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Godless mom strikes a chord with parents
A CNN iReport essay on raising kids without God draws record-breaking number of comments.
January 18th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Godless mom strikes a chord with parents

By Daphne Sashin, CNN

Deborah Mitchell remembers the time, when her boys were younger, and another mom asked her about her religious beliefs.

Mitchell was raised Catholic but moved away from religion in her early 20s. She told the other mother that she didn’t go to church and didn’t even really believe in God.

Then, she says, the recruiting started.

“She used to call my house and tell me she was praying for me. She’d leave me messages and leave cards in my mailbox with scripture,” Mitchell says. “I do realize that she meant well, but at the same time, I know my views were seen as wrong. I needed to be ‘saved.’”

Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn’t want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she's not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform.

It starts:

When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.

For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.

Mitchell posted the essay detailing her seven reasons for raising her children without God on CNN iReport because she felt there wasn’t anyone else speaking for women or moms like her. As she sees it, children should learn to do the right things because they will feel better about themselves, not because God is watching. She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?

Lots of people disagreed with her. Tons. They flagged her iReport as inappropriate and criticized CNN for linking to her essay on the CNN.com homepage. But there were plenty of others who wrote thoughtful rebuttals, respectfully disagreeing with Mitchell while not foisting their own beliefs on her. Take, for instance, a Methodist dad, who said faith can be hard to nail down, but “not to avail ourselves of the power of something we don't completely understand is silly.”

Others said Mitchell presented a simplistic view of religion.

“Presentations such as these seem to ignore a substantial percentage of believers - well-educated, compassionate, liberal folk, Christian and non-Christian alike - who, I feel, are able to worship without being blind to the realities of the world, or without lying to their children about their understanding of these complexities,” wrote commenter RMooradian. “I'll be raising my children with God, but I understand those who cannot!”

But Mitchell’s essay also struck a chord with hundreds of like-minded parents raising children in a world where lack of belief puts them in the minority, often even in their own family.

“Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you say, but I’m not brave enough to tell everyone I know this is how I feel,” a woman who called herself an “agnostic mommy of two in Alabama” posted in the comments. “Thank you for your bravery and letting me know I’m not alone.”

It’s a growing group. One in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion, and that number has grown by 25% in the past five years, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Of that group, 88% said they were not looking for religion, although 68% of the unaffiliated said they believe in God. 

Brittany Branyon, an American graduate student and substitute teacher living in Germany, was also compelled to express her thanks to Mitchell. Branyon was raised Southern Baptist in Georgia and Alabama. In high school, when she began to question the theory of creation and befriended gay and lesbian students, she says her mother tried to perform an exorcism.

“She opened all the windows and doors in the house, brought me to the door, held my shoulders and shook me while screaming, ‘Satan, get out of this child!’, ‘Satan, leave this child alone!’.”

After moving away from the South, she and her husband “became more comfortable in our secular ways,” but still take criticism from family members. They are now expecting their first child.

“Though we are elated to welcome our child into the world, we can’t help but dread the religious uproar that is to come from our families,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Such an uproar is familiar to Carol Phillips, a stay-at-home mother in northern Virginia. When she gave birth to her first child, she said her family was shocked that the baby wasn’t baptized. She said her mother-in-law cried and told her the little girl’s soul would not go to heaven.

Then there are the comments from strangers. Last year, Phillips said she and her daughter were at a birthday party when a tornado warning sounded.

“We were all in the basement keeping safe. A little girl was saying baby Jesus will keep us safe. My daughter asked who Jesus was. The rest of the time was spent hearing ‘I'll pray for you sweetie, we can take you to church with us if you want,’” Phillips told CNN.

Commenting on Mitchell’s iReport, Phillips said, “To live out loud and to speak freely about my beliefs brings many clucking tongues. I would think it’s easier to come out as gay than atheist.”

Mitchell said she spent years studying the history of religion and does believe it has “an important place in our community.” She has told her children that she’ll be fine if they decide to join a church when they are older.

She ended her essay:

I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we—along with the children we love so much—will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.

I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

After her post ran on CNN, Mitchell said she was encouraged by the number of people who agreed with her, or who disagreed but wanted to have a respectful discussion.

“I’m not saying that everybody should think how I do. I’m saying the people that do should have a place in our society and have acceptance and respect,” she said. “I just want to have children grow up and be able to not be afraid to say ‘I don’t believe that,’ or ‘I’m not part of that.’” 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. zuul

    there is only zuul

    January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  2. Aaron

    I was raised in a non-religious family. Thank you for making your voice heard.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  3. Gypsy

    Try being a misunderstood Wiccan/ Neo-Pagan in this society, praying to gods and goddesses who, for 30,000 years, were worshipped prior to Judaism-Christianity-Islam. There are people who would rather see us DEAD than praying to Ganesha, Shiva, Ishtar, Isis, Athena, Osiris, Mithras, the Great Spirit, etc. There are many paths to climb to the mountain where divinity dwells, and who is to say that any one of them is better than the other? That being said, I still cannot openly discuss my religious beliefs, for fear of my life, quite honestly.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • End Religion

      Maybe consider moving. Have there been reports of mass Wiccan murders where you live?

      January 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  4. twoinchtammy

    I too am raising my child without God. I don't know very many athiests/agnostics that give much thought to how Christians are raising their children – or care enough to condemn them for teaching their children religion. Yet, the same in reverse is not true. Anytime any non-believer comes forward to say, "No, this is not for me." they are buried in an avalanche of condemnation about their beliefs.

    Can any Christian explain to me why this is? Why, if I do not bother you about how you raise your children, must you bother me about how I raise mine? Why do you care? What makes you think you know better then me?

    Anyone????

    January 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Bonnie Smithb

      God doesn't force us to believe, you believe or you don't! Your choice, for my self I had seen a little piece of Heaven and I can't wait to be held in my Father's arms! I have seen my 13 year old grandaughter pray for healing and receive it thats all I need to know! Thank You Jesus for making who I am!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • JDJ

      Thanks for your post. As a Christian, I must tell others the good news that Jesus forgives sin. I do not do this thinking I am morally superior, because I know my own heart and how vile it can be. I have to warn others that judgment is coming at the end of this life. If I have any compassion, any love for my fellow humans, I will tell them the bad news that we are all on our way to Hell and the good news that there is a way out. God allows people to believe or not believe as they choose, but I am sad when they do not believe. A pithy saying I recently heard is "Eternity too long to be wrong." I only ask that those who are not believers consider Jesus.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • BlackCoffee

      So you just choose not to remember the atheists that put up billboards claiming religious people are ignorant. I think you have selective recall. It is the atheists that have no tolerance for a different point of view.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • BlackCoffee

      Here is a post from one of your tolerant friends:

      Reality to the Rescue

      Religion is a mental disorder of confirmation bias, dellusions of grandure, and narcisism, although I'm thankful the theology is quite comical.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  5. GoodLerd

    @Nemo
    Or maybe it was because we were at war, why blow something like that out of proportion. If we werent at war its not like it would have been ordered for the heck of it.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  6. nopretensehere

    For me, the whole premise of Christianity crumbles with this from the Brothers Karamazov:

    Tell me yourself—I challenge you: let’s assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of human destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let’s say the little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don’t lie!” “No, I would not,” Alyosha said softly. “And do you find acceptable the idea that those for whom you are building that edifice should gratefully receive a happiness that rests on the blood of a tortured child and, having received it, should continue to enjoy it eternally?” “No, I do not find that acceptable,” Alyosha said and his eyes suddenly flared up.

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor (2003-11-04). Brothers Karamazov (p. 327). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • bawlsaddict

      I don't understand this at all.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • nopretensehere

      bawlsaddict – He is asking literally if you had the chance to build a world where everyone would live in peace and there would be no suffering but in order to achieve that you would have to torture one innocent child would you do it. Alyosha says "No". Then he asks if he finds it acceptable that others could live happily in that world knowing the cost. Alyosha again says no.

      It's a HUGH slam on Christianity because this is precisely the proposition, Chris offers salvation to some but in order to have that salvation others MUST suffer. The idea of free will is that people have a choice but the cost of that free will is that some, even innocent children, will suffer. If you happily take your place in paradise, you do it on the backs of innocent suffering.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  7. DeKalbBarbCity

    I'll never forget an experience I had in high school years ago. We were each to stand in front of class and read the essays we wrote. I felt so sorry for one girl who read hers. Simply stated, her parents raised her with no religion. They wanted her to live her life naturally, and when she reached an age of maturity ready to make her own decisions, choose for herself what religion she wanted to join. This young woman noted the joy in her friends lives, as well as in their families. She however felt this amount of joy was unattainable for her, for despite her parents plan to "look around" and make a wise decision, she became incapable of loving someone or something beyond herself. She said everything centered around her, and her parents, and their profound belief in the fact that God did not exist. Her experiences rooted her firmly in her own type of anti-religion religion–which she was incable of escaping. Yet she could see that others had something that she never had. Some people have a hole (yearning) in their heart that is not fulfilled until it is filled with God. Others have such scarred holes in their hearts, and like this young woman, have convinced themselves they are incapable of experiencing the joy of God's love.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • mdwesterngrl

      then her parents failed. but it has nothing to do with religion or lack thereof...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • One one

      Do you recommend any particular god, or are they all equally effective ?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Religion is illogical...

      The irony in your story is that religious people are the ones who thing the world revolves around them... The tragedy of your story is that's is an obvious fabrication.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • ??

      .and I don't suppose she was ever bullied for her non beliefs.Perhaps the lack of acceptance by the majority led to the HOLE IN HER HEART.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • garyisabusyguy

      barb,
      You seem to be making an unsubstansiated comparison between being non-religious and narcissiitic
      This seems to come from your own belief that your religious endeavors are largely bent on doing good for your fellow man

      However, a large number of religious practicioners are there because they want to have themselves immortalized and to live forever in a perfect world. If you ask me, that is the most narcissistic desire imaginable. Each and every one of the true believer, numbering to the billions, will be forever and eternally iimmortalized? really?

      And then you have the endless posturing, the play-acting to be 'good followers' when under the scrutiny of fellow believers, with the absolute denials of any 'human' behavior, only to haul out all the 'dirtiness' when they believe no eyes are apon them. Is this really a healthy model for any person's behavior

      And as far as the non-believer, secular humanists go... Although you do not seem to have any actual experience with them... My own experience has been with people who care, almost to a religous point, about the well-being of other humans. They see their devotion not to an altar or a man with a collar or hat on,but to their fellow humans. They seek to understand the ways that humans behave and work to figure out how to both get people to act better, and to accept the things they do that we may find discomforting.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  8. JDJ

    It is very interesting that this lady wants to raise her children without God when God says we must come to Him as children. A child is generally trusting. As adults, the temptation is to become cynical. God has placed an empty space in every heart that can only be filled when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to save us. A faith can't be bad where the leader dies for you, gets back up from the dead, and only asks for you to follow Him.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • PeterVN

      JDJ, it's classic Christian god fraudster strategy to get the kids while they're young and gullible and impressionable. Good for this mom in the story to start her kids off free from your sicko myths.

      Like the great quote says,
      "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

      RAmen.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • James

      Really you want to raise children with God? You are way too funny. You are going by some book because you are scared and have no direction in life, so you go with something easy to accept...the bible. Im sorry that you have no direction in life and need to waste it dreaming of miracles.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Daniel

      Actually "God" never said that he wants you to come to him as a child..it is written in a book and books are made by man. Someone wanted people to accept religion during formative years because its much, much easier to form the mind of young children than a teenagers or adults (simply because these demographics tend to question things).

      January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • One one

      God placed an empty space in our hearts ? Why did he do that ?

      We need to be saved ? Saved from what ?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Daniel

      Follow the bouncing ball, its quite simple. Logic and rationality are king to us here on Terra Firma.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • ??

      Go to god as gullible little children.Grow up and try not to think too much.Yup- we get it.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • JDJ

      Peter,

      Thanks for your response. Trying to reach children and adults is important to me. The beauty of reaching a child is that they may make a commitment to God while they are young and not get caught up in some of the bad things the world has to offer. I would never condone manipulation. A quick story on my own front, if I may. I had an across the street neighbor who was Hindu. We invited his child to come to Vacation Bible School at our Baptist church. His child came, had a good time, and responded to the message about Jesus. My neighbor susequently told me that he would not have let his child come if he had known what was going on at church. I told him that I certainly did not want to do anything to hurt our relationship or make him feel like I took advantage of him. He said he knew that I would not do that and we went on from there. I do not have to manipulate anyone because God is the one who convicts people of their sin. I am grateful that He did that for me.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • JDJ

      God did not originally create us to have something missing in our lives, but our wrong thoughts and actions, sin, broke us away from God. He offers peace to anyone who will take it while there is time. As to logic, God is big enough for questions. It is interesting that we think we have things figured out without God, when God is the very One who gives us breath and the ability to reason.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  9. Reality to the Rescue

    Religion is a mental disorder of confirmation bias, dellusions of grandure, and narcisism, although I'm thankful the theology is quite comical.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      To a devil, I'm pretty sure religion would appear that way...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Daniel

      Agreed 100% my good man/woman. Its no wonder why there exists a strong correlation between increasing intelligence and decreasing religious beliefs.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Daniel

      @justthefacts...are you insinuating that Reality to the Rescue is a devil? I'd call that judgement, and according to your "religion" that is reserved for your superior being. I find it highly entertaining that your name is JustTheFacts, when really you have none.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  10. Lisa

    So... she states that she doesn't tell them about God because she doesn't want to lie. How many parents lie about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, etc.? I personally would rather my children believe in something than in nothing.

    I agree with some of the other posters – expose the kids to both viewpoints and let them decide.

    As as far as the 'brainwashing' that someone mentioned in a post – can't the same be said about this person? If she doesn't teach both sides, then she's brainwashing them to her side.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • myweightinwords

      You are aware that there are many more than 2 viewpoints when it comes to religion, yes?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Primewonk

      There aren't two points of view. There are tens of thousands of gods that we have invented in the 200, 000 years we bave been modern humans.

      I assume you advocafe feaching kids that all of these gods are just as real as the christian one?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  11. bigsones

    Why do people who belive in god bash those who dont belive, and why do non belivers bash people who belive. If you want to belive there is a god, good for your just dont rub it in my face. If you dont belive dont tell me that i am wrong and i am brianwashed. It is my choice to believe, but i will not rub it in your face. Let the kids decide what they want to do. If they want to go to church let them go, if they dont want to go then dont force them to go. Some people in this world need religion to make it day to day, they need to have faith in something. dont bash them for it. If you dont need to have faith in something I will not belittle you for it.

    All of the bilbe bumpers and the aethiest need to stick to there own and stop trying to see who has the bigger balls.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Lisa

      well said...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • ??

      Then tell them bible bumpers to stop knocking on my door and telling me to find the truth or end up in hell.Whether you like it or not,the internet/information age is here,and religionS and their followers will continue to be challenged for their ancient world views.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  12. Eric Kossian

    Dear Deborah, As a parent of two, I understand how easy it is to find yourself without an answer to an honest question from a child. I have made the mistake of answering with a lie; in my case, harmless it may seem, but the lie was about Santa Claus. After several years of maintaining the lie, we thought it better to simply tell the truth to our young children. It was a significant trust builder in our relationship with our children to simply tell the truth. It is okay to not know the answers to many of life's difficult questions. Honest people not matter how spiritual will always have questions we don't fully know the answer to. So, I recommend simply telling the truth if you don't know the answer to a spiritual question just like it is good to tell the truth about the answer to a scientific question.

    I am discovering that the most important thing is to search for Truth. There are scientific truths and there are spiritual truths as well. If there are truths there are also false beliefs. Many things we have been taught both in the home and in school and by society are simply not true. If the goal in our owns lives is honestly to search out truth in every sphere of our lives then
    we at least are asking the right question. Not asking the question will always lead to our children being duped by some
    "spiritual" or "scientific" or other well meaning person.

    Much of what is presented as true in Christianity I have found not to be true. There are whole groups whose purpose ultimate purpose is no longer truth but a chosen nobel cause such as peace, justice, abortion, environment. Beware of those.

    It seems logical to me that we ultimately have to decide if we are truth seekers, such questions as did humans and this complex world just happen or was it created? If it just happened, end of discussion. There is then no morality other than your morality or mine, chosen on a whim at any given moment and my morality is never any better than yours and yours never any better than mine. This also means there really is no basis for any law. Old Saudi men wanting 8 year old wives is no worse than setting a legal age for drinking. such is the nature of things when we do not seek truth.

    I find it interesting that you studied religious history. That is simply other peoples synopsis of what others believe. What if others are wrong; what if the author is wrong? Why not go straight to the originals to find out if what Mohammad said about
    slaughtering all unbelievers rings with truth? Why not look at what Buddha said about reincarnation and put it under the microscope of truth ( I love the idea of a lot entire lives to improve myself but is it true?) Or what Jesus said about blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God?

    The problem I have found with looking for truth is that I may not be comfortable with the revelation and it's logical requirements so I make the untrue to myself decision to stop looking for truth so I dont have to change to become more true.
    Jesus said, Know the truth: it will set you free (not enbondage you). He also said IAM the the Truth. To the degree that I have truth and truth possesses me I find I have more and more freedom and empowerment to pursue more truth. But my search for truth cannot replace yours. Too many simply believe the truth that "learned men" "men of the cloth" tell us. Jesus warned most vehemently against them as they more often than not lead to control and manipulation and systems and religion without any relationship. In my search I am discovering without relationship with Creator I have very little worth living for as all good things come from His hand.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  13. david

    it's silly to think man is sovereign in such a large existence. People can choose to believe whatever they want, but academic and religious minds alike agree that life is not random happenstance. Belief in nothing is a belief all its own...Usually because the moral requests of faith is inconvenient or they simply feel the microcosmic complications of their lives are more important and all absorbing. The truth is that there are many powers and influences in the world, both tangible and some that are intangible, more spiritual in nature. A belief in nothing actually defies scientific logic, and is a coping mechanism of its own. Some are afraid that we're alone, others are afraid that we're not.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • the AnViL

      you are mistaking "no belief" with "belief in nothing" – which negates everything else in your post.

      your assertions are rejected – you're ignorant about science and logic.

      dismissed.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • BlackCoffee

      If you believe in nothing, how can you believe something is wrong. Whether is is a belief in nothing or a belief there is no God why are atheists/agnostics so threatened by Christians? They seem hell-bent (sorry, had to do it) on convincing us we are wrong.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Eric

    It's just really sad that people don't know how good God is and that He gave us a way to be made right from all of the wrong we have done. I believe. And if I'm wrong, then what... I won't know because I will die and cease to exist. If I'm right then those who don't believe will die and know the truth, but too late. I pray daily for those who choose not to believe to stop living for themselves and live for the TRUTH.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Religion is illogical...

      You're living your life according to something called 'Pascal's Wager', which is a logical fallacy.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Colin

      Hey Eric, a quick question.

      If you were worried that your children, who you love very much, would not believe something you told them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

      (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

      (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

      (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

      (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever caught them smoking?

      And what would you think of an "all loving Father" who chose option (d)?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Blind leading the blind

      That is cool you are a religious fanatic, but don't sell stupid here. Why is it religious fools are always selling their beliefs? Level headed people that don't really buy "religion" don't go around trying to recruit more non believers. Go pray in peace and leave the rest of us alone.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      To "Religion is illogical"... And you're living your life according to what Lucifer started. So what's the difference?...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • jackson

      The truth? You mean YOUR truth. After all, there are many different religions on the planet, each with their own god, and each with their own beliefs. For you to assume that yours is the correct one and everyone else's isn't is the very height of arrogance and egotism.

      Why don't you keep your beliefs to yourself and allow everyone else the right to believe what they choose.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      Alright, Eric, please, do not pray for those that do not agree with your world-view as you are doing them a disservice. At least in an abstract sense, you are forcing your beliefs on them (no matter how good your intentions are).
      You say its sad how people don't know your god, but what if Islam is true, then you're going to burn in their version of hell (or whatever). What if Hindusim is true and so on... You're only picking one god out of many and you believe that your god and what you know about it (including what it DEMANDS of you) is right.
      I would also maintain that Pascal's wager is a bad argument and you can look into yourself (look up Pascal's wager and you'll know what I am talking about)

      January 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  15. Sam Beiler

    I am full of questions about God and most of the answers I have heard most of my life fall short....BUT, if I am going to limit myself to a God that I can understand, control and manipulate,then he is no God at all. I admit that too many theologians and evangelicals have created a god of their own liking and present hm to the world as indisputable fact, but don't let that keep you or your children from the wonder of a creator who cares for us.To believe that we need all the answers will rob us of a life of joy.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  16. Jen

    For james again, since he really needs to watch and listen to this until he gets it.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  17. The Truth

    "Children should learn to do the right thing because it will help them feel better about themselves." I think the ultimate goal in doing the "right thing" is indeed for both parties to feel good about themselves, but this is not reality. Children need to learn the sacrafice of doing the "right thing" regardless of how it makes them "feel." Doing the "right thing" doesn't always make you feel good, but it is still the right thing. Christianity = Selflessness

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

      @The Truth

      Have you donated all of your wealth and possessions to the poor?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • goat

      The author was making the point that it's better for children to believe in doing good because it makes them feel good, rather than doing good to appease an imaginary person who is constantly watching them.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • The Truth

      I don't have "wealth," but I do "possess" free time in which I do donate to helping others. I am also part of a religion, Catholocism, that helps and does more for those suffering on this earth than any other organization, government, or group has done since the dawn of humanity. People always forget (or conveniently overlook) this when they are discussing how horrible Christianity is.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • The Truth

      @Goat That argument still lacks. Shouldn't helping others be for the sake of helping others, or in a bigger picture, humanity as a whole? Even if you don't believe in God, doing things solely for "self" is narcissistic, and completely contradicts another point she makes in her essay.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  18. packerbadger

    Jesus just told me you thumpers are idiots.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  19. Gawd

    Bill Nye says it best.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  20. LORD IS A AWESOME GOD

    He loves all, even those foolish enough to pretend his power does not exist.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Dana

      You are the brain-washed nitwit.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Which god are you talking about. At last count there were over 3000... and if you're referring to the biblical god, there are 36.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Primewonk

      Your god loves us so much that he threatens to kill us and torture us for all eternity. What a loving putz!

      January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • EnjaySea

      And how do you figure that believing something for which there is not one shred of evidence is not foolish?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Religion is illogical...

      LOL... Nice job of contradicting yourself.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • joelstewart

      AN awesome god

      January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • JustTheFacts

      He loves their "soul" and nothing else. He doesn't love their sin and their evil ways...

      January 21, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • I wonder

      @LORD IS...

      If this LORD is as smart as you say, wouldn't he know that I was pretending to believe? I just don't ... and would be pretending if I said that I do.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:56 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.