's views. The best teaching I can give my son, who is now 24, is to demonstrate love, integrity, personal responsibility, and so forth, by action, not necessarily words. I've also apologized for the many things I've done that negatively affected our lives that I put there. All's well.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  6. tao88

    There's a fundamental problem with adopting another's view (belief system) of the world. Every one of us (7+ billion) sees and experiences the world in a unique way. There is nothing in the multi-verse that is precisely the same as another (from the smallest of the quantum small to the largest of the massive large).

    Solutions have been offered by various people through the ages within the context of the times and surrounding places they lived in. Some call their ideas to be universal, others un-true and blasphemous. The illusion that is before us is that by adopting those ideas into our experience is keeping us from learning the ability to discover the teacher within that is unique only to us. If one begins the process of developing a relationship with that most unique part of ourselves, a realization dawns that there is no need for me to present myself onto the world (or local) stage to convince someone else of how I see the world. Stop trying to convince others that your experiences and view of the world is the way others should experience it. Herein lies the fundamental problem facing humanity.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  7. lol??

    Jealous, the groom, is coming. SWAT ain't gonna work.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  8. Coyote Stark

    Deborah Mitchell wrote an incredible, brave, and thoughtful defense of me and many like-minded others; I applaud CNN for covering her article and protecting the free speech of all individuals.

    I hope to one day have the bravery and courage of Mitchell – traits that would allow me the stand up for a secular, non-religious way of life I believe allows my children a greater opportunity for advancement, reasoning, and ethical behavior.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • lol??

      The mobster mayor of Chitown has a brudder who's big into ethics. Think it'll work out?

      January 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  9. boogiemancommn

    Religion was begot from total ignorance and the need for a tool to controll people. If you need a miracle today, it's because god screwed up in the beginning, must have been a rooky diety at the time, thought they said it was all seeing and knowing. Religion is a matter of convienence in America, enjoy the life we have, do unto others.....

    January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  10. Pitbull friend

    I met many people raised without religion in their lives. While in prison the majority sought a relationship with God. The teachings and service of religious people benefits all. I can only remember a dozen men in prison who came from religious homes. The rest did not know the peace of a relationship with God until they found it in prison. So raise your children without God. I'll meet them in prison.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • DN

      Way off the mark and oversimplified. Not believing in God does not and will not automatically doom one to life as a criminal, and if you really believe that, how sad.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • lol??

      Commie mommies rule. It's an americult thang.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Pete

      "The teachings and service of religious people benefits all. I can only remember a dozen men in prison who came from religious homes. "

      Actually you're wrong. Athiests make up about 1% of the prison populations.

      "During 10 years in Sing-Sing, those executed for murder were 65% Catholics,
      26% Protestants, 6% Hebrew, 2% Pagan, and less than 1/3 of 1% non-religious.

      Steiner and Swancara surveyed Canadian prisons and found 1,294 Catholics,
      435 Anglicans, 241 Methodists, 135 Baptists, and 1 Unitarian.

      Dr. Christian, Superintendant of the NY State Reformatories, checked
      22,000 prison inmates and found only 4 college graduates. In "Who's Who"
      91% were college graduates, and he commented that "intelligence and
      knowledge produce right living" and that "crime is the offspring of
      superstition and ignorance.""

      January 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • lbryant1116

      Way to be stereotypical and offensive...is that what your religion preaches?

      January 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • crystal Jones

      Well, friend, I was raised without god and grew up to be a librarian. Just as likely I'll see you in the library.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      So, pit, were you the boy or the girl in those prison encounters?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      crystal: i don't think you will find pitbull mounter in the library

      January 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  11. Stan

    The Bible says,on day that " Every Knee Will Bow and Every Toungue will confess that Jesus is Lord," for some it will be to late. In these days of I will do what I want when I want you are trying to leave God out of it, yet He is the ONE who holds and gives you every breath that you take. You obey a whole set of rules everyday that you just don't realize have been set down by God in the first place, and obeying HIS Word the Bible ends up bieng freeing in the long run. God bless you all and may HE open your eyes to the truth of HIS Word.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • david maheu

      Jesus is no more lord than krishna or buddha. Get over your mono-theistic self already.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      Bully for the bible. Stan, if you want to be a slave, have at it. Enjoy eternity on your knees

      January 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  12. Kevin Harris

    IT'S GETTING INTERESTING! There's a significant non-theist/secular movement in the country. At the same time there has been an enormous intellectual movement in Christianity! For decades the church in America was bogged in anti-intellectualism, emotionalism, and "touchy-feely". I suspect the latter has resulted in the former.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Jason

      I totally agree. The Dr. Craigs and Dr. Ross's of this world seem to be replacing the Pat Robisons. We're seeing a more intellectual Christianity and I do think it's the direct result of the secular world debunking the emotional/political forms of Christianity.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It's good to see education and though better respected in both secular and religious sectors.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  13. pbernasc

    I am raising my kids without God .. at least without a monotheistic God culture ... because is a fundamental abuse these dasy, especially here in the US it's all about politics and nothing else , politics and cash.

    Additionally it's very arrogant .. the idea that people who are not fond to believe in some God have to be saved is such a load of crap .. I can't believe anyone who understand the meaning of Christianity truly think that other who are not Chrsitans believers are inferior and or lost or wrong.
    Jesus himself has done nothing but preaching tolerance and integration and respect .. and yet all these brain dead religious job-nuts think that God is about banning the bad people who do not kiss up to them from the good people, who instead kiss up to them

    I say screw you ..

    All that said .. the idea of God is not something I will prevent my kids from understanding , on the contrary I will prepare them so they can make an informed decision whether they want to believe or not , once they are grown up and have a mind of their own
    I am not going to brain wash my kids with religious crap , it took me quite a bit of my life in my youth to get rid of that crap

    January 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Carl

      I've observed that when you mention to someone that you are Xtian (or any other reliigion) that people smile, and nod to you. They are comfortable with you being religious. If, however, you mention that you are an atheist or non-believer, they look at you like you just murdered someone and turn away from you. They are, for some reason, afraid to even be around you. There are far more sceptic/atheist/non-believers out there who don't wish to have their friends know it, than most people realize. They're afraid that being around you they may have their beliefs questioned, and that is not allowable in their minds.

      If someone took a survey anonymously, I guarantee the number would be far higher. Most Xtians would rather be associated with someone who's gay, rather than someone who's an atheist. My question to Xtians would be....why does our lack of belief scare you so? By talking to us, does that mean God will frown on you for that? Does it mean you may start to doubt your own beliefs? Does that bother you?

      Question everything, and teach your children to do the same.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • pbernasc

        well .. see, I am not a believer .. but I always make it clear I am not an atheists either .. one reason is that atheism in the US has become a political position and atheists who are active tend to be real jerks ... not for their atheism , but their lack of respect of others beliefs
        Now .. it must be said .. a lot of "believers" are a lot worst than atheists .. you know the creation bigots .. or other patented idlots .. but nevertheless ... atheists have made an image of themselves as being a bunch of hardened anti God fanatics ... which is of course not true .. but that's how they come across
        So, when someone openly says he/she is atheists .. you wonder .. is she just a God free person .. or is she going to load me with anti god stuff?

        I am more of the kind "live and let live" ...
        sure, I laugh at religious bigotry and often take really hard shots at it .. but I do take shots at that, not at the faith ...of course many believers have no clue what faith is .. they just are idlots .. but then again .. they are free to be so ,if they do not bother me .. I don't care

        January 21, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  14. onemorehere

    it has being writen in the bible that if one is 100% with God that one is lifted up to the heavens as one of Jesus believer did...i have come to undestand this as true for if one is 100% with God with out sin there is no stage of salvation that is closest to God, but that would mean death...or live not in this world...we the living struggle with sin or error fail and other mistake also called evil through out our daily routines...we are sinner in every block of the beggining of our existence...we can only come to God through the guiding light of jesus who recognized the presence of God in his life.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Billy

      I think someone else was right. This one was "home-schooled".

      January 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Danny

      Says you!

      January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Brian

      Please, take a course on English! That was almost painful.
      Also, you made one of the most ridiculous mistakes many Christians make when discussing religion. They quote a book written 2000 years ago. Do you realize that before the printing press, before Xerox, people had to copy books by hand? Do you realize that the bible was originally written in Hebrew? Do you realize that there is rarely a perfect translation between languages right? This is ignoring the fact that we don't even know if it really is the word of God, or the word of multiple schizophrenics.

      Also, I don't care about making some God happy for some next life. I'm living in this life, here and now. I live for this life, not some next life.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Yeah.... no. There is no Jesus/god to save you. You're on your own. Grow up and deal with it... unless, of course, you have any kind of proof at all that your god exists. Trust me... you don't. Nor is there any proof that Allah exists, or Vishnu or any of the other made-up ancient gods used to soothe the fearful and benefit those who made gods up. What a sick and twisted world religion has created. I'm Lucifer, and I approve this message.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Neerav

    Over the weeks, months and years of reading the Religion blog on CNN, I noticed that the greatest percentage of comments or comment discussions, if you will, center around a debate between those who believe in God (especially Christians) and those who don't (i.e. atheists, agnostics and secular humanists). Theists, such as those of the different religion quote scriptures, doctrines and religious dogmas that try to make the case that God/Divinity/Ultimate or Absolute Reality/Higher Power exists; whilst those who do not believe in God try to disprove the existence of God, a Higher Power or an Ultimate/Absolute Reality or Truth, namely because the presence of God is not visible and/or tangible. The latter is also the case with the IReport which is being referenced in this blog article.

    In Reality, however, both positions are incorrect, because God can neither be proven nor disproven as either existing or not existing. The presence of God or a Higher Power is beyond being either provable or disprovable as either existing or not existing because He is beyond the five physical senses, as well as both the mind and the intellect and their conceptualizations/intellections/mentalizations/etc...

    God can ONLY be known through one's subjective religious, mystical or spiritual experience, which transcends one's physical existence as the body, the mind and intellect and the ego (or spiritual ego), as well as all time, space, causality, dualities and all phenomenal worlds/universes. Therefore, all of these back and forth discussions on CNN's Religion Blog all of these weeks, months and years of its existence so far about proving or disproving whether God exists or not based on religious scriptures/doctrines/dogmas, or even by the fact that He is not visible or tangible or even understandible/inconcievable by the means of the mind, intellect and senses has been a waste of all of your time to work on yourselves, whether you believe in God or not! God can neither be proven nor disproven as either existing or not existing by the means that I have mentioned before, as God is beyond the five senses, the mind and the intellect.......why is CNN and all of the people here wasting thier time in this fruitless and futile debates here, I wonder?

    Seriously, I question the purpose of even this Religion Blog.......I do love to see a healhty, respectful dialouge between those who believe in God and those who don't, as well as between those who believe in God in different ways, but all it turns out to be is insults and childish put-downs of the other side or party, as if we are all in elemnetary/grade school.

    Let us all believe as we wish, whether we believe in God or not; and for those that do believe in God or a Higher Power, let the person believe in Him as they wish. We all are free to chose how to believe in God and whether to believe or not in God WITHOUT disrespecting or discrediting other people's beliefs.

    Seriously, peoples, grow up!!!

    January 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      I have two problems with what you've written. While I agree that God's nature is not directly empirically verifiable, you're leaving out Natural Theology as one means of showing God's existence. These evidences increase the probability of special revelation, and make God's presence experientially objective rather than merely subjective.

      Secondly, the question of God is too profound to be just another "believe as you wish" option. How one answers the question is of utmost importance.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  16. irreverent Jim

    and if you look at the cronology of the new testament, you will be surpised to find that nobody wrote down what Jesus had to say untll decades later. so just maybe those words in red were not so profound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKAHoYCWXF8

    January 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    Abandon American Capitalism, Islam or Catholicsim and join the loveable Jesus who will once return, and be our righteous Judge!!!

    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.

    By the way, there is no democracy in the Western World but only evolutionism: The survival of the fittest. In fact, America and many other Western states are meritocracies. You only have a say when you are rich, clever (innovative) or extremly beautiful.

    January 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Rainer Braendlein", but all of your assertions to date have been 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 EPIC 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 2:37 pm |
  18. irreverent Jim

    here is a good audiobook called letter to a christian nation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EXmmTKGoXo

    January 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  19. Nancy

    I never thought in my life time that I would read what this mother has written. Years ago I ventured into a chat room called "AtheistParenting.Org." It was a life saver for me. Now there are hundreds of like chat rooms, and FB pages, and organizations for secular parents. It is wonderful. That said, I raised an incredible child. I gave her the tools and the education to make decisions for herself including choosing whether or not to believe. She went on to be valedictorian for her high school, is currently attending the #1 public university in the country on academic scholarship , volunteers in her community, has sound morals and yes she is atheist. Deborah you are most certainly not alone...

    January 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Buddy

      Nancy
      You have denied your daughter the beautiful experience of meeting the Supreme Being. How sad

      Nothing else matters ...

      January 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Brian

      @Buddy:
      Or she gave her daughter the tools to make the most out of this life. Stop living for some next life, and live for this life.

      January 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Pete

      "You have denied your daughter the beautiful experience of meeting the Supreme Being"

      All hail Zues he is the supreme being...oh wait I a mean Mithra....or was that Horus?

      January 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  20. irreverent Jim

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EXmmTKGoXo&w=640&h=390]

    January 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Nancy

      Incredible read. Also an oldie but the best, "Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan. Talk about a light coming on over my head!

      January 19, 2013 at 2:31 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.