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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. logicalfallacy

    it's ok to believe in god, and it's ok to not believe in god. it is not ok to push your faith on others.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Eilson

      Says who?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @eilson
      says me, duh!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Eilson

      Well I want you to stop pushing your views on the rest of us. Keep them to your damn self

      January 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @eilson
      that is an ad populum logical fallacy. epic fail on your part.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Of someone doesn't believe in good or have a religion they are wrong. What kinds of world are we living in where you have to follow the will of others...I thought a god gave us free will..why isn't it OK for us not to believe in god? Why are believers so pushy? If we choose not to be saved , let us not be saved

      January 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      *if

      January 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • BacBac

      Faith:
      Love God and put God first. Surrender (this requires humility which most non-believers don’t have)
      Salvation comes from forgiveness (only forgiven people go to Heaven).
      Love others.
      If I love others how could I NOT push my faith if I believe they can’t make it to heaven without salvation?
      This isn't a fallacy. Not a legitimate one anyway.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      because your faith is not fact. it is a logical fallacy. and yes, logical fallacies are legitimate for recitation.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • BacBac

      Fact: I have faith

      January 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      fact: faith does not prove that jesus is god. your logical fallacy is called: appeal to faith.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • BacBac

      It can't be proven (it is illogical to think otherwise), hence why it is called faith. This does not mean it is not true. There is sufficient evidence to believe the gospels.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      faith is not fact. and you cite no evidence that the gospels are authoritative. your logical fallacy is called: appeal to authority.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • BacBac

      There is plenty of evidence to support the gospels, if you want to find it you can. If you are not interested in finding it you won’t.
      What is your stance? You said you believe God exists but just not that Jesus is God, is that correct?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      there is no evidence to support the gospels. just because you say that, doesn't mean it's true. therefore, there is no proof that jesus is god.
      for the record: i believe in god, i just don't know what she looks like.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • BacBac

      Ok, how do you account for your existence and God?

      Oh, and it's not just that 'I' say that... there are many scholars who have done decades of research, and they say that... not me. You can remain ignorant on the subject if you wish. Your choice.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      i do not account for the existence of god. you have not presented any evidence either.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • BacBac

      You don't or you can't?

      What about your existence, how do you account for that?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      engaging in semantics does not help your argument. only logic will work.
      i do not account for the existence of anyone or anything. for all i know, we are living in the matrix. nobody really knows, including you.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • BacBac

      A simple "I can't" or "I don't know" will work just fine.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • BacBac

      So the universe exists but we can’t prove how it came into existence… Seems like that would make it hard for you to believe it exists at all.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Damocles

      @bac

      I kind of think that two people making love had a little something to do with my existence.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      your logical fallacy is called: false analogy.
      proving the existence of the universe does not prove the existence of god, or jesus as god.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • BacBac

      Your 'logical fallacy' is called denial.

      Seriously, can you actually debate without using the word fallacy? Are you capable of having a discussion without referring to your philosophy 101 book?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • BacBac

      whatever has come into existence was caused to come into existence by something else... The universe came into existence. so, what caused it to come into existence?

      We need to really drill down on this before I can take you seriously. You keep dodging the question. One more time and I will have to put you in the same group as most atheists.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      denial is not a logical fallacy. although i suspect your comment is an attempt at humor: epic fail.
      i cannot debate without using the word fallacy because that is my name, duh!
      here's a lesson for you: logical fallacies are taught in philosophy, law, english and other subjects.
      without logic, there is no basis for any argument.
      you're welcome.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nope. It's not denial; it's a logical fallacy.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Just Some Guy

      Standing in for logicalfallacy:
      Your logical fallacy is called 'false dichotomy': if the other person does not know or is wrong about something, you MUST be correct.

      But that is a logical fallacy. Just because there is no current universally accepted reason for the universe being a thing that is real does not mean your hypothesis is correct by default. If you want to argue that God is the reason for things, you need to find evidence for your assertion, not claim it's right because no one else has been proven correct yet.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • BacBac

      Things can exist without 100% proof/cause just like our universe and God. Do you accept that our universe exists? Yes you do... Keep scrambling to get all your 'data' as to the full account for the existence of your universe, but you don't have it and I don't either... yet it does exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Just Some Guy

      I fail to see how 'God exists' follows logically from 'the universe exists'.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      you contradict yourself. you don't know if something has to exist to create something else, but then you declare it so. your logical fallacy is called: circular reasoning.
      i have been 100 percent correct in my statements. i'm not dodging any questions. you are providing incorrect answers and asking illogical questions.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bacbac

      You say:
      "whatever has come into existence was caused to come into existence by something else..."

      It seems that way under the current laws of physics and the way the world works, yes, but that is not the case at the level of quantum foam nor at the Planck scale. Also, we don't know of anything that exists but yet "has not come into existence." When we find something that exists but has not come into existence, we can, perhaps, look at that thing and attempt some measurements
      .
      .
      .
      You say:
      "The universe came into existence. so, what caused it to come into existence?"

      Actually, we don't know if the universe "came into existence or not." We can't look further back than the Planck epoch. We can only say for certain that the universe was in a certain state, and then it began to inflate creating its own space and time with its expansion.
      .
      .
      .
      You say:
      "We need to really drill down on this before I can take you seriously. "

      Yep, you need to understand that we don't know of anything that exists but yet was not "caused to come into existence" but perhaps the universe meets that criteria itself. We don't know. It's very easy to say when it's the truth.

      If you keep dodging what we do and don't know, and what logic does and does not do, and what assumptions are and are not reasonable, then I'll have to put you in a category with most theists.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Damocles

      @bac

      You can't say that the universe need a creator and then not say that the creator needed a creator and so on and so on.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Damocles

      Theists who use this argument contend that because their ideal god is eternal, he did not "come into existence" at any point in time and therefore does not need a cause, himself. They postulate an invisible and undetectable force to account for the "coming into being" of the universe but then insist that the invisible and undetectable force is eternal and therefore needs no cause.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      you need to backtrack. you're getting pummeled here, sweetheart.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • BacBac

      In order for you to state there is no proof for God's existence, you would have to know all alleged proofs that exist in order to then state that there is no proof for God's existence… but since you cannot know all things, you cannot logically state there is no proof for God's existence.
      At best, you can only state that of all alleged proofs you have seen so far, none have worked... You could even say you believe there are no proofs for God's existence. But then this means there is the possibility that there is a proof or proofs out there, and that you simply have not yet encountered one.
      Nevertheless, if there was a proof that truly did prove God's existence, would you be able to accept it, given that your presuppositions are in opposition to the existence of God? In other words, given that you have a presuppositional base that there is no God, in order for you to accept a proof for God's existence; you would have to change your presuppositional base. This is not easy to do, and would involve a major paradigm shift in your belief structure. You are most likely presuppositionally hostile to any proofs for God's existence, and is less likely to be objective about such attempted proofs.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Damocles

      @bac

      If you can't know everything then everything becomes a possible creator of all.

      @moby

      I know, I see the argument all the time.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      your arguments are tenacious, at best. your logical fallacy is called: proving non-existence.

      i am not hostile to the possible existence of god. i do believe it's possible, but you cannot prove it. i cannot prove it either.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • BacBac

      As long as you admit the possibility of God's existence we are not that far apart. It is possible. It this is true, it really opens up all possibility as to what is and isn't 'true'. If there is a God, which you admit, there could be... we can't possibly expect to be able to explain everthing. Correct?

      If there is a God, he is more intelligent than you, or I, or any "logical fallacy". This is truth and can't logically be denied.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • mama k

      OK, what kind of God are we talking about here, though? Possibly one that only kick-starts things, sets up an environment and then skedaddles down a time shift portal to do the same in the next new universe?? Be clear on type of deity and time constraints. only the past, has always existed, etc.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      that is correct!

      the logic of your latest statements are sound.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @mama k
      those are excellent questions. if i were god, i would create a multi-dimensional, parallel universe type of portal for time traveling. i don't necessarily think that god needs to be defined as omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • mama k

      I agree that it cannot be proven either way. But to be clear, I have to assume from the posts thusfar that BacBac is only considering the God of Abraham and no other possibility of a deity.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • BacBac

      @logicalfallacy
      So, now that we can agree on something please enlighten me as to how you explain and/or discuss these things.
      If God exists (which we agree is possible), there is much we don’t know or can’t explain (and we can’t downplay the importance of this with our arguments). Explain confidence in any belief or non-belief with this possibility.
      Doesn’t the idea of ‘logical fallacy’ loose all of its foundation with this possibility? I mean you might be right, but if there is a God, all of your ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ is shaky at best. Correct? If there is a God, you know you don’t have all the answers… So where does the confidence come from, logically?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      the confidence comes from what we know. possibilities do not necessarily provide empirical evidence. it's important to keep an open mind instead of making declarations without the facts to back them up. if a god shows up one day that doesn't fit with my perception, then i will need to change my way of critical thinking. until then, my logic is based is based on facts that are current and relevant. logical fallacies can only be disproved when those facts are changed.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • BacBac

      Really? so you don't lose confidence from what you don't know?

      “it's important to keep an open mind instead of making declarations without the facts to back them up”

      Since you agree there could be a God, I suggest you do the same.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      no, i don't lose confidence because i'm not omniscient.

      if you are insisting on proving non-existence, then you are engaging in a logical fallacy.

      i do not declare that god exists; i'm only agreeing that it's possible. i suggest you do the same.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • BacBac

      Sweetheart, you are the world’s best back-peddler.

      3 things are true about most people with your view:

      1.) Insecure
      2.) Defensive
      3.) Predictable

      Nice try tonight…

      January 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      i'm not 'back-peddling' at all. none of my statements are contradictory. most of your statements are contradictory and full of logical fallacies.

      i am very secure in my arguments and logic. defending my arguments does not make me insecure. you are guilty of the ever so popular ad populum logical fallacy. congratulations!

      honey baby, you have come full circle. but you need to brush up on apologetics.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bacne, if you think "back–peddling" means anything, you're an idiot. It's "back pedaling," you retarded dwarf.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  2. Ddavid M

    "I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs."

    Why is that the only place it "belongs"? Following your line of reasoning, sports talk should be confined to the ball park or baksetball court. Political speeches should be kept in government buildings. Also by your reasoning, I'm not allowed to talk about my faith outside the home or church, but you are allowed to use CNN as a venue to espouse your views against God to everyone.

    Doesn't sound quite fair to me. You have freedom to tell everyone why you are raising your family absent God. But, because I'm a Christian, I can only talk about that in church or the home. I have freedom of speech, but you have more freedom of speech. If I'm wrong about God, I have lost nothing. If you are wrong about God, you have lost eternity.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • JWT

      You can talk about your god anywhere you want – just keep it out of the laws and out of the schools.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @ddavid m
      that is called a false analogy. here is the updated score for this blog post:
      xtians – 0
      non-xtians – 1534

      January 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ddavid M

      Well JWT....you said "anywhere you want to", then you proceeded to put restrictions on the "anywhere" part. Which is it????

      January 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • JonC

      If you are wrong about god, you have wasted your entire life for a fable. What if you are wrong about which god exists? You were raised Christian because you were born into it. If you were born in Iran you would likely be Muslim. Christians have no qualms about speaking up about their faith. Take a drive down any interstate for 100 miles and count the number of appeals to give up your reason and bow down to a myth. Happy trails David :) We'll rot in the ground together someday.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • JWT

      There are restrictions on lots of things in life. Religion has no place in the law, people's religious views are not a reason for making law. Gay marriage is an excellent example of this. Schools are not the place to try and expose children to all the possible religions so none is a better choice for schools.

      I should have said almost anywhere. Of course you could try to convince me that my life is missing something without god but you cannot do that either.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • JonC

      Full disclosure, I do want religion to go away. Toss it in the trash bin where it belongs.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • J-Pap

      Take a read on CNN every sunday and you'll see another op ed that is pro religion, with all the believers and non believers wasting more time debating faith in the forums. It's a breath of fresh air to see someone speak up about their lack of belief. And surprise, surprise, the bible thumpers are trying to ban her opinion. Jeeze, we wouldn't want logic to spread amongst the sheeple.

      How for the life you believers can you think your God is the right God when there a so many other religions? It just doesn't add up. To me, if there really was a God, everyone would be believe in that one God, because it really existed. The lack of God seems to me to make the scenario that is playing out today. Everyone thinks their God is the real one and death to the others. What a waste of time.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Free Nuts

    To Chad
    Front page CNN TODAY
    Morality: It's not just for humans chimp too

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/19/health/chimpanzee-fairness-morality/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

    January 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      Ooops dame thumb should be chimps too.

      Who has morals now Chad ?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  4. DeityFree

    If I stand by and let a person die that could be saved, I can and should be arrested.

    At best, god is a felon as he does this every day.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  5. onemorehere

    ATHIEST believe in knowledge=science and OMNISIENCE GOD can provide for this need...the Christian believe in the knowledge of God so 'OMNISCIENCE GOD' is the future of reliegion....all knowledgible God...OMNISCIENCE GOD.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  6. James

    I am an 18 year old who lives in Tennessee. I am an agnostic and probably will be for the rest of my life. I was raised christian and every single person in my family is christian, but i realize this is because of their generation. I feel sorry for all of you baby boomer agnostic/atheists. I could't imagine being agnostic in that lifetime. God is vastly becoming much less relevant. I know this because although I live in the bible belt, much less people in my generation are believers. Which many adults would say is bad, but i say it is an excellent and needed transition. Since I stopped believing in god I have actually become a much happier and moral person. I now follow my own morals instead of pretending to follow them due to fear of eternal damnation. I think that religion is for some people, but not for everyone. To each his own. All i want is to not be judged for my lack of religious beliefs
    So hang inthere baby boomers, better times are coming.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  7. dmvcitizen

    Her kids are raised without god..how will they be good people? Atheists have morals. When you stopped believing in Santa did you stop being good? I didnt and I am an atheist. There are stories and songs about Santa but we all know that we tell children those stories because its "tradition".
    I am proud of woman 's decision.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  8. cap232

    I bet she has no difficulty explaining to her kids how Santa Claus flies around the world in one night and climbs down every chimney in the whole world and knows what every kid wants for Christmas. But God, heaven, sheesh the guilt!

    January 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Mom

      cap,

      Santa is a fun fantasy story that maybe gets told for maybe 4 or 5 years (from ages +/- 2 to 7) for a month or so of the year. And yes, I did feel a bit like I was duping them with it, so I kept it real light. Telling them the "God" "Jesus" "Heaven" and "Hell" stuff as purported reality was impossible for me to do.

      p.s. they are all adults now, and turned out wonderfully

      January 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  9. onemorehere

    The new religion is "OMNISCIENCE GOD' ALL KNOWING GOD' athiest and Christian allike will fall for it in the near future...

    January 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  10. af

    #1 Just because it can't be seen doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For example, who can scientifically prove these things: love, hope, passion?

    #2 If there is no God, then how does one explain man's innate desire for and quest for immortality? Most ancient civilizations tried to answer the question for eternal life and made elaborate plans for the "afterworld".

    #3 The questions to ask yourself today are this: What do you think happens to you after you die? Can you honestly imagine not existing anymore? How can you rest in peace if you don't exist, right?

    January 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Justinian

      Who can scientifically prove there isn't a three-headed dog guarding the entrance to the underworld? But let's try reason, shall we?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      af,

      Existence is an ever to be consistency even though we have folks who dare rant and rave against immortalities. They seem to want to grow in numbers giving themselves a sensation of commonwealth easing just to know others believe in the absolution of nothingness being a finality. Even Nothingness is a something to behold!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Christo

      #1 Just because it can't be seen doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For example, who can scientifically prove these things: love, hope, passion?

      #2 If there is no God, then how does one explain man's innate desire for and quest for immortality? Most ancient civilizations tried to answer the question for eternal life and made elaborate plans for the "afterworld".

      #3 The questions to ask yourself today are this: What do you think happens to you after you die? Can you honestly imagine not existing anymore? How can you rest in peace if you don't exist, right?

      LOL, i love stuff like this...
      1. All of human emotion has social purpose and can be scientifically quantified. We evolved to love, hate, envy the same as all social mammals and many other species.
      2. Many naturally doesn't want life to end. If life is good, they want to keep it that way, if it's bad they want a better life somewhere else. So thinking that life has an end gives us nothing except an end to our life here with no answers to the big questions. Hence the concept of the afterlife. Our brains evolved enough to conceive an afterlife so we take full advantage of it, it gives us peace.
      3. Yes I can imagine not existing anymore. Of course, if there is nothing at the time of death you'll NEVER KNOW you didn't exist anymore. I think heaven would get a little old after a few trillion years, hopefully there's an opt out plan.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • thecountess666

      "#1 Just because it can't be seen doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For example, who can scientifically prove these things: love, hope, passion? "

      we can actual measure their effects.
      we have yet to measure proof of god.
      we've measured the the effect of belief in god, and its effect is much like the placebo effect. in other words all in your head.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • af

      I enjoyed reading all of your comments. Thank you for posting. Despite our differences, I still hold to the belief that there is no such equation as 0+0=1 and that mankind's mind is finite and flawed.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  11. Reality

    Some 21st century nitty-gritty:(only for the new members of this blog)-----–>>

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life without the need of some god or gods. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  12. Texas mom

    I say good for her. I grew up very in a very cotholic home, church every sunday, sunday school, CCD and every other class you can think of. I don't practice catholicism anymore. I am am open to respect all religions. As for my self and family I always tell my kids that I do believe that there is something great than me out there. I don't want to use the term god but whatever it is it's out there. I am more spiritual and open to learn about all religions. The funny thing is that I probably know more about christianity than most christians. I have actually had a friend who was christian and with a smile on her face told me that I would be going to hell because I don't believe in the same things she did. I gave it a shot, went to her church one weekend and well let's just say her church was a little too "drink the koolaid" for me. I respect that none the less but it wasn't a fit for me and that's ok. I would never look down on anyone because they didn't share my beliefs but oddly enough a lot of other religions do. When ever my kids ask about something religious I try to answer it in reference to the religion and let them know that "catholics believe", "christians believe", "muslims believe" terms and they seem satisfied with that. I truly believe that if there is a religion out there it will call for me. I just haven't found it yet. I'm happy none the less and I get through hard and good times without any incident or need to look for an answer. As for now I just consider myself more of a humanist.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  13. Dana

    Ira, which statement do you think I have no comprehension of? If you're going to criticize, at least pick a point to discuss.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ira

      Dana, it was the one that said that you don't understand what the Reply button is for.

      Well, actually, that was one of several that went way, way, way over your head.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Ron

    Rationale thought. Because I cannot know nor understand everything and that absolute truth cannot be claimed by no one there comes a point where faith in the unknown and unseen must take place. Why is it wrong intellectually to believe in something I have never seen. I see the stars at night I see the hand of God who I have never seen nor can conclusively scientifically prove but I chose to believe there is a God. An atheist sees the stars at night and sees a 'big bang" that came from nothing that he has never seen nor can conclusively scientifically prove and he also choses to believe there is no God. He is no more wrong than I am. He is more of an intellectual than I am and he has no more of a claim on absolute truth than I do. We both have faith in an unknown.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Justinian

      Which god?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Reality

      I looked for the hand of god in the following and this what I found.

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      I therefore concluded there was no god.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  15. Mormon No More

    Christianity is a farce, the Bible is gibberish, Heaven and Hell are man-made concepts. But it seems to me that a being of such superior intelligence, that they could create worlds and life, is not such a stretch. To us, they would be God!

    January 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  16. LouisaFinnell

    I was raised in a religious family and know that it is nearly impossible for them to see the world through the eyes of a nonbeliever. For one thing they are too terrified to try because it would be like inviting Satan to tea, and for another the point of view is simply too foreign. I live my life, block their religious (and Republican) FaceBook rantings while still keeping a connection, and see them on holidays. They don't say anything to me anymore because it's been tried and it didn't go well for them. That is as good as it will get.

    I openly support those who "come out" as atheists. It's difficult and brave. By the way, I am also an atheist. Please don't pray for me. It's annoying.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Mormon No More

      I like!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  17. John G.

    Atheism and gay marriage working hard to destroy the family unit...

    January 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • No

      Dads who leave, moms who are too busy with themselves to care about their kids, and an economy that even when both parents are around forces them both to work multiple jobs and the kids have to raise themselves, that is what is destroying society. Parents who are devoted to their kids of any orientation and religion are ok with me.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • No

      Dads who leave, moms who are too busy with themselves to care about their kids, and an economy that even when both parents are around forces them both to work multiple jobs and the kids have to raise themselves, that is what is destroying society. Parents who are devoted to their kids of any orientation and religion (or none) are ok with me.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Akira

      Bullsh!t.
      What an absurd comment.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • thecountess666

      and how exactly would either of those do that?

      is your marriage suddenly worth less if gay people can get married too?
      do atheists not love their children just as much as religions famalies... maybe even more as they dont worship a book that teaches to stone disobedient childern to death or instructs you how to sell your daughter into slavery.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Randy

      Atheism has nothing to do with the decline of anything but the lie that is religion.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  18. logicalfallacy

    i challenge any xtians to prove their belief in jesus as god is not a logical fallacy. faith is not proof. believe what you want, but if you intend to proselytize, then you better do your apologist homework!

    January 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • John G.

      Sadly there are more Atheist Evangelists on here than Christians. Gotta convert those mindless masses to the religion of atheism!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Speaking logical fallacies,

      Just exactly how can one conclude that all prehistoric connotations of every living being come about via evolution? Would that entail one species to another species ad infinitum until all species of prehistory came into being? Seems kind of a stupid ideology to literally explain one breed begets another breed and yet another on and on,,,,

      January 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @john g.
      well now, that is what we call a non sequitur logical fallacy. i never mentioned atheism. and for the record, i do believe in god. i just don't know what she looks like.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Dan

      All these godless lost liberals what a shame and they all talk about is about their Ned to protect their privacy and reproductive rights what the mans reproductive rights and what about the baby's right to live

      January 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @lionlylamb
      congratulations! you just committed a red herring logical fallacy. stay on topic please. i am challenging xtians to prove that jesus is god, nothing more.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @dan
      welcome to the red herring club with lionlylamb. your grammatically incorrect prose gives me a headache. any thoughts on proving that jesus is god? no, i thought not.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Akira

      @Dan:
      Who's Ned?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The beliefs of the many dare outweighs to beliefs of the known who dare not believe therefore the sons of God exist and Christ Jesus is the king of all God's sons! Christ is their supreme authority over all God's sons and their taken mates! Upon the insides of all Life lays all the kingdom domains of the godly chasms deeply within the voids of the atomized realms! As it is so written that the "kingdom of God is inside us" and "we all do labor equally with God and God is our husbandry and we are his buildings" so it shall is! I believe in the words I have so made written being a literal Truth of God's Word and in dividing the word of truth I have concluded thusly a Truth made right!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @lionlylamb
      well, you lost me there. your comments are practically unintelligible; however, you do serve the purpose of proving my point about xtians and logical fallacies. thanks!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • BacBac

      Why might one believe Jesus is God?
      He forgave others of sin. Think of this in historical context and how unique this would have been. This is a much more important view than many realize.
      He performed miracles. Others have as well but this strengthens the argument.
      Resurrection – This is the big one; no other religion in the history of the world has been based on a recorded event. The rapid spread of Christianity immediately following this event is unparalleled. He also raised others from the dead.
      Transformation – Those who have a real relationship with Jesus have experienced significant transformation.
      Of course, these things can be disputed but with careful research one tends to believe the truth. You can’t prove faith with science nor can you prove science with faith. Historical data actually supports the argument for Jesus.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      your logical fallacy is called: appeal to tradition, aka: bandwagon fallacy.
      just because it is written, doesn't mean it's true.
      just because it's historical, doesn't mean it's infallible.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • BacBac

      Just because that is how I come to my belief doesn’t mean the conclusion is incorrect. This is called ‘argument from fallacy’- and assumes the conclusion is incorrect if the argument is as well, which is not always the case.
      Can we stop with the fallacies?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @bacbac
      argument from fallacy is not a logical fallacy, it is circular reasoning. that means the conclusion of your belief system is a house of cards waiting to fall. I agree with you that we should stop with the fallacies. and it's your fallacies that need to stop.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  19. CP

    Hey Brampt –
    Ever consider natural selection?

    January 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  20. Science

    At its best here today. Thanks CNN

    Peer reviewed.

    39 pages of live human science.

    Science does make money it looks like here for CNN

    January 19, 2013 at 5:05 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.