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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. magnum12

    If there is no God then believers will never know, because when you are dead and buried that is the end of the line. But if there is a God then non-believers will have quite a surprise when they die. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that there is a God. For those who think that I am an uneducated redneck, I have a degree in bio-chemisty, one in education and one in mechanical enginnering. All believers are not necessarily uneducated and all atheists are not necessarily educated as the Media would have you believe.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      And yet you're not educated enough to realize that even if there is a god, there's no guarantee that you happened to have chosen the right one, and the exact right path to salvation.

      I'm pretty sure that "smug" is not one of the qualities that gets you into most versions of heaven...

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • derp

      And what happens when you die and find out you worshipped the wrong god and get sent to hell to burn for all eternity?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @magnum12
      Then you are one of the very few bio-chemists who believe in God.
      Dr. Greg Graffin's PHD thesis concluded that "the worldview of these scientists is so different from traditional theology in that no gods exist for them, there is no such thing as the incorporeal spirit or soul, there is no life after death — all of the things that are held most passionately by traditional theology, all of them have to be abandoned. And if that condition is met, then religion is perfectly harmonious with the tenets of biology. The only way to find compatibility in such a worldview is by accepting a religion with no authority on the most meaningful matters of human existence."

      May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • sam stone

      what part of your education told you that media should be capitalized?

      look up pascal's wager, when you are done congratulating yourself on your education

      May 23, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Terry

      magnum12, do yourself a favor and google "Pascal's Wager", or continue to present yourself as an ignorant moron. Your call.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Timothy C

      Although I do not share your beliefs I respect them and wish you well.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      The misspellings of both "chemistry" and "engineering" suggest to me that he may be less than honest about all three...

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • B

      Education doesn't automatically equal 'smart'.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • One one

      Totally agree. Even educated people can be deluded and weak minded.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Rogue351

      There very well maybe a god, however supporting god so relentlessly while forgetting about your fellow man, family and everyone else just for your own salvation is not being a so called good "Christian". The hate that the right is spreading which includes most "Good " Christians" is about as far from standing with god as you can possibly get. Believing in god to the point that you pass laws and govern over people making them abide by your rules is not "Christian" So if there is a god I think a lot of "Good Christians" are going to be just as surprised as the non believers at the pearly gates.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • derp

      "The misspellings of both "chemistry" and "engineering" suggest to me that he may be less than honest about all three..."

      I was laughing about that as well. My wife has a degree in biochemistry, and my son has a degree in engineering. I bet they both can spell them correctly.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you have a degree in bio-chemisty, one in education and one in mechanical enginnering.

      You can't even SPELL 2 of them correctly, how could you have degrees in them?!?!

      Oh yes, and I am the Queen of England and an astronaut and a fireman.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Alias

      But have you ever worked in Bio- anything?
      You sound like a professional student, not a professional in the normal context.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  2. mooseinfmp

    II'm glad he put her on the spot, because it's a good example of God's Love for ALL of his Children, not just the ones who believe in Him. Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."

    May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • derp

      " In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."

      Except that god just murdered a handful of "these little ones" by dropping a tornado on their school.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Jesus Katlyn Ferrari-Lotus

      moosebrain, that's pretty pathetic way to try to explain away the fact that death from the storm was indiscriminate, and the fact that your sky boy doesn't exist.

      So why is it that you keep making excuses for your fairy tale creature when all the evidence points to it not existing? Afraid to fact reality?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Jesus Katlyn Ferrari-Lotus

      moosebrain, that's pretty pathetic way to try to explain away the fact that death from the storm was indiscriminate, and the fact that your sky boy doesn't exist.

      So why is it that you keep making excuses for your fairy tale creature when all the evidence points to it not existing? Afraid to face reality?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • gg

      Would you also approve if he put her on the spot about how much God must hate their town to destroy it?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      I hope all the amoral abortionists read your quote.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  3. richunix

    CNN, why don't you kiss it, you block comments

    May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  4. Patrick M.

    I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. I have no desire to argue or debate with anyone. I would just like to ask the Atheists who are posting here, why do you care?.. I mean that very seriously. What makes you care about issues like this? Why does it matter if anyone died during the storm or not? It's all just nature doing what it does.. storm comes, some humans die, some dont.. what difference does it make? I really want to know why you feel what you feel... i'd love to dialogue, if you have an email address we could possibly discuss it there...

    May 23, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • WASP

      @patrick: simple answer........................BOREDOM. it passes the time here at work. XD

      May 23, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • ME II

      @Patrick M.,
      We are social animals and therefore have sympathetic feelings towards most of our fellow humans.
      Empathy and reciprocity are likely the basis for most ethics.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I will dialogue with you, but I'd rather not give out any of my emails on this public forum.

      I thnk that for the most part, atheists feel unable to express their views and as if they are second-class citizens. Atheists are not represented by ANY presidents, very few congressmen or public officials, and there are thousands of laws prohibiting our actions in life, politics, and the public sphere. We use forums like this one to show support for each other and to expose the poor arguments of the opposing side. And we are GROWING each day. It's encouraging and exciting.

      Hope that helps.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • richunix

      @Pat,

      I have read the Bible numerous times, in fact I spent the last 10 years study it. So the question is, of the 5700 known manuscripts making up the books of the Bible which one would you say is the most correct? In short before you jump up on your band-wagon and declare it is the approved King James version, or the New World edited addition and was inspired by GOD. Remember if GOD meant for his word to be extant, then why didn’t he go to great lengths to preserve his word, this has puzzled theologian and scholar’s for centuries.

      You can try reading the Codex Sinaiticus , or the Codex Vaticanus (Codex Bezae, 8th century) written in the 4th century. Both version have the most complete version of earlier Bible and some more, however they have MAJOR difference between your current version. Or you may take your hand (like the rest of us) and learn Konic Greek, so you can read the very early version of the Bible like, Papyrus P52,46 or P75. You listed historical names from the Bible, maybe you should try reading the Gnostic Gospel such as The Gospel of Mary, James, Peter…better yet the Gospel of Judas (published in 2006) or the Gospel of Solomon (or King Solomon), how about the Gospel of Jesus himself?. Do you even know the difference between the Gnosticism and Docetism? Take your current four Gospel and read the Crucifixion stories, which version is correct, when only one (unnamed Apostle was present) and yet they all have different words spoken by the dying Jesus, different way’s and times he died. The bible you see today is not the bible that was originally written 2000 years ago, in fact not even close. None of the Gospel are/were not written by any of eyewitness they are penned after, they are in fact written century’s later by trained Greek scribes, you need to read more about Teutullin and Irenaeus. We do not HAVE any surviving Gospel from the 1st century, it is not until the 3rd century we have a few incomplete Gospel (P46/75) and the most complete by the 4th century and even these do not match the earlier version.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Religious kooks unite

      Patrick, I love how you state that you do not want to argue or debate then proceed to do just that. In simplistic terms, why do atheists care? We do care about life, death, happiness, sadness, all the same issues you care about. I think what you are getting at is why do we care when people profess their belief in light of a tragedy.

      The answer is that when you put it out in the public square, I have a right to voice my own opinion. For millennia the believers could control, silence or kill anyone who professed a belief that there was no god. THat time is long gone. More importantly, when your religious beliefs are foisted upon us in terms of laws or public policy, that is a game-changer and you better be certain there will be pushback.

      That is why I care.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Timothy C

      We care because if humanity is ultimately in charge of its own destiny, it is only right that we use whatever means at our disposal to help others. There is no difference between me (a middle class American) and a poor child starving in Africa than random chance that allowed me to be born in a prosperous place. Since I can help these people and others, I do that, since I know children in that situation are thinking "Who will help me?"

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      It's fun to watch believers squirm and evade and run away when the fallacies and contradictions inherent in their beliefs are pointed out to them?

      As for people dying in Oklahoma: I don't know anyone there, it's too bad that it happened, but do I personally care? No. Why should I? Why should I single out the folks there when thousands of fellow humans die every day around the world. I don't think I'm being callous; I'm just being honest. I don't wish people harm, but it happens; it's a part of life.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Luiz Penalva

      Seriously! Do you think only "people of Christ" have good feelings? Compassion? Desire to help others? Moral values? Left your bible aside and start reading science. Evolution and neuroscience can help you understand how we are.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Jesus Katlyn Ferrari-Lotus

      " I have no desire to argue or debate with anyone."

      Patrick, you are a liar.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Timothy C

      One also need not be religious to be altruistic. I love my wife and daughter so much that if either one of them were critically injured and I had to die in order to take them to safety, I know that I would do so. When you cannot count on their being a heaven you tend to take life much more seriously.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Ha! "I'm a Christian, please send me your email address so I can proselytize to you without limits." Um, no thanks.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • derp

      Christard moron says:

      "I have no desire to argue or debate with anyone"

      Then immediately says:

      " I would just like to ask the Atheists who are posting here, why do you care?"

      Christians are dumber than a goat's scrotum.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Religious kooks unite

      @Richunix, don't bombard them with, you know, facts and such. They don't really like those pesky things.

      But thanks for your input. I had some knowledge of the incomplete/inconsistencies in the different gospels, books, etc., but you clarified much in that short post.

      I bet many believers think Jesus spoke English. I know W did.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  5. Sam

    CORRECTION:
    Atheist: Simple rejection of theist claims, majority of atheists do NOT claim they know there is no god.
    Agnostic: Is a claim about knowledge and the ability to know.

    The definitions that CNN uses are wrong.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  6. geoff lee

    People are so self centered so they say God saved them as if he picked them but that same God destroyed hundreds of homes and killed a couple of dozen people and they were likely praying too. Talking about God in these situations where people are killed is silly. Best to keep your beliefs and that's all they are to yourself.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  7. AtheistSteve

    So you believe in God. Fine...just one question. Why? For what reason? I don't need a long list, just give me your one best reason.
    Doesn't sound difficult does it? Certainly it should be a pretty simple task. Clearly you have a solid basis for holding such a strong conviction. So what is it?

    May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Topher

      It IS kind of difficult in that there isn't any ONE reason. There's TONS. But if you want just one, very basic, reason, it's Creation (I can't look at the world and see all the complexity and order and conclude it happened by accident) and Conscience (it screams at me that there's a God. Even the Bible makes it clear that because He gave us a conscience, we will be without excuse).

      May 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • WASP

      @STEVE: seeing CHRIS-topher can't give a clear answer i will;

      it's because they were raised that way, that's it.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Topher

      Nope. I wasn't raised Christian.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Topher

      The society in which you grew up: Was it predominately Buddhist? Muslim? Christian? When a person in Saudi Arabia "finds god" after years of being nonreligious, do you think he finds Allah and Mohammed or Yahweh and Christ?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Topher
      Calling the universe "creation" is loading the answer. How do you know it was created? You are just assuming it was.
      Further just because you can't explain how the universe came to be doesn't mean it didn't have a natural cause. Why assume the supernatural?

      2nd – Conscience? You mean that function of our brain? My dog acts cowed and ashamed when I scold him for peeing on the floor. Seems like conscience to me. Ae you suggesting my dog believes in God?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • .

      Topher
      You were of course raised without an education, pity.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Jeff

      Steve...I'll answer, but it isn't tangible. It isn't something I can really explain. My answer is very simple...I have a relationship with God through Christ. I was 27 years old when I accepted Christ, and the feeling was as real as anything I have experienced in my entire life. In fact, I would say to you that my relationship with God is as real a relationship to me as the one I share with my wife of 18 years.

      I understand that may not be a 'good enough' reason for you, but it is my reason. I feel a genuine connection to God and cannot deny His existence.

      I will say this...as I have many times on these blogs...God's only expectation for me is love. Love for Him and love for people. I know these blogs quickly get filled up with hateful posts regarding the intolerant Christian, but I would say to those posters that any intolerance of anyone is not from God...it is from man. There is a difference. Citing passages in the Old Testament ignores Christ's death on the cross for all sins. My sins are no more or less than any other sin...Christ's death erases them all.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • caa

      The various languages who's origins cannot be pinpointed outside of the derivatives that hailed from this original languages.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • fisk

      Topher, if you weren't raised as a christian, and waited until adulthood to decide that the big invisible guy in the sky seemed like a good idea, then you're a bigger idiot than most of the other people on here.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Topher

      Cpt. Obvious

      Are you telling me there are NO Christians in Saudi Arabia?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • sam stone

      creation is evidence of a god?

      i suppose it is in gopher's hatrack

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • faith

      Topher, is that me?

      Austin.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • sam stone

      gopher believes because he is afraid of retaliation from his petty, vindictive pr1ck god. fear is paramount in his fantasy

      May 23, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • brian

      Not saying you were or werent raised Christian. Did you grow up believing in a god or gods?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Topher

      Are you telling me that you won't answer my questions? I'd be glad to answer yours, respectfully, after you respectfully answer mine.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Topher

      brian

      No. I was an atheist.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Jeff

      So you have a relationship with a character from a book. With the creator of the universe no less. Hmmm. OK. That's a lot of speculation on your part don't you think? Oh I'm sure we could both agree that an ancient preacher died as described in the Bible. But you think he was the son of God. That sounds reasonable to you? And that his death is somehow linked to correcting some flaw in all of mankind? And further that he rose from the dead? Really? That makes sense to you? That seems to me like you have to swallow a lot of pretty unbelieveable stuff to support your stance. Your best reasons sound really farfetched.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Topher

      Cpt. Obvious

      "The society in which you grew up: Was it predominately Buddhist? Muslim? Christian?"

      Christian.

      "When a person in Saudi Arabia "finds god" after years of being nonreligious, do you think he finds Allah and Mohammed or Yahweh and Christ?"

      Christ. As with the U.S., those who grow up without SOME sort of belief in the supernatural is in the extreme minority. Allah may be growing at a higher rate than Christianity, but that has to do with being forced with the possibility of death if you don't convert. Adults generally, when given the free choice to explore different religions, generally find Christ.

      No offense, dude, but my response to your question with another question is because I know where you were going ... I've heard it before. But it's fallacious.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Topher as much as admitted the other day that in the grand scheme of it he gets a free pass when he makes a mistake as long as he 'repents' and asks for forgiveness.
      I am wondering why one would start believing when they claimed to be a non-believer before...what makes one turn to the church for such comfort?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Topher

      Truth Prevails 🙂

      " I am wondering why one would start believing when they claimed to be a non-believer before...what makes one turn to the church for such comfort?"

      My mind slowly changed over time. But I also knew that I wasn't a good person. I had sinned. A LOT. And knew that if God were to judge me I'd be in BIG trouble. Finally, someone explained what God has done for me so I don't have to go to Hell (which I deserve.) That's when I repented and trusted in Christ and was born again.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thanks to both Topher and Jeff for your efforts.
      I got pretty much what I expected. Intangibles. You both can't give tangible explanations for what is essentially an emotional stance. You both FEEL something that lends credence to your belief. Your subjective feelings are not something you can share with anyone else. It's for that reason that I don't agree with you. I have never felt anything even remotely like a divine or numinous presence. Not even when I was a young Catholic. Lacking that it is quite impossible to accept anything like what you believe as true. I could believe in God if I had similar experiences but I haven't. And it also isn't the case that I haven't searched. But in investigating all the "evidence" the concept of God has actually been diminished to obscurity.
      My mind could be changed and an all knowing God would know exactly what that would be. I won't be holding my breath for such a sign. For to change my mind at this juncture woulld be to completely discard all that I do understand about the reality I exist in. I simply can't see that happening.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  8. Ashamed of Modern Journalism

    'You live in the mid-west, you must be a Bible-thumper like everyone else.' This is right in line w/Ann Currie asking a 6 y.o. what went through his head up to the moment his school disintegrated around him and whether or not he thought he was going to die. Seriously, when did the media get more stupider?

    May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  9. swcowan3

    I get faintly amused at the 'praise the lord I'm alive' statements.... they don't damn the lord for sending the twister in the first place, do they?

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  10. dzerres

    I suspect that there are a lot more atheists and agnostics than anyone would care to admit. This lady is afraid of all the "good" Christians around her exacting revenge for not toeing the line and putting their faith in some man in the sky who may or may not give a crap about our daily lives.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • hannah1

      That's a good one, and I agree.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • hannah1

      PS: Admitting to atheism or agnosticism in a place like Oklahoma is as dangerous as admitting to being gay. She didn't want to place herself at risk!

      May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • meifumado

      I hope she and her family are not shunned by any wacko religious neighbors.
      But this will show us if her neighbors are good humans or not.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Charlie

      It's very amusing that atheists such as yourself claim to be so "educated," however your comments do not reflect that. Only uneducated people result to name calling and thrashing. But keep trying to sound smart!

      May 23, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  11. Topher

    I'm very happy this family is OK. And that's a cute kid. But I'm not surprised mom stammered over the question. She knows God exists even though she rejects Him.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • ME II

      @Topher,
      " She knows God exists even though she rejects Him."

      Aren't magical abilities, such as telepathy, frowned upon in your religion?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Thoth

      More Christian arrogance. She 'stammered' because she had politely ignored the question the first time, and was trying not to create an uncomfortable moment for Blitzer and his presumptuous question.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • One one

      And how do you know this ?

      She most likely stammered because it was a personal and intrusive question. She may have also been concerned about believers looking down their noses at her.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I am very glad that Topher is alive. And his stupidity is quaint, in its way, but deep down, I'm not surprised he comments here so much. The reason he posts as he does is because really, he knows that there is no god.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • hannah1

      No she doesn't "know" god exists. The poor woman is afraid of her bible-beating neighbors who are likely to burn crosses in her front yard when she rebuilds!

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

      Yeah, no she doesn't. Sorry.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Science

      NOT

      May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Topher

      hannah1

      Right! Cause that's what Christians are known for doing. *snicker*

      May 23, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • rob

      Yeah, no she doesn't. Sorry bud.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • CW

      And, just like every other bible-thumper, you assume you know the mind of this supposed omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent god. If that doesn't sound like the very definition of "hubris" then you need to go back to school.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • meifumado

      She stammered because she was being question attacked and it threw her off as she knew gods had nothing to do with anything, not to mention maybe she is worried about fanatic neighbors.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • gg

      No, she stammered because she did not think Blitzer would press her on his stupid question.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      Topher, when you claim to know what other people think, you are actually lying. Do you honestly think that being a liar makes you morally superior?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • derp

      "But I'm not surprised mom stammered over the question"

      Yes, fear of being burned at the stake will make you stammer.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • B

      That's a dumb assumption. Her house was destroyed and here's some idiot asking her about god.

      Shame on you, Topher.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  12. Cpt. Obvious

    Vitsmun is smart and hawt!! And brave. Kudos!

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  13. PeterD

    The jesus missing years in Bible are true because he went to India insearch of spirituality and to study the creation of Brahmand from Lord Brahma.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • skb8721

      Christopher Moore's "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff" makes the same claim; but it's a book of humor.

      Actually, there are some parallels between Jesus' teachings and those of eastern faiths.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • meifumado

      Jesus was smoking pot with Lord Hanuman.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • G to the T

      I'vd heard this before but the evidence was VERY sketchy at best. I'm more inclined to believe the Jesus as an apocolyptic jew like many were in his day. His teachings were then interpolated, interpreted and invented by his later followers until the religion ended up being something very different from what he was originally teaching.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Charlie

    Agnositicism is intellectual laziness. You either believe in a god, or you don't. You can't have it both ways.

    Wolfie shouldn't have asked that question, especially on camera.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • ME II

      @Charlie,
      "You can't have it both ways."

      Agnosticism is "having" it neither way. It is simply acknowledging that we don't know one way or the other. It is being intellectually honest., since many Atheists, like Dawkins' 6.9 out of 7, are not certain.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • One one

      Maybe they are just people who have difficulty kicking the habit.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • skb8721

      >Agnositicism is intellectual laziness.

      Nonsense, it is intellectual honesty and often the result of a rigorous ongoing intellectual journey: I as an agnostic have never found a convincing argument for the existence or nonexistence of God. I am not, therefore, going to take a leap of faith in one direction or another simply for the sake of doing so. It is a perfectly sensible and scientific position to say "I don't know" if in fact one does not know. I think other agnostics would agree.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Skiumah

      Reducing everything to a simplistic binary - believe or don't believe - is what's intellectually lazy. If I ask you whether you believe Wolf Blitzer wears pink polka-dot boxer shorts, it would be irrational for you, without any evidence, to say that he does. It would also be irrational, but much less so, to rule out the possibility that he might wear those undergarments. Agnostics essentially say: "I doubt it, but I can't completely dismiss the remote possibility." That's a lot more reasonable than belief without evidence.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • CW

      Stop pretending to be intellectual. Your argument is easily dismissed. For example: If you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God (which for all effective purposes is true), that could lead you to reason that agnosticism is correct. It isn't an 'either-or' scenario.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, saying "I don't know" when you don't know is honest.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Charlie

      Thank you all for exposing your unintelligence. Or is it lazyness?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Charlie

      @ CW, I wasn't arguing. I was stating a fact. You are lazy.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Charlie

      @ Skiuma, no it's not. It's called being decisive and standing by what you believe. And I believe that if you are an agnostic, you are lazy in your beliefs. Try doing some reading on the subject, and form your own, informed opinion (belief) on whether or not God exists.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • G to the T

      Agnosticism is a statment on knowledge. Atheism is a statment on belief. The two are not mutually exclusive. I've yet to meet anyone that actually lives there life as if "god may or may not exist". That would assume a 50/50 probabilty.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  15. meifumado

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22633937

    May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  16. PeterD

    All Atheists have Gays & Lesbians Mentality therefore I am developing a G&Ls Vaccines which will Eradicate Gays & Lesbians mental disease by vaccination process just like any other Human Diseases like Polio Vaccination, Chicken Pox Vaccination etc etc etc. in order them to follow Lord Brahma.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Heretic

      lol

      May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I always knew it was an airborne virus!
      I've gotta keep my kid away from any musical theatre, lest they catch The Gay.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Hmmm... I must be immune. I actually do musical theater and other performance art and have many gay friends outside of those interests. I've never been attracted to the same s3x, though. I wonder if I'm naturally immune? Should we start studying my blood and develop the anti-virus from me?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • WASP

      @peter: we already have the cure for religion......................it's called EDUCATION. XD

      May 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Cpt Obvious
      Some kind hearted Christian must be praying away your gay.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • lol??

      Qweirdos call normal the straight man in their comedic escapades. It has a certain arrogance to it, especially when they play the victim.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • lol??

      Poor widdle John Gacy, he was such a misunderstood clown.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  17. One one

    Blitzer is an idiot for asking such a stupid question.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • @chad

      You could have stopped at "Blitzer is an idiot"

      May 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • PeterD

      365 Days of Halloween Horror Face = Wolf Blitzer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • meifumado

      Agreed, he was shoving it at her rudely.
      Never liked the guy, like him less now.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  18. Illusive

    Correction on the article,
    Atheist: rejection of theist claims, atheism is a claim of belief (Do not say "There is no god")
    Agnostic: A claim of knowledge, "I don't know", opposite of gnostic

    Personally I am an agnostic atheist "I believe there is no god, but I do not know for sure", it is also the default position when it comes to god beliefs.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      At least somebody gets it.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • G to the T

      THANK YOU – Is it really that confusing everyone?

      May 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  19. Jennifer Correa

    I would rather live life believing there is a God and finding out there isn't, than believing there isn't and finding out there is.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Angela

      Totally agree with you. I've been sick and knowing that there may be an afterlife makes it easier for me. People may think it's daydreaming and deluded but to me it's hoping that my life won't totally end, and I'll see my children again.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • @chad

      which one?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Thoth

      Pascal's Wager.....

      Let's up the ante. What if you chose the wrong god and find out too late? What then?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Illusive

      That is called Pascal's wager, and is flawed in many ways. The largest being that you might be worshiping the wrong god. As Homer Simpson once said "Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder"

      May 23, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That's exactly why I'm going to make sure that when I die, I'm covered in the blood of my vanquished foes.
      If there is nothing after death, I've lost nothing. But if Odin is real, I'll be on my way to Valhalla!

      May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Doobs

      Is Pascal's Wager the best argument you have?

      There are other possibilities than your god or no god. Maybe Odin is the true god. Maybe your god is real, but he's off creating something else and doesn't really care what happens here. Maybe your god values logic and reason and only those who questioned why his book is so full of errors and contradictions will get into heaven. Maybe reincarnation is true.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Literally thousands of gods have been worshiped throughout history. You had best choose wisely, because your odds of picking the right god to worship "just in case" aren't good.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Curious

      I'm curious as to why you say this. Wouldn't you feel betrayed by following fabals written by men thousands of years ago telling you how to live by "gods" law, when in actuality you were living by a group of mens visions? I would rather have a happy ending (not just going to be worm food, but there is an afterlife).

      May 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Mox

      Sorry, but how is that any different than self-disillusion?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Religious kooks unite

      That is just sucking-up and trying to play the result. That is not real belief or faith. You wouldn't be fooling your mythical sky fairy anyway. He would know you are trying to game the system and off to fake hell you go.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Jeff

      Pascal's Wager is interesting. The funny thing is it assumes one can make oneself believe. I suppose one could be indoctrinated as a child and then refuse any evidence seeming to be contrary, that would be one way of fulfilling this. But for those of us who were not, being punished for not believing in something that seems not to make any sense would be evidence in and of itself that at the very least the punisher is not operating on all 8 cylinders. Believe or else suffer a fiery eternity. Being threatened to do something one has little or no control over. Very strange to me. Living your life in a Christlike manner however, well, I'm all for that. That part of Christianity makes sense, but is not in and of itself exclusive to Christianity. Pretty much summed up by the golden rule.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • magnum12

      If there is no God then believers will never know, because when you are dead and buried that is the end of the line. But if there is a God then non-believers will have quite a surprise when they die. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that there is a God. For those who think that I am an uneducated redneck, I have a degree in bio-chemisty, one in education and one in mechanical enginnering. All believers are not necessarily uneducated and all atheists are not necessarily educated as the Media would have you believe.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • sam stone

      spend a lot of time on your knees, do you jenn?

      May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • skb8721

      >makes it easier for me.

      Well, at least you admit it.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  20. justbecause

    you do not see it do you?

    Mr. Patterson knew this woman was an atheist. Notice how he asks the question twice to force an answer out of her? Why cant you people see this? This is a simple game play by CNN to show "Atheist Power". CNN has been doing this lately.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Heretic

      Well it's about time.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • tallulah13

      Who is Mr. Patterson?

      May 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • WASP

      @justbecause

      you do not see it do you?"

      that would be called mental illness or delusional.
      if you see things that aren't there you have issues and in the very least are paranoid.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • derp

      "Who is Mr. Patterson?"

      Wolf Blitzer's evil atheist twin.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:49 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.