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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. Graystone

    The very moment any atheist can show me undeniable proof God does not exist, that's that moment I'll gladly show you undeniable proof that he does…

    And unless you've got genuine proof to show me, don't waste my time...

    January 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • UncleM

      Typical flawed religious logic. The burden of proof is upon you.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Hitler.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your claim, your first.

      I don't claim there is no god. I just don't believe you.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one is required to prove that a god doesn't exist anymore than one is required to prove that Zeus doesn't exist, honey.

      Get a clue. If you wanna believe in your sky fairy, you go right ahead. Just don't attempt to codify your beliefs into laws that infringe on my right to freedom.

      See ya in the funny papers, dumbfvck.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Fuel

      Greystone,
      You don't seem to understand the deffinition of 'atheist'–it's not a statement of proof of anything, it's only a possition of BELIEF. Most athiests do NOT say there is no god only that they have not seen sufficient evidence to believe there IS a God(s).
      For example: If you don't believe in the Lockness Monster, you are an athiest with regards to that monster and rightly so if insufficient evidence has been provided. It is the burden of those whom tell you that such a monster exists to 'prove' it. Likewise if you propose that Gods exist it is YOUR burden to provide adequate evidence. Disbelief is the proper default possition for any wild claims.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Graystone

      UncleM… So what part of – "And unless you've got genuine proof to show me, don't waste my time…" – did you not understand? Or are you so unintelligent that you're completely incapable of comprehending that fact?…

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Sarsin

      Undeniable proof is an unreasonable standard. There isn't much in science that is listed under "undeniable".

      However, in the terms of proof, I contend that there is a much evidence for every deity known by man as there is for God. So why don't you believe in Ra?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Graystone, I agree with you that no proofs are available for either the existence or non-existence of god. What is possible, however, is tho discuss whether a god conception is consistent in and of itself or with other beliefs about reality one holds. I think therefore it is quite reasonable for people of one belief system to try and point out the inconsistencies they see in another. Who know where it will end up, but I do think people, their ideas, and society are all better for the questions.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      "The very moment any atheist can show me undeniable proof God does not exist, that's that moment I'll gladly show you undeniable proof that he does…"

      wat

      January 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The very moment any theist can show me undeniable proof God does exist, that's that moment I'll gladly believe..

      And unless you've got genuine proof to show me, don't waste my time...

      Same deal for you unicorn believers.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • octopeanut

      I can do you one better Gray – I can give you 667 proofs of god's existence: http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm. My favorite is #38 –
      (1) I DO believe in God! I DO believe in God! I do I do I do I DO believe in God!
      (2) Therefore, God exists.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • kenny

      god is a paradox. you claim to know what he wants but then you exclaim no one can know him. a paradox cannot exist. therefore god does not exist. I OWN YOU... moron

      January 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      1) If the abrahamic god had existed, then there would be evidence for it.
      2) There is no evidence of such a god.
      3) Therefore, your god never existed.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • John

      Moby, you claim you will start believing when you have "undenyable proof", when we all know you can deny anything outside of your mind, seconds after experiencing it. You can deny your toothbrush exists, and have to go check to see if it still exists, or need to buy another one. You can deny your family members are still alive, did they die on the road back from the store? It goes on and on what you can deny. Prove I'm not typing this from the space station, or that the robot there didn't type it, or that your mom didn't type it. You can deny anything, and will if it's not what you wanted. You do not want God to exist, or you'd open a bible, and you'd read it.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Graystone

      All you atheists who are suddenly coming out of the woodwork are only illustrating to me how completely brainless you are and that you must be utterly unintelligent. By your actions it appears that not one of you can even comprehend or understand even the most basic of statements. And If you cannot comprehend or understand even the most basic of statements – such as the simple statement I made, "And unless you've got genuine proof to show me then don't waste my time" - then you certainly don't have enough brains or intelligence for me to be wasting my time with you. So please go find someone of lesser intelligence to debate with (or play with), because I don't have time for you. I will not respond to ignorance. I will not respond to stupidity. I will not respond to your sly attempts to change the subject or evade the question. I will also not respond to your many excuses as to why you can't do what I've asked. I know precisely what I've asked, and I know precisely what the subject and topic is. So don't think I'm too dumb to know. The subject and topic is what it always have been: Show me proof God doesn't exist (to back up your claims he doesn't exist) either put up or shut up. Thus, I will respond only to the person who provides me with that proof. If you cannot do that, or are incapable of doing it, and are incapable of obeying and following that simple command and request… then please go find someone else to debate with (or play with) and stop wasting my time....

      January 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      John the Baptist myth:

      http://vridar.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/5-reasons-to-suspect-john-the-baptist-was-interpolated-into-josephus/

      January 20, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • End Religion

      the statement “gods exist” is a positive claim.
      the statement “gods do not exist” is a negative claim that only responds to the positive one.

      January 20, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      @End Religion, You're making a false distintion between a positive and negative claim where none exists. Most of the moderate to better Christians know this, and making this mistake will lose you credibility and only tighten the blinders on the more fanatical (not saing this includes the OP, just making a point). I'd read up on this, because it's a bigger logical error than you probably realise.

      January 20, 2013 at 6:43 am |
  2. Roman2819

    I was not a Christian initially. I grew up in a country in Asia where where is no religious fervor, where most of your friends and neighbors are not Christians. where there is no public prayer at schools, and where everyone is a moderate (whether christians, atheists, buddhists, muslims). Even so. I believe that God exists because of one main reason: The creation could not have been so complete without a Creator. We are talking about millions of species of fauna, flora, living creatures existing in harmony, and much more.

    After I became a Christian (more than 20 years back), I know God is real. But so is human sufferings. We may not totally accept why God allow sufferings, but He still exists, whether we agree with Him or not. The book, "Understanding prayer, faith and God's will" can be helpful for all who believe, and for all who haven't.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      Not being able to understand evolution doesn't mean that you somehow have knowledge of a supernatural creator.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Jayken

      I get what you saying, but I do not see life as being created. Life in all its forms is messy, slopped together, and ruthless.
      What I feel is more amazing it civilization. No other species in the 4 billion year history of this Earth has created what we have. If anything God took us from nature and taught us order, taught us how to work the land. But most of all God isn't what we wrote down in books. People often exaggerate what they do not understand and God is no exception.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • octopeanut

      So you disagree with the Bible or other religious text that god created man – rather he only brought man out of nature? What exactly do you base that off of? The monolith in 2001: A Space Odessy?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  3. F. Bacon

    PROVE IT.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • octopeanut

      You seem to have a habit of responding to other people with new posts. Are you having trouble locating the Reply button? It's right under the original post, next to Report abuse |

      January 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • doris

      Fried Bacon? There's nothing much to prove really. Of course you have to have a stove – preferably a good gas or electric range. Then a good skillet. Non-stick or cast iron I would say for bacon. Then add bacon, keeping it separate on a medium-low heat. Move the bacon just enough that the oils generated from the bacon touch most of the fatty areas – that will help it all cook evenly.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      doris, please post more!!!! roflmao

      January 19, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  4. Arg

    Her story is very common where I live. I know freedom of religion is supposed to cover the work place; however, I have been approached several times by co-workers and supervisors who want to talk to me about my faith. I've been forced to participate in prayer circles, prayer before meals, tolerate religious e-mail spam, intentionally placed cards, and even begged to go to their church. Nobody wants to be singled out, especially in the bible belt. Some Christians I've met are respectful and very friendly; however, these were not that type. If you didn't go with their behavior, they become relentless bullies. I've moved on, but others have not.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  5. kenny

    believers are imbeciles, morons and fools. they can't handle reality so they have to follow some kind of delusion to feel better. naturally they get defensive when someone calls them on their idiotic beliefs. you can believe whatever you want but you don't get to foist it onto anyone... if you let your kids decide.. they wouldn't pick your silly b s beliefs... the greatest countries to live in are the least religious... look it up... especially if you are a woman...

    January 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Hitler was an atheist. Oh wait he wasn't...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Johan

      Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark are the least corrupted countries in the world, and have populations that are 80%+ atheist.

      Meanwhile, in America...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • JeremyH6

      And you are just as foolish to disregard something based on a complete lack of evidence toward either side.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Graystone

      Actually, you've got it backwards. Have you looked out the window lately? This is the real world we're living in and not your personal fantasy world. A world where Jesus Christ died on the cross and God truly exists. Or didn't your mommy and daddy explain that to you? If they didn't, then they lied to you…

      January 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • octopeanut

      " This is the real world we're living in and not your personal fantasy world. A world where Jesus Christ died on the cross and God truly exists."

      I am speechless...

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, can it, Graystone. You believe. That doesn't make it true.

      Get a fvckin' clue.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  6. BeenThere

    We are also raising our children without God and it is an isolated place. I was raised Christian, but questioned it around 12 when I learned of other 'Gods', the history of worship, wars, you know, education. I drifted away from it and married a man with similar views. We are raising our 3 children without God brainwashing. We got them books on different religions, read the Bible, talk about Buddhist philosophies, the bloodshed on the other side of the world due to non-agreement about God, etc.

    It does, however, create an isolation in the community. We choose not to discuss our beliefs to other people (although the kids have told some of their friends I'm sure). We get a tree, put presents around it, open them like everyone else and cook great food (christmas cookies, etc). I do this as a traditional celebration now (our parents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, etc. have done it. We discuss the Solstice, harvest, yeah and mention that Jesus was supposedly born on this day, but probably not, but that's what others celebrate. We are open and answer questions the kids have logically and factually.

    I do not tell other women any of this. I mean, with answers like from 'Naana' like, "The existant of God is every where. The universe didn't appear out of no where. Use your brains, it's common sense." Makes me puke. Who can discuss anything logical with people like that?

    January 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  7. F. Bacon

    As someone who took 4 year of science – 5 years, if you count the two semesters I took in college – I can tell all of you without any shadow of a doubt, that it is a bunch of B S. Politicized half-baked theories. Fragments of truth shrouded in lies. And you can't argue against me because I'm a "scientist"

    January 19, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You and Chad should join forces. God's spokespeople are almost as dumb and bigoted as he is.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Terry

      You must be one of the absent minded scientist types. The Reply button, the Reply button...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      As an infallible scientist, it is now my duty to tell you that you are stupid and delusional and know nothing about anything.

      (I am following the plot line correctly, right?)

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OOoh, I'm just AGOG! You "took" 4 or 5 years of science? You don't even know whether it was 4 or 5???

      Yeah, you're just amazing!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep, you're acting like the typical christian.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      (Now hoping others will jump to my aid and continue the name calling and mockery....waiting. .. . . AH! In the meantime, I will look for typos in my opponents com boxes)

      January 19, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I took 12 years of religion class..... underwater basket weaving would have been more useful.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      I AM A RATIONAL SCIENTIST. YOU CANNOT QUESTION ME. YOU ARE STUPID. YOU ARE DUMB. I WILL TELL YOU WHAT IS TRUE.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Sarsin

      As the risk of feeding the trolls:

      Scientists argue with facts. They don't claim they're right just because they're scientists.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • F. Bacon

      Don't argue with me. Prove it. Prove it. Show me the facts. I don't believe it. You didn't prove it. You're illogical. No, you prove it first.

      I have science on my side.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • octopeanut

      Sounds like bacon needs to sit in the timeout chair

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • DrewNumberTwo

      If you think science is a bunch of manure then put your money where your mouth is and get rid of everything that science has given you. Hint: It's probably almost everything you own, your life, and the life of almost everyone you know. Shut down your computer, start growing your own crops, and stop taking medicine. Do you think that all those things were invented through trial and error?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      OK guys, I've been disagreeing with this bacon guy in another thread, but this comment is being taken out of context. He posted it by accident here and it made more sense in the original thread...he was using it to mock someone else. Again, I don't agree with this guys view, but you can only understand this comment in the context of the original thread.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Scientists do not join hands every Saturday or Sunday and sing…”Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have Faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down! Amen!” If they did we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Fuel

      F. Bacon, You may be a troll but you don't even know what science IS let alone what it concludes or what the reasons are. HAHAHA! Yeah your a "scientist" cuz YOU said so–just like the barbaric Bible is right because IT say's so.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  8. Ray St

    Simple answer to why "God" doesn't answer our prayers: "it" does not exist.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Chad

      How do you know the God of Israel doesn't exist?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Amen

      January 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Terry

      Chad, how do you know that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist? There are boatloads of evidence for him (and other contraband).

      RAmen

      January 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Santa existsssss

      I can prove it. My cookies are missing.

      *amen

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Terry "how do you know that the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist? "

      =>Personally, I"m agnostic about it, as it is impossible to prove the negative.

      Now, if the FSM is claiming to be a "god", then I have as proof that it doesn't exist the statement from a real God (the God of Abraham) that He is the only real God.

      The reality of the existence of the God of Israel precludes the existence of any other God.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, how stupid is it that Chad keeps using arguments that have never been effective? What goes on in his head, I wonder? "Hey, this argument has seventeen excellent rebuttals that make mincemeat of it, and it's never worked on one single person, ever, but I'm going to use it again, today!! Wheeeeeeee!!!"

      January 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How stupid is it? As stupid as Chard.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  9. onemorehere

    isn't emotion chaos it follows no logic- while logic is secuensual follows order. yet form chaos comes mathematics a very predictible equation.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  10. Ray St

    Yes, Deborah Mitchell is on the right track... of: r e a l i t y.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  11. Veritae

    This story has been pasted here for 4 or 5 days straight. Why? This is America; if you don't want to believe that is your choice which you have a full right to (unlike a number of other countries). Read the original article and have only one question?
    This woman accused God of being unfair, illogical, unjust, etc... If she believes God does not exist, then whom or what is she accusing of committing all these things? Just curious.

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

      Are you really that stupid? Obviously, she is saying that it is much, much, much easier to withhold belief in a god than to believe in one as stupid and ridiculous as the one she was advised to believe in. duh.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Terry

      Uh, she basically is saying that the purported being presented in the buybull has those characteristics. I think she's right. You are free to disagree but her case is pretty solid.

      Now how's your animal sacrifice for the week going?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Check

      Believers are so easily confused. Gee, perhaps she should have qualified each mention of "God" by saying, "this alleged "God" character", or something like that, but that sure does get clunky.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      She's not saying anyone committed anything. That's pretty much the point.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Terry

      Actually, she is quoted as saying certain people said certain things.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  12. ThinkDefyUnite

    Science will fly you to the stars. Religion will fly you into buildings.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • dmvcitizen

      Don't forget the holocaust

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

      The phrase "In God We Trust" was put on Mars, by science. It is on a penny face on the front of the rover. Thank you science, and thank you God for making the universe.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Check

      John,

      They should have used this earlier U.S. penny coin on The Rover:

      On April 21, 1787, the Continental Congress of the United States authorized a design for an official penny, later referred to as the Fugio cent because of its image of the sun shining down on a sundial with the caption, "Fugio" (Latin: I flee/fly). This coin was reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin; as a reminder to its holders, he put at its bottom the message, "Mind Your Business". The image and the words form a rebus meaning that time flies, do your work. This design was also used on the "Continental dollar" (issued as coins of unknown real denomination, and in paper notes of different fractional denominations) in February 1776.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugio_Cent

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Leave it to science to do what god can't.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • John

      Moby, that it is your claim against God. If science can do what God can do, then have science do some miracles, so I can believe science is greater than God.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  13. us_1776

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    Get over it.

    ..

    January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • namethename

      I have a feeling that after death we will be separated.You go to your people and I will go to my.Good luck in your place!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • John

      Prove that anything outside of your mind, exists.

      You think saying nothing made an entire universe saves you. Does nothing answer you? Does nothing tell you things in advance of them happening? The claim atheists and skeptics make is that it is their BELIEF that the witnesses in the bible, are either liars, luntics, or dreaming when they said what occurred. If someone said the same today, atheists and skeptics would again say the same things they say now, that they BELIEVE a prophet of God is lying, or a lunatic, or dreaming. And if it's proven again, they'll deny it ever happened seconds after it happens. Because their BELIEF doesn't allow them to acknowledge God exists.... because they don't want God to exist, so they believe him away.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • JeremyH6

      Proof?

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • LawrenceE

      The universe does not exist unless it is perceived. That is the only reason for life. It is also a reason that there may be a god.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  14. onemorehere

    with out emotions logic would have never developed= with out religion science would have ever being born...face it people we are having this arguement cause religion exist due to a sense of a yearning for a meaning to life cause we know we exist even when scientist at time have denied our existence declaring we are mare figments of our emagination yet as we know with where would imagination come from for us to be figments of our on imagination less there is a creator imagening our existence...

    January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Jill

      onemorehere, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Terry

      Jill, you are my hero and the best reason to read CNN Belief Blog.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What Terry said times 2.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Terry

      Hey Tom Tom I read your posts too and they're great. Thanks for them. But as you know, there's only one Jill :-).

      January 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, I don't put myself in Jill's category. I am not fit to kiss her feet.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Akira

      As always, Jill's posts are awesome!

      January 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  15. RC

    I'm a Mormon, and I don't agree with those who want to force their beliefs on others. Very few people are ever converted to a religion by the "hard sell". If someone indicates an interest or wants to discuss with me, great other wise I respect others beliefs as I would have them respect mine.

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

      Hey, nice soft sell there RC. You morons are good at that game.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      it's nice you don't burden them unprovoked with the ridiculous notion they'll one day be a god on their own planet. People deserve respect, not silly beliefs.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Are You Kidding Me?

      You say people deserve respect and yet you and Ed both treat RC with derision as you call him or her a moron and label beliefs as "silly". Hmmmm.....

      January 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      I said he was nice and his belief is silly. I can't be more plain than that, simpleton.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      RC...The Bible teaches that Mormonism is a lie. If I don't tell you that, 1) I would not be obeying the Jesus of the Bible, 2) I would not be loving you according to 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, and 3) You would not have the opportunity to repent from the lie you have embraced in order to be (as Jesus said) "born again", which, if you were honest with yourself, you would admit that you have no idea what that really means. If you did, you would TELL PEOPLE THAT THEY "WILL NOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" WITHOUT BEING "BORN AGAIN" (John 3:3-7) because it is the truth-whether or not they want to hear it or accept it. Jesus said, "you will be hated for my name's sake"...I recommend a DVD called "The Bible vs. Mormonism", which proves through archaelogy (the lack thereof) that "Mormon recorded history" never existed – and was fabricated. And the Archaelogist's were former Mormon's. Also Google Utah Lighthouse. I hope you don't think it was unloving to speak the truth and warn you as you stand deaf & blind in traffic while a truck called "Judgment" is heading your way. If you had the gospel truth of salvation/eternal life you would speak it regardless if anyone wants to hear it-especially if you knew they were going to perish.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  16. paul teague

    Bottom Line: There is not a SHRED of scientific evidence for the existence of a God. There never has been. There never will be.

    Oh, I know people make the argument that some things are beyond science. Ok, if that is the case why not believe that there is a team of omnipotent little green goblins that run every event in the Universe. You can't prove there isn't.

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

      Santa is real!
      And then I turned 8....a fat man climbing down my chimney stealing my cookies doesn't sound that fun anymore...

      January 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  17. BROEVON

    Morality is an issue that can only be addressed through religion. Sadly, not all religions are truth. What we see in American Society is not a result of a abundance of religion, but rather, a lack of religion in general. The founding fathers of this country stated many times along with the Supreme Court that morality could not be taught outside of the Divine Word of God which is found in the Holy Bible. This is not a eccentric religious thought, but one that this country was built upon. The obvious lack of morality in this country is a result of the liberal thought that man is able to control his morality. If that were true, there would be not need of any kind of law to control the conduct of humanity. This "God-less" mother will eventually realize that she is not capable of controlling neither her conduct or the conduct of her children. If there is some good conduct displayed in either herself or her children, it is the direct result of the Christian/Jewish teaching that she inappropriately believes comes from her own goodness. Every time she teaches her child not to steal, she is quoting the Holy Bible. Every time she tells her children not to lie, she is quoting the Holy Bible. Every time she tells her children to be respectful, she is quoting the Bible. Every good thought that she claims comes from her own being is a thought that is derived from the Morality of the Holy Bible. If you abandon the thought of the existence of God, then you must also abandon all of HIS teachings also. Read history and you will see that the God-less mothers' thoughts are not new thoughts at all. Every great civilization imploded when they abandoned the morality and values that built their civilization. What we see today is the result of history repeating itself. The Wisdom that she pretends to expound is wisdom built upon ignorance toward the things that are not seen. The faithful Mother knows that what a woman sows is the very thing that she will reap.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Morality: Using empathy as a guide for human interaction. AKA, "treat others the way you want to be treated" and "put yourself in my shoes". It has nothing inherently to do with the bible.

      Karen Wynn of Yale has a study showing even babies have an idea of wrong versus right. Neuroscientist Christian Keysers has done research to show that the brain of those who see others receiving pain themselves have similar neurological responses. There is a curve to empathy; some feel it more than others. But it certainly doesn't come from a hateful book about imaginary people.

      Humans and probably other animals exist on a spectrum of empathy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron

      Frans de Waal shows that even monkeys employ "morality"...
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcJxRqTs5nk&w=640&h=390]

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

      Morality is an "issue" that have deep biological roots and effectively increase fitness of individual. No God is needed here.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • ThinkDefyUnite

      Morality is an invention of man, and therefore does not require any invented religious dogma to be valid. To the contrary, to be moral without the crutch of religious "wishful-thinking" to me seems more genuine than to be moral due to threats of damnation or rewards of eternal bliss.

      That which has been stated without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. So goes "religion"....

      January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Praternatural

      You're wrong, even apes have morality: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/19/health/chimpanzee-fairness-morality/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
      We all know instinctively what's right and wrong.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • kenny

      "Morality is an issue that can only be addressed through religion" ... that is a lie... the golden rule is the simplest example of natural instinct that drives us to survive.... you help me, i help you.. you hurt me, i hurt you... its sooo hard for me to understand how people can be soooo foolish and ignorant to have faith in a higher being... its childish.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Sarsin

      That's funny, the Quran says a lot about those things too. So does a whole lot of other religions, including numerous ones that pre-date Christianity. Why should I think your holy book, out of all of the other ones with similar rules, is the ultimate authority on morality?

      January 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      I know what you are saying, and to some degree it was well said. The unbelieving world uses a Biblical worldview (That which adheres to the existence of an Absolute Source behind all truth & morality) in their everyday life as they interact with fidelity as husband & wife, parents with children, employee & employer, etc...BUT...There are plenty of "moral" & "religious" people who, like in Jesus' time, are not saved. They don't need more teaching that leads to the self-righteous covering of morality or religion – (i.e pictured in the "fig leaves" that Adam put on when he understood he was "naked") – they need to know the One who did for us sinners what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus wasn't some Eastern Guru with some self help teaching, He is the Lord God who covered a debt that we owe and have no ability in and of ourselves to pay. If people are going to mock and laugh at Jesus like they did at foot of His cross then let's make sure they are laughing at the true gospel message, and the Jesus of the Bible...Therein is the scandal of the cross: "Jesus not Religion" -- a salvation that is not of us and our works (religious, moral, ethical or otherwise) but by grace through faith alone in the Person & Finished work of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9) >>> "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast."

      January 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • BQ

      Clearly you have no control of your own morality, which is why you're compelled to feel this way. Religion is a crutch that you need, but not everyone has a need for a crutch.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  18. JesusNotReligion

    Seriously.... 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, Church, for "the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few".

    January 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your god and his only be-rotten son Jesus never existed.

      http://jesusneverexisted.com/

      January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      End Religion...I've read all that crap before there was an Internet, and I hope you won't be offended but I'm not here to interact, I'm here to preach...BELIEVE IT OR NOT....or as Jesus put it: "Repent or perish"

      January 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • NotrulesbutGrace

      Absolutely agree ^ That is a great way to perceive it my friend. I feel like the Gospel as we know it has become so perverted and turned into a list of rules and only further drives non believers away. I pray that this may come to past as you have described it. That would really be a wonderful life.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      Preach away, brother. The world needs lunatics too.

      January 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  19. cave man

    I believe that there are many religious and non-religious folks out there who are capable of living peacefully with each other's beliefs or lack thereof. However, I don't beleive most people commenting here are among that number.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • roadrunner321

      There's a formula for this: Audience + keyboard + anonymity = as shole. Both sides.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  20. dmvcitizen

    This woman's children are raises without god that's like being raised without Santa...her kids will still be decent people. The holocaust came from religion..not atheism...terrorist attacks come from religion...

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

      I agree that raising children in a secular home is just fine, and how most children I personally know are raised. I also agree that religions have played a role in many wars. As a point of history, however, the holocaust was about race and not religion. There are racists among both religious and non-religious populations.

      January 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
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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.