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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. El Diablo con Queso

    I grew up in a Christian home and went to church regularly and wanted to be an acolyte. At some point in my early mid teens I started realizing there was no rational basis for Christianity. I would have come to the same conclusion about any religion I was raised in. I can't for the life of me understand how anybody can buy in to this power system that marginalize people and their roles in their own lives. I will even discuss this via email quesomal@gmail.com. I have yet to have one religious person provide a sound cogent argument for how their religious beliefs are based in proven facts, including physical existence and not belief.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Lines

      We all have different viewpoints.

      Mine probably won't work for you. Yours probably won't work for me.

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

      After reading your post twice, I realized you are dumber than you originally appeared to be.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      No, my viewpoint is based on observed fact. I don't use lines. I could believe that the moon was made of cheese or that the stars are just points of light in a sheet that is pulled over the sky at night but that is easily proven false. That is how I lead my life.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Eilson

      Uh huh, sure you do.

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

      @eilson
      your logical fallacy is called: ad hominem
      epic fail.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      Feel free to make an actual argument Elison.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Lines

      I know God is real.

      And I probably use logic and reason just like you in my life.

      But there is also more to this world than meets the eye. And it is beautiful.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • mendacitysux

      Brilliant retorts Eilson.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      This world is beautiful, simply amazing. And what I don't know about the universe could fill it. I'm not going to pretend though. Are you pretending to be privy to some more evidence and facts than me? You know more about the universe and human existence than me?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lines

      You've got access to God, too.

      For me, I've got to try and humble myself. You know, get on my knees and start praying. And try to not pray selfishly. I also meditate.

      I'm asked to do thinks like love my enemies and pray for those people that hate me.

      God is everywhere. And God is within us all.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Someone Else

      El Diablo, I agree with you and would add that believing in something you cannot see just to explain the un-explainable will only hinder humankind. If we all simply said, "Yup that's the answer" then we would have never probed on to get closer to finding a more accurate and logical explanation of our surroundings.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      God has access to me as well then? So your retort for that would be that I'm refusing to see his signs or that one has to reach out to God? What about the people on this earth that still have never been introduced to the major religions? Living in remote locations and believing in things that people would think of anti-religion, pagan practices and all You didn't read what I originally wrote did you? I had belief, realized that nothing was actually happening. My life was based on my actions. When somebody prays and it works they praise God, when it doesn't it was God's plan. That means praying doesn't work either way, God's plan will either follow what you want or not. Who really goes through life saying I don't make choices, God makes them? Think of all the personal responsibility this takes away.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Lines

      God gave me a life to live. That is what I am doing.

      He gave us (humans) this world. We are responsible. He lets the consequences of our bad choices play out.

      I can seek him for guidance. I can ask him to help my thinking. To help me make good decisions.

      It really works.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Lines

      < What about the people on this earth that still have never been introduced to the major religions?

      God has a plan of salvation for these people, too. I don't know what that is. But he loves his whole creation.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      You pretty much ignored me. You said I pray and it works for me. Great for you.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Lines

      And you said you prayed and it didn't work for you.

      Ok. I can't fix that.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  2. Someone Else

    Religion has been responsible for much of how the modern world learned to read and keep their behavior in line. It has also been responsible for a vast majority of homicide and dare I say it ... genocide. All in the name of what? Teach your children to think for themselves, but also how to analyze the true hard facts of life. I have never seen a god, nor anything that represents a miracle. Every "miracle" I have heard of could have always been explained by any number of other things and never had any proof to back up the idea that it was a miracle. Religion did teach me how to treat others with respect and that's the only thing I got from it when I walked away. Actually, I never truly believed but did understand what it was good for, and mostly what it was not.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      Uh, wrong. The major churches used to only allow the church hierarchy the right to learn to read and write. When people like Galileo dared to prove dogma wrong based on fact they were censored, put under house arrest or much worse. Religion has held back human advancement more than it has helped it. Pitting people against each other for false reasons comes to the top of my list as one of the reasons it has slowed humanities progress. quesomal@gmail.com

      January 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Eilson

      Hey Cheesehead – learn some history. You know next to nothing!

      January 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      You've shown no propensity for anything other than insults which shows that you don't like being challenged. It is an uncomfortable feeling, realizing that there is no real basis for your beliefs, isn't it?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Someone Else

      No I'm right. The 'Word' was passed around to different towns for those who could read to read it aloud to others that could not. It would then be sribed by a free-lance scribe that would change the words to his liking. These free-lancers are those that believed in the 'word' enough to try learning how to read and write. It wasn't until Constantine adopted Christianity as his religion (which was a pagan religion up to this point) that professional scribes were being hired and taught how to write on a large scale in order to produce many of these books. As the demand went up in the Roman Empire more people needed to learn how to read and write to follow the new religion. Also, since more people were becoming better at scribing, the book started look more similar between scribes and not just a bunch of made up stuff and bad translations going into it.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Eilson

      NO – I don't like engaging in conversations with ignoramuses

      January 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Someone Else

      And yes you may be right about Galileo, but this was the initial boost. Of course, I just liked pointing out that the bible is not at all the same as it was originally ... which was just a bunch of different things being put together over hundreds of years.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      The Bible, Koran, Torah et al have some good stuff in them, great insights in to the minds of humans struggling to get by and starting to really hit that upward curve on their evolution. I mean think about it, 4000 years ago etching on stones, today I can type on something we call a keyboard and technically everybody in the world could have the power to read it, simply amazing.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  3. Josh

    Feel free to enjoy the afterglow all ye white liberals, but when "do as thou wilt" hits the fan, don't say you weren't warned.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • El Zorro

      Is that your new Republican message Trash Limbaugh style ?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • El Diablo con Queso

      Basically what you are experiencing is the same false high that one gets from snoring or smoking an illicit substance. Belief and fact are two very different things.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  4. One one

    God wants our worship and praise it seems.
    But he only appears to us in our dreams.
    You can pray for his help, but don’t hold your breath.
    For his plan for you is your inevitable death.
    They claim if you believe, you’re heaven bound.
    But a witness for this has never been found.
    No guarantees for this claim, now THAT’s a sin.
    So don’t take the bait and get hooked and reeled in.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Just a John

      And don't forget he needs your money, private jets for the clergy are.........

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • John

      It is your claim that all the eye witnesses to what God has done over history, are wrong. If someone told you today that they knew God exists, today, you would doubt, because that is what you want.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  5. tkdubb

    im a Christian. I was raised in the church and have been apart of it all my life. I dont discriminate against people who do not believe in God. I dont reach out to them unless the seem interested and ask me about my religion. I hate to hear about people who dont believe but I still accept them as a person and do not judge them. Yes I do pray for them but out of respect I do not state that I do or even bring the subject up. The bible says not to judge so I leave it alone. Every person has a right to their own opinion.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Lines

      Nicely put, thanks.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • One one

      Do you believe the god you worship sends non-believers to hell ? Are you OK with that ?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Lines

      They send themselves to hell.

      And Jesus went to hell and came back. I think there is a plan of salvation there, too.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • One one

      @lines. "They send themselves to hell". That like saying the victim who refused to comply with the mugger killed himself.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Lines

      More like a drowning man refusing to grab onto a life preserver because he doesn't like the people on the boat.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • One one

      @lines, well, according to the myth god created hell and he sends people there so he owns it, no one else does .

      Now for my second question. Are YOU OK with god sending billions of people to hell for eternal torture for not accepting Jesus as their savior ?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Lines

      No. I'm not ok with that.

      I don't remember Jesus saying anything like that.

      I have a God of mercy, peace and grace.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Lines

      God is holy. He won't dwell with evil.

      He created hell for evil to dwell.

      God is in heaven.

      If you are evil, and refuse to change you can't get into heaven. You choose hell.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lines: You "don't remember Jesus saying that"? What, you think ANYONE alive "remembers" Jesus saying anything?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • One one

      2 Thessalonians, 8-9:"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

      January 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Lines

      > One one

      What did the verses right before that say? And after?

      What audience was that letter written to?

      January 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  6. Origin of Life

    Origin of Life:
    Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

    Dec. 20, 2012 —
    A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  7. Sandra

    The beautiful thing about living in this country is that a person can be free to believe in whatever and Whomever they want. A Christian believes The Bible. The Bible says that, in order to be saved, one must believe on Christ...believe that He paid for all our sins and there is nothing we can do to attain salvation but believe.
    As a Christian, we are loved first...His love flows through us. The Bible says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." Naturally, the love of Christ propels us to want to see our friends and neighbors, even strangers, experience the same love and peace. It has nothing to do with prejudice or discrimination.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • mjbrin

      so jews are not worthy?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  8. Patrish

    Violence is about not respecting other. It has nothing to do with being religious or gong to church or fearing a hell. We all know many of the so called Christians can be 2-faced, deceitful while they run around praising a 'god. You get your morals from how you were raised, not by the church you attend. People at church are busy impressing other church members or the community. They are narrow-minded, petty and some are down-right mean. I was raised in Sunday school/church, choir, etc. but as soon as I got out on my own and started to think for myself, I just didn't buy the GOD thing. As a 70 year old, I'm really glad to see someone come out of the shadows and post these thoughts. Good for Michelle!

    January 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  9. Dana

    Ron, how can you see the hand of God in the stars and call yourself an atheist?

    January 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Lines

      Anybody that is on here posting is probably doing better than most people in this world. Just by the fact that they have the privilege to use a computer (some are on here ALL DAY) means they are financially sound.

      It seems like they have been blessed. Yet they can't see it. Kind of like a spoiled rotten kid. Nobody like a brat.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Hanson

      Who's god? Shiva? Buddha? Zeus? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Oh wait what am I saying I'm sure your God is superior to the rest. Just like the 49ers are superior to all other football teams. Nothing primitive and tribal about that no sir...

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Lines

      The God that is bigger and more gracious than all those combined.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Hanson

      So you're talking about Flying Spaghetti Monster then. Got it.

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

      No, much, much better.

      Trust.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  10. polly

    She best be ready when her child believes and accepts Christ.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      your logical fallacy is called: appeal to consequences. please be more credible with your comments.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Lines

      It does happen. Christ loves her and her kids.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • The serpent

      I hope you're ready for when your kids start thinking for themselves, and recognize the christian myth.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Lines

      Or they embrace the Christian myth and find it helpful in their lives.

      Or they like the Buddha.

      Or they enjoy the secular world and try to make lots of money.

      The possibilities are endless for them.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  11. logicalfallacy

    ok folks, here's the deal:
    my experiment has succeeded. not one xtian has a logical argument to prove that jesus is god. they have engaged in logical fallacies at a 100 percent rate. therefore, xtian proselytizers are delusional at best, and liars at worst.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • El Zorro

      You could be right ....that nobody has proof if Jesus is God ........but can you proof the opposite?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • bubba brown

      and can you provide me with a logical argument for why he is not god?

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

      Xtian is used by hindus from india. can you prove that your 33 crore gods exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • The serpent

      LOL!!! It's too funny!! The theists respond to a post about logical fallacy by commiting the logical fallacy of asking for proof of a negative!! LOL!! Priceless!!

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

      @el zorro
      @bubba
      @ensense

      the serpent's post is correct. you are all guilty of this logical fallacy: proving non-existence.
      epic, epic fail.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • james

      you want proof Jesus is God? if you worship him he is God to you. just like allah is God to millions of muslims Jehovah is God. many of receivers of worship go unknown but what ever you give your devotion to is your God and no one can take that away unless you allow them to.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @james
      your logical fallacy is called: appeal to faith.
      another epic fail.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Lines

      Money used to be my God. And money failed me.

      Jesus is my Lord now. He never fails me.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @lines
      your logical fallacy is called: red herring. please stay on topic.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Dana

      I don't believe in logical fallacies, therefore I reject your notion that something is not true because it is a logical fallacy.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @dana
      your logical fallacies are called: appeal to ignorance and ad ignorantiam.
      you cannot present an argument without logic.
      epic fail.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Lines

      Nicely put.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Lines

      @dana not that logical-bot

      January 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • james

      I can't believe I have to respond again but since you missed my point I will encourage you to seek the 3 words of truth in my post that you needed to know. try again.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @james
      there is no truth in your posts, only logical fallacies.

      @lines
      i am not a bot. i'm a real person, with real feelings. lol!

      January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • james

      who are you parroting and why do you not think for yourself?

      January 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  12. HMR01

    I don't consider myself a non-believer per se, but even at a very young age I had a big issue with organized religion and the 'do as I say, not as I do" mentality. I was shuttled to church every time the doors were open. I think my parents thought they were doing the right thing but there were so many bad influences there that they didn't realize. That's what I believe anyway. As a young adult I stopped going to church even though I'd have to hide out in my house until noon on Sunday when church was out. The pressure put on living in a fairly small community to attend this church or that was huge. When my son started getting questions at school about where he attended church, I started attending again for his sake and to get him educated and saved like all the rest of the kids. We moved overseas when he was around 14 and there no one was spying on us to see if we made it to church. No one asked questions any longer. Since moving back to the US I've been very careful to keep my private life private. I didn't go back to small townville where belonging to the right church meant you were in or got you business. I have no problem with religion. I tend to believe in a higher power, but I don't blame nor fault or have expectations. I just don't feel the need for organized worship. Nor do I want to get caught up in the requirments to volunteer, witness to others, or give my money. Some would say that I'll go to hell for not showing up at church and putting my offering in the plate every week. I somehow don't believe that.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Patrish

      Nicely said. A shame we have to pretend interest in something that holds to value for us.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  13. DustyOnes

    Seems to me it is the Atheists who are whining and screaming and being offended. Only 3% or so identify as atheist and they file thousands of lawsuits every year about anything students do expressing their faith. The 10 Commandments are on the United State Supreme Court building....yes, we were and are a Christian Nation. We are a Nation of Faith.

    If you are not, then so be it. You are a small minority and your right are preserved. Just don't get uppity and demand special treatment. There are plenty of things I ignore and walk away from.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Eilson

      You silly fool. It's about total domination, like all their communist heroes. Dominate and kill the expendable

      January 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      @eilson
      spoken like a true xtian.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      DustyOnes,

      U.S. laws are not based on the 10 Commandments.

      The Ten Commandments:

      1: Have no other gods – NOT A LAW
      2: Make no graven image – NOT A LAW
      3: Don’t take the name in vain – NOT A LAW
      4: Honor the Sabbath – NOT A LAW
      5: Honor thy father and mother – NOT A LAW
      6: Thou shalt not kill – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY (long pre-dated it)
      7: Thou shalt not commit adultery – huge number of Christians commit adultery by LEGALLY remarrying
      8: Thou shalt not steal – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      9: Thou shalt not bear false witness – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      10: Thou shalt not covet – NOT A LAW

      January 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      p.s. The doors of the U.S. Supreme Court also depict various scenes from Greek, Roman and British legal history:

      http://www.dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0000164.htm

      January 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Patrish

      I like whining – what good has religion done? Most wars are over religion. Religious people are no better than anyone else although they like to think so. They are just louder!

      January 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Lines

      The US Justice system is a joke. Rich people get away with murder. It is crooked and evil.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Sue Thom

      In the Middle Ages, the people who believed the world was round or that the earth revolved around the sun were also a "minority". Just because the world is mostly populated by gullible, ignorant people desperate to believe lies and fairy tales to make themselves feel better, people like you, does not make those fantasies any more real!!

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

      Patrish, I would argue that most wars are fought over power which have been 'justified' by the mis-intepretation of religion. Bad people will do bad things, with or without a reason. They just prefer one. And I could go out and do many bad things today in the name of Atheism but that doesn't mean it's a good interpretation of what your beliefs are or what you truly believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Dont Tread On Me

      The very vocal minority of *atheists* (who are mostly *stoopid libs*) is intolerant of any opposing belief, faith, or values of any kind. They wallow in their self-righteous (and low-information) self-importance. Their brutal tactics must be met with equal force. They already have won over the press, academia, science, and most of our youth. WAKE UP AMERICA and TAKE YOUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE LOONS. This is Suicide Of A Great Nation. Semper Fi

      January 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • ensense

      I would like to know which war in recent history was over religion?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • J-Pap

      I dare say 3%are atheists. It's much higher. I know no one that goes to church except my Dad who thinks he's been reborn. He's on his own in our family.

      The tables are turning. My son will hopefully grow up in a world of logic rather than blind faith.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Lines

      This world is not logical. Logic can only get you so far.

      Great for robots, not so much for humans.

      Communism is nice and logical on paper. Applied to human beings, not so great.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  14. clemdal

    If you do not want to believe and you want to run the risk of being wrong and going to a hell that you do not believe in after death is one thing. However, to deny your children to have the information they need to make their own choice is wrong. I suggest all of you non-believers read the book – Proof of Heaven- by Eben Alexander with an open mind. You may just find it rather interesting.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Sean Webb

      Total nonsense. There is no such information to provide supporting the existence of any deity.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Fuel

      Clemdal,
      What sort of horific God do you subscribe too? (could be one or more of thousands to chose from, one is as likely as the next) What sort of individual would torture a person even for 10 minutes for anything, let alone 'miss-believing'? What a barbaric, immoral, hideous God that must be....to be feared perhaps but certainly not to be loved nor worshipped.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • SillyMe2

      clemdal,

      I see your point - though I don't believe in god, I too will pretend that I do just to hedge my bets.

      Thanks. Shrewd thinking.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  15. magnum12

    Increasing violence and economic melt-downs in our societies is the result of an atheist philosophy where every individual decides for himself what is right and what is wrong. Christian values such as loving unconditionally, forgiving generously and returning good for evil has to be taught to our children at an early age. As opposed to violence, greed and immorality being taught on TV, video games and music. Replace the self centered ideology of (what's in it for me) with the Golden Rule.The family is the building block of society. When it fails, so does society. People need to get reacquainted with God and get on their knees and learn to pray again. Isn't it ironic that as more churches have become empty and torn down, more prisons have been built and filled. To paraphrase a scripture: We are reaping what we have sown.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Sean Webb

      Blind devotion and adherence to arbitrary authority granted to religious leaders causes far more harm than logical reasoning.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Joebob

      "Where every individual decides for himself what is right or wrong" Did you honestly just say that? Implying that every person should not think for themselves and blindly give themselves over to Christian Ideals and faith?

      Violence ? I suggest you study some history.

      Your ignorance renders me all but speechless. Not thinking for yourself and trying to brainwash children at a very young age is what i see you advocating. People like you scare me. I wouldn't want you anywhere near my child.

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

      magnum12,
      Crime in America is at or near historic all time lows (murder is half what it was in 1990 for example)–and so is church attendance–that is NOT ironic, it should be expected. The same trends are obvious, the most religious regions of the USA are also the areas that have highest divorce, highest teen pregnacies and STDs, on and on..... Same trend is even more pronounced when compairing most religious nations to least religious, less religion always results in a healther society.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Human

      Magnum – those "Christian" values you speak about are universal values held by Buddhists, Hindus and Atheists. And, the reason these values aren't being widely followed is because this "Christian Nation" has made itself subservient to a consumption driven economy based entirely upon the concept of "Thou shalt covet".

      Its ironic that the so called conservatives are the most prone to pushing the agenda of corporations who, wait for it, seek to limitlessly increase human covetousness to the extreme ends of making a few people rich at the expense of future generations.

      Coming to your comment about prisons getting full even as Churches get empty. It is ridiculously naive. Prisons are full because of these two primary factors amongst others – (a) they drive the economic welfare of all the companies that supply products and services to the prison system, who resist any attempts at overhauling the system, and (b) because of continuous suppression of a certain minority community. The number of people in jail for offenses that are meaningless in the US is ridiculous. Ironically, that community is among the most religious of all races in America. Go figure.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  16. Cheech

    Luba. Brilliant.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  17. lksdjflkj

    Mans biggest sin is devoting so many resources to region. So much war, so much suffering, so many unspeakable acts. Sure religion isn't all bad, but so many resources have been wasted on it, so many lives lost that it makes me sad.

    We could be so much more if we didn't fight over whose god is better or whose god is the true god.

    Many people think that the question is does god exist.....my answer is it doesn't matter.

    If god exists, he made the universe in all its glory. If he doesn't exist, the universe is STILL there in all its glory. In either case, the true goal should be to understand the universe in all its glory. Through that you will either find god or you wont. But again it doesn't matter which you find. You will still find the glory of the universe.

    Embrace how the world really works. The more you learn about it, the more you want to learn about it. And the more you realize just how small your understanding of the universe truly is.

    Many people look at a flower and see a flower. I see the long history, its past, its ancestors, and its future. I see its complex structure, its biology, the complex chemical processes going on inside to keep it alive. The synergy between the flower and its environment as well as other organisms that live around and within it. I see the ground on which it grows and the long history of the earth. I see the connection between everything, we are all made of the same stuff, we are all connected.

    And yet in the grand scheme of the universe i know nothing.....except the universe is simply awe inspiring with or without god.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Beentheretoo

      Beautifully said.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Patrish

      A little wordy, but yes, the universe and especially this planet is absolutely amazing.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • TJ

      Atheism... has killed more people in the 20th century, than ALL religions combined, since the time of Christ.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • J-Pap

      TJ- no one has killed in the name of atheism.

      But to OP, well said.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Fuel

      TJ,
      "Atheism" has never killed a single person–first it's not even an "ism", it has no dogma–no directives. Hence it can't possibly instruct ppl to do biblical barbarian things. Get it? To be an atheist one may belong to any political party or have any sort of opions, no restrictions EXCEPT for the God question. An atheist doesn't subscribe to any of the god-hypothosis presented SO FAR....they don't see adequate evidence for the existance of any of the thousands of gods. That's all.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  18. Chad

    Too bad she didn't live next door to me. I am a dedicated and committed Christian but really could care less about her beliefs. Those are personal to her and if she asks me I would tell her but frankly could care less if she believes in God, apple pie, or whatever else.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You "could care less?" So you do care to some degree, then.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Chadwatch

      If that were true, why would you constantly demand what investigation people have done to reject the Judeo-Christian god? If you don't care what others believe, shut up already? Free speach is of course just that, no matter how useless.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      And nuts are free.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Chad

      she is special and I am willing to make some exception for her.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just how is she "special," Chard?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Chadwatch

      Chad
      How superior of you to deem an exception for a fellow human being. You don't only believe in your god, you think you are it, the god of Isreal is real and you are it. Raised anybody from the dead lately, you are insane.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  19. Bill Green

    So who's flues that U.F.O that's in the picture I have?

    January 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Holy ManSorr

      Sorry, dude, but that sentence is totally incomprehensible. Did you drop out of school in the second grade, or are you just completely drunk right now?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bill Green

      you holly man, I go to Catholic scool do you?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  20. Luba

    If you don't want it done to you don't do it to someone else. All the moral guidelines you need. No God necessary. End of story.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Trod

      You do realize Jesus was the one who said "if you dont want it done to you don't do it to someone else"

      January 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • J-Pap

      Who cares who said it. You don't need to devout your life to everything that person did because you agree with one remark. I'm sure someone said it long before Jesus. It's quite a basic concept anyone would teach to a toddler and up.

      "Jimmy, how would you like it if Jeff stole your toy? So don't steal Jeff's toy."

      January 19, 2013 at 7:00 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.