Why I Raise My Children Without God


Deborah Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas, blogs about raising her children without religion. An avid reader of the Belief Blog, she said she shared this essay on CNN iReport because ‘I just felt there is not a voice out there for women/moms like me. I think people misunderstand or are fearful of people who don’t believe in God.’

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.

One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale—not unlike the one we tell children about Santa—to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.

And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.

Written By: Deborah Mitchell
continue to source article at religion.blogs.cnn.com


  1. Wow, clicking the link shows the article is flagged as inappropriate and is under review. I could access it eventually, but it also 404ed the first time. The White Knights of Christ have already struck.

    I like her point on narcissism, a lot. Children are born ego-centric and must learn they are not the center of the universe, and the Xian god makes them a part of a cosmic conspiracy to save the world. Christianity has made the messianic-complex commonplace.

  2. I was applying for indian visa today. And there was a required field – “religion”. I chose other and specified irreligion. And the guy told me that this could be a problem, and that i better choose christianity.
    And after that they say something about them being offended. So i guess i’m christian now just because it could be a problem to get visa if you don’t believe in fairies.

  3. In reply to #2 by Suomiomi:

    So i guess i’m christian now just because it could be a problem to get visa if you don’t believe in fairies.

    I wouldn’t have done it with my own visa either, but it would have been pure gold if you had gone with ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’.

  4. This is really a interesting read. When I eventually have children, their up-bringing will be one of enquiry and scepticism! I’ll also teach them about religion; and I’m sure they’ll see through it as I eventually did.

  5. The US is an amazing country in many ways but when I read stuff like this and the gun discussions I’m so pleased I raised my children in Australia. “Religion-proofing” your children is a whole lot of aggravation we don’t need to go through. We just ignored it. No baptism, no nothing. No talk about gods. Religion isn’t shoved in their faces by anyone. Religion still has some political impact, more so if you are gay and would like to get married or live in one of the more conservative states like Queensland but it’s minimal compared to the US.

    I have great admiration for all the people like Deborah fighting the good fight over there.


  6. Heigh Deborah, that was a very good piece thanks for that, I told my own daughter the same stuff about heaven I was in the same boat as you. Myself and my wife had not the heart to tell my daughter that her great grandad was’t in heaven bad enough he is no longer in her life.
    i was lucky my parents didt push religion on me, they would often say “behave god is watching” or Santa depending on the time of year both Santa and god acted as useful as unpaid babysitters.

  7. While the OP does highlight some of the self contradictions and negative aspects of god-beliefs, it clearly is referring to the claims of the Abrahamic god which in various varieties, dominates parts of the USA .

    “Gods” do nothing!

    They don’t exist.

    Only the believers do something – acting on their god-delusions of what their comfort-blinkers present to them as “reality”.

    ItSgAuRaVmEhTa brings in a different god, which serves to illustrate that the god is in the mind of the believer – who usually regards atheism as denying their own personal god, rather than properties of being free of god-delusions.

    ItSgAuRaVmEhTa – god doesn’t allow suffering to happen,our karmas of past life do. Knowing ,finding and getting god is our purpose of life so that’s why we can’t see, touch and smell him,we just can feel him. It is time we all should get the teachings of indian scriptures and educate our self to know the reality of god.

    Neuroscientists are well on the way to identifying where gods exist:-

    huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/god-spot-in-brain – Scientists have speculated that the human brain features a “God spot,” one distinct area of the brain responsible for spirituality. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

    He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.

    These little ego-gods do not want to be found or exposed as memes in minor parts of human brains, so god-slave-believers will follow instructions to try every-which way, to direct attention away to any distant remote gap, where critics can have their gaze diverted in the wrong direction.

    The believers will also make up any mental contortions and lame excuses, why the near-useless god in their heads is not acting, with its claimed powers, as its image of “master of the universe”, should permit, – to bring about the god’s own claimed objectives!

  8. Suomiomis story was interesting being forced to to claim a religion or possibly end up with a “problem” with the processing of the visa,what makes me laugh is that these extremist who try force their religious views on others be it with the threat of decapitation or the misuse of a persons application form do they think they have been successful in converting a none?

  9. That is awful. I am Indian and every official form I have filled in so far, I have chosen none as the choice. I don’t think I have lost out on anything or had problems with the authorities processing my application. Except for few of my childhood forms that my parents filled, everything else states no-religion. In fact I got my new Indian passport the other week issued by the Consular General, Munich and I chose none. Someone has given you the wrong impression.

    Atheism has never been demonized or discriminated against in India. It is the issue of bringing enlightenment to the ignorant majority that we find difficult, not the fact that we are discriminated.

    Our first prime minister identified himself as an atheist. We have a significant number of MPs belonging to the radical left (CPI & CPI-M) in our parliament. And unlike “One nation under god” or “god save the queen” ours is “Truth alone triumphs”. And I come from a district that actively mocks all major faiths.

    Yes, we do have a large chunk of irrational, superstitious morons. But atheists are rarely discriminated against.

    In reply to #2 by Suomiomi:

    I was applying for indian visa today. And there was a required field – “religion”. I chose other and specified irreligion. And the guy told me that this could be a problem, and that i better choose christianity.
    And after that they say something about them being offended. So i guess i’m christian now just because it could be a problem to get visa if you don’t believe in fairies.

  10. This is an utterly beautiful and inspirational piece of prose which I will use a lot. Thank You!

    By the way I’ve just look at cnn and they have a banner at the top saying that they have not flagged it but users have and asking them to refrain.

Leave a Reply