July 24th, 2012
02:13 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Where was God in Aurora?
It’s a fresh take on an age-old question: Why does God allow suffering, natural disasters or – if you believe in it – evil?
We put the question to Twitter on Tuesday and got some starkly different responses.
“In short, God was in complete control, exercising His will,” wrote @PastorRileyF, who leads a church in Bethune, Colorado.
That riled @TheTrivia Jockey, who tweeted, “If that was God's will, God is definitely not deserving of my worship.”
@trentpayne also took issue with the Colorado pastor: "I'm going to respectfully disagree with you Pastor. God gives free will to man, but it wasn't his will that they die."
The back-and-forth provoked other believers to chime in on the theological issue of God’s sovereignty vs. human free will, with many Christians seeking to explain how a sovereign God could preside over seemingly senseless bloodshed.
The conversation and debate continued in the comments section of this post, with some insinuating that the massacre might be a kind of divine punishment, or at lease divine neglect:
Lots of readers used religious takes on the shooting to challenge the whole idea of God:
Plenty of others said the shooting was the devil's work:
What’s your take? Where was God in the Aurora massacre? Or do you feel that such tragedies are evidence for a godless universe?
Let us know in comments, and we’ll highlight the best ones.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.