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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. Veronica

    Do scientists know the meaning of life?
    Someone said it's a subjective thing.
    But I thought that scientists were supposed to be all about objectivity, not subjectivity?

    January 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Athy

      What's that got to do with religion?

      January 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      who says there is a "meaning" to life?...

      January 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mark

      @Veronica
      Now it just sounds like you're trolling.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Meaning" is about opinion.
      Science is about fact.
      A good scientist would never mistake her or his opinions for facts.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  2. Veronica

    It is possible to know what God wants by observing nature.

    January 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, right.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      that's a pretty wild claim...
      now you have to demonstrate how it is so.. you can't just assert things

      January 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Mark

      @Veronica
      Feel free to expand on that thought. This could be entertaining.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  3. Godoflunaticscreation

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

    January 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  4. John Baxter

    Please answer, those of you that believe in God, Heaven and Hell..
    Who qualifies to go to heaven? Humans? Animals, like cats, dogs, elephants or even sharks? Insects as well.? They were all created by God, says the bible and so as they are living, deserve a place in heaven (or hell) bad cat! Off to hell you go.. And as heaven is eternal, please do the math and figure out how many creatures are in heaven by now, given the 6 billion years the earth has been around?
    It is so laughable that a place like heaven could exist, when the universe consists of billions of galaxies, not to mention trillions of stars and planets, so where is it? In the clouds or another galaxy far far away?
    There is something to ponder though, because who put the universe there? And if it was God, who put God there and where did he come from?
    God is of our own creation and exists within ourselves only..

    January 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Athy

      John, that is so obvious to any thinking person. But religies apparently can't (or won't) think. That's the problem.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Laura

      @John – You assume that religious people (or those who believe in God even without organized religion) are all-knowing when it comes to things like heaven. Heaven is eternal and therefore, there is no limit to the number (or types) of souls that may enter it. There is no way to know how many souls are in heaven because it is impossible to truly know a person's soul. A person who seems on the surface to be "good" could actually harbor a lot of evil on the inside. So you can't assume that a person is going to heaven, just like you can't assume that they are going to hell. It's not really for us to know anyway.

      So long story short John – there is no way to know the answer to your question.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  5. Veronica

    If there is not a God, then why is there matter?

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

      Because Thor made it so.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Mark

      Why is the gravitational constant 6.67300 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2? Science doesn't have all the answers, but that doesn't mean because it doesn't, there MUST be a god.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Mark, I often remark that "God" is just a common nickname for "I don't know".
      "Who made it like that?"
      "God."
      See how it works?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Athy

      If there were no god, would there still be matter? If there were no matter, would there still be god? Would it really matter?

      January 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Veronica

      If God were to appear before an atheist, the atheist would still want a scientific explanation for God's appearance.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      your logical fallacy is called: non sequitur.
      matter does not prove the existence of god.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Athy

      I don't think we need to worry about that.

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

      @Veronica.
      "If God were to appear before an atheist, the atheist would still want a scientific explanation for God's appearance."

      Wouldn't any reasonable person first look for an explanation? If some heretofore invisible superbeing suddenly appeared to me in the form of a giant talking panda bear, my first reaction would be "Is this the god people have been talking about?" but then I would immediately wonder "Have I taken any hallucinogenic drugs or had surgery recently?" then I would get someone else's attention and ask "Do you see this giant talking panda bear or is it just me?" etc. So yes. OF COURSE, I would first look for a rational explanation of the phenomena and then begin to quickly eliminate the possibilities. Seriously, what reasonable person wouldn't?

      January 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Chad

      Actually it is an excellent question
      – energy can not be created or destroyed naturally (first law of thermodynamics)
      – energy exists
      – Al l of the energy in the universe came into being, it had a beginning, it did not exist "prior" to that. (Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem)

      therefor, the universe could not have created itself naturalistically. It had to be have been created super-naturally (by an agent external to our universe)

      January 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Mark

      "therefor, the universe could not have created itself naturalistically. It had to be have been created super-naturally (by an agent external to our universe)"

      The question about the existence of matter is legitimate, but it's automatic assumption of a creator is childlike. You are missing an important assumption in your "argument". You assume that science has answered all questions with regard to the generation or matter in the universe and there are no other present or future theories that could appear to accommodate a "spontaneous generation from nothing" scenario. And you will also need to argue against Stephen Hawking who, I'll go ahead a say, knows a lot more about the universe than I do who said "The laws of nature themselves tells us that not only can the universe have popped into existence like a proton and have required nothing in terms of energy but also that it is possible that nothing caused the big bang,"

      January 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mark,
      At best the multiverse, quantum tunneling simply pushes the necessity for an uncaused cause back a step.

      It is meta-physically impossible for something to come from nothing (non-existence), To get around that, hawking/kraus simply redefine "nothing" to be a quantum vacuum (see Kraus "nothing isnt nothing anymore"), which is most certainly NOT non-existence (QV has laws, physical properties).

      So, as stated, the fact that energy exists is powerful evidence for the theist

      January 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Christian

      @Chad

      To put it into simple math:
      0 = 1 + (-1)

      Out of nothing comes something and its inverse.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • Sarkastik1

      Veronica: "If there is not a God, then why is there matter?" Let me guess... you never met a logical fallacy that you didn't like?

      January 25, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  6. California Grandma

    Wow. Yep, I agree with her. I do not feel there is such a supreme being we all need to set aside our own personal power and self actualization for. If you do, that's fine. But America was founded on freedom of religious beliefs; to say that there is no freedom to believe otherwise is not logical. I also do not believe our legislators ought to be bound by "Gods law" when they promulgate legislation – I simply want the right thing done for the people of the United States. You do not need God to understand right and wrong! These concepts can easily be tought by parents, without the fear mongering of some angry person in the sky who wills trike you down for ignoring 'his' desires. Whatever. I am going to be cremated, have my carbon compressed into diamonds and all my kids will have a piece of me in jewelry I design for them. They will not go to an abstract plot of land and think that I am there. And when my grandkids are older, they will understand the concept of the diamonds I leave them.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The "goal of freedom" is exactly just what? Free to be a thinker of thoughts outside the hindrances the indoctrinated souls who dare convolutions of socialized degradations? Where then should freedom lovers be so found acclimated upon? Are uncivil morbidities of detrimental moralities fast becoming a doctrinal normality?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Shut the fuck up, LL. Your indecipherable blather adds nothing.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Mark

      If an expired dendrological sample meets the sylvian horizontal plane of hinterland overgrowth is there a concomitant audiological component despite a lack of corresponding sentient representation?

      January 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Sarkastik1

      LL's response is so incoherent and obtuse that I had to read it slowly and skim again before I could decide whether to agree or not. It's still not certain that it has a point.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  7. Chien

    Perhaps until when one is in situations close death, out of one's control, and there is no one can help, one would soon realize that one needs God, who is always there patiently waiting for the person to open the door of his/her heart to invite God in.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • logicalfallacy

      i'm hoping for the singularity so we can figure out how to become cyborgs that live indefinitely.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Nobody NEEDS God. Some insecure, frightened people desperately want there to BE one, but that's only a want, not a need, and in no case does it actually CREATE anything to fulfill that desire.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Dorick

      Or you could just recognize that humans have limited control over their own lives and keep the argument of gods exist seperated from your psychological phobias.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • JJ

      So, one can just successfully suspend reason and all the sudden believe in a deity? Only someone delusional would say that.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Laura

      @Richard – I believe in God and I am not insecure or frightened. Plenty of people are that way and they come from all backgrounds, both the religious and atheists. To make a generalization like that is just ignorant.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      They need god to dispel their fear of death. Christopher Hitchens was stronger than that.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Sarkastik1

      There are those who would call that preying on the weak. That's what cults do when kids go to college and are away from home for the first time.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  8. Mark

    Pardon.

    "Heart-brain" not "brain-heart". "Brain-heart" would be silly.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  9. Dorick

    I grew up in an abusive household with religious fundamentalist beliefs. My parents believed that their personal views were god's views, justifying their abuse through scripture. The fear and insecurity in my ten siblings is in stark contrast to the actual teachings of that religion, but by now, I recognize that the religion's community itself survives on modern fear and insecurity, and it is shrouded in hypocrisy.

    There can only be one truth, one true religion. Logically that makes 99% of religious denominations wrong, if you were to divide them by denomination. What do you want to bet yours is the lucky one that got it right, do you REALLY believe? There's also no proof of a deity, and we wouldnt have the physical hardware to ever sense one, or even our own "souls".

    I suffered for years because my parents' minds have been narrowed by belief, I was beaten and scared to death, I had limited social contact with anyone, I grew up ignorant and neglected. I was raised a homeschooled catholic in a large, poor family. I am catching up with life now though, and I'll never trust religion again.

    My children will know every counter argument to religion.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Akira

      I am sorry for what you've had to endure; my childhood was very similar.
      Unfortunately, faith can be brutal on children.

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

      @Dorick – I am sorry you had to endure a painful childhood, regardless of the reason. However, there are plenty of atheist households who may be just as torturous and abusive as yours. The problem was not religion, but the people who were imposing the abuse upon you in the name of such religion.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Mark

      @Laura. How do YOU know the problem wasn't religion? You didn't go through it. Such an apologist cop out.

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

      @Mark – because I grew up in a religious household and I did NOT live such a terrible childhood. Mine was actually wonderful and it was partially because of our faith. The common denominator in our childhoods was religion. Therefore, it wasn't religion itself that caused the pain, but rather the terrible people who would exploit it and use it to make their children's lives miserable.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  10. Nancy

    It's too bad someone must be concerned about being known as a 'secularist'. I personnally can't find any evidence of the King James god but I generally keep this to myself so my mother and other devout family members won't feel the need to compaign for my salvation.

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

      Just know that there are many, many like you Nancy. And our numbers are growing.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  11. logicalfallacy

    ok, it's halftime and i'm back with a vengeance, like noah's ark and the flood style. over 6000 posts and not one from an xtian that proves that jesus is god. what does that mean?

    January 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  12. Laura

    I take issue with a few of the things she mentions in her essay. Before I start, I will note that my husband is not religious and arguably, doesn't believe in God. I am a devout Catholic. We get along just fine.

    "...children should learn to do the right things because they will feel better about themselves" – Actually, children (and adults) should do the right things because it helps OTHERS, not themselves. Regardless of your religious or non-religious beliefs, in the end, it's not really about you feel about yourself. It's about whether you have done a service to your fellow man. The former view is just selfish.

    "She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture? " – If you don't actually believe in God, then why you are even asking this question? For those of us who do believe in God, at least from a Christian perspective, God gave us all free-will. Meaning, we each choose our own actions and we have the ability to know right from wrong. If we choose the wrong path, then that's on us. It's not on God – he has people here on Earth who try to teach his will. If people choose to ignore it, then that's on them. THAT is why we have child abuse, murder and torture. If you want to start a debate about natural disasters, I honestly don't have the answer behind that other than that we live in an imperfect world – although God's intention was that it be perfect, he recognized that the people did not want it so.

    There are some people who take the religion card too far. In the end, it's not so much about following strict principles and really comes down to a few basic tenets that anyone (religious or not) can and should follow. Just as the non-religious should not be criticized for their beliefs, so should the religious not be called dumb, absurd, etc.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Angie

      Well said, Laura! Thank you!

      January 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  13. Raphael Larrinaga

    There is definitely a difference between 'religion' and 'spirituality'. I was raised Catholic, and I eventually fell away from it's community, not so much because I wasn't getting the answers I wanted, but because I wasn't getting what I believed to be reasonably thought out answers. I've gone from staunch believer as a young person, to a staunch non-believer, and then back to somewhere in the middle. That middle place has nothing now to do with Catholicism, but with my own beliefs about what God really is. I don't think it's such a bad thing to get to that place on your own, where you've done a lot of gut wrenching soul searching for years, just to come to terms with spirituality and your own personal set of beliefs. I'm not going to pretend I've got most of the answers I want, but finding them on my own is much more fulfilling than subscribing to a religious set of beliefs set down before me as a child.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  14. leesuh

    Thank you for posting what many of us believe. Keep religion personal. Jesus, save me from your followers!!!!

    January 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  15. Chien

    Living without God sounds like hell on Earth.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Fuel

      The happiest, most fullfilled, successful ppl I know are atheists. I know a lot of successful, reasonably happy Christians too but they always seem to be missing a lot just as you clearly are.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • allen

      well fuel its obvious that athiests are too lazy to actually spell out the word "people"

      way to go.

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

      Well allen, it's obvious that you are too lazy capitalize your sentence and you proper punctuation.

      Well done.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Akira

      Is it a trait of yours to ignore capitalization and punctuation, allen?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, crud, Brian; you beat me to it!

      January 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      not to me, chien

      January 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      allen: go fvck yourself. is that clear enough for you?

      January 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • allen

      Akira
      Um...that he takes his handle from classic fiction?

      great example of text book punctuation Akira. Every sentence should get 4 periods and an "Um." retard liberal.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Fuel

      allen,
      It's (that translates "It is", FYI) called an abreviation and it works as long as communication is accomplished. Anyway it's obvious you have nothing substantial to contribute when you focus on trivia like spelling or typos, etc.

      January 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Fuel

      BTW alan–It's Fuel not fuel–don't too lazy to reach your pinky for the Shift key. :))

      January 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  16. SP

    "an imaginary god" ? If the fact that her 3 year old was asking questions about life and heaven didn't make her take a second look at her beliefs, then nothing well.. not even if God sends a donkey from the bible to converse with her as He did before. Sad that she continues to rob her children from their quest to know truth.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      If her 3-year-old had been living in Afghanistan, he'd have been asking questions about Allah.
      In India, the questions would have been about Krishna.
      In Indochina, Buddha.
      In Israel, Yahweh.
      Where do you suppose little kids come up with these ideas, anyway?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Chris Gee

    I have been an atheist my whole life. At age 7 I made the conscious decision to not waste my time with imaginary beings, Santa, God, Satan, etc. I've looked to faith – and seen miracles in people's lives, but they were done by their efforts, not a miraculous being. My boy was brutally murdered in 2008. No God came to help, no God helped us deal with the pain and depressing aftermath. As a matter of fact, our own family abandoned us for not "thanking God" for taking him. Religion is a comfort cushion for people and that's well, as long as I am not judged, nor forced to believe in what isn't here. Like many people who argue that they "feel" God, I feel nothing. I feel that faith helps many, and credit is given to an imaginary being. If it helps people – it should be ok. Unfortunately millions of deaths are attributed to Religion and faith- making it unenticing and in cases menacing. I respect the author's honesty- and bravery. We too have been typcast – and left little "God" notes. I hate to admit how collectively stupid christianity has become - Thanking God for taking 26 little Angels from Newtown. Seriously? If it was your child DEAD - you wouldn't feel so gracious.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • mikeaceshadow

      Totally in agreement with you Chris. The standard answer from preachers when tragedy occurs..."The Lord works in mysterious ways". What a bunch of bull!

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

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • SP

      Sorry about your son, but GOD is NOT a BUTLER who comes whenever you say so and sits before your thrown to answer questions and be judged.. Even God's only son was left on the cross when He called out. And he said those who are thanking God for taking a life (not that God always do) speaks truth? SATAN NOT GOD Allowed Job's family members to die. JEsus WEPT numerous times over deaths.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Mark

      What a terrific and eloquent comment, Chris.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • JJ

      So sorry for your loss. There's nothing more repugnant than hearing Christians try and reconcile that the god they quiver in fear of, worship and calll loving is a psychotic blood-thirsty most immoral beast. The most intolerable hateful people I've every met are Christians.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • John Philby

      JJ: How tolerant of you!

      January 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Pastor Rasaun O. Sheet

      @john
      so we have to tolerate the intolerant?

      January 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Fuel

      Chriss,
      Very well said! And I have HUGE respect for you just surviving intact thru that worst of all possible events. Most of all–thank you for the contribution here.

      January 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Fuel

      SP,
      So your God is either impotent or doesn't give a SH_T.

      January 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  18. Tony Disibio

    Please explain this if at all possible,by any of you.

    The earth revolves around the sun,it maintains an exact,precise Distance,every second,of every minute,of every hour,of every day,that we live upon the earth -you all understand this so far?
    If the distance ever changed,then the life upon earth would perish either by freezing to death,or Burning to death.
    Do Any of you understand this very simple fact?

    You associate – Man-Made religion with God, Man -made religion is man made -so it is quite Flawed,as we have seen,many many times throughout History.

    Man-made Religions have been involved in many war's and extreme Violence all throughout time.

    God is only about LIFE,that is proven in our home he gave us,and maintains, Everyday,and everything upon the earth,for all
    of life to live on the earth.

    God gave us freewill,and freedom to do and live -And what you see is how humans live with each other,its all humans.
    stop blaming God for ANYTHING except for the life and home he gave us.

    Please try to dispute any of this, especially how everyday life exists -humans just donot get it, past their little ( I-phones )

    Simply Silly Humans – God has nothing to do with Violence,humans have everything to do with it -disprove it

    January 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No evidence for your silly idea that you call "god."

      January 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
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      January 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      how do you reconcile free will with an omniscient god?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Coyote Stark

      This is a common misconception among the religious.

      Earth's orbit is elliptical and varies between 147 to 152 million miles in a year. Every star in this galaxy and others has a habitable zone that is based upon size and intensity; our orbit could increase or decrease by at least 4 million miles and still be within our star's habitable zone.

      If your claim was even moderately based in scientific truth, any large earthquake would remove Earth from our habitable zone.

      Sorry!

      January 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Not a chance

      Actually, the distance between the Earth and the Sun constantly change.

      Free will cannot be found in the Bible, and it is a ridiculous concept. It is totally incompatible with an omniscient God. It is not possible unless you can know the consequences of your actions. It is not possible if there is huge amounts of contrary information that is capable of confusing the individual. It is not possible if there is social coersion, as there always is. It is not possible if information has been suppressed, as it always is. It is not possible unless an individual has enough intelligence to understand the relevant information and foresee the outcomes of all possible courses of action, which humans cannot do.

      Free will is a fraud argument.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Brian

      "The earth revolves around the sun,it maintains an exact,precise Distance,every second,of every minute,of every hour,of every day,that we live upon the earth -you all understand this so far?
      If the distance ever changed,then the life upon earth would perish either by freezing to death,or Burning to death.
      Do Any of you understand this very simple fact?"

      That's very simple. Gravity. That beautiful, and sometimes annoying, force that keeps you held onto earth. And our orbit does change a little bit over time. Also our obit isn't circular. It's elliptical. Meaning at certain points in the orbit we are closer to the sun, and at other points we are further from the sun. And this changes depending on the location of the other planets. Remember GRAVITY. It affects everything. Anything that has mass has a gravitational pull. For example, the same time the earth is pulling down on you, you are pulling up on the earth.

      "You associate – Man-Made religion with God, Man -made religion is man made -so it is quite Flawed,as we have seen,many many times throughout History.

      Man-made Religions have been involved in many war's and extreme Violence all throughout time.

      God is only about LIFE,that is proven in our home he gave us,and maintains, Everyday,and everything upon the earth,for all
      of life to live on the earth.

      God gave us freewill,and freedom to do and live -And what you see is how humans live with each other,its all humans.
      stop blaming God for ANYTHING except for the life and home he gave us."

      I'm confused by this. Every religion is man-made.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, how do you make the logical leap from a creator to a God?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Pwnzor

      "The earth revolves around the sun,it maintains an exact,precise Distance,every second,of every minute,of every hour,of every day,that we live upon the earth -you all understand this so far?"

      You obviously have no understanding of basic science

      January 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • mikeaceshadow

      You are crediting so called God for what science and physics do. Remember Big Bang?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • dwayne

      'That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" – Christopher Hitchens

      January 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Sam, I guess it depends how someone uses the term god. Historically not all gods have been all-powerful or even immortal or involved in day to day life. Would a rogue alian scientist who made us as a lab experiment be a god? Would it make a differenceif he/she/it were inside our outside our known universe structure?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Matt

      Your first sentence was wrong so there was no need to read the rest

      January 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Mark

      "The earth revolves around the sun,it maintains an exact,precise Distance,every second,of every minute,of every hour,of every day,that we live upon the earth -you all understand this so far?
      If the distance ever changed,then the life upon earth would perish either by freezing to death,or Burning to death.
      Do Any of you understand this very simple fact?"

      How do you even respond to someone who has such a fundamental lack of scientific knowledge?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Sara,

      I responded to you back on page 50 if you have time to look.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • JJ

      The answer is that you are an ignorant uneducated simpleton. You took the time to spew your ignorance of basic science when you could have taken that same amount of time and Googled for the info.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Tony,

      Which god? I am serious.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      After you're done googling "aphelion" and "perihelion", move on up to "Anthropic Principle".

      In case you're too lazy (or too afraid of what you'll find), here's the short version: The reason Earth seems exactly suited to human beings is because we evolved here. If Earth hadn't been just the way we see it, we would have evolved differently. If it were too radically different from the way we find it, life wouldn't have evolved at all, and we wouldn't be here to ask questions like this. So, you see, you've got it exactly backwards.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • seaann

      Excellent !!! The ignorance of the comments that I have read is a result of what false religion has done to people. The designer of this Universe is loving. 1 John 4: 8 God is love.
      He has shown that by the very planet we live on with all of its beauty. Man is the reason for the mess Not our loving Creator( Jehovah God) Psalms 83:18.
      He is the giver of life as well as sustains it. How ungrateful and disrespectful some of the comments are. Psalms 36:9 " With you is he source of life, By light from you we can see light"
      Satan the devil has done a great job in blinding mankind. 2 Corinthians 4:3,4. He has blinded the minds of the unbeliever so that the good news might not shine through.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Russell, you are correct. I have been trying to explain that simple concept to christians for years but they fail to grasp it. Imagine the egotism involved in believing otherwise. Then the ultimate insult comes when they say WE are egotistical. We who claim that nothing can be truly known as 100% fact (Science is self correcting) while they claim that not only was the entire universe created for humans but that they know god exists and his very thoughts and they are irrefutable facts. The mental acrobatics required to believe such nonsense is astounding in itself as well as disgraceful. This is without even mentioning all the atrocities committed in the name of such a vile belief.

      January 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Cheese, I responded on page 50 just a few minutes ago.

      January 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  19. Aunt Maud

    I was raised Catholic and it took me years to figure out that that God was not a bearded man blowing in the wind. He is a Supreme Being who created the Universe. But from the tiniest of the atoms, where did HE (it, she) come from? We'll never know in our humanistic form. No matter what we believe, or how we live, we are all throwing the dice on the inevitable. What WE were taught to believe might be wrong. God gave us all free will, but all those innocent people who were taken by surprise never had a chance to exercise that. Are they destined to suffer? I always remember the standard answer given by priests when confronted with the question..."Why do bad things happen to good people?" Because God acts in strange ways! Hmmmm!!

    January 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • seaann

      Aunt Maud,
      I am sorry that you have been lied too. Mankind is responsible for this mess.
      The Creator is a Loving God,(1John 4:8) God is Love. Sorry you have not come to know that yet. One way to take a first start is this.
      Humble your self and pour your heart out to Him. If you have a bible in modern language for you to understand. Start at Genesis 1:1 read the creation account. ASK in prayer for How you come to know who He is.

      Psalms 53:2 " God has look down from heaven itself upon the sons of men, to see if there is anyone having insight anyone seeking Jehovah" you can also check on line: www:jw.org. read the bible on line.

      Much success to you!!!

      January 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  20. Tom Joad

    You do not need to believe in a faith in order to know what is right in your heart.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Biology 101

      You do know that you know things with your brain, and not the muscle in your chest that does nothing but pump blood, right?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Mark

      What is your brain-heart telling you, Tom Joad? Tell us. Elucidate.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Mark

      Pardon.

      "Heart-brain" not "brain-heart". "Brain-heart" would be silly.

      January 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Um...that he takes his handle from classic fiction?

      January 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Sarkastik1

      "Heart-brain" not "brain-heart". "Brain-heart" would be silly.
      -
      Don't give Gibson any more ideas for mixing gore and religion. "They'll never take ouir faithdom...!"

      January 26, 2013 at 12:04 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.