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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 • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. TJ

    This woman stated: "She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?"

    This kind of questioning demonstrates the simple-mindedness of Atheism. along with the many other ignorant questions Atheists tend to ask, part of their rationale for "non-belief". C'mon Atheists... do you REALLY need to have these questions answered for you? Are your thinking processes so muddy and shallow as to need to ask questions that border on juvenile?

    As silly as it is to answer this woman's childlike question, I will answer it (and I'm not even a qualified pastor): Where is our good, all-knowing, all seeking, all-powerful God when things like ra pe, ab use, tsunamis, mass mur der, 9-11 towers, earthquakes, cancer (and other diseases), tor ture (of which I lived through as a kid), and other of life's problem? Where is He and why does He let these things happen?

    To begin with, there is this little thing called "life". God does not control our lives, either natural events, or when man decides to do evil. The moment God does that, we are no longer "free" men. Sure sure... I know some of you will say we'd be better off if these things didn't happen, and if God controlled those aspects of our lives. But would we be? Bottom line: We would NOT be FREE or have free will. Even if God controlled the will of just one single man, we would then cease to exist as "free" men and woman. Because where does it end? Is this concept so difficult for you Atheists to comprehend?

    I will also add, at the risk of sounding nuts, that I have seen miracles in my life that are scientifically inexplicable... and I am quite the scientist (and still am). But I am neither nuts or given to fanciful thinking; those miracles were asked for, then given. Why was I given those miracles, when others were not? I could spell this out too – but hey, it's time for you non-believers to start believing and start seeking answers.

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

      well said TJ

      January 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      A cuckoo in May.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Damocles

      It's good to see that a deity needs an apologist and that you are willing and able to take up that mantle.

      So this all powerful deity can think of no way to stop anything from happening in a subtle fashion? A simple whispered word in the ear of a killer? A painless rethinking in the mind of a rap-ist before the deed is done? Doing something does not have to involve thunderous booms and flashy pyrotechnics, it merely requires a willingness to do something.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • James

      "Why was I given those miracles, when others were not?"

      I had unexplained things that have happened in my life that can't be explained but it doesn't mean it's proof of a god. I think it just shows our lack of understanding of energy and the human brain. Give it time we will get the real answers and it won't be attributed to a god.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Scott

      What is it that you religious people can't understand? You can make up all the stories you want to justify why bad things happen to good people, but it's easier to simply believe that God is just a man-made fairy tale. Belief in God requires explanation upon explanation to reconcile all the inconsistencies. Even your idea that man is "free" conflicts with the Calvinist notion of predetermination, which, if God is truly "omniscient," must be the case. So, even you religious people can't come up with consistent answers to questions like the one posed.

      And you haven't seen miracles happen. Just because YOU don't understand how something happened doesn't mean it is inexplicable. That's a "god of the gaps" argument and is a well-known fallacy.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Will

      TJ, you are truly brainwashed. Religion is just like racism, it's a learned behavior.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • biobraine

      Condescending posts against non-believers aren't going to change any minds. Asking questions frustrate people like you. Your only answer is free will. I don't let my son play near a cliff to let him exercise free will. The original author is spot on to ask these questions. I go through life hiding my beliefs from people like you because of the way you treat us. I don't see you as loving or caring or anything "christian like". You are oppressive and bullying.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • John

      Do we have free will or does your god have an unalterable, predetermined plan? Which is it, simpleton?

      If the answer is "a plan", then his plan includes all of the terrible things that happen in this (what a jerk).

      If the answer is "free will", then god doesn't have a plan and the Bible is wrong (on yet another account).

      January 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "TJ", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. 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 3:43 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Let's examine TJ's evidence for a minute:

      Personal experience.
      A host of fallacies including:
      Equivocation
      Claiming a Universal perspective
      and to top it off, a total lack of critical thinking skills.

      Tell me, does it hurt to be as stupid as you are?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • TJ

      @Damocles: C'mon now... can you not see the ridiculousness of your own words? You are still advocating that God "slip" into the mind of a rap ist to "subtly" change his mind about committing his heinous act. Do you NOT see how that bodes where free will is concerned? Can you not see that if God does it once, he can apply his control to ALL, whenever and wherever HE chooses, and we no longer have the free will we all enjoy so much.

      And were there no God, then your rights are quite alienable and your will now belongs to others, including me.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Ron

      Tank
      No one can claim absolute truth. No matter what evidence, critical thinking or any other proof you believe science or anyone else may have the FACT remains it is not proof of absolute truth. At the end of all arguments you and everyone else alive must do is put your faith into something that goes beyond our knowledge and understanding.

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

      Ron: " At the end of all arguments you and everyone else alive must do is put your faith into something that goes beyond our knowledge and understanding."

      Or not.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • TJ

      Wow... amazing! So many of your Atheists need total and complete explanations given to you, here, in this format. I mean, it's as if you expect the Bible to be a total and complete book of science, and because it doesn't even touch on science, you damn it for lack of explanation.

      And the best most of your atheists can do is insult, ridicule, and deride anyone who disagrees with you, and without knowing the first thing about them. Too funny... if it weren't so pathetically sad. No one... and I mean NO ONE can answer all your questions in this (posting) format.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Damocles

      @TJ

      So the deity allows the free will of the rap-ist to overpower the free will of the person unwilling to be ra-ped? So free will only applies to those with the power to excercise it?

      If I'm the supposed all powerful creator of everything, I think I could manage to disallow violent tendencies while still allowing disagreements. I could have put the urge into people to play a rousing game of chess to overcome their issues. Simple and bloodless.

      Again it tickles me to no end that I am the one allowing your deity to be everything you want it to be while you disallow it to be anything but you.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Aus

      Athiests are so simple minded because they ask "ignorant" questions from their muddy and shallow thinking processes. Religious people are ignorant simpletons that believe whatever they are told and shape truths to fit their faith. Everyone has a counter argument for everyone else.

      I dont get why it matters so much what anyeone else believes. As long as you are secure in your own beliefs it shouldn't matter and you shouldn't have to push it onto anyone else.

      People with extreme views and intolerance on either side of the argument are partly why there are so many wars in the world as it is.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  2. TANK!!!!!

    These are the words that strike fear into the hearts of religious loonies. Use these words to exorcise all religies from within a radius of 100 feet from yourself.

    "empirical evidence"
    "facts"
    "critical thinking"
    "science"
    "scientific method"
    "rational conclusions"
    "opinions with sound bases"
    "sound reasoning"
    "not being a total dolt"

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

      Not in the least. Not even remotely close.

      But please, feel free to elaborate why man cannot understand the human brain, or how it actually works (completely), or why mankind... not a single scientist can explain how animated matter is obtained from inanimate matter, or why science (your science) constantly belly-flops on it's own findings. And I could go on (and on and on and on and...well, you get the picture...)

      Sorry Tank, but you're wrong.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      @TJ

      Just because you close your eyes to the evidence does not mean it doesn't exist, TJ. Even babies grasp object permanence, yet religionists don't. Why is this?

      Oh, and science constantly refining its knowledge of the universe is wrong? I guess we should prefer the absolute pronunciations of religionist texts like bats being birds, rabbits chewing the cud, and the earth being 6000 years old.

      The more pertinent question is this: how did you marshal ALL three of your brain cells to produce that asinine comment?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  3. M

    Raising them without God yet probably still celebrating my christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Do you poop on pigeons?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • James

      " my christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter."

      That were stolen from other religions, they were never owned solely by christians. They are not your holiday. It's the celebration of the Winter solstice.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      lol. both holidays have their roots in Pagan traditions, but were stolen by Christianity.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Funny how things work

      Which were technically pagan traditions first...

      January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  4. Burt

    I grew up in Kentucky with a college educated mother who was also a devout protestant christian. Many of the stories of social ostracism of those who question "God's word" are familiar to me. In that community one could stand at an intersection and see 5 different churches. Social life very much depended on the religion one practiced. The churches, at some point, took on the names of either the minister or an important financial supporter, as in, "Bob's church." I left there at the age of 17, to return only for short visits while my parents lived. To this day I am conflicted by my perceived craziness of the churches in that community and my own beliefs of a supreme beings. It is very difficult to separate the crazy from any potential reality.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • yaa

      I agree to the most of it...but potential reality you say??

      January 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Asaph

    This is the ogre God argument. Because bad stuff happens and God is almighty, if God doesn't stop that bad stuff then God is either an ogre or God doesn't exist or God is NOT almighty. And there's been faith malpractice that makes other people disgusted with the whole thing.

    But generally, no one can deal with a God who is all powerful and all good but has firmly decided to not meddle but let humans mess up in the hope that they can change and get things right later. So they cite Sandy Hook, or 9/11 or even the Holocaust as proof points when their own indiscretions, cheating and dishonesty is excusable and even commendable. They would fashion a genie god, an omnipotent vassal who judges as they judge and metes out punishment on their enemies.

    These are just tribal chants keeping things impersonal and distant when God seeks intimate, personal relationship.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      God and I have an intimate relationship. I wanna feel his salvation slither across my face.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Gir

      "when their own indiscretions, cheating and dishonesty is excusable and even commendable. "

      No basis for this anywhere in your post. Where is the evidence for that claim?

      "when God seeks intimate, personal relationship."

      How can you know this when you yourself said god prefers to keep his distance and not meddle in human affairs?

      "the ogre god argument"

      So we're just going to conveniently ignore the eternal torture that thousands of gods have promised all who don't believe in them?

      This is a typical religionist argument. Lacking in basis, barren in substance.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      We were born of and out of the atomized realms where do live all mannerisms of sub-atomic life essences. We are merely celestial megaliths of atomized life creations, being the very buildings where within lives all Godly manifestations. We are all God's buildings, being the temples and warehouses and condominiums. For without the Godly who reside upon the within as residential configurations, there would be no megalithic structures of terrestrialized celestial Life.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Michael Allen

      How is it possible to claim that there is a god who desires a personal relationship with people when the god in question is invisible and silent and hidden? Is that how one grows a personal relationship?

      Look up the concept of "divine hiddenness". If I wanted a personal relationship with someone, I wouldn't hide from them.

      And no I'm not going to accept the idea that "god speaks through the wind through the leaves" or some such ambiguous nonsense. Wind going through the leaves is wind. If a god wants a personal relationship, and he is omnipotent, he is certainly capable of being unambiguous about it.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    People are born. They all live out their life and do die. If death is Life's outcome why then is there being life at all? Is death really the end of one's living of Life or? Who among the living know for sure and beyond any doubt that death is finality and nothingness is truly Life's ending resonance? Just on reason that we know not Life's beforehand moments does not mean we are not a part and portion of the never ending brigades in onward marching foments upon one’s ever being reborn unto forever missions to be had. I would rather believe in every something's continuances than nothingness being an end all within a cosmos so very aged and older than living dirt itself!

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

      It's totally fine to do that. Just keep it to yourself and let everyone make their own decision. Without pressure.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      ChrisHF,

      Who's pressuring whom? Your wiliness foments are a regularized singularity of the commoners who are as know-nothing verbal incongruences due their habitual upbringing indoctrinate resonating their own bewilderments eschewing ways.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  7. lol??

    The A&A "wegods" sure know how to build a god gubmint.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  8. cutslikeaknife

    We know too much about how the universe works today, to continue to believe in such myths. The concept of god is absurd. Several hundred years ago there were enough unanswered questions about the world that such a theory was feasible. We need to face the facts.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  9. Rose

    Some children are being raised "without God", but never fool yourself into thinking that God is not helping you raise them anyway.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      So much for 'free will'.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Harry

      Don't forget Santa is real and Santa is helping to raise your children anyway too.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Yeah, he payed my rent last week, fixed the TV. Then we made sweet love and watched my Sopranos box set.

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

      RL, lol...

      January 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Don't laugh Akira, I wanna feel Jesus' salvation penetrate deep inside me.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • ??

      If he looks anything like my friendly neighbourhood priest,I'd prefer he kept his distance.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Roger that

      If God helps her kids the same way that he has helped Christian kids that have died from cancer, then she's on her own.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Science

      “Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
      ― Lawrence M. Krauss

      January 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Truth1117

    No, as she ends her article, she wants people to take in her belief that religion should be kept at home or in church, like a toothbrush: "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."

    So, yes, she wants those who do believe to not be who they are outside of their home or church. It's not an activity....it's a way of life.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • busdriver37

      Well, if that's how you feel, you should probably send your children to a church-affiliated school.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Harry

      "So, yes, she wants those who do believe to not be who they are outside of their home or church. It's not an activity....it's a way of life."

      But it doesn't give you a right to push your beliefs on others that don't think like you do. Most of the Christians I know are intolerant people, and your posts shows it too. So yeah, keep ii in the privacy of your home where it belongs.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Truth1117

      Lol. How tolerant of you.

      My point is that you can't tell people to suppress who they are because you can't handle your own child's questions. Somebody reading their Bible at Starbucks or praying at a restaurant is not PUSHING beliefs on anyone. It's them being who they are wherever they are.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Akira

      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.’”

      This is the point of her essay.
      Tolerance cuts both ways.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • David

      "My point is that you can't tell people to suppress who they are because you can't handle your own child's questions. Somebody reading their Bible at Starbucks or praying at a restaurant is not PUSHING beliefs on anyone. It's them being who they are wherever they are."

      I know I am a gay man and I deserve to marry my life long partner, hold hands in public, kiss him in Starbucks or at a restaurant and I am not pushing my beliefs on anyone either. Marriage is a civil right and I deserve that right.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  11. the AnViL

    looking at all the posts from supposed believers in imaginary men in the sky... can't help but notice the complete lack of substance.

    also – can't help but notice the abject ignorance inculcated into them resulting in a profound inability to understand that xians do seek to nullify equality in others, based only on their theistic beliefs.

    many of them are no better than the members of westboro baptist church – and in a lot of ways, much worse.

    why should anyone respect delusional thinking?
    why should anyone tolerate religious idiocy???

    why would anyone condemn a woman for not wanting to instill these traits and ideals into their children????

    January 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  12. Lemaitre

    NEWSFLASH: Someone on CNN blog actually has a job they have to get back to. Wishes the unemployed hackers well.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Katrina

    The book "The Case for the Real Jesus" by Lee Strobel is a perfect example why we should believe in God. It is historical based. The book was based on an investigation by an atheist, who is now a Christian. It goes into all aligations at why Jesus is not real...but then based on facts, what historical shows that He is...and not just another *myth*. Any doubt or lover of God should really read this book. It would end all debates.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      ".but then based on facts"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The book "The Case for the Real Cthulhu" by Cthulhu's minions is a perfect example why we should believe in Cthulhu. It is historical based. The book was based on an investigation by an aCthulhuist, who is now a follower of the Cult of Cthulhu. It goes into all aligations at why Cthulhu is not real...but then based on facts, what historical shows that Cthulhu is...and not just another *myth*. Any doubt or lover of Cthulhu should really read this book. It would end all debates.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • TANK!!!!!

      Ah, yes. The book convinced YOU, so it should convince EVERYBODY. Because you are John Q. Public, the aggregation of all possible perspectives, knower of all truths and absolutely not a dolt who wouldn't know evidence if it fvcked you missionary style.

      Even babies think better than this.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Roger that

      Okay Jesus was real. David Koresh was real. There is absolutely no evidence that any of the Jesus stories in the Bible are even remotely accurate. No evidence that he said anything written in the Bible. No evidence of his actions in the Bible. The Gospels contradict each other. Etc etc.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Kat, might wanna do more reading:
      http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/lee-strobels-the-case-for-the-real-jesus.html

      January 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  14. Lemaitre

    NEWSFLASH: Mother's lack of understanding of religion leads to telling her kids, "You decide for yourself when you're older" FAIL footage on YouTube

    January 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      NEWSFLASH! Jesus would not approve of trolling. But I guess when you have absolutely zip to offer in the way of any real refutation, you have to use the tools God gave you, huh?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  15. Rainer Braendlein

    @Koty

    Regretably I have got no children. I am aware that I could not force them to believe, and that even wouldn't be God's will. It is a divine miracle, if someone becomes a believer. My responsibility is it to love my neighbour including my furture children.

    A real Christian will never regard his neighbours as infidels but as his fellow human beings which he shall love.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • TBM

      "A real Christian will never regard his neighbours as infidels but as his fellow human beings which he shall love."

      History is not on your side. Christians: Love = kill them and let him meet his maker!

      January 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Cat Holic

    All children should be raised without religions until they are of majority age when they are dumb enough to screw up their own lives !

    January 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Roscoe Chait

      People should have to apply for a license after they become 21 to practice a religion, kind of like a driver's license. And be required to take a course on many religions and atheism before they decide on what they "should" believe. Too many people have been murdered in the name of religion. Which makes me think that religion is very dangerous, as dangerous as an assault weapon or an out of control big rig barreling down the highway.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  17. Richard

    Acts 1:8. That's in reference to her comment about it should stay at home or in Church. Jesus commanded us to go out in ALL the world teaching people about him, not just in church.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Thankfully the Establishment Clause limits this.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      No means no.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Stew Shearer

      He also said that prayer and worship should be done in private and not shown off to make yourself look good.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      He also said self-righteousness is a sin. Think about it.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    @Koty

    Regretably I have got no children. I am aware that I could not force them to believe, and that even wouldn't be God's will. It is a divine miracle, if someone becomes a believer. My responsibility is it to love my neighbour including my furture children.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Other Living Creatures

      Nonsense. Nearly all religions are spread by indoctrination (brainwashing) of children. The children are the front line in conversion.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  19. Janet

    Good for her! I agree 100%. Teach children to care and respect each other, not to fear God. How asinine is that? We don't want our own children to fear us, but respect what we teach them. Most so called "religious" people don't live by the good book anyway. How many turn away from the homeless, poor or gay/ lesbian population? How many can stay they truly do not judge others. Seems like they are doing a lot of that now!

    January 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  20. Beentheretoo

    I was raised Catholic and but stopped going to church when I turned 18. The only good it did me was help answering trivia questions, crossword puzzles, Jeopardy and the like. I didn't raise my children to believe in myths and they are not baptised; if they decide to pursue a religion as adults, that's their choice and I will still love them. They are both great people and I'm proud of them.

    The thing I've never been able to understand is why Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. think the god who "created" this immense universe cares what happens to them or this little rock circling a very average star in one of billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars. Is Jesus supposed to have stopped by every inhabited planet in the universe over the past several billion years or are we the only ones who are special?

    January 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Why is it that many so many people cannot see beyond what they call the universe as being all there is? Could there not be unknowable amounts of universes within the grand cosmos of celestial omniscient variability?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • whusze

      Good points. Couldn't agree more.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • whusze

      Good points, Beentheetoo. Couldn't agree more.

      January 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Mr HappyHat

      lionlylamb: there could be an unknowable amount of universes. That doesn't somehow mean there's a sky fairy. Why is it that so many people cannot see beyond the bible and realize it's just a book written by man? Why is it that any theist response to an atheist question is a dodge that falls back to "you have to have faith?" Why does team jesus have to change meaning of things when the illogical points are brought up and show it to be a farce? Why do people of faith limit themselves in such a way?

      January 19, 2013 at 3:45 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.