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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. GAW

    Yes indeed record breaking number of comments by trolls and pointless meaningless comments by angry Christians. That's the way things work here on the CNN Belief Blog.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      Thank you for your pointless, meaningless comment.

      January 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  2. Xander

    So, God must be the ultimate liberal, giving everyone fish instead of fishing poles, granting wishes left and right like Barbara Eden, before an atheist would be convinced of his existence?
    Just because God does not grant wishes and perform instant magic tricks doesn't mean he doesn't exist.
    Maybe God chooses not to operate that way.
    He has his own reasons for not being like a genie in a bottle.
    If he DID operate this way, then this would already be heaven on Earth, and atheists aren't supposed to believe in heaven, so they would be in a place that they don't believe in.
    Why does an atheist presume to know how a God he/she does not believe in should operate?
    When an atheist knows for certain what God's nature cannot possibly be (angry, cruel, vengeful, etc.), it implies that the atheist knows what God's nature IS, or should be.
    Funny that an atheist would know what God's nature is, or ought to be.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Atheists don't believe there is a god. So your whole post is meaningless. Can you see that?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Have you ever actually READ your Bible?

      Jesus said he absolutely WOULD operate that way. He said that if you pray, your prayers will absolutely be answered exactly how you ask, including having a mountain throw itself into the sea.

      He said it right after he got mad at a fig tree and killed it.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • JON

      You comment is only a reflection on your true nature and how you perceive the world. Nothing more.

      January 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Damocles

      And yet here you are, presuming that a deity can't act like that.

      January 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  3. ANgela

    @ John, Hitler was anything but Christian. Do you think Christ would murder millions of people? He was closer to a satanist than a Christian. Politicians lie about their faith and do the opposite. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, doesn't mean they are actually following Christ. If they were there would be no wars or need for doctors because all followers would be healers.

    "if you can't see God in all, you can't see God at all" to take a quote from Yogi Bahjan. I think a fair amount of intelligent people have a belief in God, but religion is another story. Scientists can't prove the big bang theory anymore than religious people can't really prove that Adam and Eve were made out the earth. I can't see air, but I know it exists and I would not exist without it.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Hitler was a christian and god calls for genocide in the bible.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      If you wish to deny the bible than you shouldn't call yourself a christian. It can cause confusion.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

      -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

      You don't get to decide what other people believe ANgela.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Did you ever actually READ the Bible?

      Your Bible clearly shows that Jesus will slaughter the entire population of the planet at end times (cue spooky music and ominous light show), just like dear old dad did with the really-believable flood story.

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

      god murdered everyone on the planet save noah's family. Hitler was just trying to be like your god.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword"
      Matthew 10:34
      Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
      Luke 22:36
      You should probably read your Bible, Angela. Your god was a lot more violent than you think.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Brian

      You obviously don't understand what Satanism actually is.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Do you think Christ would murder millions of people?"

      Not qualified to say what someone MIGHT do, given the chance and the power.

      Can absolutely tell you what tons of Christians DID do, given the chance and the power. Not a pretty picture, I'm afraid.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Joey

      If you believe in the Trinity and the story of Noah, then you have to believe that Jesus would murder everyone in the world except for 6 or 8 people.

      January 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  4. Dick Izinya

    I love how the Jesus Freaks can never take "no" for an answer. They just keep on stalking their victim relentlessly, hoping to catch them in a weak moment, then Gang Save them.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Who are these people that they can corner you like this? I hope they aren't coworkers. I can't imagine any workplace I've been in tolerating that. Are they family members or people you mean at the supermarket? I'm really curious, because I've lived all over the US and I've almost never had anyone but the occassional polite Mormon missionary. I know these folks exist, but I just don't see it myself.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  5. Good People

    Good people do good things. Evil people do evil things. It takes religion to get good people to do evil things.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • JON

      Excellent!

      January 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Credit where it's due. Here's the original:

      "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
      —Steven Weinberg, Nobel-winning American physicist

      January 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    The wanton destructions of atomizing cloisters of the atomic realm of cosmological wonders via the hadron kaleidoscope is very similar to a celestial impact of say two planetary objects colliding at near the speed of light. The atomized cosmos was the 1st cosmology and the celestial cosmos the secondary cosmology and the finalized cosmology is the cellular cosmos. These three cosmologies of spatial relativities could never be without Nothingness bringing the 1st cosmology of the atomized realm into existence.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Harvey D. Rabbit

      Didn't read it.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Athy

      Can't read it.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      LL is a blithering, misogynist individual.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Zingo

      How can you tell, Tallulah? I can't get past the first three or four words before extreme nausea forces me to quit. I have no clue what he stands for. I never get beyong the linguistic bowel movement thing he does to fid out.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Psychologists refer to this as "word salad".

      It's not a compliment.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  7. Journey

    I read the article. I might sound a little intolerant but I was less than impressed. First of all, I didn't know if I was looking at a serious religious discussion or someone's e-Harmony page. Second, she kept dropping the "I'm a Mom" plug and I started wondering whether the article was about parental responsibilities or the fact that she thinks being a mom gives her some sort of elevated knowledge that the rest of us don't. Third, she claims that God (which she capitalizes through the whole article) makes people narcissistic then sings the praises of atheism a few lines later as allowing people to be inwardly focused. My takeaway was that she actually believes in God but when those pesky moral requirements keep popping up God is then either spelled M-O-M or H-E-R. She never once says "I will let my children make their own decisions". She has become the very thing she set out to destroy. You put yourself out there like that you need to be willingly to endure a little criticism...it is what it is.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You posted this bvll sh!t last night and took a beating for all the stupidity it contained. I guess morons don't learn from their mistakes.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Journey

      You been on here since last night?...get a life.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Journey

      Little atheist trolls trying to suppress reality.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Gee, Journey, yeah, I guess because I was here last night, and I'm here now, I've been here the whole time. I'm sure it works that way at your house, too. If you're there in the morning and at night, you're there the whole time and you never leave. Have you been this stupid your whole life? No wonder you believe in invisible and undetectable sky wizards who take care of everything you don't want to know about with magic spellz.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Palette

      She has told her children that she’ll be fine if they decide to join a church when they are older.

      You DID read the whole thing...?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why should Journey actually read the article before commenting? He/she has already made up his/her mind. Why confuse it with facts?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Akira

      Admit it, Journey. You wanted to tap it.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Mark

      So Journey is just handing us last night's stale leftovers, eh? Just throw em in the trash where they belong.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Journey

      zzzzzzzz...

      January 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • allen

      she probably had a few abortions while dropping out of college, and is denouncing god in denial that she will burn in hell for eternity.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  8. allen

    people are still babbling about George Bush and Iraq??? may god strike you down with a lightning bolt get over it.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • allen is a dingbat

      Tell that to the parents of American soldier who died in that useless conflict. Yeah mom, just get over it and vote republican.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I know, right, I mean its not like anyone died or any families lives were changed forever or anything like that.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      Well gosh , the effects were far reaching and are still being felt....his legacy will be with us for a long while i fear.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Austin

      We have this problem of using miserable examples of human flaws as a way to insult Jesus who did no wrong. No man can disrepute Jesus, this is a deceptive trick to think you can change Jesus. The bible clearly illustrates time after time that even the disciples denied Christ and couldn't impress anyone. It is all about forgiveness and mercy. We all fail and we have been justified. This is not bad, but the thought of the rejection of communion with God, rejecting the creator of the soul......that is you condemning yourself; not Christ condemning you.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sheesh. Why to christians have such a hard time admitting that people who share their faith are capable of evil? Do they think that if they ignore history, non-believers will do the same?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Mark

      Why would anyone bring it up those wars George Bush started so long ago. It's not like were still fighting them or anythi... oh wait.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • allen

      dont you dare act like you care about the troops you bleeding heart non showering drum circle gay loving liberals.

      I am a troop. they died for something THAT THEY VOLUNTEERED FOR AND BELIEVED IN.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Allen you insult the troops like your leader Bush did when he turned Patrick Tillman, an atheist who questioned the war, into a poster boy for the all american christian. I can't think of anything more disgusting. You should be proud.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Freedom777

      @allen just in case you have not noticed, we ARE STILL involved in Afghanastan and under Obama became involved in the war in Libya. bOTH parties favor war...

      January 21, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  9. Marie

    You might as well just say "I know you are but what am I?"
    I'm out of this viper pit.
    C ya!

    January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • OOO

      Take your toys and run home.

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

      You can say your lies until you are blue in the face. Doesn't make them true. Good riddance!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Jesus magic doesn't work as good as you thought it would, huh? What happened to the power of the holy spirit giving you the words to say at the appropriate time when you need them?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • .

      Marie is a moron cause they can't use the reply button.....keep showing you're just a stupid troll.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Marie

      Well, I made a complete ass of myself today, and it's still early.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  10. Godoflunaticscreation

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8fjFKAC5k&w=640&h=390]

    January 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Austin

      Thought Christianity was crazy and a bunch of brainwashing. Well I started reading the bible and had a few dreams about scripture i had no knowledge of. I now know that the Holy Spirit bears the truth of God's word on a persons heart, personally to all who ask, and need the truth. For example, Paul the apostle oversaw the killing of many early Christians before He was given his proper faith. So there is no reason to argue a physical evolution in response to the doctrine of sin and the atoning blood of Jesus. The Holy Spirit perpetuates His own ministry, through the resurrection of God who became man as a sacrifice.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Austin, I appreciate you telling us your thoughts but please understand that, that is all they are.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Austin: your desire to believe something doesn't make it true. It just means that you believe it's true.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  11. Marie

    "Hitler was a Christian, therefore all Christians are militaristic, expansionist, genocidal maniacs."
    That's what you "rationalists" are pretty much saying.
    That's like saying "The sun is yellow. The flower is yellow. Therefore, the sun is a flower."
    You should retake Logic 101.

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

      You're only showing you're really dumb by not being able to use the reply button.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      You are wrong. Please read my comments below or do you pretend you have never seen the arguments which destroy your laughable beliefs.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • OOO

      Please respond to someone's specific claim. Otherwise I conclude you just made this up.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Peter

      Well, if you follow the Christian logic all atheists are bad and not moral then you should be able to see why sun is a flower.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Christians have committed atrocities against humanity that are TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE! If you are a christian then you must accept responsibility for atrocities committed against humanity. Unless you deny the bible, which means you have NO basis for your belief.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Marie fails logic 101

      Straw man fallacy

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Marie, you used that logical formula with your two posts. Atheists used your EXACT LOGIC to show you that either it's stupid, or it works equally well against your position. Now you get upset that atheists used your exact logic to show you a parody of your own argument?

      I wonder why god can't get any spokespeople who can actually reason intelligently?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Marie, there were quite a few wars started, and thousands killed, in disputes over which branch of christianity was correct. Hitler was just one of many. You really should study history. You might actually learn something.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • .

      "Marie" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Thinker23" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      January 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Freedom777

      @Marie, under their logic: Mao was an unbeliever and under his rule over 20 million were killed, so non believers are intolerant and kill those who dont agree. Under Stalin and Lenin more died than under Hitler ....does this mean non believers want those who disagree dead? According to some of the posts they do. according to the author she wants believers views to stay"in the home" while she can express her views openly.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  12. allen

    its funny, she probably told her kids all about santa claus, the easter bunny, etc, which is just as far fetched as the bible.

    if you dont believe in god and you celebrate christmas youre the biggest hypocrite in the world.

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

      Lol why is that? If you do believe in god and celebrate Christmas you are a hypocrite. "Christmas" is originally a pages holiday stolen by Christians to promote Christianity. Some history for you.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bigot

      Lol why is that? If you do believe in god and celebrate Christmas you are a hypocrite. "Christmas" is originally a pagen holiday stolen by Christians to promote Christianity. Some history for you.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • allen

      actually its about celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, im sure you have a whole notebook full of conspiracies though

      January 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Christmas is a Pagan holiday. No conspiracy at all just accepted fact! Keep denying facts because you only make yourself look ignorant and discredit your beliefs with every word you utter.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Athy

      It's pagan. Third time is a charm.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Riiiiiiiiiight

      Christmas is a usurpation of earlier Winter Solstice celebrations, but you know that. The date chosen is without evidence, and for most of the last 2,000, it was considered irrelevant at best and unBiblical at worst. Then Christians made it a popular greed-fest.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Even your own bible says that Christ was not born on Christmas day. I guess you aren't a Christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • JA

      That's like saying, "If you're not a pagan and you celebrate Halloween, you're the biggest hypocrite in the world."

      January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • cmc

      I'm an atheist that celebrates Christmas. I see Jesus Christ as a radical historical figure whose liberal beliefs got him assassinated by the terrified powers that be. What's not to celebrate about that? For the record, I'm not black either, but I'll celebrate MLK Day for the same reason.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • allen

      you know if you tell a lie enough you will start to believe it yourself? whatever you have to tell yourselves.

      christmas is for celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Allen, repeating a lie enough times seems to be working fine for you, but people who seek truth don't insult themselves with such cowardly actions.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I'm an atheist (don't believe in god by any name) and take advantage of the fact to celebrate every holiday I can. Bring 'em on! Party time! Whoopee!

      January 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  13. Austin

    can you explain what you mean by that?

    January 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Kent Dorfman

      Sure: non-Euclidean geometry is a small set of geometries based on axioms closely related to those specifying Euclidean geometry. As Euclidean geometry lies at the intersection of metric geometry and affine geometry, non-Euclidean geometry arises when either the metric requirement is relaxed, or the parallel postulate is set aside. In the latter case one obtains hyperbolic geometry and elliptic geometry, the traditional non-Euclidean geometries. When the metric requirement is relaxed, then there are affine planes associated with the planar algebras which give rise to kinematic geometries that have also been called non-Euclidean geometry.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Flounder!
      You're not drunk and stupid anymore!
      Well done!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Kent Dorfman

      Why are you such a bigot against fat, drunk and stupid people? As it turns out, being fat, drunk and stupid is a GREAT way to go through life!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Now where did I say anything about fat people? And I was only quoting Dean Wormer; sorry, I should have used " to frame my quote.
      Personally, I don't care how much suds you suck.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Mark

      That's ok Akira, Dorfman didn't use quotes when he copy-paysta'd from Wikipedia. Typical Dorfman...

      January 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  14. logicalfallacy

    i think we all need to take a break from questioning the existence of god and watch the football conference championships, at least until halftime. then we can go back to bashing the xtians and their myths.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • God let Tebow Down

      Infidel! Buzkashi is better than your American infidel sport! The goal to to take a headless got carcass to the . . . goal. THat's the goal. To get a goal. Headless goat carcass.

      Stupid Americans.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nah. Hockey season finally started. Hockey is The One True Sport.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • God let Tebow Down

      Hockey is not the True Sport unless it is played with headless goat carcasses. Then maybe. But how do you put the ice skates on your camels?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Marie

    For rationalists, you sure are irrational.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Oh really? That is why we have destroyed every one of your laughable "arguments" with rational thought and science.

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

      Historically most rationalists have been Christians. Are you sure you meant to use that term?

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

      If anyone else wants to comment on this, please look up the term "rationalist" first...this is going to get confusing fast if a lot of people who don't know what the term means start commenting.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      My research isn't jibing with yours, Saraswati. How about a link?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Moby , I'm not sure what you're looking for. Most atheists are empiricists, not rationalists. Rationalists are generally reasoning without reference to observed data, relying primarily on deduction with little or no inter-observer verifiable data.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  16. Marie

    It would be irrational to blame Christians of today for what happened centuries ago. Also, if a hypocrite is someone who does not practice what they preach, I ask you: what did I preach, and when did I not practice it? Or is calling Christians hypocrites just a canned, mindless, knee-jerk response?

    January 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Terri

      "It would be irrational to blame Christians of today for what happened centuries ago"

      Oh, please George W declared his God told him to invaded Iraq, he lied about it and hundreds of thousands on innocent civilians were killed. It hasn't stopped.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      You are wrong again Marie. The acts of atrocities that Christians committed were learned from the bible. If modern day christians accept the bible they are directly responsible for centuries of atrocities.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • John

      "It would be irrational to blame Christians of today for what happened centuries ago. "

      So the cover up of all the pedophile priests happened centuries ago? I don't think so, it's been going on for centuries.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Right now in Africa christians are accusing other people, even children, of being witches. The accused are being harmed and sometimes killed by these christians. Christian hands are filthy with the blood of those that don't share their beliefs.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Cleese Cheese

      THEY ARE WITCHES, TALLULAH!!!

      They turned me into a newt.

      I got better . . .

      January 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  17. BT

    You don't start a respectful discussion with saying that God is imagined. Just because you don't see the wind, a virus or love, it doesn't mean that they don't exist. Anyone that really looks, will see the effects of any of these. It's the same with Jesus. People that lack the desire or discipline to evaluate and change their lives make excuses to justify their actions. God desires our love and freely gives his. We are the only thing separating ourselves from him. He gave us choice.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Your entire position as well as your statement are hogwash. We cannot see viruses? Your ignorance of even the most basic concepts discredits you.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      There are other methods of detection besides sight. We can't see the wind, but we can measure it and its effects. Not so with god who is so invisible and undetectable that it doesn't matter whether he exists in reality or imagination. If there's no way to prove that he is ONLY imaginary, then what's the difference?

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

      Please show me how science has conclusively measured the effects of Jesus. We have done so for the winds. You have no leg to stand on and your comment is sad and definitely doesn't represent someone who is disciplined enough for even a 4th grade science course yet alone unlocking the mysteries of the Universe.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mirror Mirror

      Actually, wind, love and viruses can all be tested for and proven to exist. Your god cannot. It has nothing to do with respect and everything to do with the complete and utter lack of evidence of any claim of any god. None. Not a trace.

      The complete lack of evidence is very very strong evidence that something does not exist. Sorry, but if you want respect, you have to start be providing evidence, because all we hear is threats like "You are going to hell," which is just about the opposite of respect.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • OOO

      Not only is god COMPLETELY undetectable, but this joker claims to know what god desires. This is arrogance.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      People that lack the desire or discipline to evaluate and change their lives make excuses to justify their actions. If people had a genuine desire to study the bible, what it says, and where it came from, and they exercised the discipline of proper logical reasoning, they'd be able to evaluate it honestly and without bias. When studied without bias the bible is demonstrated to be beyond silly and portray an evil, disgusting god that is not even a consistent character able to be believed. If christians would apply the same reasoning and criticisms to the bible and their belief as they do to the Koran and Islam, there'd be very few christians.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      God's acts are detectable in the world. For instance, Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead not because they wish to believe, not just because the book they believe in says it, but also because the people in Jesus's day - who would have known if He rose from the dead or not - behaved as if He did. Or consider the history of Israel. The nation was taken by the Babylonians, reestablished, conquered and scattered by the Romans and established again in recent history - all as foretold by the Bible.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Greyhound37

      If I said "You don't start a respectful discussion with saying that The Flying Spaghetti Monster is imagined" you'd probably wouldn't take me seriously, would you?
      As for your proofs of things you can't see but which exist, as others have already pointed out, you can see and detect those things. Still waiting for proof or evidence of your deity which can be objectively measured. Seeing "results" in your own head which no one else can see.....may not actually be based in reality.
      There is no offense intended in this post. Just trying to put things in perspective and hoping that you'll take off the "god glasses" for a minute and look at the world around you as it is.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • OOO

      Bob seriously...
      Would you believe any of this if someone today told you he saw it happen last week?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bob Bales

      Using your exact logic, we can say that Islam is correct because suicide bombers behave as if it is. There's nothing detectable about your god and you know it.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      BT, your scientific ignorance is not proof of god. The simple fact is that there is no proof of any god.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Oh Bob . . .

      "The people in Jesus's day – who would have known if He rose from the dead or not – behaved as if He did"

      WHAT?!?!?!?! Do share your sources for that whopper!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Walter

      Amen, Amen and Amen

      January 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • wilf

      I saw Elvis at the mall honest. And you can't argue wit me because I believe I saw elvis

      January 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      People in Joseph Smith's day provided signed affidavits that his claims about the Book of Mormon were true. Are you now a convinced Mormon? We still HAVE those papers!

      January 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • JON

      Prove it.

      January 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      @Moby Schtick

      "Using your exact logic, we can say that Islam is correct because suicide bombers behave as if it is." The logic is completely different. As far as I know, Islam is based on the teachings, but not the acts of Mohammad. I am not aware that he is claimed to have done and extraordinary acts to validate those teachings. Even if he did, people today would have no personal knowledge. The crucial element in my logic - personal knowledge - is missing in your analogy.

      "There's nothing detectable about your god and you know it." How would you react if I were to say to you, 'God exists and you know it'? Why should I not react the same when you tell me I 'know' something when that something is only what you believe?

      As I have stated, I see indications of God's actions in the world. You, of course, may chose to see these differently. But you have no basis for denying that I see what I see.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Bob Bales

      @Oh Bob . . .

      Whopper? What do you consider to be a whopper?

      Would the people who lived where Jesus was (Jerusalem) have known if He rose from the dead? Yes. At least, they would have known if there was no indication that He had.

      Did people behave as if Jesus rose from the dead? It is a historical fact that the first Christian converts were among the people disused above. And by adopting - at the risk of their lives - Christian beliefs, they were behaving as if He did.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:05 am |
  18. Marie

    I'm sure that many of the soliders who liberated France and the Philippines were Christians.
    Many of the Red Cross workers were Christians, too.
    Call me crazy, but I think that liberating people and healing their wounds is a lot of good.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And many were another religion, or atheists.

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

      Inquisitions and witch burnings are a Christian tradition.

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

      Marie, I understand that your kind like to cherry pick from your filthy bible. Please don't attempt to cherry pick historical facts because the non indoctrinated are not easily fooled as your kind are.

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

      Don't forget Hitler was a Christian too.

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

      Does the good immediately negate the bad, Marie? Or does it simply allow you to sweep the bad under the rug and pretend it never happened? That's not terribly honest, Marie. If this is the sort of morality taught by christianity, I'm glad I'm an atheist.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Fuel

      Marie,
      All of us were born (yes even 3 month old babies have substantial empathy, sense of fairness, etc.) with basic ethics hardwired in. It's not even a human invention but exists in ALL higher social animals–it's a minimum requirement for the existance of social beings. 100 million yrs ago social dinosaurs must have possesed much of the same basic ethics.

      So any group should be expected to have some humanity, even Christians and Muslims. Both of those faiths (and many others) dictate intollerance in the extreme–as in murder and genocide of those whom hold slightly different beliefs. Those faiths degrade if not elliminate inherent humanity we were all endowed with via our common evolutionary necessity.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    I teach my children about Crom, the God of Steel.

    Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one – no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Conan The Barbarian Hairdresser

      Come, we go.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!

      January 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Ha, my god is stronger–he is the everlasting sky. Your god lives underneath it.

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

      Jimmy-

      Best. Comment. Ever.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  20. Marie

    What good has state atheism ever done?
    When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, an act of WAR, it was under state atheism.

    January 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Then again . . .

      When the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq in violation of every international law it had signed, it was a Christian president who did it. He also authorized illegal wiretapping of all Americans, a concentration camp, torture, black prisons in repressive countries we knew would torture and kill for us, and lot's of other nice little war crimes.

      Some Christian nation.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So they took responsibility for their own decision to go to war instead of blaming it on an invisible, undetectable being like the US does when it engages in "police actions" around the world? Good point.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, Marie. You seem to be ignorant of history. Christians hands are filthy with the blood of those who don't share their views. Learn some history and stop being so hypocritical.

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

      The difference Marie is that the Soviet Union does not represent "atheism". Atheism is just the realization that a made up character that humans call god, doesn't exist. It says nothing of war. Don't try to pretend it does. That is YOUR religious beliefs that promotes atrocities.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      A totalitarian system, whether atheistic or theocratic is bad. a democratic government coupled with theology wont work ether..the religion will Always try to dominate. A true democracy with Atheism works completely and is self policing. no Bs wars.

      January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bigot

      Shall we talk about the wars Christianity has started?

      January 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Mark

      Busy troll is busy.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Again (since you seem to respond only to massive repet¡tion), you still have it backwards. The Soviet Union was an atheist state. It was the STATE that did the invading. Atheism is a philosophy. It never invaded anything. How many times do we have to tell you this?

      Let me try a parallel. The Soviets under Stalin favored a particularly idiotic farm policy based on their ideological preference for the teachings of Trofim D. Lysenko, a quack who believed that physical changes could be inherited. (This despite his having cut the tails off of generations of rats, expecting their offspring to eventually be born tailless. Never happened. Didn't slow him down a bit. True believer, you know.)

      So, is it your contention that LYSENKOISM invaded or starved or imprisoned anyone? Because that would make no more or less sense than saying that atheism did.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:25 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.