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. bob

    The bible is very explicitly against organized church and any sort of public display of religion, it is right there in the canon gospel, Matthew 6-7. If you are going to overlook that then you do not deserve whatever gifts the faith you claim to be a part of is granting you.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Dane

      and I would like to add that it also mentions some stuff about forgiving those who have "sinned" against you. I may be an atheist, but I have an appreciation for some of the positive behavior instructions many religions expound. Where I draw the line is when a religious text forces one to choose between what is right and what the religious text says.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  2. edward

    There is the concept of God.

    Then there are thousands of variations of man's attempts to channel God's desires (Christianity, Judaism .....). Holy texts are written by man. Claims to inspiration are claimed by man. God is supposed to be the most important truth to our lives and knowledge we should not live with out, yet we can not come to an agreement as to what is truth about God. We can resign ourselves to one claim or another, but do you really have faith in God? Or do you simply have faith that religion X has delivered the God goods through thousands of years and thousands of holy men (holy men are perfect right? just look at modern day holy men, so perfect).

    January 20, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You're right, God is a concept, that's all, nothing more as it doesn't exist except in the mind of the holder. Plus all the other stuff that goes along with this concept is nonsense going after nonsense.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  3. zapper45701

    I don't believe in the Christian religion. I do have one that is not one of the mainstream. I tell no one what it is or what I worship. I have seen far too much hate and retribution over such nonsense. I'm glad this lady is strong enough to deflect the criticism, but I fear the attacks she endures will increase. I wish her the best of luck, however, sometimes, it's just better to keep our mouths shut. It's not worth the effort to share with people who don't believe the same as you do.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • That Guy

      Eventually things will need to change. The actions of a single person can spurr a nation. Some day, we will actually be able to choose what we believe or do not believe, and we will respect each other's decisions. We shouldn't have to keep our disbelief in the closet because we are afraid of prejudiced religious groups. We should not have to feel ashamed or afraid about what we personally feel is the logical choice, while others can openly flaunt their choice to believe in a God.

      Unlike those people, I just don't go shoving my disbelief in everyone else's face. If you ask me, or if we end up in a conversation about it, I am always perfectly fine with telling them I do not believe in a God, and giving them my reasons why. I refuse to have religious arguments because they are totally divided, and neither side would yield to the other. It's like a game of Tug-o-War, where both lines have tied their end of the rope to two trees on either side of the mud puddle.

      What this woman has put up with can legally be considered harrassment. If she wanted the woman to stop and already told her before, then it could be considered a legal matter that the judicial system could sort out.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  4. stopabortion

    I have to go church now, today is the day of the Lord, my kids are ready and, there is no place on earth like Church, you keep posting your hatred, as i said you have no peace, I will pray for you.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Like I said, take your prayers and your crazy imagination and go to Church with the other lost and crazy people and don't give me another thought.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Really??

      I don't hate you. I just know that your bible is full of myth and impossible stories, and that your religion is a crutch that you find usefull. Good luck with that.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Peteyroo

      StopOration, while you're sitting in your pew listening to your pastor drone on and on, remember that he was in a bar last night downing cold, frosty mugs of beer and leering at the pole dancers.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Dane

      You are behaving in a way that drags the name of your religion through the mud. You barrage someone with hate, then play the high handed "i will pray for you" line. If you were a true christian then you would love your neighbor, not scorn them. Your religion teaches peace and love for your fellow humans yet here you are trashing and debasing those who live life differently.

      Google yields this concerning love and the bible:

      Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

      Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Paul

      Stop it, both of you. She is not spreading hate, she is saying her opinion. You have to respect that. And the opposite for these responses...although this post was insulting, do not be insulting back. You cannot say that she is wrong...its beliefs. There is no such thing as right or wrong.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Paul

      Stop it, both of you. She(the poster of this comment) is not spreading hate, she is saying her opinion. You(everyone else) have to respect that. And the opposite for these responses...although this post was insulting, do not be insulting back. You cannot say that she is wrong...its beliefs. There is no such thing as right or wrong.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • visitor

      Don't pray for me. Pray for your daughters who get abortions behind your backs.

      January 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "..There is no such thing as right or wrong."

      Really? Wow! What world do you live in? So, if I believe it is right to take away your rights to make choices for yourself? Is that right or wrong?

      January 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Don't pray for me. Pray for your daughters who get abortions behind your backs."

      Listen, it's not your body, leave it alone you Cretan. Keep you big fat idiotic nose out of other peoples rights or go live somewhere else!

      January 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  5. Castle

    In my opinion, good for her and even better for her children. Let them make up their own minds when they are mature enough to do so. Many are never afforded that opportunity (well-intentioned brainwashing) and that frequently results in some emotional crisis in the family if/when the child, after some critical analysis, turns away from religion – or at least organized religion. Interestingly, this discussion seemingly never comes up in Canada where religion does not hold anywhere near the importance in life, writ large, as in the United States. That is not to say that a portion of the population is not religious, they are (not that there is anything wrong with that). It is just that they largely do not try and hoist their beliefs upon others, judge/criticize others because they do not share that belief, or lable them Un-Canadian in some way. Frankly, if you were listening to some of the religious narrative in the U.S. you just have to replace "God/Jesus" with "Allah" and you have a lot of the same non-sensical, frantic, dictatorial and downright scary themes that emerge from the MIddle East. Same religion – different pile. People want to be religious? Be religious. You have the freedom to do so. Does that make you better than those of us that are not? Absolutely 100% not. However, the minute you start to intrude into other people's personal lives, or that of their children, by trying to personally shove religion down their throats then that pendulum swings. Leave religion at the door. Your door.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  6. ted

    i came out to my family in Cameroon, Africa this past chrismas about me being an atheist...and they were not very happy. Some proposed an exorcism because i was "possessed" by the devil!
    Religion is for intellectual midgets!

    January 20, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      It is intellectual insanity. I know how you feel and I now know how it is to be segregated against. Very strange indeed all over something that doesn't exist, its just nuts!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • daniel

      Since the concept or nature of a Supreme Being can neither be proved or disproved by science. Then claiming something doesn't exist simply because you say so, carries no more weight than someone who claims it does exist. "TheVocalAtheist" is just as wrong as he claims his religious counter-parts to be. Everything is based on belief and not any factual evidence. So making a statement as fact is just as silly no matter what side you are on.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  7. skyking

    I think God was an alien

    January 20, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  8. lindaluttrell

    I applaud Ms. Mitchell's honesty and open-mindedness. Maybe more people should try to emulate those two traits. Great article!

    January 20, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  9. stopabortion

    To TheVocalAtheist, what you have in your heart is arrogance, well, someday you will understand, you and the others called "atheists" pretend to be correct, that is your first mistake, there is nothing wrong by being humble and recognize that there is a God...only from Him comes peace, something you don't have...I am praying for you and the nonbelievers.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • edward

      Which God do you get your peace from?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • dave

      And I – a committed agnostic – am "praying" that you actually understand Jesus' command to love one another as he loves you (i.e., without any condition) and that only God can judge -not you.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What can be more arrogant than claiming to have a "personal relationship with the creator of the universe"?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Peteyroo

      StopOration, I'm willing to bet that if you were to sober up for a day or two, you'd see how ridiculous your claims are.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Dogboy

      I love how hateful and bigoted Christians are.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • rfarrell

      I know that is meant as a kind as loving gesture. But telling someone you will pray for them for being wrong/nonbelievers/sinners, it comes off as a super arrogant insult. If you want to pray for someone, please do. Just keep it to yourself. And remember Matthew 6:5-6 while you are at it.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Ms. Pink

      While you are busy praying for me, and feeling better than me thinking that surely must I not have the “peace” that you have in judging me, I will be busy teaching underprivilged children, buying and donating items to underprivileged children, helping teens find a pathway to a better future, writing letters of recommendation, doing community clean up, creating and enjoying art, enjoying nature, laughing and loving life. While you are busy praying for my soul, I will busy enjoying life and caring for others, because instead of being humble, I feel empowered to create change and to shape my future and to help build a better tomorrow for those around me. What a sad restless life I must lead without being humble enough to believe that all I can do to affect the world is pray instead of act!

      January 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • visitor

      You think you are doing people favors by praying for them? How arrogant.

      January 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • That Guy

      I love how the majority of you people (and by that, I mean those who take your religions far too seriously) come on here and try to belittle those who think differently than you, and then say that you will "pray for them." That's what really shows an incredible level of arrogance and oversized self-worth. They did not ask you to pray for them, they do not want you to pray for them. They do not believe in your God, there is no point in praying for them if you feel the non-belivers are so very far beneath you, 'your highness'.

      Get over yourself and accept that some people do not believe in the same things that you do, and do not wish to have anything to do with the things you believe in.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  10. Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Living Creatures

    The truth and the bottom line: Indoctrinating young children into religion is brainwashing, end of story. You are effectively coloring any personal choice they can make, at a time when they are too young to understand what they are getting into. Choosing God/Jesus/Mohammad/Chthulu should be a PERSONAL choice, made by people who understand the material, which young children certainly are not ready for. Is this what your God wants? Children who are brainwashed into believing, instead of people who honestly and earnestly seek out their own answers?? Any way you want to spin it (and spin it they will, because the religious are desperate to be 'right'), IT IS MORALLY WRONG TO NOT LET THEM MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICE WHEN THEY ARE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE MATERIAL. It's time we recognized this for it is. Conversation is the name of the game in religion, and children are the frontline. Deplorable.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Religion Is Dangerous For Children And Living Creatures

      typos: *unable *conversion

      My work is done here. Glad more and more people are seeing indoctrinating young children for what it is: brainwashing. Evil, immoral, disgusting, WRONG.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • daniel

      Teaching children anything is brain washing. Children in middle east are brain washed. Children in the US are brain washed. The act of raising a child is technically brain washing. The child believes and lives by what it is taught. If you think washing your hands is important and you train your child to wash their hands, that is brain washing. So save the brain washing arguments. We have all been brain washed since we were born. You simply disagree with what the child is taught and would like to call it brain washing. You were brain washed by your parents and your parents by their parents and so on. If you can't come up with a better way to defend your position, then sit down and shut up.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  11. Carol Mullen

    I applaud your courage. I am a senior citizen who though research and education, realized decades ago that religion has been used by ruthless individuals to gain power over others. However, I do respect those to whom religion is their comfort and mainstay. Many churches do good works in communities. But, I no longer allow others to try to convert me. Many of my friends feel the same way but are afraid to use the word agnostic or atheist.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      We cannot be afraid, if we don't speak out we lose they win. And yes, it is about winning and losing because with religion we lose, big time. I don't respect anyone that wants to stop a woman from doing what she wants with her body, or stopping her from having rights, or stopping same se*x marriage. Why should I respect people like this?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • wildee7

      Kudos to the author, my Mom was a religious fanatic, I bought a greek statue for my garden, she said it was evil, I had Halloween parties for my grandkids to keep them safe at home, she said they were evil, I got sick of it. She prayed 24/7 and she died a miserable death like everyone else for all they praying she did. And I can tell you for a fact than none of her prayers ever got answered. Her beloved minister gave a lousey memorial for her because he didnt even remember her for all the work she did for him or money she gave over the years. Religion is nothing more than organized theft andmind control!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  12. rfarrell

    I see no reason to dis "God" as she did. Publicly calling God a mean, illogical, narcissistic bad parent is no better than religious people constantly telling us how great he is.

    I have no problem with religion, as long as it is kept personal, in the home and in the church. If you want to read the bible cover to cover 100 times, teach YOUR children that the universe is 6600 years old or even pray to your God for your team to win their next game, fine. Go ahead. Why should I care? But so many religious people don't keep it to themselves. They are judgmental, insufferable busybodies and bullies who, for some reason, take another person's non-faith in their specific God as a personal affront. I choose not to believe the god/book/afterlife that you choose to believe in. No big deal. Move along...

    January 20, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You should care what they teach their children, remember children do grow-up, right? Then they can become politicians, right? Then they can keep pushing their religious agendas, right? Don't you think you should care or do you want creationism to be taught in schools?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • rfarrell

      @TheVocalAtheist: I disagree with your tactics. What I find most distasteful about some (not most) religious people is that that see it as a war. A battle to spread their word and convert and control others. Those who do not agree are the enemy. I see you as no different ("We cannot be afraid, if we don't speak out we lose they win.") Onward Atheist Warriors...

      January 20, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The Christian god of the bible is mean. He orders child sacrifice, murder, genocide, regulates slavery, punishes people for "crimes" of thought. How can you claim that is NOT mean?

      January 20, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Look, if we don't stop this insanity who will? Apparently apathetic people like you don't help. Yes, there is a war going on, maybe you're not aware of it, do you read the news? Do you follow politics? Do you see these people pushing agendas? This is a worldwide problem, for mankind's benefit. So, live your little Jesus life, plant your flowers and send in your $10.00 dollars a month to sponsor a child in Africa but not stand-up to the death sentences for being ho*mose*xual in Africa, yes, let's not do anything. God will take care of everything.
      I can't handle it so I give it to God, fail.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • cjeddie8

      6600 years from Adam and Eve to the Incas, Chinese, Kenyans, the Nordics, Aboriginis of Austrailia, the Inuit of North America...Hmm..at 3 generations per 100 years thats roughly 20000 generations to create modern man from 2 people. No way Jose.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • gpforreal

      Sorry guys, you numerous atheists, especially on these blog pages, are just as proselytizing as the worst religious zealot. You condemn moderate Christian views with the same brush as you use for the blind fundamentalists. For one thing, in much of our USA and the Western world, true Christian views are becoming the minority. The common, secular culture and it's overwhelming love of material gain are the 'god' followed by the overwhelming majority. So quit tilting at windmills and being so self righteous in your intellectual 'minority'.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "...The common, secular culture and it's overwhelming love of material gain are the 'god' followed by the overwhelming majority."

      Another person that doesn't have a clue. Please grow a brain and thanks for the "intellectual" compliment!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  13. stopabortion

    We have 5 kids and every night we pray together and is the best time of the day, everybody loves it...They told me that it helps them to feel secure in this world full of evil.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Nothing like a parent being honest with their children. Do you want good things for your children? Then speak the truth to them, teach them to question everything and accept nothing of face value. Allow them free thought or you are taking away the one thing they have in this existence; the ability to explore, question and experience this wonderful existence.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Peteyroo

      StopOration, you are delusional. There is no God. BTW, there are no unicorns or leprechauns either. You are abusing your children with all your religious nonsense. They will grow up, leave the church, and hate you.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • ??

      And what will you do when one of these kids announces they are gay or they don't believe in your religion anymore?The odds are that one of theses things will happen.Will you condemn them to hell?You have that moment to look forward to.You may want to start praying a little harder.Have a blessed day.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • visitor

      That is YOUR business stopabortion. Good for you and your family. Your prayers are still not welcome by others however. "I'll pray for you" is used as some sort of emotional club by the religious to gain a religious political advantage like bullies in a playground. Using prayers as weapons can be considered evil. At the very least, it certainly isn't loving.

      January 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • visitor

      And by the way, I also have kids, and spend my days working to pay my taxes to pay for your over-offspringed family. Ever think about putting on the breaks there? Can't control yourself?

      January 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Cted

      If they think the world is full of evil it is because you taught them that lie. Most people in this world are good, hard working, friendly people. Even in the US most crimes are at all time lows for our lifetimes.

      January 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  14. Jean Baptiste Zeller

    Proof of the non-existence of a god can be accomplished in 33 words: “God can only be described by human language, no other numerical or empirical means. Language is an arbitrary product of the human mind, therefore, god is an arbitrary product of the human mind”. Can you think of anything else that exists, but can only be described by language? Emotions and other human traits don’t count because the brainwaves associated with them can be measured, and they cease to exist when the human ceases to exist. Things like “beauty” and “goodness” likewise are inventions of the human mind. One could say I’ve used language to make this argument so by my own reasoning it has no validity, but in the case of the 33 words above, they have supplanted a logical numerical equation.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Good luck with that one, that will go way over their jelly heads but I love it!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Silas Botwin

      This is idiocy. Over 800 years ago, it was well understood and TAUGHT BY PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW SAINTED in the Catholic Church, that human language is only grasping at God and cannot fully explain it. Your statement is laced will all kinds of philosophical positions that you are probably unaware even exist – such as the difference between positivism and negativism, the confessional model of knowledge and experience, scottish common sense realism etc; not to mention the assumption of materialism. I will not waste my time (there probably would not even be enough space here) instructing you on the history of all of the unfounded assumptions and ignorance that make up the principles underpinning your statements. Try taking some courses at an accredited secular university in the field of Religious Studies (is has nothing to do with believing in religion or God, it is the study of religion itself), and the history of science, as well as 19th and 20th century philosophies, and other such classes. You need to go back to school, you sound like someone who is living in a 1950's intellectual climate.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Silas Botwin

      Please allow me to kiss your anointed ring, NOT!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Jean Baptiste Zeller

      Thank you for making a perfect example of a lot words that don't actually mean anything except a character assassination.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Michael

      He wasn't attacking your character just pointing out your ignorance.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Jean Baptiste Zeller

      @Michael, again, some form of personal attack, like I personally matter in the greater scheme of things, instead of attempting to counter the logic.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  15. Taylor L

    Yes my dear children go on without the belief in our Father. Wither you are Catholic, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim we all know that the day that those stop believing in him will be the end of days. And it's fine if you dont believe me, for the book I study, and my prayers that have been answered have told me to stop preaching to those who will not listen. For that is truly ill. Mike havent you forgotten when you where hit by a car in 2004 and send to the ICU, who saved you? But if I post something like that Mike will criticize me and say you just made up a name and a year and an even and it just so happened to be me. But if you believe me Mike then others will criticize you for believing my non-sense. The fact is one true common denominator, which is you believe, you believe because it makes you better and helps those who dont understand. We believe because even if you nay sayers are right that there is no heaven or God, at least we were happy with love in our Hearts. And yes there are Hypocrites in all churches, just like I'm sure there are Aithiests who act the same even if they believe some of the morals the churches teach.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You are deluding yourself. Mike was saved because of science, get it?

      January 20, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Cult logic

      January 20, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Origin of Life

      Sorry Taylor L but

      Evolution wins thumbs up, time for religion to get the hell out of the way !
      Morality is for chimps too go figure !
      Morality: It's not just for humans !

      January 20, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Elle Bee

      Regarding your last sentence, I just wanted to assure you that atheists have the same moral and ethical beliefs as anyone else. The only philosophical difference between atheists and Christians is simply that atheists don't happen to believe in the existence of God or in an afterlife. This has nothing whatever to do with the extent to which atheists embrace moral precepts. Most atheists are in fact DEEPLY moral, and they choose to be that way because they believe it is inherently GOOD and RIGHT to be that way, not because they are motivated by hope of any reward at the end, or because they fear death or punishment. Thanks for listening. 🙂

      January 20, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Elle Bee

      Thank you Elle Bee for saying it just right!

      January 20, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Taylor L

      Its fine believe as you wish. I just think its funny, Gun Control, FEMA Camps, NDAA, Media Control ETC and you really think its not the End of Days. My book tells me what to look for, and I'll tell you, I lead a good moral life not because the Bible tells me to but because I actually care for people but they dont care for themselves anymore. Like I said you don't have to believe in God to see the obvious, its Just God Forwarned me this would happen

      January 20, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Taylor L

      By the way, I fully and Truly believe in Science, I believe in Evolution and I know the earth is roughly 4.5 Billion years old. Though as an Aspiring theoretical physicist, I reject the notion that Time and Space have an age. They have always been here, there and nowhere. Just like God, to me God is Everything and Nothing. Everything to me and Nothing to you. And that's perfectly fine with me. However, maybe you should accept the notion that with Time and Space infinite, that all possibilities must exist as such God must Exists, and I believe in God

      January 20, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Christians have been claiming the end of days for 2000 years, starting Jesus' failed prophacy of his own return. But you think you are right this time.

      Eventually the end will come but that won't make your book right. Predicting the inevitable is not at all impressive.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Taylor L

      Your proof is ludicrous.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • visitor

      ICU = Intensive Care Unit. I assume the healing took place at a hospital, with medical professionals, and not witch doctors, or pastors.

      January 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  16. NorthVanCan

    CNN is recognized by me for being true champions of free speech .
    Congratulations and thank you for nudging humanity forward . It must take a lot of courage to run this story in the United States.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      There will be much, much more coming forward. We are not going to stand by and allow such harmful and inhumane practices to impede the growth of our societies with lies and deception.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  17. General Mao

    I got no problem with religion, just religion's fan clubs. The Jihad, Radical anti-non christian groups, etc. If Christians could respect everyone else, than I would have no problem with them.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  18. Dan Zim

    Pehaps the non-believers god is Obama, he has often likened himself to a god.. but God he is not... put your faith in him and be lost forever....

    January 20, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Funny how I didn't vote for my god.

      Don't be so stupid Dan

      January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Urt

      What a neanderthal comment...

      Please cite your sources where he has made any such reference.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • DB

      You, along with many other religion people assume that everyone must worship something or someone.

      Well, we don't. You just have a problem projecting your own insecurities upon others, and cannot conceive that someone can be different from you.

      We don't replace your god with a person or an object or an idea. I'm sorry if this is a difficult concept for you to wrap your head around.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Chistopher

      Oh Dan you poor thing,

      You obviously attend the church of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and The Drudge Report.


      January 20, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  19. Name*David Horgrow

    We are raising 3 children. 20,19 and 13. My children recently provided me with feedback, based on my actions, as to what my beliefs are. They see me as being Agnostic. I researched the definition and im comfortable with it because I dont know and im not ashamed to say it. Being an adult 101. If you dont know yhe answer, say you dont know.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't know either David.

      But I don't believe....therefore I am an atheist.

      January 20, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  20. Clarence LeBlanc

    My son will soon be three. I grew up and whenever my mom was stuck...baby Jesus to the rescue. The questions have started and I'm not going down the religious path. it makes it a little harder explaining refraction to a three year old when he asks about rainbows but I'm sure he will be better for it. On this inauguration day I can say I hope that if not in my own lifetime, in my son's, a President will be sworn in and that not only will he be atheist...the question never even came up in the campaign. It's like that in most western Countries however in the Country that has MIT, NASA and Google, you have Congress men and women who believe the earth is 6000 years old and the flood actually happened. Debating evolution has become silly, there is no longer two sides to that story and giving creationists equal time and space in the public forums hurts the next generation of children. It's time to leave the comfortable bosom of religion and stand alone and do the right thing because it's right. If you can't figure out what is right without referring to a 2000 year old book, maybe you're just not ready to live on your "own".

    January 20, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Quinn Adkins

      Mr. LeBlanc,
      While I agree with your hopeful assertion regarding an agnostic/atheist President in the future, I was struck by your comment regarding our members of Congress. As a lifelong practicer of the Church of Skepticism, I propose a different hypothesis: Many of those who loudly proclaim their belief in some of the more incredulous tenets of the Bible do so because they feel it necessary to be elected. For myself, this is the worst kind of manipulative exploitation. I believe that the best candidate in the history of our nation would not be elected if they admitted being a non-believer. Thus, they have to hypocritize themselves in order to become elected. I hope your vision of a secular political arena comes true, but as dictated by *my* religion, I'm a bit skeptical. 🙂

      January 20, 2013 at 11:32 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.