home
RSS
August 30th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My take: Losing my faith after Hurricane Katrina

Editor's Note: Kathleen Koch is a Washington-based freelance journalist, author and speaker. Her new book, “Rising from Katrina,” traces her Mississippi hometown’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina and her experiences covering it. For 18 years, she was a CNN correspondent.

By Kathleen Koch, Special to CNN

Five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, I prayed. I prayed that the monster storm would veer east and spare the 1.3 million residents of the city and its surrounding parishes. I knew I was praying the hurricane right into my hometown, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Katrina’s eye roared onshore at the state line and then churned east over Mississippi. The sustained 125-mph winds and 30-plus-foot storm surge shredded the house where I’d grown up, my neighborhood, the town and most of the eighty-mile-long Mississippi Gulf Coast.

That first week, as I picked my way through the rubble and interviewed friends and neighbors, I was in shock. My brain wanted to reject what my eyes were seeing. But soon after, I got angry. Why did this happen? And why twice to such kind, hard-working people?

When I had moved to Bay St. Louis as a middle schooler, I’d been struck by the empty lots that dotted the beach. Hurricane Camille had flattened much of town in 1969, and many homes were still missing. Those who returned were confident that as long as they built above the 24-foot Camille surge line, they’d be safe.

But Katrina spared no one. And as I watched residents struggle first against the federal bureaucracy and then against many insurance companies, my anger and frustration grew. I couldn’t understand how a loving God could let all this happen.

So for a long time, I gave up on God. I told myself my crazy schedule that kept me working most Sundays was to blame for my absence from church. But deep down, I knew better. I couldn’t look at the suffering and destruction on the Gulf Coast and find anything to be thankful for.

Still, miraculously, people there were thankful. And I told their stories on CNN. Like Nikki and Patrick Cleveland who were swept out of a beachfront house yet survived by clinging to trees. Or Tommy Kidd. Twenty-seven feet of water surged through he and his wife’s home on the bayou. Yet he spent weeks collecting supplies for family, friends and neighbors before even venturing out to see what he had left.

Residents reached out, helped one another and believed they would get through because that was what they always did. They didn’t look too far ahead or back at what they’d lost. One day at a time. Just make it through one day.

And volunteers poured into the area by the thousands. Some came on their own, driving cars packed with donations. Others arrived by the busload, full of energy and determination to start setting things right.

It was inspiring, and it started to melt my anger. I began reflecting back on the religious statues throughout town that somehow survived the roaring winds and storm surge. One was just two hundred yards from a four-lane, two-mile-long bridge battered to bits by the hurricane. A small two-foot-tall cement statue of the Virgin Mary stood unbroken next to the crumbled remains of a brick rectory.

A friend who’d been in the debris removal business right after the hurricane said he and his workers saw that sort of thing every day. “It was pretty powerful. It shows you that there really is a God. There was no other explanation.”

Signs of hope. Signs that as dire as things looked, residents were not alone.

I took account of my life and how it had changed because of the hurricane. I had reconnected to my hometown and the people I’d grown up with. I had built new friendships with so many who had come to help the Gulf Coast. I was stronger, wiser and more keenly aware of what mattered in life. And it wasn’t the “stuff.”

“It’s just stuff” became a mantra in the region after the hurricane smashed homes and scattered belongings for miles.

People who lost everything found they still had plenty left to keep them going–family, friends, faith and community. They pulled together and in the process most found they had become better parents, better spouses, better citizens of their towns. They, as I, had been transformed by the monster hurricane.

Yes, at the fifth anniversary of Katrina things aren’t back to normal and won’t be for years. The oil spill not only dealt the fragile region an economic blow, but has created deep concern about when and if the waters and beaches will again be safe. But I have faith that those I know and love there will do what seems to be ingrained in their DNA–to overcome, persevere and always remember what matters.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith • Louisiana • Opinion • United States

soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. www.072movie.net

    heW!?7Iu, http://www.072movie.net, movie, http://www.072movie.net/

    April 1, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  2. GnnColo

    BRAD replied... and put forth this 'reasoning' for his position on why the atheist is mistaken about the existence of God..
    "He uses human reason which if feeble, and tainted by prejudice and emotion. It's like trying to discover a distant star using a tire tool. Only God can proove his own existance. If we thing we have proven his existence, we've gotten it wrong because human reason is not up to the job."

    I totally agree with BRAD's take on "human reason". All the humans who wrote, spoke, and proclaim to know that God exists and somehow is behind everything... claim to know HIS "way" are plainly not capable of reasoning skills up to that task. The Bible is flawed, and not because God had anything to do with it... humans did. Therefore, it MUST BE FLAWED. Man's understanding of God is flawed, because Man can't get anything right. Sin permeates EVERYTHING man does, the Bible, and Religion included.

    People seem to clearly understand Mankinds fallibility, except when it comes to their certainty about God. In all things religious, they see no possibility they are totally wrong. The people who wrote the Gospel were quite certain, emphatically so, that Gods 'return' would be in their lifetime, and that the world was flat. Is that all they got wrong..??

    August 31, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • GnnColo

      And upon further review of BRAD's insight... "Only God can prove his own existence." I think BRAD just made my case. So, let's see... can there be more than two possibilities here..?? Either God exists, OR.. he doesn't. If God DOESN'T exist, he'll never prove his existence... which seems a lot like the situation as of today...and mankind will be left wondering still if he exists.

      If God DOES exist... he's keeping us in suspense for reasons we don't know. Those fellows who wrote the Gospels and the Bible all claim God made himself known, but that was only for a short time. We must suppose only God knows why he showed himself to ancient people, but not REALLY ancient people... and not to 'modern' people. Or, we must wonder about the fallibility of the men who wrote the Bible. Could they have been mistaken..??

      But back to my original point... BRAD, could you be wrong..?? Is it possible..?? Could Mankind in fact PROVE God exists..?? How are you totally certain we can't..?? I presume God didn't tell you this Himself, so you must either have learned this from some other "man" (and who is THIS man to know for certain..??) or you have thought this up yourself.??

      I've often wondered if people who study cults and 'cult psychology' can remain strongly religious...

      August 31, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  3. elrio

    @ joe: That's exactly my point. I was once a God haters and you are still acting like one. May my God, maker of heaven and eart, the Giver of life still be gracious on you. Do you consider yourself to be good? Have you ever lie? have you ever steal? Have you ever lust? If you do some of those written in the scripture or all my questions then you're in great danger. I think.."butonly God can tell" you are destined to hell. Why is it hard for us to admit that we are sinful, Oh I know...because that's our nature. Sir, consider yourself blessed, because the very breath you draw at this moment is not of you nor your bodys. Who knows God may take that away at this instant because of you blasphemy. With all these...GOD is still GOD no matter what you and I say, you believe it or not. One day, every knee shall bow and every tounge confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD. May God have mercy on us.

    August 31, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • joe agnost

      Wow elrio – that's some weapon-grade stupidity you have there!!

      elrio wrote: "I was once a God haters and you are still acting like one."

      Really? How am I acting like a "god hater"? I deny god's existence – I don't "hate" him any more than I hate the boogeyman, or the monsters in my closet.

      elrio asked: "Do you consider yourself to be good?"

      Yes.

      And: "Have you ever lie? have you ever steal?"

      Yup – I'm "good", not perfect.

      And lastly: "Have you ever lust?"

      H#ll yeah!! All the time! I fail to see this as a 'bad' thing though... what's the matter with lust?

      elrio cont'd: "you're in great danger."

      Ahhh!! A crazy man on the internet has told me I'm in great danger! It must be true (could he have a gun?)! (sorry – sometimes I let my humour get the better of me...)

      elrio asked: "Why is it hard for us to admit that we are sinful"

      Well, I don't believe in "sin" exactly – but I don't have a problem admitting that I'm not always good. So what?

      elrio cont'd: "the very breath you draw at this moment is not of you nor your bodys. Who knows God may take that away at this instant because of you blasphemy."

      Ah yes... that's god's "love" in action again eh? Just for failing to believe in him (and stating that) you think he could be justified in taking my breath away... are you unclear why I view religion as ultimately F-ed up?? Look at your words man!

      elrio ends with: "One day, every knee shall bow and every tounge confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD."

      Like I said before... weapon-grade stupidity. How sad...

      August 31, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  4. elrio

    18Forthe wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
    20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
    21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [b]crawling creatures.
    24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
    25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
    29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
    30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
    Romans 1:18-32

    August 31, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • joe agnost

      For the love of dog elrio!! Why are you polluting this comment-board with this nonsense?

      You've already shown that you're able to cut-paste scripture from your magic book (comments above this last one) – but why do you continue to do it? What on earth are you hoping to accomplish?

      If you have a point to make just make it...

      August 31, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • NL

      We all have bibles, so why don't you tell us what you think your quotes mean.

      August 31, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • JT

      Psalm 137:9 – Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      August 31, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  5. brad

    If the world has always been as bad – or even half as bad – as people experience, how did anyone thousands of years ago attribute it to a wise and loving God. He was either a nut or an extremely insightful person.
    I think everyone should believe in God because then we all have someone specific to blame. After lossing a good friend in the Oklahoma City bombing, a lot of us Christians raged against God. But the atheist has no God to blame. Instead of accepting events like Katrina as simply natural chaos, and having no God to blame, he wants to attack those who do believe in God: "where was your God and angels when this happened!?"

    August 31, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • staple

      @brad

      Uncross your eyes, brad. An atheist would have blamed the real cause of the event – like that bald guy and his friends that did the "Oklahoma City bombing". – and if criminals do something for "religious" reasons, then those reasons need to be seriously questioned.
      If you lost a friend in that Oklahoma incident, then why do you not want to know the exact reasons behind those tragic events?
      If I had been investigating that tragedy, I would not have asked the whereabouts of mythical figure(s), but would have done my best to figure out how it happened and how we can keep it from happening again.

      August 31, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • brad

      All very reasonable, staple. I am merely commenting on how so many atheists react on this page. It has been a human impulse from the beginning to wonder "why does God allow bad things to happen to good people." The question won't go away. Why? because we have some psychosis about there being a superior benevolent being, or we intuit that there really is a God, and by god he ought to act as I say! Human reason has three attributes in these matters. 1) it is somewhat useful, 2) it is always faulty because people are faulty, 3) it it inevitably tainted by prejudice or emotion. When human reason reaches a limit, it finds itself at a frontier. That frontier is paradox, mystery, the numinous. Ideas that come from this area of the human mind are oh so easy to lampoon and redicule and that's why there's so much of it on this page. BTW: I have no eye problems. Have a good one.

      August 31, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • NL

      brad-

      Everyone believing in a god just to have someone to blame for all the troubles in this world really wouldn't help much, would it? It's a rather dreary and pessimistic act of resigning ourselves to always living in fear. Leaving it all to "God's will" is what led us to not doing much to improve New Orleans' survivability of hurricanes, and see where that led us? Wouldn't we just be better off assuming total responsibility for ourselves instead of wishing for some heavenly Superman to always come to our rescue? Come on, we're not that lazy, are we?

      Don't consider an atheist shouting "where was your God and angels when this happened!?" as an attack, but consider it more as a wake up call. Instead of getting off their asses and improving New Orleans' defenses, or evacuating sooner, people put their faith in God not to send the hurricane their way. It didn't work because nobody controls a hurricane. God and his angels weren't there because they're not anywhere. People put their trust in a superstition, and died because of it. That level of ignorance is extremely frustrating to us, and sometimes this anger comes off as a personal attack upon believers, and I'm sorry if you feel this way, but sometimes we atheists just want to shake some sense into you because these superstitions do cause great harm. See what I'm saying?

      August 31, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  6. TheRationale

    The answer is that there's no God and nobody's been able to show otherwise for the past few thousand years. Which makes the real answer...life sucks for some people and praying will never fix that – only hard work. Reality check here people...

    August 31, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • brad

      Christians have a saying: " work like everything depends on us, pray like everything depends on God." and as far as prooving the existance of God, the atheist typically uses the wrong tool. He uses human reason which if feeble, and tainted by prejudice and emotion. It's like trying to discover a distant star using a tire tool. Only God can proove his own existance. If we thing we have proven his existence, we've gotten it wrong because human reason is not up to the job.

      August 31, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • NL

      Yes, life sucks for some people, but it's usually because they see themselves as powerless to change their circumstances. Rich people, people we would consider having everything, can believe their life sucks while the homeless person out on the streets might be completely happy, so it's just a matter of having a positive attitude, right? People without a positive attitude tend to wish and pray for an outside source to bring them happiness just like some people wish for a big lottery win. Belief in God and heaven is just like that. and it's a sad, rather pathetic way to live. IMHO

      You said "The answer is that there's no God and nobody's been able to show otherwise for the past few thousand years." Well, people have believed in many gods over the years. We've lost interest in worshipping almost all of them not because somebody made a successful effort to disprove them, but because we simply outgrew these superstitions. More and more people are realizing that God is just another of these superstitions, and some day we will become the majority. So, cheer up, because it's the religious view that paints the future as a dark and dangerous place, whereas the secular future, the one we've actually been working towards, is filled with promising advances in medicine, technology, and other forms of human advancement that can only come in the absence of superstition.

      August 31, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • NL

      brad-
      You said " work like everything depends on us, pray like everything depends on God." In light of the Katrina disaster people sure weren't putting much work in like it all depended on us, right? More could have been done beforehand and more Christians could have gotten themselves out of there faster, but people put their trust in God and reaped the consequences, right? Nowhere did I hear Christian leaders criticize them for doing this, so your sentiment doesn't seem to be very wide spread in the Christian community.

      You say human reason is feeble, but it has been good enough to rid the world of other superstitions, hasn't it? It's rid us of the fear of falling over the edge of a flat earth, the fear of dragons, and the fear of other gods and superstitions, so why can't it rid us of the fear of your god? Human reason, what we use to make scientific discoveries, is not tainted by prejudice and emotion. If it were then all of science would be useless by your summation, but I suspect that you trust most science just fine; it's just the science that lends doubt to your god's existence that you choose to reject. Just saying that something is impossible doesn't necessarily make it so, and with every day there are fewer and fewer gaps that you can claim God is hiding in. Reason will prevail.

      August 31, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  7. GodIsForImbeciles

    And here was me thinking all the sky fairy worshipers were all encamped at FuxNoise. Boy, is my face red!

    August 31, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  8. NEON whip

    what an absurd misrepresentation of the t*itle. here i cam looking for a selfthinking mind and i get an article that's flipped backwards. and the mary statue? i guess that's proof u can believe again silly journalist. next time you won't have such a lame excuse.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  9. Geoff Pinkerton

    My dad spent 2007 with AmeriCorps and Habitat building houses in BSL. I spent a week helping and also toured the coast all the way to NOLA. It brought awestruck tears to my eyes to see the devastation still in evidence two years after Katrina made landfall.

    My immediate reaction to this article was: I saw pictures of BSL before Camille and Katrina, and could see why one would want to buy a house there. That said, hurricanes are part of the natural world God created. People should build/buy houses in such proximity to the ocean fully aware that such a destructive storm could conceivably happen, and be prepared to the best of their ability.

    That should theoretically include working with local, state and national officials as necessary to ensure plans are in place to mitigate against damage and loss of life as best feasible. However, when the purse strings are controlled by a bunch of elected officials who have to run for reelection every two, four or six years, it is very difficult to keep them focused on the long term. This is especially difficult when the average person is spending much of the energy they have each day just trying to make a living, much less managing their elected officials.

    For these two reasons, I don't find myself losing faith when the disaster recovery is a disaster. I understand how this happened. But I am discouraged. This probably won't get better unless each of us takes responsibility for managing our elected officials and holding them accountable. We need a longer memory, and the elected officials need a longer focus beyond their next term.

    August 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Godless

    My favorite example of "proof" of god's existence is: "Look around you." Really? That's your proof? I love that anytime there is something we cannot (yet) explain, it is automatically proof of god's existence.

    August 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • NL

      You've obviously never seen Ray Comfort holding a banana in his hand. Now that brings a whole new level to Christian logic. ;-)

      August 30, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  11. elrio

    It doesn't sound fair even if a newly born died, is it also fair that God would give His only son to redeem us from our sin?

    August 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • joe agnost

      elrio asked: "It doesn't sound fair even if a newly born died, is it also fair that God would give His only son to redeem us from our sin?"

      It's not just unfair that god sacrificed his own son for us... it's F_ing stupid! The idea that torturing your son, and then killing him, is held up as an example of love is one of the craziest things about christianity. ~that's~ gods love?? In that case – no thank you! I'll pass!

      August 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Melissa

      1 Corinthians 1:18 ~ For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

      August 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • NL

      Melissa
      See, even Paul is aware that it looks like foolishness. Too bad he didn't follow up that statement with any actual argument that disproves that observation. His only advice is basically "Stop trying to make any sense out of Christianity, and just believe."

      August 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • Melissa

      NL
      It takes more faith to believe that God doesn't exist than to believe that He does. Creation alone reflects the Creator and just how amazing He is...just look around...mountains, trees, birds, insects, oceans, wind, the sun. Look at the human body or even just the human eye for that matter....how detailed it is. How is that? Or why are all of us so different (unique)?

      I'm sorry that you don't believe in God and pray that one day you do. God promises to reveal Himself to us when we seek Him with our heart. There is nothing else in the world like knowing the Creator of the Universe and I pray one day you will have the peace that comes only from knowing God!

      Revelation 4:11 ~ "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

      Jeremiah 33:3 ~ 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'

      Jeremiah 29:13 ~ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

      August 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • NL

      Melissa-
      The human eye. Better than some eyes in nature, not as good as others. So prone to near-sightedness, cataracts and other problems. Is this the best that a creator god could do? Sorry, it doesn't impress me much.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • joe agnost

      Don't forget the blind spot humans have in their eyesight... funny how vertibrates (including humans) have this and other animals (cephalopods for instance) don't. Why'd god give us humans an inferior eye?

      Melissa wrote: "God promises to reveal Himself to us when we seek Him with our heart."

      And yet he doesn't. I love the old 'you don't believe in god because you haven't tried hard enough' meme... it's so absurd!

      I simply can't let go of rationality. I can't simple "believe" because it doesn't make any sense to me and is frankly UNbelievable.

      August 31, 2010 at 8:47 am |
    • NL

      joe agnost-
      I read recently that lobster vision is being used to make better, low beam x-ray technology. It really looks like evolution gave us just got an average set of eyes.

      Of course, there is one way of explaining why God would give us such poor eyes, and that would be that He has them too. We were supposedly created in his image, so maybe he's nearsighted and partially blind too. Would explain a lot. One of the biggest problems with believing in God is how a supposedly omniscient, all-seeing being could allow the world to be in the state that it's in. Having poor eyesight would explain it.

      August 31, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  12. elrio

    With one man we inherit sin, but also with one Man we are made righteous. We are born with sin. This is not a personal sin that we ourselves committed, but rather a fallen state of man. And so we need a Saviour.
    Did you ever noticed a child, that even you will not teach them to lie, they will eventually lie. It's a human nature.

    August 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • GnnColo

      And those same children will love, care, act compassionately... it's human nature, sort of... But, mankind was not created with sin... and no baby is born with it. That is a 'story' created by someone who claims to know... God conveniently didn't write anything down... he let mortals, who are so incredibly flawed and prone to every sort of deceit and failure attempt to speak for Him. I trust YOU to speak the word of God with equal certainty as those who wrote the Gospels... meaning to say.. very little.

      August 31, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Melissa

    This article reminds me of the book of Job in the Bible. Job was a righteous man who honored God with his life, but all sorts of tragedy came to him and his family, including his home being destroyed in a terrible storm, his children dying, losing his only source of income and him getting extremely ill, etc. This does not make God any less loving. God is love! (1 John 4:16). God wrapped Himself in human flesh and came to earth to die for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). None of us deserved that.

    He is God, He is Holy! The Bible tells us that God causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5:45). It's amazing that we blame everything that goes wrong on God and give Him no credit for all of the good. Bad things do happen to good people, that doesn't change who God is or make Him any less loving (or any less God).

    This storm could have had all sorts of purposes (which only God knows), but the fact that these people are alive to even tell their story is a blessing and just another reason to praise Him! And like Kathleen said, this experience has made her stronger. Romans 8:28 ~And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    August 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • NL

      So God sends blessings and disasters to good people and bad equally. Tell us again why people actually pray to him to be spared from disaster? Sounds like a complete waste of time.

      August 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  14. SkegeAce

    Okay folks, I have to run now! I wish I could stay and discuss more- it's been interesting to hear everyone's thoughts. Be blessed!

    August 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  15. Godless

    "If God came down from Heaven and spoke to us, you wouldn't consider that tangible? What if He reached out His hand and let your pinch Him?" Yes. If that were to happen, then you would be right, I would be wrong, and probably in a lot of trouble. But until then, the chance of god coming down from the sky is about the same as the chance that He-Man will come to earth to defeat Al Queda. Should I have faith that will happen?

    August 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Nah, we have "proof" that He-man is just a cartoon (I'm sure the animation cells are around here somewhere...) But there are a lot of people throughout history who've witness the presence of God and His works- and not just in the Bible! I'd check out some of the apologetics websites.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Godless

      What if the He-Man cartoons are the equivalent of the bible? Maybe those cartoons are actually stories passed down through the eons.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • NL

      SkegeAce-
      Even eyewitness testimony is not considered very reliable nowadays. People's biases tend to color what they think they remember. Dateline did a lot of shows about it.

      Believing first that everything that is nice and pretty are God's works and then seeing him in everything that is nice and pretty is just to be expected. Everyone can remember the absolute best thing that ever happened to them, and a lot of them can be convinced that it must have been God's doing. I've heard plenty of apologetics, but none can argue against the likelihood of something nice happening to everyone at least once in their lives just randomly. Nobody has completely bad luck, just as nobody has completely good luck.

      August 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  16. elrio

    Just know that God is not just a God of love, He is also Just & Righteous. He hate sin and so.. He will not let the sinners go unpunished. Even if we say, "not all who lost their lives are sinners", truth is, we all sinned and fall short of the glory of God(Romans 3:23) Yes, He loves and cares for us, no doubt, that's why He disciplines. God allows such things to happen because of the hardness of our heart(root is SIN), so that we might know also that there is God. Right now I am typing, I believe this is not random, I write because I wanted to share some truths that I know bibilicaly and I pray it will help you and me. It doesn't matter if you believe not in God, He will still be GOD now and evermore. He is eternal and we are just like a grass the withers or like a vapor(Isa 40). We must repent and believe that HE is God. Though we will die here on earth but through His son Jesus Christ, we might live. Just like He alllowed sin but He is not the author of sin. In all these, God is still in control. Seems hard to understand why, because we are not gods. Our thought are not like HIS and our ways are not like HIS ways. He is not just a god, He is "The GOD".

    August 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Amen! ;-)

      August 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • joe agnost

      Amen to ~that~??!! Really?

      So the newborns – only alive a mere seconds on earth – are "sinners" too? And they deserve to die?? What is the matter with you people????

      August 30, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      @Joe: Children are born from the line of Adam, but they have perfect faith. If they die, they go straight to Heaven to be with their loving Father in paradise!

      But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14

      August 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mikey Robusta

      @elrio and SkegeAce
      You sound ridiculous...do you know that? One thing life should teach you is that just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it so. This includes everything in the Bible. It's all fairy tales and fables (yes, there are even morals and wisdom embedded within). But you must realize that PEOPLE wrote the Bible. They weren't under the influence of anything other than a delusion, drugs, or something more insidious: a decptive top-down scheme to control the masses. The new Testament was actually written by Greek and Roman scribes and funded by the Roman Empire. It was a corporate pyramid scheme meant to control and pacify the peasantry back then, as it still is today. WAKE UP!!! from your delusion. It enslaves and pacifies you.

      August 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • Terse

      @joe agnost

      You see what I see? Yet this is hidden from many. Go figure.

      August 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  17. elrio

    Just know that God is not just a God of love, He is also Just & Righteous. He hate sin and so.. He will not let the sinners go unpunished. Even if we say, "not all who lost their lives are sinners", truth is, we all sinned and fall short of the glory of God(Romans 3:23) Yes, He loves and cares for us, no doubt, that's why He disciplines. God allows such things to happen because of the hardness of our heart(root is SIN), so that we might know also that there is God. Right now I am typing, I believe this is not random, I write because I wanted to share some truths that I know bibilicaly and I pray it will help you and me. It doesn't matter if you believe not in God, He will still be GOD now and evermore. He is eternal and we are just like a grass the withers or like a vapor(Isa 40). We must repent and believe that HE is God. Though we will die here on earth but through His son Jesus Christ, we might live. Just like He alllowed sin but He is not the author of sin. In all these, God is still in control. Seems hard to understand why, becaue we are not gods. Our thought are not like HIS and our ways are not like HIS ways. He is not just a god, He is "The GOD".

    August 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  18. joe agnost

    skegeAce wrote: "If God came down from Heaven and spoke to us, you wouldn't consider that tangible?"

    Um... yes? I don't think you're making the point you think you're making though.

    It's like saying 'if a carebear came down from carebear planetX would you consider ~that~ tangible?' – you see? It's nonsense whether you're talking about carebears or gods... there's the same amount of evidence for both!

    August 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      It was said that, "Curing hunger is tangible." I was merely pointing out that God coming down from Heaven would be tangible too. Neither one has happened yet though- the point is they both COULD.

      Earlier it was said, "..just because we don't now have all the answers to those questions...doesn't mean those answers exist. It doesn't mean we won't find those answers in the near future." The same thing being said about world hunger applies to seeing God. They're both POSSIBLE- wonderfully possible! :-)

      August 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • joe agnost

      God is not IMpossible... the idea is just so strongly improbable as to be nearly impossible.

      It's not impossible that a teapot is floating around space just out of our sight on the far side of the moon. It's not impossible – just highly improbable.

      Just because god is possible shouldn't confuse you into thinking it's probable. There's a HUGE difference.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Joe: You're exactly right up until the point where you said 'improbable'. What if I told you that there are many PhD'd folks who say that the idea of Intelligent design is VERY highly supported? Or that there are 30,000 artifacts and writings outside of the Bible that corroborated the events that took place in it? Or that there are medical "miracles" of people coming back from the clinically pronounced dead all the time? What's more improbable: Atoms popping up out of nowhere in space to form an Earth or a God that's always existed creating it?

      August 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • joe agnost

      SkegeAce asked: "What if I told you that there are many PhD'd folks who say that the idea of Intelligent design is VERY highly supported?"

      First I would laugh at you. Loudy. (I'm mean that way).
      Then I would point out that a "PhD" doesn't necessarily mean anything... if it's from Liberty U for instance it's not worthy of being toilet paper.

      Ace cont'd: "Or that there are 30,000 artifacts and writings outside of the Bible that corroborated the events that took place in it?"

      I'd say that (A) just because the bible contains some truths (the nile runs through Egypt for instance) doesn't make the rest of it true. Did you know that London England has an actual train station? That proved Harry Potter is real!!
      And (B) I'd laugh some more...

      Ace cont'd: "Or that there are medical 'miracles' of people coming back from the clinically pronounced dead all the time?"

      I'd admit that we don't know everything about medical science... yet.

      And finally Ace concludes with: "What's more improbable: Atoms popping up out of nowhere in space to form an Earth or a God that's always existed creating it?"

      This one's easy. Atoms popping up out of nowhere. What Quantum theory has taught us is that matter and energy is interchangable and that matter is a strange and interesting concept we clearly don't know enough about. We should continue to study it to learn more.

      Your 'god always has been and always will be' is so intellectually insulting – and gets us absolutely NOWHERE in terms of real knowledge – that I can't imagine anyone being satisfied with ~that~ answer.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • joe agnost

      And btw skegeAce – we know how planets form... your 'Atoms popping up out of nowhere in space to form an Earth' shows just how ignorant you are regarding cosmology.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  19. Godless

    Earlier, Skege wrote: "If man is so smart and science so adept at explaining the world away, why hasn't he found a solution for hunger, war, or crime? If science is so great, why can't anyone answer my simple question: Where does the basic building block of matter, the atom, come from? Where is the theory that said all the dust and elements floating around the universe came from nothing?"

    Um, dude, just because we don't now have all the answers to those questions (why is there hunger, where did the atom come from, etc) doesn't mean those answers exist. It doesn't mean we won't find those answers in the near future. 100 years ago, we didn't know how to reach space. 1000 years ago, we didn't know the world was round. Imagine what we'll know in the next decade.

    August 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      But see that's my point: You could say the same thing about the existence of God. "...just because we don't now have all the answers to those questions...doesn't mean those answers exist. It doesn't mean we won't find those answers in the near future." I totally agree- we might see God tomorrow. Or in 1000 years. :-)

      August 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Godless

      But solving hunger is a real thing. It's tangible. Everyone on the planet can agree it exists. How many times have we heard Jesus is coming back any day now? We could also say that any day now we'll find a planet made of nothing but bleu cheese, but it's not very likely.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • joe agnost

      @skegeAce:

      But looking at the track record your religion fails EVERY SINGLE TEST! From the basic (the shape of the earth, the rotation of the earth around the sun, etc.) to the more complex (biological evolution) it's science that provides REAL answers – not religion.

      Your faith that religion will provide some answers in the future is without merit – the track record for such things clearly contradicts your stance.

      Science! It works!!

      August 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      If God came down from Heaven and spoke to us, you wouldn't consider that tangible? What if He reached out His hand and let your pinch Him? :-)

      A planet of blue cheese would be nice...but I don't think a planet made of cheese has ever been purported to exist or to have created the universe. Also, we could say any day now that we'll cure world hunger. Many people have said that the cure for it will come 'any day now' as well. It's been tried since the beginning of time.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • verify

      SkegeAce,

      You said, "...just because we don't now have all the answers to those questions...doesn't mean those answers exist."

      Therefore the only truthful stance to take is, "We don't know," and not to make up supernatural beings and their attributes and call it Truth.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      @Verify: How do you know I'm making it up? Several thousand people happened to make up the same thing hundreds of thousands of years ago? Over 500 people claimed to see Jesus Christ at once time in different regions in different culture and they were all victim of some mass hysteria even though information traveled from region to region at a snail's pace?

      The point it this: You can't disprove me anymore than you can prove me. However, there is substantial evidence that's in favor of their being a God.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • joe agnost

      skegeAce asked: "How do you know I'm making it up?"

      Because you offer NO EVIDENCE! Zero, nil, nadda...

      And then Ace wrote: "...there is substantial evidence that's in favor of their being a God."

      Ok, let's look at this evidence then... come on... I'm waiting. (sound of crickets)...

      I suspect your "evidence" isn't quite up to my standards as I wouldn't call 2000 year old stories, many of which contradict each other, told by "eyewitnesses" that lived long after JC was said to have lived, as evidence. That's just me though...

      August 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      @ Joe: For my listing of evidence available, see my comment at the bottom of the page.

      Also, do you have proof that space has an end? Do you have proof that atoms spontaneously occurred into existence? Do you have proof that love exists?

      August 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mikey Robusta

      Of course people have claimed to see Jesus...he, at least according to historical literature, was purported to be a real person. He was, it seems, a delusional and paranoid schizophrenic but perhaps a real person at the end of the day. He may have been a very kind man who had a compassionate message, just like Siddhartha Gautam (the original Indian Buddha), Martin Luther King, and Gandhi, but that doesn't make him a supernatural "god". If you know anything about the history of religion, you would know that claiming to be god was a common pastime of the day. If you claimed to be god today, you would probably either be locked up in an insane asylum or heavily medicated.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • verify

      SkegeAce,

      You said, "Over 500 people claimed to see Jesus Christ at once time in different regions..."

      No, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) claimed that there were 500 witnesses, but didn't bother to name or interview any of them.

      Over 500 people witnessed my great, great, great, grandmother fly over the moon on a broomstick. Prove me wrong.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      August 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
1 2 3 4
Advertisement
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.