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May 22nd, 2013
06:20 PM ET

This Oklahoma atheist isn't thanking the Lord

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='JRavitzCNN']

(CNN) – Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who – after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son's lives – had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, smiling and looking down.

“Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” he continued.

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media – one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

Vitsmun, who chronicled her decision to flee her house with her son on CNN iReport, is one of 13 million atheists or agnostics in America, according to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

See Rebecca Vitsmun discuss her decision with CNN's Wolf Blitzer

While only 2.4% of Americans are atheists, they fit into a broader category that is on the rise in the United States.

Nearly 20% of adults – and a third of those under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated, the Pew report found.

This group, which has grown by roughly 5% in five years, is often referred to as the “nones.” It is a term that extends beyond atheists, who believe there is no God, and agnostics, who believe it’s impossible to prove or disprove God’s existence. It includes a greater proportion of people who see themselves as nothing in particular, which means they might be secular, spiritual or believers – but simply don’t identify with an organized religion, said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center

“When we ask people questions about their religious identity, when we ask them about their religious beliefs, there are relatively few who are atheists. But I’m speaking in percentage terms,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of them around. And they’re certainly all over.”

Oklahoma included.

In fact, when the Pew Research Center last drilled down to uncover the religious landscape of affiliations on a state level five years ago, 12% of Oklahomans were religiously unaffiliated. And just as the numbers ticked up nationally since then, it stands to reason that they did the same in Oklahoma.

We tried to reach Vitsmun by phone Wednesday but were unable to connect.

Her friend Waylon Flinn, however, shed some light on who she is. She and her husband, who Flinn said is also an atheist, aren’t the sorts who advertise their beliefs or throw them in people’s faces. When she agreed to go on camera, it wasn’t for that platform; she didn’t even see the Lord question coming.

But that she responded to Blitzer the way she did is no surprise to Flinn, who opened his home in nearby Norman to Vitsmun’s family after theirs was destroyed.

“She handled it in her style, which is very honest and true to herself,” he said.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • iReport • News media

soundoff (2,486 Responses)
  1. G_Edwards

    @tallulah13//"G, why not try to read what was said instead of blathering like an idiot?"
    ===============

    Don't blame me for your inability to see the connection between two related concepts about how a "power" interacts with people.

    .

    May 23, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Psst – Hey, G – try the "Reply" button when responding to a specific post.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • G_Edwards

      @Attack, oooh....you really got me there.....good job.

      I bet you point out typos too.

      .

      May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      Hey, G? Your reading comprehension sucks. You posted a bunch of things that had no bearing on the original post and tried to use that to denigrate the original poster's position. You should have read the original post instead of blathering like an idiot.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  2. end of the world

    So I wonder if this woman is still going to be an atheist had her son been seriously injured in this storm, and was clinging on to life at the hospital right now? Makes you think doesn't it? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm......

    May 23, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • derp

      She would have taken him to hospital and relied on science to heal her child. Only a moron would ask god for help after he just sent a tornado to smash their home.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      How or why would that change her belief?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      why do Christians take their sick children to doctors when they should be able to just pray them back to health ... Hmmmmmm?

      What a joke your religion is!

      May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @End of the World
      This is the "no atheists in foxholes" fallacy.
      http://www.thegoodatheist.net/2009/08/20/foxhole-atheists/

      May 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Who is God's God

      My guess, the same thing that she believed or not believed before.... Narrow minded people can't see the forest through the trees.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Randyb1280@yahoo.com

      God saved the atheist because He has a plan for her and he killed the rest of them because that was his plan for them. God has a plan...God has a plan...blah blah blah. I don't think there is a god, but if there is a plan it is that he/she/it sent us all here to learn, grow, and evolve. He doesn't control every event in the universe.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      I suspect that she would be with her child in the hospital, trying to find him the best care possible in this chaos.

      If fear and stress are your motives for belief, then you really don't believe. You are simply desperate.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thanks for the link, Doc. It makes me sick every time a christian uses that phrase, because it's a flat-out lie and it iinsults those who serve in our armed forces by implying that they are cowards.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • karl

      Science works, praying does not. Fact

      May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • sam stone

      well, i am glad something made you think, end

      May 23, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  3. Reality

    "The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,
    The second, religious without intellect. "

    Al-Ma'arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    May 23, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • William Demuth

      Ah my friend Reality is doing bong hits again!

      Dude, I know you mean well, but a lot is lost in translation

      In fact, you sound like a complete madman!

      May 23, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Reality

      """""""""""Death's Debt is Paid in
      Full

      Death's debt is then and there

      Paid down by dying men;

      But it is a promise bare

      That they shall rise again. """""""""""

      Al-Ma'arri

      May 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Randyb1280@yahoo.com

      The name should be "Altered Reality"

      May 23, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  4. Amazed

    Hey God, thanks for the tornado you sent... and for ignoring the prayers of your loyal followers to make it go away.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • William Demuth

      Excuse me?

      Allah chose to spare ALL the Muslims and ALL the Atheists and ALL the Jews that were in that little Oklahoma town.

      He just drown the Christian kids.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster was testing his faithful. They passed the test by not being in Oklahoma.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  5. die die

    "stop attacking our beliefs, cnn!" lol.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  6. The mother test

    The mother test
    Raised as a devout Catholic, I heard all the stories of the Old Testament – God condemns all for the sins of Adam and Eve; God demanded sacrifices of the first born; God destroyed not only all people on the earth for their wickedness, but all the animals as well I (what had they done?), etc. God was jealous, angry, and vengeful.

    Then I think of my mother. She was the most giving soul I ever knew – took the elderly out, cooked meals for them, brought them to our home, loved kids, taught us kindness, how to laugh (and to laugh at everything), worked as much time at the local thrift shop for free as many people work in a week; helped strangers in need. She was a kind, loving, caring, compassionate woman.

    How could my mother (imperfect) be more caring and loving, and therefore powerful, than God who is perfect?

    And that's how I became an atheist, thanks to a mother greater than God.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • William Demuth

      So sad really that the Christians want your mom to burn in hell for raising you so poorly.

      Surely they shall torment her soul for your arrogance

      May 23, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • G_Edwards

      Weird. You became an atheist because God doesn't change Earth into Heaven by intervening in our lives?

      I'll bet you're a liberal, who embraces the government dictating your daily life – from the size of sodas, to where you can smoke, to what kind of fat to cook in, to what kind of light bulbs, to the how well your toilet flushes, to.....if God's not doing it, something must fill the void.

      .

      May 23, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      G, why not try to read what was said instead of blathering like an idiot?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, G_Edwards, you were probably in Moore, OK after the last tornado hit, campaigning against minimum building standards, campaigning against schools having to build mandatory storm shelters. And hopefully you're making your voice heard so that not one red cent of Federal money goes to the Oklahoma storm victims – because that would be liberalism, and socialism!

      Tell me – have you ever driven on a public road? Mailed a letter through the post office? Been protected by the military? The police? The fire department? Those are public services, paid for by public dollars.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • mark

      Another recovering catholic here. Why is this even newsworthy? There are a lot of people who don't believe in pie in the sky...get over it, media...go after the GOP trash in congress.

      We would be "a better place" here if "religiuous" people would either either vanish or just mind their own business.

      I don't expect that any time soon, but at least we should end their tax exemption – I'm tired of paying for their nonsense.

      mark

      May 23, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • cringa

      Really an atheist because why? Do you not, in your ignorance fail to realize that your mothers gift of life, nuture, love is from her being raised with God?

      How blind do you have to see that it is not about man's teaching of religion but it is your personal relationship with God?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • maryte

      Good for you and for being brave to express your beliefs, I am an atheist too, raised in a catholic school... religion is for believers of fairy tales, criminals in need of "instant" forgiveness" and bigots, racists and politicians to be able to win elections just rolling their eyes to the sky....

      May 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • A Conversation

      Mark...just exactly how do you pay for religious nonsense?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @G_Edwards ... not Jesus-like behavior ... find out someone is not of your belief and instantly insult them and run them down.

      @The mother test ... thanks for your amazing story.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • The mother test

      I recognize that if my mother is greater than God, because she would not harm anything, she must be greater than God, and if nothing can be greater than God, then God must not exist.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • janet

      No mother (or father, for that matter) punishes their children for eternity (infinite punishment) for a finite sin. By definition, no man, neither humanity all put together, can possibly commit infinite sin, or infinite *anything*. But the sheep happily believe in the justness (and lovingness, what a farce) of a creator imposing infinite punishment, eternal torture, for which is, at worst, a finite sin (a "thought crime" really). Go figure.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  7. Terry

    It is constantly amazing the amount of anti religious stories the media runs. For what purpose? Most are to make fun or stab at it as illogical or some other sarcastic reason. People place the hope in all kinds of things you only have to look at the recent lottery for that. Talk about hateful....just wow. We strive for an all inclusive society but then turn right around and marginalize people and their beliefs.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Should the people of England marginalize those two men yesterday who cut off the head of a soldier as a protest for British soldiers killing Muslims in Afghanistan? They apparently were following THEIR religious beliefs.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • seriously

      "their beliefs" have caused a countless number of deaths.

      If there is a god. I hope he has an excuse for being such an a-s-s-h-o-l-e

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christian
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

      May 23, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Thoth

      You strive for an inclusive society? Why then did Blitzer presume that she thanked the lord? Christians are arrogant and think everyone either believes as they do, or should believe as they do. This woman didn't make an issue of it. She answered his question honestly, AFTER trying to politely avoid it the first time he asked.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • G_Edwards

      @seriously//"Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours."
      ============================
      Glad you know more about what a Christian is, than Christians. It seems you're too biased in your non-Christian belief to have any objective criticism that's based in fact.

      I believe it's pretty clear that your first "in name only" justification is BS. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. " Apparently doing so is 100% living the Christian philosophy.

      .

      May 23, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • mark

      You religious jerks just LOVE to feel persecuted. I'd love it if you all just shut up...and start paying taxes like every other business.

      mark

      May 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Reality

      Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

      "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

      I have not reviled the God.
      I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
      I have not done what the God abominates . . .
      I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
      I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
      I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
      I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
      I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
      I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
      I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
      I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
      I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
      I have not blocked the God at his processions."

      "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

      May 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • eleanorcat

      This is not an antireligious story. It is a story about an inclusive society.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Who is God's God

      What is the difference between anti religion and pro religion stories. You wouldn't say anything if this was a pro religion story, would you?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I want to know if congress is really going to approve funds for Moore, OK. I believe Superstorm Sandy devastated THREE (3) Northeastern states in NY, NJ and CT, affecting millions of people, yet every republican voted against Sandy relief. Well, if congress approve funds for OK, then its time for us here in the Northeast to start protesting on Capitol Hill.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • William Demuth

      Lets send them condoms and Korans!

      May 23, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Chris

      The reason they denied the funds for Sandy was the Democrats tried to use it as an oppertunity to spend on all kinds of items in places as far away as California. THEY packed the bill full of non-related Sandy efforts and luckily the Rebulicans stood up for the American people.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • HotAirAce

      So the Pubtards had enough power to stop the bill, but not enough to correct it? I call bullsh!t!!

      May 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • derp

      luckily the Rebulicans stood up for the American people"

      Well, that's not how we see it here in NJ.

      I just emailed both my senators (Menendez and Lautenberg) and my congressman (Jon Runyan) and asked them to not waste any of my federal tax dollars on a state whose senators voted against helping our state.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, pull the other one, Chris. There was nothing virtuous about denying help to those who need it. That's why I hope that the people of Oklahoma get the help they need, despite the petty actions of their politicians.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  9. Steven Peters

    Good old CNN. Among the hundreds of victims who thanked God for their lives and His mercy, they found one atheist to hype in support of their campaign against flyover country and traditional Americans.

    Well, God bless you all.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • sam stone

      paranoia getting the best of you, steven?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • seriously

      If there is a god. I hope he has an excuse for being such an a-s-s-h-o-l-e

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christian
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

      May 23, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • ThankYouLord

      Thank you Lord for wreaking havoc (or at least letting it happen) in my neighborhood, killing dozens of people and causing over a $1B in damage. You were so thoughtful to make me think I should find a safer place, while my house was being destroyed. I really feel a strong connection to you now. What was I thinking, being an atheist?! Surely it was YOUR intervention that saved my life but allowed those Christian school children to die under a pile of rubble.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • derp

      "who thanked God for their lives and His mercy"

      I don't think a single one of the people god murdered with that tornado is thanking him for anything right now.

      How merciful of him to drop a mile wide tornado right on their town, twice.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  10. Atheist

    We don't thank the Lord, we just blame God.

    –Atheist

    May 23, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • That is atheism in a nutshell!
      May 23, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • sam stone

      Atheists cannot blame a being in which they do not believe

      "we seek eternity with the pr1ck from whom we have to be saved" – christian

      May 23, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Neks

      I shouldn't reply.... Atheists are the ones helping, not blaming . Atheists are typically humanitarians – recognizing the good before the bad. I am slightly sympathetic that you need a god to attribute your morality and well being too. GL.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      We avoid personal responsibility by putting it all on God.

      – Religionist

      May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  11. Mark Tomcho

    Love it! Finally someone who did not thank the Lord for saving them when 10 other people died!

    May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  12. crabman1

    the churchs just take and take any way -– why belong they don't give back as much as the take - first hand knowledge -thanks

    May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  13. Mark

    Truth you know that feeling you get just before something happens? Times it by million that's the security of heaven. Plus when I was riding home from work one night, I felt my Moms presence, within a few minutes her favorite song Unchained Melody cam on the radio. I don't even listen to that music. I cried because I KNEW she was there. I know you are going to say it was a coincidence, it wasn't!

    May 23, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      It was a coincidence.

      Mark, it's simply wish fulfillment. How about all of the times you thought about your mother and her favorite song DIDN'T come on the radio? By your logic, she (or her spirt) is NOT there.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • FactCheck

      How do you function in the real world?

      May 23, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Mark

      There is a tangible difference between thinking and feeling. I wasn't thinking about her, just all of sudden I felt her. Significant difference.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Mark

      I am graduate of Pepperdine, I have climbed the pyramids, I have ridden my bike through the alps, I have a daughter in college on the deans list, I have my own business, I have coached several teams to championships. I feed the poor in my town. What do you do?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Mark, I think I understand how you feel, and think, having lost my mother a number of years ago. But if you felt something, your brain would have interpreted that feeling for you into a thought, and you would have thought that it was your mother. The mind is an amazing thing – able to create and recreate people, places, and things. Obviously you can thing and believe whatever you want, and, frankly, who knows? Maybe it was your mother? Anything's possible.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Paul

      Your God allows people to leave Heaven, ghost around for a while, and call into to radio request shows?

      I'm sure you're mother was a lovely person who did great things in her life. Hold on to that, and pass on her morals and values to the next generation. Then, her life will truly go on. And it's a much better option that hoping she is now a divine DJ.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Mark

      I concur Attack the brain is remarkable, just another reason to believe in my wonderful God. BTW the post about my life was for factcheck.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: Lots of things give me warm fuzzy feelings about my Mother 26 years later but I can't allow myself to believe they are anything more than pleasant feel good reminders of one the greatest people I've ever known. There simply is not sufficient evidence to support that there is anything more after this life.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Mark

      Paul I don't put God in a box. I believe anything is possible by the Creator. My mother is no longer of this world, therefore the wisdom of this world can't be applied, which I believe is half the battle for non believers.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      So much for the idea of Christians behaving with humility. My kids are high honeor roll, my son has earned his Eagle rank with Scouts at the age of 14, my daughter has performed onstage in proefessional productions at the age of 12, and I have moved into a brand new home purchased with my own funds: none of those things are due to the Almighty, but due to my hard work and a bit of luck. I hear and see things that remind me of my father, who passed when I was in college: its not the Spirit speaking to me, its memory and association. If you chose to believe that God decided that day to make someone play a song, that's great, but don't insist that we believe as you do.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Mark

      Truth-p- Being a former non believer I understand your position. Once I accepted the Holy spirit in my life, he revealed himself to me in so many ways I can't deny Him, therefore I can't deny the afterlife. As the old commercial says,"try it you'll like it.";}

      May 23, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Jesus

      Delusion strikes many. Some have a brain, some think they have a brain, but belief in mythical beings is a sign of mental illness, nothing more. Mental illness strikes people of all intelligence levels.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Mark

      Good point except mine is not mythical, therefore your premise is faulty.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • derp

      "I am graduate of Pepperdine, I have climbed the pyramids, I have ridden my bike through the alps, I have a daughter in college on the deans list, I have my own business, I have coached several teams to championships. I feed the poor in my town. What do you do?"

      I bang your wife on the side.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Mark

      Really because I doubt you like women.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mark? There is not a single shred of evidence that any god exists. That includes your god. It's rather arrogant for you to dismiss other beliefs when they have just as much proof as you do. Your resume does not grant you any special knowledge about god, but it does seem to make you dismissive of others.

      I think your "Mom in the car" story is little more than you feeling emotional about someone you love and miss, but if it brings you comfort to think that your mom visited you, then good for you. I don't see any purpose, nor has anyone provided proof of any afterlife, but whatever floats your boat.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: I'm a former believer. My Mom went to her grave accepting god and is buried next to the church that her funeral service was held in. The part that gets me to this day is the fact that when the cancer was found a second time, she honestly believed that it was gods will and so she refused treatment. I'm in no way going to blame your god for her death, I accept that she had her personal beliefs on the issue and believed with all her heart that this was meant to be. Six months after she passed away I thought I saw her and I can recount other stories similar-her Mother believed she saw the hand of god waving for her to come home (so to speak). In times of grief and trauma the brain plays tricks on us (so to speak) and we find ways to cope. I'd rather go to my end knowing I lived the best possible life and left a positive impact on this world than believing something is after...I find the belief in something more takes away from the value of the only life any of us are guaranteed of.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • derp

      "Really because I doubt you like women""

      Your wife likes my dick

      May 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Mark

      Truth-P- I am sorry for your loss, that is tragic. We have been blessed with Doctors to treat us and I would recommend that every time. The mind is truly wonderful thing, and granted can play tricks on us(Plato's oar) but that doesn't mean that what your mother felt or saw isn't Gods grace. Heaven by definition is a much better place. As for living our life, I too want to leave this material world knowing I did the best I could and then enter the spiritual world and see how even greater our energy can be. You going t come back Truth, and you will see your mom again. As for Derp above me, he apparently wants to make this world a worse place by saying evil things, can't blame him though there is a force trying to keep us from entering heaven.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Mark

      You're going to come back...wow that's bad typing.;}

      May 23, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  14. William Demuth

    We have a town that was hit with a monster tornado and rebuilt with MY tax dollars less than ten years ago

    Town is hit yet again, and the local schools are blown to pieces with children DROWNING when the structures failed.

    Simpletons then invoke Christ, say it was Gods will, and move on through the grace on another ton of MY tax dollars.

    The towns mayor needs to go to prison, and the feds need to audit where all my tax money went.

    Condemn the ENTIRE town, and forbid ANYONE rebuilding without appropriate safe guards, ESPECIALLY in schools, hospitals and similar facilities

    May 23, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We should at least demand that God pay the bills.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  15. Billy bob

    Cheesy question, Wolf. What will you come out with next... "Guess you'd better say the rosary, right? Did you bow to Allah? Guess you're planning to sacrifice a goat, huh? Starting a 40-day fast, right?"

    May 23, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • seriously

      "their beliefs" have caused a countless number of deaths.

      If there is a god. I hope he has an excuse for being such an a-s-s-h-o-l-e

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christian
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

      May 23, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Logic

      Dang, Wolf, I knew I forgot to do something last Sunday (sacrifice a goat)...

      May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  16. WWJD

    …all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All means all, biblical or not the statement is true. Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan, Jew, Christian, etc… No one in this world is perfect and if you claim to be, you are a liar. God does not sit on His thrown with a “Who can I beat down today” mentality. This world is sinful and where sin exists God cannot. I am a Christian and I believe in God (Father, Spirit, Son – ONE GOD) I do not condemn others for having different beliefs, it is not my place to tell you what to believe, but it is my duty to live the way that I know in my heart is right. I mess up every day because I am human and that is what we humans excel at is messing up (sinning if you will). Don’t pass judgment on others but love them…love the person, not the acts that that person does. That is why it says “love you neighbor as yourself”…not like your neighbor, that is nearly impossible.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Babies. Babies are without "sin", whatever that is. Why do babies die? In accidents? Shaken to death by their idiot parents? Abducted? Diseases? Birth defects.

      Why does your god kill babies?

      May 23, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • FactCheck

      Maybe another place you're mistaken is in the ridiculous "heart-based" knowledge system you espouse. I know, I know, you know in your heart I'm wrong. Perhaps you should rent out your all-knowing heart. Sounds like it would be a real boon to the rest of us living in darkness. Thank God we found you, right here on the Internet.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Who is God's God

      Who is God's god?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • G to the T

      So your all-powerful god's ONLY weakness is "sin" (god cannot exist where there is sin) – which is something he defined in the first place and knew was going to enter the world before he created it (though this implies that "sin" is some kind of "force" and not just "missing the mark" as it's come to mean)... And the world is "sinful" so logically – god cannot exist in this world... or am I missing something?

      May 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  17. NorthVanCan

    Why not thank the Lord for the disaster ?
    Oh ya, that would be silly......right.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  18. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Having a national forum like she had I would have had to go a little farther than she did. Just a little.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  19. waterman

    Glad that she was assertive enough to mention it, and also very polite. That atheists don't feel so marginalized is very good news.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  20. palintwit

    After years of exhaustive studies, meteorologists are in agreement that the following events are related:
    A. The location where a tornado initially touches down.
    B. The path that the tornado takes.
    C. The number of Chick-fil-A's and trailer parks along that path.
    D. The high percentage of teabaggers in those trailer parks.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • William Demuth

      Jeebus does like "Bowling For Rednecks"!!

      May 23, 2013 at 8:53 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.