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September 3rd, 2010
11:02 AM ET

'My own Dad tried to kill me' survivor credits God

When a South Carolina mother recently was accused of suffocating her two young sons, CNN Radio's Amanda Moyer was asked to look for someone who had survived an attack by their mother or father.

She found the horrific yet inspirational story of Chris Keith, now 30.

When he was 5, his father killed his mother and brother in their Tulsa, Oklahoma, home. He also shot Chris in the head, before committing suicide.

Chris credits God with saving him. He now speaks to youth groups and juvenile justice centers, hoping his message will resonate with a struggling teen.

He often reflects on one of his favorite biblical passages, Jeremiah 29:11:

"'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Death • Journeys

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Believer Too

    To the Believer......"WELL SAID" Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart!! I totally AGREE!!

    March 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Believer

    @ ALL NON BELIEVERS

    In a world not governed by God, evil will exist. God is a God of love. And he is also a God of free will. He does not desire for us to love him like robots, programmed and forced to serve Him. His divine plan for us from the beginning was for us to live in a world of peace and harmony. That perfect plan was destroyed when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God. This disobedience led to the "Fall of mankind" since then, evil and pain has existed. The earth itself suffers as it is slowly dying proven by so many natural disasters and depletion of it's resources. Sickness, death all part of the consequences of sin. Those who constantly claim these to be evidence of the non-existence of God, fail to see the other side: LOVE. Without pain/hurt/hate you would not appreciate love. We would all be spoiled little children as human kind has proven to be. When all is well, we tend to forget to be grateful. Is God all powerful? YES, Is God Love? YES. His "failure" to intervene in every single situation does not prove he is neither all powerful or all loving...it proves that this world is not surrendered to Him. The king of this world is Satan and Sin. Not because he is more powerful than God, but by human kind's choice. Those who choose to serve God, recognize and aknowledge Him can understand because we have experienced a relationship with Him, his presence. Those who deny him, will continue to waste their time trying to disprove his existence. Why don't we bet our life on it? If I claim he doesn't exist and I die tomorrow, I would not have gained or lost anything. But if He does exist I WOULD HAVE LOST EVERYTHING! My time on earth arguing he didn't exist and the consequences of the afterlife as well!!!! Chose to get to know God and I promise you won't regret it.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  3. FYI

    @Jean
    I do believe in miracles. To me your story actually defines the intervention needed by God, and would truly qualify as a miracle.
    Thanks for your story, glad your little one survived. Thanks to God for his help .

    September 5, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  4. FYI

    @David Johnson

    My point was not, if He exists, could god work a miracle, but that no miracle was necessary to bring about the events in this article. Three people died. One survived, but with grave injuries. Where is the miracle?

    I do understand your stance on this. mir·a·cle noun \ˈmir-i-kəl\
    Definition of MIRACLE
    1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
    2: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
    3Christian Science : a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law

    I guess for the person that expierienced he saw this as defined in the first definition.
    I can also understand that it could have been in the second definition, an unusal event. If two people had a gunshot wound to the head, in same place, one could live and one could die. I guess it would depend on alot as to one lived and the other did not. It could be related to physical condition (one stronger then the other, as in better shape overall) , and mayby one had a stronger will power to survive.
    I can agree with you on this .

    September 5, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  5. Keith

    It ain't the first time the Lord has dunnit: remember he once stopped Abraham too from killing his son

    September 5, 2010 at 4:28 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      I really am done with you, but your answer was so lame I will comment on it.

      You said, "It ain't the first time the Lord has dunnit: remember he once stopped Abraham too from killing his son"

      Abraham was not a psychotic killer as was this fellows father.

      Abraham had been told by god to sacrifice his kid.

      Abraham was happy when god told him the test was over and he didn't need to kill his child.

      It was a cruel test, administered by an insecure god.

      I won't reply to further posts. bye

      September 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  6. Mona

    I don't understand the vitriol on this site, quite honestly. It is a Belief blog, not Un-Belief blog. Should we not respect people's beliefs here? OK, so I am naive.

    As to Chris's story? Personally, I don't think God has a plan; some days I am not at all sure about God. But there is good and evil; there is suffering and grace (the extraordinary experience of hope and goodness in an otherwise dark and despairing world). Chris has experienced both extremes and so can speak with authority. He has chosen to shape the understanding of his experience in terms of a religious faith. He has that right and no one needs to find offense in that. His story is not a judgement on other people's lives or beliefs; he is not saying that his mother and brother didn't deserve to live. He is recognising that he should be dead too, and he needs to live with that burden–survivor guilt. He deserves our utmost admiration and support.

    So how would the cynical commentors here prefer he respond? Would the world be better off if he had succumbed to the horror of his past and the terror of trying to make his survival somehow worthy? Would there be a hurrah if you learnt of his subsequent descent into drugs, despair, self-destruction? I don't think so. You just resent his faith in God. Or maybe you are jealous that he feels the presence of God so strongly in his life. You have suffered too, you reflect to yourself, and yet God has not seen fit to 'speak" to you or give you any reason to believe. What makes Chris so special, you ask.

    Well, I have a question for you: How are you going to create meaning out of your suffering? What legacy are you going to leave the world? Do you have the courage and strength that even Nietzsche, the most famous of atheistic existentialists, had. Can you find your, Why? Chris has found his, and it involves God. And may God, goodness, grace, joy, bliss, help him bear with the potentially overwhelming responsibility he feels to make his survival meaningful. And may you learn to see signs of (God) goodness, grace, joy, bliss around you and, yes, even in you.

    "He who has a WHY to live can bear with almost any HOW." Nietzsche

    September 5, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  7. Jean

    David Johnson

    You fundies are always inventing "miracles" to shore up your own faiths.

    A tornado races through a trailer park, destorying everything in its path. One man and his trailer are untouched. It is a miracle!

    No it isn't. It's random chance. Rewind everything and send the tornado back through the park. This time the fellow and his trailer will be toast. Someone else may well survive.

    Miracles consist of coincidence and random chance. No god required.

    Thats what you think. I personally have witnessed a miracle in my family. My neice had a baby, and it was born with one kidney, and the other had'nt formed. The good kidney had started to fail, and the baby was in danger of death.
    My family and friends spread the word and asked for prayer for the baby. People in thier church asked for prayers.
    Here is the miracle part.
    The baby had a kidney, fully formed, where none had been 12 hours before! That was after days of the poor thing being sick, and the last Mri's that were done.
    Not only that, but the kidney that was starting to fail, was good as new. I wish you could have seen how many doctors and nurses, hospital personnel and so on, were stopping by to see the "miracle" baby. (When word got around, doctors were coming in from other hospitals to see this and review all the medical and other realted matter to this case, afterwards.)
    The exrays and Mri's were those of the babys (no mix ups), and she was put in a medical journal for
    this. They had no explanation for this. It touched many.
    No one will ever tell me there is no God. Ever! I personally was a part of this miracle, and there is no other explanation for how that happened, short of one,

    September 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I am glad god answered your prayer and the baby lived. I will not argue this.

      September 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  8. FYI

    @BeeLeaf
    If he claimed that he survived because of his lucky blue rabbit's foot or that it was because he ate all of his vegetables the night before, what would you say?

    I would say that it gave him the faith to survive, the abiltiy to crawl out and be seen..and if he wanted to contribute that to the fact he ate all his veggies or his blue rabbits foot, so be it, Its not hurting anybody that he expresses what he knows or thought contributed to it.

    September 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  9. FYI

    @David Johnson you said:
    Why is it proof how great God is?

    Several years ago, this monstor kidnapped a child. He made her last minutes alive a misery and then even buried her alive.

    I thought at the time, how could this happen? Why didn't god give this guy a heart attack or stroke? Where was the lightening bolt?

    I thought more on this, and then realized I was being too dramatic. All that would have been necessary, was for god to send a policeman around at the time of the abduction. He could have caused the child to have a belly ache and to stay safe in her bed that day. A zillion small things could have been done to save this child. Yet, the police found the child in a shallow grave.

    I can certainly understand your logic on that. As I said in the above post, we live in a world full of all kinds of negative things.
    I don't deny that despite my close personal relationship with God, I too, being human have questioned these things. But I have to say that we are in this world, vulnerable as any one else, and there have been Christian kids killed on buses driving home from some place that they went to pay worship to God. Why did he not save them? I think that he is no respector of persons, regardless of saved, not saved, ect. He said our lives would be filled with love and eternal life, in the next life..in Heaven. He never promised any of us excemption in this life.
    That does not mean it cannot happen, he is God, We cannot know all the ways of God, but to lay blame on him for not performing in a manner that seems logical to us and natural for us, is not really even fair. If we knew all these things we would be the mind of God. That is what I think he meant when he said work out your Salvation with fear and trembling.(For he did say, this world is not his, but his kingdom is not on the earth)
    Lay up your treaures in Heaven, for all things on Earth are carnal and subject to detrioration, but his word is forever.

    September 4, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • David Johnson

      My point was not, if He exists, could god work a miracle, but that no miracle was necessary to bring about the events in this article. Three people died. One survived, but with grave injuries. Where is the miracle?

      September 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  10. FYI

    oops! I meant to say A GOOD reason, not god reason

    September 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  11. FYI

    @David Johnson
    David Johnson

    @Ron A.

    You said, "Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope. One reason why you survived to tell your story so I could read it.
    To remind me we serve an awesome God."

    Duhhh! Hello! That awesome god let the guys mother and brother die. Consider how much more awesome god would have been, if he had the father get help, before he became this insane.

    Answer me this: How would this of happened any different if there was no god? Where is the supernatural event, that could not have happened, without the aid of a god? Has no one ever survived being shot before?

    David...! Listen..you are asking (and assuming) that it is GOD that let the mother and brother die. Then you go on to say:
    Consider how much more awesome god would have been, if he had the father get help, before he became this insane.
    Why it is always that GOD is the bad guy?? Lets side step a second here...
    Do you believe evil does exist? (I won't go there wih the devil..as he is also "ivisible"..the harbinger of many of these events)
    Have you done "good" things, and "bad" things in life? I am sure you will have to admit, that evil does exist, so, outside of what you percieve as myths Ie God, Satan, ) why do you readily place all evil on God? Is it becasue he is expected to prevent all things, or its a god reason to attack him?
    If you have a child, you love that child, and will come to his aid, if in danger, am I not correct? If then your answer be yes, why would you find it odd that he (God) would not protect his children?
    Perhaps the mother and the brother never believed in God, and he choose not to interfere. See my point?
    Then, we can assume that the person who lived after being shot, would give thanks to his God for saving him, as he knows God promised him certain things for being his child. Just like your child wold say Thanks Dad, for saving me

    Then about God would have been more "awesome" if he had that Father get help, before he became that insane? What if he did try to get him help, but mayby the guy was just plain evil, or just ignored it. Perhaps he was a unbeliever in the things of God. Or, mayby he was mentally impaired, due to something in his gene pool or even something went amuck in his brain at that point.
    It also could be that we live in a world where we are subject to the things of the world (evil, sickness, and all manner of sin). That in no way makes God any less of the great God that he is.

    September 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
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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.