home
RSS
 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. MGT

    Faith is a gift from God. I tell you the truth, when you are a practicing Christian..practicing meaning that you are humble and TRY to obey God's Laws, follow and live Jesus teachings, you will see God's presence in your life and His continual guidance with every decision you need to make. Suddenly, those things in life that were important before are no longer important. Those things in life that were not important, take the foreground in your thoughts and actions. It is a continuous relationship with God, interaction always. Are we Christians perfect..Absolutely Not!! That is why Jesus came and became the perfect sacrifice for all sinners. To those who say He is fake or does not exist, it is because He is hidden from you. Your wisdom is folly to God. Seek Him...really do it...He will become as real to you as the Sun. As for the bad things that happen on earth, God is still in control. These are trials in our lives. Like a forger forming steel shapes through fire and heat, God throws us into the forge of this physical life, tests us, makes us stronger, prepares us for the role we will play when we reach everlasting life.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • NL

      "To those who say He is fake or does not exist, it is because He is hidden from you."
      Do you mean that God is hiding from non-believers? If he's hiding from just us then wouldn't you take that as a sign that he doesn't want us to believe in him? Wouldn't we just be fulfilling God's plan by not believing then?

      "Your wisdom is folly to God."
      Ok, but is it folly to humans, like you? You are implying that the atheist argument, based on wisdom as you put it, does in fact make logical sense, but is only unacceptable because it contradicts what is said in scripture.

      I would as.sume that human wisdom not concerning the topic of God does make sense to you, right? You don't have a total disregard for all human wisdom, but only the wisdom that doesn't match what you believe in personally, correct? That, my friend, is the very definition of 'folly.' Every 'fool' in the world is called such because they disregard the common wisdom. It is justifiable then to call Christians fools according to human wisdom. Non-believers, then, are just trying to talk 'sense' to fools. Simple as that.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  2. PRISM1234

    @FNM, you speak like a fool ! Hell is not a place meant for any human soul to occupy. You have no idea what you're talking about.
    In that place of the da'mn'ed there is no friends gathering and parties... B.I.G. will or already has found out....
    There is a place of weeping, regret, hopelessness, and unimaginable sorrow, in which those who enter have no way out, and no hope... Those heroes of yours you mentioned, if rejection of God was their final state, would give anything in this world, and would trade their places with the lowest beggar walking upon the face of the earth, just to have chance to come back and call upon the Name of Jesus Christ.
    They know NOW he is not a myth, they know who He is, and what He did for them, but they rejected Him... And that regret will haunt them all eternity....

    ---------------

    *****Note: it is almost impossible on CNN's blogs to respond to a post, and have the response posted in proper order. So, going to the last page in line is the only logical way....My suggestion is, if someone responds, they need to include the name of the poster to whom they are responding.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  3. Deliverance

    Isn't it amazing that atheist who claim There is no God, as soon as there is a "natural" disaster want to know where is God?
    If you do not believe in God then he is nowhere. If you belive in God then he is right where he always is...in the hearts of his believers. Faith is all about believing in the unseen realm of the spirit "We walk by faith and not by sight" and since the beginning of time there have been and will always be "natural" disasters and people will die from them and the ones who believe will spend eternity with God and the ones who believe not will not. As belivers we have always said "we walk by faith and not by sight" but we are living in a time where it can no longer be talk but we must live out that scripture. No matter what it looks like God is still in control and he still gives us freewill to choose to believe or not. As for "natural: disasters, the earth has always groaned and travailed, flooded and shaked, burned and replenished itself in an endless cycle of restoration as God has created it to do and the just and the unjust often get caught in this act of nature and it will try your faith and see if you can be shaken or not. I beleive and i pray you do. This life is only temporary for everyone when you believe and read his words you begin to see things from the eternal perspective of God.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • morrison0880

      Atheists are asking you where YOUR god is. They are asking why, if god is able to stop natural disasters, does he not do so. Sam Harris pointed it out, but thousands of years ago Epicurus hit the nail on the head. And we still haven't learned.
      "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?"

      March 21, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Finding faith amid disaster

      !You said : "sn't it amazing that atheist who claim There is no God, as soon as there is a "natural" disaster want to know where is God?" Where you heard about such a false atheists doubt Sir?!! I am an authentic atheist and never and in no occesion wanted or thought to know where is "GOD".

      March 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  4. this guy

    where has god ever been?
    can any of you prove he's there?
    Is there any more sound evidence that god exists other than what one random old guy at a time supposedly quoted god saying 2,000 years ago??
    Where the hell has he been?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  5. this guy

    i find it just amazing how ignorant people really are.
    it takes a tsunami (and not the one that killed 250,000+ Indonesian people) for people to ask where god is.
    Where was god during Katrina, durring the NAZI era, during the time the chilean miners were stuck underground, or at all in Africa? You would think that the "father" would want to watch after his "children."
    But then again, he did send jesus the alleged son of god to the cross to die and his only excuse was "it's for the forgiveness of sins."

    The sooner people wake up and grow up and stop waiting for an old guy with a white robe and beard sitting on a cloud granting wishes to grant their wish (or as morons like to say "prayers") the sooner you'll be able to open your eyes and see the world for what it really is. Until then enjoy your childish fantasies.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • this guy

      all I'm saying is.. God is a terrible parent if he's supposed to be the "father"

      March 21, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  6. George

    All of a suddon there was this BIG BANG and there were trees, animals birds fruits, vegtables!!! All of a suddon the earth was perfectly situated to breed life!! ALL of a suddon there just happens to be vitimans and minerals in certain fruits and vegtables that just so happens to be benifitail to our health!! how do you know that we are all alive?? maybe it's just a dream?? can you prove that we are alive? Can you prove that there isnt a god who created the world?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • morrison0880

      The burden of proof isn't upon non-believers to prove that there isn't a God. You make a positive assertion, that God exists, so it is on you to prove that assertion true. It is similar to me saying that there exists a rainbow colored unicorn that can fly around the moon. You can't prove that it doesn't exist. Therefore, it does exist. See how silly that sounds?

      March 21, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Magic

      George,

      Can you prove that my lucky blue rabbit's foot didn't prevent me from having a car accident yesterday?

      March 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  7. morrison0880

    What I can't understand is why we pray for people after disasters like these? Praying to God is basically asking him to intervene in reality in order to produce a favorable outcome. However, God chose not to intervene before the earthquake and tsunami, saving the lives of thousands of people. Was that because people weren't praying for that disaster to NOT happen? What makes you think that God didn't care to stop the disaster, but now that some Christians are asking him to help out, he's going to lend a hand? That's basically saying that God is a dick. He lets horribly things happen so he can reap the prayers of those affected, and lets huge disasters happen if he has a hankering for more prayers from people other than those affected. This disaster has the whole world praying, and God is licking it up.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  8. rafael

    Serious question: does god have a pen-is? You can read only so much reference to He and Him before you start to wonder whether you people seriously think god is male.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  9. Prove it

    Damn religious nut jobs...

    March 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  10. Thomas Schmelzer

    Luke 13:4-5 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
    I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  11. Said with love

    Amazing how people question where God is when tragedy strikes there path and blame Him and only call for Him @ their convenience. God is there all the time whether you believe Him or not... God is in control. He wants a people to lean, serve and praise him all the time and not just when its handy or convenient for them....I have one question for those who believe there is no God. How come you fuss and argue about God? If I didn't believe in God I sure wouldn't talk about Him and be mad and angry at those who do believe. Speaking about God angers those because they know its true and refuse to accept it.

    all with love

    March 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Patrick

      "Speaking about God angers those because they know its true and refuse to accept it."

      Really? Then why doesn't he save the several hundred thousand men women and children than have died in disasters over the past few years. If he can part an entire sea to save some refugees why can't he stay a tsunami or prevent an earthquake?

      Soon we'll have even more religi-nuts on here saying god loves you blah blah... god either doesn't exist or is not concerned with your pitiful existence on this tiny little planet out at the hind even of the universe. Free your mind...

      March 21, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • morrison0880

      "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

      March 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  12. Ed

    So I have been reading these blogs for a wile now. I have come to a conculsion about what nonbelievers seem to expect God to be. Basically they want God to give them a perfect life with no strife or negativity. They want him to help the at work and at home. To turn all the lights green for every drive. To make sure every out door event has perfect wheather. to make sure their team wins every game. To make sure the are happy . healthy and of course wealth. To make sure no harm or misfortune comes to them or anyone the know or care about at any level. In returen the will tell God to mind hes on business about all the do and how they behave. The will show him no love or loyalty or respect. They will do to others what ever their own morals suggest, (this is not meant to imply they will do harm or wrong it just depends on them, how they will behave). So the typical nonbeliever seems to think that God should be the personal poorly treated servant. Seems a little unreasonable to me.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Allan

      Ed,

      You are way off base in your thinking here. For the most part non-believers are simply asking the believers to really think about their beliefs. I have no opinion on what God should or shouldn't be. It would be folly for me to have expectations for something that I do not believe in. When non-believers make comments about the seeming absence of God in human affairs, it is simply to point out the inconsistencies that exist between what the Bible says and what we know today. The Bible and it's fairy tales are simply incongruent with today's world, because science has done it's homework (not to disprove religion, but in search of facts). I cannot say the same for faith, because there are no explanations just a reliance on faith. I do not ask that people change their mind because I say so (most people believe God exists solely because someone told them so), I ask that people apply rational and reasonable thought to the stories in the Bible. If you end up still believing, good for you, but I think most people would be hesitant to completely discount the possibility that someone made up stories and embellished the facts in order to promote their agenda.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Magic

      Ed,

      What Allan said. Yes. Read it again, then read it again.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Ed

      Allan, Thanks for your response. I thinking I am more on base then you realize based ion the comments made by most none believers on these pages and other similar discusion. I was once one of the non believers and I also wonder why God let things happen or did not prevent things from happening. Then I realized through both external reasearch as you suggested. and intenal research (my one soul) that God never said he would do things for us or prevent bad from happening. I beleive that God spoke to me ( not voice in my head or through the neighbors dog) but through my soul. Its hard to explain because it requires a certain willingbess to believe to understand what I mean. Other believers have felt it too. You are of course correct science has prove many things once believed as incorrect and improved our knoweldge on countless subjects. I beleive we need science to understanding the universe and all things phsyical that can be easily explained when we get tko the right level of development. Science has proved its self wrong from time to time as well. I don't discount the benefits on scisnce to the world. However there are some things beyond science. Some will one day be discovered by science soem will not. Some belong to the soul which since it is not physical is hard for science to do reasearch on. These are the areas that belong to God. The Bible is inspired by God but written and rewritten by man. It has some inconsistences it is not inteened to be God. But a guide book on our relationship with guide. Kind of like a class syllabus is not the class but aguide to the class. God and scisce are combatible. They are not opposing sides to a debate but different parts of the equation. Science also tells us the a object a rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by and outside force. The universe was once at rest the according to science exploded with a BIg Bang and became the universe. So what was the outside force. Prehaps God. In any case magic read and reread some of the comments made here and you will see some nonbelievers are expecting God to do for them before they believe in him some are not. Allan is is unfortunate that some many believers of all faith treat the relegious books as the end oall and be all of their faith not the guide to their faith they were meant to be. There is far more to God than what is in the Bible or any other relegious book. This does not make what is in such books fairy tales. Fairy tales are what the brothers Grimm wrote.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  13. anon

    24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (ACTS 17:24-31) NIV

    (Exodus 20:1-6)NIV
    1 And God spoke all these words:
    2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
    3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
    4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • morrison0880

      "The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." Hosea 13:16

      "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do." Exodus 21:7-8

      "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Numbers 31:17

      March 21, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  14. dawn

    Fairy tale? Really? God is a fairy tale?
    Think about our technology which really exploded only in the last century.
    With our limited technological evolution could we start life at a new planet if we could reach one that was inhabitable? Yes Do we have the ability to track this life? Yes, we track creatures here now. If given enough time I would imagine we could track them through their very DNA from one generation to another.
    We with our primitive ways could do such things, but it is just completely a fairy tail be believe in a superior being to us to have done such a thing. Who is really being simple-minded here?

    March 21, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • William Demuth

      You are.

      When you created the super powers for your imaginary creator you set the bar to low.

      We are already encroaching on your Biblical God's divine territory.

      We are our God, he is merely the preening of a childish species that overestimates its own importance.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • dawn

      Which part of my statement is not possible? Admit it, I'm right.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Magic

      dawn,

      Of course your scenario is *possible*; but could it be any *other* way? If the answer is "yes" (which it is), then you have not finished looking.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • rite

      If the methods are merely scientific, where is your "magical" god who is everywhere, sees everything, is all-powerful, and all-knowing?
      You cannot have it both ways. Extraterrestrial life is not automatically your "god", so your argument fails. If anyone can create life with sufficient technology, then where is the need for the supernatural sky-daddy?
      Face it, your religion is just an emotional panacea written by desperate wannabes. It's success depends entirely upon your credulity and nothing else.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  15. George

    All of a suddon there was this BIG BANG and there were trees, animals birds fruits, vegtables!!! All of a suddon the earth was perfectly situated to breed life!! ALL of a suddon there just happens to be vitimans and minerals in certain fruits and vegtables that just so happens to be benifitail to our health!! how do you know that we are all alive?? maybe it's just a dream?? can you prove that we are alive?? Can you prove that there isnt a god who created the world??

    March 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Marcus Moore

      Speaking of the Big Bang theory. If there was nothing prior to the Big Band, what exactly went BANG!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • clearheaded

      you're right. It's much more reasonable to believe that, all of a sudden, a being intricate and powerful enough to create all of these things with a wave of his magic finger just appeared out of nowhere. That is some solid logic.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Smugenbu

      That's... not how the big bang worked. I'd suggest watching Cosmos sometime. Carl Sagan provides a pivotal perspective in where humanity falls within the "cosmic calendar".

      March 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • morrison0880

      Not all of a sudden. After billions of years. Your argument is that of an idiot. It is because simple-minded people like you that religion is still around and we have to teach that God created light before the sun, and that we are made from dirt. Except women. They're made from a guy's rib.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Patrick

      "Can you prove that there isnt a god who created the world??"

      By the same token can you prove that he did create the world and that he does exist? Have him appear in the sky above me and at least say hey I am here and I care about you.

      Since it hasn't happened to anyone who isn't on hallucinogenic compounds yet I await your response.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  16. Morgan

    Guess god doesnt know how to use the phone, get on facebook, or twitter, because a caring loving god would have attempted to warn people BEFORE he set off such distruction...

    March 21, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • EyeH8Obama

      He has been waring them for years.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Singingdrum

      Funny thing is, God does get on Facebook every day, as well as Twitter, and every other method of communication you can imagine. My beliefs about God are not what most people on this blog believe, but there certainly are thousands on this planet who think as I do. You see, the way I think, God is what animates every one of us. The Essence of us ( Energy, Life Force, Spirit–whatever name you like to use) is what gives us life. This is the gasoline that fuels us. Yes, you atheists have God in you just as much as any believer! If you live and talk, God speaks, as a tiny Spark of God's essence.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  17. coffeeandtea

    I am still trying to understand why the (allegedly) All-Loving & All-Powerful God creates death and destruction through earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear radiation. If there is a God & he/she/it purposely brings death and destruction to people, I find that God to be equal to a crazy & evil dictator who purposely brings death and destruction to his own people.

    It seems ludicrous to me, especially with NO EVIDENCE, that some people walk around and try to use 2,000 year old myths to explain geological processes.

    Religion has done more and will continue to do more harm than its purported good.

    There is absolutely no credible evidence for a divine being. It is madness to walk around with this kind of thinking. It's Madness I tell you – It's Madness!!!

    No, Crazy Christians, do not try to Save me. Use your time more wisely by picking up a book of science and learning something real about the world in which you live.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Patti

      coffee and tea i couldn't agree with you more!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Ed

      actually coffen its mostly the non believers claiming God caused the earthquake and tsunami. They are looking for some one to blame. The beleivers know it is natural event and though tragic there is no one to blame. Many people turn to God at times on tragedy to help them through the hard times. We don't blame nor ask to him to prevent tragedies. That was never the deal. Non belivers ask at times like this were is he. We say he is here ask for his help you will get it if you truly seek it. It won't be what nonbelievers expect but it is there. I'm not trying to save your soul that is not in my power. Just yours and Gods and he won't force you to except him. So that really comes down to you. God is not our servant as so many want him to be. As for reading a science book. Science will not help you through this but God can. Beliving God does not mean ignoring science they are compatible if you let them be.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • J SMITH

      Listen dude, GOD was telling you how he created heaven and earth some 14,000 years before scientist FINALLY caught on by looking in the Bible and now saying the 'Big Expansion'. ALL POWERFUL AND ALL MIGHTY GOD. I don't know where people get this 'ALL-LOVING'. Does not exist or compute. Does GOD give you a chance to be like him? Yes. Does GOD care if you choose not to be like him? No. He will simply throw your but in the Lake of Fire. Forget Hell. Even though I am not Jewish, I know that the Torah was carried by word of mouth well before Moses ever wrote it down. Scientist still don't understand how the Big Bang happened. They can't get over the 'Let there be Light'!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Megeido

      In life you have two choices, receive Jesus in your heart and have eternal life, or death be condemn in hell for ever. If you believe in science do you know that science proves the Bible 100%, do your research first before making a decision. Do you know that in hell you will remember your actions here on earth. It will be sad to be in hell in torment and torture knowing that the reason you are there is because you rejected Jesus. How can you reject God and you don't even know him or have given him a chance to touch your heart. Start by reading Romans 10:9.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Magic

      "Start by reading Romans 10:9."

      I wouldn't buy a 'previously owned' donkey from Paul of Tarsus, but it seems as if you have bought a whole fleet.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Ed

      Megeido,

      Please stop telling every one you disagree with they are going to hell. Thats not your decision leave it to good. If your are trying to convert them it will not work. If they don't beleive in God the don't believe in hell. It makes it seem like the people think think believers are closed minded fools are correct. There are better ways to discuss god then threats and threats just don't work. Even threats you can carry out don't work. and threats you can't cary out l;ike telling some one they are going to hell is just mean spirited and makes you look silly. Only God can carry that threat out and tyour not him and don't really know his will. Fianlly he gave us free will for a reason respect that and allow others to have their opinons even if you think they're wrong.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • tony

      coffeeandtea, your ignorance is profound. However, it is not your fault nor is it God's fault. It is the fault of our enemy-the devil.
      What you see happening in the physical is a result of activities in the spirit realms of which you are part of but ignorant off.
      This ignorance is a greater disaster than any you might witness physically. The natural disasters you see is the direct results of spiritual activity. You see, the spirit realms control the physical realm.
      Where is God in all this you might wonder. He is in it all.
      He is the One keeping it from all crushing down at once.
      Why all these disasters? God has an enemy called Evil.
      Why don't God just destroy him? Because God is just. Without free will to HIs creation, we would not appreciate Him.
      Of all beings created Man was made in the image of God ( that is made in His nature -to rule and have dominion).
      By dominion we mean to rule by speaking to the earth and controlling it.
      That dominion was freely given to God's enemy by Man and with that death came to all creation.
      So by this treason the devil and his followers (fallen angels, demons and men & women who freely work with him) calls theses things out in spirit realm and they come to pass in the physical.
      Where is God in all this? God , His angels and Men & women aligned with Him affect goodness in the spirit realms and this also comes to pass in the physical.
      Dont be fooled though. God is all powerful and has the last say in everything.
      There is constant war in the spirit realm to control what is happening in the physical.
      Why are there so many religions?.- because there are many beings in the spirit realms trying to be worshiped by those who have less knowledge of the spirit realms.. They are all under the same leader -satan ( they are highly organized). But do not fear. God is Greater than all of them.
      It took Jesus (God's Son) to come and show us our authority in the world. He also paid the price and punishment of our treason. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but be saved.
      Jesus paid the full price for our treason and when He Had finished paying it.( on the cross and in hell) God raised iHim up for our justification ( God was satisfied with the payment and declared us free from punishment ).
      Pay close attention now: Jesus then stripped the devil and his followers of all authority over man. He left him powerless.
      Jesus rose up from the dead and went back to heaven and God bestowed upon Him all power in heaven and on earth.
      So satan rules by deception now. He has long infiltrated the churches also- So learn the real truth of the Gospel.

      there were beings on earth before Adam but they were not created in Gods image . ( those beings were destroyed before God created Adam.
      Adam was the first of HIs kind with dominion in the image of God. He was like God. He spoke and things happened. But after the treason, the devils spirit which is a spirit of death ruled over him .

      Evolution Continues.
      When you accept what Jesus did on the cross and declare that He is your Lord and Savior, God takes away the Adamiic spirit in you ( which is subject to the rule of satan) and gives you a new Spirit ( which can not be ruled by satan)
      This new Spirit is born of God is not the old spirit passed down through human genealogy. YOU BECOME A NEW SPECIES.
      ....If you be in Christ then you are a New creation. God did not live 'in" Adam. Adam spoke to God and walked with GOD but that ceased after the treason.
      The Holy Spirit came and went on men of old but HE comes to live in us in CHRIST. So human evolution is REAL but just not the way we know it.

      The dominion taken away from Adam by the devil is given back to this new species in Christ . The Sons and Daughters of GOD.
      The whole world is saved technically, but you can not become this new species without accepting the work of the cross.
      You can try all other means (religions, philosophy etc.- ) but it wont work.

      They are those who are totally blind of the spirit realm – the greatest weapon of the devil.
      Then they are those who know and operate in these realms , how beit without God -and has taken themselves to be gods. Effecting the earth in conjunction with evil beings. But they know the truth- That in the spirit realm Jesus Christ is Lord of ALL. So my dear friend, stop wondering what happened and begin to know the truth. You are a sitting duck in the physical realm. The worst about this is that the person sitting next to you might know all this , consciously operating in the spirit to affect the physical and wont even tell you. This is the world you live in my friend (hidden).
      Accept Jesus as Lord and begin your journey to the truth. ...And You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.
      Jesus is the truth, the way and the life.
      God is incapable of evil. He is light and there is no darkness in Him.
      the devil comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. but Jesus(God) has come to give life and more abundantly.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Tony: lovely bit of parroting of old myths, there...

      Based on, exactly, what?

      March 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  18. Bill

    As a Christian, I can't understand most of these comments. The believers are trying converts the unbelievers through obnoxious comments and 1 or 2 verses of Biblical scriptures. That just won't work. They are as set in their beliefs as we are in ours. If someone decides to change their beliefs based on a CNN post, then they really weren't that rooted in their beliefs to begin with. The only thing I can hope for is that a conversion will occur at some point in their lives. But regardless, it is my belief that everyone, both sinner and saint, will someday know, acknowledge and kneel before God.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • jroc

      Bill...There are lots of people that are not firmly rooted in their beliefs and are searching for a way in life. Encouraging words or scripture can certainly nudge a person in the right direction, in my humble opinion.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • rafael

      jroc: you have delusions of grandeur. Mentioning a fairy tale on a blog could only possibly convince the most weak minded. Which is, I suppose, the type who joins your fold.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Patrick

      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.

      Respect the views of Buddhist, as we respect the views of others. Calamities are nothing more than Cause and Effect or Renge, Cause and Effect exist simultaneously. No conversion is requireed to resp[ect teh views of others.

      Buddhists respect the views of Christians, and Christians should respect the views of Buddhists, no matter how dificult it appears to Christians that Buddhist do not live a proper way of life. respecting all life is a proper way to live one's life, just as Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren Daishonin taught.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Patrick

      " my belief that everyone, both sinner and saint, will someday know, acknowledge and kneel before God."

      Kneel before Zod? I don't think so... I will call Superman first.

      I will bow to no man or supreme being unless he first proveth his existence to me. I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monsters. Bless him and his noodly appendages!

      Here is what god can do... restore all those that have died in recent disasters and prevent further death and suffering on this planet.

      Now... when are they coming back?

      March 21, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  19. Alex

    If God exists, how come I wasn't "chosen" to believe in him? Why is my thought process leading to me thinking he is fake? How come some people are blessed enough to believe in him and others arn't?

    March 21, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • matt

      Alex – you were created by God, He knew you before you even existed. You have the freedom to seek Him out and just ask God to show Him self to you. Trust me, you seek God and He will show Himself to you...He loves and desires to be close to you!! It's incredible what can happen!!!

      March 21, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Angel

      Alex, its as simple as this.....God gave you a choice....He doesnt force himself on anyone, He gave us all a free will...He said I give u a choice, life or death....., Life being in Him, through his Word. And to choose life. So its your choice what you wonna think or believe.
      Its very simple but religion(dos and donts) have complicated What God is all about. He is about Love, Loving Him 1st and then your neighbor, and he demonstrated it to us Through Christ Jesus.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Marcus Moore

      You ARE chosen to believe. Jesus died on the cross for EVERYONE. You just have not yet chosen to accept his gift of salvation. Think of his forgivness as a water faucet. The water (His forgivness) is right there and you can do whatever you want to get water (accept his forgivness) if you are thirsty (want to accept His forgivness) but until you turn the faucet on (accept His gift) nothing will happen. We are not robots. We have free will. And God does not send people to hell–people choose not to accept God's gift of forgivness.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • morrison0880

      Alex, it's very simple. As Matt and Angel have said, God doesn't force himself on anyone, and knew you before you were born. God knew before creating the universe that you were going to be born, and that you were going to use your rational mind to see a world where science, not faith, is the path to understanding how the universe works. He knew that you would not, could not in fact, discard reason and rationality for belief without evidence and fairy tales. He knew that you would see no reason to believe in his existence beyond one of many books supposedly written either by him, or inspired by him. Therefore, God created people like you and I to burn in hell for all eternity. What a loving God, eh? Enjoy!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Rhona Ottolina

      God who?

      March 21, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      I have to agree with you Alex, I sought the Christian God when I was young. Having never been raised in a religious tradition I wanted to feel this "love" or "know" this faith. I opened my young mind and heart to the experience (12 yrs old) and found the more answers I got the more I felt dissatisifed with them I became. The more distant this god became from life in general. I have now found true faith and comfort in Nature as my Goddess/God/Diety. She is the only true constant and has no spite, nor wrath, nor expectations other than to continue the cycles of our planet given the laws ot the universe (and understood by science) to govern those cycles. The only times I have felt wrapped in love or understanding has been in the wilderness with only sounds of nature and only views of nature to surround me. These places are becoming less and less available but that quiet meditation in those environments give me the peace without any baggage of a book written by men for men to establish control over a people by falsely explaining the world using fear to control us. This monotheistic "god" in heaven nor his "rival" in hell does not exist. We can measure see and touch nature and we can explain more of how it works. We can also explain how she gave birth to all life and infinite life accross the univers, the things we cannot explain 100% do not fall in to the "magical" Mystical or faith categorys anymore they fall in to the questions of time, matter, space and how these interact. This GOD of the Bible, Koran, Torah really cannot exist as presented in those books. It is time we humans took responsibility for ourselves as GOD/GODDESS and STEWARDS of this Planet rather than the irresponsible act of " everything happens for a reason or Gods plan is unknowable". I say say what you will but I think it is time we all just grow up ppl.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • tony

      You don't believe because you choose not to. You don't want to, even though all evidence points to Him.
      You probably believe in the big bang, what caused what caused the big bang.
      Bible says the things we see are formed from what are not seen. You have lost your spiritual eyes. You see 1/3 of reality.
      You are a spirit being first then physical. What you see in the physical is a result of what is going on in the spirit realms.
      Dont be fooled. The greatest education you can have is spiritual education. Don't be fooled. The rulers of this world work in the spirit realm. Bible says my people perish because of lack of knowledge. ( Knowledge of Him and the spirit realms).
      Call Him and see. He who created all things, can He not see and speak? Of course He can.
      There are many paths to the spirit realms that control the world. I would save you a long journey ,deceit and darkness.
      Jesus Christ is the Way , the Truth and the Life. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior and you become a son of the Most High. No matter how you become aware of the spirit realm, you will discover One profound thing that they are not telling you . Jesus Christ is the Son of God and all must bow to HIm in all creation. He has enemies,( the rulers of this world)
      The natural disasters are a result of activities in the spiritual realms.
      Those who make things happen( know the spirit realm)
      Those who wonder what happened ( blind to the spirit realm-even though they are part of it-ignorance)

      March 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  20. matt

    Everyone always asks "where's God in all these times of trouble" Or "where was God during 9-11?"
    The problem is that God is still there and will always be there desiring the be close to us, but we as worldly people are pushing God out of everything, attempting to take Him out of schools, the pledge, etc...and then we wonder...where's God at?
    So many times in life we treat God as a "spare tire god"...only wanting and needing Him when we're in need.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • kiki

      Praise The Lord! I Agree

      March 21, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Observer

      "God' was NEVER in the Pledge of Allegiance as it was originally written. Religious people ADDED it and now are upset that anyone would want to return to it's original intention. Hypocrisy.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • SurelyUjest

      I want to ask yiou these questions. 1. Why do you refer to God as male? 2. Why is it because others reject the Chrisitan god at some level do you refer to it as a "spare tire" rather than just irrelant to those people? 3. Why is it the more fundementalist a persons belief the more disappointing the questions and answers they have to give an intelligent answer seeking person? 4. Do you feel like you have let down your god because you failed to communicate your understanding to those who cannot wrap their hands around your beliefs?

      March 21, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • moscow

      1 woman and 7 men. Apparently only men have the monopoly on understanding where God is in the midst of disaster. My guess is that if we asked more women we might get a better answer.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • EyeH8Obama

      Prove it, Observer. At least show your source or something instead of just heaping out facts.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Sybaris

      Hey matt, WHO is everybody asking where god is?

      Posing fallacious scenarios in order to present speculative answers is a dishonest method to promote yourself and the religion you subscribe to.

      Regardless, the first amendment ensures I have freedom from religion so if you want your religion injected into things funded by my tax dollars then you'll have to go create your theocracy somewhere else.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Antonio

      The only truth about God, is the tremendous business built around his name, starting with the Vatican.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Observer

      @EyeH8Obama,
      The Pledge was written in 1892 as it said it was: a pledge of allegiance to the FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES, not a religious affirmation. It was changed in 1954.
      Just a simple lookup in wikipedia would have given you the facts. Your lack of research and curiousity for facts is not at all surprising based on your blog name.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Rhona Ottolina

      ... again, God who? ...

      March 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • matt

      Please know I'm not claiming I have the answers. I'm just going by what I've read in scripture and personal experience of things I've seen in my life and people close to me, and I'm still learning along the way.

      Thank you for all of your very honest comments. You don't have to agree with me, which obviously some of you don't and that's fine...I'm just sharing what I believe, just like you are sharing what you believe. The beauty of cnn comments 🙂

      March 21, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • matt

      and thank you for calling me out on the pledge...I didn't know that. I'm sorry, you're right I was assuming. Sorry!

      March 21, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Observer

      @Matt,

      I applaud you for your honesty. It's sadly rare to see someone admit they were wrong or apologize on a blog. While we may disagree on things, I hope you and others will keep open minds since neither "side" can prove or disprove the existence of God.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • ScottMul

      Ah haha...@eyehate, YOU GOT BURNED! Take your God, and shove it!!! You ignorant idiot!!! THE PLEDGE DID NOT ORIGINALLY HAVE "GOD" IN IT!!!! Ah hahahahaha! For the record I'm a Catholic, and I can't stand idiots who stand behind God, like the whole world revolves around him.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Sybaris

      Thanks for a response Matt but if you REALLY want to learn anything about religion you'll have to put down your bible and read material that is not written by the faithful. You made find the material contradictory to what you have been taught but then if you always only ate banana’s you’d never know the delight of strawberries.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:50 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
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.