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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. Justine

    It always baffles my mind when people blame God for all that is bad in this world. Don't they realize that satan exists just as much as God does? God gave us a free will to do what we want, and unfortunately devil steps in way too often encouraging people to do bad, evil, unthinkable things. Every time a person walks away from God, the devil dances. Every time a person commits a crime, the devil celebrates.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • moosemessier

      you cant believe there is a heaven and hell and god and devil can you?
      think about it.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • snowboarder

      satan. lol! no one is willing to accept responsibility for their actions. it's always the invisible bad guy making people do the wrong thing.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • tony

      Satan is purely an invention of some of the religious cults here on earth. Ditto for the abstract concept of evil. Ever figured out what the difference between a bad earthquake and a good one is?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • moosemessier

      snowboarder – you hit it right on the head. personal responsibility. america's main issue.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Justine,

      "Don't they realize that satan exists just as much as God does?"

      So who permits Satan to exist then?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • JWT

      I'd suggest running from god instead of walking, but then again neither satan or god exists so they have nothing to do with the world.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Farid

      Justine-
      Good post. As some of your repliers noted, personal responsibility is true, but anybody who says they have not felt the temptation to do some evil deed is a liar. There is always temptation to do evil and everyone feels it. And if you accept that postulation, then you must ask what is tempting me and why am I tempted?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Justinian

      People assign way too much power to Satan. He is not omnipresent or omnipotent, so how can he be responsible for much at all of what happens in the world?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  2. WisdomVS

    Arguing the existance of God is like trying to decide if a dog can have a smile on it's face. Obviously it can not.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Jim T

    God is the most innocent being in the universe. Not some little girl. And everyone has offended Him. We are all guilty of the worst sin imaginable. Time to confess our vile nature before Him and realize we're all equally guilty. Go ahead and start splitting hairs and itemizing all the terrible atrocities in life you can think of. Again, you're still guilty, you've offended Him. And you know you have. This is why you so vehemently try to convince yourself He doesn't exist. Your pride and refusal to allow Him to be God, the very thing that creates the evil in our world, rejects Him and points the finger at the worlds ills and blames God. How lost and blind we are.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Justinian

      I'm sorry, but you are expressing the views of the worst kind of Christian–the kind that believe they and everyone else are nothing but filthy sinners, udeservedly saved only by the mercy of their god. What a pitiful existence.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • some schmuck

      You do realize that the doctrine of original sin is the most evil concept that mankind has ever came up with right? The original sin doctrine is the idea that seeking knowledge caused the original humans to be cast from paradise.

      If you believe in a literal Genesis interpretation, you are saying that a snake talked to Eve and convinced her to eat from the tree of knowledge. He tempted her with knowledge. That was her sin. She wanted to understand the world.
      If you believe in a figurative interpretation, the story isn't much better.

      No, I need nothing from your petty god. If he does exist, he is an evil sociopath who deserves to be resisted in any way possible. Luckily for me, he doesn't.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • tony

      "God is. . . " is an assumption of the least likely scenario amongst, based on a total absence of any supporting evidence.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Madtown

      God is the most innocent being in the universe
      -----
      How do you know this?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • JWT

      Not believing in your personal version of a god is what creates evil ? Delusion at the very best.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Jim T", but "God", "Him", and "He" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Don't vote. EVER.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Charles

      Every single religion practiced in this world we live in (and know of) is both right and wrong. There is some kind of greater power out there, but no one....NO ONE, knows what it is. When all religions were written hundreds and hundreds of years ago, people all over the world had no idea what they were witnessing. Every human around the globe had their chance to see this greater power, and they wrote about it and believed how they interpretted it as being "The Word", but every human around the globe saw the exact same thing, just interpretted it differently hence the many different beliefs. Any body who believes that if you are not a Christian, or Catholic, or Muslim, Hinduism, or whatever before you die means you don't go to heaven is fooling themselves. When we die, yes we will find out who this greater power is, but it will not matter what religion you believe because they are all one in the same. And I would not be surprised at all that we will find out that earth is the only place where our creator "created" life. Having multiple races on earth is the clue that there will be multiple races in the universe. One of the biggest "sins" of all will be those who have narrowed their vision so much that they believe their religion is the one and only way.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Farid

    Everyone believes in something: God, family, money, self, possessions, pleasure, church, reputation, and lives their lives accordingly, atheists included (that is why you see so many atheists on this message board because they believe in "something" enough to argue for it). To teach your kids to not believe in God only means they will turn to another center to live their lives. For me, I would rather teach our next generation that character, faith, and service to mankind are better values to live your life around instead of money, reputation, or pleasure.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Eric

    Never forced any belief. Just stated my opinion on the subject. This draws fire from those with worldly views
    Always has. This was the same in Jesus' time. I guess it is the same as those who crucified Him.
    Believe what you wish, but know that you will never be able to say you never heard the truth of what God did for you.

    As for me, I serve the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • JWT

      Please remember that that is your opinion of a truth and not mine.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • dazzy

      YOUR version of the truth, just like all the other 350 religions have their versions, including aetheism.

      I'm in the exact same boat as the author of that article. Although if my children WANT to know I can inform them very well because I've educated myself on most of the major religions. In fact, I have read the bible cover to cover, something most christians cannot say they've done.

      Religion is like a penis.
      Don't whip it out in public.
      Don't try and force it down my or my children's throat.

      All this mother wants is to be left alone, keep your religion to yourself, nobody asked for your help trying to 'convert' anyone.

      But that's one of the main issues with most religions, they all preach tolerance, yet their followers misinterpret that as 'force our beliefs upon everyone, up to and including the point of eliminating those that don't believe'

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  6. Simple Commands

    Love God above everything else and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. That is what Christianity is in its simplest form. RELIGIOUS people have managed to pervert this in such a way that it is no longer appealing to anyone due to the added rules over the rules originally set forth by God. Why? Because that's what religion does. If "Christians" actaully had a relationship with Christ, they would see the errors the church has commited. Especially the catholic church.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Everybody's doing religion wrong except me."

      January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Madtown

      If "Christians" actaully had a relationship with Christ
      ------
      Can you describe the nature of this relationship as it pertains to you? How was it formulated? How is it now facilitated? Can you describe a typical interaction?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  7. ug

    Ya sure cnn tell you to support godless people and perverts...

    January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It must be really difficult for you to function in the real world, ug.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  8. burbanktj

    My atheist brother married a Catholic and they are raising their children with God. I guess I can see why, but when I have a child I plan on being brutally honest with them about everything.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • The Truth

      " brutally honest " You say that like not being a liar is a bad thing...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  9. MrHanson

    Yay. Our next young next generation of citizens and leaders being indoctrinated in materialistic, atheistic, evolutionism. When we finally get rid of God and realize that we are nothing but meaningless, purposeless organisms in the fight for surival through natural selection (thanks Erric Harris), I wonder what the next "logical" step will be. The future looks bright.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • JWT

      You have reached the step of clueless.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • mystyc74

      Here is a fact – you can teach good moral behavior and common sense to children without using god. You can teach them right and wrong without using god. I have three fantastic children that are constantly being complemented for their politeness and good behavior, which was taught to them without the use of any of your bible stories. It is possibly to know the different between right and wrong without indoctrinating them into one set of religious beliefs or another.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Definitely an improvement over the previous generations of s.lavers, racists, anti-feminists, child mo-lesting priests, and hypocrites. I'll take it!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • MrHanson

      No, I'm pretty much sure I'm not clueless but it is obvious that you are. I have read plenty of material on Atheism and moral relativism. I have read C.S. Lewis' book "The Magicians twin" and "That Hideous Strength". It is pretty much obvious what is on the horizon if atheists have their way.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • JWT

      Morality exists long long before man's creation of any of the gods. It will exists past the time that man believes in any god. In other words they are totally unrelated. If you need a god to be moral that says a lot about you and no-one else.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • MrHanson

      "Definitely an improvement over the previous generations of slavers, racists, anti-feminists, child mo-lesting priests, and hypocrites. I'll take it!"

      Slavers? I'm pretty sure you haven't heard the story of William Wilberforce and John Newton.

      Racists? What about the "Out of Africa" Theory? Apes-to-humans often shows ancestral hominids as dark skinned. Darwin himself thought of certain groups of dark-skinned people as closer to apes than their melanin-deprived counterparts.

      Anti Feminist? the biblical worldview is better for women than its secular counterpart, because it recognizes and celebrates the innate differences between men and women while affirming the ontological equality of men and women as created in God’s image.

      child molesting? Well first of all I'm not Catholic. No I don't agree with their oath of celibecy which is quite ridiculous in my opinion. Most pastors from my church are happily married with a family. Also, way to stereotype.

      Hypocrytes? Well I will have to agree with this one. What you claim to be and how you act are two different things.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Steve

    There is no god people, get over it. Use that knowledge to make sure you have a good time while you are here.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Ray Lewis: Best Football Player OF ALL TIME

    Through the Love of the LORD all things are possible!

    Including getting away with Murder and being portrayed has a great human being by the press!

    Seriously, I murdered 2 people. I slit their damn throats as they cried for mercy. But who cares about that now, I'm going to the SUPERBOWL

    January 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  12. RocketSauce

    Shame on this website for running this schlock. It started last week with a poorly written, ill-conceived "iReport" by some random with a keyboard and some time on her hands. The topic was clearly one that would set off fireworks and everyone here (sigh... including me) is playing right into the website's hand. The more we bicker amongst ourselves about topics we will never agree on, the more page view they rack up. More views = more ad revenue.

    Then, they had someone on staff write an "article" about the iReport and the shocking response. My guess is they had the article written before they posted the iReport. It let them essentially invent their own news to report on and rack up millions of views. This is no different than rival networks outlandishly speculating in the morning and then "reporting" in the afternoon that "some pundits are saying..." as if it's actually news.

    Shame shame... No one in this comment stream is changing their view on anything, so we should all stop commenting and go read a book... or better yet, play with our children.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Shame on you for coming to an opinion blog and den.igrating a U.S. citizen for using her Const.itutional right to free speech. If you don't want to read a story, don't read it. If you don't agree with her, say why, but keep in mind that her words and opinions are just as important and protected as yours.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • coffeetheologyandjesus

      Couldn't agree more. Not to mention the original post was such a generalized and over simplistic view of why a god can't possibly exist. Illogical and silly are two words that come to mind.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Lynn

      You chose to read the articles, then you whine about people making money from ad revenues! Do you really have nothng better to do than complain that a website published a point of view that you don't like? Personally, I don't care about a website getting ad revenue, unless they are using decepetive means. There is nothing deceptive here. Atheism is a belief that some people hold, in a country that is warring over religion. It is not my belief, but it is relevant. I recommend that you follow your own advice, and get a life. Have a nice day! (Go Obama!)

      January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If what you're doing is bickering, I'd agree you're wasting yourtime. But many of us here enjoy talking with people whose ideas are radically different, even when we disagre. I like to see the wide variety of views and rationals held both by those I agree with and with whom I at least partially disagree. I even like to see the emotional reactions, because that too is the reality of life.

      I've lived in places where there were more religious folk, but currently I live in a very secular area where that vast majority would agree with this woman. It's easy to forget there's a whole segment of the US population for whom the very idea is shocking. I think a forum like this is agreat way for us to familiarize ourselves with the language and vocabulary and logic of people we don't run into every day. And occassionally, something will click. Maybe not now, but in weeks or months or years.

      On the other hand, if you don't like it, just don't read it. If you don't like people's disagreements, don't read those either.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • RocketSauce

      tallulah13... I just reread my post and don't see anyplace where I dengrated the author's right to their opinion or even disagreed with it. I simply stated that the website is profiting off of creating their own news to stir up readers who have wildly different opinions. This is far from a scholarly discourse and the website knew it wouldn't be before they posted the iReport.

      Since you brought up opinions, I am not an atheist, so can't comment on other atheistic arguments that might be out there, but I found her article to be lazy and broadly paint atheism as 8 different ways to argue "God can't exist because if he did, bad things wouldn't happen to good people" Sorry, I'm not convinced that is evidence of no God. I'm not saying her poorly constructed argument proves God does exist, but that's my point... her article is poorly conceived and lazily written... so why all the hubbub?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • wendy

      But some how you read it and had to comment. To many religious people are hypocrites, thats what turnes other people of religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @RocketSauce,

      while your point about the Belief Blogs being a contrivance to make CNN money is accurate, surely that is the whole point of everything on this website?

      Are you advocating that they should just quietly shut themselves down and go out of business for exercising what are fundamental first amendment rights?

      Also you clearly you fail to understand what it is like to hold what is a minority opinion on religion in this country.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Rocket, I think you're missing the context here. This wasn't a news article or philosophical discourse, but a personal essay. If you want to read tight arguments on the existence or non-existence of god go pick up a book by someone with a PhD. in philosophy, or depending on who you trust, physics and/or religion. This is something completely different, and more in the class of blogs or personal autobiographies, which are all things that humans read and serve a purpose. In this case some people live in environments where they don't personally know other non-believers with kids. One option is that they could move (in my opininion a good option). But many can't, maybe caring for elderly parents, who knows. But sharing experiences with others in the same boat is a normal and important human activity. There's another story on this same site about why the author returned to religion after years away. Different, but also not academic. Just a way for people to connect. The only news in this is how many people responded that this helped them and how many found it offensive.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • RocketSauce

      I'm sure why you'd presume to know my religious beliefs based on my post. I also can't make a connection between thinking the website mailed it in on this one and infringing on 1st ammendment rights. I could certainly understand the challenge of being Muslim in a predominantly Christian part of the world... but what challenge is it being Atheist? Unless you go out of your way to try to prove people who believe in God wrong, when does it even come up? Last I checked, Atheism does require easy to spot rituals or traditional dress that would give you away... so why would any of your neighbors ever know?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @RocketSauce, It makes a difference when people try to regulate what others in society can do (marriage, birth control, abortion) based on their religious beliefs. For people with children it also can impact one's right to raise kids as you see fit if religious ideas and prayers are occurring in the schools. For many here, though, I think they are coming from communities in which people were harassed for not being Christian or where people’s families considered then taken by Satan or other like scenarios. There are also places, such as the military, where people with religions are often given priority to attend services when others have to stay behind cleaning or in prison where many times programs with benefits are reserved for specific religions.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  13. anchorite

    The woman is right. If you need a book or an invisible carrot and stick to make you do the right things, or to make your kids do the right things, that means you are a sociopath who only responds to negative and positive reinforcement, like an animal. We humans should be civilized enough to understand the difference between right wrong, feel empathy and compassion naturally, and understand why if everyone was nice and generous to one another, it would benefit everyone, not just the person being favored at that instant.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Spacely

      Amen! Woops, I mean, I agree :)

      January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  14. Ms Lulu

    Although I am not Atheist, I am Agnostic and do not prescribe to any one religion. Rather I have decided that I will learn and respect all religions and all people of those religions. Many people have killed or harmed in the name of God. I think people either have goodness in their heart or evil.. They either do works of good or works of evil. It is driven by what is in their human heart. And not all people are good just because they say they believe in God or go to church. The existence of a divine being is certain, but it obviously takes many forms and all have a certain image of their holy god. But ultimately what it comes down to is are you a good person who does good things or are you bad and have bad thoughts and do bad deeds? The proof is in our words and our actions, not alone by the religion that we prescribe to.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Steve

      Luckily it appears that young people, most likely thanks to the internet which can have an anti-brainwashing effect, do not believe. Some do but I have met a number of teens who proudly state that they are atheists. When I was a kid, it would be difficult to admit that and you would invite ridicule upon yourself for having common sense and being able to think for yourself.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      When I was in college in the 80s the majority at my college were non-believers. It's growing to some extent now, but there have always been large pockets of non-believers and free thinkers if you really seek them out.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  15. Eric

    I always laugh at the reponses from people who say they have no belief in God. They spend their time in a useless argument. If I don't believe in something, I'm definitely not going to waste my time speaking against it. It's up to you what you believe, take your chances.

    Justice is God giving us what we deserve.
    Mercy is God not giving us what we desevre.
    Grace is God giving us more than we deserve.

    I hope that God gives mercy to all who choose to deny Him or the free gift He gave us.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Steve

      Your smugness is so godly

      January 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      We only argue with people who are trying to force their beliefs on us... Keep your religion to yourself and you won't hear a peep from us.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • JWT

      I'm so happy you chose to vote in favor of gay marriage.

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

      @illogical Illogical indeed. You are trying to force your faith in nothing on everyone else by shouting down and ridiculing everyone who posts about THEIR faith. According to you and your fellow HateTheists on the forum, the following are the words of an ignorant man: "Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Love your enemies." And I'm happy that he didn't say, "Like your enemies," because there are some people that I find it pretty difficult to like. Liking is an affectionate emotion, and I can't like anybody who would bomb my home. I can't like anybody who would exploit me. I can't like anybody who would trample over me with injustices. I can't like them. I can't like anybody who threatens to kill me day in and day out. But Jesus reminds us that love is greater than liking. Love is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men." Martin Luther King Jr. Sermon on Peace Christmas 1967

      January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Western Pilot

      I hope Santa and the tooth fairy are good to you too Eric!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      @IkeNewton
      "HateTheists" uh?
      The spectrum of emotions that i feel toward people that have belief in the supernatural usually doesn't extend to hate, except when it's a parent that thinks that god told them to murder their kids and the family dog, or when a group of extremists thinks that blowing up other people that disagree with them is THE right thing to do. I also extremely dislike theists that believe that it is their duty to inject their religion in our government.
      Make of it what you will, but, the truth is that you're afraid that your entire world will come crumbling down if your beliefs are challenged. I understand how this might be an inconvenience to you, but a correct belief is based on truth that wishful thinking.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There is absolutely no evidence that any god exists, so why would I believe in one? I leave that to people who choose delusion over fact.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      not* wishful thinking...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • UrbanDweller

      @Religion is illogical... it's been my experience that even just the mere mention of God, not even directed at you, get people like you all riled up. I've seen your type roll thier eyes at those who chose to pray before a meal (and didn't invite anyone else to join them, just bowed their head and closed their eyes) or go off on someone just because they mentioned praying about something. I always hear atheists bashing those who have faith but I rarely, if ever, hear those who have faith bash those that don't. For example, that atheist group that put up the billboards this past Christmas in NY that stated "Keep the Merry, Dump the Myth." Funny, I never say any billboards from Christian groups reading "You'll burn in he11 for not believing." I guess the majority of Christians just respect your right not to believe.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Chris

      Eric, historically as a non-believer I didn't care what deity others choose to worship, and don't spend time prosthelytizing atheism. However, if religious belief is being employed as a base argument for discriminatory policies (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, inclusion of birth control in insurance), I don't feel that I have a choice but to stand up and try to get the voting public to understand that policy shouldn't be based on fairy tales. When religion stops trying to wield a bible as an argument for implementing law, people will stop pointing out all of its fallacies. Simple, right?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chris

      @IkeNewton: I'll just say the same thing I said to another poster earlier.....historically as a non-believer I didn't care what deity others choose to worship, and don't spend time prosthelytizing atheism. However, if religious belief is being employed as a base argument for discriminatory policies (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, inclusion of birth control in insurance), I don't feel that I have a choice but to stand up and try to get the voting public to understand that policy shouldn't be based on fairy tales. When religion stops trying to wield a bible as an argument for implementing law, people will stop pointing out all of its fallacies. Simple, right?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • thebigatheist

      You miss the point, if you want to believe in an imaginary friend then by all means do so. But do not force it on those who don't. Your statement on so many levels just goes to show the lack of fact. Those boogey man tactics are archaic.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Jennifer Yaser

    I welcome articles such as this because I can echo every statement this mother makes. I am Agnostic and have raised two children without the presence of religion, church or God. What fanatic religious people do not realize is that IT IS possible to raise moral, upstanding children without them ever gracing the steps of a church! No one in this world is going to convince me otherwise. If I am taught to respect the views of others around me, then the Christian Right needs to respect my right to do the same. I have endured hateful, hurtful statements by family and strangers for my beliefs, but never have I said religion has no place in the lives of believers or that what they choose to teach their children is wrong. In fact, if they are so saintly and morally correct, how Christian is it to judge others this harshly?

    January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If churches accepted the fact that morality is not limited to their believers, they would lose their self-proclaimed moral high ground. That would be bad for business.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Radgast

      I not only agree with you but would like to add our children will tend to make political decisions based on realities of best known facts. Imagine throughout history the deaths that have been cause for false beliefs. My problem is not with religious people, it is their acts upon others based on their extreme beliefs of what is real and what is not. You only need to study history to understand religion is a dying breed. Its a hierarchy of government without borders, and has evolved with the world of man from the pagans throughout the rise of the Egyptians from the fall of Rome and has continues for centuries later unto the modern day fanatics or the righteous hypocrites.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  17. landofodin

    jesus didn't even exist, he was not a real person. there are 44 different kings, leaders, ect.. who all had the same story ...born on or near the winter solstice, performed miracles, died and raised from the dead on or near the spring equinox, were known as the light or son of god, all before the time of jesus. almost all of christian holidays are PAGAN christianity is a stolen religion ! why to you think the VIKINGS raided monestaries? they were mad as hell. lastly there is no historic evidence of jesus, anywhere outside the bible, someone would have wrote something about such a popular man. don't you think? wake up !!! god doesen't want you wasting your brain power.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Dac

      Yep Jesus never existed, that's why so many people were willing to give their lives for their belief in him. Now don't be so smug in your beliefs. The first Christians surely had a first hand eye witness account of Jesus or knew of those who did. Why would they be willing to die for some non-exsistant being? There is proof of the apostles, and proof of their persecutions and death. Why would they die for a make believe person? What did they get from it? Your argument has no validity, you're just an angry person.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • ??

      @ dac.Why?That is the BIG question atheists try to ask.We also question his existence,as the story of Jesus resembles the story of sun gods(son of god ?),that were worshiped long before his story was written.HORUS among others.Do a little research.Might do you some good..or don't bother and keep your beliefs safe from reason.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  18. LORD IS A AWESOME GOD

    THE LORD LOVE ALL YE SAHLL BE EXAULHTED

    January 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      Which lord?? There are thousands of different gods... Please be more specific so I don't pray to the wrong god and burn in hell for all eternity... Thanks.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      The lord is illiterate?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Win Adams

    You know, there is a reason why they say "there are no atheists on the battlefield". There is usually a reason for all those old fashioned sayings. You do not have to be affilated with organized religion to believe in God. I believe in God, but I do not belong to any organized religion. My beliefs are mostly taken from my father, who was 1/2 native american. I don't think God cares if we go and sit in a building or not. My father worshipped outside and inside our home, but never went to a church. He was uncomfortable inside buildings. I don't think God cared. You must choose how you believe, but I think you should at least educate your children about God. Then they can make their own decisions.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • JWT

      Amongst the great many things my kids need to be educated about god came in around 12,982,253. Besides which god are you talking about. My kids learned about the existence of thor though the tv and comic books.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  20. joshmo

    Eternity is not "a very long time"
    Eternity is just a realm of being that is decoupled from time.
    The great question is, what is consciousness, and can consciousness be apart from time.
    In death and dying there are answers to life and living.
    Out of darkness comes light.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Death is the cessation of life. There is nothing to indicate that it is anything more than that.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
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About this blog

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