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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. AntiReligous

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

    For those who did not know what Scientism is. I honestly have no problem with people raising their children however they like, it is when they belittle someone else for believing something that does not fit their own world view that it gets annoying. Scientism is probably the fastest growing religion in the West right now and as long as adherents to it keep to a consistent system of ethics, it should not be an issue in society. Hopefully it will not become the next Christendom forcing its views on the masses.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  2. cesar

    I totally agree with Mitchell. I will not be raising my 3 kids with the fairy tales found in the bible. People just can't handle the fact that once we die there is no more.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Austin

      the Holy Spirit will always sustain His ministry through signs and wonders, internal testimonies on the heart of man.

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

      Nothing after death. Sounds like something to really look forward to.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • The Truth

      " internal testimonies "

      I have invented a new word for you to use when describing your religions doctrine, "intestimonies", you know, the kind of testimony that comes from deep down inside you, down there in the intestines...Of course, just from the smell we will be able to tell you are full of shlt even before you open your mouth...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  3. JJ

    I had the same problems with neighbors in backasswards Texas as this woman and others who commented on her piece did. I dealt with it in a straightforward way and told people in no uncertain terms that I am not religious, and so is my family, so leave your religion at your door and do not bring it to mine. Eventually they got the message and went away, and were replaced by other acquaintances who clearly had much richer lives than those who are delusional about old white men in the sky. My son has turned out extremely well and is graduating from a prestigious university, while the children of those delusional christians either dropped out, went into gangs or wound up in some junior college learning some menial skills that sets them up for a useless, unfulfilled life of servitude to someone who has money.

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

    To "dazzy" here you are on this board telling me to not speak about my beliefs but aren't you doing the same? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Typical non-believer mentality. You would rather tell me not to talk about God because you choose to deny Him.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • JJ

      You'd be a lot better off dealing with this with your therapist.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Wang

    Human's emotional need for a God figure can not be replaced by the proven fact that THERE IS NO GOD AS DESCRIBED BY ORGANIZED RELIGIONS, EVEN THOUGH SCIENCE STILL CAN NOT EXPLAIN ORIGIN OF OUR UNIVERSE EITHER. People who first said earth surrounded sun was burned live. It is a strength to think independently based on science and facts. I would rather be lonely, then joining blind faith of others.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  6. virginia

    This mom has the disire to belong in a group of people wiht the same believe system as herself – the need to belong is an emotion what is need to form a Religion is emotions and a group of people with the disire to belong and express their emotions as the athiest are so doing with this article others begging to feel they belong to a Religion a group of people who undestand how they now feel about this believe and look for support from others to express their emotions about this subject that is Religion....

    January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Some atheists join organizations, some do not. Atheism is not a religion, no matter how many time christians try to claim it is.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  7. CW

    I do not believe in God, but I don't criticize people who do. A lot of posters on here seem to believe that because I do not 'believe' in a higher power, it's because I do not 'understand' religion and God. No, I choose to believe in evolution. Again, go to church on Sunday's and pray, I find no fault in that and I wish you well in life – but don't push your beliefs on me.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      well, i do, and rather harshly depending on the case... usually, though, i limit myself to criticizing their ideas

      January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Jim T

      As a believer and a Christian I totally agree with you CW. Unbelievers have rejected God, it's in Romans 1. We're not supposed to waste time with them. They've made their decision. To continue on with them is the equivalent of throwing pearls to swine. Jesus himself said to not waste time with this. Christians are human and make mistakes and mean no harm but they don't always get in synch with Gods ways. Trust me, God holds you to your choice, he have you the choice, you made it. So be it. Mathew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Just curious why you position your confidence in an established scientific theory in contrast to any religious leanings. They are not mutually exclusive you know?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Anon

      Apparently your Abrahamic desert god prefers willful ignorance than logical reasoning.
      In part the internet is slowly killing the concept of your god.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      jimbo: pearls? more like rat droppings

      January 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • lawrence s

      @jim
      when you quote the bible, your credibility becomes worthless

      if i quote fairytales about right and wrong does that make me correct? think for yourself, don't let a book written by oppressors dictate your life

      January 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  8. Kimberly

    Thanks for being brave enough to express your views. I've had similar experiences with my daughter who is not raised under any religion. My husband and I both were raised in religion and once we got to be adults we wanted to get far away from the hypocrasy (and often looney justifications).

    January 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  9. Ellen

    commenting here will not change anyone's heart. If you are a Christian this is just anothe wake up call that we need to listen to people individually, share our story, and love. Indiviually, one by one. Not here.

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

      If you need to share your christian story please do it to a therapist or a friend who cares about such things. The rest of us don;t care. If you tried telling it to me you;d end up talking to the air very very quickly.

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

      That's very nice of you, Ellen, but most atheists are well aware of, if not raised or schooled in christian mythology and have rejected it for their own reasons. While I don't believe that religion holds any special virtue, I respect that others believe differently than me. I would be nice if christians return that respect.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  10. Michelle

    Great article. Great blog.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Jim T

    Think about it Madtown. He created babies. He create innocence. The little girl, beauty and love were all His idea. Everything delicate, wonderful beautiful comes from Him. If He is God and created all and He is and did, then femininity is his idea, so is masculinity. Unbelievable power and imagination. It must have blown the angels minds when he spoke the universe in existence. Look at the size of our universe man, if there is a God, and He created this? We should get on our faces before Him and shut our mouths. Well, He spoke to us and said He did it. He also said why people don't believe it. It makes sense. Open your heart brother. God loves you.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Did you need a series of lobotomies to be this stupid? Or did one suffice?

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

      people reject God and their the idea of their own soul?

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

      Oh, I've thought about it and read about it plenty. Enough to know that I don't know much of anything.

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

      Don't forget he also created the parasites that lives in the drinking water that the beautiful little girl will drink, causing her to go blind if she's lucky enough not to be one of the other children that dies every 15 seconds...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Scientific ignorance is not proof of god. It is simply proof of scientific ignorance.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Jim T

      Madtown, it is Gods spirit that is prompting you to seek Him. He calls all men to come to Him. To admit you don't know anything is a good place to be. You're getting closer to Him. He's calling you.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  12. Tom Cruise

    Xenu is where it's at.

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

      X'amen.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

      Xenu from Xanadu, I presume.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Jim

    Psalm 14:1

    January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      Santa 12:25

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • hal 9001

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

      –American Airlines

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mecca-lecca-hi, Mecca-hiney-ho! Mecca-lecca-hi, Mecca-chonny-ho!

      January 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  14. Believer

    I am still looking for the word "Bible" in one of these responses. Everyone one appears to be expressing their opinion based on bad information, hearsay, emotion, etc. I encourage those who are making a decision about where they will spend their eternal life (you do make that choice) to read the Bible so that they make their choice based on what God has to say on the subject. You will learn that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us but to save those who accept Him as Lord and Savior of their lives. God is not a rule maker, He is a God of grace (love) and by His grace we are saved from hell. Why would you reject a God who send His only son to die for your sins so that you could be with Him for all eternity and not hell. The Bible says - it is your choice. Choose wisely !

    January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Religion is illogical...

      Scare tactics... The final refuge of the weak-minded.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I became an atheist when I realized that the concept of god is nothing more than the very human attempt control the unknown. Humans have worshiped literally thousands of gods, and there isn't a shred of proof to support the existence of any one of them. Gods always share the values of the culture that invented them, only travel where humans take them, and never emerge independently in two unrelated places at once.

      All the words in the bible do not change history, and history has shown me that there is no reason to believe in any god.

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

      Reading the bible is one of the reasons I completely reject religion and made me an atheist.
      It's all a myth that went horribly wrong. From nature worship to zealous madness.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Why would you reject a God who send His only son to die for your sins so that you could be with Him for all eternity and not hell. "

      If the above makes sense to you, you are definitely batshlt cra-zy.

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

      Save us from the hell that he created ?Now-does THAT make sense ??

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

      I have read the bible and after 20 years i'm still an atheist. It's the people who read the bible that become atheists. Why? because after reading it you say to yourself "wow, this is just unbelievably insane"

      I argue with religious people ALL the time only to learn they haven't even read their own bible which they claim to "follow"

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

      based on what God has to say on the subject
      ----–
      We can't find out what God has to say on any subject by reading the bible. God didn't author the bible, humans did. We'll only know what God thinks when we meet him and talk face to face.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Believer

      Ric Warren made a very good observation you might want to consider. He said (paraphrased) " are you willing to bet your life on what you believe. If I am wrong and find at the end of my life that God does not exist, then I will have lived my life guided by a good standard and had a good life. But if you are wrong and find at the end of life there is a God .......then you will loose your eternal life with God. Choose wisely based on fact.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Check

      Believer,

      Pascal's wager again! Thoroughly refuted for hundreds of years since Pascal proffered it.

      You just may be going to Aztec hell...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  15. Lisa

    This is a perfect example of why mosh posh societies do not and cannot work. Too many differences cause division, it's just the way it is and always has been. That's why cultures are defined, beliefs along with it, by those who choose to live together on a basis of commonality but realizing there are many gifts, talents, that come with each individual. Even in this individuals may feel stronger about one belief or value than they do another, but there is still commonality. Muslims and Christians and atheists, and humanistics, etc can never live in harmony because the cultures and beliefs are so drastically different. There is nothing wrong with that, it's life. All four groups have major differences that offend each other. Where is the peace in all trying to live together, each feeling the right to exercise their own culture? There is no peace or unity in that because it never can exist. Offense is a human characteristic and there is no peace when one is constantly offended. We see that in the USA today. We have every culture and ethnicity group represented here in the USA and there is no way everyone of them can practice their culture and beliefs the way they do "back home". It just cannot work, it hasn't worked, and it doesn't work. Just look around. No one should feel alone in their beliefs or fear what others might think, but at the same time, if you lived in a community, state, country, with others who live, believe, have values, morals, and lifestyles that fit yours, keeping in mind there is individuality in place as well, wouldn't that make for a more satisfying life? There would be very little "trying make others accept you" going on, right? Living alongside people will always bring about some strife and disagreements, but they would be manageable, unlike they are now in the USA. I am a spirit filled christian, but I don't believe in organized religion. With that, I am not going into a catholic church and trying to convince them they are wrong in believing Peter is the rock that Jesus built his church on. That is their community and that's what they believe, I don't have to go there. I feel this belief is extremely wrong, so I am not catholic. Period. But if you are a spirit filled christian then everything you do should be governed by the leading of the holy spirit, including the workplace, school, community. But that doesn't mean you beat everyone over the head with a bible. You live your life by what you believe. The same with Muslims, atheists, and humanistics, etc. The problem, they all cannot coexist in peace and prosperity because the beliefs, values, laws, morals, etc. or so drastically different. So we will continue to see much civil unrest and division because the beliefs, values, laws, morals, are very divided. This is something our country just needs to accept. We are not all the same and it isn't fair for people to just exist like robots, that's not living in community. Community means where people gather together (commune) in unity over common beliefs, values, ethics, morals, laws, etc. That is the only way true community is ever achieved.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, Lisa, people that accept and respect differences can live very well together. I would hate to live in a world where everyone believed exactly what I do.

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

      I have friends of many religions, many cultures, many ages. We don't agree on everything and I learn and grow with every conversation I have with those who are different from me.

      There is no reason people who are different can't coexist. None.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      When a huge chunk of society is swept up in lunacy, OF COURSE society will crumble. The cure is an end to religious st-upidity, not diversity.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • The Truth

      "Muslims and Christians and atheists, and humanistics, etc can never live in harmony because the cultures and beliefs are so drastically different"

      Atheists/Humanists – Love your neighbor as yourself, treat others as you want to be treated, have empathy for your fellow man. There is more happiness in giving than in recieving.

      Christian – Love your neighbor as yourself, treat others as you want to be treated, have empathy for your fellow man. There is more happiness in giving than in recieving. Yhwh is a Jealous God and no other God exists before him and his people shall defend their faith against any who blaspheme his name.

      Muslim – Love your neighbor as yourself, treat others as you want to be treated, have empathy for your fellow man. There is more happiness in giving than in recieving. Allah is a Jealous God and no other God exists before him and his people shall defend their faith against any who blaspheme his name.

      I wonder why they can't all just get along... Oh, wait, maybe it's that last part of "I'm right, you're wrong and anything you say against my God turns me into a raving lunatic ready to press whatever red button you place before me...!" That could cause some conflicts...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Lisa

      Yes Tallulah you are right, they can and that is the key word, can. It's a choice, however most people don't choose to, so therefore in most cases going all the way back through civilizations past, it usually was done by force, not because people chose to accept. Yes there are always those who embrace differences, but the majority of the human population doesn't. It may appear to work for a while, but then the inevitable happens, and it all comes crashing down. Your view is you wouldn't want to be in a society where there are many commonalities, but there are many who do want commonality, and neither is wrong. But those who don't want diversity when it comes against their lifestyle and beliefs shouldn't be forced to accept diversity no more than those who love diversity should be forced to accept commonality. This is why people choose to be divided, and once again, they are both right in their own way.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Daniel

      Lisa, thank you so much for your massive paragraph on why everyone should be so uniform and similar on all the things you mentioned, it really appeals to my individuality. Just so you know, I think it's written somewhere the the US is the "land of the free"? Whatever does that mean? Also, and i'm just throwing it in here. The differentiation begins on the cellular level from the time you were conceived, you are different in almost every way to everyone else on earth, yet you require uniformity? I believe you are a walking contradiction.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Colleen

      I live in Chicago and in a big city you see that everyone can exist all together. You just realize that everyone is basically the same so its no big deal. Most of us are just going about our own business, not bothering anyone else. There will always be a small percentage of ALL populations that break the rules and don't want to conform to the natural humanistic traits most of us are born with. But that's in all races and creeds. The few that make the most noise make outsiders believe everyone of that race is a certain way but of course that's just fear and anger speaking. My brother's in-laws who are Arab/muslim and live in Morocco just want to earn a living, go on vacation, be good citizens, obey the law, watch their children grow up in a safe environment, etc. just like us. My family knows i don't practice Christianity anymore but they know I'm a good person and believe in obeying the law. I have personal ethics and morals that define how I live my life. I can't say I'm saved and use it as an excuse to be bad. We are all human beings and are of the same species, we all have the instinct to love and be loved and to fight for survival. We all have empathy that we are born with – anyone else in our species does. 4 to 10% of the population has brain issues like sociopathy or narcissism or OCD or bi-polar or just an a-type personality who places greed higher up on the scale than human life. but the rest of us the other 90 to 95% of us are just trying to live our lives peacefully. To say that you can't exist living in a society with other people of other beliefs is to say that unless your pushing your views and beliefs down other peoples throats that you can not exist happily. Its childish. Most of us just want a job, a vacation, some fun, some meaning- and i have found mine without belief in 1000 year old writings by men. You know the greek gods were popular for thousands of years too. It didn't make them real.

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

      Lisa: So what you are saying is that you think that peace can only exist through segregation? What a disturbing thought.

      I'm glad to live in the United States, where we are free to think, speak and believe (or not believe) as we choose. Perhaps someday, that freedom will be respected by those political and religious individuals and groups that seem to think that their way is the only way.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Gabriel Being

      Lisa, we can live together, we must live together, we DO live together. As long as we can respect each person their freedom of conscience, we can live together peacefully. I am not a believer in organized religion, but have may friends that are religious. We remain friends because we can discuss our beliefs calmly and not force them on each other. We have mutual respect in this. It may be true that these types of friendships are difficult to come by, since most people prefer to have their beliefs validated, rather than challenged, but living together, communicating with each other, and respecting each other is not only possible, it's the best way to avoid conflict. When we all gather together in clans, we start forgetting that people whom believe things that are different than us are still valid and decent human beings, whom don't need our beliefs or guidance forced upon them, and vice-versa.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  16. WHAT????!!!

    Babptize your baby or otherwise he will go to hell? That has to be one of the most ridiculous things the catholic church has came up with!! I know Scripture and follow Jesus, and that's nowhere to be found as something necessary. Unbelieaveable how people believe what they are told but fail to find the truth of the lesson for themselves.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Except of course that is not what the Church teaches, or has ever taught. I thought all this straw was from a broom!

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

      The Catholic Church took back the concept of Limbo in 2007- like we all didn't know it was a bunch of hooey but for real believers like my mom, Limbo was a horrific thing that women in Irealnd killed themselves over.

      In writings before his election as Pope in 2005, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger made it clear he believed the concept of limbo should be abandoned because it was “only a theological hypothesis” and “never a defined truth of faith.”

      No word yet on ALL THE REST OF IT.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  17. hisarrow

    She says she didn't want to feel alone in her situation, but then later she says she's fine with "being alone in the universe", i.e. without God. I guess that makes sense to some people.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Humans are social animals. We enjoy agreeable company. On the other hand, there is no evidence to support the existence of any god, so comfort derived from belief is more than likely an illusion. Can you see the difference?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear
      these friends.

      Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.

      Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.

      Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.

      Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is "evil," "the devil," "an agent of Satan".

      Emotional abuse – ­ religious concepts such as sin, hell, cause feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and other types of emotional "baggage" which can scar the
      psyche for life.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Colleen

      Whether your fine with it or not, the truth is the truth. If we're alone then we are alone and if you believe we aren't then you may feel some comfort but it wouldn't change the truth that we are alone, it would just mean you believe something that isn't. I'd rather know the truth than have blind or naive beliefs that made me feel better.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  18. WisdomVS

    Arguing over the existance of God is like debating if a dog has a smile on his face. The truth is a dog doesn't have the face muscle structure to smile but he can let you know he's happy my wagging his tail. Since nobody has seen the face of God what are we to look for... the wagging tongues of his followers?

    January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Anon

    Reading the comments from the religious is the reason why I know they're all delusional, no exceptions.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  20. Donna Palermo

    How can anyone who has a child not believe in God? God's greatest gift to us is our children!

    January 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Donna Palermo", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore, the notion that children are a gift from "it" is unfounded.

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

      Deal with it, not everyone on this planet believes in your Abrahamic desert god.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      I don't recall seeing God in the delivery room, I saw lots of Doctors without whom it would have decreased the chances of my babies survival by 50% so I certainly won't be relying on God for my childs safety...

      January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And sometimes people kill their children rather than let them be born

      January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And sometimes people kill their children after their born. But that has nothing to do with the lack of proof for the existence of god.

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

      i think someone needs to have a talk with you about where babies come from. spioler alert: it's not heaven.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      donna: how can you can look at an innocent child and believe that this child was born into "sin" based on the mythology of a woman eating a piece of fruit?

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

      Bill Deacon: And here comes another loony from the pro-life aka anti-choice brigade.
      How about more séx ed instead of primitive and outdated scare tactics?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      psalm 137:9 happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • JWT

      What on earth does a newborn have to do with believing in god? At least the children are real.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Great idea Anon. Do you think more firearm education will reduce shooting violence as well?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Anon

      JWT: The religious are always trying to spin something as proof of their Abrahamic desert god.
      It's always I don't know, therefore my specific god did it, no exceptions and the rest are wrong no matter how much contradicting evidence you show me.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rj Cunningham

      Given religious nuts do not "believe" in science, at least they can agree that history exists. Well following history, one would say people thousands of years ago were quite primitive and ignorant to the workings of the world, especially compared to where humans are today. If this is agreed, is there a chance primitive scriptures like the bible are mere stories and tall tales?

      Oh, never mind...I forgot such thoughts are simply rejecting the light of god from entering my soul and letting the dark forces of the devil consume my innocence. I guess I'll just accept my inevitable torture in hell for eternity.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:59 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.