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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. Lee Michaels

    It makes no sense, it isn't logical, or practical. Neuroscience even explains our need to believe. That doesn't make it so. We are here like all the other living things and when we're gone, we're gone. Deal with it. Or not, believe in the tooth fairy if that's what get you though.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • lol??

      You feel a need to hand out permission slips?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  2. Reality

    A Sunday afternoon summary for all the kids out there:-->>>

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

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

    earlychristianwritings.com/

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

    Current RCC problems:

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

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

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

    January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • lol??

      ".....Jesus was an illiterate, ......."............."Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,"

      January 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Ttere is only one place in the NT that suggests Jesus could read i.e. Luke 4:16. This passage is not attested to in any other NT passage or scripture thereby failing rigorous historic testing.

      See also Professor Crossan and Professor Reed's book, Excavating Jesus, p. 30.

      See also Professor Bruce Chilton's commentary in his book, Rabbi Jesus, An Intimate Biography, pp 99-101- An excerpt:

      "What Luke misses is that Jesus stood in the synagogue as an illiterate mamzer in his claim to be the Lord's anointed".

      It is very unfortunate that Jesus was illiterate for it resulted in many gospels and epistles being written years after his death by non-witnesses. This resulted in significant differences in said gospels and epistles and with many embellishments to raise Jesus to the level of a deity to compete with the Roman gods and emperors. See Raymond Brown's 878 page book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (Luke 4:16 note on p. 237) for an exhaustive review of the true writers of the gospels and epistles.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:00 am |
  3. TS

    I grew up as an agnostic, and at times an atheist. I received the Lord later on in life, while in medical school. I am 34 now. I feel I can relate to the author because I was an agnostic, and still can't help but have some agnostic views on things. I feel that there is a difference between faith, and religion...and I think the author has more problems with the latter, as do I. As former atheist turned believer, I also have problems with the same things the author points out. I have 3 kids, and while we do go meet with a church, I don't try to explain everything to them in terms of a religious framework. Ultimately, they need to choose God for themselves. In any case, I think the author makes certain assumptions of why believers need God....and equates it with the need for an afterlife, as well as a sense of structure, community and hope. That may be true for some for sure, and that's fine. For me, it is more simple...I came to see that the Lord loves us, and while I have very little capacity on my own to love Him back, it is His love for us that causes me to love Him. I don't really believe in a "place" called "heaven" although I suppose I must believe that there is some type of afterlife, that our spirit lives on and goes to be with the Lord after we die. But that certainly in itself is not the goal or purpose of believing. I don't need the Lord because of community, structure and hope...in my natural being, I'm not very social and prefer not to meet with other believers. I prefer the freedom of not being constrained by "religion". I don't need a sense of hope...I always had some sense of hope for the future before I was saved. It is just a matter of loving Him for who He is. I don't "need" Him. I just love Him. I just wish believers and non-believers alike can have greater understanding, and perhaps even acceptance, of one another.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Answer

      So you needed emotional support. We get ya.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • TS

      Answer – your reply does not make sense...I don't think I said anything to imply I need emotional support...

      January 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Answer

      "and equates it with the need for an afterlife, as well as a sense of structure, community and hope."

      Here is your post. Look into it yourself.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • TS

      Answer – that is what the author of the original article said, not me

      January 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Len

      TS
      What sense of hope does a "saved" person have? You live, breathe, and sleep the end of the world when you imagine King Jesus will come down here, end democracy and basically everything we call "American", and rule us all with an iron hand after killing 2/3s of the world population. Gee, and you guys sing hymns in anticipation of this.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  4. dave

    If I kill someone because its part of my human nature which has been perfectly evolved over millions of years to outcompete other species and animals of my own species should not the real atheist stand up and come to my defense? Don't steal tenets of Christianity and other religions you weak-kneed atheists. Stand up and support man the way nature intended him..mean, murderous, cunning and highly successful at outcompeting all other species.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Damocles

      @dave

      I will defend your right to take a life in self-defense. I will defend your right to kill in a war, which amounts to the same thing. To try and say that atheists support random killings and stupidity flung around on message boards is ridiculous.

      I have no idea where you get the idea that humans are the end result of evolution, perhaps you should read a book or something.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      That's such a strawman argument, I almost deign to respond, but: cooperation among many members of a species helps ensure survival at a higher level. How long could one (average) human survive on their own? Cooperation ensures survival and dominance. Ethical/moral constructs of "don't steal, murder, cheat, etc." simply facilitate cooperation and are, hence, simply extensions of proven Darwinian evolution.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Simran

      " If I kill someone because its part of my human nature which has been perfectly evolved" – If you think this is what evolution means "killing your kind" , I would suggest you to take a course in study of evolution and first understand it. You don't kill your kind and it definitely is not human nature. In fact, it is against the whole primate nature, even that of chimps etc.

      Now, what makes you think that not stealing, not killing is a tenet of Christianity alone? That is a pretty arrogant statement. These tenets have been upheld in my part of the world (Asia) for more than 5000yrs now, even before Christianity was born, and christians are still a religious minority here.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Michael O'Brian

      I don't think you have much of a grasp of nature or evolution, or perhaps you learned it all in Sunday school.

      Survival of the fittest does not require that individuals care for themselves. In fact, we see many examples in the animal world where individuals working together can out survive individuals working alone.

      A community or even society with a set of rules and morals governing cooperative behaviour is an anticipated product of natural selection. A just society arises from evolution just as much as that society may evolve religion.

      The timidity lies with the religious who are too fearful of our vast natural world to go forth without the crutch of "god" to explain everything they do not yet understand.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  5. Keith

    Maybe her boys can start out their life with the burden of overcoming their "good Christian raising" like I did

    January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • lol??

      You raise vegetables. You train children. SORRY!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
      • Keith

        Training Children and hearding cats have a lot in common

        January 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • Keith

        Train them for the hell they will live in your Fundamentalist Church. Sorry !!

        February 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Keith

        Sorry for what, your arrogance?

        February 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  6. I believe

    Why do so many people mock and insult those who believe in God on this blog but expect their beliefs to be respected and accepted? YOUR HYPOCRISY IS SICKENING!
    People who believe in God and salvation in Jesus try to share because they have love and compassion towards unsaved people. Not to condmen or judge just trying to share because they care.
    If you don't believe in or care about God at least try to understand and respect people's intentions. Can't you at least appreciate that someone cares about your well being and is trying to be kind to you? Take a minute and reflect on all the insulting and mocking comments and ask yourself why? What good have you brought for everyone here? Are we caring about each other?
    What ever you think is real or not I suggest you make sure of it because at the end of life you will either be very happy, extremly shocked, or nothing at all.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      I'm not mocking you, I just don't share your beliefs. I'm married to a Christian, whom I love very much. My whole family and extended family are Christians and I love them as well. We have just agreed to disagree. Please, convince me that God exists and that I need him/her/it in some way. That's an honest request – convert me.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Answer

      "towards unsaved people."

      So hilarious. The vary same thing we're doing for you. Saving you religious tards from stupidity.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      The reason I disagree, which is not mocking, is the fact that even though you are saying it's done out of love, you can't keep the whole 'you are unsaved, going to hell' atti-tude out of your posts.

      Condemnation is not love, telling someone who does not believe as you do that their children are in dire peril is a scare tactic, not love. Telling someone they are damned because of their preferences for partners is not, you guessed, love.

      You can believe whatever you want to believe and I will defend your right to believe. I even respect your belief to a certain degree. Just because someone believes differently than you does not make them wrong no matter how much you wish it to be.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Simran

      " People who believe in God and salvation in Jesus try to share because they have love and compassion towards unsaved people. Not to condmen or judge just trying to share because they care."

      Just like you want the others to be saved, maybe, they want you to be saved bcoz they care. You believe in one truth and you know others don't care for it. Yet you want to impose your truth on them. Same way, the ones who have come to a conclusion that their is no god, that religion has and is doing a lot of harm to society, that belief in an imaginary being does no good – they want to share the truth they have learnt with you.
      Why complain? Believe what you want to and let me believe what I want to. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • What IF

      @ I believe,
      "I suggest you make sure of it because at the end of life you will either be very happy, extremly shocked, or nothing at all."

      "This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century, even by the Church (where have you been?).

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Still don't see a response here as to why to believe... Or would that be throwing pearls before swine?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • I believe

      Like I said your HYPOCRISY IS SICKENING!!!!!!
      You don't give a crap about respecting anything or anyone that doesn't fit your rules and could care less about extolling anything that would be encouraging while you say how enlighten you are. What a grand slice of humanity! Your love and kindness brings tears to my eyes.
      As as far as the "Pascals wage"r garbage is a joke. Do you think you writing that on a blog on cnn is going make it that way like your "I've got it all figured out declaration" is the end of it?
      I'm feeling the care about other people as much as you care about youslef thing from all of you. Have a nice ife.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:44 am |
  7. hal 9001

    In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.

    – American Airlines

    January 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  8. missy

    What a God I have to worship, what a Son I have to praise, what a future lies before me, everlasting loved filled days!

    January 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Answer

      You wanna be served or are you going to be the 'garbage' up in heaven?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  9. Journey

    I read the article and honestly wasn't moved or impressed. A few points: #1) the whole set-up seemed like it was taken off of a dating website which was somewhat inappropriate considering the subject and the fact that her children had no say in the matter, #2) she kept hitting the "I'm a mom" button to the point where I didn't know if the article was about atheism or her own self-importance and access to knowledge that the rest of us don't have,#3) she bashed God (in caps the whole article) for making people narcissistic, but then claimed atheism made people more psychologically complete because they could now focus on themselves instead of "external" things (i.e. moral requirements to neighbors, family, self, etc.). My take was she believes in God and is jealous of all the power He has over her and her children. It is what it is. You put yourself out there like you invite constructive criticism.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Journey

      Correction: You put yourself out there like that you invite constructive criticism. (apologies).

      January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  10. Zane

    All atheists must assimilate. Resistance is futile.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Sure.. when you religious nutcakes are dispensed of first.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  11. PRISM 1234

    Jesus Christ came to save the lost.
    Without Him every human being is totally lost and undone.
    To die without Christ means to be separated from God in eternal damnation.
    God's gift of salvation is for every human being, and therefore is to be preached, proclaimed and offered to all.

    But many don't want Christ because He confronts them with who they are.

    Are we not to preach, teach and call people to Christ through repentance and faith in His Name, because some are offended in Him?
    God forbid, !!! We will never cease to proclaim Him and preach the hope and salvation that is in Him.
    As for those who turn away, it is their choice to go their own way.
    Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God, His Word and those who love Him will never pass away.
    In vain the ungodly rage and plot against the Lord. Yet He knows their end and allows them to boast themselves for a season , till their iniquity comes to its fullness.
    When the Lord lifts His hand in judgment, they will be dumb in silence , their hearts melting within them for fear.
    And because they turned their hearts against Him, and caused others to do the same, He will laugh at their fears. He will judge them by HIs justice, but the humble who call upon His Name, He will judge them with mercy....
    Blessed be the Lord our Rock, our shield, our deliverer and Mighty Warrior, who takes up the cause of His people! Blessed are they who put their trust in Him and are not ashamed to proclaim His Name – AMEN!

    January 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is Samuel Barber in hell, Prissy?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Save us from what?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Athy

      I don't believe in jeebus or god. And I'm neither lost nor undone.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nah. I don't believe in your god because there isn't a single shred of evidence to support his existence. And if a man named Jesus Christ existed, there is no reason to believe he is the "son of god". The events related in the bible surrounding his birth contradict actual history to the point that it becomes apparent that the story was falsified so that it would fulfill the jewish prophecy that the "messiah" required.

      I don't have it in me to believe something that is so obviously a made up story. My parents raised me better than that.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Answer

      The babbling whiner Prism. Your kind are just filth at the edge of the long drain to obscurity.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Mark

      @ PRISM1234.
      Ah, copy-paste for the lazy christian "win". Just evidence of how original and/or independent thought are beyond your capacity.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • I believe

      AWESOME and AMEN!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Nah. I don't believe in your god

      YOU WILL! !!!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya because you shout out that in caps. Sure.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      No, but because HE will shake the heavens and the earth and make His glory known. And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD!
      That's WHY!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya sure.

      Shake shake shake. Do tell everyone of your dreams. Bring your emotions to this task and console yourself that you're not just a loser with another wish.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, prism. If only there were a single shred of evidence that your god exists. Maybe then your threats would get a reaction other than laughter.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  12. ChadWatch

    @Chad, the Abrahamic god that you keep referring to, and boasting about incessantly, does not exist. It is claimed to have characteristics that taken together, prove that it does not exist.
    @Chad, that is a fact.
    @Chad, please stop spewing about your delusions.

    Thanks.
    The Rest of The World.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  13. R

    Why does CNN encourage people to brag about being godless? Idiots.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Why would that make us idiots?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why do people who believe in something that has no substantial proof of existence think that they are virtuous and above criticism? Kind of silly, if you ask me.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  14. martin

    For a fool says in his heart ,there is no God. God cannot deny himself ,someday for someone ,it will all be over and when you walk down that path to eternity , you will face the ultimate truth, and the worst part is, you cannot change anything at this time. Jesus is coming,repent and be saved.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why can't I change anything? If your god is so merciful and loving, then why cast me into hell just because I see no evidence that he exists?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      What is he waiting for? For the Word to be heard in every tongue? Check. For Israel to be a nation? Check. For Harold Camping to say it's time? Check, check. All of the prophesies have come and gone and we're still here. Time to move one with our lives and acknowledge that WE are responsible for our outcomes, not some imaginary god.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Martin, you need to work on your comma placement. But your critical thinking skills are way beyond help.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So the bible says that anyone who doesn't believe what the bible says is a fool? And you fell for that?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Translation. If you don't believe in my invisible friend right now and for the rest of your life, he will make things a living hell for you once you are dead. That argument for the existence of god has the stench of failure written all over it.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  15. BornAgainAthiest

    I'm a born again athiest – brought up in a Southern Baptist tradition and well-versed in theology. I could give any pastor/priest/theologian a run for their money. But once I started thinking for myself, non of this tradition made sense. A god who created hell and devised the rules that determine who ends up there? Free will or predestination, take your pick, that god is a devil in my book. Religion is only necessary to explain the as-yet unexplainable. In an age of discovery, I'm surprised that my fellow athiests number less than 10% of American citizens... I can only hope that another "Great Awakening" is underway.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • lol??

      So what was their tradition on water baptism? If there's only one baptism how can it possibly be water?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Mark

      There are more of us that you imagine. One in five adults have no religious affiliation these days. Up from 15% in 2007.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Bornagain, if you really want to be an atheist, you should spell it right.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • I believe

      Why do you care what anyone else believes? If people who believe in God are blind why are you and everyone else so quick to dispute it and at the same time mock and insult them?
      All of you can say what you want about how everything is and God is evil or bad because he allows it. Free will of man is why this world is so terrible.
      In the end you can say what you want but if God is real I'm pretty sure you're not going to be calling the shots.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  16. missy

    II will continue my walk the Lord. When we open our hearts to Him,we begin to see and understand the love He has for His children. All anyone has to do, is ask Jesus into your heart. The depth of His love is endless and forever changing.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Why would I ask Jesus into my heart?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't you mean "forever UNchanging"?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Missy, you really can't think for yourself, can you? Pity.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • missy

      Looks like tom is paying attention

      January 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I will continue to believe in things that are real and substantial. I am an adult. It is my responsibility to be accountable for my own actions. It is my duty to look for truth and answers in things that can be proven. I am not a child to believe in comforting fairy tales. I am not afraid of my own mortality, and when the time comes I will accept that my death is the logical and natural conclusion of my life.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I pay attention to errors of all kinds. So much for the claim believers make that atheists and agnostics don't know anything about the bible.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • doris

      missy, you said "II will continue my walk the Lord."

      Are you walking to the lord? Or are you trying to inform him that you currently are walking?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mark

      I've also heard that if you believe in Santa he will bring you gifts on Christmas eve. There's a catch though, you have to be nice and not naughty.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  17. Holly

    I agree with her. As an Atheist myself, I do not look down on other religions. I grew up in a very conservative Irish Catholic family and attended Catholic Private schools from Kindergarden up to the 8th grade. I don't think there is a God, I never did. I remember being in class and wondering WHY they were so persistent. This boy was yelled at and sent to the principal in 3rd grade for asking too many questions that the 30 year old teacher could not answer.
    I know I am a good person, I help the needy, I donate my cans of food and old clothes to people that need them more than I do. I – like this brave woman, do not need God in order to be a good person. Atheism does not teach hate, it does not teach anything. We don't go to classes for it, we just live life. If there is a God and he/she/it punishes you despite having been a good person all your life then your god is unjust and you shouldn’t worship him.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Thank you.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you. I agree.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Steve

      Question-Who decides what is "good?" Who sets he standard? If God does not exist, how do we know good from evil?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Answer

      Well Steve.. .let me stab ya.

      Do you like being stabbed? Does it hurt you? Do you cry out to me to say "hey this isn't fun for me"?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Simran

      Steve.
      Society decides what is good or not. That is why, good has different connotations in different societies. What is good for the western society is not considered good in eastern society. What was once considered good in the past is not considered good now. "Good" is and will be defined by the cu.mulative morality of the society.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow, Steve. Are you really incapable of knowing right from wrong without a supernatural buddy? That's kind of pathetic.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Mark

      Holly, you knocked it out of the park.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  18. Lunchbox

    I was raised catholic, went to church, went to catholic school, and I taught for four years at a catholic school, but what that really gave me was my own view on religion. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I believe the Catholics have it right? No. Do I believe that you need to go to church every week to get in whatever the afterlife is? No. If there is an all knowing all powerful god (Which again I do believe there is) we would be naive to think that any one religion has it absolutely right. And I ask why would an all knowing, all powerful, FORGIVING God be mad at what we choose to do? Especially when he / she gave us the right to choose? I highly doubt he or she would be mad. As long as you lead a good life I feel you will have the great "afterlife" that all of the religions preach. And ya know while teaching at a Catholic School I saw many evil things done in the name of god that REALLY made me question how I was raised, but it has not shaken the fact that I believe IN a God. It just made me really question the Catholic view, when they preach forgiveness and understanding. Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not, will I be the first person to admit that I as wrong if there IS a Heaven and the Catholics had it right? Yes I will, but like I said before, when It all adds up to "someone upstairs", I dont believe any ONE religion is absolutely correct or perfect. That's just my two cents, I hope people can be respectful but of course this is the internet and I highly doubt it will stay that way. = )

    January 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I respect your belief much more than I respect those that walk lockstep with the religion of their choice because they've never dared to look beyond. How can one be an honest believer if one never questions what they are told to believe?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Mark

      At least it's obvious you're trying to make sense of things, instead of buying the prepackaged systems being peddled on every street corner.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  19. Godoflunaticscreation

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xeK7R-TgHI&w=640&h=390]

    January 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Goodnight everyone.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Goodnight, and thanks for all the fish.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • christian biologist

      Regardless of what you believe, there is a God. Nothing starts on its own. IF the stars and universe are moving away from themselves (big bang theory or whatever anyone wants to call it), what started that motion? ANSWER = GOD. Too much of who we are as human beings, the intricacies of our bodies and mind are to complex to be left to chance. For those who want a closer look at how science proves the case for a creator – Lee Strobel, "The case for a Creator". He was an atheist journalist, now christian.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's funny how christians say that something can't come from nothing and then claim their god did exactly that. Does their faith blind them to their hypocrisy?

      The fact that we do not yet know the origins of the universe is not proof of god. That you claim it is only proves that you would rather accept the simplistic answer that "god did it" than wait for an honest, accurate answer. I don't find such intellectual laziness to be a virtue.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Mark

      You have conflated two "arguments" for the existence of a god.
      1-everything must have a first cause. Refer to response CI200 "http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI200.html"
      2-life is too complex to not have been created. Refer to response CI101 "http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI101.html"
      Read your links for a response. Your "arguments" are neither original or compelling.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  20. chrisbates87

    I've read through many of the comments posted here, and there seems to be a misconception by some Christians that all atheists promote hate. I resent that. I was raised a God free household. Obviously we had discussions about god and religion, but these discussions were not limited to Christianity. In fact I had only been in a church once in my life (for a piano recital) before I headed off to Europe when I was in my 20's and toured a few old cathedrals in Spain. I guess I feel like I don't need the promise of paradise or the threat of eternal damnation to be a kind hearted person with good intentions. Being a good person is something that should be taught through proper parenting, not religion.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think a lot of the hatred from christians is based on fear. If we are just as decent as they are, how can they claim to hold the moral high ground? It must be terrifying for some of them to realize that good exists without god.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Answer

      "How can you be like that without my god?"

      "Simple.. it is because we can be."

      January 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
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About this blog

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