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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. Skeptimist

    We need to work on our sense of humor. We're taking ourselves far too seriously.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  2. Dan

    isn't it funny how some so-called Christians are just masquerading as zealous fanatics, and are dismisive of other religions and preach theirs is the only faith??!!!! What happened to "love one another"? Or is it just selective reading from the Bible?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  3. Gerald Hoefen

    Remeber word freedom is two edge sword . People are free to inflict their will upon others because they hold power over them .Like boss at work who favors junor employee over the senior by giving full time postion to junior. Religion is about being aware of ones actions in life. Unfortently the rules that make life fair no longer exist for many . Laws where intended to control those who hold high office from boss to president . But they no longer exist or if they do people who in those postions are corupt dont abide to them. As nation we have choice either stand up for right we have or have are children . I suggest those who still beleive in freedom stand up an hold those in high office accountable includuiing the boss at work .

    January 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • End Religion

      Gerald, did you get passed over for promotion at work because you're a kook and now you somehow relate that to the government?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  4. musicoxygensl

    When the Israelites asked for a king, God spoke through the prophet Samuel, that it was a wicked thing to ask for a king to lead them. And he went on to warn what would happen if He allowed them to have a king. The things that he warned, happened. The Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected ME from being king over them." Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day...in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods...so they are doing to you also. Now then listen to their voice, however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king (or president) who will reign over them" "he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots, He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your president whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day. " 1 Samuel 8:7-18 Year after year, however, from that time until now, nation after nation has selected some leader to be over them, someone to tell them how to live. We are all afraid, you see, to live out our own lives without someone telling us how. God is angry because of that, because He knows that every inclination of a man's heart is evil from birth, and that men will mistreat other men, given such a position of power. But, because He is a polite God, He doesn't make us do what He really wants us to do; He merely asks, and is kind enough to give us a warning of what the law of the universe has set in place, that there are things we can do that will bring us a blessing, and there are also things that we can do that will bring down a cursing; So , He's the parent, He gets to set the ground rules; it is His house after all, so if we are disobedient; which most of us are, He turns us away to let us fall flat on our faces so we can learn our lesson about leaving the Father. Now, most of these wicked men will never change their ways, but God; in his infinite patience, will not come and destroy us yet, because it is His will that none of us should perish, but all inherit eternal life. So He will not come and "pull up the weeds because some of the wheat might be taken up with them" Who sowed these seeds of wickedness?? "An enemy has done this" Satan, not God. God allowed us to have life, and created a beautiful world for us to live on; the one thing I guess He shouldn't have given us is Free Will, but then, you wouldn't be able to chase after human doctrines now nor would you be able to question Him.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • End Religion

      A man approaches you with a gun and says, "Tell me you love me or you will be punished."
      While you do have a choice in this situation, it is known as "coercion" and is considered a "no no" in polite society. Some find it immoral.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • musicoxygensl

      Isn't that exactly what our government does ? God has no guns, and I would love it if He came now and destroyed all of the ugliness in the world. Atheism is for ugly, self seeking, selfish, uncaring people who fake a sense of morality to try to deceive the rest of the world into not believing. Now you'll say 'don't judge" and I'll say, I'm not, I am merely perceiving. It is YOU who hold the guns and say "don't believe , or we will slander you terribly" I am simply holding out the truth, God is love, and proof of that is that you're not dead yet for your blasphemy

      January 20, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Resepectully

      I think there's proof that God isn't real in that no one strikes us down for blasphemy. For that matter, judging & "perceiving" (nice try and wiggling out of being judgmental), is an inherently hostile and cruel act. Most atheists I know are pretty nice people, who just don't want people shoving their gods in their face. It seems like a reasonable request.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • End Religion

      @musicoxygensl:
      "Isn't that exactly what our government does ?"

      Dodge attempt #1. We're talking about your immoral god, not our government. We can chat about your other conspiracy theories after we clear up your god first.

      ***
      "God has no guns, and I would love it if He came now and destroyed all of the ugliness in the world."

      Yes, we know you're filled with rage. It is one reason why you're attracted to your death cult. Your cult thrives on blood, violence and revenge. That resonates with you. It makes things especially convenient that you have been given permission to say "it's all about love" when clearly you demonstrate it has nothing to do with love or tolerance.

      ***
      "Atheism is for ugly, self seeking, selfish, uncaring people who fake a sense of morality to try to deceive the rest of the world into not believing."

      Atheists are just people who don't fall as easily for the scam you fell for. Just as many Christians seem to want to "help" us learn about their religion, I'd like to help you learn that all of religion is a fraud.

      I am not ugly and do my best not to judge people on this since it is not the appearance that gives a person character. If I were self-seeking I wouldn't be here talking to you. I am a little selfish, meaning when a good concert comes to town I'd rather it be me sitting closer to the stage than you – is that so bad? I care plenty – I give what I can to charity; I love my family; I've adopted pets. My child is a regular straight A student whose teachers almost all tell me what a joy she is, even though I already know that. I've passed on my caring to my child, who stands up for others at her school who get picked on, standing tall at a time in life when kids simply want to fit in.

      ***
      "Now you'll say 'don't judge" and I'll say, I'm not, I am merely perceiving."

      You've come to a conclusion. That's a judgment. Simply saying you're not judging doesn't change the fact you are. But I wouldn't expect anything less of a hypocritical religious person. It is your calling card to piss on our leg and tell us it is raining, all the while glossing over the fact it is a Top 10 Sin.

      ***
      "It is YOU who hold the guns and say "don't believe , or we will slander you terribly" I am simply holding out the truth, God is love, and proof of that is that you're not dead yet for your blasphemy"

      Another absurd lie, I see. This seems to be a habit with you and most other nutters.

      We're talking about your god forcing us to praise him at pain of eternal torture. If you find selfishness so horrid, why do you find it OK for your god to coerce our praise? If god were truly "love" wouldn't he offer us a choice that didn't involve forced praise along with no torture? The fact I'm still alive doesn't prove love, if anything it shows the impotence of your imaginary friend. If one reads the bible and sees "love", one has a skewed idea of what love is, because love is not slavery, death, violence and revenge, which is the near sum total of the bible.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  5. Todd

    I really appreciate the elegance of what this lady wrote. There are 7,000,000,000 (7B) people on this planet, and probably 5B of them are religious. It's hard to find folks that believe EXACTLY as you do within the same church, let alone across the planet. I agree that religion is a personal thing, and it should always be OK to disagree with what others believe. After all, we (according to the Christian faith) are created in God's image. Images are imperfect. And since we have written, translated, edited, and interpretted the Bible, who is to say what is correct and what is not. I think you can take a lot of of the Bible that translates into being a "good" person, as you can with any of the other books (Quran, Torah, Sutras, etc.). The "golden rule" comes straight to mind. I interpret it as it being necessary to treat other people with respect and dignity even if they have forgotten... because eventually, they will remember... and that is the basis for a civilization.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • musicoxygensl

      A man came to Jesus and asked "good teacher, what must I do to be saved?" Jesus replied: "why do you call me good? There is only one good, and that is the Father in Heaven" Now, how can you say that the Bible translates into us being "good people"
      "Every inclination of mans' heart is evil from birth"

      January 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  6. NothingsNew

    Most religious people are offended by people who denouce god. Religious people are the majority and they feel justified in their outrage by their many religous peers. However they create an opressive environment and their behaviour is often overwhelming for athiests to be open about their beliefs. They should worry about "saving" themselves.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  7. Skippy

    GOOD NEWS everyone! Dan Relin – the angry, anti-American leftist, killed himself. One less miserable d-bag to ruin our country!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Skippy

      David Relin

      January 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Reader

      You should go dance on his grave, if it pleases you so much. Oh, wait: you're just a troll. And they can't dance. They just sit in their mom's basement, angrily banging on the keyboard because nobody in the real world wants to dance with them.

      Sad life, little man. Sad, indeed.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  8. Bill C

    So many christians showing how hateful they can be! How god like you are. My wife and I raised our four children the same way as Deborah Mitchell. They all made it to adulthood as caring responsible parents, they never did drugs, the girls never got pregnant as teens, They all are successful at their work and respected by their employers. I support her totally and completely. Christians who would convert her should back off and leave her alone and respect her point of view!!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Rob

      Agree, I am with her all the way

      January 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Norman

      we are raising our kids in freedom and mainly in respect of others and learning to be a good person in life
      it is that simple
      religion is away of that basic principle and they interprete a lot of things the way they want that make them feel good

      in life i realized that the religious addict are the worst person to be around if you want to be with real people
      they have to carry a frame with them that is complex and just is most of the time irrational and even hurting people

      i will never say to someone to be or not religious but i will just continue to apply that simple principle of respect and be a good person in life
      that way my kids will not have any barriers and will be free and happy and that will transpire with others

      January 20, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • ed galbraith

      She's exactly right. Don't TELL your kids what they must believe...educate them, love them and let them discover the world and its god or non-god.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Austin Glenn

      Evolution means nothing to a man who has the testimony of Spirit of Truth within. Angels who minister, and the Spirit of Truth who bears witness of Himself, that the Word of God (Jesus) is creator and alive, sustain the ministry of the truth of the justified souls of the seed of faith. Christians are fallen, yet obedient to truth as a light in a dark place, through redemption. Salty indeed. If your child asks you for a bowl of soup, will you feed him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  9. sue

    Great article and I too find myself being a minority in this controversy. I do not believe in all the made up stories that I have been told thru my life and believe that it is in oneself to be kind and considerate to others. The hypocrites I have seen that preach one thing and do the other makes me only too aware of putting on a "Christian face". I commend all of you to have the courage to speak up and be honest.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  10. John

    It's probably as good a time as any to say hello to God: a heartfelt hello to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, thank you for creating everything and sending Jesus to die for the sins of all that would believe him.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • End Religion

      Sorry, John, it's all a fraud.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • John

      Imagine you look at the sun, moon, stars, mountains, the sea.... and you annonce to others amazement that those things exist, but they claim it's all made up, that you're really sitting in the desert with nothing but sand around you. You would agree with them, but I would not, because I know those other things exist, much like I know God exists.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Really??

      John
      Stop lying. You BELIEVE god exists...you do not, can not know.That it why you have to have faith, instead of knowledge.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • End Religion

      Imagine, a grown man "knows" leprechauns exist. Then he asks us to be polite as books are written about how they created the world; as he begins appealing to the leprechaun to grant his wishes at the dinner table; as he builds temples to the leprechaun to join with other leprechaun believers; finally, to be polite as he subverts the country he professes to love by supporting legislation allowing its laws to be affected by the creatures of his fevered imagination.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • ml

      John, you really have no idea how ridiculous that sounds do you? You are an addict....an addict to religion and in denial of such, much like a drug addict.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • John

      R, if I was to waste mine, and God's time proving to you that he exists, I would be in big trouble, because wasting God's time on people that don't want to know him, is wrong. If you want past proofs already done, go read the bible. Good luck.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • ed galbraith

      "Send Jesus to die for our sins.." What kind of pre-historical nonsense is that? That turns out to be exactly how 2000 year old desert nomads would think. "Send Jesus to die"? REALLY?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • John

      Ed, if you'd bother to read the New Testament, the account says that Jesus told them just days before they crucified him that was exactly what would happen. At that point the account says many left him, they didn't think it would happen. You claim they thought it would. Even Peter told Jesus he wouldn't allow it... so you are clearly mistaken. The account is brutally honest.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Jeff

      John, the books were written well after Jesus died (30-50 years) so they could have wrote it that way to make it more believable. Now Nostradamus made some great predictions so he too must be the son of a god.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • John

      Jeff, if your claim is that eye witness accounts from multiple sources, are false due to copying texts, then that is sad, because that means today we no longer have any history and will have to start over again to begin building a history that's now known "accurately" until the next "Jeff" posts a comment on a CNN blog.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Really??

      John
      One cannot get past proofs already done from the bible. It is full of imspossible stories, myth and magic, superst itions and lies. Your must remove reason and logic in order to believe anything in it.
      Since I cannot turn off the logic centers of my brain, I cannot believe the book clearly written by supersti tious men, passing down, stories over generations. So many of the stories are clearly false, yet people keep trying to claim them as true. Religions are just sad.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • End Religion

      John, the bible in toto is circular reasoning. "This book is all real because it says it is." There isn't single credible eyewitness to jesus or any miracle, and if there were, we know eyewitness testimony (especially when provided by zealots for the cause they're testifying for) is the worst kind of "evidence." The bible is a known fraud, its text based on previous myth and local legends which was then polished by men to help control a populace. There isn't a single piece of proof for your god or his son, jeebus. All eyewitness accounts have been debunked.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  11. Agnostictx

    Like so many others, I admire the courage it took for this mother to say what she did. She is not asking you to believe like she does and she is not critical of those that do. Why can't those of faith accept that others may not believe and not be reasonably critical of them. Faith is something within. It cannot be imposed. Those whose try to morally prosecute anyone due to the fact they don't believe as they do drive others further away. Wouldn't we all be better off in this world if we did?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Agnostictx

      Better off if we just accepted that others don't belief in faith as you do.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • sue

      Excellent comment

      January 20, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  12. John

    Religion is for suckers and nut jobs.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  13. Wupper

    I am on the threshold of not believing in God.
    I was raised catholic and for 60 years, i believed what i was taught.
    But, the cruelty of man makes me believe there is no true God who would make us suffer this way.
    And yes, i questioned many stories in my own mind of creationism.
    The biggest...Adam and Eve, the first people on Earth had two children, both boys!
    Please enlighten me as to how the human race evolved from there.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • End Religion

      No such beings as Adam and Eve. You have Google. Do some research on your own. Look at Mitochondrial Eve if you must start with some that nods to religion (in name only).

      January 20, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • sue

      Wow you are speaking exactly how I feel. Thanks

      January 20, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Science

      Made it easy

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nH1fqd0Ryo&w=640&h=390]

      January 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Congrats on your path to embracing reality. I believe you'll find discarding mythology actually heightens appreaciation of nearly every aspect of your life. In jest toward the faithful masses who are appalled by your impending transgression let me at the very least welcome you to the dark side:)

      January 20, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Origin of Life

      Evolution wins hands down, time for religin to get the hell out of the way ok
      Way to many Adam and Eves in our gene pool for that story to work.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  14. Tom Moe

    I am trying to figure out why this is newsworthy? Lots of people don't go to church. Lots of people don't send their children to church.
    Lots of people thought my son should play football. He chose not to do so. Didn't think it important to put that in a news article, either.
    Sad that so many people use such a piece of non news to go off on their soap boxes.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • End Religion

      You've heard of "opinion pieces"? They're in just about every newspaper in the world and nearly every web site is nothing but opinion. This is another opinion. Why does it bother you?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Skippy

      It's not just news to these folks – it's GOOD news. You know how the gospel is good news to many people? To the CNN crowd people losing their faith is the good news. That's why it is hyped and plastered all over the place. Misery loves company.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Greg Conn

      And yet here you are, right along with the rest of them.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Reader

      It wasn't news, per se. It was an individual, non-journalist, writing an opinion piece (ireport). What made it newsworthy was the level of visceral reaction it received. I think a lot of people are fascinated to watch people who are religious go into convulsions when anyone dares question their mythology. Frankly, it's fun.

      January 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  15. cartographer1973

    What I'd like to know is why are agnostic and atheist people usually self-confident enough that they can express a view as well as accept that others have contrary views to it ("You believe in god? I don't, but that's cool, bro! Whatevs!"), but religious people lack self-confidence so much that they resort to narcissism by broadcasting what they think to everyone around ("Hey, look at me!") and attempting to make everyone think like they do ("My belief is best!") and attack with rage and vitriol anyone who dares think differently ("You are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! I am ALWAYS RIGHT!")? This forum is a perfect example of this situation. I don't know why religion produces insecure, broken people but it does. I've been observing this process for at least 20 years in my co-workers, acquaintances, friends, and my own family, and yet I still don't understand it. The religious texts my parents required me to read as a child claim the exact opposite should happen. Are the followers of religion the ones proving themselves wrong?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      It's just like the argument posted by skippy below who feels that their "religious freedom" or "free speech" are being attacked. Seems to me they are perfectly free to follow their religion and speak their mind. No one is forcing them to undergo abortions or demanding they marry a same sex partner for example.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • ed galbraith

      Nicel yput, Cart.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  16. sc8920

    sc8920

    When I read all of the post in response to the article, I see many views that are correct. As Christians, we should love all people. And, please keep in mind, we're human so that's not always easy. I also have many questions about why things happen? Why do people that obviously do bad things, have a good life on this earth? If God knows every hair on every head and knows all, why does he allow bad things to happen? I've heard many theories on this, but I'm still struggling with those questions. I don't look down on anyone. If I hear someone say "Thank God" for this or that, that seems to say that God interacted in this life to make something good happen, so my thinking is if God does that, why then doesn't he interact to stop something bad from happening. ........So, you see, I have questions just like this lady

    January 20, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Tom Moe

      Are you implying that the atheist side has no people who proclaim, "I am right and you are wrong?"
      Why focus on he extremes?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • sc8920

      TOM: That's not what I'm saying. There are some people on both sides that feel that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Everyone has their own opinion. I was just saying that there are many things that I don't understand either. You hear a lot about "Christians look down on everyone", or "They say that they'll pray for me".. First, the Bible says to love everyone, however, you don't have to be a Christian to do that. But I do believe that you have Christians and non-Christians that have the view that if you're not like them, then you are below standard, which is wrong.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  17. Freedom777

    We are truly blessed to live in a nation where we can believe as we wish or not believe at all and that we can publicly express our beliefs or non beliefs. Whether you are Christian, Buddist, Atheist, or any other religion you should be thankful we still have these freedoms and that we don't have to keep our views secret and private for fear of persecution. It is unfortunate that the author is calling for censorship of Christians views " I only want religion to be kept at home".
    I would like to politely remind you that we still live in a free country and all of us have the freedom to believe as we wish and express these views outside of the "home",,,just as she is freely expressing hers outside of the "home".

    January 20, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Skippy

      777 – you will find that many liberal don't really believe in the 1st amendment. They don't like that whole "free exercise of religion" bit. Nor do they really like the "freedom of speech thing." And of course we know what they'd like to do with the 2nd amendment.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • End Religion

      Be thankful we're letting you pray at all. Usually, when grown adults mutter to imaginary creatures they're put into mental institutions. No worries though, your delusion may soon be actually classified as mental illness and you will then be confined to just your cell and a community room for an hour of Jeopardy with your other crazy friends.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Jenkins

      How tough it must be to be in the majority.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Resepectully

      I think you're missing the point – as an atheist, I see people inserting religion into government constantly. Insisting on prayer in school (I have no problem if a child wants to pray in school, but I do have a problem when the schools are forced to take time out for prayer). "In God we trust". Etc etc. Please, keep it where it belongs, in your home, your churches & temples, your heart. Just keep it out of government.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  18. Skippy

    Just as an aside – and I'm a little late to the game on this – but I see where David Relin, the co-author of that phony rip-off book, Three Cups of Tea, killed himself. Imagine that? A smug, angry little liberal whose disdain for Christians, conservatives, and the country of America was LC, killed himself. Hmm. Hard to believe.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • JJ

      How so Christian of you to gloat over someone's death. Some of you Christians are so repugnant.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Skippy

      JJ – are you the guy who wrote "How 'bout cracking open a second grade Science text book and learn something for a change. Reading only your bronze age multi-translated, multi-revised book written by sheep humpers and listening to only your pastor is not an education."?

      You are a credit to your cause.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • JJ

      Oh, I'm so flattered you read my other comment. Well, are you going to take my advice and get a basic education outside your church? Whose death are you going to celebrate next?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Skippy

      More from JJ: Grow a brain and get a clue."

      Intelligent discourse on display. Attack, attack, attack.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Dan

      Ah, an old-fashioned Christian bigot... put down or insult anyone different from you. Funny that you mention liberals are the ones trying to restrict freedom of speech.. Yet it is old christian men who are trying to dictate to women what to do with their bodies, bring religion into schools, etc....

      January 20, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • JJ

      I know you're probably used to surrounding yourself with a bunch of back slappers and only others who believe as you do always telling you that you aren't really spewing hate but the love of Jeeeezus to hellbound Jews, atheists and Muslims and other hellbound folk but once you step outuside your Sunday School class and engage with the realf world you're going to be called out.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Amy

      So what's your point? No one who believes in God commits suicide?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  19. Joe435261

    Yo CNN, was it a slow news week or are you just lazy? This story's been on the front page tile for a week. Think it's time to come down and give way to something else for you to peddle.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • JJ

      It sucked you in so apparently it still has some life left in it.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Roger that

      Patience Joe. An article about a preacher molesting young boys will be out any time now.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  20. Spiritual,Agnostic,Atheist, but not confused, Chris

    It delights me to see more and more people like Deborah Mitchell taking a stand and initiating discussion on such topics, because that is what we need most right now. Now discussions with an open mind, but those with an open heart as well. It is my opinions that if you are absolutely sure you are right, then you must be wrong. In this lifetime we each can glimpse a truth of reality which in and of itself will always be distorted based on our mind (genetics, thoughts, and interpretation of events). When we begin to see the common thread of existence that all being with for peace, love, and compassion, we begin to include, rather than exclude, those who believe differently than ourselves. In fact, it is when we believe that all others have a bit of truth which is more true than our, that we begin to humble ourselves and allow ourselves to coexist as one humanity. With the slow dissolution of thinking "right vs, wrong" , "us vs. them" we begin to refine ourselves as one family of humans. Furthermore resisting the urge to insert our perspective as morally superior to others and letting go of the insistence that the beliefs of others must be our own or "action must be taken" either by imposing our doctrine or by force" inevitable only leads each of us farther from the vision we seek for our future.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Bill C

      Very well said!! Thanks, you are so completely correct!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Agnostictx

      I wish I could have written this as well. Thank you.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
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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.