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

Godless mom strikes a chord with parents

By Daphne Sashin, CNN

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

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

Then, she says, the recruiting started.

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

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

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

It starts:

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

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

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

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

Others said Mitchell presented a simplistic view of religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She ended her essay:

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. John Miller

    Religion is like your genitailia, it's OK to play around with it yourself, but you shouldn't be allowed to stuff it down your childs throat. Religion is the bane of humanity.

    January 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • paddletales

      I think that's a terrible analogy. That's more analogous to solipsism. In fact, all cultural artifacts (religion, food habits, language, etc.) are transmitted from generation to generation by parental instruction. Now that we are approaching a global community, many of these traditional cultural artifacts are being lost. The harshest criticism is that they are lies. But that is a shallow view. Many stories from mythology are as relevant today as they have always been. It's a shame these tales are being lost. It's a shame that the atheists are as literal minded as the fundamentalists.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  2. paddletales

    I raised my children on Freedom. I taught them that there are many different ways that people worship, or choose not to. I told them they have a right to choose for themselves. And I made available the Bible (plus Gnostic excluded texts), Bagavad Gita, Dhamapada, several Sutras, writings of Baha'ulah, Martin Buber and Friedrich Nietzsche. They did not avail themselves of ANY of it!

    Look, we come from All and we return to All. During our time separate from All, we wish only to return. This is physically impossible. We are temporarily separated so that we can experience life individually and share that experience when we return. Until then, we learn and grow and love. Loving is not a thing to acquire, it is something you do. Heaven is not a place, nor is Hell. They are states of being. The closest you can get to being reunited while alive is when you are loving other people. Compassion is the awareness that you are only temporarily separated from another person, that other people are you, and other animals are you in beautiful variations. We exist to love.

    As far as I am concerned, most of the world's religions are metaphorical ways of sharing the above ideas. I raised my kids to see them as such, and told them they can choose whatever metaphor they like. I don't think it worked, unfortunately, since my life partner at the time was a total atheist who rejected even the possibility that scriptures might be metaphorical. So both my kids came out atheist. I wonder if it would have been different had I dragged them to Sunday prayers and forced them to tell me they believed in the literal truth of one of those books. But I don't think so. I think they would have just thought me a fool or overbearing or worse.

    January 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • John

      Beliefs are organic and come individually from each person. You can expose them to it and plant a seed but you cannot make it grow. That requires something else. All that you can do is love on them.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  3. JWHAL

    My problem with this story is that CNN treats this woman and her views as though she were some sort of counter voice tp experts on religion or theology. She is neither. It is easy to see from her words, that the concept of God she rejects is not the concept of well-formed theology and certainly not the theology taught by the Catholic Church. It is a concept of her own imagination which for some odd reason, she thinks is the same as everyone else's belief in God. She certainly has no sound footing or reasonable position to conclude anything about anyone else on this matter other than herself. Its not about her rights to be left alone. Its about her trying to control the behavior of others so she isn't made to feel the discomfort others feel with her militant atheism. If she is asked about her beliefs, then I recommend she should simply say "I don't really discuss that, but thanks for asking." Spare us the grandstanding.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      There is no 'well-formed theology', her concept of deities is as valid as the next person's.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Colin

      And how does one become an "expert on religion or theology." In my entire life, I have never heard any priest, rabbi, Pope or other theologian say anything deep or intellectual. Just the same tired bullsh.it they have been repeating for centuries. But please, feel free to prove me wrong. Give me some examples of "deep" or "intellectual" theology.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Roger that

      The well-formed theology concept is to misinform.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • JWHAL

      I didn't say her views were invalid. I said her concept of God was of her own imagination. And Colin, I guess you never heard of a PhD in Theology. If that's the case, I certainly have no time to do your research for examples of well-formed theology.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Bet

      "militant atheism"?? If you read the first few paragraphs, she states that another mom asked her about her beliefs, then stalked and harassed her when she replied that she was a nonbeliever.

      Who's the militant in that scenario?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      JWHAL, You introduced the concept of a well-formed theology, presumably you know of an example.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • JWHAL

      Ok, I suggest you go to your library and check out "City of God" by St. Augustine and Summa Theologiæ by St. Thomas Aquinas. Both of those are works of well-formed theology. When you are done, c'mon back.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • saksatkara

      "If she is asked about her beliefs, then I recommend she should simply say "I don't really discuss that, but thanks for asking." How arrogant this is! I never heard any religious person saying that, christians and muslins and alike.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • John

      I'm glad that she's honest. We all struggle with doubt on occasion. If there is an all powerful God, I guarantee that he appreciates honesty. But the truth is, I see no visible evidence that there is no God and no evidence that there is. For me, it comes to a question of faith. You either have faith that God does not exist or you have faith that God does. If you claim to be certain that he doesn't, then you are mislead. All that exists are written accounts and testimonies from eye witnesses about 2000 years ago. And these disciples believed so strongly in their gospel that they willingly faced brutal murders just so people could hear their story. The fear of death is still the same from way back when to today. It takes a truly inspiring cause for people to welcome it in the way that they did, regardless of what era they come from.

      But then again, that's me. If you have doubts, challenge them. Research them. Test them. If you blindly believe in something, challenge them. Research them. Test them. Don't be afraid to face these realities. Blind unbelief or belief has no foundation or substance.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I would expect any well formed theology to be based on facts and evidence.

      Failing that, any "well formed" theology has the same merit as declaring that giant invisible fuzzy pink unicorns circle Uranus.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • 2718

      'Her concept of God was of her own imagination'. Yes the imagination of stone aged goat herders is much better.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I have read both Augustine and Aquinas so I guess I can speak? She isn't grand standing; she's simply sharing her experience with others. This is no different than what Christian bloggers do all the time. If she were submitting a paper for publication in a religious journal, sure, she'd be laughed out of town. But CNN also has on this site a story called "Back to Church, despite doubts". Is that English major grandstanding?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      How can unicorns be both invisible and pink?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • LinCA


      Don't mistake this discussion for a theological one. A theological discussion can only be had if all participants explicitly or implicitly agree there is a deity. But to those don't accept that, theology is essentially the discussion of the fabric, the cut, the colors and patterns of the emperor's new clothes.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • JWHAL

      Saraswati that wasn't directed at you and I'mi not trying to silence anyone. They apparently needed examples and they got them. Unlike a well read person like yourself.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Richard Cranium

      Same way god is love but then sends us to hell for using our brain.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • W. R. Martin

      Since theology == mythology there really isn't anything to study. It's all make believe. Completely and totally made up by men. And how dare you deny the existence of my unicorn and since you do not pray to him daily you will suffer an eternity in ignorance and playing make believe. Wait. That's what you already do. Never mind.
      Aesop's fables. Tales of King Arthur. Tinkerbelle. Now, those are True.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "My problem with this story is that CNN treats this woman and her views as though she were some sort of counter voice tp experts on religion or theology."


      ANYONE can counter "experts" in theology and religion – as easily as they can counter "experts" in speaking klingon and knowledge about start trek.

      being an expert in theology and religion is like being an expert specializing in the exegesis of mother goose.



      January 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Disprove 1 thing she said. Otherwise, you're full of bs.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Would I be silly to assume that a well formed theology comes with independent, factual, objective and verifiable evidence?

      January 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • RespectfullyAtheist

      Actually, the other mom asked her about her religious beliefs and if she was not prepared to handle an undesired response like an adult she should not have asked her the question. So it's ok for religious people to assume everyone else believes in god and speak about god and their faith, but it's not ok for other people to say they don't? I personally find that atheists and agnostics tend to be very hush hush about their non-beliefs whereas people who do adhere to a particular religion tend to voice their opinions for everyone to hear and when someone disagrees then we are inevitably going to be told we are going to hell and then religious people proceed to pray for us as if we're some sort of lost cause. I can't tell you how uncomfortable it is to be expected to pray to a god you don't believe in at a business dinner. Militant atheism? It's an opinion piece. She's not an expert, nor does she pose as one. Atheists are not the ones who are militant.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  4. Robert

    Personally, I wish this woman well. I am an Episcopalian, which for those of you who don't know is fairly liberal in it's theology. We acknowledge there is room for evolution, we welcome gay folks, even ordain them to ministry and leadership in the church. Science is a fact. Dinosaurs existed. The right to chose is just that. The Anglican model of Faith, Tradition, and Reason are central to our worship. We also take the view that your relationship with God is your business, not that of the majority. Indeed, the choice to believe or not to believe is very much a personal one as well. We also don't go for the "we're better than you because we believe thus" that you see with many other denominations. There are many paths to God, it is up to the person to chose, not for me to tell you this is the way. The separation of Church and State exist for a reason; everyone has a different viewpoint and a different theology. It's not for any one group to insist that their moral code should be enforced on the whole.

    What I take exception to are those who want to run down others because of their choice to believe. I have yet to bash anyone claiming to be an Atheist or an Agnostic: that is your business, not mine. I expect the same respect,

    January 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Colin

    In all fairness, it truly is remarkable how much faith people put in ancient Palestinian mythology. It survives into the 21st Century!! If we were ever visited by an alien civilization, I am sure that this would be recorded by them as our greatest paradox.

    1. We know the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and that life gradually evolved and diversified over this period of time through a process of abiogenises followed by evolution. The evidence is overwhelming, yet most of the human race still have to invoke some hokey sky-fairy to have started it by providing the initial nudge. Some are still that fvcking ignorant that they think it all began 10,000 years ago and involved a talking snake!!

    2. We know that prayers do not work. Study after study demonstrates this and never in all of history has there ever been a case of a prayer being answered in circu.mstances where it is validated that the prayer made the difference. Yet millions of humans think that they can close their eyes and think silent thoughts like, “please God help me pass my exam tomorrow,” and the being that created the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies is somehow monitoring their thoughts (or “hearing their prayers,” if one prefers a more euphemistic expression) and will intervene to alter what would otherwise be the course of human history in small ways to answer their prayer.

    3. Miracles are still regularly proclaimed. Every time a tornado or other natural catastrophe strikes, the survivors will attribute their good fortune to supervising magic beings who took special care of them. Never once has a miracle been validated.

    4. After death “experiences” sell like hot cakes to a gullible public. Ghosts, gods, “moving toward a light,” trips to heaven and other utter garbage are still the mainstream reaction to any near death event. In all of history, zero people have returned from the grave (unless one believes a certain, well-known piece of Palestinian mythology from 2,000 years ago). 100,000,000,000 have died – zero have returned. Yet we still insist on pretending that we somehow survive our own physical deaths.

    If an alien civilization ever did visit, they would probably sum us up as “they have potential, but are still haunted by their superst.itions from a bygone era. Check back in 500 years.”

    January 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Wesley

      Let's start a different discussion, one without fairy tales and stories that no rational adult actually believes. Santa Clause does not exist. Most of the stories that are told about religion are from a time when we knew so much less about the world, but the stories have not changed.

      But just because I don't believe those stories, does not mean that religion should be thrown out entirely. Keep the wonderful rules to live by like the 10 commandments. And then lets look at what we still don't know – how did something come from nothing. We know about the big bang...but what caused it. Let's have a real discussion about where we all come from and what it all means. We don't need to have religion in the current sense to still be in awe of our world.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Possibly, but who's to say that the aliens wouldn't have their own insane religion?It's fair to as.sume that if Aliens were ever to travel across the huge distances of space and have the technology to make first contact, we can only assume they would probably be a more scientifically minded civilization but since we have yet to discover even basic life forms, let alone full on sentient civilizations outside our own planet, who knows what an alien species would look like or how they would think.

      Just my two cents. It would be a fascinating case study to see if Aliens did in fact land on earth but were here as missionaries to spread their own religion, how many people would convert. Even more interesting in my opinion, what if Aliens landed and had a very similar religion to one of our own, like christianity, or islam or even Hinduism, how many people would convert then? Would aliens having a similar or the same religion as earthlings bolster that religion?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Wesley – you said "But just because I don't believe those stories, does not mean that religion should be thrown oüt entirely"
      Why not? I have a moral code. I don't need religion for it. You refer to the ten comandments. You realize there are two sets of "10 Comandments" in the Bible, right? I n exodus 20 and 34 respectively:

      1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.
      2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
      3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
      4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
      5. Honor your father and your mother.
      6. You shall not kill.
      7. You shall not commit adultery.
      8. You shall not steal.
      9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
      10. You shall not covet.

      1. Thou shalt worship no other god (For the Lord is a jealous god).
      2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
      3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.
      4. All the first-born are mine.
      5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.
      6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.
      7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.
      8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.
      9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
      10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.

      They don't sound very impressive to me. Now let me give you a list complied by a well known atheist and see how it compares, that of Zambian born philosopher Anthony Grayling :

      Love well
      Seek the good in all things
      Harm no others
      Think for yourself
      Take responsibility
      Respect nature
      Do your utmost
      Be informed
      Be kind
      Be courageous

      January 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Rreid

      This quotation should be worth reading:

      "Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every soul. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division it would be better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure, but if the remedy only aggravates the complaint, it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion." ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks)

      This looks like good advice.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  6. frespech

    There are reasons why people are atheists, and there are reasons others believe in God. I don't think either is a result of stupidity. If God were to intervene in every wrong doing what would that prove. We accept by faith but not blindly. It is the most important choice any of us can make. God is abundant dynamic energy not mass. Enough of my two cents. May everyone enjoy the day.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  7. Forgive Them

    To all the godless people in the world. God Still Loves you! I think the misconception of most is that "GOD" is a person or something. What we fail to realize is that as humans we have an "EGO" and this inside power struggle with "ego" makes it hard for anyone to believe that there is something more than oneself. I am not here to criticize, i am simply stating that People should get out of the normal stereotypical ways and views of religion. The world is made of energy – without it nothing would exist. That is scientifically proven. Where this energy comes from is beyond the comprehension of the ignorance of the human mind. When you realize that it is ridiculous to think we are alone in the world – that is when you will receive your message or calling. The non believers keep the believers going! You are meant to be here too! Without you others would never ask questions and you are supposed to ask questions but come to your own conclusions! I am not here to shove my beliefs down your throat. I do not even attend a church. I don't believe i have to be in a specific location to honor my creator. And i pray for all humanity. Please mark my words, You will see what the truth is in the end – everyone will, even the ones that believe in nothing. Find YOUR truth, Find YOUR light! Bless you ALL! I hope you find your LIGHT!

    January 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Colin

      How can you say "Where this energy comes from is beyond the comprehension of the ignorance of the human mind."

      And then claim to know the answer?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Forgive Them

      One more thing – It is fine to believe what you do but dont push those beliefs on innocent children. That makes YOU the brainwasher! You are simply doing what you want others not to do – brainwashing your children..! EVERYONE has the free will to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Dont teach your children anything negative it poisons them as they grow older. Life is hard and its ok to ask for a little guidance. Again God Bless! and make up your own mind, buy your children books and religious texts – let them come to their own conclusions!

      January 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      god loves us? based on what?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      "It is fine to believe what you do but dont push those beliefs on innocent children."

      Like religious parents do?

      January 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Forgive Them

      I dont claim to know the answer. I know MY Answer – I know MY truth. All this is based on events that have happened in my life. My beliefs stem from my research. I was 14 when i learned about Energy, mediation, metaphysics and quantum physics. I am 30 years old now. All of this study and practice has brought me to where i stand today. Prayers are answered everyday – Miracles happen everyday. How can all of this go unnoticed? I am not preaching to you all – i am simply commenting on the article and praying for you all. My intentions are positive. You dont have to believe what i say, No one does. BUT there is something watching out for everyone and there has to be bad in the world in order to for there to be good. When you get out of the human thought process you see that it has nothing to do with what we perceive as right and wrong. It is much bigger than that but why waste my time explaining something that took me 15 years to understand. I am not going to change anyone's mind about anything – that is up to how much you are willing give up in order to find your truth. It is not easy – always a hard road. Everything happens for a reason even if you dont know what the reason is at the moment – there is still a reason it happened.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Why do you jump to so many conclusions?
      Miracles happen everyday.( Not one you can positively attribute to a deity)
      Prayers are answered every day (You have no evidence that anything heard or responded to prayer)

      In Both instances, you give credit for something to your deity, but you don't have any reason to.

      Lastly, "everythinig happens for a reason." That is a wild assumption, and you again, have no reason to say that.

      I have used the word reason a few times. Hopefully you can see that believing as you do is unreasonable, and very illogical.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "I dont claim to know the answer. I know MY Answer – I know MY truth."

      ...that's how people justify their delusional thinking.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Forgive Them

      You're right – that is how people justify delusional thinking! This entire thing is laughable. How people are easily getting offended at some of the words being used. Words are just that, words, and they have different meanings to everyone. True Story! My "unreasonable and illogical" thinking is just that, MINE. I am not trying to change your mind. Just want people to think for themselves. I know where i am going and no one can change that. I know what i have been through and what i have seen and experienced and i dont expect anyone to understand that. That is the difference, i am not judging or justifying anything or anyone. Just keeping an open mind. Most beliefs are stemmed from being products of your environments. Most cant control that. That is ok! You dont have to believe in anything, that still doesn't mean that things dont exist. That is the problem with the world – if you cant see it – it doesn't exist or isnt true. Well energy is invisible – not seen by the naked eye – doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You are still breathing and living – miracle of life you are! Dont let me offend you, it is not my intention to offend anyone. The "unreasonably delusional illogical" way of thinking you perceive my thought process to be is perfectly fine with me. You aren't hurting my feelings. Ill pray for people like you to find your truth. It will never be the same as anyone else's it is all your own. =)

      January 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • the AnViL

      yes, well – unfortunately for you and all "good" monotheists.... there is a subset of your religion that seeks to nullify equality for americans they feel morally superior to. by the mandates of your religion – you must........forgive them.

      there is a subset of your religion that works overtime to insert their ridiculous mythologies into our public school science classes by force of law... again – you are compelled to forgive them.

      there is a really huge subset of your religion that thinks it's a good idea to prohibit women from terminating pregnancies.... again – in your religion – you are admonished to forgive them.

      i'm not.

      there's absolutely no good reason why anyone should sit by idle and tolerate 2000 years of religious that continues to infect yet another generation.

      there's no good reason to respect the beliefs of a monotheistic religion that propagates division, ignorance, bigotry and hate on this earth any longer. none what so ever.

      it's not your religious beliefs that are most offensive... it is your ignorance.


      January 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Forgive Them

      Seriously Laughable! Ignorance is everywhere – YOU HAVE PROVEN THIS VERY THING. IF we want to talk about evolving that is a different subject altogether. I never said i was religious – i dont even attend a church nor am i a part of a congregation as some would call it. I dont believe in having to be feared into anything and i dont believe what you have obviously misinterpreted. You are on a different wavelength and that is OK too! You right in how we should EVOLVE but that also includes people like YOU. =) Ive said my piece and you dont have to swallow it – I do however believe in Forgiveness – without it there would be way too much bitterness and negativity in the world. Its good for the soul, or do you not have one of those either? Ha – i am joking – dont be so serious! You and i will live to see another day regardless of our differences. Bless You!

      January 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "I never said i was religious"

      now you're contradicting yourself. you seem very very confused.

      you profess your delusional belief in an imaginary man in the sky..throw out some bless you's and then expect people to accept you're not religious.... right.

      you need not goto a church or be a part of a congregation to be as obviously religious as you are.

      you are the enemy of reason and you help perpetuate the spread of true darkness on this planet.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      the AnViL commits the fallacy of Argumentum ad Hominem (Argument against the man".

      January 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @AnVIL, most of the country distinguishes "spiritual" from "religious". Certainly they mean the same thing in many contexts, but we wouldn't have these discussions if they always did. There is nothing wrong with Forgive's use of the term.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • the AnViL

      1) Argumentum ad Hominem is when you attack the man- when you've no argument and only assert an attack against a person. my statements – "addressed" his "argument". your summation is rejected.

      2) religious: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity

      3) cha cha cha

      January 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      @the AnViL- your comments were an attack against the person. They were meant to tear his position down by attacking him and ignored the original argument made in the thread. Your ignorance about being "religious" isn't anyone's concern but yours.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • the AnViL

      Fallacy Spotting 101:

      my "comments" were in direct response of his assertion that he is not religious. he clearly is, as i pointed out – religious.

      i tore down his argument by pointing out his blatantly obvious religious statements – not with invective, dummy.



      January 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  8. some schmuck

    129 pages of poor upset theists.

    Some atheist on the internet had the NERVE! The GALL! Tha AUDACITY! to post something about why they choose to live their life the way they did. Sadly, she's not murdering anyone. She's not hurting anyone. She's merely telling her children the truth.

    There exists not one shred of evidence to coraborate the story told in the Christian buybull. There is no evidence that there is anything supernatural in the world. There is no evidence that this Jesus fella ever existed.

    Grow up. It's the year 2013. We put a man on the moon over 40 years ago. We're talking about mining asteroids for minerals and water. Nasa is working on a way to exceed the speed of light. We are WAY beyond the supernatural belief that there has to be a god in order for a natural phenomenon to function.

    Thousands of years ago, the idea that a god rode the sun across the sky in a chariot wasn't insane. Today it is.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Ron S

      I guess your momma did not teach you to respect others, did she? Making fun of what people hold dear – "buybull" Really? what are you, 12 years old? Just because you are "enlightened" and know more that all of the other "schumcks" makes you better that everyone else – Dude, you need to get over yourself

      January 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • some schmuck

      I have no respect for the idiotic idea that a bronze age warrior who lived before plumbing, toilet paper, air conditioning, electricity, or even the internal combustion engine had more knowledge about the nature and origins of the universe than a modern day scientist.

      Give me one reason why I should.

      The idea that religious beliefs should be immune to criticism and ridicule is as ridiculous as the beliefs themselves.

      If I can recognize that your position on gun control or taxes or education has no merit because you lack the understanding of the underlying issues, I can recognize that your beliefs on the origin of the universe, life, etc... are also so lacking.

      There is no god. I don't have to respect your idiotic belief that there is one. Get over it.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Liz Jackson

    It's good to know that I am not the only one out there that has decided not to force religion upon my child. He lost a few friends when he was youger because they were troubled by his non belief but now they are older and accept him as he accepts them.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  10. Otto1923

    "I agree that they don't believe in God. I don't agree that that you'd get buy-in on the comparrision of Jesus (as opposed to 'God') to the sun gods"
    -You want a proper dissertation HERE? I present facts. You conflate them.

    "or on the word 'forged', at least in relation to the majority of the work."
    -'Forged' is ehrmans word. And I said 'the norm'. Ehrman suggests 1000s of miscopies, mistakes, additions/deletions/edits for political or selfish reasons. See YouTube.

    Why are antireligionists angry? A Shiite mosque was blown up today. Your pleasant addiction bolsters extremist actions because your books DEMAND them. Your books DEMAND that women do nothing but make and raise babies to fuel this insanity.

    Denounce your books. End the sickness.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Saraswati


      "Your pleasant addiction bolsters extremist actions because your books DEMAND them. Your books DEMAND that women do nothing but make and raise babies to fuel this insanity.

      Denounce your books. End the sickness."

      Huh? I don't believe in any gods. Who exactly are you talking to? I wass pointing out you were exagerrating the position of the authors you cite – that's it. Unlike, it seems, most people here I'm pretty willing to offer support or criticism to either side of the argument...and I'm kind of getting sick of everyone assuming my position based on who I praise or criticse on small issues. It really says something to me about how biased 90% of the posters are on this site that everyone thinks they know who you are from a few words.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chad

      "I'm kind of getting sick of everyone assuming my position based on who I praise or criticse on small issues. It really says something to me about how biased 90% of the posters are on this site that everyone thinks they know who you are from a few words"

      =>ad hominem is the name of the game around here, few are willing or able to just stick to discussing the argument.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "few are willing or able to just stick to discussing the argument."

      @Chad ==> I guess that might be because my tired arguments have already been dismantled numerous times.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • PI RHO TAU

      The poster known as Chad.
      Captain Henry Morgan
      Our fraternity have given you ample time to read and study the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We want you to explain why you still believe in the supernatural Judeo-Christian god given the evidence provided by the FSM. How can you reject our God without doing the investigation?

      January 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Chad

      Are you claiming that the FSM is actually real?
      Bobby Henderson invented the concept, right?

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster was created by Bobby Henderson in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in which he parodied the concept of intelligent design. After Henderson posted the letter on his website, it became an internet phenomenon and was featured in many large newspapers, which caught the attention of book publishers. Released in March 2006 by Villard Books, The Gospel elaborates on Pastafarian beliefs established in the open letter.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • PI RHO TAU

      Captain Henry Morgan
      Of course we know our prophet Bobby and how he wrote our gospel. That is a lot more than you can say about your supernatural bible gospels. Have you done the investigation, if so, please give a synopsis of how the FSM created the world in five days. You should not reject the FSM without doing the proper study, good for the goose.....

      January 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Chad

      Individual claims to revelation (FSM, Mormonism, Islam) represent a difficult thing to establish credibility with.. no one else than the single individual who got the revelation, impossible to falsify.. One persons testimony, that's it.

      Christianity is vastly different, being rooted in actual falsifiable historical events. You should investigate.

      January 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      How, for example, are the Revelations attributed to John validated?

      January 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Chad

      Can't be cross referenced, one would have to rely on the credibility of the person claiming the vision.

      Which in that case, is rock solid 🙂

      January 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  11. William Goit

    God is everything at once and has NOTHING to do with religion. Religion is cultural.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • wardkendall

      Only a vicious-hearted group of people could have created this psychopathic religion. Maybe that's why Hitler had a problem with Jewz.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      right, hitler wasn't a psychopath

      January 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      He did build good roads.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bet

      Hitler, there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!

      January 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  12. mike

    Isn't that special! God bless you.

    January 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  13. raphael

    well, yea, I didn't believe the single bullet theory, either!!!!

    January 23, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  14. John

    A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death

    January 23, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • John

      In true religion, there is no fear of punishment. There is no list of rights or wrongs. There is nothing that you can do to earn a spot. There are no tryouts, combines, tests, anything. Somebody already did that for you. One act forgave the past, present and future actions of all. If you try to earn it yourself, you will find yourself in a very dark, convicting place. That's why they call it the gospel (simply put: good news)! You're debt has been paid.

      Those "Christians" who ostracize you for being gay, drunks, whatever...simply do not understand what they call themselves to be.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • the AnViL

      John spittled: "In true religion...blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ... blah blah blah."

      there's no true religions – not even yours.

      you've no evidence to sustain your assertions... just blib-blubbery, hubdubbery, and jabberwocky, sir.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • John

      And you have no evidence to support your hibbery jibbery as well. That is the beauty of faith. You can either choose to have faith there is or have faith there isn't. If you try to physically prove either side of this argument, you will live a disappointing life.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • the AnViL

      i need no evidence – but i'm sure the long list of contradictions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies in the book you use to substantiate xianity – along with the absence of evidence and contradictory evidence – will suffice.


      certainly not for YOU, though...

      none of that will shake the one with a belief in something for which there is no evidence, and even contradictory evidence. right? amiright???

      with faith... one can believe in anything they imagine.

      the fact that you base your beliefs on things for which there is no evidence and even contradictory evidence... is irrefutable evidence that you are delusional.

      and your faith is no different from that of the muslim or hindu.


      January 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  15. lamb of dog

    Just found this on Google News. It's very encouraging to see this article on multiple news websites. It's about time people stopped using an ancient fairytale to direct their lives.

    January 23, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  16. dilberth

    Religion: A fool-maker and a deal-breaker.

    January 23, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  17. Ben

    A recent article about the internet said in effect that it was a major force in negating religion. It allows the logical to both see that they are not alone and to learn a great deal more about science and rational thought. Oh, how I hope this proves to be trued. Religion has held us back for centuries, and the sooner it becomes a minor force, the sooner the ship sails without being covered with barnacles.

    January 23, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  18. juliejones

    God, jesus, holy spirit, praying = MAGICAL THINKING

    January 23, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  19. Free Will

    Remember Moses? The guy that brought the 10 commandments down from Sinai? He comes back down and see his followers, (God's people) celebrating a golden calf. So Moses gets angry. Tosses the tablets and creates an earthquake to kill the wrongdoers. Now, we should have only the pious believers left. But God is still angry and punishes them to wander the desert for 40 years or something.

    Wait. Weren't all the bad people just killed? In essence, isn't God punishing the good people? So as they wander the desert, they start complaining and moan. Moses, where's the food? Moses, how much longer? Moses, where's the water? Moses is not God. He is human like you or me. He's only leading them because God told him to. So he asks God, I need water for the people. God tells him to touch this rock and I will make water come forth. Now, Moses has been an obidient lackey all of this time and has been shambling around the desert because the all mighty is angry. Well, Moses feels frustrated and instead of touching the rock, he strikes it with his cane. Water comes forth, but God is furious because he told him to touch not strike it.

    So God tells Moses, you are not allowed in the promise land. The other jerks that moaned and groaned are, but not you. But...for all of your past good deeds...I'll let you see it. The other rabble rousers can go inside and play, but not you. Moses, you get to go to Hell. What a tool!

    January 23, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • lamb of dog

      He was one mean sob in the past. That God fellow used to go around killing people all the time. And it was obvious why back then because he would just kill people dead instantly for blasphemy. Now he does things in mysterious ways for reasons only known to him.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • frespech

      Free will: Your grasp of the scriptures is quite inaccurate. enough said.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Bet

      @ frespech

      Please enlighten us with your scholarly research on the subject of the Exodus.

      January 23, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • cpowell

      Actually, those people were not allowed into the promised land either – their children were, not them. Read it.

      January 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century.[12] In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[13]

      January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ron S

      Old Testament – follow and obey me or suffer the consequences – uh, well, THAT did not work.
      New Testament – follow me, don't follow me – your choice. But, you'll feel better if you do. Oh, and by the way, you are forgiven. I love you.

      Simple enough

      January 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Ron S.

      Sort of, you left out the part where it's your choice, but if you choose the wrong one you suffer for eternity.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Ron S

      @ Chuckles

      "Sort of, you left out the part where it's your choice, but if you choose the wrong one you suffer for eternity."

      That right there is the whole issue isn't it? I think that part was added by Man, not God. Tell me, in the New Testament, where we will be punished for not following? I don't think it is there. It is everywhere in the Old Testament. I think God realized that the "follow or die" approach would (did) not work and changed course

      You see, He gave us Free Will, which most still cannot understand. If God is all powerful, he could MAKE us love him and follow him. But how gratifying would that be? A bunch of robots worshiping, Whoopee Do. But if we CHOOSE to, WOW.

      Remember this, God gave us spirituality. The Devil organized it and called it Religion.

      January 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  20. Saraswati

    Fourth, there are plenty of naturalistic explanations for punctuated. Heck, there are whole books. Fifth, while I agree that there was probably a Jesus of Nazareth I, and many others, disagree that there is good evidence from non-biased sources that the tomb was found empty as described. Again, all you said was "empty tomb" in your first list.

    (I'm having problems with the filter)

    January 23, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      Reposted in correct location...struggling with CNN filter).

      January 23, 2013 at 11:25 am |
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About this blog

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