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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. John

    I will be forever grateful for God having made all he made, and taking the time to tell others over history such that I could know him. My most heart felt thank you to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Thank you for sending Jesus to pay the price for the sins of all that would accept his sacrifice.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • colleenbrickman@att.net

      AMEN!!!!!! Jesus is forever...but the day has come when we are rejected as He was rejected... His return is near. We must rejoice and be glad.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Bob

      John, the whole premise of Christianity that the death of the son of god would have been any kind of "sacrifice" and was required to deal with "sin" is utter nonsense.

      This is a supposed omnipotent being that we are discussing. Christians, think this through a bit: how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all that supposed saving without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there. Give that some thought and maybe it will help you leave your delusions behind. You will remain a laughingstock otherwise, and the more you dwell in your silly delusion and ancient myths, instead of keeping up with advances in medicine and technology, the more America slips downward relative to the rest of the world in science and other fields.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      January 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Epica

      Bring me some scientific proof that there is a God, then we can talk!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Ed

      Colleen Brickman, I'll see you in the rapure capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting.

      This time, though, cover your mouth when your head goes down into the swirling waters, so that the brown floaters don't get in like they did in your last practice.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  2. F. Bacon

    Most repeated lies on this blog:

    I've read the Bible cover to cover several times.

    As a scientist . . .

    I used to go to church EVERY Sunday.

    I've studied the Bible and history . . .

    January 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

    • Bacon is just a bit too fatty for me. Besides, pigs are filthy animals. If you must eat an animal why choose that one?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Josh

      Is there a reason you didn't reply in the actual thread?

      Isn't believing some random statement strangers put out one of the hallmarks of religion? Have faith.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • vinster76

      generations ago, people pointed to places in the Bible that were listed, but there was no evidence they existed. They used the lack of archeological evidence to point to the fallibility of the Bible.....Fast forward a few generations.......archeological digs have FOUND evidences of civilizations and locations that were said to not exist........Your faith in science is your God, just as it was the god of atheistic generations prior.......if it is not in a test tube, it doesnt exist, to you.......sorry, it takes more faith to believe in random chance than to believe in God.........you know it does,

      January 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • blkdoutgsxr

      @Vinster It does not take more faith to not believe then the believe... Faith is believing something without substantial evidence to show that it is most probably the case. All atheists say is "we don't know" but this Theory best describes what we do know. If you could put together any evidence of a God other then the Bible, then you could put it forth, it would be tested among the scientific community, peer reviewed and such like ANY OTHER CLAIM IN EXISTENCE. but that's just not the case. Why is it that the ONLY think you take on faith in your life is this magic man? If I told you that the loch ness monster was real, you would most probably say you have no reason to believe so. I can point you to MANY books of people who claim they were there and say a monster, this does not make it the truth, we do not accept it as such until it can be demonstrated.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      vinster, as an atheist I have no faith about the purpose or cause of the universe. I simply don't know; thus, I do not believe anything in particular. Similarly, I don't know if any unicorns exist or not, so I don't believe in them either. Simple.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  3. lol??

    I bet the original 12 thought the name of Jesus would never make it to all the world with all the killin' goin' on.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If we were only so lucky

      January 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • lol??

      Cheesie, you don't need luck with all that work the A&A's do in creatin' a GI god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You know all about creating gods don't you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Daniel

    For most non-believers or those that doubt....there isnt an issue with "God"...the issues are with the fan club of people that judge and condemn just because we didn't join the club

    January 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  5. JesusNotReligion

    I couldn't be more excited about the days we are living in. The vacuum being created in this generation who are fed up with "religion" has the potential for being the very same generation that flocks to the Jesus of the Bible who holds out His personal invitation to "Come, to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden (you who are religious people trying to be righteous in your own strength through law rather than through Me and the free gift of salvation I purchased and am offering), and I (the Jesus of the Bible) will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Thank God Almighty that Adam's "fig leaves" of "religion" is being exposed and cast off...Now, perhaps, the gospel (The Person & Finished Work of Jesus Christ the Lord & Savior) will make sense by God 's Spirit & Grace,...and "Biblical Salvation" (not self-righteous "religion"or denominationalism) will come to those who take serious Jesus' invitation to "come" to Him. Praise God! Strap in, Chruch, for "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few" .

    January 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • colleenbrickman@att.net

      For Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. The Bride needs to rise up in these last days and proclaim the saving Grace of a Risen Lord

      January 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Ed

      Colleen Brickman, I'll see you in the rapure capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting.

      This time, though, cover your mouth when your head goes down into the swirling waters, so that the brown floaters don't go in like they did in your last practice.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Why am I reminded of used car salesmen and tin men?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      It is exciting to live in this time when religion is waning and more people realize the god delusion. Make way, Christians, your time is done. Don't forget to take your dead-god-on-a-stick jewelry with you when you go; it's really creepy.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  6. Naana

    "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".

    Are you serious? imaginary God? This is unbelievable. The fact that you don't believe in God does not mean that God does not exist.

    The thing is, Americans wants God to go away, but God is not going anywhere. In the end, whether you believe in God or not, we will all know whether God exist or not at the end of our lives on earth.

    All non believers will become believers in Christ when they reach the gate of hell. You will certainly know that God indeed exist, but my dear it will be TOOOO LATE!

    The existant of God is every where. The universe didn't appear out of no where. Use your brains, it's common sense.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Epica

      At least hell has the cool people there if it in fact exists. Scientifically speaking I doubt it but hey you never know until you die! Unit then why bother getting all worked up over this and just do what you want. Life is better that way.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Michael

      You won't scare anybody with hollow threats. I wonder what your God would think of you, relishing in the idea of people being tortured?

      Threatening an atheist with hell is like a hippie threatening to punch your aura. It's meaningless.

      And if I die and stand before a god who plans on sending me to hell then he'll have some answering to do. Like why would he create humans with a mind capable of internalizing the cosmos, then intentionally obscure himself. Obscured so that it requires leaps of faith to believe rather than evidence or logic. Is his goal to reward the gullible and credulous? And punish those who require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Please provide architectural plans, photos, videos and multiple 3rd person verified accounts of said gate.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Your God is indeed imaginary. There may be a real God, Creator of the Universe etc. But I suspect you have nothing to work with to know anything about that God. Your God is the one you imagined to fill in for that one, which may or may not exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Josh

      If I die and God asks me why I didn't believe in him; I will simple say: "Not enough evidence."

      If you're saying god will send me to Hell to burn in all eternity – then I will not be idle when I get there. From hell, I will rally the otherwise righteous victims of god's wrath to march on the gates of heaven and overthrow that evil torturing psychopath.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      Pascal's Wager doesn't scare me. Move along, please.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • blkdoutgsxr

      How is it common sense to go based on evidence whether a god exists or not? I'm sorry that it makes you feel so uncomfortable to acknowledge that fact, but blind faith is pretty ridiculous. And making laws based on a book that has no supporting evidence of this magic man is beyond crazy. People will continue to fall into the agnostic atheist category as they are better educated and learn to question what the church has indoctrinated this nation, and the world with, for centuries. Cough up evidence that is backed by science, and better yet, GO DO HONEST RESEARCH, and find it for yourself that god, well its a crutch for those who cant cope with reality. I prefer reality, and truth.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Our lack of understanding about the origins of the universe, life or intelligence is by no means an argument for the existence of god.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. psalm 137:9 christian common sense

      January 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • vinster76

      in the Psalms, it says: "the fool says in his heart, there is no God" – now before all you non-believers get all ugly on me, just remember this – it takes more, and I mean MORE faith to believe that random chance created the cosmos, all the way down the incredible genius of DNA, then to believe there is a Designer.......sorry folks, I have been in the unbelieving category for three decades and I just cant get to belief in nothing..........cant do it.......I have tried, believe me, I want to live my life any way I want, indulging in whatever happens to suit my fancy..........common sense and logic take me to the First Mover, Unmoved........

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

      and your proof of this existence is????

      January 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Mike Yavar

      You are brainwashed big time. If you believe because you don't want to go to hell....that is cowardice. Use your brain not your fear. Atheists are not afraid of Hell because they don't believe in Hell!! Wake up and use your neurons!!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Michael

      @vinister

      Atheists (or at least scientists) don't believe the universe came from nothing. They're intellectually honest and admit we honestly don't know what happened before the big bang yet. Therefore we cannot pretend we know or make things up we *wish* were true. Rather, it's religious folks who posit that a god created the universe out of nothing, without any evidence what so ever.

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

      My question is always if God created the Universe, where did he come from? Another Universe that was created by an even higher God?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Alyssa

      "Are you serious? imaginary God? This is unbelievable. The fact that you don't believe in God does not mean that God does not exist."

      The fact that you do believe in god does not mean that he does.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • smart duck

      @ naana baana Using my brains caused lack of belief. Common sense said this is STUPID.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • smart duck

      @ naana baana Using my brains caused lack of belief. Common sense said this is duck doo.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  7. Peace, Peace, Peace

    As a God fearing Roman Catholic, I'm writing to say that God exsist and loves us all. I'm not here to force my religon on anyone but I do have compassion for all the non-believers as I have several friends that are as such. We have mutual respect for one another and very good debates. For those non-believers have you ever been to mass? Have you read the bible in it's entirety? Have you seen the incorrupt bodies of saints? Have you been to a place called Medjugorje, Herzegovina where the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing for the last 30 years warning of a great chastisement, miracle, and warning? Please do some research and experience it for yourself. Scientist perform studies and don't make gross accusations without backing it up. The good scientist do anyways.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • TheistStefan

      Do you have one of those toasters that makes Jesus or Mary come out on your bread?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Josh

      A lot of people actually turn from religion precisely because they've read the bible in its entirety! I almost want to ask Christians – "Have you actually read the bible?!" Holy S**t doesn't even begin to describe it.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Epica

      I have read the bible a few times but nothing really strikes a chord, just brings up more questions than answers for me personally.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I have been physically and mentally abused by nuns and teachers at Catholic school, does that count?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Josh – you haven't read the Bible front to back either. Don't lie and say you did. Even if you did, which you didn't, you might as well have read it upside down and in the original greek and hebrew. Lost on you.

      But you did not read it cover to cover. That's the first lie of every atheist.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Peace, why do you feel the need to worship something you fear? When you choose a moniker, wouldn't it be more appropriate to choose "fear, fear, fear"?

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

      I don't need to read the entire Bible to find parts that prove that it's not scientifically accurate, and the God that it describes is not up to my moral standards.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Josh

      F.Bacon – I have read the bible in its entirety, it was right-side up. It's not fair to assume people who are non-religious or atheist have not actually tried to be as such. I have read the entire bible. I sat through church sessions and small-groups where the passages were twisted to gain meaning out of otherwise terrible passages. I spent 4 years in college attending – a time in my life where I was most receptive to new things. I began by having the bible selectively read to me, where we would spend weeks going through just one chapter of a single book.

      I wish I could believe in a higher power. I wish life could be so simple. I also wish the Lord of the Rings were true. The problem is that I cannot. I read the bible again, objectively. There are good parts, and there are horrible parts which I cannot divorce from the good. In the end, I made up my own mind.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I have been to many Catholic masses and have read every word of the Christian bible (and the quran, gita, book of mormon and many others religious texts). While the bible beat out the quran for stories, it simply doesn't fit with my understanding of the human mind (free will is necessary) and its creation seems better accounted for by influences other than God. I don't reject there may be some godlike beings (by our standard)... how could I know? But the Christian god seems improbable.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Josh – I don't doubt you went to college. I don't doubt you started out a believer.

      You have NOT ready the Bible through and through several times.

      Pop quiz: Is it permissible to eat owl?

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

      You say that you have friends that are non believers? So you think that your friends are deserving of hell and deserve to be tortured for all of eternity? I know your response, "well if that is what god decides". Well in your book that you follow so closely it states that all of those who do not accept Jesus will be damned to hell, you follow this and worship this god. I find that troubling that you would follow something that is so ridiculously wrong and immoral. I literally speechless that people think that those who do not accept Jesus will go to hell. but child rapists who are 'born again' will dine with you in heaven. If that were heaven, and I was let in, I'd leave. Just saying

      January 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Check

      Peace, Peace, Peace,

      Catholics are not all that educated on the Bible. I went to Catholic school for 12 years and we just skimmed it, especially the Old Testament. Perhaps you, yourself, have read the whole thing, but most Catholics have not.

      "Over a three-year cycle Sunday Masses include 3.7% of the Old Testament (plus Psalms) and 40.8% of the New Testament. If you add weekday Masses you'll hear 13.5% of the Old Testament (plus Psalms) and 71.5% of the New Testament."

      The fantasies and superst-itions of ancient Middle Eastern Hebrews is pretty much the extent of it.
      –http://catholic-resources.org/Lectionary/Statistics.htm

      January 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Check

      * "The fantasies and superst-itions of ancient Middle Eastern Hebrews is pretty much the extent of it."

      That sentence belongs after the Lectionary citation, and of course is not included in it...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Peace, Peace, Peace

      Wow! I was expecting intelligent questions/comments but all I see is hatred and making fun of somebody with a difference of opinion. Josh and End Religion I would have expected more especially coming from super smart folks such as yourselves.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Pop quiz: Is it permissible to eat beaver?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Josh

      No, I have NOT read the bible through and through many times. I said I went to church for 4 years and had it explained to me, and then I actually read it through. It doesn't take that long.

      And yes, it is illegal to eat owl – Leviticus 11:13-19. Not that I would actually remember such a retarded and obscure reference – I simply Googled that. I don't know why I am trying to prove anything to a worthless internet troll who is less interested in discussing religion, and more interested in being as big a dick as possible.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Peace,

      There is nothing to respond to, you make unsupported claims. Show something that has been independently verified in the claims you make.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Oh, well I went to science class for 4 years, so I guess we're equal. Because I can claim that, I am now qualified to make absolute pronouncements about science.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      F Bacon is an INCREDIBLE witness for his belief. You gotta love it. And yes, pigfat, I have read the bible, cover-to-cover, several times.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      @Moby Liar liar pants on fire!

      You have not. Biggest lie on the internet.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • End Religion

      Peace, sometimes it is just plain boring to put extra effort into refuting Leprechauns.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  8. Michael

    Teach your child how to think critically, not *what* to think.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • John

      It is a fact that you can deny ANYTHING right up until you are confronted with your own existance. Be sure to in your "critical thinking" skills you pass on to your kids, that you tell them everything else other than themselves, does not exist. They can wonder for the rest of their lives if a monkey is replying to them from a zoo, because there is no proof what so ever that a human being typed any of the thousands of replies you see here. You can also tell your kids the cat typed some of the replies, they can't disprove that either... or prove the cat didn't write this reply. It is only this sentence that claims a male human being typed this reply, or yours for that matter.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      john, you're not thinking critically.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If the moronic spew John posted passes for "thought," we're all doomed and it won't matter one bit what anyone tells a kid.

      John, you're a moron.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      John, Did your dalmation type that in for you?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  9. Michelle

    Bravo! Thank you for coming forth so eloquently, and I just subbed your blog. It is wonderful to hear that you are raising your children in this manner, and be assured, you are definitely not alone. There are more atheists and agnostics than most people realize. Plus add in those people who are silent only because they do not wish to receive the backlash like you have, and are, experiencing. But this isn't about numbers or how many to a "side" (for lack of a better word), it's about freedom and respect. True and absolute freedom. The freedom to believe in how you want to believe, and the freedom to raise your children as such. Many people flagged your iReport as inappropriate, which is a complete lack of respect for your beliefs. How is that any different than an atheist flagging any comment pertaining to the belief of a god? When people comment that they will pray for you, to an atheist, that is inappropriate, and unwanted.

    Sadly, Christianity and religion will always be for several reasons. It is a way of controlling people and society; there is a lot of money to be made in said control; and man fears the unknown. This became apparent when man started creating gods to explain what they could not then explain. And it is still the same. No one can explain what happens after death, and no one likes the idea of death being the end. Period.

    When I first admitted to myself that I did not believe in any god, it was one of the most powerful and incredible feelings I ever had. A pure release and utter release. I then realized that every decision I was to made during my lifetime was because that is what I wanted to make, what I felt was best. Not because a book, or a preacher, or verses dictated what I should do. On that day, oh, well over 20 years ago, I truly, completely and entirely became free. Many have asked me then "then why be good?" The answer is so simplistic... because I want to. Because it is what is right.

    And it is a wonderful thing to see you raise your children with freedom from religion.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      It must be nice to be the sole arbiter of all that if good and true and right. Congratulations.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Cindy

      If it weren't for God, you wouldn't exist to write your post.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • vinster76

      Michelle: the problem with your logic about good is it presupposes an inherent acknowledgement of what "good" looks like....where did humans get the ideas of good from? Evolution is all about survival of the fittest – goodness and love and beauty and all its components, poetry and art, would not be necessary under doctrine of evolution........you may think you are free, and that you can live your life without god, but I think it may be much easier for you to just say, Ok – I am free.........therefore God doesnt exist......

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

        No, sorry. I am free because I admitted the truth to myself, and that there is no god. That is ME, not you, not my neighbor, no one else. That is what made ME free. Your freedom may be the bible, that's you. Just because you cannot see from my viewpoint doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        Of course arts, poetry, etc. are not necessary for evolution and the survival of the fittest. But man is capable of experiencing these items therefore we do. I do completely fail to see what this has to do with the existance of god, though. "Good" has already been predefined by the bible, for the most part. Which followed being defined by religions prior to Christianity. And by early man prior to any formation of a diety. Food was good. Lazy was bad. Doesn't mean that I still do not accept the definition of what is basically good.

        January 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • roadrunner321

      Each of us has innate empathy, F. Bacon. It helps us relate to others and feel their pain and happiness. It makes us want to prevent pain and give happiness, because it makes all our lives better. Nothing supernatural about that. And nothing less selfish or tyrannical.

      But what happens when a person thinks that they are not innately capable of good? When good is only possible through belief in an outward force? It diminishes us, and makes us selfish for reward from this celestial parent.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      No need for religion. I think I saw a package of Good available at Walmart. I assume it's on Amazon web site as well. $1.99 plus tax if I recall correctly.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      I always forget to check the Dollar Store...
      (i like your "dog at keyboard" photo!)

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  10. Dianna

    I also for many years tried to "believe" and have "faith" that there was a god that was "there" but I came to my senses finally, and realized that all it is is men trying to take power away from women. I therefore reverted to my original mindset that I am a Goddess, and I have power that men can never have. I am a Creator on this planet, and have had five persons in my image grown in MY body and gave them not only life, but sustained it with my own body. There is no greater power than that anywhere!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Cindy

      Dianna, you sound like a man using a woman's handle.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • vinster76

      Dianna: your problem is not with a Holy God, it is with men...... you are no more a goddess than I am centaur, You seem to have misguided anger toward God, when you really seem to be upset with men....Sorry,

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  11. kevin

    Why is it, that everytime I hear an atheist tooting their horn, they just sound full of it?

    January 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Josh

      What do you mean?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You know it's funny, I feel that way when people say their invisible friend is going to beat me up if I don't admit their friend is real.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Full of truth? Of course.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • roadrunner321

      It's the nature of disagreement; from one perspective, the other side will always seem a little arrogant or overly sure of themselves. Otherwise the argument wouldn't be so intense.

      Just focus on the substance of the rhetoric, not the noise.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Cindy

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, God doesn't beat you up, he just ensures your stupidity doesn't go on to eternity.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Same difference Cindy, keep telling yourself that is a god of love, the same god that orders child sacrifice, murder, genocide, endorses slavery, killing pregnant woman. Gee were do I sign up.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  12. hoosiershark

    Faith is an ironic homage to pay to the alleged Creator of human intelligence. Faith is belief in something not supported by evidence and which common sense dictates is untrue. There is no rationale or provable basis to support the existence of any god or gods. That is the reason a person's religion is referred to is his or her "faith." By definition, "faith" is belief without proof. It is nothing more than speculation.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • notmyown

      Actually the proof of God is everywhere around us and is very evident in the changed lives of those who truly believe. Unfortunately, most people who call themselves Christian are not.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Mike

      You are like, the smartest person ever. Like, you know things about the universe that I could never have thought of. My mind is blown from the tid bit of knowledge you gifted us today. Thank you,I aspire to your level of genius.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • vinster76

      Honestly – to hear some of these comments say faith is a delusion, to believe in a deity is wrong-headed, and without evidence, is just to me, so silly.....I took my dog for an evening stroll tonight, and on the clearest nights in days, I had an incredible view of the North Carolina night sky......I was overwhelmed, as I usually am, at the immensity of the universe, mankind's pride in refusing to recognize its' creator, and the awesomeness at what is unbelievably beautiful and humbling........Folks, to be just so frank with you........it takes INFINITELY MORE FAITH to believe it all just happened, than to believe a loving God created us, saw us rebel against HIS commands, sent His Son to die as a sacrifice for us, and provide a way of escape for that very same pride.......truly........It just takes so much more faith to believe as you do........

      January 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Actually the proof of Santa is everywhere around us and is very evident in the changed lives of those who truly believe. Unfortunately, most people who call themselves Elves are not."

      just as valid

      January 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @vinster

      As an atheist, I have no faith about the universe. I have no idea why it exists, although I understand the basics of the continuing expansion of the universe (big bang). I answer honestly: I don't know, and to me, that's a lot more satisfying and reasonable than "big invisible sky wizard did it with magic spellz!!" I lack belief and have no faith.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Josh

      It is for the immensity of the universe and the world around them that atheists DO NOT believe in god. We don't think it "just happened;" we don't understand it fully. However, that immensity of everything – to try to believe it was all the work of a omniscient being who sent his only son to just one of the planets orbiting just one of the hundred billion billion billion stars on a suicide mission to redeem them is what sounds small minded. To think that with such an immense universe of nearly infinite proportions – that we try to put ourselves at the center and try to explain it all with a few petty fairy-tales.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Orange County Quaker

      I think that s it's very interesting that so many people don't believe in God. But have no issues Evoluation. Not one person/ scientist can prove Evoulation actually happened.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Orange, the are no proofs in science, only in math and logic. But the is a big difference between the evidence supporting the existence of George Washington and the existence of God. Likewise a difference between the evidence supporting evolution and, say, native americans as a lost tribe of Israel.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  13. TheistStefan

    Let's talk about ducks.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  14. The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

    liked the head spin part:) gave spoof movies tons of gags.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      ...heh suposed to go below observer's post... operator error

      January 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Chad

      I thought you were talking about your coming to the foot of the cross :-)

      January 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      I always like the ironic moniker "Reverend" by people who think they are so scandalously irreverent. It's searing every time.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      @ F. Bacon

      lol I have scam artists and professional liars, which is what clergy of all faiths are.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      edit : have = hate....

      January 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      You sound like a liar to me! Even your name is dishonest.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      dishonest and unimaginative.

      Hey everyone, I hate religion. Just call me "Reverend" Get it?

      Hahahah! Hahaha! Gosh, Reverend, you're so ironically clever.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Here's hoping that all the world someday is as decent and honest and good as Reverend Marcus. NO more wars, no more lying, no more pain. Just goodness and light.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      ....indistinguishable from the real thing then? except im not out to take anyones money.... so ive got a ways to go eh?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Self-consoling hypocrite.

      I'd love to ask your family and co-workers if you're as wonderful as you think you are.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      So my chosen tag of the night really struck a nerve with you... one has to wonder why.....clergy maybe?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      It's your smug superiority that has me dumbfounded. And you actually seem to believe the hyperbole you imply about yourself. Amazing.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      I dont make my living running a BS con.... i dont brainwash (or worse) kids, I dont demand their oberdiance, demand their lives... So i think i can safely take the moral highground here... lol ....it just a tag...get over it.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Ah! The old, "I haven't killed anyone. I'm a good person" defense.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      Dodge much?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And what's so dreadful about such a statement? I haven't killed anyone. I haven't cheated anyone. I haven't committed adultery. I pay my taxes. I work hard. I have a stable marriage.

      What's your problem with that? Do you think I'd have done better simply by believing in your fairy godfather?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      Hes probably empoyed by or is a clergy member.... sees my satirical use a gross disrespect. and in truth he has no idea how deep the distain and contempt i have for religion really runs..

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      F Bacon calling people out for "smug superiority" is tooooooo rich!!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Oh no, Rev. Your disdain for all that tries to be good and decent – even if it fails – is quite clear. You are an out of the closet hater. That we all get.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's "good and decent" about you, Piggy?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • The Rev. Marcus Goodswell

      Haven read alot of history have you Bacon? or if you have its isnt much more than print on a page to you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  15. jvance

    I kind of get the feeling that most humans gravitate towards some form of divine source of answers to the "big" questions because we don't like uncertainty. Since science can't (and probably never will) provide the final picture, having some kind of spiritual back-up to offer solace and comfort in an unpredictable world probably has some natural advantage with an acceptable downside risk.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Hmm? It sounds like you might be saying that science does not have all the answers. Is it possible, then, that there may be things beyond science's ability to comment on?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Daniel

      At least science CAN INDEED be proven

      January 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • roadrunner321

      Could be, F. Bacon. We'll just have to wait and see if science can never answer the questions. "Unexplained now" doesn't mean "unexplainable ever."

      Until then, let's not go with unprovable claims with no evidence at all.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • what1ever

      You should never, for any reason, jump to magic to explain anything though. That is ludicrous.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  16. David Miller

    Those are bold words to be calling my Lord 'imaginary' Daphne. What is your hope? A life of 80 years on this earth? You are too easily satisfied. If you follow Jesus, this life is the closest to hell you will ever experience, but if you do not follow Him, it is the closest to heaven you will ever experience. I pray that God would open your eyes to see Him as the treasure and prize that He is, and that He would regenerate your heart, overcome your will by His, in order that you would have faith in Him.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      That is the problem, isn't it? We have to wait around for God to bring about faith in us. If he will just do that we will see what is so clear to the faithful, but nonsense to the rest of us.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • dre

      Quack!

      January 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Thor

      David,

      I have a hammer, Jesus had nails....any questions?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Crop1981

      You are the very type of person that has turned these people away from God. Get out of the face of others and accept the fact that nowhere in the Bible does it state that God needs your's, or anyone elses help to condemn.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • stan the man

      The big problem with all the talk about "God" is that none of you have any proof of its existance.
      What people want to believe in is their own business, no one should be trying to force this demented fairy tale on anyone.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Josh

      David – if this life is as close to hell as is possible for those who follow Christ, then why don't you just kill yourself to end this hell and be with him?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Michael

      What one "hopes" is beside the point. Rather, the only things that matter are those which are supported by sufficient evidence.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • sanajane

      Let's face it. Some people have more cognitive capacity than others. The ones with less capacity simply believe what they hope to be true. Their limited capacity cannot process logic. Some kids learn the truth about Santa Claus sooner than others. Sadly, in the case of religion, there is no other grown-ups to tell them the truth. We would always have these folks around especially in our country where emotions and impulses are more valued than intelligence.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  17. Sean

    "[Religion] is a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers."

    You may not let others wear your shoes, but who could be offended when you tell them how great your shoes feel and suggest they try a pair for themselves?

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

      Your "shoes" may feel great to you but unless you are asked about your shoes, are you just going to walk around talking about how great your shoes are?

      January 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Akira

      Quite frankly, I would get a little creeped out if someone talks incessantly about their feet.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Simmons

      The issue I think is when you assert without hesitation that your shoes are much better than mine, that my shoes were a bad choice, and if I were a good person I would be wearing the kind of shoes you do...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  18. S. Bono

    I got you, Josh!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  19. B. Clinton

    Now you listen to me, Josh. I did not have s x with that woman, Ms Lewinsky. Not one time!

    January 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  20. Observer

    I'd guess to an atheist the movie "The Excorcist" is really super boring.

    January 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well it does have some cool special effects. But it isn't scary.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:28 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.