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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. Irene

    When I was in high school I witnessed an interesting friendship between two girls. One was an atheist and the other one wanted to become a minister. They got along beautifully. So what's the lesson? Let's get along, regardless of who believes what and build relationships on our strengths and common interests. Let's stop bashing eachother, it's ridiculous.
    Use common sense and kindness, it's not rocket science.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      If that is the message you got, then you clearly got the wrong message, and the only message you got was the one Lucifer wanted you to get – so it could send your soul to hell...

      The bible clearly states "what fellowship has light with darkness, or righteousness with unrighteousness. And that light and darkness don't mix. It also states, it's not possible to eat at the Lord's table and to eat at the devil's table as well. God forbid. Therefore, your friend you saw may have been desiring to become a minister, but keep in mind, she wasn't a minister yet. And she did not know truth. And once she becomes a true minister of Jesus Christ and learns some truth, she will then discover that there is no fellowship between light and darkness. That we're not even supposed to be "friends" with unbelievers and sinners. Your saw your friend doing that at that time only because she didn't know any better, not that it was a moral lesson for saved people to follow. It is not. Be not deceived. Such behavior of befriending sinners can send your soul to hell...

      2 Corinthians 6:14 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • JWT

      What the bible states ? Who cares. The bible has some useful ideas in it and like with most other things we pick and accept those good ideas while leaving the crap behind. There is no possible reason to take the bible at face value. If you want to believe in god then fine but your assumption that people who do not believe are somehow doing something wrong is ludicrous.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      JWT... If you don't believe in God or in the bible then who even cares what you think. Your opinion matters not. If you believe that God doesn't exist, then we're not talking about your mystical, non-existent god. Instead, we're talking about the one that exists. So unless you believe in God, you're not even qualified to be in this conversation. And your opinion about our conversation matters not...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Jen

      I care what jwt cares about. I don't care what you think justthefacts (the most ironic screen name ever).

      January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  2. cedaly1968

    Just to be clear, religion and God are not the same things. My beliefs are rooted in faith, a spirituality that I cannot explain. I respect people who either through, choice, logic or reason, have come to believe there is no God. I do question how they define "God" and what God is purported to be to them. I do not believe God is this mythical creature that will smite me. I do not believe that God is a physical shield to protect me from flying bullets. I believe God is a conscience, one that is I believed shared among people despite their religion. I believe that conscience manifests itself in my soul and I cannot believe that my soul is a simple mix of chemicals because I believe we are connected to each other in some other way. It is easy to logic our way out of believing in Zeus or Isis or even an all powerful vengeful and benevolent christian God. But I believe God is more than that. God is us and we are him. Peace.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      You can believe in a lot of things, but that don't make it true. But you'd better believe in what Jesus said or else you're going to be in trouble...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Unjust facts
      Empty threats from a man-made superbeing. you should change your name to something appropriate like Wish I knew what a fact was.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  3. mike

    To all those non believers , what If I say I saw god. God is indescribable. Once when I was sick and kind of about to die
    I had this strange vision. I could lift my eyes only once,the next second I was on my knees, and I tried hard to lift my face and look at him again,but I could not. I didn't have the strength to lift my face. I was like a dead man, with no energy.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • JWT

      You think you saw god – good for you it changes nothing.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      Yes, I do believe you had a vision. I've had visions myself. But did you see God? Answer: No. The scripture states, "John 4:24 – God is a spirit" and that, "John 1:17 – No man has seen God at any time." So do you call the scriptures a liar? You may have seen something, but trust me, it wasn't God. And do not allow the devil to trick you into thinking it was God. Because that is how Lucifer works. He shows people things like visions and dreams and gets them to "assume" that it was God. When all the time, it was nothing more than the devil in disguise. That is why the scripture states "2 Corinthians 11:14 – For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." meaning, Satan will appear before others looking like an angel, and you'll assume it is God. When all the time it is nothing more than Lucifer in disguise...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  4. Believer

    Hello people,
    Here is another perspective to consider. Ravi Zacahrias shares why he is not an Atheist. God bless,
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eB2rfD5dX8&w=640&h=390]

    January 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Austin

      an athiest will never find spiritual truth in science project. if physical proof was what God would control you with (free will) He would not have hung on a cross. His kingdom is an eternal, spiritual kingdom. maybe we should get down to it and ask, do we have a spirit, or a soul?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • JWT

      I have neither a spirit nor a soul. And life is perfect without them.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      JWT... That's because you're too ignorant to know what you have. And you're too stupid to listen to anyone tell you some truth...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  5. Duane

    I have no religion, I am spiritual though, and realize that praying has theraputic benefits. I don't believe in a biblical God, anymore than I believe in Zeus or Apollo. I think if parents raise their children in a truthful and loving environment, they don't have to brainwash them with the lies of religion, it's really just a bandaid when you don't have the answer anyway. If I had kids, I would raise them free of it too. I remember my mom searching for answers through religion, when really, she needed mental healthcare. We were submitted to downright scary religious "experiences", for what? I applaude the people that say "enough", and decide to be the cycle breakers...The end of religion means the evolution of truth.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      You do have a religion. Your religion is "You". You believe in "You". And in the end, you will be judged according to your religion and as having a false religion, and shall be cast into the lake...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Saraswati

      @JustTheFacts, You say the OP with be judged by his own religion as having a false religion and cast into a lake? Is that what you meant to say? because if he has a personal religion I'm betting he (or she) comes up just fine on it, as most do on th eir own religions. And I doubt it involves a lake. Odds are just kind of against that element.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      JustTheFacts:

      Your religious rhetoric is the reason for this article and the one before it. Thank you for further proving that the ignorance that is Christianity is the exact reason why this women feels alone and chastised.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • GOD is a Lie

      GOD is a Lie

      I'd rather live in a World of Science and Logic, than a World or Religion and delusional zombie freinds. The abuse on children thru religions mentally retarded programing is a real crime, and yet noone says a word. Christian nations have killed more people on this Earth than any other religion. Christian nations continues to increase the gap between the rich and poor and the child abuse rampid . People are affraid to die !!! The GOD DELUSION is a Direct reflection of that used by controlling abusive people to screw others out of their money so they dont have to work. GET A JOB you buncha child raping pimps!!!

      January 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  6. Richard Cranium

    The possibility of an extra-universal sentient being creating the known universe is extremely improbable. Nothing has shown any evidence whatsoever of such a being. This creature would have to exist outside of everything, which would mean it would have to exist where there is nothing.
    To then go all the way to the abrahamic god, by its definition is utter rediculousness.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Saraswati

      It seems unlikely to me, but we don't actually have an objective way to measure such a proability.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      ridiculousness....... when a word has the squiggly red line underneath it, it is spelled incorrectly. lets grammar check people. Don't be ignorant like those we oppose.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  7. Blah

    Hail Satan!

    January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @Blah

      You said, "Hail Satan!"
      Satan is just as much part of christian myth as their god is. You have to be a believer to believe Satan is real.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Saraswati

      @LinCA, I'm pretty sure it was a joke.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • GOD is a Lie

      Christian nations have killed more people on this Earth than any other religion
      Only 1 Christian nation has used a nuclear weapon – US the richest nation in the world-are Christian nation and continue to increase the gap between the rich and poor as they have always done!!
      There is NO SATAN !! NO GOD !! Its all a BIG JOKE on YOU !!

      January 21, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • LinCA

      @Saraswati

      Better to be safe than sorry.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  8. Sukie in Canada

    I was raised catholic and at the age of 13 informed my parents that I was done with church and god, that I no longer believed. To this day, I still am a non believer. I have raised my kids without god.. Both my kids have turned out fine.
    I too truely believe that religion is a personal effect and belongs in the home or at school.
    My best friend is a christian and we have no issues in our friendship. It is just something that we have agreed to disagree about.
    All I ask is that you please let me live MY lie as i see fit, and in turn, I will let you live YOURS as you wish to live it.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      "let me live my lie"...freudian slip?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      It most certainly does not belong in school. I hope that's a typo.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  9. Josie

    Funny, I am not raising my children to not have God in their life, in fact at the moment they go to church every sunday. BUT I am Pagan and they live with very strong Christians. They both have the ability and do take advantage of having parents who are not Christian. Many Christians believe me and many like me to be Atheist, which is far from the truth, we just don't see eye to eye. My God or Goddess would not wait to punish one with eternal damnation for not following their path. We believe in karma, both good and bad, we believe and follow a set of holidays and even have ethics and such. I do not believe in Heaven or hell, nor have I in a long time. I don't know what is going to happen to me when I die, and I do consider a lot of my own beliefs on personal experience and not on a book that was written over 2000 years old. I like her have no problems with others religious views, but I don't need to be told to go to church every sunday, that I'm going to hell if I don't, etc. Sadly many Christians I know today have never even read the bible front to back, they go by what they are told by their leader of their church. Some only go on major holidays (Easter, Christmas). And some claim to be a religion or a member of a church and haven't stepped foot in one in years. At least I celebrate my holidays, I follow my ethics, and I live my own life the best I can and am passing that onto my own children. If they chose to be Christian, then so be it. I just hope they are open-minded and accepting of others. If they chose to follow the Pagan way of life when they are older, then I hope one day to be their first teacher and guide them on that path as well. All you Christians out there need to realize and wake up, there are amazing people that are not Christian and/or do not share your beliefs and one can loose out on many amazing friends if you waste your time shoving your beliefs down anothers throat. Sometimes just living the best you can, can convince someone that you are honost (and following whatever belief system you follows ethics, etc) then attacking another due to beliefs.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      Their are many different forms of Paganism, some absurd some not so absurd. When people say they are Pagan they never seem to elaborate on what kind of Paganism they follow. Are you a witch, do you worship Greek gods or are you a Druidry? As you can see Pagan beliefs vary considerably and I would like for all the "Pagan" out there to explain their specific beliefs without hiding under the guise of "Pagan." Just a thought.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  10. ITSMEEEEEEEEE

    All that I suggest to this mom is that If you don't want to "lie" (according to the original blog) to your children about God (that offers faith and hope), I hope that they're not "lied" to about Santa and the Easter Bunny (that bring candy and presents). Parents have a foundation to live by. We have to offer our children the right to believe. Whether it be believing in God, or Santa.. Children as adults will decide their own religious path. But they should never be told that God is fake, and the Easter Bunny is real.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      When her kids find out about Santa and the Easter Bunny, she'll still be able to give them presents and chocolate. She won't however be able to offer them eternal agony or eternal bliss.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • summersky

      I suppose you also believe she shouldn't read any fiction to her kids. (insert eyeroll here)

      January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @ITSMEEEEEEEEE

      You said, "But they should never be told that God is fake, and the Easter Bunny is real."
      Almost all children have imaginary friends and, at times, live in their own fantasies. It's a normal and healthy part of human development. The damage is done when adults insist there is one imaginary friend they are not allowed to dismiss once they grow up.

      The only difference between the Easter Bunny and any god is that children are allowed to stop believing in one and not the other.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • cinci

      I beleve in God. It's okay that this mom does not. I respect your comment and can see the common sense
      in it–but i have to say this is exactly the kind of response that creates resentment. It's her decision about all
      of those things you mentioned–Easter Bunny, God, etc.. I took my son on a train ride when he was a kindergartener
      and we ran into a mom and a boy who also went to the school my son went too. One of the first things the mom asked
      me was "what church do you attend" (we did attend a church) and i found that such a turn off. It wasn't a question–
      it was a screening and i felt insulted by it. I can completely see why these moms feel so alienated and we all
      need to stop it.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Sam

      I applaud this mom. Do not indoctrinate the children in bizarre beliefs. Let them find out for themselves, make up their own minds based upon scientific reason and logic. Don't make them live in fear all of their lives, and believe they are going to some kind of amusement park, when they die. I do believe that beliefs is some kind of diety are because of fear. People just can't accept they are an organic creature, that will just cease to exist when they die, therefore they cling to anything, no matter how bizarre or no evidence. People as individuals can believe what they want, as long as they don't tru amd force their beliefs on others

      January 21, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

      The bottom line is that she is the mother and she can do as she sees fit and it is no one else's business.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  11. derek

    I'd rather live in a World of Science = World of Logic / than a / World or Religion = World of Warcraft

    January 21, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Who wouldn't like to live in the World of Warcraft?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  12. God is not a religion

    God, Jesus is not a religion- Religions are man made but I'm sure somewhere out there, there is a true religion that practice what they preach- you just need to search for it and find it. It's too easy to just sit there and believe there is no GOD.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • GOD is a Lie

      I'd rather live in a World of Science and Logic, than a World or Religion and delusional mentally retarded

      January 21, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      gods are man-made too. There is no evidence of any god anywhere. Just because I don't believe in any man-made gods doesn't mean I don't explore all the rest of the possibilites, so no it isn't easy to just sit back saying there are no gods, because many of us are looking for what is really there.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • You have a GOD

      You being an atheist is your GOD – It's your idol

      January 21, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      you have no god
      not believing in a god is not an idol....where did you get that rediculous logic from?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • AreYouKiddingMe

      Can nobody spell the word ridiculous around here? not rediculous......but ridiculous!!!! When the small red squiggly appears underneath a word you have typed.....it's wrong! fix it.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  13. Chimodo

    I wish I could high-five some of the people who commented on here...
    I grew up with religion, but by the time I was around 15 or 16 years old, I realized how much I looked down on it rather than felt it was of any assistance in my life.
    To me religion seems like a crutch. For those who do wrong, it's an easy way out to say they've prayed and confessed.
    To those who won't help a stranger, it's easy to say they have by giving to the collection at church.
    To those who are weak and can't find the motivation to live, it's easy to look up to the sky, hoping there's a stranger up there somewhere with all of the answers in the world.
    "God" is an aid to any weakness. Just look into our past when we had Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. And why? Because we didn't understand things like why and how the sun rose and the night set. Why the lightning caused damage when it struck. We have Gods because there is something major in the world that we don't understand, and we create answers. Just like any theories in science. Just trying to understand something much bigger than us.
    The main reason people stop believing, is because they build their own theories. They understand how the world has developed. Thousands of years ago, believing in a God of Fertility was as normal as believing in Mary or Jesus today. And in the next thousand years, people will look back and think the same thing we think of Greek Gods. "Why on earth would someone believe something so silly."

    January 21, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      On the other hand, we see people every day who due to bad hips or birth defects do need real material crutches. The same is likely true for religion. But as medical science, nutrition and material wealth have improved, fewer people grow up needing crutches, The same appears to be true for religion as a crutch. The more we create a society in which people aren't so desperate, the fewer people need religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  14. Topher

    Good morning, everyone.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Austin

      mornin topher!

      January 21, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Topher

      What's up?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Fuck offf brain dead believer! Sorry, meant to say please and not be quite so redundant.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Stewie

      Good day to you sir!

      January 21, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      How did god re-populate all of the plants he killed during the great flood in the story of Noah's Ark?
      Every plant on the planet would have died, but there is no mention of the cleanup god would have had to do to re-populate all the plants.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  15. Felix

    Christians........

    Facts:
    Christians and Christian nations have killed more people on this Earth than any other religion
    Only 1 Christian nation has used a nuclear weapon – US
    Once the richest nation in the world- our Christian nation continues to increase the gap between the rich and poor

    We need to read people. And I mean read and research for ourselves and stop taking other peoples' opinion as fact.

    For instance, Here is a biblical fact most of you don't know:

    Our Holy Bible for 2,000 years contained the following books.
    These were in the King James version as well.
    Yet in 1885, a group in power at the time took them out.
    These are commonly called the Apocrypha.
    1 Esdras
    2 Esdras
    Tobit
    Judith
    Additions to Esther
    Wisdom of Solomon
    Ecclesiasticus
    Baruch
    Letter of Jeremiah
    Prayer of Azariah
    Susanna
    Bel and the Dragon
    Prayer of Manasseh
    1 Maccabees
    2 Maccabees

    So man will do anything to benefit himself when he has the power including abuse those that don't follow suit.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      A mostly Christian population does not create a Christian nation.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • GAW

      Felix you sound like one of those 9/11 Truthers

      January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Austin

      book of Enoch? by the way, the devil imperesonates and vainly deceives people in the name of Jesus as an attack on the name and cause of Jesus. Christianity does not speak for Jesus, or change Him. Religion is the reputation of sinners. dont pervert Jesus.

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

      This comment is utterly void of reason or factual data. Surely you will get some trendy young web browsers to agree with you, but surely serious atheists probably hoped for better representation. In the 20th century the three greatest killers: Hitler, Stalin, and General Mao were all atheist. That is a fact. Get focused.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      endoscented

      Show me proof that Hitler was an atheist and I will show you the world.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • J.W

      Where did you get that those books were taken out in 1885? Not saying you are wrong, but there must be something I do not know about that

      January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  16. realityspeaks1

    Rodger that – sounds like you have had your head buried in the King James Bible (not my book by the way). Much like Nostradamus writings (are you up to date with those writings also?) much is lost in translation and can easily be misconstrued as an ultimatum or directive and at times contradictive (Thou shall not kill) In short, follow your heart and try to be a good person during your lifetime, then pass this on to your children.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  17. Adam

    Well...

    At some point, folks, I think we are going to have to wrestle with a part of our religion that just doesn't work. There are two stories or concepts that are going to be an impasse for us in the not so distant future. One is going to be the Great Flood and the other is the concept and construct of Hell.

    It appears that the story of the Flood was a payback story Moses wrote to get back at Pharaoh for drowning so many of the Jewish boys his age. He appears to have written it to energize the Jews in a way that this dictatorial father figure of his could not compete with. Unfortunately, this story is going to backfire for us, as all we have to do is look at the demographics of any large population (such as the latest US Census) and realize that tens of millions of infants, young children, etc. would have fallen under the category of being "too evil to save."

    What we don't realize is that by believing in a deity who was fully justified in this act, we seem to have "Justifiable Genocide" as a core tenet of our beliefs. This is going to be very problematic for us, especially given the fact that we seem to hunt down other dictators in the world who haven't done nearly as much damage...and we feel fully justified in doing so. Should we not talk about this?

    And while God supposedly says "I will never leave you, and I will never forsake you," that doesn't seem to gel with Him simultaneously being in the construction process of creating Hell. The word "never" has mathematical consequences to it, and "never" means "never."

    Most distressing is the similarity that Hell seems to have with Auschwitz...and that both places seem to center around one culture.

    Shouldn't we begin to look at the childhood of Moses, and estimate what motivation he might have had to create stories to help him...and his people escape?

    I can begin these conversations, but if we go there, we are going to have to retrace our steps as a nation...and as a religion.

    I think we're following a movie script, folks, and not a real deity. Good daddies shouldn't be drowning their children...or threatening to torture them forever...and it would have helped if Daddy told us about his wife. Her name might have been something like Jehovah Rechem...or in Hebrew, "God of the Womb."

    Any takers on these subjects?

    January 21, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • LinCA

      @Adam

      It seems pretty simple when evaluated from outside religion.

      Your religion most likely was simply ancient man's way of organizing society. Authority flowed from the all-powerful god to the man doing the interpreting. Those that control the god stories, control the population.

      The rest is just folklore.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Austin

      really, what about the city of babylon, sodom and gamorrah? people who dispute the slavery of israel are sick. where did the passover festival come from, and the point of which was forshadowing the the blood of the lamb of God, who was crucified on passover.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • snowboarder

      austin, myths and fables.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  18. HOW ABOUT SOME REAL CHANGE

    God sure does love a lot of little kids, is he a pedo?

    January 21, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • GOD is a Lie

      NO just his followers are all Pedos .. SIck mentally retarded people

      January 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  19. Zeus

    Why are people so scared to accept the fact that we don’t really know how everything works in the universe, we don’t really know why we are born, we don’t really know what happens after death, we don’t really know if we have a purpose, we don’t really know if there is a controller. Why do you have to know everything and put an answer to everything even if it doesn't make the slightest sense? I believe in saying I don’t know!

    January 21, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • tuffby

      What doesn't make the slightest bit of sense? Hopefully you're talking about God. That is what doesn't make any sense at all. First reading it...it sounded like you were saying scientists trying to figure out how the world works was wrong. And their findings...didn't make sense. But that just doesn't make sense. Letting go..and believing in something for which there is zero evidence of is really letting go..and just saying I don't know..I don't care...I'll believe in supernatural beings. And I'll get my own planet someday filled with virgins. I understand that many people are struggling in life...and believing in some supernatural purpose helps them cope. But the rest of us rational humans cannot ignore what makes perfect sense to us. No...we don't know everything yet. Maybe we never will. But suggesting that just because we don't know everything means we should abandon science and research into the universe and turn out lives over to the church is ridiculous.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Saraswati

      I suspect there are both innate and lacquired tendencies towards a need for certainty. It appears people fall on different places on the continuum, but I'm not sure we can expect everyone to be happy with the same level of uncertainty. More complicated still, ones tolerence for uncertainty and ambiguity may well vary with age and life pressures. Even among non believers in god, we find the same varies scales of certainly, applied instead to political or scientific beliefs. And in fairness, its the annoying overly certain politicos who get stuff done.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Madtown

      Yep, you're right. Humans are a naturally inquisitive species, and yes...we need to find answers to all the questions we have. But, I agree with you, it's ok to not know the answers to these questions! In fact, we can't know.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm okay with saying I don't know. I'm also okay with saying that there is no reason to believe in something for which there is no evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • GOD is a Lie

      GOD is a Lie

      I'd rather live in a World of Science and Logic, than a World or Religion and delusional religious War Criinalsthat are mentally retarded

      January 21, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • GOD is BIG a Lie

      RELIGION is a CANCER Piramid Scheeme that would be considered illigal in any other way. You promise to deliver proises in another world and you pay no taxes !!! WHAT A SCAM ! Just goes to show you how retarded people really are

      January 21, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Ax

      Well said Zeus.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  20. Kay Redmond

    There isn't enough space or time to comment so I will say this, the crime rate now is bad but if there were no God words would not explain the amount of crime we would see. The churches today have become corporations and that isn't what Christ died for and its turned people away from God. This mother mentioned hope, without God what is she hoping for? Without God what would be the purpose of life? This life is temporary and no matter how bad it gets there is hope for the promises that God has made to all of us. The 2 greatest commandments, love God with all your heart, might and soul and love your neighbor.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • the AnViL

      you are ignorant about a lot of really compelling social research.

      in countries that are more atheist – crime rates are lower

      in countries where monotheism is predominant... crime rates are significantly higher.

      educate yourself, kay – so you don't look quite as ignorant as you do now on a national public forum.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • snowboarder

      kay wrote "if there were no God words would not explain the amount of crime we would see."

      that is absolute nonsense. civil society has existed throughout history entirely separate from any particular religion or deity.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      Do you have a passport? Really, I'm genuinely curious because it doesn't seem possible to me that all the folks saying the same thing you are could ever have stepped foot outside the US. Have you ever been to one of the many, many less religious countries than the US: France, Ja'pan, China, Norway... Have you bothered to compare crime rates across countries? The answer is undoubtedly no or you wouldn't post this kind of nonsense?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Leigh

      Because God is saving the nicer planet for when we can show him that we have done our lessons. This is the practice planet, so it doesn't matter if we make mistakes and ruin it.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Ax

      "if there were no God words would not explain the amount of crime we would see."

      Citation please! Or are you just spouting off what you feel would happen?

      "Without God what would be the purpose of life?"

      Kay, this is a highly prejudice statement. What if you changed the wording around a bit like this...

      "Without white skin what would be the purpose of life?"

      See how stupid it sounds? People that don't believe in God have the same hopes and dreams as any other person in the world. Just like people who believe in God we want to see are kids grow up safe and happy and be successful and good and not be a burden on society. We dream of the American dream. We like the same sports, eating at the same restaurants, etc. We are human too! We just don't go to church on Sunday's, and we don't spend time reading the Bible. We just don't see the purpose. We understand why people would. Please stop looking down you nose at us!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:11 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.