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 Where is God in Japan?
March 20th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Finding faith amid disaster

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Around the world, people are still struggling to come to terms with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which have left more than 8,000 dead, thousands more missing and hundreds of thousand others homeless. The threat of a nuclear crisis only adds to the uncertainty.

In times like these, many people find comfort in their faith. But disasters can also challenge long-held beliefs. The CNN Belief Blog asked some prominent voices with different views on religion how they make sense of such suffering, where they see inspiration amid destruction and how they respond to people who wonder, “How could God let this happen?”

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author whose books include “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”

Whenever a disaster like this occurs, I go back to the Bible, to the First Book of Kings. Elijah, in despair over the situation in Israel, runs to the desert, back to Mt. Sinai to find the God of the Revelation to Moses.

"And lo, the Lord God passed by. There was a mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. There was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake."

To me, that is the key: the Lord was not in the earthquake.

Natural disasters are acts of nature, not acts of God. God cares about the well-being of good people; Nature is blind, an equal-opportunity destroyer.

Where is God in Japan today? In the courage of people to carry on their lives after the tragedy. In the resilience of those whose lives have been destroyed, families swept away, homes lost, but they resolve to rebuild their lives. In the goodness and generosity of people all over the world to reach out and help strangers who live far from them, to contribute aid, to pray for them.

How can people do such things if God were not at work in them to lend a counterweight to a natural disaster?

The Rev. Tesshu Shaku, chief priest of Nyoraiji Temple, a Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land sect of Buddhism) temple in Ikeda City, Japan

Buddhism is called a religion with no god. So we don’t think God caused this, according to the Buddhist way of thinking. We think of the law of cause and effect, searching for a cause. It is the same approach as science. The cause of this earthquake is the friction between the North American plate and the Pacific plate.

The Japanese are more focused on relationships as opposed to faith, feeling the pain of others. I have witnessed this at the time of the Hanshin Awaji earthquake. [In 1995, the Great Hanshin earthquake on the island of Awaji killed about 6,500 people.] There were many people who came to the affected area to help and volunteer.

There is a word, “earthquake children,” for people whose perspectives were affected by the disaster. They became very active in community service or became Buddhist monks. So people will be more spiritual, feeling the pains and joys of others.

The Rev. James Martin, Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of “The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything”

For the believer, there is no satisfactory answer for why we suffer. Each person has to come to grips with that. It’s not as if some magic answer can be found. But the idea of God suffering along with us can be very helpful.

The Christian believes that God became human and that God underwent all the things we do. Jesus on the cross cried, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” Christians do not have an impersonal God, but a God who understands what it means to suffer. People can relate more easily to a God who understands them.

Where is God? God is right there with the people who are grieving and sorrowful. In my own life, when I have felt great sorrow I have trusted that God is with me in this and that I’m not facing my struggles alone.

Oftentimes people become more religious in times of sorrow. They find that they are able to meet God in new ways. Why? Because when our defenses are down and we’re more vulnerable, God can break into our lives more easily. It’s not that God is closer, it’s that we’re more open.

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances

These sort of natural disasters become the collective responsibility of all mankind to mobilize our compassion and resources to ease the pain of the people who have suffered.

This disaster is not the result of any sins of these people; we need to be clear that there is no belief that these victims “deserved” it for any of their actions. Rather, Muslims see these kinds of tragedies as a test from God. Muslims believe that God tests those he loves, and these tragedies also serve as a reminder to the rest of us to remain grateful to God for all our blessings and cognizant that we must support those in need.

These kinds of calamities should push us in positive ways. They should strengthen our faith in God and in his goodness. We attribute the things we don’t understand to his limitless wisdom and comfort ourselves that he is with us and he loves us, so there must be some meaning in what has happened, even if it is beyond our comprehension here at this time.

We are trained by our faith that every suffering, whether big or small, brings us closer to God’s mercy and forgiveness, to the extent that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said, if you are walking and feel a thorn pierce your foot, you should know that even this little bit of pain brings you divine blessing and God’s forgiveness. These times of suffering give us an opportunity to demonstrate patience and faith, and therefore, become closer to God.

Every natural phenomenon challenges us as God’s trustees on this Earth, showing us that we should continue to study and explore ways of safeguarding humankind and all creatures from being subjected to this kind of devastation. It is the collective duty of all humankind to put resources in this and advance our understanding of how to respond to these disasters in a scientific way.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, writer and activist who founded the Unified Buddhist Church in France, and Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile

As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.

The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.

An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: We can live in such a way that they can feel they are continuing to live in us, more mindfully, more profoundly, more beautifully, tasting every minute of life available to us, for them.

Sam Harris, author of books including “The End of Faith,” and co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, dedicated to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion.

Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, “this might be all part of God’s plan,” or “there are no accidents in life,” or “everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves” - these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.

The Rev. Franklin Graham,  president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization

I don’t believe God does want this to happen. I don’t think it was ever God’s intention.

We know that there are going to be storms in life. No matter what happens we need to keep our faith and trust in almighty God.  And I want the people of Japan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them,  that God does care for them and that he loves them.

We care and God cares, and we’re standing by them.

CNN's Carol Costello contributed to this report

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • God • Japan

soundoff (1,886 Responses)
  1. radam82

    Religion merely stems from the human tendency to self-sooth and create rituals in order to cope with the more, shall we say unsavory aspects of a physical existence, i.e. murder, death, natural disasters etc...Now, that being said, I still think something or some being may bave created this/or other Universes...I just don't think any human myths, Christianity being one of them has it right.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  2. ObamaBlackJesus

    GOD DOES NOT EXIST!

    THERE'S NO PROOF!

    March 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  3. Jim1151

    Listen to yourselves. Each believer has a different spin on who the real God is, what suffering really means. All religions depend on unchallengeable statements, dogma and faith. Believers are only certain of the principal of uncertainty, man made delusions including false counseling, claiming to know the mind of their Gods.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  4. Observer

    "God loves you DEEPLY" and will send you to an eternity burning in hell if you don't do exactly what God says. Funny, most people love anyone who does exactly what they tell them to do.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  5. Brian

    Just because it has been around for a couple thousand of years longer than Scientology, doesn't make Christianity any less ridiculous.

    Christianity: "The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree..."

    March 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      ==Christianity: "The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree..."==

      Awesome. I am totally stealing that quote.

      I like Daniel Webster's definition of

      OCEAN, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  6. I would guess...

    at least 50 miles away from the reactor.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  7. It's not news, it's CNN

    lol

    March 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  8. saywhat

    CNN continues to embarrass itself with this section. At the very least, stop posting links to this drivel from the very top of the page.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  9. Noah Stephens

    Yawn. 2011 and people are still pretending to believe in a invisible fairy in the sky? Really?

    Come on. How many times does the earth have top open up and swallow a daycare center until people abandon their belief in a benevolent god?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  10. Frankie

    It's really too bad these Jesus freaks won't be conscious of there being absolutely nothing there when they die, cause the looks on their moronic faces would be priceless.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Noah Stephens

      So true. So true 🙂

      March 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  11. It's not news, it's CNN

    Once again, showing people every where that CNN has not idea what news is. This tripe should never been printed.

    Was there a 'Where is God in New Orleans' post? Was there a 'Why the heck did God not protect the Towers' post?

    Can we call this a simple pander to the fringe of our society, or is this a typical new unit reaction to put murders and fires on the front page (except that this time it is wrapped in false spirtual inclusiveness'.

    It's irrelevant garbage, but it will sell ad space, hence it is on CNN.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • CMC

      Dude, you don't have to click on websites that bother you so much. Pretend CNN doesn't exist. Don't watch it on TV and don't visit their website. I do this with FOX news and it definately helps lower my blood pressure.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  12. Nicolas

    The atheists want to not believe so much that they use this event as a proof that God doesn't exist? Really? So if you extend that argument, any thing negative happens in the world is proof that either God doesn't exist, God is impotent to prevent events or at worst, God is indifferent to the suffering.

    So what the atheists want us to believe is that if God truly existed, there wouldn't be any hunger, suffering, poverty, injustice, war and if you extend that argument further, there wouldn't be any sickness or DEATH. It sounds like the atheists are hoping for heaven on earth. No suffering and if there is, they're going to have a temper tantrum because their Daddy didn't prevent them from being sad.

    I find that argument about the existence of God weak at best. It basically implies that the humans know better about the meaning and purpose of life.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Noah Stephens

      If god is benevolent, then malevolent things would not happen because those things would defy the very nature of a benevolent god.

      Surely you understand this argument. Or maybe not.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Nicolas

      Who said God was benevolent?

      March 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  13. Realistic

    All in favor of CNN never posting a god related "news" article again reply yes!

    March 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Andy

      YES!

      March 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • liz4

      i agree with you lach man

      March 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      Yes.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • liz4

      if any body agrees with my statement i made at 6;09 please reply to me please do not reply if you don not agree with the statement

      March 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Josh

    The hostility in these comments (from both sides) is saddening...

    March 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • KennyG

      It so important to get this right. A matter of life or eternal death.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @KennyG
      Get what right? That Jesus is the true god because u worship him because u happened to be born into a christian family? what if u were born in iran, then u would be banking on muhammed being the true god and squaking out 'allah akbar!'.
      Let me try ona whim here to get your rational/logical brain working...
      you 'assume' that Christianity is the correct religion. What if Allah is the right god? what if Hinduism is correct? what if the juju of the sea is the right god? what if Zeus is the one? etc.........Throughout humanity, men have invented 1000s of gods to explain the unexplainable. so the chance of you being right when you die is 1 in 1000s!
      but what if you are right? then i will go to hell......again according to your god. But what IF there is a god who only wants men to find the truth, the real truth; and not just waste their lives praying to him all day. in the middle ages the church thought the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. all the church goers (blind sheep/believers) used to go to church and agree with this view. alas, along comes Galileo to give them the TRUE answer to our solar system! the church also believed in the middle ages that people got sick because of demons. Priests used to go over to sick peoples homes to pray for the demons to leave them. unfortunately, as u may guess, they died. Along comes science with germ theory (back then no one knew about microbes) with the TRUE answer as to why people get sick, not because of demons!
      You see, maybe god likes people who try to figure out the true answers and not waste time praying and believing religious dogma by turning their rational brain off. Maybe god likes people who want to do good for the sake of helping others, and not because they have been threatened with eternal punishment. Given that god might appreciate people like that, you and me have the same chance when we meet god after we die (IF there is a god, hypothetical).
      Is your rational brain working now Kenny? Hello??

      March 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  15. Dan

    Well if you believe in god and the whole Jesus thing. You must believe in a man who got swallowed by a whale and lived in its stomach for many days. True story....says the bible. So if this is true...why not believe in santa claus?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • KennyG

      Indeed, some of the parables are interesting, but they were put in the Bible to teach us. Whether they are exact events or just parables is not important. The greater message that God loves us, created us, and offers us a way to exist with Him forever is most important.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  16. Marcus Jay

    The same people that say there is no god are the very same ones that turnaround and blame god when things go wrong. (natural disasters, wars, killing, poverty, etc.) And these same people will still tout evolution over God as to how life was and is created. So I guess that means you'd have to blame evolution for all of the world's problems.

    So what's it going to be you "non-believers"?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Dave

      please provide 1 example of an atheist blaming God for anything.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • CMC

      I don't blame God for good things or bad things, as I don't believe in God. Good and bad things happen because that's just the way it is. Babies are born healthy because there was just the right mix of healthy DNA and good environmental factors, likewise the babies that aren't born healthy are usually a product of problems in their genetic make up and/or environmental factors (exposure to drugs, malnutrition, etc.). This disaster happened because of tectonic plate shifts, not because of God.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Faitn in Humanity

      Life was not 'created' by evolution as you seem to think. Do not try and argue with things with which you have no knowledge.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Linx

      If you don't believe in God, why are you always asking us who do to "prove" it? Don't tell me because we are "shoving" it down your throat either. Count the number of posts on a blog, and see which ones are doing the "shoving" wanting all this proof.

      If you don't believe, then be content in it. Stop jumping on people who do. So, if they come with thier Jesus loves you, how easy is that for you to ignore?

      March 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • CMC

      Linx: I have no issue with ignoring people of various religions and letting them worship as they please. However, when they are trying to get their beliefs pushed in public schools which I help pay for (and tax-exempt churches do not) and they wish to influence secular laws based on their religious beliefs, that is where I draw the line. Why can't the religious ignore those that don't believe? I assure you, no atheist ever put a pamphlet on my door asking me to believe like they do or asked for donations so that they could go on a mission to push atheism on others. So, who's pushing what down whose throats?

      March 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • KennyG

      Atheists blame the 'belief' of God to be the cause of all problems on earth. I wonder where everything came from? Can science explain pre 'Big Bang' matter and energy? God is real, created everything, and set up everything to work a certain way (albeit evolution or other science). A great deal of thought needs to be put into this, not quick statements stating what many want to hear: that they have complete control over everything. There is Good News available to all...

      March 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • What.

      Yeah, you are totally wrong marcus. I don't even want to take the time to explain.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @KennyG
      Yes science can't explain what came before the big bang. But science is trying to come up with the REAL answer. Just like evolution is the TRUE answer to why we are here whereas the adam and eve creation myth is already discredited. Because u dont know the correct answer, assuming that 'God did it' is NOT an answer. It's a non-answer. In the middle ages when people got sick the believers assumed that they got sick because of demons, (or 'demons did it!'). so when someone got the flu a priest would go over to the ailing person's home and say a prayer (to no avail of course). Then along comes science with the germ theory of disease (the REAL answer), and introduces the idea that germs (micro-organisms) are the cause of diseases. From this theory we were able to develop many medications to cure ailments and save plenty of lives! So it wasn't god/demons who caused people to get sick, the REAL answer is germs. In the same way, because we dont know what happened before the big bang, it doesn't mean that 'god did it!', and it definitely doesnt show that god is real. I can just as easily say, 'science doesnt know what happened before the big bang, so definitely the leprechaun king did it, or zeus, or rha, or '. Do u now understand why if u dont know how something came to be, that it doesnt show that there is a god??

      March 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  17. Jon De Ment

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" –Epicurus, 300 BC

    March 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • airwx

      Do you then adhere to the scientific reality that if there were no earthquakes or volcanos that it would mean that our planet would be too cool to support human life? Epicurious also died 260+ years before the birth of Jesus, so I would reserve judgement on his opinion of Christianity.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • kayray

      @airwx--he didn't mention christianity. He was talking about "god" who was around way before Jesus, if you believe in that sort of thing. Are you one of those christians who believes they have a patent on god?

      March 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • CMC

      To airwx: the quote is about God, not Jesus. It isn't specific about which God. Besides, isn't Jesus supposed to be the son of God? If so, your version of God would have been around during the time of Epucurus, right?

      March 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      "airwx
      ... Epicurious also died 260+ years before the birth of Jesus, so I would reserve judgement on his opinion of Christianity."

      How utterly revealing your comment is as to the sheer arrogance of Christianity's monopoly on "god." EPICURUS (not curious) was commenting on the lack of participation of any and all forms of 'god' and the 'divine.'

      Maybe that's the problem with discussions about faith. Those who have faith always take an attack on the substance of their belief as an attack on their person.

      Please try to be more objective and rational. Its not always about 'YOU". But then again, religion has always been anthropocentric, hasn't it? God has a right hand? How many fingers?

      We landed on the moon over 40 years ago and we are still spinning our wheels with this debate? Unreal.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Proud to be a believer

      Doing evil is only our own human , and mortal decision, and knowing Right from wrong.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • KennyG

      I guess the bottom line is that if you decide incorrectly about the correctness of religion you have established an awful after life future. You are either right or wrong. I'd hate to be wrong...

      March 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  18. Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

    Can anyone who purports the existence of "god" please present evidence OTHER THAN QUOTING SCRIPTURE? Please? No animosity, no disdain, no attacking others' beliefs (or lack of belief).

    Simply proof that can be verified incontrovertibly. If the bible is the only "proof" then I will continue to wait for proper evidence. "Knowing in your heart" doesn't count, either. That's a feeling you are free to have but does not swing the pendulum in either direction. So what is the evidence that a god exists?

    Anyone? ...Bueller?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Linx

      How do you expect anybody to "prove" God, when God is SPIRITUALLY discerned?

      March 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Dave

      Prove incontrovertably? That would take faith out of the equation. We do have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Since you suggest reading, try "The Case for A Creator" by Lee Strobel. He is a world class journalist who investigated the claims of God. You can find his material and bio info at http://www.leestrobel.com If you honestly seek truth, I am confident that you will find God at the end. Take care.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Steve

      In the small amount of space given here, I would have to say no.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      Ahh. Lee Strobel. His "Big Eight Conundrums." At the end of the day, his arguments are not convincing due to being up for serious interpretation and assumption based on your point of view. And being a world class journalist with a legal background doesn't bring any more weight to the validity of his claims.

      I agree that faith is not quantifiable physically. But there are literally thousands of other faith based claims made in the physical world by all religions that simply do not have evidence to support them.

      I'm glad you are happy and draw comfort from your faith. I imagine that same feeling was once held by believers in Zeus and Jupiter. It doesn't make their existence true, though.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Kyle

    The world is ending...things will not get better...it will gradually becomes worse. You will end up saying...ok God, you win.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • CMC

      Or, for non-believers, we might end up saying "okay, Mother Nature, you win".

      March 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Faitn in Humanity

      Yea, its getting worse because people like you who believe in the rapture and being taken up to heaven for a 'better life' do not care about this world and want it (pray for it) to end.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Proud to be a believer

      It states in the bible that we should give him praise even in bad times, and we should rely on him in all situations because we as humans can't do it alone, and that it is his decision in the end what will happen to us, we we have to rely on Jesus because the Government is not going to help us when we Die.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • lachman

      You're crazy, the world is not ending, God is only testing man's faith in Him, that's why one should always pray and thank God in joy and sorrows.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Why do people say crazy things like "the world is ending" and "things will not get better"? Christians starting with Jesus have been saying that for millenia, and still are wrong. Things – medicine, living conditions, stable high quality food supplies, travel, and so much more – have gotten a lot better over the centuries, and will most likely continue to do so. Sure there will be diffculties – there always are, but this doom-and-gloom pessimism that religious people keep trying to sell us just is not borne out by reality.

      Life is good, the world is not spiralling out of control, and it's a nice day out. Don't buy into the religious gibberish that it's all falling apart and God is coming to slaughter everyone who does not obey.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Jim1151

      Your comment is a projection about your own life. It's difficult for the human mind to contemplate what an ending means. And the truth is the human mind is hardwired (by evolution) not to contemplate death, the ending. But everything in the universe comes to an end including the universe itself. But somehow we're special, huh?. We get to live an eternal life if we bow down, praise and worship this "dad' figure. Daddy will save us from this awful ending. Belief in a deity is a childish wish to understand our reality. It was born in the infancy of our species. Could you accept the true reality that man has no purpose? We will be extinct billions of years before the end of the Earth. The universe is indifferent to all of us. What else do you need to witness in your lifetime, our world history to prove otherwise?

      March 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  20. god is my Doctor

    1. at age 12 I began to question (in my mind, certainly not aloud) what the Catholic Church was saying to me... for example...
    will I really go to hell if I die right after eating meat on a Friday?
    will I really go to hell if I die after skipping mass on Sunday?
    will all the millions of people who do not believe in god go to hell even if they lead good lives?

    2. my mother, whom I loved dearly, passed away a year later and I was no longer forced to go to church, thank god... and Dad, god rest his soul.

    3. now in my 60's, I don't see how any person who looks back at history or follows current events can possibly believe in god

    4. it's true that we non-believers cannot prove god does not exist... however... history overwhelmingly suggests that a good, loving, know-all/see-all, compassionate god does not exist.

    5. religion does some good however... I think some people are law-abiding citizens only out of fear of going to hell later on.

    to you believers, spend some time with Special Olympics, then ask yourself... why?

    March 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Joeom

      God definitely exists. But not the way most people think. Most people think a baby that dies will go to hell for eternity because it couldn't understand god enough to believe. I disagree. I think a baby that dies goes to hell for 500 trillion years. Because eventually, god will give the baby another chance because he is merciful and a baby can't be punished for eternity for 1 year on earth. You can only be punished for all eternity for like 20 or more years on earth. so a baby probably suffers in hell for only like 500 trillion years (which is a very short time compared to eternity). and then the baby is reincarnated or something.

      March 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • rkdres

      The god debate usually ends up an argument over "exists or does not exist", but as an intelligent species we should realize that it isn't always black or white, it isn't "this or that".....there are probably things that are true and a vast amount of other things that are lies...

      March 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • IBelieve

      Read the book "Heaven is for real" a story of a child that claims they went to heaven as they were dying fom illness. Pretty compelling stuff.
      God is real, and so is Heaven and Hell. Hell is simply the permenant seperation from your creator and most of those there chose not to be with God. Freewill is a choice to seek Him or not. He will not call your house on the phone and say I am real. You must seek to find Him. He is patient and He will wait for you. And, He will love you even if you do not believe in Him. You can go to Hell even if you don't believe in it.

      March 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Jed

      Sad, sad, sad when religion in general is thought of as a group of rules or a bunch of do's and don'ts. Most religions revolve around man's attempt to please God. For those that don't believe God or that God exists, it's amusing that you waist your time proving that He doesn't. You have your own set of rules and guidelines that you go by so why click a mouse or utilize brain power to alledge He does not exist. A question does come to mind though and the question is, what if you are wrong? If you are right then everything, every life, every soul, every spirit will just cease to exist and you would have the right to say, " I told you so" but if you are right there would be no one to say it to nor hear it. If you are wrong however and using the Christian premise of heaven and hell, what comes next? Somewhere in the bible it says "The fool has said in his heart there is no God" That's what the Bible says. If you don't believe in what many call a talking head in the sky then this is just utter nonsense right? Can't be correct because there is no God. But.....the fool has said......

      March 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Barry Bencsics

      God hides in darkness. If he did not hide himself then normally we all would believe in him and seek after him. God chose not to be rebealed that way but rather we seek him so hapily we may find him. God in his wisdom chose it to be this way to have faith in a God we can not see. Do not forget we do all have an adversary that that does not love us like god, but desires to destroy gods most precious creation...us to get back at god. if you do not believe in god and his word then you dont have much protection from this adversary, and yet god has compassion on us...it says in his word in the last days perilous times shall come on the whole earth...and yet they will not repent....sin makes ones heart hard. God said woe to the inhabitants of the earth the devil knowing his time is short comes to you with great wrath...we all must repent and believe in his word again. Lets build the hedge that Job built in fearing god and believing in his name Jesus.

      March 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.