home
RSS
6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution
Destroyed vehicles and rubble in Minamisanriku, Japan
March 16th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Age-old questions about divine punishment are back. Again.

On Tuesday, the governor of Tokyo apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Japanese were divine retribution for national egoism.

Television and media personality Glenn Beck, meanwhile, has sent mixed messages about whether he thinks God is behind Japan's natural disaster. “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” he said Monday, adding he's “not not saying that, either.”

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well,’” Beck said. “Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Blaming human sinfulness for natural and man-made disasters is nothing new. “This kind of thinking is actually typical rather than atypical in world history,” says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor.

Here’s a list of natural and man-made calamities that have been attributed to divine retribution for human transgression. Let us know what others should make the cut.

1. The Haiti earthquake

A day after Haiti’s devastating 2009 earthquake, U.S. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said the disaster was provoked by the Haitians' "pact to the devil."

The “700 Club” host said Haitians had entered that pact to gain independence from French rule in the early 1800s. “They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story,” Robertson said. “And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

“Ever since,” Robertson continued, "they have been cursed by one thing after the other." The magnitude 7.0 earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives.

2. Hurricane Katrina

A handful of politically conservative Christians blamed 2005’s Hurricane Katrina - which struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and left more than 1,800 dead - on the Crescent City’s embrace of gay pride events.

“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens,” John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelical pastor who leads the Christian Zionist movement in the United States, said after Katrina. “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are - were recipients of the judgment of God for that."

3. The September 11 attacks

Two days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said the attacks were, at least in part, God’s judgment on those who would secularize American public life.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'” Falwell said on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club" program.

"God will not be mocked,” said Falwell, who was made famous by leading the Moral Majority in the 1980s.

In a phone call to CNN later the same day, Falwell stepped back a bit, saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the attacks.

But Falwell reiterated that forces trying to secularize the U.S. “created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."

4. The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln entered the White House conceiving of God as a distant creator. But the presidency transformed that view into one of a God who acts in the universe. The turnaround was triggered largely by watching the Civil War’s casualty numbers rise into the hundreds of thousands.

In 1862, Lincoln scribbled down his thoughts about God and war. “I am almost ready to say this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet," he wrote. “He could give the final victory to either side any day - Yet the contest proceeds.”

Lincoln elaborated in his second inaugural address in 1865, framing the Civil War as divine punishment for slavery, which he considered a sin. It was his last speech to the American people before his assassination.

5. The Holocaust

During and after World War II, some Orthodox Jews attributed the murder of 6 million fellow believers to Jewish transgression. Many in that camp pointed a finger at Zionists, who they accused of trying to establish Israel too soon, before the Messiah’s return.

“There were groups that claimed this was divine punishment because there were no other theological options,” says Bernard M. Levinson, a Jewish studies professor at the University of Minnesota. “Their own piety made things difficult.”

More recently, one of Israel’s leading rabbis generated controversy for claiming that last year's devastating fire in the Jewish state - the worst in the country’s history - was divine retribution for Jews failing to observe the Sabbath.

6. The biblical flood

The God of the Hebrew Bible is frequently portrayed as a ruler who doles out major rewards - and some very harsh punishments. One of the most famous is the flood in Genesis, which God orchestrates in response to human wickedness. He allows the righteous Noah to build an ark to ride out 40 days' worth of rain.

Widely cited as the archetypal act of divine retribution, some biblical scholars say the story was intended less to warn of a vengeful God than to establish the role of human agency in world events. Levinson says the story is a counter-narrative to The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian tale that involves a massive flood but that depicts humans as powerless in the face of capricious gods.

“The author of the flood story is saying that God doesn’t act randomly, that God responds to human action,” Levinson says. He notes that the Noah story is set in prehistoric times, which he says shows the narrative is meant to be taken as metaphor, not as a practical explanation of natural disasters.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • God • Holocaust • Japan

soundoff (939 Responses)
  1. Lost

    Global warming is to blame.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  2. Mr Spockk

    You cannot blame these disasters on a god, it would have to actually exist to do all of this. Hurricanes and earthquakes are natural disasters and terrorist attacks can be blamed on, yes, terrorists.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  3. breather

    if there is a God,why create natural disasters that kill both good and bad people blindly?
    You would think that with all his powers, he could just make all bad people die of a heart attack and thus spare the good ones

    March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Jess29

      Noone can live forever. And who would want to with all the struggles and saddness on earth

      March 17, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  4. Faith

    Great friggen joy thats just great! Yes because a few senile TV evangelists and other random loons agree that makes it true. Give me a break! I am Christian and NO IT ISN'T GODS WRATH! Absolute insanity in that list. Why did all those tragedies happen? Who knows? By all means get to the bottom of it for us because reading the Bible and asking God has yet to reveal an answer. If it was natural disaster due to sin we all would be up a creek without a paddle. Small wonder why so many people think Christians are nuttier than squirrel turds! I say don't blame the religion in this case simply consider the source of the misguided fruit loop who all of a sudden has interpreted (poorly) what he has studied and twists his beliefs so that he may judge others and condemn them. Their are intelligent non judgmental people who believe and know that none of us have all the answers, and that regardless God gave each man and woman a choice, and a right to live as they see fit. So before assuming as a whole we are insane at least consider that just like you their is more to us and a few do not speak for the whole.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Love it!

      March 17, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  5. Hombre

    The god who made all this doesn't micromanage. Men just complicate matters.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  6. Cream of Human Kindness

    Religion is man's most nefarious tool to suppress the ignorant masses.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  7. Blane

    Religon is something that you can't argue, it can't be made into logic or explained with science. Its got no physical evidence, its spiritual,private, and because it has no "facts" opinionated. And like ALL opinions. Everyone has one and we all believe ours is correct. If that is the case, why does anyone need to convince anyone that there opinion is any better if we all think we are right? Find salvation on your own terms, leave all the forces to act as they will and people the same. Let people make informed decisons and as a great man once told me. "To argue religon, one must study every religon but their own, because your religon is true, and theirs is false". So make peace. Understand and respect your fellow man. Help who you can, because no god (with the exception of satanist) will look down upon you for being a good person. Help those from this disaster as you would hope they help you. Follow the Golden Rule.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:14 am |
  8. Observer

    Grew A Brain,
    I NEVER said that "believers sit on the sidelines with bibles quoting God's wrath". Talk about putting words in people's mouths. Of course they contribute a lot to helping others. They also collect huge amounts of money to do so.

    Don't SO IGNORANTLY claim I hate religious people. I don't have the capacity of many of them to hate people, like for their orientations or doing legal operations.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Ah but there is hatred in your writing. Sorry, but there is.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:59 am |
  9. Jess29

    I'm not here to argue with anyone about what they believe. In the end, all things will be known. God bless.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  10. Mark

    Anyone who lends any credence to this story needs to read Carl Sagan's excellent book "A Demon Haunted World". Dr. Sagan struggled his whole life with belief in the divine and science, faith and fact, as anyone who knows "Contact" can attest to. In this book it was his sincere hope that in the future people would not fall back into the "omens, signs and wonders" phase of our scientific thinking. The two can exist if we get away from the far right who believe in such things as the 6000 year old earth (and by extension the universe) and that dinosaurs and men lived together. As Dr. Sagan once put it so succinctly "Do we really believe the entire universe was made for us alone? Seems like an awful waste of space."

    March 17, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • John

      The bible makes it clear that dinosaurs and men did live together. Read the last couple of chapters of Job. The bible does not "age" rock formation or water that was on the earth. It ages the heavens which man can see and man and it appears according to the text that "Man" has been around for about 6000 years. The Ts taylor Scroll found in Neniveh in the 1800s also says that the Jewish people were in Jeruslam and Israel 2500 years ago. I like to read a lot. Unfortunatly most people just pass along bogus information to make an arguement.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • Mark

      "The bible makes it clear that dinosaurs and men did live together" – wow, that's such a reliable source of information, I'm glad you really believe what you read in a 2000 year old book so literally. I feel sorry for you.

      The bible is a collection of stories, some plagarized, some that have been lost in translation, written by people 2000 years ago, that didn't know anything, who were primitive, and ignorant, compared to today's standards.

      I don't use dated material such as "the bible" to get my facts, I'm sorry that you do.

      The bible is full of bogus information. I like to read a lot too, and I stayed in school.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      There are lots of people around who could be classified as Dinosaurs...

      A lot of Palaces of Ignorance could be in the same category...

      March 17, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • Q

      Well, literal creationists certainly do believe the Bible indicates that humans and dinosaurs coexisted based on the Genesis creation myth and then again with references to "Behemoth". Unfortunately, the fossil record clearly indicates modern humans separated from dinosaurs by millions of years of intervening geologic strata and to believe "behemoth" refers to a dinosaur seems quite the stretch in the absence of any shred of physical evidence or corroborating accounts. The level of cognitive dissonance required to claim this mythology as legitimate is truly staggering.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Mark

      Religion, keeping people stupid.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  11. Mark

    Obviously "god" is behind everything, yeah not. Too bad "god" can't show us a shred of evidence he/she/it exists. More so using "god" to explain something is for simple minded, primitive, people, who cannot explain the complexities of the universe or basic science. Natural disasters happen, plate tectonics is real because the crust of the Earth is always moving, tsunami's are a result of earthquakes and the plates moving, stuff happens. None of this is supernatural that can't be explained by science.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Ah... but who put those Tectonic Plates in place to collide with each other??

      Yes, it was the Flying Spaghetti Monster !!!!

      March 17, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • John

      Mark, please watch the "Genius Club" on Netflix. It speaks of this issue and does it very well.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Mark

      @Praisethelard What do you mean "who"? There is no "who". Did you graduate high school? Did you ever take a science class? It was not a "who". The planet formed, and this is what we have. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean you have to associate something supernatural to it as to satisfy the questions you have in your head.

      There's no proof "god" exists, and there never will be, because "god" isn't real. "god" and religion is nothing more than a man made construct created to:

      a) explain phenomena, afterlife, the unknown they do not yet understand
      b) be used as a coping mechanism for death, starvation, natural disasters, etc
      c) to help maintain social order, instill morality on society, etc
      d) as a control mechanism

      Once upon a time, it was necessary to have a god to be able to answer all the mysteries in the world. Science has eroded this need by discovering explanations for much of what humanity did not know at the time of Jesus. The scientific method was not even known at that time. Of course, one would expect anyone, who has devoted their life to religion, to find reasons to believe in supernatural beings but they simply no longer fit. So, rationalizing is required to make them fit. And the emphasis is on faith because faith is the only way it does fit. But faith is nothing more that the ability to fool yourself into believing in the unbelievable. But much like children eventually understand that they were fooled by their parents into believing in Santa Clause, humanity is slowly growing out of the childlike phase of believing in supernatural beings. Imagine what it would be like not to have terrorism based on which religion you do or don't believe in. Imagine what it would be like if we did the humane and just things we should do, not because some big brother in the sky is looking over our shoulder but because it's simply the right thing to do. That is where the myriad versions of the golden rule come from – humans doing the right things because it's how they want themselves to be treated. This is why the number of atheists has been growing at a steady rate, and eventually there will not be a need for religion, because man will evolve.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Mark

      @ Praise the Lard – I think we both misread eachother. I don't believe "god" exists, I was being sarcastic, it's all man made. "god" doesn't exist. Both god and religion are man made constructs for the reasons I outlined above, feel free to cut/paste to help educate the masses! Love the nickname by the way lol

      March 17, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • oopru

      mark: "Too bad "god" can't show us a shred of evidence he/she/it exists."

      It's cute watching philosophically illiterate atheists make categorical claims like this.

      There's also no direct evidence of the composition of the sun, the existence of gravity or the existence of an ever expanding universe. And yet we know precisely what the sun is made of, that something called "gravity" exists, and that the Big Bang occurred. How? Based on abduction and necessity.

      The argument for a god is the same. Based on the fact that an infinite regression is impossible (and illogical), the necessity of cause and effect for all material existence, etc. a strong argument comes out for the existence of a god.

      "Once upon a time, it was necessary to have a god to be able to answer all the mysteries in the world. Science has eroded this need by discovering explanations for much of what humanity did not know at the time of Jesus."

      Fallacies, fallacies and more fallacies, eh?

      The Humean progression argument is fallacious because it's circular: science has shown beliefs to be wrong in the past, science will show beliefs to be wrong in the future, therefore there is no god. It assumes precisely what it's trying to prove, and does so by disclaiming the need for present proof.

      But please, keep trying. Your narrow minded, dogmatic responses are an insight into superficial workings of your intellect.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Mark

      "It's cute watching philosophically illiterate atheists make categorical claims like this.
      There's also no direct evidence of the composition of the sun, the existence of gravity or the existence of an ever expanding universe. And yet we know precisely what the sun is made of, that something called "gravity" exists, and that the Big Bang occurred. How? Based on abduction and necessity."

      Illiterate huh? Yes I'm philosophically illiterate because I don't believe in god or any religion, and I think they are all man made (which they are).
      There's no direct evidence of the composition of the sun? That's already been proven, open your science book.
      The existence of gravity? are you mental?
      The "existence of an ever expanding universe" – I still believe that's a theory.
      There is proof of the above things, there is no proof "god" exists.
      If you believe in god, well I'm sorry, but you are a weak and simple minded, primitive, human being.

      "The argument for a god is the same. Based on the fact that an infinite regression is impossible (and illogical), the necessity of cause and effect for all material existence, etc. a strong argument comes out for the existence of a god."

      No one is arguing infinite regression, we can hypothesize about a big bang, is the best theory that fits, but no one was there that can prove that is what actually happened. That doesn't mean there's a "strong argument for the existence of a god". Your argument is lame, and weak.

      "Fallacies, fallacies and more fallacies, eh?"

      Truth hurts?

      "The Humean progression argument is fallacious because it's circular: science has shown beliefs to be wrong in the past, science will show beliefs to be wrong in the future, therefore there is no god. It assumes precisely what it's trying to prove, and does so by disclaiming the need for present proof."

      All I ask is for you to show any proof at all, but unfortunately no one can do that, and no one ever will be able to do that. There never has been proof, and there never will, but if you need to believe in santa clause to get you through he day and to live a fulfilling life, sucks to be you.

      Where's the proof?

      March 17, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • Observer

      oopru
      "the necessity of cause and effect for all material existence, etc. a strong argument comes out for the existence of a god."
      Another bogus argument. A non-material God created material out of nothing?
      Thanks for playing. Save the illogical arguments for later.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • MinceMeat

      @oopru - actually, it's you that sounds "illiterate" - or at least uneducated. Sorry, but there is evidence, empirical even, for gravity and the composition of the sun (thanks for such convenient examples). You might want to crack a science book, or are those just make believe, too? I appreciate the entertainment - I love it when people try to sound intelligent but clearly have no clue what they are talking about.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Aaron

      For all of you out there claiming that there is no proof that God exists, I would just like to ask you to prove that He doesn't. If you can't then you are living by faith as much as I am. You have faith that there is no God and I have faith that there is, simply put one of us is right and the other wrong. However if your right I have nothing to fear, my end will be the same as yours. But if I'm right then your refusal to believe in God makes Him no less real, nor your end less unfortunate.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Aaron: which particular god (or gods), of the thousands of gods throughout the history of man, would you consider to be the true one(s)??

      March 17, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Mark

      I love your ridiculous comment.

      "we can't prove god exists or is real, so prove he isn't real! Oh you can't? so god must be real then!"

      "Faith" is nothing more than an excuse you use when you cannot answer the question, when you cannot provide any proof "god" exists, it helps you fill in the blanks when you have no answer. If "god" was real, we'd have proof. It wouldn't be hard for "god" to prove he/she/it existed, alas, that will never happen.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:41 am |
  12. Jess29

    God is very real. Although what has happened is VERY tragic and I pray for those who were hurt or lost people, Gods wrath is real. As for all these disasters happening all over the world, if you have ever read the bible, it states clearly the signs to look for in the coming judgement. Am I the only one who has noticed the fall of man kind since we started living more like we don't have any common sense? America has risen so high that we've forgotten what we based this country around.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      God is very real?? Really? Which god would that be?

      There was a period in western civilization when religion controlled every facet of your lives... It was called the Dark Ages for a reason... Most of the great advances in science, medicin, technology, etc. have taken place long after the iron grip of the forces of ignorance (the churches) was compromised.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • oopru

      praise: "There was a period in western civilization when religion controlled every facet of your lives... It was called the Dark Ages for a reason... Most of the great advances in science, medicin, technology, etc. have taken place long after the iron grip of the forces of ignorance (the churches) was compromised."

      And there was a period where the secular state controlled every aspect of your life...it was called Autocracy and Communism.

      See how cute fallacies are?

      "Most of the great advances in science"

      Not quite. The great advances in modern science began after the abandoning of Aristotelian physics, it had nothing to do with religion. The "Dark Ages" got its name from the general social and economic nadir that society had fallen into. In fact, the Renaissance (heavily religious) saw unbelievable advances in science, art, architecture, etc. ad infinitum.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Mark

      Still, god doesn't exist, and religion is bs, regardless of what historical facts people state. See my post below.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Oopru wrote: "the Renaissance (heavily religious) saw unbelievable advances in science, art, architecture"

      Advances, for sure, especially in contrast to the wonderful period just before. Still, there was quite a number of free thinkers and scientists who attempted to question the churches' dogmatic "teachings" and were severely reprimanded or killed. The Great Flood of scientific advances only materialized after the paralyzing influence of the so-called "Great Religions" started to wane.

      Since you hold on to the belief that god exists, it would be nice if you would narrow down the list of gods that have been promoted over the past several thousand years and explain why yours is the real one...

      March 17, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  13. Grew A Brain

    One more thing on my mind for those of you hating religion in these posts:

    Although there are some bad apples in Christianity and other religions; you'll often see religious groups as "first responders" to these calamities. They flock to provide money, food, clothing and time donations. Most religions teach charity and compassion which would otherwise go lacking in some individuals. Is that such a bad thing?

    As a small parting shot, when was the last time CNN or any other news agency ran a story with the headline "Atheist Organizations Head Up Humanitarian Efforts After Earthquake Devastates Population"? Surely you believe in a good sense of humor.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Observer

      This is a common fallacy for believers - the idea that only they are good people who help others. Are you going to pretend that organizations like the Red Cross are only filled and supported by believers? Are you going to pretend that only God-fearing countries offer support after disasters? Do you remember that while Bush (who "talks to God all the time") was doing nothing about the Hurricane Katrina victims, the communist government of Cuba offered aid?

      March 17, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Observer, I claimed no such thing but I appreciate you putting words into my mouth. Are you also claiming that there are no religious people in the Red Cross or in Communist Cuba?

      March 17, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Efflyn

      You're correct in saying that Christian organizations often respond early on to disasters. And that is most admirable. What I can't accept is the guaranteed prosyletizing that accompanies the rescue operations. Why can't they just do good because we're all humans, we're all children of God, and leave out the "I'm doing this great thing for you so I can talk to you about Jesus and get you over on my side." Then, it's not just altruistic helping one's fellow man, fellow children of God. It's manipulation.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Observer

      Grew A Brain,

      There are good people who are believers and who are nonbelievers. It was your choice to ignor organizations like the Red Cross and predominately non-believer countries that offer aid. This is often typical of believers who think they are better than everyone else.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • oopru

      observer: "This is a common fallacy for believers – the idea that only they are good people who help others."

      This is a common fallacy for morons – false dichotomies.

      The idea is that the vast majority of churches are charitable organizations, and the vast majority of them offer instant help in time of need.

      The argument GAB put forward was a rebuttal example to the over played and over exposed "bad apples" in religion.

      But please, your dogmatic responses are such a joy.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Observer

      oopru,
      If you don't see an abundance of believers who think that "only they are good people who help others", it's easy to see who the "moron" is.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Observer. I'm sorry you see it that way. Again, you put words in my mouth. I never said believers were better for providing aid. I'm simply responding to the notion that believers sit on the sidelines with bibles quoting God's wrath. Your hatred is apparent.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Mark

      I hate stupid people too.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Hal9000

      There you go Brains. . Atheists don't have a stamp that they put on everything or a book that they hand out to put in your headline. They also don't act based on a self-serving underlying motivation. Atheists are not seeking a reward in the after-life whether it is a ticket to heaven or a dozen virgins. We carry out acts of charity because we actually care about our fellow man our nation and our planet and their inherent value in this life, not simply my pile of gold at the end of the rainbow. Ask yourself the tough question Brains would you behave the same way towards yout neighbors, your family, your nation if you knew without a doubt their was no reward waiting for you?? Seems to me that evidence point towards No as the answer for most "religious" folks.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Hal. I love you and I don't even know you.

      What if there is something waiting on the other side?

      March 17, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  14. Lynn

    Calamities will never stop being blamed on "devine retribution" because people tend to lose their faith in God when disasters occur. What better way to prevent people from thinking the obvious after a disaster (what kind of loving God would allow such a thing to happen?) than to blame the Calamity on God by saying God intended for this to happen as a punishment to these particular people. How many times have formerly devout Christians stopped believing in God when, for example, a loved one died in some horrific way? It seems obvious that these so called men of God prefer to give credit to God for natural disasters and other horrific events to prevent people from questioning the existence of God after a tragedy occurs. Give people a simple explanation that they can believe so they don't start thinking for themselves. The last thing men of God want is for people to think for themselves because they are afraid people will actually start to draw the conclusion that these acts are natural and random. And of course if that is true the next question they will ask themselves is "does God really exist"?

    March 17, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  15. logicalperson

    please just watch jim jeffries "i swear to god" comedy special on HBO if you want to gain some perspective on this nonsense

    March 17, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  16. Kay

    God also said that there would be persecution of Christians in the end times... i think he read these posts.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  17. Melody Chapin

    It is common for many people to blame a divine being in order to make sense of a tragedy/traumatic event they have no control over. On the otherside of the coin are the so called religous guides/leaders who blame events on God's retribution in order to control their church members.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The corollary being all those people who somehow escaped some of these tragedies and proceed to Thank god for saving them. They never seem to ask themselves if those who suffered and did not survive may not have prayed hard enough in the past... Of course, the stock answer to a quandary like this is: "God works in mysterious ways"...

      March 17, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  18. seeker

    Not much religious inquiry on this board. I couldn't care less if you think I'm misguided or stupid or backwards. God is omnipotent. God exists. It is hard to ignore all the doomsday events. For one, I suspect that more is to come.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      We can agree !!!! There's more to come...

      Actually, there are Quakes on other planets... Since there is no life (as we perceive it) on those planets, are they still caused by your god? (I suppose that if there are Quakes, there must be Quakers...)

      March 17, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Andrew

      Cause who really needs that silly plate tectonic theory to explain earthquakes? God dunit is clearly the more reasonable response.

      Dude, these earthquakes are hardly the worst the planet can give... maybe if all the super volcanoes on earth suddenly erupt you might get to point to a real calamity.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Mark

      All the doomsday events, such as all the naturally occurring phenomena, that happens every day, that's been happening for thousands, millions, billions of years, long before man ever existed. It's quite ignorant to assume some supernatural power is at work behind the scenes, when it can all be attributed to scientific fact and naturally occurring events. Nothing is being "controlled", but if you need to believe in something to help you understand why an earthquake happens, well, I find that kinda funny.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Lawrence

      Hey PraisetheLard: check this out: http://www.icr.org/article/5537/ (Creationist 'PhD' says evidence of water on Mars is proof the Genesis flood extended out into the solar system. Is there any limit to this religious stupidity? Hint: No.)

      March 17, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Mark

      "(Creationist 'PhD' says evidence of water on Mars is proof the Genesis flood extended out into the solar system."

      ROFL

      March 17, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  19. Grew A Brain

    1. It saddens me to hear Christians who are hard-hearted enough to start claiming God's wrath only days after a disaster.

    2. It saddens me even more to hear atheists spill over with anger and hatred towards those who believe. Not all Christians are quick to invoke the Bible at the first sign of trouble and we certainly have a brain with more than three cells as one poster so eloquently stated.

    3. If you choose not to believe, why do the beliefs of others fill you with so much anger? I would think that a more enlightened mind would simply ignore such small things as religion if it were truly as insignificant as you claim. Why do you even waste your time on this topic if you don't believe any of it matters? If there is no god, religious people should be pitied like those who believe they are Klingon and have to be locked up. You wouldn't go to a mental hospital to make fun of the patients, right? Why does it matter what religious people say anyway?

    March 17, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • Glenn

      G.A.B. Well said

      March 17, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Nathan

      It matters what Religious people and leaders think because of the ACTIONS it provokes. The pope saying don't use condoms in Africa, Christians bombing abortion clinics, Muslims flying planes into buildings. Now you can say those people aren't really religious or that they are have misread gods message but thats what they say about you or non believers. Atheists know that not all religious people do this, in fact most don't really follow the religion the claim to believe, but that doesn't mean the problem should be ignored.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Observer

      Well said, Nathan. It's the believers who are apt to call law-abiding citizens "murderers" and often fight to deprive their fellow humans of equal rights. It's the believers who try to force their religion on people in government facilities.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      You're changing the subject Nathan. We're talking natural disasters here. Stick to the topic.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Nathan

      "Why does it matter what religious people say anyway?"

      March 17, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Joy

      I wouldn't be so angry if the various faiths and religions would stop starting wars against each other and dragging entire nations into their stupid fights about which religion is The True Faith. I don't care if you believe in flying green elephants, that's fine with me, and remains your own business - until all the flying elephant believers start bombing people who believe in flying monkeys, while the flying monkey believers are busy bombing the purple pixie believers.. Then I get taxed for the bombs and the guns, and my brothers/sons/fathers get killed in your stupid wars. ENOUGH ALREADY!! How many centuries of completely senseless bloodshed do we have to endure until the holy wars end??????????? and don't go saying "Well THEY started it!" because Christians, Jews, and Miuslims ALL have blood on their hands.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Joy: you wrote: "Christians, Jews, and Miuslims ALL have blood on their hands."

      Well, the followers of the All Might Flying Spaghetti Monster only have tomato sauce...

      March 17, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Great point; however, I don't believe in harming others to advance my beliefs. Would you strip me of my religious beliefs based on the actions of those who commit murder in the name of religion? We aren't all the same.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Mr Spockk

      Hello, thank you for asking this important question, I believe, that as an atheist, I can offer some insight. I believe that any religion, as well as a belief of any god, is a poison that the masses have consuming for far too long. There are many examples, in the far past, all the way to more contemporary situations. For example, the Aztecs would murder and sacrifice real people to appease unreal gods so the sun could come up. Take the inquisitions, where believers were driven to seek those like myself, and kill non-believers or those of other religions. Today, we are still in disbelief over the financial and emotional costs of the Iraq war, what I see as a religious war (christians vs. muslims); this money could go towards education or infrastructure or any non-destructive venture! Religion makes people fear and feel bad about themselves and towards others and is wholly unnecessary- it deceives people into believing in an afterlife (one filled with bliss if you are good or filled with hell if you are bad or choose the wrong religion). Religious belief caused a terrorist attack and all of the negative effects of that attack onto my nation. These are few examples, that I know of, there are many more out there.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Come on Spockk! Any logical Vulcan would know that the sins of the past don't predict the future.

      I'm just messin with you. Too tired to reply. Live long and prosper my atheist friend.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Andrew

      I wouldn't care what christians believed if I didn't have to worry about things like creationism in classrooms. But when public policy begins to be impacted by religious dogma I cry foul. If Christians didn't do anything in society, you'd find we'd care about them as much as I care about football fans, it's not for me, but I don't care if you like it.

      Religion doesn't generally seem so benign.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Joy

      I thought I made it clear that I'm not trying to strip ANYBODY of their religion. It would be nice if the religious people would show a similar respect for those of us who do not share their beliefs, instead of screaming "persecution!" everytime somebody disagrees with them. My POINT was that religious wars have a way of dragging EVERYBODY into the mess, whether we believe or not.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • Joy

      I thought I made it clear that I'm not trying to strip ANYBODY of their religion. It would be nice if the religious people would show a similar respect for those of us who do not share their beliefs, instead of screaming "persecution!" everytime somebody disagrees with them. My POINT was that religious wars have a way of dragging EVERYBODY into the mess, whether we believe or not. So rest in peace - I wouldn't dream of trying to strip ANY of your beliefs from you. Gosh, what a bummer - you can't scream martyr! I'm sure if you work at it, though, you'll find some way to twist my words to prove that I'm out to get you.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Davidloc

      Becasue religion is an ENORMOUS drain on society sucking hundreds of billions dollars annually , worldwide just to propigate itself. This disease has more importantly croppled human growth and created legions of greedy vengeful , life hating zenophobes. Do you want more reasons why religion is not liked by most rational thinkers ?

      March 17, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Mark

      I like Nathan's post, good reply sir. I whole heartedly agree. Personally I don't care what religion you affiliate yourself with, but when you speak stupid you lose brownie points in the book of intelligence.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Joy. I wasn't replying to you. Who did you say the martyr was?

      March 17, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Andrew. Here we go again. At least none of you are shy about dragging all of your religious hatred into the conversation. Why is it that a religious belief in the classroom is any different and more damaging than the beliefs of atheists in the classroom?

      March 17, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • BoT

      Joy has a point. Believe whatever you will but do not incite hatred, intolerance and genocide by imposing your beliefs on others. For example, conservative Jewish rabbis still preach that Palestinians are descendants of Amalekites and therefore, should all be killed, including "men, women children and infants." Their justification for it is in the Book of Samuel 15:3: Luckily, atheists do not have such an authoritative book to support their (non)beliefs.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      How convenient for you BoT. Makes it a lot easier to argue when there isn't a "Bible" in your corner.

      March 17, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Mark

      " Why is it that a religious belief in the classroom is any different and more damaging than the beliefs of atheists in the classroom?"

      Because religious belief is belief in something that is not real. If you want to preach that at home, that's fine, but no religion should be preached in school, it should only be factual and scientific things that can be proven.

      March 17, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Grew A Brain

      Mark. You really want to go there? You sound just like a Christian in your post.

      March 17, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Glenn

      Moral superiority be it religious or secular is what kills people. All the atheists on this page that assume it is only religion that kills need to read up on twentieth century history.

      As for untruths I say the Big Bang is an untruth. It isn’t provable or re-creatable. Only a theory.

      March 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  20. Tyhouston

    This is news how?

    March 17, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • vince

      THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!!!!!! RELIGION! god is not real. get over it.

      March 17, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Justin

      QFT

      March 17, 2011 at 2:46 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
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.