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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. Jen

    C4Y, this is a more accurate and useful video about god and religion:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&w=640&h=390]

    January 21, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  2. Dan

    As Christians ,Jesus tells us to spread the gospel(good news)

    January 21, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your personal belief has no bearing on my reality. Proselytization is annoying and unwelcome.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • BornAgainAtheist

      The "Good News" being that God sacrificed his only begotten son, Jesus, to save us from a Hell that He created? Where God either fore-knew that we would reject him and be sent to Hell (and yet allowed us to be born/created anyway) or that he predestined us for Hell and conceived/created us anyway... Is that the Good News you mean?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Answer

      The Arabs are doing the same thing. You freaks just go right on ahead and annihilate each other okay? Do it faster.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • Gir

      And, congratulations. You've done that. The task is completed. There is no place on the planet anyone could go to escape your cult. You can stop preaching now.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Mark

      The better news is that the gospel is just a fiction made up by men, so you don't actually need to share it.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • sam stone

      Danny Boy: And my belief system tells me to ridicule those who purport to speak for god. That being said, get back on your knees and beg your petty, vindictive pr1ck god for forgiveness. Fair enough? Now we both are doing what our system tells us.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:11 am |
  3. T-Roy

    Self Confidence is an attractive quality. I appreciate your post and wish there were more self confident religious people in the world. The Insecure people who run around trying to convert others become obnoxious after a point and end up doing the opposite of what they set out to do.

    People want to be with other people they see as their equals. They want to be with people that they share a common feeling with. No one wants to be with a spouse or significant other who is insecure and obsessive and that goes for friendship as well. Why do people think it wouldn't matter when it comes to discussing religion?

    January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am |
  4. Dan

    Looks like my post of12:23 got censored by the atheists at CNN chickens

    January 21, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • tallulah13

      Isn't it fun when christians pretend to be persecuted?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • Answer

      Of course they did.

      But you didn't want to think out the other logical answer in that you may have had a naughty word – perhaps in the comment – that might have triggered the word filter.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Word List

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      crac-ker…
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      inf-orms us…
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      x.xx…
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).


      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • Mark

      I'm with Dan on this one. Why use reason to figure out why your post didn't go through when imaginary worlds (of conspiracy) are so much more fun.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • sam stone

      tallulah: "but, we're being persecuted for jeebus...."

      January 21, 2013 at 5:13 am |
  5. T-Roy

    "For me, born as a free thinker, I choose to believe in God somewhere when i was a youth. "

    Everyone is born a Free Thinker.

    Adults teach children everything they will turn into. Whether that be a Christian, Hindu or a Buddhist, or a xenophob, Misogynist, or a bigot.

    Children have no control prior to the age of reason. The world would look a lot differently if religion were not taught to children until after the age of reason...

    January 21, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • BornAgainAtheist

      I can identify with your angst, however, children must be taught something at an early age. I think it is better to teach them a wide range of beliefs held across many different cultures and let them decide. While every parent must, at a minimum, convey what they believe to their children, it is imperative that they (we) must acknowledge that what we believe is faith. I have faith in atheism. My Wife has faith in Christianity. My wife and I agree to disagree and our children will decide for themselves. Maybe they will become Hindu or Muslim... All of us must follow our own path.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  6. Chris

    Ironic isn't it, that if you read the article it talks about how the blog was marked as inappropriate and that CNN was condemned for linking it. Now I am a Christian, and I love my Faith, but I see nothing inappropriate in a person doing something that helps other parents in similar situations. The woman's personal beliefs are no threat to me, and I hope that she would consider mine no threat to her, but I can see where in a situation like this she or others with similar beliefs would feel quite alone. It is sad that Christians take it upon themselves to chastise others for being different. I am fortunate to have Pagan friends, Jewish friends, Christian friends and Atheist friends I do not judge them for where they attend (or don't attend) services. It seems to me we have much more important issues to deal with.

    January 21, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you, Chris. I have friends like you. I have no problem respecting the beliefs of people who respect my lack of belief. As you said, we have more important issues to deal with.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • BornAgainAtheist

      Chris, thanks. If we all acknowledged that what we believe is faith-based, be it theist or atheist, this would be a much better place.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:37 am |
  7. tracydushaj

    tallulah13, Christians do not believe the universe was created for humans. Sorry. The only worldview that puts humans on a pedestal even remotely that big is secular humanism. "If we all join hands we can change the world" sounds more like an atheist/ humanist anthem than a religious one. Christians, and other monotheistic religions, believe that God created the universe for His glory. And if that seems egotistical to you, that's okay. He is, after all, God.

    January 21, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Answer

      Oh?

      You should talk to Chad and get his spiel about the "fine tuned universe".. you'll fall flat on your on comment about what you just stated.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Tracy, please explain exactly what is self-centered about believing that humanity is just another finite life form adapted to live on this planet? Please explain how that is more selfish than believing you will live forever in paradise if you put your faith in the right myth?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • Jen

      tracy, who does the bible say the earth was created for?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      I guess tracy has no answer. Oh well. I gotta go. Night, all.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:45 am |
  8. BornAgainAtheist

    Happy now? :-)

    January 21, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • LinCA

      Much better. :)

      January 21, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Athy

      Way much better. Welcome to the club.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am |
  9. C4Yourself

    Many of these people were not religious prior to their event and most had never heard of an NDE before. For those that don't believe, watch eye-witnesses tell their stories:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FehcSO5YNUI&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K2I5P36-Z8&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRuKuGBd0Bo&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSQ1XUWVLRc&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFJjf0fwFSA&w=640&h=390]

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

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfZy5sqVHiE&w=640&h=390]

    January 21, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • Answer

      So funny.. near death experiences. You gotta love the freaks and their fantasies.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • BornAgainAtheist

      Seriously? This is what you call evidence? Ever watch cable TV? Next...

      January 21, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Gir

      Applying supernatural explanations to natural phenomena that have already been explained by neuroscience = NOT SOUND EVIDENCE.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • Jen

      C4Yourself, this is a more accurate and useful video about god and religion:
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&w=640&h=390]

      January 21, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      NDE's have been experienced by pilots and astronauts during high-G training. When a christian experiences an NDE, he/she see Christ. When a hindu experiences an NDE, they see hindu gods. NDE's are proof that the brain responds to stress in unexpected ways, and that those who experience NDEs translate them through a filter determined by culture. NDEs are not proof of any god.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • C4Yourself

      NDEs are not the result of neuroscience because the brain is dead. No brainwaves or function. NDEs are not a dream because the brain has stopped functioning. This is proven. Once you actually begin to research NDEs you realize the similarities and commonalities amoung people's experiences. This is true among the believers and non-believers as well; young and old. The non-believers will always explain away why all of those who have seen the other side and come back to ths world are lying, crazy, or part of some conspiracy. Unfortunately, they are blinded by their own beliefs. Just reading the comments, it's not hard to see many of the non-believers want to believe this is something beyond this world, and a Creator except their minds can't connect the dots between this book called the Bible, which seems frought with inconsistencies, and the idea of a higher being. That's perfectly understandable and easy to dismiss, as is the common response by non-believers. The Bible was never meant to be a science or a pure history book, and frankly, it's a roadmap to salvation. See, if Heaven exists and it is indeed a place for perfection, it was make sense that we should try to achieve perfection in our own lives here on earth where God has given us free will. Of course, this is impossible. So for many, what religions and the Bible ask us to do is unachievable and frustrating. It's much, much easier to focus your belief system on yourself, your values, what you can see around you in your world, rather than on some amorphous ideas of a place called Heaven and a God I have never seen. Yes, this is much easier. The world around us says "Focus on yourself, that's all you need." It's a message of anything but humility and humbleness. My prayer for the non-believers is that you find faith and take this gift of life and free will that you have been given to explore and seek that which is beyond yourself.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • james

      jen; I can't believe people are still using that clip. we have the wheel and fire now. catch up. and just for my 2 cents, there certainly are many Gods. which do you worship? please, not george.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  10. Checker

    What gets me are all the "one in ten-to-the-fortieth" type of events that had to occur for us to be here. Either we have a math system that doesn't work for reality or someone or something when through a lot of trouble for us to be here. Life went extinct six times on earth, DNA rotates one direction but not the other as though place here otherwise it would have developed CCW and CW, a planet the size of our earth had to collide to make the moon, the moon is huge compared to earth and stirs the core to make a magnetic shield, one of the extinctions is where the polutant oxygen killed everything off, a super nova had to make all the elements we have on Earth, Earth has all elements like none of the other planets we know of, gases and dust had to be in the right place for a blast to consolidate them enough to start a solar system, Earth has both land and liquid on the surface, univese expanded at precisely the rate to avoid collapse or dissipation. There are 50 things I could list that had to happen just right and in sequence, quantum particles know what will happen next. Probability math says multiply the number together to get the end result probability. My friends we are in a giant computer, a hologram of a world.

    January 21, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Athy

      So what? Doesn't matter how unlikely the occurrence. What's that got to do with it? It happened. Who the fuck knows or cares how long it took? That's totally meaningless. It may have taken 10 to the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 factorial centuries squared 100,000,000 times. Who knows? It doesn't matter. We'll never know anything about the universe before it happened. You religies have to believe some creator did it. Not required.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Jen

      Checker, you are the only one of us. It is all just your hologram.

      More seriously,. the anthropic principle is adequate to explain the situation we are in. Essentially, to be here observing it means that probablistic selection is already done and out of the picture. Kind of like asking someone who has already won the lottery, whether he thinks he will have been a winner in his lifetime. He's already there. That's the point.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Jen

      Thanks, Athy. Your post came in while I was typing and I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. You are just thinking and typing faster :-)

      January 21, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Checker

      Athy,
      I am not a religie. All religions are completely man-made. People mindlessly take the religion of their local and of the enemies that overtake them. It is insane to believe in make-believe beings yet the country is based on it. Pretty terrifying when you think about it. Insane people killing others and going to war over the make-believe. Religion was created to control the masses and to make them do what leaders want. Maybe some day it will go away.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • Athy

      Sorry, Checker, I know you're not. I was just waiting for someone to bring up the "finely tuned universe" argument to let loose my response. Actually, Jen's response was much better and logical than mine. Thank you, Jen.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • Checker

      Jen
      Well a lottery is designed to produce a winner. The Universe, do you think we are winners for being here? What occurs next is everything goes back to where it came from. To zero, just like the way a lottery winner's dollars eventually make it back to zero. Thousands of planets found, and from heat/cold, location, wavelengths, there is no life. From a human standpoint and how we are stuck on this planet, there are no rules on us from outside on how we choose to live. As in this thread it appears humans have to engage in conflict with each other. Humans are animals and cannot be contained, and they will always turn to devices for escape. My original comment is saying that someone or something went thru a lot of trouble for us to be here. Normally one thing leads to the next. But after this Earth ball of life what is next. Seems this speck of dust goes away. Something extraordinary generated for no purpose at all.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Damocles

      @checker

      Of the thousand or so exoplanets found, some show potential for possibly having free standing water, which is a precursor for possible life. While we have disregarded some planets based on the fact that they are too close or far from their star to support what we think of as life, this does not mean that they don't, or are incapable of, supporting life.

      The instruments that we have are not quite fine-tuned enough to see the actual surfaces of these planets, so we can't really rule out any of them.

      I am perfectly willing to accept that all life on this planet is unique in the universe. This makes it all the more important for humans to grow up as a species.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:11 am |
  11. roman2819

    Someone posted here, saying that he want to hear from buddhists or hindus regarding their beliefs. I come from a country in Asia where there are about 25% buddhists/taoists, 10% hindus, 15% muslims and 12-15% christians. People who are buddhists, hindus or muslims are usually born into their faith ie they follow what their parents believe. But some may choose a different faith later, ie: a free thinker or buddhist may decide to become a christian. Usually, however, muslims and hindu are more tightly bounded by tradition and hey stick to their faith all their lives. But there are Indian churches where most worshippers are indians or previous hindus. For me, born as a free thinker, I choose to believe in God somewhere when i was a youth.

    People here do not tend to influence or discuss other people's religion much. Hindus and muslims, especially, do not talk to others about their faith unless they are asked questions by a non-muslim or non-hindu. Christians may practise friendship evangelism. I noticed that public christian evangelical rallies are getting less and less (compared to 20 years back), because few people accept Christ at such rallies. Whether Christians or Buddhists, they share their faith more on friendship basis with people they know. There is no public pressure, no public prayers at school.

    Anyway, there is a book "Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's will" dedicated for all who believe, and for all who haven't.

    http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781620241431

    January 21, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  12. BornAgainAthiest

    So, I'm still waiting for some Believer out there to tell me WHY they believe in a god...

    January 21, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @BornAgainAthiest

      Why do you spell atheist wrong in your handle?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      @LinCA – typing too fast...

      January 21, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • LinCA

      @BornAgainAthiest

      But why don't you fix it? It's your name/handle that has the spelling error in it. You don't retype it every time, do you?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      @LinCA – No, I don't retype it every time, it's just what is associated with my login for this blog for now. Somewhat of a trivial issue, when discussing people's eternal souls (if they exist), don't you think? :-)

      January 21, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • LinCA

      @BornAgainAthiest

      You said, "it's just what is associated with my login for this blog for now."
      It's not like it is permanent. You can simply change it.

      You said, "Somewhat of a trivial issue"
      True, but it makes you look less than intelligent. Almost like a believer.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • John

      I believe the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the one that sent Jesus to die for our sins. I believe him because of all the things he said and did. He is God.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Athy

      Go away, John. You're playing out of your league.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • BornAgainAtheist

      Things that were written down on a piece of paper (or papyrus or whatever)... But what EVIDENCE can one point to? I'm truly curious because it was no small thing for me to walk away from the christian culture. If I've missed something, then I'd like to know about it...

      January 21, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • james

      born; personal experience and much study to gain accurate knowledge. if you really want more I will be glad to share but be sincere and serious, thanks, j

      January 21, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • james

      just realized when you posted so I will check back later. sorry if I woke you.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  13. Douglas

    Proverbs 22:6 – "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

    Teach your children about the glory of God.

    Protect them from the world of fornicators, thieves and liars.

    With God it can be done!

    January 21, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Brainwash a child in the way that he should go...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • tallulah13

      Douglas is a sad individual who hates himself and wants everyone else to hate themselves too.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • HarryJ

      Are not many televangelists and other Christian leaders fornicators, thieves and/or liars? Why not show us that it works first before bragging about it, OK?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Austin

      born again athiest. do a statistical analysis on the prophecies in the bible. the numbers are basically divine and proven to be through revelation to prophets. that is a repeatable experiment. there you go.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Gir

      "Do statistical analysis"

      How ambiguous.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • T-Roy

      What if the fornicator is the child's priest?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • sam stone

      still in that closet, doogie?

      January 21, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  14. Jez

    Goddess – I love this woman! She is right on the mark!

    January 21, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  15. coca-kola

    Folks we all believe something, some of us believe Darwin, some believe Mohamed, some believe David Koresh and some Stalin. I believe the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth,

    January 21, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • tallulah13

      I believe in things that can be substantiated by fact. You are welcome to believe whatever you want.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Would you care to cite any repeatable experiment that supports the existence of a god?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • Athy

      The teachings of Jesus are good. It helps to control the behavior of the believers. I just don't believe in god or a creator. These concepts are utter nonsense, totally without evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Len

      Who "believes" in Darwin? Most of his findings are still relevant to the study of evolution, and he is to be admired for his genius in recognizing it despite his religious programming to assume a creator, that's all.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • HarryJ

      So, you're saying that the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth is comparable to these other choices? That's kinda unfair to Darwin, isn't it?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Mark

      What a peculiar and motley crew of names you tossed together there. I think it reveals something about you and your presuppositions.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Karl Denton

      We don't believe in Darwin, Science is not something you believe in it just is, all the rest of it, religion is all about belief!

      January 21, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • T-Roy

      "We all believe in something"

      The difference is that somethings would exist if you believed them or not. Atheism is not a belief, but a lack of a belief. Stain existed whether you believe it or not. The laws of nature and physics operate whether you believe them or not.

      You need a human and a mind to imagine and to have religion. Without man, there can be no god or religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  16. kenny

    can any religious person convince me they are intelligent? that they know how vast the universe is and they can even begin to understand a being that could create it. that they know the bible is full of contradictions yet they pick and choose which ones to follow. that their beliefs are solely based on their parents and if they were born to others would have completely different beliefs... seriously how can a religious person claim any kind of intelligence when you have to deny it in order to follow ridiculous beliefs...

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

      I'm an atheist (with advanced degrees), and I know several intelligent people who believe in God. The problem is not intelligence, but dependence. It's hard for non-independent thinkers to accept that they are alone in the universe and that all we see is all there is.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • kenny

      people don't need to be intelligent to get degrees... intelligence is defined as the ability to understand ones surroundings and solve problems related to them. religious people tend to deny their surroundings and refuse to challenge problems that contradict their beliefs. they could be intelligent but they choose to not be. any intelligent person would see the bible and religion for what it is... a way for men in power to control humanity. its that simple.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • JimVA

      So, Kenny, what is your criteria for being considered "intelligent" by you? If it includes total agreement with you and if it requires a denial of the existence of God, then I won't waste any more of our time since your issue then has nothing to do with intelligence. If you are truly serious (and "intelligent") about a dialog, then...

      I understand that the universe is vast (infinite actually) in many dimensions – in size, complexity, and it's interrelationship with live as we know it. I understand and practice the sciences and reason, and know enough to understand there is much we don't know. I don't subscribe that trivial tales that were written as teaching tools for a primitive mankind are the literal explanation of how the universe works. I believe that God, like the universe, is infinite in scope and depth and when (again) is trivialized is diminished to a point of being ridiculous. I don't have to deny anything of reason to believe in God. Evolution is not only possible, it is consistent with my deep Christian faith (and with my mainstream religion by the way). Science to me is lame without faith, and religion is blind without science (I didn't come up with that, Einstein did).

      So what is it that you consistently find "unintelligent" about every "religious person"? Or have you only been talking with the nut cases?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • John

      Yes Kenny, you are alone, because you rejected God. That is why he doesn't make himself known to you. It's what you wanted.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Gir

      I don't think having faith makes you unintelligent. It just means there's at least one aspect of your life where you willingly refuse to apply logic.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Answer

      Look at the need of the religious people...

      ===Here is a christian saying that he/himself is in a relationship== Funny.

      –quote–
      John

      Yes Kenny, you are alone, because you rejected God. That is why he doesn't make himself known to you. It's what you wanted.
      –end–

      @John

      What a wonderful bond you have .. LOL

      January 21, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Athy

      Depends on the degree, Kenny. I've never met a degreed scientist, mathemetican or engineer (and I know literally hundreds) who was not intelligent (and most are atheists, by the way). I've met a few other degreed people who were a little less intelligent, but certainly above average. I've met a whole shitload of people who had no degrees at all and are not intelligent. I've never met a stupid person who had a degree. But there are plenty of intelligent people without degrees. So what's your point?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  17. tracydushaj

    So one in five is not affiliated with any religion. That's 20%. Of those, 68% say they believe in God, just have no specific religion. So that makes 13.6% of the 20% believers, just not affiliated. That leaves 6.4% of people being "atheists". Not that numbers matter, but for all of your crying, you guys are still the VAST minority. If I moved to Afghanistan, I would automatically assume I would need to adapt to the PREVAILING culture, which is Islamic fundamentalism. I hate to break it to you, oh vast and infinitely intelligent atheists, but the prevailing culture in America was, and still is, a Judeo-Christian one. For such a little crowd, you sure do make a loud, annoying cry at how unfair things are for you.

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

      Gotta start somewhere. Delusions won't cure themself.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Jenifer203

      What are you so afraid of, tracydush?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well, gosh. I guess some of us took seriously the freedom of religion promised by the Consti.tution of the United States.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      When I look at the demonstrable failures of mass belief/action... One of my favorite sayings is: "that many people can't be right..."

      January 21, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Allen

      Hate to break it to you..but this is not afghanistan. We are a secular country with no religious affiliation. Treaty of tripoli. Educate yourself.
      So, minority groups should be quiet and be like everyone else. Got it.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Answer

      "If I moved to Afghanistan, I would automatically assume I would need to adapt to the PREVAILING culture, which is Islamic
      fundamentalism."

      ===Why would you need to convert if you're in the right?

      Oh yeah unlike you christians who practice at political maneuvering to instate laws that bring you your CHANGES.. those freaks use real violence.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Len

      So, what you're saying is that, it's really important to just go along with the crowd and not challenge the local bullies no matter how wrong, or mean they are? I guess you've never watched any after-school specials, have you?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Mark

      Unfortunately for you, being a majority doesn't make you any less wrong about your belief system. It's the natural tendency of affluent, educated societies to become less religious for a variety of reasons, so as long as we can keep from churning out tons of high-school dropouts and keep a strong middle class we have increased religious disaffiliation to look forward to.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      @Len:

      Ha!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • tracydushaj

      I am definitely not afraid of atheism, or its adherents. Atheists are worshiping, too. They worship self. Atheists have faith, too. Faith in the hope that there really is no God.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Answer

      There's no finer saying – that the apologists have made up – to pin down atheism as a religion.

      So they try and keep on trying with no results.

      ====quote===

      tracydushaj

      I am definitely not afraid of atheism, or its adherents. Atheists are worshiping, too. They worship self. Atheists have faith, too. Faith in the hope that there really is no God.
      ====end===

      January 21, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • tallulah13

      I find it funny that christians claim that atheists worship "themselves". Is there anything more self-centered than believing that the universe was created just for humans and that the most powerful being imaginable is watching 24/7 in order to discern who gets to live forever in paradise and who has to suffer for all eternity. The ego required by christians is sometimes astonishing.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • tracydushaj

      Prevailing culture, not prevailing belief. My faith doesn't change. I just wouldn't go around suing every school to get the Koran taken out of it because I was offended, or because hearing it made me feel "out of place'. As a Christian in a predominately Muslim nation I would be, shockingly, intelligent enough to realize that I am in the minority. As far as Christians using political maneuvering, isn't that the system in place to be used to invoke change? Do not atheists do the same? Do not all politically active Americans do the same? Not my fault there are more Christians...

      January 21, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Mark

      @tracydushaj

      "Atheists are worshiping, too. They worship self. Atheists have faith, too. Faith in the hope that there really is no God."

      It's like you're trying to make Christians look dumb. Please stop.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • the AnViL

      once again – another glaring example of the divisive, discriminatory nature of xianity.

      they literally believe minorities do not deserve equality.

      – tracydushaj – you should be ashamed to be so ignorant on a national public forum.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Mark

      @tracydushaj
      If you want a theocracy maybe you should start your own country because America is not about that. Perhaps the middle east would be more to your liking.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      I really don't get what you are trying to say, tracy. Do you think that minorities should just shut up and accept marginalization? Do you think that it's good and proper that people who don't believe the same things you do should be silenced? Wow. No offense, but I find that thought process to be immoral, selfish and blatantly unConsti.tutional.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Damocles

      @tracy

      So your faith is nothing more than wanting to be on the team you think is going to win.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:43 am |
  18. Jenifer203

    The Christians here all seem so defensive and hating, and they lash out or change subjects when anybody says boo to their crazy mad beliefs about zombies and talking snakes and all. I don't think that would be the case if their god existed.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • BornAgainAthiest

      Not zombies... animated bones... latter part of the Old Testament... Just like Jonah was swallowed by a "big fish" not to be confused with a whale... and lasted 3 days...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • lol??

      Mark was just braggin' about americult's youth luvin' zombies. Did you gwow up?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Mark

      @lol.
      I was actually making a connection between the popularity of vampires as manifestations of the youthful fantasy of everlasting life and the childish notion of utopian everlasting life in monotheistic religions. It's funny to see how it got churned around in that soggy mess of yours into whatever it is that you were attempting to say.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  19. Answer

    What's the matter 'lol' ? Can't tell a knock knock joke on your own?

    January 21, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • lol??

      Who's there?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Answer

      Lazy as well. Good to know.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  20. Domine

    If Christians are taught to love one another. Why are we getting such a hateful response?

    January 21, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Jenifer203

      Domine I just posted about the same too.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • Len

      They love each other, ... everyone else can, literally, go to hell.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think it's fear. They are lashing out because they have no facts with which to protect their beliefs. All they have is idle threats and insults. It's sad, really.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • lol??

      Are you one or the another, boss?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:00 am |
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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.