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My Take: CNN readers' 7 answers to 'Where was God in Aurora?'
A man pauses at a memorial of crosses near the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the scene of last week's mass shooting.
July 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

My Take: CNN readers' 7 answers to 'Where was God in Aurora?'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Over the last few days, CNN’s Belief Blog has received more than 10,000 responses to its question, “Where was God in Aurora?”

The underlying concern here has vexed theologians for centuries: How can evil happen in a world that is lorded over by a good and all-powerful God? As CNN's readers struggled to make sense of God's presence (or absence) in the Aurora, Colorado, massacre, I counted seven different answers to this question:

1. There is no God.

Self-professed atheists may make up only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are extraordinarily active online, and on CNN's Belief Blog. A commenter who identified as Jason spoke for them when he wrote, “Where was God? He was where he has always been. Nowhere because God does not exist.” Bob Dobbs agreed: “God is imaginary. The question is moot.”

Many in this camp also quoted the ancient Greek philosopher (and skeptic) Epicurus:

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?

2. Don’t blame God, blame Satan.

Many theists on the site described the world as a battleground between God, who is working for good, and Satan, who is working for evil. “As long as Satan is loose to promote evil, bad things will happen to good people,” wrote kat.

3. Don’t blame God, blame us.

Probably the most common response from Christian commenters was that evil is a result of free will. Do we really want to be “puppets” or “robots"? Of course not. So God has given us the will to choose either evil or good.

Watch: Survivor of massacre says he forgives gunman

Believer summed up this position well:

"It's been said that the only thing we can truly give God is our will because its the only thing we possess that is uniquely ours. Everything else was given to us by him, and is, in effect, not ours to give in the first place. As such, and despite his omnipotence, he cannot intervene. . . .  He only possesses power where power can be possessed - and controlling our actions is not within that realm."

Here Deborah also chimed in: “This act of violence was not God's will. I get so tried of people blaming God for evil acts. Humans of their own free will do evil things.”

4. God was behind the massacre, and it was just.

Some believers saw God’s righteous hand in the Aurora massacre, inflicting a just punishment on a wayward nation now run by secular liberals rather than conservative Christians.

Lenny wrote:

"We as a country have been telling God to go away. We told him to get off our currency, get out of our schools, get out of our Pledge of Allegiance, take your Ten Commandments out of our courthouses, get those Bibles out of hotels and no graduation ceremonies in our churches. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and his protection if we demand that he leave us alone?"

Read: The man who made Aurora’s iconic crosses

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, took a similar tack in an appearance on the Heritage Foundation's "Istook Live" radio show, laying the blame at the feet of a nation that has turned away from its God:

"You know, when people say, where was God in all of this? Well, you know, . . . we’ve threatened high school graduation participants that if they use God’s name that they’re going to be jailed, we had a principal of a school, and a superintendent or a coach down in Florida that were threatened with jail because they said the blessing at a voluntary off campus dinner. I mean, that kind of stuff… where is God? Where, where? What have we done with God? We told him that we don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present."

5. God was present at the massacre but with the victims, not the perpetrator

One classic claim in the Abrahamic tradition of Jews, Christians and Muslims is that God is with those who suffer - the poor and the oppressed. Some commenters saw God’s miraculous hand in the midst of this suffering, not causing it to happen but bringing it to an end.  “This may sound crazy,” wrote Diana, “but I believe God had a hand in that the gun jammed so that more people weren’t killed.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The most common claim in this category came from peacemaker, who wrote, “God is and was with the victims and s/he is weeping.” In a more explicitly Christian vein, Lauren wrote: “He was there in the theater, pierced by bullets with the victims. He was scarred by the shrapnel. His eyes were scorched with gas and then burned with tears as He mourned alongside the broken.”

6. Which God?

Some commenters interrogated the question itself, arguing that the knots it twists us into are rooted in what commenter Ego_Death called “a false idea of what God is.” After all, the problem of evil in a world ruled by a sovereign and good God only presents itself if you posit one personal God who is both good and all-powerful.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Referring to "our idea of a human-like personal God" as "an ancient myth," Northstar56 wrote:

"But just because this kind of God does not appear to exist, does not mean that God, in fact, does not exist. I think many have developed a more mature and realistic perspective . . . in which God exists as a pure fundamental consciousness or state from which all of existence arises. This God does not control anything, but rather continues to perpetually emanate as reality . . . God was present in all of the victims, and everyone else. God was present in the killer as well. The tragedy is that the killer's awareness was so distorted and twisted that he could not see or be aware of the intrinsic priceless value of every person he gunned down."

Evoking something more akin to the “watchmaker” God of the deists, who makes the world and its laws and then refuses to intervene in its operation, Norm wrote: “God is not involved in our everyday mundane activities. How arrogant of man to think he’s the center of the universe and has God’s constant attention and every action is ‘God’s will.’”

Taking a different tack, "varun" invoked the teachings of the beloved Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita:

"Only the followers of Semitic religions have problem with understanding this - because they do not believe in rebirth and karma. As soon as you introduce these two concepts into (the) picture along with the eternal indestructible soul (something Semitic religions do believe in), everything makes sense. Read Bhagavad-Gita and everything would be as clear as daylight."

7. Who knows? It’s a mystery

Agnosticism is a rare virtue in the United States nowadays, but there were a few commenters who admitted to something less than the absolute certainty exhibited by atheists and evangelicals alike. "The answer," wrote Terry, "is we don't know where he was." Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom saw this "God works in mysterious ways" move as “ultimate cop-out/rationalization,” but I am not so sure.

In September 1862, in the midst of a much greater American tragedy, Abraham Lincoln wrote a private “Meditation on the Divine Will” in which he struggled to make sense of what God was doing in the Civil War. He later reworked those reflections into his second inaugural address, one of the greatest speeches in American history.

Surveying the corpse-ridden landscape of North and South, Lincoln observed, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.” Clearly there was little good in slavery, he reasoned, yet equally clearly God was not giving a swift and sure victory to the Union. So what was God up to? In the end, Lincoln had to admit he did not know. Or, as he put it, “The Almighty has His own purposes.”

I suppose this is in a sense a “cop-out,” but it is a humble one, uninfected by the absolute certainties (either pro- or anti-God) that have shed more blood on earth than agnosticism ever will. It is also a classic example of answering a question with a question: What is God doing with this war? Who knows?

“Josephpusateri” also answered our question with a question. His comment was in my view the best of the hundreds I read, so I will end with it here:

"Oh, the blindness of such a question... as if only theodicy was a relevant question in white, American suburbs. Where is God in Afghanistan? Where is God in Gaza? Where is God in Syria? . . . Where is God, indeed."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Culture wars • Devil • Ethics • God • Violence

soundoff (4,074 Responses)
  1. MennoKnight

    Self-professed atheists may make up only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are extraordinarily active online.

    Yup, the Self-professed atheists are the loudest people online.
    That is because they are the Evangelists for their Fundamentalist religion called Neo-Atheism.
    They even have their high priests like Richard Dawkins

    July 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • rAmen

      yes, and not-collecting stamps is my hobby

      July 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      rAmen

      Then why do you care so much that you are always trying to convert people to your "enlightened" way of thinking?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • lee

      "A" is a prefix meaning without, or lack of.

      "Theism" is the belief in a god or gods.

      "Atheism" is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That is all.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can an atheist "convert" someone?

      Why would he want to do so? I don't see many atheists here trying to force others to think what they think. I do see a number of believers here claiming that they alone know the 'real truth' and attempting to blame our secular government and the separation of church and state for these murders.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Menno

      No one is trying to "convert" anyone. An atheist can only hope for a person to understand the ridiculousness of their religion and reject it, conversion on the other hand involves proselytizing and rites and oaths.

      You can say an atheist "proselytizes" but you and I both know that's not exactly true. Atheists only point out flaws and illogical reasoning and are able to back it up, they aren't going to door to door with a richard dawkins book, or opening up soup kitchens/hospitals to prey on the vulnerable or going to africa with food in one hand a bible in the other. That's strictly in the domain of religion.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Tommy Boy and Chuckles
      You are the ultimate examples of "trying to get converts."

      Look at your own posts. They are filled with it.

      If you didn't care to convert then you would not be here trying to convince people of your world view. I bet you guys are the ones at the party who sit around with a beer and mock everything that you don't agree with.
      You mush have loads of friends.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're not big on reading comprehension, are you?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Well if you practiced what you preached and read our posts you would know that Tom Tom is a girl.

      As for me, please point out in my other posts where I'm trying to convert someone. Just give me one quote please.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • rAmen

      hmm, you seem to know me really well, and when did i try to "convert" people?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Really? Tom Tom is a girl? Tom Tom...you got some nice tatties? Are the built for speed or pleasure?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Tommy:
      What is evil? Something that makes you uncomfortable?

      Adam
      1. The most plausible, and most parsimonious.
      2. An argument for the impotence of "god."
      3. A pathetic, self-defeatist casuistry.
      4. A wretched, self-defeatist casuistry.
      5. An exegesis of convienence, also an argument against the supreme agency of "god."
      6. Good point. Also an argument for strong Agnosticism.
      7. An arguement for strong Agnosticism, i.e. de-facto Atheism.

      Athiest
      There's still no god.

      Use the free will and intelligence you have and stop being a puppet for money shakedown organizations who perpetrate hoaxes on you.

      Until you morons realize DERRRRP, ITS JUST US ON PLANET EARTH, and we better all WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE LIFE BETTER, you will go on blaming god, or blaming the devil, or blaming muslims, or whatever.

      Take CONTROL of your lives.

      There is no GOD. There is no Heaven. There is no hell. There is no devil.

      THERE IS ONLY US ON THIS PLANET.

      Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Neo-Atheists.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Menno

      That was some impressive stupidity. It had everything. Caps, incoherency, and the kind of crazy misrepresentation that only religious zealotry can give you.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      hawaiiguest,
      I couldn't agree with you more. Looks like some really zealous religious nuts doesn't it?

      But no, they aren't trying to evangelize, they are just shouting "truth" from the mountaintops.

      Loudest 2% in the nation.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Menno

      Awww how lovely that you can use selective responses as well. So tell me, how is what you spouted exclusive to atheism? What was the whole point of your incoherent idiocy? Were you actually trying to convey something or just make it as unclear as possible?

      July 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • lee

      I think the word Menno is looking for is *deconvert* Atheism is the default position (just as disbelief in fairies or any other enti.ty for which there is no evidence). Therefore when a non-believer is criticizing one aspect of belief or another, he may be trying to deconvert you, but not convert you. Atheism isn't something that you convert to, but when you deconvert from theism (whichever type of theism), it is the default.

      And to Menno's defense, many of the atheists on here are definitely trying to deconvert people.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sweetie, the quote you posted wasn't mine.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Menno

      I specifically asked for a quote from one of MY earlier posts to show that I was "proselytizing". As shown, you could find none.

      Secondly, the quotes you did find are from atheists stating views, that's not prosletyzing. Calling someone stupid for believing in god is the not the same as telling someone to become an atheists. I doubt you'll see the difference, but believe me when I say, there's a pretty big one.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      hawaiiguest,

      You good at reading aint' you?
      Thank you again for proving my point that you guys are fanatics

      July 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Tommy, but you posted it you claimed it as yours.
      But thanks for calling my sweetie and not a name.

      Chuckles. You are correct, I lumped you into the group of the radicals and yours are not as radical as others. Sorry, I was am wrong,

      But then again do do go on to write:

      "Secondly, the quotes you did find are from atheists stating views, that's not prosletyzing. Calling someone stupid for believing in god is the not the same as telling someone to become an atheists. I doubt you'll see the difference, but believe me when I say, there's a pretty big one."

      Nope, don't see the difference.
      They are the same thing.
      Ridiculing somebody's beliefs and then saying that yours are correct?

      Your only answer is "believe me"? Sounds like an evangelist for Atheism to me.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Menno

      You realize that you're only making yourself look dumb. Your post had no coherency, and no point. You did not represent anything except your own inability to be intelligent.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Adam

      Hi MennoKnight. Thanks for quoting me! I'm glad you liked what I wrote! Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

      July 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Menno

      The difference is easy.

      A christian doesn't go to Africa and say tell a bu.shman, "You're wrong and I'm right" (well that's not what their MAIN goal is anyway). They go and say, "You're wrong, I'm right but you can be right by giving up everything and joining me"

      The difference is subtle, so I'll walk you through it. Atheism is something that a person comes to on their own time. You can't make someone an atheist by simply di.pping them into some water or have them say that science is the one and only way. It's a process that can only happen once you begin to understand religion and both theistic context and historical and understand a ful.ler picture.

      If you were to become an atheist tomorrow I would be pretty susp.icious and probably ask you to do a little more thinking before becoming one. Proselyization's goal is to win over members by aggressive marketing tactics through door to door canvassing, ads, websites, etc...., Keep in mind, not all religions proselytize (see: Hinduism, Judaism), but are still confident of their religions veracity and will tell anyone about it.

      Comprende?

      July 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Mennoknight

      Chuckles
      The only reason you see a difference is that you have deluded yourself. And what you said about your atheism is so not true about going to nations and telling them your mantras.
      Have you not seen on buses and on billboards sayings such as "There is no god, get over it and enjoy life." That my friend is proselytizing.
      All I am pointing out to you is the the hypocrisy that you, the 2% "devout" atheists have in spreading your "good word"

      And hawaiiguest, simply read the discussion before you showed up. The wonderful thing about you is that all your comments brilliantly show my point, you are proselytizing your faith in Atheism.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Chuckles

      Talk about delusion....

      Menno, you have to understand a couple of things. First, an "atheist" ad may well exist (I've never seen them) but it's still far from proselytizing, because again, and heres the difference you keep failing to understand. It's one thing to point out if you believe someone is wrong, it's another to try and get them to join you. I understand your tiny brain is probably having issues with such a distinction but mainly, when you see an ad that says, "God doesn't exist get over it" (essentially), no where does it say "Become an atheist" it just points out you're wrong. I refer again to my examples of religions that also don't proselyte: Judaism and Hinduism.

      As for "atheistic faith" – a sad attempt to try and drag an atheist down to your level and beat me with your faith. As if by characterizing atheism as a religion in of itself you can equate the two. It's pathetic really, but people of your ilk have no problem being disingenuous in order to win.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • the voice of reason

      As Carl Sagan used to say, absence of a belief is not a belief. Menno can try to hold on to his xtian belief given out by the churches that it's only 2% of the population, but that's not even close. Most recent polls show that between no faith or a lack of any religious affiliation it's at least 10%.

      I've also noticed a direct correlation beween religion and intelligence. The stronger the belief, the less brain power is used. I still say it's a drug and that it's also a form of mental illness.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Lycidas

      "Most recent polls show that between no faith or a lack of any religious affiliation it's at least 10%."

      I would guess that the lack of religious affiliation makes up the vast majority of that 10%.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  2. Atheist4Christ

    If you don't want God in our nation, stop complaining when people are dying from left to right.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Fuster

      LOL! You're obviously as delusional as Fred Phelps.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How 'bout from right to left?

      No more silly than your post.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, the death rate in this country has been dropping at the same time as the belief rate. We liver longer, healthier and safer lives than at any time in the past. Apparently doubting and/or disbelieving in gods is correlating with an improved lifespan.....

      July 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • born again athiest

      Like you moniker you make no sense.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  3. Atheist Saviour

    It's time America stops obsessing about the myth of the Sky Gods, think for a just a second... do you really think a Sky God planned this world... a world where people slaughter each other with machine guns. When will people start thinking for themselves?

    July 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Qman

      Funny you say that because many of the greatest minds in the world (including our founding father) stated as soon as our nation stops believing, we will faulter as a nation because of it.

      Now you can always name off the little tidbits of reason(s) why our nation isn't what it use to be, but anyone can agree that we have moved from being morally right to being politically correct. Regardless if you believe in god or not. We can all agree we were a much better nation when we did.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • david

      If you remember God went away and took is son with him because he was sick of all the crap we do down here. So we are all dead in sin. So he lets all this happen because we rejected him 2000 years ago. But he will return some day and all you athesists will finally disappear and go down to the pit to join Mr. Holmes. That's unless you repent and accept him.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • James PDX

      Qman, so we were a much better nation when we were still enslaving the black and Chinese people and still slaughtering the natives to steal their land? Get out of here.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • the voice of reason

      Atheists also don't beg for money on tv, or send atheist missionaries out to "save souls" by trying to convert people who already have their own religion. It's the ultimate form of religious conceit. Then they tell these people they are trying to "save" that they are there to teach english to them. Lying for Jesus is generally accepted by the xtian community as long the results are there.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  4. Harry Fisher

    God is a just God. If God took away the free will of the shooter in Aurora, the 9/11 terrorist, Hitler or any one how has committed evil crimes, then he would have to step in and take away ours as well. As the scripture says in Matthew 5:45
    "In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."

    July 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • god's savior

      but i thought god designed every aspect of this universe, including just exactly how every second of history will be written?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Brendan

      you are dumb.

      July 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  5. Edgar

    Well God was there, God sees everything in this world He says in the Bible that there is evil out there and that we must be alert, but we must have faith in God, just like wind that we cannot see we can also not see God, the only thing is we must have faith and know that God's Will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Look what happened to one of the girls who was barely shot in the head and they diagnosed something that could have shortened her life here on earth, but why did they find it? God has a plan for her and maybe we will hear from her again in the future.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      So the little girl that died was clearly part of his plan, along with the dad that died in his teenage daughter arms.

      I gotta say this, your god is a poor planner.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  6. Colin

    I have no idea where the 2% comes from. Nonbelievers are closer to 20% of the USA population.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I guess it depends on your definition. Nonbeliever can be a broad term and in this instance I think the article is strictly referring to self professed atheists.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • lee

      Right you are. "nones" were found to be over 19% in a recent poll. However many of those people who answer "none of the above" on the religion question have been conditioned to think atheism is some sort of faith position equal to religion. This is, of course, not the case but it doesn't stop people from shying away from the word. Self-professed atheists, as the columnist put it, are well below 20%, but I have to believe they are over 2% – and fortunately we are growing.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • J.W

      But not being involved in a religion does not necessarily mean that you do not believe in some sort of higher power.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Based on

      the imaginary poll you just took in your head?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • lee

      JW – that's also true. I'm just glad "nones," if they were a denomination, would be the second largest in the country.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • lee

      Based on – here you go: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-19/no-religion-affiliation/56344976/1

      July 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Unfortunately, atheists are thought of in the same concept as child molesters (Bush Jr said that) or as Satan worshippers. Well, we think satan worshipping is just as silly as god worshipping. And praying will accomplish just as much as reading chicken entrails. Actually, praying is just another form of bio-feedback or using a mantra. Makes the person praying feel good but does nothing for the person being prayed for.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  7. Atheist4Christ

    Why would God be where he isn't wanted? As a whole nation, we have become a nation without God and then when these things happens, you want to blame him? Ha, what a laugh! Blame science, blame the individual because God had nothing to do with this and besides, who is to say that every person that was killed even believed in God anyway? Except for the child, of course, I know she is with God, but I can't speak for the rest of them. I pray that ALL of them are R.I.P.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Blame science? For what? Science is no more to "blame" for anything than it ever was.

      Crimes like this have occurred throughout history, including eras when many more people were believers.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Atheist4Christ

      Who invented the deadly weapons? Science and technology, right? So let's blame those who has made it easy for psychos to get these deadly weapons.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • rAmen

      yes, we should totally blame Boeing for 911. makes perfect sense.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • lee

      By that logic, atheist4christ, you would have to credit the lives of about 6.5 billion of the currently living 7 billion people on the planet to science and technology, since it is exactly that which allowed us to be here in the first place. You think we would all be here if not for the industrial revolution, modern agriculture or modern medicine?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How ridiculous can you possibly be?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • The_Pope_is_just_another_man

      Try to remember that science also saved the lives of the victims in the ER.I do not believe any of the saints were there to help out with miraculous healings.Were they?

      July 27, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • born again athiest

      He would not be there because the Abrihamic god of the bible exists as much as the islamic one and as much as the jeudaic one. All three cultres clash over who's right and guess wich one actually is.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  8. BP

    "Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words".
    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  9. BP

    “Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    July 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  10. Reality

    You would think that a Professor of Religion i.e. Stevey P would be able to tell where and who god is but alas he simply summarizes what others think.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  11. Simple Honesty

    You pose many questions, but we (you included) obviously do not possess the mind to answer. Perhaps the answer lies beyond our mental capabilities?

    July 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Huebert

      Or perhaps the first answer is correct.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  12. ashleysiebes

    I know God was there. Even in this time of loss and sorrow, the good in people still came out and communities banded together and became stronger. http://bstrait.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/a-miracle-inside-the-the-aurora-shooting-one-victims-story/ <<even a miracle took place. We make our own choices. James Holmes made his and while influenced by "The Joker" he may have thought that society can't pick itself back up and is corrupt, but we did and are still doing so. Whether or not you believe in God at least we can find light in this time of darkness. #aurora

    July 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  13. Horus

    Religious folks have an answer for everything. It's God's will....but that would make god evil. No, it's satan taking over....that would make god not so all-powerful. No, it's 'our' fault because we have free will....huh? It amazes me that a majority of people actually believe that some version of a diety monitors and judges the thoughts and actions of all of one species temporarily occupying a tiny spec in a vast universe.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Romans

      So what you are saying is that as humans, we're no more important than protozoa or bacterium or other organisms on the earth?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Romans

      We're only a little more important insofar as we have the idea of importance and can assign importance to different things, places and events. If you're asking are we more important than the protozoa to say, an alien in an uncharted star system, then yes, we're no more important than any other speck of dust according to them.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Romans

      So if we're no more important than bacteria or protozoa or a squirrel then shouldn't we prosecute everyone who uses 409 or bleach to kill bacteria?? Or everytime an Eagle kills a fish?? If that's the case, then why should we prosecute anyone who murders other humans if we're not that important or no more important than a single celled amoeba???

      July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Horus

      Without such organisms we wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be able to digest food. It is not opinion, but fact that the earth is an ever evolving planet and that eventually, life as we presently know it will be impossible. So if there were a God, his grand design has many flaws.....

      July 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Rover Serton

      Romans: In the big view of things, yes. Make each day valuable but in the end, you die, just like those little creatures you mention. They are forgotten, we will be. The end.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Horus

      @Romans – you hit on the human condition. "we" think we are more important....and we are – to us...but not to anything else.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Woof

      What is taking place on Earth right now can be considered a proving ground. God's sovereignty was challenged by one of His own creations. A perfect creation that thought he could do a better job then his Creator. This being's first act was to get another creation, man, to also challenge God's wisdom and to disobey. But being God, in which there is no evil, He set into motion a way for mankind to regain what was lost and that was a sacrifice of His very first creation whom, we call Jesus. The challenge is still going on as even Jesus acknowledged who was currently having sway over the Earth amd misguiding mankind into believing what is exhibited in us today, greed, lust, murder, lying and a host of other evils. No, mankind isn't perfect but some of mankind tries very hard to live by standards of love thy neighbor, do not steal, do not kill, be honest, do not slander, but the weakest of mankind can't or won't understand this. They live under a belief that says mankind can solve all of its problems, to them I say mankind has had over 2000 plus years to do that and yet there is still hunger, still disease, still famine. There are those that say evolution is the answer, again I say if mankind is evolving and this act is part of the proof then just what are we evolving into. All I can say in ending is God is where each individual has Him, in your heart or not, for reference I submit Hebrews 1:1.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Romans

      Had you read the first part of my sentence you would understand my meaning. We are important because we can assign importance. Why prosecute people for murder? Because as a society we've deemed that unacceptable.

      Is it really that difficult to live in a world where we are only as important as we decide we are?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Romans

      Ok so what's worse....

      6 million Jews being exterminated in Europe

      Or

      6 million bacteria being killed on my kitchen countertop this morning?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Horus

      @The Woof – all the characteristics you list could be (and are) arrived at by a humanist, with no "god" required. Basic morality is innate, and we choose to do good or bad. Atheists are as charitable, if not more so than religious folks because we place a higher value on life right here, right now. We do not dismiss our mistakes by asking some imaginary being for "forgiveness" and then all is ok. That is how believers justify immoral behavior. It's quite pathetic.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Romans

      @Horus: Atheists are more charitable??? Statistics please.....I assume that you have some?

      July 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Horus

      @Romans – well that would depend on your position. I suspect the bacteria would hold a different opinion 😉

      July 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Horus

      @Romans – do your own homework. Stats are for the easily manipulated.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Romans

      Is that a joke? Of course it's the people, because you know, murder is wrong. This could be for a couple of different reasons. 1) I believe murder is wrong 2) I had a grandparent die in the holocaust. Ask a neo-nazi however and he might tell you the 6 million bacteria could be worse. The importance of the event is subjective, not objective.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Romans

      @ Horus: Since the bacteria are not conscious, then its an easy conclusion. I know you're backing away from making any choices or any definite decisions because if you do, you venture down the path of morality, which is one of the very traits that humans seem to possess at a VERY high level over any other organism on this earth. Why that is, I guess is up to interpretation.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Horus

      @Romans – how do you know bacteria have no conscience? If you are coming from a biblical approach did "god" not create ALL living things? Are bacteria not living things? do they have souls that ascend to bacterium euphoria if they were "good" bacteria?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Romans

      @ Chuckles: I was arguing that people are weighted far more importantly on this earth than any other organism. I was trying to get Horus to admit to the fact that Humans are highly intelligent, moral beings capable of things that no other organism is capable of. Aside from arguments based on religion and our value deriving from God, we are still more important than any other organism including bacteria. I wanted Horus to choose, thus backing him into a corner reductio ad absurdium.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Romans

      Based on scientific knowledge of the behavior of bacteria as well as knowledge of their DNA, they are simple organisms with no intelligence. Don't be coy. You're dodging my rhetoric so as to keep yourself from possible refutation. Its ok, I get what you're doing. You're only reinforcing my premise.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Romans

      Why do you keep ignoring the most important part of my passages? Yes, humans are weighted higher than other creatures...... BY HUMANS. You're not backing anyone into a corner when you ask a dumb question. Horus is merely pointing out that since we have yet to communicate with bacteria in any way, they could have ethics and morals.

      The fact remains, man is more important than baterica because man says so. In a world of evolution and a "us or them" mantra, man will always be more important. Get it?

      July 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Horus

      @Romans – what a silly game. There's no corner to back me into. I stated several posts ago that yes, we are important – to ourselves. That's why we made up gods to suit us. My original post is accurate – we as a species are irrelevant to the universe's process (other than speeding up the siesmic death of earth).

      July 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  14. just sayin

    Lauren wrote: “He was there in the theater, pierced by bullets with the victims. He was scarred by the shrapnel. His eyes were scorched with gas and then burned with tears as He mourned alongside the broken.”
    .
    For her to know this I am guessing God told her and she heard him tell her what "really happened". **rolling eyes*

    July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • The_Pope_is_just_another_man

      She must have a hot line to the almighty as many believe they do.They think they can speak for him and know his thoughts.
      They think that everything THEY think must be Gods will.Delusional thinking @ best.

      July 27, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  15. Chuckles

    One day they will know the name of Chuckles and will use my words in every article they use.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  16. lunchbreaker

    Whatever your answer to the question, this tragedy happened and can't be undone.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  17. myweightinwords

    In a lot of ways, this goes to the heart of man's need for religion, the reason man has long searched for spiritual meaning, the reasons we have gods in the first place.

    Maybe there are no answers...or maybe there are many answers.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • J.W

      You should have some of your comments in the articles too. They ignore the most brilliant minds always.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I'm not inflammatory enough I suppose.

      And I advocate thinking and personal responsibility for our words and actions. Doesn't do much to further the conversation I'm afraid because most folks just want to hold on to their preconceived understandings, and thinking outside of that is too uncomfortable for them.

      Which, now that I've said it seems very...self-aggrandizing of me...which isn't how I mean it at all. Forgive me...I'm in a very thinky place at the moment and not at my most articulate.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • J.W

      I suppose that is true. I tend to be one of the nice guys on here so I may just not be exciting enough.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  18. J.W

    Why do I not see any of my comments? They are determined to never use me no matter how brilliant my comment is.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • sam

      Keep trying, man. It has to happen eventually.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Reality

      • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      Zeb’s alphabetical listing

      o “bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      --–
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      -–
      Allowed words / not blocked at all:
      anal
      anus
      ass
      boob
      crap
      damn
      execute
      hell
      kill
      masturbation
      murder
      penis
      pubic
      raping (ra-pe is not ok)
      shat (sh-@t is not ok)
      sphincter
      testes
      testicles

      The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • J.W

      Lol I wasnt talking about the word filter. I mean when they write an article featuring comments mine never show up despite how great the article would be if it included my comments.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • jeremyhornephd

      "Reality" has an interesting post below. I would add that the basic reason why there is censorship is that the U.S. is such an immature country – everything is babyfied. The powers that be don't want certain words affecting the health of our virgin ears and are willing to act as the morality police but don't seem to pay much attention to the ugly truths of no universally accessible health care in the U.S., lack of a full employment policy, crumbling infrastructure, bankster bailouts, and an electoral system we people cannot select persons who represent the 99% of us. What paradoxes in land of corporatist nightmares, where "In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States 1 (Coleman-Jensen 2011, p. v.) [http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/us_hunger_facts.htm]. Go figure.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  19. Romans

    We need to stop blaming God and start blaming ourselves. Its that simple.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I blame the tooth fairy.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Maybe god was busy training his she bears.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Marc

      No one blames God for the action, Romans. It's the inaction. If I watch a child abused I am blamed not for the action but my inaction. Get this and you must indict God if you think he exists as his own Bible will.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • born again athiest

      If you are a believer then you understand by the biblical definition we were mad in the image of god. He takes all names, war, death, jealous, hate, but alas the one he claims is the one least apperent in him- love. So god is just as responsible here as we are. Wehn we start making god accountable for the attrocities wh will own up to them to. I have and I am a better person because of it.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Thomas

      Maybe I am missing something, but I blame the guy who committed the crime.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    What is evil? Something that makes you uncomfortable?

    July 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Atheist4Christ

      Evil destroys, not makes you uncomfortable.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not my post.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Atheist4Christ

      You are funny.....even an evil comment can break a spirit to where it can be destroyed, especially those who don't believe in God.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The original post isn't mine, but your response is complete gibberish.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Atheist4Christ

      Well, your stupidity is showing because obviously it shows to be yours and not somebody else's.....get a life!

      July 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      More gibberish. Do you know how to write a sentence? Are you new here? Anyone can post under any name. I can type your name in the box instead of my own.

      Dumb sh!t.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And yes, I am a jerk but you'll get used to that after awhile as well.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And too friggin' tough if you don't.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's about the pig. Always has been.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Get over it. It wasn't your bacon anyway.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:42 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.