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. Jerry

    Stupid bi__!

    January 19, 2013 at 6:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You're christian...right?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:48 am |
  2. TruthPrevails :-)

    When my daughter was born 18.5 long years ago, I was still following the christian belief (I no longer follow any direct belief system); my daughter's father was pagan. We lived in a large city-Canada's Wonderful Capital. We knew she'd be exposed to varying opinions-we both had been, so we chose to raise her knowing about both sides of belief. She had friends who were Jehovah Witnesses, she had friends who were Muslim. Her school didn't do a Christmas Pageant, they did a Heritage Week...giving all children the opportunity to speak of their background.
    My daughter started dating a Mormon about a year ago. Last weekend she was Baptized Mormon and while I do not agree with her actions, I also understand that in the end the reason we raised her the way we did was so that she could choose for herself.
    The point is that you need to raise kids with an open mind.
    Christians and other believers tend to forget that in the end we're all human...same basic genetic structure and just as they have been taught somewhere through their life about their belief, so have others about theirs.
    If we don't soon start setting aside belief/disbelief there won't be any need for future rapture predictions, we'll kill ourselves off.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:29 am |
  3. el-hombre

    I'm mad at god for evicting me from heaven, so I will not speak for god anymore.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • Truth Hurts

      I truly believe that their is no god and religion is a way to control people just like Santa Claus. I say this because how can one person be saving so many people and have many powers but be so bad at managing money. Why then do people say it's gods will or it's what god wants, or when something god happens they blame god. I think that if this is true the Sandy creek shooting or the movie theater shooting sure must have been gods willing or way. I think people need someone to blame besides themselves, if your saved and don't sin then why do you need church every week. I would have to think that I think for myself and can rationalize what's true and what's not.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:52 am |
  4. Karen Tinker

    Too many people use religion as an excuse for their bad behavior. It actually enables them to be selfish and destructive because they have this notion that they are "saved" or forgiven no matter what. This free pass disincentives them from becoming a better person. It what's wrong with society, people not accepting responsibility for their actions. Hence, making them even weaker.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Bill from Dover

      Ever notice how many disgusting inmates seem to find God while in prison; what's up with that?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • vpkwriter

      "Too many people use religion as an excuse for their bad behavior. It actually enables them to be selfish and destructive because they have this notion that they are "saved" or forgiven no matter what. This free pass disincentives them from becoming a better person. It what's wrong with society, people not accepting responsibility for their actions. Hence, making them even weaker."

      Too many atheists use their humanity as an excuse for their bad behavior. It actually enables them to be selfish and destructive because they have this notion that they are just human, still evolving, or genetically screwed up no matter what. It's what's wrong with society, people not accepting responsibility for their actions. Hence, making them even weaker.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • AJD

      VP...obviously if you think that atheist on the whole take no responsibility for their actions and think that "everything's ok" you do not know any atheists in real life and have fallen for the stereotypes. Please educate yourself. The vast majority of atheists are very upstanding people, educated, caring, law abiding, responsible and believe strongly in humanistic principles. Probably the biggest thing I hear coming out of religious people's, particularly Christians' mouths, that angers me the most is the absurd notion that our lives have no meaning and that we just do whatever we want and have no concept of good or bad. Are you aware that statistics show that if all the atheists left the U.S., the majority of the members of the Academy of Science would be gone but only 1% of the prison population?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  5. Douglas

    Proverbs 22:6
    "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

    Family life skills training are essential for child development.

    Don't forget to teach your children about the Glory of God.

    Sin abounds...God's grace is greater. How will the children know unless YOU teach them well.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:56 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      That's telling you to tech them about the Christian God, it is rather self-serving...add an 'S' to the end of God and it might make more sense.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      teach not tech

      January 19, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Correctlycenter

      Amen. We need the LORD back in the schools and the home. Rebellion, defiance, kids having kids,violence, drugs, teen drinking, juvenile dentention centers were rare until the early 1960's when the bible was taken out of public schools. Thanks godless moms...

      January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  6. AJD

    I just find it extremely funny that people will so easily say "Santa Claus isn't real" but still believe in God. They're really the same thing, the same idea. If you're good, this magical being will reward you and if you're bad you will be punished. The whole Santa Claus myth is really religion boiled down to its nuts and bolts. If you don't believe that Santa Claus is real why is it so hard to believe that god is not real? The stories of religion are just as outlandish and illogical as the idea of a fat man coming down a chimney and being able to deliver presents to every Christian child in the whole world in one night.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Burl99

      It's not about being good or bad...never was. It's about faith in something bigger than you. It's about having the courage to stand up and say so, even when those around you don't agree. A relationship with your creator. This tent we call a body is only temporary, what then? Is there no meaning, no purpose, no hope? Only blind evolution? No right or wrong? God did not abandon us when we went bad...He came after tose who want everlasting life and gave up His own so we could have it. He doesn't allow murder, He condemns it. We allow murder and bad things to happen. We have free will and choice.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • Blake

      It must be nice to be able to live without any thought of your actions. I assume that since you believe there is no God that you are having a lot of fun and doing whatever you want, regardless of if it is right or wrong. I also assume that you prefer to believe that instead of a Creator we just *bang* all of sudden became as a world?? I urge you to look around you, open your eyes and see what all God has created and that a "big bang" idea is ridiculous. Why do you have a concious, why do you know when you do something wrong? Even children feel and know this. I am sure you believe in many things you have not seen but find it easy to push God away? You have faith that there is not a God, that Jesus did not die for the sins of the world and I have faith that he did. The bible is wrote by numerous writers, all of which give acount of the many miracles and things Jesus did. I know that if I live my life for God that I will be rewarded one day and you believe in death alone?? I hope that you open you mind and know that Jesus did die for the sins of this world and you have a chance to repent and be be baptized for the remission of your sins before you die. I can only pray that you do.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • JWT

      Blake the bible is in no way necessary for a person to live a good life, morals do not come from your version of a god. People can know right from wrong regardless of what, if any, religion they happen to believe in.

      For the most part there is no difference between those that believe in a god and those that do not.. You seem to take personal offence that people do not believe what you do why is that ? It is none of your business unless they are trying to make you stop believing.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:13 am |
    • Bob

      Hi Blake. Just because someone has no faith in a higher being doesn't mean they have no moral compass. Religion is a product of man and society. Not the other way around. There are many faiths including some that do no believe at all that a god exists. But societies have laws and mores that are imparted to all of its members. Jesus didn't come down from the mountain and write laws we have on our books, any more than Budda did.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • MedinaDad

      You really don't have a good understanding of Christianity. Getting into heaven has nothing to do with being good or bad. Accept Christ as your savior and acknowledge that he died for you sins and you will be in heaven.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • JWT

      Since christ and heaven are your thing I will leave that to you. I have no need of either.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      MedinaDad: That's pathetic, by your logic even the most horrific acts of mankind enables one special attention from your god, as long as they admit your god exists...slightly flawed-your bible teaches against idolization:
      Zec 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because [there was] no shepherd.

      "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
      ...Stephen F Roberts

      January 19, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  7. Hank Tuesday

    Don't forget about Satan? I'm sure you believe he is alive and well, destroying homes and causing wars...

    January 19, 2013 at 5:36 am |
  8. Brian

    I feel very sorry for her.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Instead of "feeling sorry for her" why not:

      – discuss with her, in a civil manner, why you believe the way you do

      – LISTEN to her responses and the whys that explain her reasons for her worldview

      – befriend someone like her and learn to humanize those you don't agree with through devoting yourself to a self-sacrificing friendship with them

      – instead of just passing out a tract or fulfilling only the minimums of the Great Commission, how about inviting a Muslim or Buddhist or Atheist or a Catholic (if you're Protestant) over for dinner often...or get yourself invited to their house

      -(if you have kids) why not teach them to engage, befriend and deeply care for (and love as God commands) the Adam Lanzas of the world instead of waiting for them to commit their horrific acts and then label them as evil.

      -(if you have kids) and they're in a Christian or religious school, get them back into public school and teach them to treat people as these other points request

      January 19, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • It is called

      Noe here I agree

      January 19, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      ...oh, and why not grow a pair and fulfill Luke 6:27ff and Matthew 25:35ff

      and (frequently) go to the over-abundance of prisons in this country and pick up the pieces of the Adam Lanzas that occupy those monuments to a Christian nation.

      And not just to get them to convert, but to be there for them, to listen and to care for them with all of your being...

      (Instead of rejoicing each time the warden announces the administration of another lethal injection.)

      January 19, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • It is Called

      To S-3B just wondering did you get to read about about the newbie noe flight ? Brings back the chuckles .

      January 19, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ it is Called

      "NOE here..."

      Agreed! Get the skids scraping the treetops...get the blood pumping and the worldview flashing!

      Have a great flight today...remember your minimums!! and keep your head on a swivel, please.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ It is Called....

      Not yet...trying to catch up after being away...have a few days off before my next stretch.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:21 am |
    • It is Called

      Thank you S-3B te head is on a 360 swivel when in the air. Now my brother is a different story. His head never stops enen
      on the ground after we have landed.
      Thank you
      Enjoy your days off, taking off in a couple of hours should be a blast.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • It Is Called

      @ S-3B Oops better correct it or someone will should be even OK

      January 19, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  9. roman2819

    Initially I was not a Christian, and I grew up in a developed country (in Asia) without religious fervor (so to speak), where most of your friends and neighbors are not Christians, where there are no prayers at school, and where people are moderate (whether they are atheists, buddhists. muslims or christians). But even then, I find it difficult to deny God's existence for one main reason: the creation is too complete, it just could not have happened by itself. Millions of flora/fauna, living creatures ... and a lot more than what I can write here.

    After I became a Christian, I have seen God at work. However, I also see – and experience – struggles such as sufferings & "serious prayers ... not answered" (as Deborah Mitchell wrote in her article). Such tough issues may mean that many people are disappointed with God, but it does not mean He is not there (whether we agree with Him or not).

    The book "Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's Will" (from Tate Publishing) may provide food for thought for all who believe, and for all who haven't.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:27 am |
    • AJD

      If you study things like chemistry, biology, statistics, and other sciences, and i mean REALLY study them and get deeply into them, you will see that it IS entirely possible for things to occur "by chance" and that it only appears that things are designed when in actuality it just looks that way because all the things that happened by chance that didn't "work out" didn't survive. It's a matter of looking below the surface and getting a full perspective. It's no fluke that the more educated a person becomes, the less likely they are to be religious. As for the book you cite, there's thousands of these types of books all trying to do the same thing...make up a theory/story/excuse for the inconsistencies between what religion says and what we see and experience every day. It is nothing more than people trying to cling to something by their fingernails that they are finding is really hard to hold onto in the light of reality and logic because they want so badly to believe that there's "something", they want that comfort, because reality is not comfortable.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:33 am |
    • howudothat

      If you go deeper into Math and logic. You will see it's all patterns, starting from 1 point. 1 common denominator. These denominators have each taken on new forms, new patterns. The problem that still exists today, they found that denominator. Could it possibly be god. Better yet, when they find it, are we going to name it the God Particle. Logically, both solutions are still possible – A divine god vs nothing... Actually, nothing isn't possible – is it...

      January 19, 2013 at 6:01 am |
    • Blake

      AJD- you have faith that all things happened "by chance" and find it hard to believe that there is a Creator?? Open your eyes.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:12 am |
  10. AJD

    Why would an all knowing, all loving, all good perfect God have had ANY inclination to create a world with any suffering or want in it whatsoever? If he is all good, he would not have had any inclination to create a world where suffering was possible or he could not be all good or all loving, etc. I have three children...if I had the power to create a world for them with zero suffering, I would do so in a split second. I have absolutely no inclination to see my children suffer (though I know the reality is that we all do to varying degrees in life and they will too) and I am not an omnipotent, all loving, all good, all powerful god. So what does that say? If he is all knowing, why would he have had any inclination to create us at all? Curiosity couldn't be it because if he is truly all knowing, he would know what would happen if he did so no reason to make something and "see what happens" i.e. "experiment." If he is all knowing, why create the whole Garden of Eden thing in the first place since surely he would have known what would happen. Why create man only to find that they have become too evil and then decide to destroy them in a flood? Wouldn't he have known that would happen? How did he miss the snake in the garden? Why would he have allowed Satan to continue to exist if he is all good? And wouldn't he if he is all knowing have known Satan would turn on him? There are just way too many obvious illogical things in Christianity and the stories of all religions which makes religion itself an obvious construct of the human mind and not the other way around, i.e. a god inventing humans. I would be far more likely to believe if different people living in different areas of the world before modern communication and transportation that had had no contact with each other came up with the exact same religions...or at least religions that were even 80% the same....but that didn't happen. Each isolated peoples came up with their own stories far different from each other. They all can't be right but they all can be wrong.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:23 am |
    • snowdogg

      "all knowing, all loving, all good perfect God"... the start of a perfect self-delusion.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Burl99

      God never promised a free ride, but He does say that darkness does not comprehend light, and you are surely in the dark (willfully ignorant). Christians are taught that there will be struggles, pain, trials, and hurt. But we know there is a better life ahead. You can know this too, but you must open your eyes and heart to it. God is not willing that any should be lost, but the decision is yours to make. Jesus said that if you deny Him before men, He would deny you before His father. Are you strong enough to handle the truth, or just another weakling who runs away and throws rocks at those who stand for something?

      January 19, 2013 at 6:10 am |
    • Bob

      Hey Burl99, the way you explain it, sounds,like Jesus was running a protection racket. Do it his way and worship him or his dad (the Don) will punish you. Not exactly "all loving". Sounds a little like monarchies of the period. And isn't Jesus referred to as a "king"? Pretty much a power grab.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:36 am |
  11. Dawn

    I was once told that what does not kill us makes us stronger and that lessons come from unanswered prayers... my dad died of cancer, my husband is dying of cancer, his sister has already died of cancer, and my sister in law is dying of cancer... what lesson is to be learned from God here? Why aren't prayers answered for people who are suffering? What plan does God have for these souls? I was not raised to believe there is a God but have looked to God for hope during this past couple of years yet I continue to lose loved ones...

    January 19, 2013 at 5:23 am |
    • AJD

      Yes, it makes no sense and the whole "god has a plan" thing or "he did it for a reason" or "some good will come of it" always irks me. My best friend was killed by a drunk driver when she was 15. No good has ever come out of that. None. There's nothing that happened due to that which makes up for the loss of her life or makes me think "Wow, that was worth her dying for." I also love how religious people will say, for example if there's a plane crash and one person somehow survives, that it's a miracle, or the survivor him/herself will say "God protected me/saved me/was with me" but they ignore the 100 other people that died in that crash and who were likely just as good if not better people, may have believed in god just as much and prayed just as hard as that plane went down. What about them? I don't call that a miracle....I'd call it a miracle of god if all the people on that plane or at least a great majority of them, survived the crash.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:28 am |
  12. David

    I will throw my 2 cents worth in here. First, lets not confuse Religion with God. By that I mean, religion is a human thing, God is not. So to say you don't believe a religion is fine. To say you do not believe there is a God makes you a liar. Every and I mean EVERY civilization that has ever existed has believed in God. Called by different names, certainly worshiped in many different ways (some not good by our standards today). Always, without exception there was God. Why is that? Because it is part of every one of us. Inside our beings or souls just like a heart in our chest. If you say you don't believe there is a God, then you lie, especially to yourself.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:07 am |
    • Michael

      There is no God, period and end of story. And how dare you call me a liar.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:15 am |
    • AJD

      You don't know this to be true. We have no written records on what the earliest humans believed. It is entirely possible...and probable to be honest...that early man did NOT have a religion and invented one to explain things like weather including storms, lightning, tornados, hurricanes, thunder, to explain things like fire, why the sun rose and set, volcanoes, etc etc etc. He came up with these stories to explain these things pre-written language and those things evolved into religion by the time that written language came about.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • Michael

      I feel sorry for people who still cannot get past the FACT that god is a figment of imagination. It is something COMPLETELY made up to explain the unexplainable. The good news is that every passing day we find more of the truth in science and rationality than fairy tales.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • Barbara Ryan

      At one time everyone believed the world was flat, obviously we've learned that it isn't. I do believe there is a God, a higher being than I am. However, I do not believe that I have the only GOD. Nor that my view of Him is the only one. If this woman chooses not to believe in Him, that is her choice and the consequences are hers to endure, but it is her right not to believe. She should not be harassed for her choice. Nor to be chastized for raising her children within her belief system.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:53 am |
    • Carla

      I agree. I have no issue with god, a god, the one true god, a higher power,etc...my issue is with a doctrine along with a book (bible) established a few thousand years ago, written by man who swears it's the actual word of "god" as if it's fact not faith. Believers, I have no problem with your faith, I'm happy it provides you comfort and joy but it's not fact and it does not belong in Government and public schools. This is not a Christian nation, and our forefathers were pretty specific about letting people choose for themselves. Please afford me the same consideration I do you, I should not be penalized simply because I choose not to believe.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:33 am |
  13. S-3B Viking

    @ Chad,

    You said (about my co mment regarding Chariots of Fire):

    @Chad “well, you can complain about that very thing to God (and I have), but it doesn’t change the fact that that’s where we find ourselves. Not liking that fact doesn’t mean we get to successfully deny that God exists.

    I really appreciate that you include “and I have.” However, as I’ve said elsewhere, your belief that this is the reality we find ourselves in is pure speculation on your part. I, and many others, find us in a different reality; and many of those speculate a wonderfully different reality than I.

    I like that you said “successfully” deny God’s existence. You allow the room in your worldview for others to deny though you don’t agree that anyone has successfully accomplished this. I respect that…haven’t seen that allowance in most of your responses; and I was proud of you for acknowledging your error in another post where someone called you to account for blaming someone for using the fallacy of ‘appeal to authority’ after you started a thread doing just that. Nice job.

    In response to my question asking what you thought salvific transformation was, you said:

    @Chad “being conformed to the image of Christ, having “wants” changed for the better basically.”

    At a later date I’ll ask you to be more specific about your definition of "image" in this context.

    Finally, in my concern/co mplaint that the blood of Christ in inefficacious in light of the lives of Christians, I am grateful for your response:

    @Chad “I don’t disagree that the Church is astonishingly immature and untransformed.

    I haven’t read James 4 as you offered (in fact, haven’t picked up the Bible except for quick reference in almost 10 years). When I do and meditate on it, I’ll get back to you.

    Have a great weekend, Chad. Talk with you soon.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • It Is Called

      Morning S-3B before we go flying in the helo today my last noe flight found this just a few days ago no god(s) required.
      We have completed the program with National Geographic and have had all 80 people in family tree decoded.
      Very interesting stuff.

      Published on Jan 15, 2013

      Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome—an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago—but their analysis showed that "we" modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today. In "Decoding Neanderthals," NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. In the traditional view, Neanderthals differed from "us" in behavior and capabilities as well as anatomy. But were they really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA explores a range of intriguing new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, all pointing to the fact that we may have seriously underestimated our mysterious, long-vanished human cousins.


      January 19, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ It is Called

      Good morning, sir! Have a great, safe flight. Enjoy!

      January 19, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • It is Called

      @S-3B Viking
      Thank you sir me Mikie ... likes it

      January 19, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • It is Called

      S-3B This is what started it for us. Grandfather's place that was homesteded in late 1800's is full of stoney iron meteorites.
      That is where we are fly to today.
      Geology and climate have shaped the development of life tremendously. This has occurred in the form of processes such as the oxygenation of the atmosphere, mass extinctions, tectonic drift, and disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions. Life, particularly bacteria, has also been able to impact the geological makeup of the planet through metabolic processes.

      00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
      02:16 – Chapter 2. The Oxygenation of the Atmosphere
      09:08 – Chapter 3. Evidence of Climate Change
      17:36 – Chapter 4. Geological Impact on Life
      29:37 – Chapter 5. Mass Extinctions
      42:19 – Chapter 6. Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Floods
      46:38 – Chapter 7. Conclusion
      Information is key !
      Thanks again Mikie
      Clue irish family of 10 plus parents = 80 in the tree

      January 19, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • S-3B

      S-3B DNR came on private property for a reason to do core samples.. The conculion is the resourses that come with
      what happened back then is amazing to say the least.
      Thank you S-3B
      Where Does All Earth's Gold Come From? Precious Metals the Result of Meteorite Bombardment, Rock Analysis Finds

      Sep. 9, 2011 — Ultra high precision analyses of some of the oldest rock samples on Earth by researchers at the University of Bristol provides clear evidence that the planet's accessible reserves of precious metals are the result of a bombardment of meteorites more than 200 million years after Earth was formed.

      Dr Willbold continued: "Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion billion tonnes of asteroidal material."

      For full article

      January 19, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • It is Called

      Oops S-3B Viking sorry abot that thumb got in the way did not mean to take your handle sorry thought i was still in comment section.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • It is Called

      @S-3B Viking
      The core samples came back with all kinds of metals in them. Property is loaded with nickel and naitive iron.
      Tons of stones that magnets stick to is a clue.

      January 19, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • It is Called

      @S-3B Viking

      @S-3B Viking
      Core sample report is a FACT that won't go away for our family.
      The facts are facts.
      Thanks again we will enjoy the flight . If I can get my brother to puke it will be a blast!!

      Life what a blast. Best to you.

      January 19, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  14. Jacob G.

    I honestly did not take the time to read all of these comments….but it does not matter because everyone should respect everybody else's decision. I think it's silly that people are worried about this one particular mother. There are hundreds of American families that do not take the steps to make religion a priority within their lives. I think religion should be an extremely personal thing that should only be discussed at home or at church. Other than that, it is NOBODY'S business as to what somebody else believes in. People that believe in God or Jesus should go about their days and only worry about themselves rather than others. It's so simple. If you believe in something, then believe in it, don't force it down anyone's throats, and vice versa. Mind your business….you'll live much longer.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • snowdogg

      "everyone should respect everybody else's decision"

      Can I get an "Amen"?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • frankb2910

      I never would have expressed my opinion and in the past acted polite tp respect someone else's beliefs. Until 9-11. That changed everything for me. Innocent people were murdered because of religious beliefs. Ill express my opinions every chance I get. I don't care if I hurt your feelings you'll get over it. Your god if he exists is a hideous god that is worse that any dictator we ever knew. If you don't love and worship him he will torture you after you die. You call that a loving god? You were dead for billions of years before you were born you will be dead after you die. Get over it.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:28 am |
  15. Ken

    I'm sure I am repeating many, many people when I say this...but I am still astounded at the number of people who do not understand the concept that God gave man free will. yet, people still wander why God "allows" people to kill one another! This seems to be one of the only ludicrous conjectures that atheists can come up with when trying to state their claim that there is no God.

    January 19, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • Gazeebo

      God is said to be omniscient, and this poses a special problem for free will: if God knows the future, that means that the future is predictable and immutable. This, in turn, means that our actions are predetermined. We may have pondered long and hard over which action to take, but the very act of pondering is as predictable as the execution of a complex computer program.
      If God has perfect knowledge of what will happen without his intervention, and his intervention is guaranteed to bring about a different result, then God has absolute control over what will happen. By refusing to intervene, God has effectively chosen the course of action.

      So in short, either your god is not omniscient or there is no such thing as free will.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:58 am |
    • Mike, PhD

      """"This seems to be one of the only ludicrous conjectures that atheists can come up with when trying to state their claim that there is no God."""" Ludicrous conjecture, now this is an exercise in contradiction!

      January 19, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Ken

      Well of course there is a such thing as free will...you experience that 24/7. The whole concept of God already knowing our personal future is what I never believed, especially the notion that He already knows what choices we will make on a daily basis. However, what I do believe is that God does know what the future holds for mankind. It is in the book of Revelation...scary stuff! And if you don't believe that, don't criticize me, I didn't write it.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:08 am |
    • Ken

      Mike, conjecture means making a baseless guess or claim, how is that a contradiction?

      January 19, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Ken

      as a former Christian, I have to disagree that this is exclusive to atheists..in my experience, Christians are the ones nototrious for claiming that God "allows." For instance, "God allowed hurricane/TS sandy to..." (insert any selection of God's wrath here).

      A synonymous phrase is "It must have been God's will."

      And i wonder if, when writing a good sentence, if the adjective accompanying conjecture is really necessary. "Conjecture" pretty much does a great job of explaining your claim.

      Finally, I'd encourage you to expand your atheist bibliography. They have many more statements about the non-existence of God than this seemingly one of the only: "God allows killing"

      January 19, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • frankb2910

      Try reading God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens . You did not exist for billions of years before you were born and when you die you will cease to exist again. As for myself I'm not worried about it because I wasn't the least bit concerned before I was born and I'm assuming I won't be the least bit concerned after I'm gone. I do however will not make the mistake to live as happy as I can each day I'm here.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ frank

      Have you read Hitchens' final book "Mortality"? A very good book. I have not read any of his other works but they are on the long list of ones to read.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • Burl99

      Some of you are incredibly smart and logical. and yet incredibly blind! You make assumptions that you are as smart or smarter than God. We exist to glorify Him, and many of us are doing a very bad job of it. He cared so much that He was willing to come here to His creation, suffer and die for us. Just as you and I suffer and we all die, so He suffered and died What else do you want from Him? Eternal life? There is even a way to get that! Put your faith and trust in something bigger and better than what you have here, is this world really that great that this is all you see or want? C'mon now...think about it.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:25 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Burl...

      Good morning. You make a lot of assumptions about those who post here. Instead of conjecture, why don't you take a great risk and engage those who don't believe as you do and find out what and why the believe or think as they do.

      And I'll address just one of your statements...(borrowing from the atheists here): one can't be smarter or dumber than something or someone they claim doesn't exist.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • It is Called

      Aduio book S-3B

      Putting it mildly" – Chapter I of Christopher Hitchens' phenomenally scathing and erudite critique of religion, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

      I do not own any of the audio or visual content of this video.

      N.B. If you find the content of this book stimulating, then I enjoin you to please consider buying a hard copy. Hitchens bangs out, as it were, a lot of information in this critique, and not only would a hard copy be useful for references (for you fellow analysts out there, or maybe if you didn't catch a name or two) or look good on your book shelf or a gift for another, but it would help my conscience out a bit – as I'm giving it to you here for free. I know that having audio on YouTube will undoubtedly give this message to people who would never have a chance of reading it, but still. If you have the money why not get a copy from Amazon or, as Christopher Hitchens himself often quips, from any "fine book store anywhere".


      January 19, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  16. Beebler McGee

    This is the kind of K Rap that "marginalizes" the children raised with this closed-minded approach. Imaginary God?? A fairy tale so we can feel warm and fuzzy about our existence, huh? I feel really sorry for you and your children. There is no way to prove whether "logic" is either more important nor has higher authority in our existence than revelation from the REAL God. Millions of human beings have actually EXPERIENCED Him and KNOW He's real. Just because YOU don't, doesn't mean He's not. And your willingness to project your own ignorance onto everyone else is precisely what you don't want "religious" people to do, right? You're cool with "religion" as long as it stays at home or in church. Yet it's ok for YOUR belief system (and that's ALL it is, hello) to be the guiding light for society at large? Baloney! There is no way to prove whether "logic, justice, and fairness" usurp a judeo-christian revelational view of life. Logic, justice, and fairness according to WHOM?? Common sense? Intuition? Some humanistic do-gooder utopianism that thinks human beings are generally "good"? Your condescension is palpable. And it stinks.

    January 19, 2013 at 4:50 am |
    • uggh

      And your arrogance is palpable to believe that judeo-christian moral code is some how the one and only – many religions throughout the world and throughout history have had moral codes. You arrogance is thinking your's is the "correct" because of your belief in your god. Thou shall not kill? Seems pretty common sense to me. Don't eat pork because we don't have refrigerators? Pretty common sense thouands of years ago. Then there there are rules for treatment of slaves...oh wait.....

      January 19, 2013 at 5:08 am |
    • David

      well said.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:11 am |
    • snowdogg

      Yes, "imaginary god". However, believe what you will, that IS your right.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:44 am |
  17. Gazeebo

    It's ridiculous and absolute hypocrisy that people will defend the 2nd amendment to the death, yet when someone decides to exercise the 1st amendment they are looked at (by christians) as if they are mentally ill and are mistreated and discriminated against etc.

    January 19, 2013 at 4:48 am |
  18. Cheryl

    Why must you believe in the God depicted in the Bible, or the Koran, the Talmud, the Bhagavad Gita and others? I don't believe in a Supreme Being as described in any of these "holy" books. The God in the Bible is a pretty nasty guy, for one thing.
    I believe in God, a designer, a first cause, a prime mover. I am not altogether sure that this Supreme Being is much of a social worker though. I do believe and know for a fact that an afterlife exists and that we and all life here on Earth and elsewhere is immortal. That spark that animates us (and we animate the body and not the other way around though there comes a point when the body no longer responds to our commands) is eternal and comes from the Creator.
    There are prophets in history but they are no more and no less sacred than I am. I do not need to be saved and I am not a sinner.

    January 19, 2013 at 4:46 am |
    • Ken

      Cheryl, I am by no means trying to be a smartass when I ask this, but could you explain what you meant by "I know for a fact that the afterlife exists"? I am a Christian and I grew up my entire life that way, but as I entered into my 30's and started to slowly drift away from the church, I start to get a little more skeptical. I've been looking for answers for a long time now and I'm tired of second-guessing myself.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:03 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Ken

      I agree...I'm not ready for a complete atheism...but I disagree with those that demand I make a decision in the 60-80 years I might have...

      I'm wondering if we've all been approaching life wrong all along and perhaps we should just let life reveal and, as many say though I don't fully understand, "live the questions."

      I like Alan Watts definition of faith as a counter to belief: "Belief is the insistence that the truth is what one would wish it to be. Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.

      I applaud you in your search and wish you well.

      January 19, 2013 at 5:43 am |
    • Bill

      I tend to agree with you except for the afterlife. Dead is dead.

      January 19, 2013 at 6:19 am |
  19. S-3B Viking

    Hi, Chad…sorry I missed your posts from the other day...was at work (12 hour night shifts).
    I’ve moved to this story/blog to answer your last co mments.

    You said:

    @Chad “regarding only two choices, just because we don’t like the fact that there are only two choices, doesn’t mean we can ignore that reality.

    “…just because we don’t like the…choices…” C’mon, Chad, give me a bit more credit than that…my liking or disliking something is essentially irrelevant (it is only relevant to me at heart-level)…my co mment has everything to do with the problem of “choice” and if, when given only two options, it really is a choice; and when one of those “choices” ends in violence, can it really be “choice” or is it an ultimatum?

    No benevolent parent would allow their daughter to continue to date a boy who told the daughter, “either you love me in the manner I tell you or I will pour gasoline over you and light a match.” And most every human, outside the family, would be horrified if the parents approved of the boys “choices.”

    By the way, I find it humorous and ironic that God is depicted as a father. Abba? Really?

    As I define morality (and because I have the brain capacity that allows me to do so and I think reasonable humans would agree), I consider a Heavenly Father who would offer these “choices” immoral. If this is reality…if your conclusions based on your interpretation of scripture is correct, then I conclude that we live in an immoral creation, created by an immoral God and that is my choice…Your God, of course, would say differently…but, when my knee is forced to bow and my tongue is forced to confess, I will then know that my conclusion is correct.

    You said:

    John 3:16 certainly satisfies 1 Corinthians 13.

    Chad, “For God so loved…” is an over-arching statement…so as not to let you just brush it off, let’s consider Paul’s more specific definition of love (using the NKJV in order not to dander-up the KJV purists):

    and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
    4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never fails.

    I include the end of verse 2 for all your angry, fearful brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ who post some pretty un-loving things on the CNN Religion blog. Beginning with verse 4, Chad, let’s ask if your God is any of these…Each one, in my view, challenges the very foundation of John 3:16…Although you don’t agree that God sends anyone to Hell, I and many others – including many Christians, disagree.

    And because he does send those who do not accept his son as Lord and Savior, it is quite clear that as “ultimate Love,” God fails.

    Finally, you said:
    God provided only one way to reconcile, we can complain that there should be another, but there isn’t.

    I appreciate that this is your speculative conclusion, but I and many Christian groups in general and many, many individual Christians throughout the mutations of Christianity, in particular, disagree.

    January 19, 2013 at 4:42 am |
  20. Tracy

    Beer and Guns.....in that order!

    January 19, 2013 at 4:33 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.