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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 • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. Katie

    Interesting that a lack of religion is somehow seen as equivalent to a lack of spirituality. Spirituality is the wonder of all that which is incorporeal or immaterial in nature. I do not follow a religion, but I am spiritual in a way that works for me. I do not follow a religion, but I have strongly defined morals. Is it better for a child to be raised with religion, but without morals or without religion, but with a healthy sense of morality?

    As human beings, we all find spiritual outlets, one way or another. Organized religion is one way to do it. Those with whom it resonates are happy in the church, and those for whom it does not supply an outlet leave it behind.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • janey33

      If you believe in God, you have morals. You follow His laws. But you do not have to believe in God to have morals. Murder, kidnapping, and lots of other things are wrong whether you believe in God or not.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:05 am |
  2. janey33

    A Christian can pray for anyone anytime without telling them. There was no need to leave messages in her mailbox, at least not more than one. God gives us free will to believe in Him or not. Those who do not will suffer the consequences. Jesus teaches love, forgiveness, and tolerance. He will forgive us if we ask. That's an example the nonbelievers need to learn, as they are full of hatred and contempt for those with whom they do not agree with. I know both Christians and Atheists, and Christinas are much more loving and tolerant because they really care about others.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Apparently vanity and arrogance are christian virtues, if janey33 is anything to go by.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Perfect oxymoron

      "Those who do not will suffer the consequences. Jesus teaches love, forgiveness, and tolerance."

      January 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      janey33 has been here before. She's no brighter than she was when she first posted. What a shame.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • wind

      thank you i'm an atheist and don't care whoever you believe in as long as you respect what i believe or don't believe in

      January 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • janey33

      wind...It makes no difference to me what you believe. But most atheists DO care. They have no respect at all for anyone who beleives in God. Actually, a true atheist doesn't care what someone believes. I know an atheist who doesn't care at all that I believe in God. He is very secure in his unbelief. Those who are so intolerant of Christians just don't want to acknowledge that there is a being who is in charge of their lives, so will have nothing to do with Him. They hate everything Christanity stands for and are very hostile to those who don't believe what they do. I, on the other hand, do not care if someone doesn't in God.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • janey33

      wind...oops! That should have been "I, on the other hand, do not care if someone doesn't believe in God."

      January 21, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • janey33

      Perfect oxymoron...You just don't get it. Jesus forgives our sins if we ask Him. It is up to us to ask. He will never force you to come to Him. That is your decision to make. If you come to Him, you will spend eternity in with Him in Heaven. If you reject Him, you will spend eternity in Hell. That is the consequence of your rejection. It is your choice. But why would you rejcect someone who teaches us love, forgivenes, and tolerance? Try reading the New Testament and learn who Jesus is. Then you can still reject Him if you want, but at least you will be better informed.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Damocles

      @janey

      It's always the same.... you have the choice to not believe and he loves you, but he's going to send you to hell if you don't love him. Could you, as a parent if you are one, use this defense in a court of law: My child needed to be taught to love me so I locked him in a closet for a week to teach him or her to love me'?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • janey33

      Damocles...Your posting makes no sense. You cannot be taught to love someone. You either do or you don't. And that's the way it is with God. You either have a personal relationship with Him or you don't. I didn't make the rules...He did. If you ever decide that you want a relationship with Him, read the New Testament and you will find who He isi.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Damocles

      How can the bible teach me to love a deity if you can't be taught love?

      January 21, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • janey33

      Damocles...It doesn't teach you to love God. It tells you about Him. It is up to you to accept Him or not.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:39 am |
    • Damocles

      @janey

      Unsurprisingly, you are missing the point.

      If I can't be taught love, then I can not love. Out of all the relationships that I have in this life, this is the only one in which I need to read a book. If an all powerful deity needs me to read a book to learn about it, clearly it is not all powerful.

      January 21, 2013 at 3:18 am |
  3. dmvcitizen

    I believe in Santa. You can't prove he doesn't exist. So don't waste my time.
    Said a 6 year old

    January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • wind

      first of all lets get this thing straight all of the technology we have today is thank to science and second thing is science is based
      on cold hard evidence. i know i'm sounding like a hypocritical person. also can any find evidence that jesus was really white with blue eyes. he was a jew so most likely he was brown eyes and brown/black hair and tan skin.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • wind

      first of all lets get this thing straight all of the technology we have today is thank to science and second thing is science is based
      on cold hard evidence. i know i'm sounding like a hypocritical person. also can any find evidence that jesus was really white with blue eyes. he was a jew so most likely he was brown eyes and brown/black hair and tan skin. take no offense.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • wind

      first of all lets get this thing straight all of the technology we have today is thank to science and second thing is science is based
      on cold hard evidence. i know i'm sounding like a hypocritical person. also can any find evidence that jesus was really white skin with blue eyes light colored hair. he was a jew so most likely he was brown eyes and brown/black hair and tan skin. this just a guess on one has really seen him. take no offense.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • janey33

      wind...nobody knows what Jesus looked like, but He certainly wasn't white with blue eyes. It is logical that you are correct.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • janey33

      Answer....HUH?? A Christian does not hate those who do not believe. Pity, but not hate. It is the atheists who are so hateful and intolerant of those who do not believe as they do.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:33 am |
  4. Godoflunaticscreation

    January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      5 videos from a dead alkie. I guess your side doesn't have much to offer, LOL!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Answer

      Pitiful christians can't ever put up enough hate for Hitchens to ever put the man down.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I thank esmerelda for constantly proving how just believing in Jesus can make you a more loving person. Thank you!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  5. Esmerelda de Ville

    Mangy dog = good. Worth saving.

    Child in the womb = bad. Kill at will.

    They are a sick death and hate cult.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

    • poe

      January 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Is that what they teach you in Mexico?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • janey33

      They are both worth saving.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  6. janet

    Ahhhh – day 6 or 7 of this stupid drivel that only divides us further. Okay we get it – atheist mom writes blog -gets people upset. Let's please be done with it!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  7. Silence

    It's a fad!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  8. Esmerelda de Ville

    You know how you can prove that atheist are better than Christians? They brake for animals. LOL!

    This kind of bizarre thinking really comforts them. No lie.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Obvious troll is obvious. And not very interesting.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm |

    • Why did you shoot those puppies, John?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Really Now?

      So christians don't brake for animals? Hmmmmm . . .

      January 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure they do. But I'll bet some of them on here wouldn't brake for an atheist.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • janey33

      I am a Christian and I love animals and would never hurt one. What do you have against animals??

      January 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • visitor

      I abort puppies and kittens. bwaahahahahahah

      January 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • janey33

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son...how sad you are. A Christian is a follower of Christ, who teaches love, forgiveness, and tolerance. If you really knew anything about Christianity you would know that a Christian would never kill an atheist.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      janey33, you are dreadfully thick.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  9. Austin

    do you hate santa? why do you hate Jesus?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Zapped

      Straw man. Atheists don't have what they don't believe in. That is a lie perpetrated by lying Christians, like Austin.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Austin

      one day a sick cat wandered into my yard. that night i had a dream that i was inverted upside down, and the cat ran underneath me with blood gushing out of it, while a demonic voice sang in a multiple tone voice. then when i woke up, i knew i had received an evil report, went outside, and found the cat ran over at the end of my driveway. explain that yall athiest evolutionists. explain the devil that you dont believe in because you cant see him.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      Atheists hate all that is good. If there was a Santa, they would hate him. They hate the pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, they hate their pastor, they hate their parents, they hate your parents. They are a hate cult! LOL!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Wow!

      Was that really you, Austin? Or was that a troll pretending he was you? Because if that was you, you need to be permanently institutionalized in a mental hospital NOW!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • The "Unclear On The Concept" Award Goes To . . .

      Esmerelda, for believing that atheists have a pastor.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Austin

      i am not lying zapped. i can give you about lets say ten other dreams i had that were spiritual supernatural miracles. but these would not be the substance of anyones faith. The Holy Spirit is the substance of ones faith. The Holy Spirit.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doesn't it crack anyone else up that Esmerelda ends every post with LOL?

      "I hate all of you atheists and your little dogs, too! LOL!"

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Esmerelda

      I stabbed the puppy in the head seven or eight times. LOL!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • visitor

      why would that be god? maybe it was the Goddess of Dreams

      January 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  10. Coup de Ville

    Christians shot in the back of the neck while going down stairs. Atheist's pets eat their eyelids. LOL!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  11. missy

    I am so thankful that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He died for me and you so that we will not perish but have ever
    lasting life. What a wonderful gift!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It always makes me sick when christians are so happy that a man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      @ tall Trying to make sense of religious loonies is a futile exercise.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • The man

      Do the research, there may have been no Jesus. Christians stole Pagan holidays and they stole stories. Remember religion is a business. Evil just as much. Just look at all the wars. Atheist don't hate, Atheist have not tortured others who believe differently. Know your history don't give into brainwashing.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • janey33

      The man...atheists don't hate?? You could have fooled me. It's obvious that they hate Christians.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  12. AK

    Funny. atheists here calling me intolerant.....

    January 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Donald

      They didn't mean "intolerant." They meant "total dumbshit".

      January 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • lb309

      Yeah, I've noticed the atheists on this site get really touchy and hateful if you question their beliefs.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Silence

      Donald- Intolerant!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Donald

      I will happily admit that I am intolerant of total dumbshits.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  13. flare68

    Thank you for your bravery. Many of us are becoming more and more open our atheism.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      Why don't you keep your beliefs to yourself!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • SLTsherey

      Never thought I'd see such high percentages in my lifetime – it's all so very encouraging, isn't it!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Nathan

      Yep. Nice to live in a day and age and place where you can be open about a lack of belief and suffer fewer and fewer social and legal repercussions for it.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • flare68

      @Esmerelda de Ville: It is obvious you are a troll and have no intellectual idea what most of us are talking about. It is also clear you are a child, and obviously, unsupervised at that. I am sure seeing your name over and over with your "funny" quotes gives you an ego boost but the sad thing is... you aren't funny and not EVEN slightly threatening. Please, go brush your teeth, and go to bed. Leave the debate for those of us who actually have real opinions....that don't end in ..LOL Baiibye

      January 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • flare68

      @SLTsherey and @ Nathan...I live in Texas and more people are being open. There are three in the small office I work for. I love it

      January 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  14. virginia

    know Religion only means being part of a crowd who share the same belief system i guess athiest can have a religion of their own –belief that is what Religion means a guethering of people for the same porpuse of mind...what the atheist are trying to make is their own Religion of nonbeliever that's what they belief and have a common a nonbelieve...of a creator of the universe the heavend and us humans as well as all living thing mostly the claim themselves to be scientist=knowledgeable people but they are far from knowing at all OmniScience is far from 'all knowing".

    January 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Does your religion ban legible writing?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Athy

      Virginia. Please repost in English.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • flare68

      Atheism is not a religion. It is a label that states we believe in no deity.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Apparently virginia's god thinks coherency is a mortal sin.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Silence

      The people posting below obviously feel it necessary to you ad hominem to make their points. So much for tolerance. Judging buy the posts that are attacked, my guess is that they come from a group of "tolerant" atheists.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Silence

      Sorry, that should be "above posts."

      January 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Athy

      And it should be "by," not "buy."

      January 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  15. Mark

    @Laura.
    Please explain how an atheist would express his/her lack in a belief in a god without coming across as offensive? How do I effectively say that belief in god is equivalent to belief in unicorns or the boogey man. I do not respect belief in a supreme being. It does not deserve respect. It deserves ridicule because it is ridiculous to me. How do I express that to a believer without coming across as offensive?

    January 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      I agree. The time for tolerating i-diocy is past. It passed the minute the first "equal time" lawsuit was filed.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Donald

      It's that Christian moral relativism again. If a Christian asserts their belief, it is holy and righteous and good. If an atheist does the same thing, it is evil and offensive.

      If a Christian puts up a sign proclaiming Jesus, it is freedom of speech. If an atheist puts up a sign proclaiming atheism, they are shoving their opinions down our throats.

      Christians are the kings of the moral relativism they claim to despise.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Laura

      Well let's see. My husband is atheist and we talk about it all the time. I don't get offended because he doesn't act like an a ** hole and neither do I. He explains to me that he just doesn't understand how someone can believe in something that can't be seen or touched, and with no real proof of existence. I explain to him that that is the essence of faith, and so on. He doesn't compare my belief in God to that of a unicorn or the boogeyman. He also respects me and my faith despite the fact that he doesn't believe the same as me. And I think the same about him. We talk like sane, rational adults without name-calling or belittling.

      That's how it is done.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      @ Laura Your husband has to live with you. It's in his best interests not to say anything that will offend you, no matter how right it may be.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Laura

      @Tank – he knew about my religion long before he married me. If it was really that difficult to be respectful, then he wouldn't have married me in the first place.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Laura

      @Mark – Did you ever hear the saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?"

      Maybe try that. We should all probably try it, regardless of religious views. If you can express your atheist opinion in a respectful manner, then go for it. If you can't because you just think religion is that "ridiculous" and undeserving of respect, then just don't talk about it. It's that simple.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Jen

      I agree with Laura. It's not that hard. I don't disrespect people that believe in god even though I don't (the one in the bible anyway). The only people I have an issue with are those that try to remove separation of church and state and ram their beliefs down people's throats. I haven't met too many of those people in real life, thank goodness.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Mark

      @Laura.

      So you want me to pretend that I respect your belief in order to show respect?

      Now you could be an incredible person. A very reasonable and kind person. I think that would be great. But if you tell me flat to my face that you believe in some supreme being with the same level of certainty that a bigfoot believer tells me he "knows" that bigfoot exists, why do you deserve any different treatment? I suppose I could simply humor that person and nod, but I would only do so because belief in bigfoot has no real world consequences, whereas belief in religion has some very real and considerable real-world repercussions. When the stakes are so high, why should I just listen to you and nod as if you hadn't said something completely outrageous?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Laura

      @mark – How about you respect me as a person? And respect that I have different beliefs than you? That's really what it comes down to.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Mark

      @Laura
      In a roundabout way you seem to be saying that it's ok for you to state your opinion about the existence of a god and heap praise upon him/it, but it's not ok if I state my opinion about the existence of any god and heap ridicule on it. Remember I am not attacking YOU, I am attacking your belief.

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

      " I do not respect belief in a supreme being. It does not deserve respect. It deserves ridicule because it is ridiculous to me. How do I express that to a believer without coming across as offensive?"
      You are asking how you can be intolerant and insulting without being offensive! Really?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Laura

      @Mark – I never said that at all. I did say that I talk my husband (and a few other people whom I am friends with) about my belief versus theirs and it usually goes just fine. Honestly, you haven't called me any names but you have implied that I am a thoughtless fool by comparing my belief in God to that of unicorns and the boogeyman. It's pretty tough to have a true conversation about this topic on the internet because respect (or disrespect) can be heard as much in someone's tone of voice as in their words. I don't know why you would imply that I can voice my opinion but you can't voice yours – if I was calling you names or being rude to you just because you were an atheist, then maybe you would be right. But I haven't done that.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Mark

      @Laura
      I don't think you are a thoughtless fool. You seem to be a pretty reasonable person and that's why I continue to try and talk to you. My dilemma is that I'm trying to convey a perspective that I suspect is thoroughly foreign to you. I am trying to give you some way of seeing the world through my eyes for a moment. I am capable of putting myself in your believer's shoes because I once had belief, but imagine yourself talking to someone who is trying to convince you of aliens or bigfoot. Where do we start?

      @Silence. What is offensive about being intolerant of opinions you do not respect? I am not attacking the person. I am attacking the opinion. I think because people are so heavily invested in that opinion it is usually taken as a personal attack.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Laura

      @Mark – Fair enough, and I get it. I can completely and totally see why people would question the existence of God or why people could despise religion. I understand that my viewpoint and belief is much more difficult to grasp than yours because it is based on faith rather than something tangible. Like I said before, so long as I am not personally attacked then I am fine with conversing with someone who openly disagrees with me. And I try to do the same for those people. So with that said, we agree to disagree b/c my Christian behind needs some sleep.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Mark

      @Laura
      I completely understand and it's nice to be able to speak with someone of a religious persuasion who is capable of holding a conversation with an atheist without immediately calling me a baby-eater (joke). I'm not completely kidding though, check out the kind of misguided hate in America that is directed against atheists: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2009/09/19/research-finds-that-atheists-are-most-hated-and-distrusted-minority/

      January 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Mac

    Why is it that Sunday school starts at age 4? Why not wait until age 18.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Donald

      Ever try to get 18 year olds to believe that Santa exists?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      LOL! Donald set himself to ask a question and then pretend to answer as someone else. TROLL!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  17. Nietodarwin

    Forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE. Period.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Coup de Ville

      You don't force children into things. You lead them with candy and promises.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      Being raised by you is child abuse. LOL!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Austin

      pushing you child off a cliff to hell is child abuse, and depriving them of spiritual truth is spiritual strangulation. the devil has control of you if you do this to your child. you are a slave of deception and sin.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • virginia

      YOu know Religion only means being part of a crowd who share the same belief system i guess athiest can have a religion of their own –belief that is what Religion means a guethering of people for the same porpuse of mind...what the atheist are trying to make is their own Religion of nonbeliever that's what they belief and have a common a nonbelieve...of a creator of the universe the heavend and us humans as well as all living thing mostly the claim themselves to be scientist=knowledgeable people but they are far from knowing at all OmniScience is far from 'all knowing".

      January 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • visitor

      Thank you Austin. Hey how is your daughter Carrie doing?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • The man

      Raising a child with religion is brain washing not abuse. When religious people see 10,000 year old cave paintings and 65000000 million year old dinosaur bones they go in complete denial. It' s funny really, the brain wash gets rattled.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • janey33

      The man...Christianity has nothing to do with brainwashing. If you are a Christian, you know that God exists because you have a personal relatioinship with Him. If you do not believe in Him, you cannot know anything about that. No one can be brainwashed into knowing God. You either know Him or or you don't. A child will make up their own mind whether or not they believe, as I'm sure that you did.
      God created all things, including science and dinosaurs. Science is very comatible with Christianity. There are several places in the Bible that mention science. There is nothing to get rattled about. No one knows how old this earth is, as there was no one here when it was created. Those who believe in evolution have to have just as much faith in their beliefs as a Christian does in theirs.

      Raising a child with religion is brain washing not abuse. When religious people see 10,000 year old cave paintings and 65000000 million year old dinosaur bones they go in complete denial. It' s funny really, the brain wash gets rattled.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  18. freedom777

    It is sad to read the many comments on intolerance both on the sides of believers and non-believers. Fortunately, we live in a free country, where everyone can believe as they wish or choose not to believe. The sad part of the article is that the author wants to censor religion and for it "to be kept at home...", Whereas the author is FREELY expressing their opinion OUTSIDE the home–and she has every right to do so–but so do believers! The reality is that when we seek governments to dictate how one should believe or NOT believe–there is bloodshed. Example: Non-believer Mao–over 20million deaths... Catholic Church During Dark Ages–Millions. I am grateful that I can express my views and opinions FREELY. EVERY ONE of US–BELIEVERS AND NON BELIEVERS should be greatful for this freedom.

    January 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Nathan

      The issue for many is not merely expressing religion in public, but literally turning that expression into legal action against other people. If people wanted to wear god shirts and put god bumper stickers on their car and yell from the mountain tops they love god then so be it. But when people turn their "public expression" of personal belief into actively voting for laws restricting the rights of others for no other reason than that personal religious belief, then that goes beyond the pale.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  19. missy

    So sad that people disregard and try to ignore their spiritual being. How empty you must feel

    January 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Akira

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but I must say it's nice to read how full of it you feel.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      AGAIN claiming a universal perspective. Is it that you religious loonies can't think, or do you just not try?

      January 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • MaxJJ

      I don't feel empty at all Missy. I do feel bad for you though feeling as though you have to push religion upon other people. Everyone has different beliefs, just because it's not your belief doesn't make it wrong. OPEN YOUR EYES!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • flare68

      How arrogant you must feel to decide what is best for others.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      How vain of you, missy, to believe that your life is so much more full than anyone else. How ignorant and arrogant of you, missy, to dismiss the lives of others because they don't believe exactly what you do. If these are the morals taught by the christian church, I'm glad I am an atheist.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Nathan

      So sad people make assumptions like this.

      I did believe in god for nearly 30 years. I do not know. And I have never been happier, more fulfilled, more creative, more successful, or less empty than I am now. I am FAR better as a person, a father, a husband, and artist without a belief in a godbeing than I ever was with such a belief.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  20. Esmerelda de Ville

    Christopher Hitchens = fat, alcoholic, nicotine addicted, closet queen and hero of God-haters. That about explains all you need to know. LOL!

    January 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I really enjoyed the bit about the rice paddies you came up with earlier.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • I Am God

      If there is a hell out there, I am sure god would not waste one second to send you there.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      so, still on your knees, begging for forgiveness?
      good place for a slave

      January 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      Oh Tom Tom, just look up Mao, or Ho Chi Minh, or Pol Pot, you'll read plenty about rice paddies, bullets, and believers. Don't bore me. Use Google.

      January 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
      _ Christopher Hitchens

      January 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Esmerelda de Ville

      Hitchens = fat, queen, alcoholic, angry, drug addled, and therefore, hero to pet lovers and man and God haters. LOL!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Obvious troll is obvious, and apparently rather desperate.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Esmerelda. Please show me where in your google search, you found that atheists used an atheist bible to commit the vile acts christians commit using theirs. I will give you time....like forever. You will need it. Atheism is just the realization that god doesn't exist. It says nothing of war or genocide like your god calls for.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Esmerelda must be another iteration of TubeTop. What a dufus.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Nathan

      Sad.

      And woefully unChristian.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Human

      Obvious troll is obvious. Stop feeding it, it will go away.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.