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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. Mayla

    @snowboarder.........seeing it through the eyes of the believers. I happen to be Buddhist and we have no supreme creator, therefore there is no biblical basis for our existence. But for the parents of the children like the lady who wrote the blog, I have to give her credit for at least trying to prevent that sort of contradictory information being forced upon her kids. Few things in this world make me wonder more how someone can have faith in one thing with no proof and then condemn something else with no proof (again, according to the religious groups, there is no proof of evolution. I, personally, think it feasible based on actual tangible evidence.)

    January 19, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      mayla, there is no proof or god and evolution is simply the best theory we currently have for the development of species. no one "believes" in evolution. it is simply a theory. unfortunately, a significant percentage of the religious "faithful" consider the idea of evolution contrary to their indoctrinated beliefs.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "again, according to the religious groups, there is no proof of evolution."

      according to religious groups people can live in a whale for 3 days.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Mayla

      according to religious groups people can live in a whale for 3 days.

      Isn't that some crazy chit??

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Tim

      Evolution isn't just a 'theory' like a wild guess, as many of the uneducated think. Theory is a scientific term. It is in fact, a fact. Just like the 'theory' of gravity. Millions of examples of the 'fact of evolution' are all around.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  2. msadr

    I don't think it should be accepted or respected. It's wrong to raise your kids without an absolute principle to guide them through life. It's child abuse. To raise your kids without God is to not raise them at all. It's like leaving them to chance happenstance and hoping they survive without any help or guidance. If you don't believe in God, at least teach them religious principles. My great uncle didn't believe in God. But he still wore a suit to church, took his hat off when people prayed and showed huge respect for religion. He made sure his children, my cousins went to church and learned what is true and what works in life. Your kids need to know that there is an absolute truth. If they become jaded, like you, later in life, then their peace will leave them. But don't rob them of it from the beginning.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Mayla

      Absolute truth must have proof, otherwise it is no absolute.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • snowboarder

      sorry msadr, that is just plain stupid. there are a myriad of gods and the majority narrowly only consider their own, which is idiocy in the extreme.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • TANK!!!!

      "my cousins went to church and learned what is true and what works in life."

      I would laugh at you if I were not genuinely concerned for your mental well-being.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Gir

      When the "absolute principle" is the perspective of a god who will roast you for eternity if you so much as doubt his existence......................................
      Which sane person would want their children's minds to be polluted by such filth?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • msadr

      snowboarder, to have any god at all is better than none. a Buddhist, shinto, taoist, mormon, jew, christian, muslim, wiccan, druid or whatever, has some principle by which they can judge their actions and determine the course of their future. The fact that you publicaly define yourself with snowboarding is sad and ridiculous. I hope you have some other definition of yourself that isn't revealed in your forum posts.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Mayla

      It's all about the love, Gir. It's all about the love..........

      January 19, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • Mayla

      msadr...a Buddhist, shinto, taoist, mormon, jew, christian, muslim, wiccan, druid or whatever, has some principle by which they can judge their actions and determine the course of their future.

      The key word here is PRINCIPLE. Also, the fact that some of the belief systems you listed are as far removed from each as they could possibly be means you need to do a little more research.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • snowboarder

      masdr, your post is nonsense. i could identify myself an an engineer. as a husband. as a classic corvette enthusiast for my 1969 big block convertible, as a motorcyclist, as a bicyclist, as a triathelete, as a marathoner, as a caucasion, as a skiier, as hikier, as a mountaneer, as an inventor, or innumerable of my other interests. unfortunately, your bias indicates your ignorance.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • brittany

      I think you're seriously misled if you think that believing in god is the only way to have principals. I was raised by my parents to have good morals. They taught me right from wrong and to always respect other people's points of view. Clearly, this isn't something that your religion has afforded you.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Liz

      You do know its completely possible to raise your child and has been done for thousands of years without religion being involved. Being religious does not make you a good law abiding person. Your parents and the way they treat you to interact with society do. Religion is just the easy way to try and control people by making them think they can get hit by lightening anytime God decides to.

      Honestly its people like you that give Religions a really really bad name. If you really believed in your religion you would treat others with respect and caring regardless of what they believed in. You'd also leave judgement to god. Hypocrasis...the basis for the zealots of a religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Tim

      If religion is the only way, why is so much hate, murder and terror done in the name of 'god'? The Crusades? The Inquisition? Religion isn't about god, it is about power, money and controlling people.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  3. californiarestinpeace

    I agree that it's an imaginary God. I'll still take it. I like the delusion. It's an anti-depressant.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • TANK!!!!

      Self-deception: Because the milder, more ubiquitous brand of irrational religious thinking just doesn't do it for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Well if truth is not important to you why not just "believe" and have "faith" that you have a million dollars buried in your back yard? Would that be comforting too?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  4. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gnQz32c5EA&w=640&h=390]

    January 19, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  5. Mayla

    If faith is nothing more than a belief without proof, and that being an admission that there is no proof of a god existing, that what is stated in the bible is not proven either, how can the religious community reject evolution and the big bang theory simply by saying there is no proof of either? It is highly suspect that it is not necessary to have proof of one and claim it to be the only truth, and yet demand proof of another and claim it to be false when in fact by definition neither of them can be proven and they are both supported by faith. How do you explain that to a child?

    January 19, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • snowboarder

      yours is a false dichotomy. evolution is the best theory supported by mountains of evidence of any possible theory.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Exactly and then that god punishes for lack of faith AND is claimed to be the most moral being....absurd

      January 19, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "when in fact by definition neither of them can be proven and they are both supported by faith,"

      Ummm, wrong. Genetics, geology, biology all have proven evolution.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • msadr

      You need to read the book of James. Faith is not a belief without proof.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • jarhead333

      @Blessed
      Yet you all still call it, by your own admissions, theory. Sooooo... not proven. Just keep holding to your evidence, not proven, and Christians will hold on to ours and our beliefs. Just accept that they are the same and neither can be "proven" by physical evidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jarhead,

      Scientific theory has been explained to you many times over. There is actual replicable evidence for scientific theories. Gravity is a theory. The fact that you keep trotting out this dead horse makes you ignorant or dishonest.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • snowboarder

      jarhead, and apparently you will hold onto your lack of evidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jarhead,

      Genetics are not "physical proof", geology and palentology are not "physical proof"? Your belief based on hearsay is not the same as scientific evidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • jarhead333

      Theory: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art.
      Abstract doesn't sound too much like science.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • snowboarder

      jarhead, try again this time with conviction. btw, as one veteran to another (assuming your handle), thank you for your service to this country.

      A scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment

      January 19, 2013 at 12:56 am |
  6. Cliff

    @ Gir

    And what logical reason would there be to respond to people's "emotional replys" that demonstrated they didn't even bother to read and try to understand what I wrote?

    I have better luck explaining to my cat that the "cat on the television" is not a real cat.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Gir

      Let's see: exposing the flaws in their reasoning, so they could see the light as you surely do? Oh wait........you're much guiltier of flawed reasoning than they are. It is you who have placed yourself in the precarious position of advocating for the truthfulness of myths. Don't be surprised if you're reduced to finding straw man arguments that the writer of the opinion piece didn't make, knocking them down, and getting offended when you're called out.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Are you always this much of a whiner, Cliff?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Cliff

      @ Gir

      Really? Hmm, I dont seem to be the one who riddle my responses with profanity and accusations or things that "I already answered in the 1st post"

      I reply to a few, but ignore most of them because they're just unintelligent ranting of angry mobs.

      I find it amusing how so many people who "claims" not to believe in God, yet can be so angry on the topic of God

      January 19, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Cliff

      @ Moby

      Nothing more to say except hurl insults? Let me respond in the manner you are use to: LOLRUMAD??? ROFLMAO!!!

      January 19, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      I asked you a question, Cliff, I did not insult you. I will insult you, though, soon, and you'll know it. So, are you always this much of a whiner?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Akira

      "Not really...do you even have a college degree? Go take a couple of courses on reasoning, philospophy, humanity, sociology, religious study, etc..."
      Cliff.
      Yes, I have taken these courses, and no, it's still only your position on this matter; you own it.
      How very arrogant and pompous of you to call my intelligence in question when you obviously do not want others to insult yours.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Cherries

      Having read all of Cliff's various responses, it appears as though his very high opinion of his logic and reasoning skills make him a god in his own mind. He is unclear on the concept of atheism himself and needs to get the education he thinks others are lacking. If anyone is egocentric, it is him.
      Steer clear of this type of poster; he will go through great lengths to prove himself right, evidenced at his callow use of subtle insult. Dishonest to the core.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  7. TANK!!!!

    Religion: Because placing lighted sticks of dynamite in your ear would destroy the rest of your body along with your brain.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  8. lorna barkan

    It's sad to witness spirituality being perverted by religion and the concentrated mythical versions of God. Yes, to me God exists but not in the same context or focus as the Old and New Testament would want us to believe. Just as the Easter Bunny has its place, so does the snake that hides in the Garden of Eden to deceive Eve into sin. What I get out of all this religiousity is that we as people are inately beastial and God wants to elevate us to a more heartfelt existence...encompassing compassion and love, reflecting the essence of him, to each other.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • snowboarder

      spirituality, religious or otherwise, is a man standing in a silent room expounding on the qualities of the sounds he has convinced himself that he hears.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  9. Amanda

    What's amazing about Ms. Mitchell's blog is that people flagged it as inappropriate and wanted it removed. Hello? This is a country with both freedom of religion and freedom of speech! Why are these such difficult concepts for people when it comes to religion? It's a shame that an honest person, such as Ms. Mitchell, cannot talk about her personal religious beliefs in a public forum without being bashed by those who claim to love God. It's certainly a case of "do as I say, not as I do" here, when those same individuals want to tell you about their beliefs and "save" you from damnation whenever and wherever they feel is appropriate.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • BillJ

      Amanda,

      Very well put.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • vpkwriter

      I know an Amanda in Colorado who is an atheist. Is that you, AW?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  10. paul46

    I would have enjoyed her essay more if she had hinted at some serious investigation into world religion. Augustine, Dostoevsky, & countless brilliant minds have wrestled with this issue in a more satisfying manner. But I don't blame her for feeling repulsed by the blank-eyed "Have you been saved?" group. They vastly insult my intelligence. Furthermore, it is impossible to be an atheist for it is impossible to prove a negative. At most, there are believers & agnostics. & if they are truthful, they share a lot in common because no one has ever seen God.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You don't understand the term "atheist." Do you understand the word "atypical?"

      theism=belief in god
      atheism=no belief in god

      gnosticism=knowledge of spiritual stuff
      agnosticism=not knowledge of spiritual stuff

      I am an agnostic atheist because I do not have knowledge of spiritual stuff and I don't have a belief in god. I do not make the claim that "god does not exist" because I don't know. But I certainly don't believe in any gods I've heard about to date.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • snowboarder

      atheism is simply an acknowledgement of the innumerable deities, religions and doctrines invented by men. all deities are assumed to be similarly invented until proven otherwise.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • the AnViL

      "...it is impossible to be an atheist for it is impossible to prove a negative."

      atheism is a lack of belief in imaginary men in the sky. look up the definition. it is possible to be an atheist.

      and you've posited an appeal to ignorance. no one – including atheists – have to disprove the existence of imaginary men in the sky. reference russell's teapot.

      wow! you were wrong twice in one sentence!

      good work!

      January 19, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  11. TANK!!!!

    Religion: Because you couldn't reach your brain with a red-hot poker like you'd hoped you could.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Mayla

      I need to put that on a tee shirt and wear it to a walmart.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  12. TANK!!!!

    Religion: Because Heisenberg's Special IQ-Dropping M-eth is too expensive.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • yep!!!!

      I feel so bad about myself, I have to put down others to feel good.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Glad you're finally addressing your issues, but you really should start with the brain virus known as religion that's obviously reduced your brain to atomic proportions.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  13. yep!!!!

    Superiority complex: a psychological defense mechanism in which a person's feelings of superiority counter or conceal their feelings of inferiority.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Red Herring: Because you just can't debate the issue at hand.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  14. someguywithadumbopinion

    What would Jesus do? He would walk on water. That's what.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the holes in his feet would make him sink.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep. And jesus said his followers would do GREATER signs and wonders than he did. Peter and Paul and the disciples cured people with their shadows. That sort of evidence would cure atheism quickly, but instead it's "the shape of this banana proves god," and "yeah but if god didn't exist there'd be no atheists" stupidity--–and that's all.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • jarhead333

      Yes, and ALL life was created from a magic fart rainbow from the ocean.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gnQz32c5EA&w=640&h=390]

      January 19, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Bill P

      @Moby Schtick – You comment of the fact that the apostles performing miracles back then and apparently (in public) not today struck a chord for me. I had wondered that also. This is what I concluded: that God evolves with how He deals with man to reveal Himself in a way which is “just enough” to start the conversation. In the Old Testament, there was one original rule: don’t eat the fruit. Once out of the garden, there were no rules but God had direct conversations with folks. And they lived long lives and did something right. Then Noah was given the first governmental rule regarding murder (Genesis 9:6). Again, not much more in the way of rules. Moses came along and God unloaded a boatload of rules and rituals and laws. Fourteen hundred years later, Jesus comes along and He says, all of the rules and laws are fulfilled in me, Hence, follow the rules as a principle of Godly life but they do not determine salvation. Back to your point: when the Apostle Paul headed out to Asia Minor (Turkey), Greece, and Rome, there were zero Christians. Folks were following their rituals and rules and, basically, God needed to “jump start” the conversation. Ergo, miracles of life and death, healing, etc. (see the Book of Acts). You will notice as the Christian churches were more established (read the Epistles), there was not much in the way of miracles being discussed. It is not that God does not perform miracles today, they are simply not put on display as it is not needed. There are hundreds of millions of true Christians in this world today telling you and all that Jesus is real. What other miracle beyond that is required?

      January 19, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • snowboarder

      bill, your god is supposedly omniscient and omnipotent. your argument holds no water. your god can not evolve.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill P

      There are hundreds of millions of muslims saying that Islam is the true path and some of them are former christians and many of them have as much or more faith than many of the christians. God's existence is irrelevant because of his invisibility and undetectability. Religious/spiritual belief has power, but the power is in the belief and the state of brain caused by that "faith" not the object. If peace and hope and joy through faith made a religion or a god true, there's a few thousand different true religions and gods. All believers "know in their heart" that their religion/god is the correct one and all others are wrong, but none of them can prove it. It's why a muslim terrorist and a christian snake handler both have to perform math and chemistry in exactly the same method but can believe anything at all about their god.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • jarhead333

      @Moby
      Before you type about other religions, you should understand a simple FACT. Most Muslims, as well as other religions, believe in the same God as Christians. The difference is wether or not Jesus was who he said he was. I understand your stance, so please save us from your mockery, but do some research.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Bill P

      @snowboarder – if you read and understood the Bible, then you would have noticed that God has indeed changed how He dealt with man. For example, murdering Cain was not a cause to kill Cain (Genesis 4:15), but after the flood, anyone who murdered someone was to be put to death (Genesis 9:6). For Cain, there was no law against murder, thought it was understood to be bad arising from covetousness. Genesis 9:6 is the first “law” that God handed down to man. To Adam, to Cain, to Abraham, to Moses, etc., God spoke directly to those individuals. Then, after that, it was in dreams and rarely if that, mostly to the Prophets, but sometimes to secular kings. In Moses time, the plethora of commandments and rules were handed down by God to demand obedience and worship in return for salvation. With those, there was then a concise and expansive written expectation from God. But it was not complete. When Jesus came, was crucified, and rose again, the rules went away because He fulfilled their requirement through belief in His death and resurrection and victory over the punishment for sin. Dreams, from then on, if any, were private, that is, after the Apostles. No direct audible communication with God. Why is that? Yes, God has adapted as He has changed His arrangement with man on how to be obedient and be saved. Perhaps, I should not have used the word “evolve” as if God Himself were changing. That would not be the case. Because MAN has grown in his experience with God’s love and mercy ultimately through Jesus, there has been a maturation of the revelation of God.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • snowboarder

      bill, the bible is a collection of occasionally noble myths. the only thing obvious from your bible is the fact that your god is a clumsy oaf unworthy of any respect, not to mention worship.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • snowboarder

      bill, the christian doctrine is patently absurd. how anyone is duped into believing it is amazing.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Bill P

      @Moby and @jarhead – It may be too much arguing to jump into Islam, and it is an exciting subject, but suffice it to say the differences between Islam and Christianity are stark. It is my opinion that they are the “polar opposites”. The reason I say this is that Islam makes four very clear and profound and explicit declarations in the Koran: that Jesus was NOT the Son of God; that Jesus was not crucified (hence, no resurrection); that there is no Trinity, and that Jesus was only a lesser “prophet” to Mohammad. Jesus, as you may know, was very clear that ONLY He was the way to the Father (John 14:6). So, for both the Bible and the Koran to be true is completely illogical. If the Bible is not true, then Jesus and Christianity is a fraud. If Jesus was the Son of God, which I believe to be the case, then Islam is an anti-Christ religion – the work of Satan.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • jarhead333

      @Bill P
      Read my post again. All the differences you pointed out relate to Jesus. That is exactly what I said. Essentially they believe in the same God, however, who they claim Jesus was is very different.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      You're missing the point, Bill P. The point is this: people who believe believe sincerely, and they believe that they and their beliefs are right and other people and their beliefs are wrong-–just as strongly--and for the same reasons----and with the same "feelings of certainly and faith" as you. There's no verifiable evidence, so it all comes down to feeling as if you just must be right through the mechanism of faith, which anyone can do for any belief that they have convinced themselves is "right."

      January 19, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • Bill P

      @jarhead – I did read your post, but I wanted to, hopefully with thought and facts, convince you that there is a problem with both Islam and Christianity “believing” in the same God. Let’s start it this way: the Bible, which fully predates the Koran by no less than 500 years, is entirely about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation. Now, I know that the Jews do not see it that way, but the Jews acknowledge that their Old Testament is about the beginning, a Messiah, and the end. The New Testament, clearly to the Christians, is a revelation of the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. The Book of Revelation amplifies what the prophets, like Ezekiel and Daniel, were telling about the times which have not yet occurred or are in the process of being fulfilled (as some believe today). That being said, if one looks at the meaning of God giving His only begotten Son (John 3:16) to be sacrificed for our sins and Jesus then says that salvation from eternal punishment is ONLY through Him, that begs the question what the Koran says either in concert or against what is stated in the Bible. As I said, the Koran denies all of that. Again, the Bible is all about salvation only through Jesus. Therefore, what would God the Father be doing, through the angle Gabriel, giving a contradicting message to what then become the Muslims? They cannot co-exist in truth. Therefore, the God of the Bible is NOT the God of the Koran – regardless of the statements made by the Koran. And the Koran is, by definition, the work of Satan. To make equivalence of God between the two accounts (the Bible and the Koran) is simply confusion and it denies the truth of what Jesus said.
      @Moby – I understand sincerity, but that does not make truth.

      January 19, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Tim

      So...the jews had the old testament, and one angry god. The christians come along and invent jesus as a prophet and 3 gods, father, son and holy spirit)..it p1sses of the jews. The muslims come along and invent mohammed as a prophet and the jews and christians are both upset. The mormons come along and have joseph smith...can anyone else see a pattern here??? Lies built on lies for control of the minds (and money) of the great unwashed masses.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Bill P

      @Tim – “one angry God”? I understand that commentary on these blogs often are simple and concise for brevity’s sake. But, I will offer this: perhaps like you, I thought that the Old Testament was all about establishing creation and then raining down lots of judgment on man, along with some predictions and prophecies of the Messiah (Jesus). I was a Christian and expected to read mostly all about punishing (and death). Yes, there is some of that. Just like if you broke into a school and vandalized a couple classrooms, were caught, then punished, and the account was given in the local news. Your friends and neighbors would praise the police for their work to catch the criminal (you) and then revel in your punishment. There would be glee by others in your parents’ “tanning your hide” and all of the “public service” required of you. An example of sin identified and then punishment executed. The Old Testament is more than about punishment. While it is an account of Creation, of man’s good and bad behaviors and consequences, it is way more astounding in its revelation of God’s love. It is the account of establishing a chosen people (the Israelites) who would be the lineage to bringing Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross, and salvation to man. Despite the notion that God somehow was non-stop executing immediate revenge, that is simply not the case. For example, it was at least a thousand years between Adam and Noah and the flood that destroyed all of mankind – save for eight. Sin was so rampant that God repented that He had created man. Vowing to “never again punish (destroy) man in that way”, He stayed way more involved in the affairs of man, as given in the account of the Bible. For the Jews, He had established a “theocracy” over them, but they became dissatisfied and demanded to have a “king” – like every other nation. God did not like that, but He allowed that. For hundreds of years, there was one righteous and then an evil king following in succession, until God finally said, “enough is enough”, and had the Jews taken into captivity, to save them, by the Babylonians. Kings and Chronicles are the account of this good/bad/good/bad king succession and the reader is left wondering: why did God put up with that for so long. And, I could only conclude that He greatly loved His people and desired that they obey and serve Him and that He did not want to “give up” on them – despite their rebellion and disobedience. When you read it carefully, the Old Testament reveals the depth of God’s patience and love. Again, that is not what I was expecting, but it is profound. We might notionally think of the New Testament because of Jesus and God’s love (John 3:16), but His love is all throughout the Old Testament. If God is angry, it is because that man’s sins separate us from Him. But, in His love, He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to provide forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with Him. It is about choice. He has done everything as a Holy God that He could do to create fellowship with Him. It is up to us to either accept or reject that. Our choice.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  15. rad666

    We allowed our children the freedom to chose.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Dippy

      Choose.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  16. TANK!!!!!

    Religion: Because the prices on bath salts are jacked way up.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  17. Banjo Ferret

    This brave woman is on the right track. Step one, lose the false sky daddy. Step two, embrace Ferretianism as the one true religion. Accept Tim the Destroyer of Worlds into your heart and secure your purple energy bubble. Repent! (banjoferret d c)

    January 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  18. the AnViL

    religion: because HAIL XENU!

    January 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  19. TANK!!!!!

    Religion: Because bungie-jumping from an elevation of 300 ft with a 500 ft rope sounds way too dangerous.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  20. yep

    Jesus Christ: Because he was against religion, too.

    January 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Gir

      And yet he established one. One that has perpetually stifled sound reasoning, science and peace throughout history.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • yep

      One that has led to universities, hospitals, shelters for the homeless, homes for the oprhaned and comfort for the widows.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Gir

      All which can be achieved without belief in invisible flying sky wizards.

      "Universities" like Patriot Bible University.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • snowboarder

      honestly, we know nothing about what jesus would have wanted. not a single word attributed to the fabled jesus was written within decades of his purported death. any quote is most likely entirely fictional.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • yep!!!!

      And yet many wise men follow him.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • snowboarder

      yep, a testament to the indoctrination and groupthink that has perpetuated religious control for centuries.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Akira

      "And yet many wise men follow him."
      Yes.
      And many stupid ones, too.

      January 19, 2013 at 12:09 am |
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About this blog

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