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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. FatherWannaBE

    What is sad is that she is leading her children away from God and into the certainty of hell. I hope when they are older they will make their own minds up and reject their ignorant mother's "beliefs".

    January 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      even christians don't agree on this "certainty" you claim

      January 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      The rantings of a mad man. Please seek help.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      your logical fallacy is called: appeal to faith

      January 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bigot

      Lol the certainty of hell. Any evidence of this or just more fear mongering speculation?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Wasting Time

      It's this kind of comment that makes it hard for us to respect christians.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Gerry Bissett

      You are mistaken. She is NOT leading her children away from god (small "g") and towards hell (there's no such place). She is, instead, ensuring that her children are not brainwashed into believing something that is non-sensical.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • One one

      Silly Christian, myths are for kids.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Whats funny is that the opposite is being shown true. Most atheists were former believers so when the children grow up they will be more likely to disregard YOUR ignorant beliefs of which you are proudly ignorant (faith).

      January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Kevin

      there's nothing quite like a black-hearted christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      the certainty of hell? seems like anything BUT a certainty. but, if being a snivelling,begging slave, have at it

      January 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      "if being a snivellihg slave floats your boat, have at it" was the way that was supposed to read. in any case, back on your knees, b1tch

      January 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • onceuponatime

      An all loving god is going to send one to hell because his parents didn't teach them about god? Seriously? And we talk about the government being inhumane... Certainly not the type of chap I would want to follow or recommend as how to live by example. There is just something very wrong with trying to scare someone into loving you, very very wrong

      January 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Why serve an evil being who would allow a place of eternal torture to exist? No, it's against my principles.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I hope you don't father any children until you take responsibility for your own life and stop leaning on a god for which there isn't a single shred of evidence.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jude

      at the end of the day... humans live in their own reality and many allow themselves to accept the idea of a "god" being introduced to them as children and find comfort in the rules and structure attached to this "god." some humans do not, they find comfort in the rules and structure designed by fellow humans and their "faith" is in humans continuing to evolve , becoming more civiil and fair as individuals and as a society.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • visitor

      Teaching the "certainty of hell" to children is emotionally abusive. What a sick philosophy, believed by sick ignorant people.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  2. Jude

    god was this speck that blew itself up a long long long time ago to be all that we see and cannot see in our vast universe. everything, you, me the tree, the pen, rock, glass, air, water, elements, stars, moons, all of it is a piece of "god." god did not create the universe..it is the universe. positive and negative continue to exist and perhaps in our simple earthly existence, love and attraction is a form of gravity we have forgotten about.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mopery

      You're wrong on all accounts, and should take a remedial course in physics if you don't understand what Gravity is.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jude

      Gravity is a mutual attraction between two bodies that have mass. In order for humans to have no gravity, we would have to be completely without mass. Any object with mass has a measureable gravitational field.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • teerandaz

      Well said, Jude.

      God is matter...which is why matter cannot be created or destroyed. The rest is a figment of our imagination, and an elaborate hoax. The universe is the material representation of God. He is too big for our comically puny minds to grapple with. And let us leave it at that.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Jude

      i remain so grateful to live in a time that technology allows my puny human mind such great information and my curiosity is like a piece of god in ground hog form, poking it's head out to the vastness of itself. eyes and ears of self awareness.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  3. John

    She is not Godless...she simply refuses to acknowledge God's existence.....this is neither new or unusual. I don't think she needs the full-court press from people trying to "save" her...it's really counter-productive....at this point she is just busy building up reasons and arguments to support her stance without trying to find answers so get off her back. I wish her good luck and peace.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      John you have twisted logic as your kind must do. The truth is that we are all godless since the burden of proof lies with your ilk and you have failed to provide any. Please go on denying the truth.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "...she is just busy building up reasons and arguments to support her stance without trying to find answers..."

      wow! where are you getting all that??

      did you even read the article??

      January 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Mark

      @John.
      The difference between her most religious people is that she actually has gone through the difficult journey of looking for real answers instead of just believing the indoctrination. The irony of your comment about "busy building up reasons and arguments to support her stance without trying to find answers" is not lost on those who have argued with religious types and understand how the nature of faith is self-fulfilling.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Until there is indisputable evidence that ANY god actually exists, the only logical belief is that we are all "godless".

      January 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  4. logicalfallacy

    deborah's experience represents a generation of teens and twentysomethings that turned away from religion after learning the truth about it. the previous generation would be hard pressed make these judgements without a harsh response. the current generation is now openly questioning the validity of religion and it will only get worse for the zealots that hold on to a tradition of manipulation and coercion to gain money and power through religion.

    this is not like the ussr where people were forced to embrace atheism. people are making up their own minds in a free country.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Mopery

    No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, no Jesus Christ, no Easter Bunny, no Mohammed, no Tooth Fairy, no Brahma, no Unicorns, no Zeus, no Leprechauns, no Thor, no Pegasus, no Xenu, no Angels, no Buddha, no Demons, no Smurfs, no Ghosts, no Bigfoot, no Loch Ness Monster, etc.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      what about aliens? can we have aliens, like e.t. or some of the other nice aliens?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Mopery

      The jury is still out on aliens, I think it is likely that intelligent alien species (have/do/might someday) exist, but because space and time are intertwined the question is less about where as when. Our radio signals travel at the speed of light, but have yet to go further than about 100 light-years out from our solar system(roughly 500 trillion miles). That means our radio signals are a mere drop in a galactic ocean. We've been searching for similar radio signals but have, so far, found nothing except for one enigmatic signal which was never found again.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  6. Austin

    the Holy Spirit bears the truth. Evolution, a physical argument, doesn't even touch the spiritual truth that our souls are the main feature to the one human race and one truth.... the doctrine of sin and the redemption through the blood of Jesus .

    January 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Translation: Science can't explain my insane thoughts which I was indoctrinated into believing since before I could speak. Well I agree with that one! Give them time and Psychology may be able to remedy your psychosis.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Terri

      "Evolution, a physical argument, doesn't even touch the spiritual truth that our souls are the main feature to the one human race and one truth"

      No, the soul is not, it's all about our brain and the use of our thumbs. There is no proof a soul exists, it's all in your head.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • It is Called

      It is Called Principles not theories.

      Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

      Geology and climate have shaped the development of life tremendously. This has occurred in the form of processes such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, mass extinctions, tectonic drift, and disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions. Life, particularly bacteria, has also been able to impact the geological makeup of the planet through metabolic processes.

      00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
      02:16 – Chapter 2. The Oxygenation of the Atmosphere
      09:08 – Chapter 3. Evidence of Climate Change
      17:36 – Chapter 4. Geological Impact on Life
      29:37 – Chapter 5. Mass Extinctions
      42:19 – Chapter 6. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Floods
      46:38 – Chapter 7. Conclusion

      Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

      This course was recorded in Spring 2009
      Category
      Education

      January 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      In other words, Austin, you are not interested in facts and believe what you want because it makes you happy.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Really??

    Godless mom? Everyone is godless. unfortunately there are a lot of people that would dispute that, but since none of them have any proof, we'll just have to chalk up all this god talk as imaginary and mythical.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Mark

      True. Everyone comes into the world godless. That is our "natural" state. Think about it.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  8. kiki

    I'm with this mom, Deborah Mitchell.
    Raise you're children in what you believe in, not what in what you're parents or friends believe in.
    I have 2 children, and neither have been baptized. My mother tells me all the time that it is terrible not to baptize my children.
    My sister and I were baptized, and were forced to go to Sunday school, and church every Sunday. My mom, who made us go to church, rarely went. Now, both of us, because we were so tired of our mom's and the church's hypocrisy never go to church.
    I am so tired of everybody acting so holy because they go to church or believe in God (which I do!). They still act like everybody else, lying, talking about other people, etc. I consider myself a good person, who instills good values in my children.
    And those of you who think you're so holy, just because you go to church, maybe you should start thinking about how other people really are, what good things they have done, and getting to know them, before you are so quick to judge.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • mocomment

      I'm with you and Mitchell. Eventually being talked into trusting some Batman is the sky hero that would look after me, I almost lost everything by believeing some fictional character would come to the rescue if I waited instead of acting. Every single thing I ever did relying on 'god' caused irreparable harm in my life. Won't get fooled again. See a bunch of brainwashed bible posters here, and saw a child being brainwashed by her mother in the parking lot the other day about god made the moon (and deadly snakes, polio, cancer, etc, she left that part out) which was really disturbing to me, but you can't do anything about it. Saying is, If you could reason with religeous poeple, there wouldn't be any religeous people.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  9. Earl

    Pretty simple. By definition God is Love. Therefore if you raise your children without God, you raise your children without Love and Godless. Good luck with that.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      So you admit you are not a christian. The bible takes exception to what you just said.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • JWT

      That's one of the stupidest things I have ever heard/

      January 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • OhPlease

      " Therefore if you raise your children without God, you raise your children without Love"

      That is not true at all.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Could you clarify – in a country like France, Norway, Ja'pan or China, where the majority do not believe in God, are you saying that there is no love between parents and children or romantic partners?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • It is Called

      It is Called Principles not theories.

      Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

      Geology and climate have shaped the development of life tremendously. This has occurred in the form of processes such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, mass extinctions, tectonic drift, and disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions. Life, particularly bacteria, has also been able to impact the geological makeup of the planet through metabolic processes.

      00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
      02:16 – Chapter 2. The Oxygenation of the Atmosphere
      09:08 – Chapter 3. Evidence of Climate Change
      17:36 – Chapter 4. Geological Impact on Life
      29:37 – Chapter 5. Mass Extinctions
      42:19 – Chapter 6. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Floods
      46:38 – Chapter 7. Conclusion

      Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

      This course was recorded in Spring 2009
      Category
      Education

      January 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Really??

      By who's definition is god love? I've read that bible of yours and god didn't love MILLIONS of people that he killed, didn't love the entire planet that he exterminated with a giant flood. (of course nothing in that book that explains how he got all of the plants that he drowned back )
      By the Abrahamic definition, god is all things. Therefore he is as much hate as he is love (he created satan knowing full well the consequences), as much mayhem as he is peace.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • firebird

      So no one who lived before Abraham loved?
      No one who lives in a country that believes in a different deity, or no god (of which there are billions) have ever loved?
      Your statement is ignorant and shameful.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Danidin

      Thanks! was looking for that definition everywhere! seems like everyone thinks God = something, but no one seems to agree what that is. Maybe God = nothing... probably just as likely....

      January 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mark

      I think I follow your "logic" Earl. Let me try...

      Flowers are beautiful. If you don't have flowers in your life you will live a life devoid of beauty. Therefore everyone must be a horticulturist. Welcome to the marvelous world of religious logic.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • John

      I'm an atheist, and I love my daughter very much. Unlike people like Earl, I don't need gods to help with that. It's all me.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • tallulah13

      By definition, love is love. A "god" by definition, is a supernatural being. The two are not related.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • mocomment

      @JWT – Thank you for pointing out the obvious. Earl's reasoning is like "I eat meat, my dog eats meat, therefore I eat my dog" logic. What do you expect is going to be the predominate replies to this subject from the sheepling? Check out 'why do you hate god . c(om)' all one word, for a different perspective and how others that have been deceived really feel. We are not a minority in any sense. A different perspective to an open mind if nothing else. A psychology professor once said to the class, who are we to tell god who he is? Not that there is one, but makes more sense than the stuff the $ sucking churches shove down our thought. Want to end the deficit? Tax churches. Google Frank Zappa. (pretty sure)

      January 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  10. Bob Bales

    If you want me to join you, you first need to show that where you want me to go does indeed represent reality.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  11. onemorehere

    She may try to raise her kids with out God but God is what give them life and they are bound to him by their emotions though its true that some manage to denied their emotions they are called psychopaths whoare so blind they can't have feeling any longer there for they're to far away from the presence of God or emotions their own feeling are dead.....if it meant to be those kids will find God and the guidence they need in life...s

    January 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      How dare you deny allah! I feel bad for your children. Only a psychopath can deny Allah. He is undeniable and one day you and your children will have to bow to him or live a sad existence.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • juraman

      So...you think that people who don't believe in an imaginary being are the psychopaths? Really?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Wow. So the president of Australia is a psychopath? About 70% of the students at my college were psychopaths? Just...wow.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Mark

      It seems like there is a thought in here somewhere, well not so much a thought as a disparagement. Is this person actually calling those people who don't believe in his/her imaginary superbeing, psychopaths? If so, well... that's totally messed up. If so, well... you are not representing your religion well by calling people ugly names.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Akira

      You really need to look up what the word "psychopath" means.
      I do not believe it means what you think it means.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mark

      @Akira
      You don't think calling someone a psychopath is a disparagement? Perhaps you are the psychopath, then.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  12. kentmichaels

    Since God is... well... God, I think I'll refrain from telling him what He can do and under what method He communicate with whatever people He chooses. He doesn't have to come dressed in a white robe, unless He so chooses. To think otherwise seems to be the opposite of faith to me.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      So you are an atheist. You can't be a christian because they proclaim to know gods specific thoughts. Eg) on shellfish, slavery, pork, genocide...

      January 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Ellen

      Wow, kentmichaels, that's quite the wimp out. Bet you were scared to open closet doors when you were a kid. Maybe you still are.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  13. Brad

    Do you people really believe there is an invisible man up in the sky watching everything you do and judging weather or not you get to go to a fluffy place called heaven or burn a firey tier nitty in hell.. It's total hog wash.. Believe in yourself and do the right thing. And then guess what. We all go to another demension.. Religion does nothing but make people feel guilty for being human and start wars.. God heals. Yeah right ok.. He's as real as Santa Claus. I never told my kids that lye either..
    I've never been to church once and I'm very successful and healthy.. Orginized religion is stupid and a big fat lye. Get a clew.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Chad

      What investigation have you done into the claims of Christianity that has led you to reject it?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Chad, what investigations have you made to deny that the universe sits across a giant turtle's back?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Why should anyone believe what you claim about God?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Godoflunaticscreation,
      You reject the God of Israel because you believe I haven't done sufficient investigation regarding the universe sitting across a giant turtle's back?

      ==========
      @Bob Bales "Why should anyone believe what you claim about God?"
      @Chad "because the God of Israel is real"

      January 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mark

      @Chad. What investigation have you done into unicorns, Zeus or Bigfoot? Have you ever experienced the non-existence of unicorns? We believe outrageous claims when we have evidence to believe them. If there isn't evidence, we simply choose not to believe in them.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Terri

      Santa is real and he visits me every christmas! All hail the mighty Santa!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Chad i will thank you not to make up my thoughts for me.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Blackfin

      Chad: Aside from the innumerable issues that leave begging the credibility of the Torah (in particular) and hence its sequel, the New Testament, let's just ask this: Why did God go to such great lengths and get so personally involved in freeing a handful of slaves from "bondage" - even to the point of killing the firstborn not just of the enslaver himself but of his entire nation - and then go radio silent for the next two millenia, without so much as a peep or a hint of his existence as mankind went on to do far, far worse things to one another?

      In short, where has he been? "In the petals of a flower and the smile of a baby" don't count. Given how "hands-on" this deity is alleged to have been in the past - Soddom and Gomorrah, the Flood etc - how can the complete and utter absence of any manifestation of him or his power since then be explained?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @Brad, certainly you can chose not to believe in the God of Israel, but isnt it odd that you have no data to back up that choice?

      ====
      @Blackfin "Aside from the innumerable issues that leave begging the credibility of the Torah (in particular)"
      @Chad "like what?"

      ====
      @Blackfin " and hence its sequel, the New Testament"
      @Chad "like what?"

      ====
      @Blackfin "let's just ask this: Why did God go to such great lengths and get so personally involved in freeing a handful of slaves from "bondage" – even to the point of killing the firstborn not just of the enslaver himself but of his entire nation"
      @Chad "He created the Jewish nation to be the vehicle by which the messiah would be delivered to humanity."

      ====
      @Blackfin "and then go radio silent for the next two millenia, without so much as a peep or a hint of his existence as mankind went on to do far, far worse things to one another?"
      @Chad "where did you ever get the mistaken notion that God has gone silent?
      On the contrary, His Holy Spirit is there for the asking.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  14. wolfyb

    It is about time that we stop filling our children's' heads with fantasies and lies. While it may amuse some parents or they may have the misconception that it will keep their children on the straight and narrow, lies are lies. A distorted view of the world serves no one.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean it's a lie.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      wolfyb,

      A 'distorted' view of worldliness? Science 'preaches' that atoms are the smallest of building blocks for celestial and cellular cosmologies formations when I for one dare postulate that the atomized realms are sub-cosmologies 1st order of spatial relativities!

      Therefore, within these realms of atomized cosmologies dare I say does live all sons of God and their mates. Science tries ever so vainly to induce via atomic destruction to somehow see the material makeup of the atomized structures when in all truthfulness the atoms are the first made cosmologies ever to be formed! While our celestial cosmologies are but secondary in cosmologic considerations, cellular cosmological constructs are the third and finalized theorems of cosmological constructive analogies.

      Science proclaims there is but one universe amid the darkness of spatial nothingness. What a crock! I'd dare make a guess that there are untold numbers of universes just like ours all living side by side to form a ginormous being so huge, we may never know its true for or shapeliness. This ginormous being is itself most likely living upon a gigantic ocean upon a great big earthlike planet beyond any mere mortals abilities to rightly fathom as a perceptive truth.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother reading their drivel, just laugh and move on.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Bob, the utter lack of evidence for the existence of any god (even yours) is a really good reason to doubt.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  15. Emily

    Nothing new here.... God wants you to love him , Cherish him, be kind to one another. He doesn't care what you label yourself. just at least pray , and talk to him. Thank him. Work for him. Really who cares about the labels that people made up to break away from other labels " religions" .Believe. Amen.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Thats not what the bible says. The bible is the basis for your belief. If you can't accept it then just admit you are no Christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I assure you that if you were to be visited by a christian that had lived only 100 years ago, they would know right away that you are not a christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • JWT

      I suppose I could talk to the fairy tale but I have better things to do like trim my nails.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Brad

      There is no god Emily. You've been brain washed.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • DLove

      I don't believe God needs or wants anything. It is us who have needs and wants God is above all of our silly insecurities.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Mark

      Thank you for presenting your world view. Let me introduce you to my interpretation of your words since we are sharing:

      "Nothing new here.... [my invisible friend] wants you to love him , Cherish [my invisible friend], [my invisible friend wants you to] be kind to one another. [my invisible friend] doesn't care what you label yourself. just at least pray , and talk to [my invisible friend]. Thank [my invisible friend]. Work for [my invisible friend]. Really who cares about the labels that people made up to break away from other labels " religions" .Believe. ["Peace out" to my invisible friend].

      And you have believed in this invisible all-powerfull friend who has never shown itself or its powers since you were a child, eh? That doesn't sound "normal". The fact that other people share this experience doesn't make it seem any more normal, it just makes me more worried about people in general.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      God doesn't want anything? So you deny the bible? In the bible it says otherwise. You are definitely not a christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  16. Reality

    A Sunday afternoon summary for all the kids out there:

    Jesus was an illiterate, dirty (recent blog topic), sometimes sick, Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    January 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mark

      You forgot to mention one of the biggest threats: Theological control of governments (even in the US). Trust no politician who starts quoting the bible. They are the ones who lead the US into theocracy.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      This is a summery of certain people's beliefs, based on their beliefs and not on reality. For example, the professors who decided that the miracles of Jesus were embellishments did so because they did not believe in miracles. Thus, their conclusions tell us nothing about what Jesus actually did. Similarly with the words of Jesus: anything that did not fit in with preconceived ideas was rejected.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Reality: You say, "Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought. . . ." How about the people who knew Jesus has turned water into wine and raised Lazarus from the dead because they say Him do it?

      "Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man. . .?" We can be quite sure that they didn't. How? Because other people began to follow Jesus. If what the followers of Jesus were saying was made up, these people would have had no reason to become converts. Yet they risked, and often gave, their lives to do so. Your theory is that substantial numbers of people gave assent to something they knew to be untrue, gave them absolutely no benefit, and carried the very real possibility of causing their deaths - in short, acted contrary to human nature as we know it.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  17. Godoflunaticscreation

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA55jGyq2C8&w=640&h=390]

    January 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Yup

      You really like Chrissy boy don't you? Quite comical.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I respect the man. You are the one who is in love with a guy in flowing robes.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • John

      I'll admit it, I love Christopher Hitchens. You should too,"Yup". He died for your stupidity.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      At least we know Christopher Hitchens actually existed. He spoke for himself, owned his own words, and didn't depend on "prophets" to write down his thoughts. We know exactly the source of his writing.

      That can't be said for god. No one knows who wrote the bible. There is no proof that any of it was "inspired" by god. In fact, there isn't any evidence for the very existence of god.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      believer mocking a voice of reason? no...never happen.

      Hitch was amazing...three sheets to the wind, and he still would be able to make points and arguments that i could never manage on my very best day.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  18. Emily

    Call me crazy if you'd like, but I know that God is as real as we are.
    Why you may ask, I asked and I received.
    He showed me the light, literally.
    I don't care if you're Christian ,Muslim, Catholic , Because God doesn't care. All you need is his love, and you will show his love to others.
    God when they say they don't believe I hope that they see you in ME AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Mopery

      Needs more exclamation points.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Needs more cowbell.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Really??

      Emily
      You are crazy. Also, you do not know god exists. You believe it, but you cannot know. That is what the whole faith thing is about, because you cannot know.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Mark

      Emily, you would appear to be the personification of faith, which is the belief in things for which there is no evidence or there is even evidence to the contrary. You come across as a sincere and nice person so I feel bad for you that you are living a life enslaved to a lie for a nonexistent promise of future reward, but that is your choice and I do not expect any amount of clearly stated argument or blatant ridicule to convince you otherwise. You are no crazier in my mind than those who believe 9/11 was a US government plot or those who believe in UFO abductions or those who believe in Bigoot or the Loch Ness monster.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      crazy

      January 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • the AnViL

      suuuuuuuure you can know there's a god.

      beliefs are based on knowledge.

      if you're basing your belief off of flawed, non-knowledge... then your belief is false.

      you're partially right though, emily... i too, know your god does in-fact, exist – only between the ears of people who choose to believe.

      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .

      ¡ɐɥɔ ɐɥɔ ɐɥɔ

      January 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Mark

      @theAnvil.
      You have no first hand knowledge of your god. Just some crusty old manual that's been "adjusted" more times than a redacted FBI file. Religious faith is belief in that which cannot be proven. That is simply the definition of faith. If you had proof you wouldn't need faith.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Emotional experiences are not proof of god. They are simply proof of emotional experiences.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • the AnViL

      mark – i think you're a little confused.

      i am not asserting that the abrahamic god actually exists in reality.

      i eat xians for breakfast and snack on muslims throughout my day... between slayer matches in halo 4.

      gods ARE real... but only in the imaginations of the delusional ppl who believe in them.

      KAPOW!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Mark: You do not know that Emily is enslaved, nor that what she believes is a lie. The logic you apply to her beliefs, would, if applied to your own beliefs, indicate that there is no reason to hold that they are more accurate than hers. On what basis could you, if you were so inclined, hold her beliefs up to blatant ridicule?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mark

      I do not need proof to disbelieve an extraordinary claim. Our default position as rational beings is disbelief. If some guy tells me that an alien general has been speaking to him and has given him a parchment in the form of a patterned dishrag that has plans for a spaceship that will bring us to the alien planet at the farthest reaches of the universe, you are basically suggesting I need to prove why shouldn't I believe in him.

      Similarly to believe in an invisible superbeing that never manifests itself but has creative control over the entire universe is one hell of a claim. Why would I be inclined to believe in it? Therefore, just like my buddy with the alien general connection, I do not. Neither should any rational person. We can never know as a matter of fact that a god or pantheon of gods don't exist but one religion's specific idea of god happening to coincide with whatever actual creative universal force among the near infinitude of possible permutations of creative forces makes it effectively untrue (ie. a lie)

      January 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • visitor

      While involved with a dedicated meditation practice I also saw light. I don't interpret that as God, and it certainly had nothing to do with a "he". And certainly didn't have anything to do with you.

      I don't see light or spiritual experience as having anything to do with blood of the lamb, or a god boy bestie, or an old book to interpret anything for me.

      So, does that make my spiritual experience less truthy than yours?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Mark: Christians believe that God has manifest Himself throughout history, especially in the form of Jesus Christ.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:23 am |
  19. Cted

    The problem is if you don't force kids to go to church when they are young and let them decide when they are teenagers what religion to follow, if any, and what church to go to, if any, they will not go to church, and will not donate their money to a church. The churches know this. This is why they need to "win the kids" as they say. If left to a mature mind to make the decision religion would be a small minority in this country.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Yup

      Wong! I've never been to a church like what you describe.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      right! i've been to churches like those described.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I've never been to a church NOT as he describes. I don't think it's even possible since that would require a change in denomination.

      January 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      same with any indoctrination: cults, tobacco, child soldiers. Get'm while they're young and it is the only life they know.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  20. nothing new here

    God would not approve of all these 'religions'.
    Unless God has multiple personalities.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Downunda

      Of course you know this because you're goood buds with God, right?

      January 20, 2013 at 2:22 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.