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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.

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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. travobravo

    God allowed it to occur so we can have this conversation, and so we would be reminded that things are far from perfect down here.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      How about we just leave God (all of them), the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus aout of this and have a sane conversation in the real world.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • True

      exlonghorn – That is the exact reason why we are not doing Santa Clause with our children. People mix them together! "He sees you when your sleeping, knows when you're awake, been bad or good..." who else does that sound like? Why put our children through more confusion of belief in two beings who supposedly know everything. Christ is all. Christ is all my son and daughter need. God is good all the time.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • yeahalright

      True – to me, the true measure of a person is what you do when no one is looking. That includes your god, who sees you when you're sleeping, knows you've been bad or good, etc. If you only do the right thing because you know he's watching, rather than simply because it's the right thing, then it's probably a good thing you believe in the biggest fairy tale of all.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • evensteven

      @True — I'm a Santa Claus man myself. God is a bit grumpy by some accounts.

      Santa Claus is jolly, smiles a lot and likes cookies. Who can object to that?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  2. luker6401

    Thats it everytime something bad happens, everyone blames God. What ever happened to a free will that we all have?? We are all responsible for our own actions and one day we all will stand before Jesus Christ and give an account of our lives. Because we live in a post modernism world, no one can own up to their mistakes anymore, all the liberals give you a free pass and fingers point at everyone but you.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • yeahalright

      But god's not responsible, that's the freakin point! While you're moaning about the liberals not holding themselves accountable you're letting the g-man off the hook completely. Why's he have such a fragile ego? Why do you have to make excuses for him?

      He created us, no? He ought to take some responsibility. By your logic, if I shoot a gun in the air but don't direct it, I'm not responsible if it lands and kills some poor sob.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • TR6

      If man has that kind of free will it means god is impotent, there is no “PLAN” and prayer is useless.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  3. Answer

    People who have these illusions of others not agreeing with them going to burn.. so laughable.

    Those little trinket thoughts that settle your own bubble of insecurity of where you yourself will end up. Just death awaits.
    Still you people want to fool yourself with sending others to your mind's torture place. Funny as hell. XD

    July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  4. Rev. Jonathan

    I converted 23 atheists in three years... I love saving people!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Satan

      I still own your soul, remember you molested that 8 year old boy.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Tim Williams

      I assume you converted them to agnostic, because by default we are all agnostic.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • yeahalright

      If convincing people of bullcrap and helping in your own small way to snuff human potential is your idea of a good time, I'm glad for you and your ego.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      To what did you 'convert' them? Soylent green?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      And fortunately...by just taking a moment to consider the liklihood of talking donkeys, 600 year old men repopulating the Earth's animals through incest, hair length making people physically stronger, and the odds that someone could hang out in a whale's mouth for days at a time...I seem to have shepherded myself squarely into the Athiest camp. Thankfully.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Answer

      I myself don't even keep track of the numerous people that I've destroyed. I love destroying those fragile minds of the religious. It's so fun.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • hitch

      hey satan, he is a Rev, not a priest. *facepalm*

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • lou

      What did you scare them with hell? or did you promise them eternal life? You know that saying if it's to good to be true?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      Converting humans into mindless automatons is not something to brag about... It's brainwashing.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Get Real

      Rev Jonathan, "I love saving people!"

      What is the verified evidence that you saved them from anything... ?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Mother of 12

    Sad to see that many people here will end up in hell.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Yep. Hell is going to be full of all the Christians who commit adultery by divorcing and remarrying according to the Bible.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Satan

      Can't wait to butt fvck all the Christians who broke all the rules from the old testament. Ate shell fish? You'll see me according to your bible. Wore mixed textiles? You'll go to hell according to the bible. Read it. Its all there.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Rev. Jonathan

      Christians do not follow the Old Testament. We broke up from Jewish law.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Rev. J.

      so why do the Evangelical Protestants cleave so to Leviticus and Genesis?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • yeahalright

      So rev, stone any non-virgins on their fathers' doorstep lately?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Observer

      Rev. Jonathan,

      Yep, that's why Christians never mention the Ten Commandments.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Hell isn't so bad. We spent a couple hours visiting Hell, Cayman Islands last year. Got to send a postcard from there any everything. Neat place.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • BigGuy

      God was busy helping stop the flood in Hong Kong and China...oh, wait
      Ok, he was busy helping the 250,000 facing starvation in Somalia...oh wait
      Ok, he was busy making sure that ferry did not overturn in Tanzania...doh! ok wait
      ummm
      OHHH, ohhh - He was busy making sure hundreds more did not die in Syria...oops.
      Ok, I give up. Maybe he was making sure that Antarctica did not disappear. Hey, it worked. Still there. That must have been it.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • True

      It is a sad truth. The person who wrote this article has so many errors in regards to what Christians believe. He says, "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?" Scripture is clear that Satan is the ruler of this world, and that God has overcome the world in salvation through judgment. Through these acts, the sinner is saved and clothed by the very righteousness of Christ. The best literature to display this outside of Scripture is John Bunyan's "The Pilgrims Progress." Nowhere else will the unregenerate see their sin better in any other BOOK other than Scripture.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  6. blahh

    numero uno.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  7. evensteven

    God / the Creator / Supreme Intelligence / the Universe — gave us free will and put us on Earth to do what we will. He / She / It follows the "prime directive" of not interfering with events on Earth.

    . . . and so life on Earth is what we individually and collectively make it to be . . .

    Horrific events in this life time will be seen as the lessons they are from an eternal perspective . . . a lifetime on this planet is just one adventure in an eternity of adventures . . .

    July 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Observer

      "He / She / It follows the "prime directive" of not interfering with events on Earth."

      So prayer is just a waste of time.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Answer

      Making up crap explanations to assert your stupidity has no bearing on reality.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Making crappy insults to replace your lack of debating skills has no bearing on reality.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • yeahalright

      I vote Captain Piccard for god. At least he bent the prime directive rules once in awhile to prevent tragedy.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The Gospel according to Gene Roddenberry is now being subst.tuted for the paradox of free will and predestination.

      I love it!

      McCoy: Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a magician, can't you see the holes in his hands, feet and chest?
      Kirk: Bones, ... I ... don't .... care ... he ... must ... live. The .... prime ... directive ... is ... at ... stake.

      Later,

      Chirrp chirrp "Scotty, one to beam up."

      That explains the ascension into heaven.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Ryan

      Whether "prayer" is a waste of time or not depends on how prayer is defined. If, by prayer, we mean asking God for favors and blessings, then that might be for naught according to evensteven's version of God. If, by prayer, we mean a conscious attempt at connecting with the world and understanding our place in it, or a genuine recognition of our own smallness in the world as a point of reflection and introspection, then prayer is quite purposeful and beneficial. It is only if we operationalize "prayer" as "asking for stuff" that it becomes, according to that view, trite, self-aggrandizing, and ultimately pointless.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • yeahalright

      So Ryan, then I assume you disapprove of all the people currently "praying for the families" of the victims.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Ryan

      @yeahalright: Well, I didn't say that I agree with evensteven's position, first of all. I just thought his statement (assuming evensteven is a 'he') was being misinterpreted. I tried to be careful not to espouse my own personal beliefs (which are different from his), but apparently I was unsuccessful. If we were to follow that logic, however, then it's a little complex. It's possible that, by praying and thus acknowledging our interconnectedness and oneness (as well as, ideally, acting on that through positive action and magnanimity towards others), we can create a positive effect in the world and thus indirectly help not only the victims of this tragedy but all people. However, "prayer for" the victims in the sense of asking God to give someone something (solace, healing, vengeance, or worldly objects) on my behalf would probably be viewed as self-aggrandizing or even vain. God's gifts, viewed in that belief system, are life and the universe itself, not personal (or impersonal) favors that we ask for and receive.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Ryan

      I'd also add briefly that I would never "disapprove" of people doing something they genuinely believe to be helpful and right in the world as long as it did not have an unintended negative impact. It's almost impossible to imagine how one person's praying for victims would cause any harm to anyone else, so while "praying for the victims" is a sound interpretation of the purpose of prayer according to one belief system, it is certainly a fruitful activity in other belief systems, and I'm not one to judge others.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Ryan

      Erg.... that was supposed to read: "prayer for the victims may not be a sound interpretation of the purpose of prayer". Apparently editing is not enabled.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  8. Recyi Chen

    Everything happens for a reason. We need to have faith and believe God will undo all these damages that Satan caused for the time being.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Etalan

      who will fix all the damage cause by christian.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Observer

      God created Satan.

      Next idea?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Answer

      Those lovely thought that keep the reality out.. such drivel.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Guest

      A better question...where was god in Germany when Hitler was in power?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Etalan

      @Guest
      Hitler was a very religion man. He quotes god most of his speech, ask priest to bless his solider, and blame the Jew for everything.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  9. cdavidchurch

    Wow you really need to make a lot of excuses for god don't you, but that's normal. Maybe the best(and right) answer is there is no god. Use your brain folks and think rationally.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Anonymous

      What if God IS the bad guy? For example the christian version god. You have a guy with total power, letting bad happen. He destroys the earth once, knowing that it's pointless. He tries to get his worshipers to eliminate all other competing religions. He gets his worshipers to stall tech developments during the dark ages cementing their dependency on him. Some of his own angels think he's mad with power and tries a coup, so in all of his forgiveness, he beats the hell out of them and tosses them into an agonizing prison for all eternity. From experience, he's plays a mean bad guy.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • k

      Ok. You say there is no God. Then ask yourself ... why is there something rather than nothing? Or, better yet, in a world of contingent things (I'm contingent on my parents, they on their parents, etc.) what sparked creation? How did everything begin? At some point, as you peel the onion back you get to a non-contingent thing. You have to. That's God.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • yeahalright

      no, YOU have to, because you're uncomfortable with not knowing. Why do you have to have a noncontingent thing? And even assuming for a moment that you just simply gotta, have to, why is that noncontingent thing a sentient deity?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Smurfette

      @ k – that's an argument from ignorance. Not knowing the answer does not lead to "the answer is god"

      July 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Ryan

      Well, we don't "have to" arrive at a non-contingent thing. We certainly have a strong desire to arrive at one, but there is nothing illogical about positing a world in which things just "were," and not "were because of X." There are also certainly multiple theories for a primordial causal factor other than God, but the fact of the matter is, we don't know. Even (or, in fact, especially) those who ascribe to the most predeterministic versions of science admit that there is a certain degree of impossibility in answering that question. There are many theories as to how the Big Bang may have occurred, and while some may believe in one or the other very strongly, the scientists who espouse those theories would certainly not impose a system of morality and eternal damnation on others for not believing in that version. Rather than posit that we know it to be God, it seems much less dangerous to state that we believe it to be God because of X and Y, but are tolerant of other positions.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Alright man, that's just different than what you said before. First you said you have to then you said you don't have to. So *shrugs*.

      It is fascinating and mindboggling though to contemplate things like infinity both in time and size, I'll agree with you there.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  10. Ciuperciuc

    Why do some always take an issue and make it about race, religion or culture. Why do you have to push your beliefs on others? Whether you believe in god or not, why do you feel that you need to convert or convince everyone else on the planet? Your type is the reason we have horrifying fiascos throughout the world. Whether it's the religious fanatics or those who do not believe in a higher truth, you poison your mind with thoughts about controlling others because you do not have control over your own life, you will only hinder general progress.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • God is good!

      well, why are you trying to push YOUR belief on us Christians?! Us bad Christians are oh so intolerant.... Thought about how intolerant YOU are towards our believes?!

      July 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Satan

      God is evil. Read the bible, god killed millions. Its fact.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Ryan

      @God is Good: I'm not sure that's what Ciuperciuc was saying. I don't personally agree with much of what he/she said–the idea that "it's always people who either believe or don't believe in something that cause problems" is just, forgive me, a little vapid–but I don't think he/she was criticizing your beliefs at all. Instead, your beliefs can be whatever they are, but the protest was against proselytizing and the urge to make others conform to those beliefs, whether Christian, atheist, or otherwise. I gathered from the post that Ciuperciuc would rather we all pursue truth independently while respecting the privacy of that quest.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  11. Mike

    Massacre happen all the time, they are always an evil thing and people always ask why. There are so many chemicals in the
    human body and the lack of or any imbalance can and does strange things.

    Many Americans were killed on September 11th by a band of hate filled mongers who made up their own religion to
    be able to justify the killing of innocent men, woman, and children over 8 years old and it was through
    blood atonement that it would bring glory onto them, so they could be closer to God, by killing the gentiles that
    their cult leader lied and ordered them to do it. Now they calmed down on the killing until such a time as they see fit
    to kills millions and really bring glory upon themselves. Sept 11th has been forgotten by many Americans, as time
    passes and people forget, but the Mountain Meadows Massacre that happened 35 miles South West of Cedar City, Utah
    will forever live on in the movie called " September Dawn " and anyone who watches that movie will hate this cult that
    lies and steals from the dead and changes the bible to suit their needs. http://mountainmeadowsmassacre.org/

    July 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  12. Paul Silivale

    people vote for that bill to be passed,no preaching of the word of God in any places,remove all monuments,like the 10 commandments in public places,then allow that devil,satan to control..thats the answer..and no one will find the solutions....America is going down the drain spiritually.....only those who believe in God knows this....sorry America...wake upppp!!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Answer

      The world is made greater for your tools disappearance from our earth.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • yeahalright

      What kind of reality do you live in? No preaching the word of god anywhere? You can't throw a rock without hitting a house of worship. Anywhere public? You're damn right. You keep your god's rules to yourself and out of common spaces and laws everyone has to share. And what kind of petty, neurotic, needy god needs so much love and attention and worship all the time? I'd expect an immortal omniscient omnipotent deity to be a little more....grown up.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • TR6

      You’ve got quite a persecution complex going there. Maybe you should seek professional help?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Ryan

      @yeahalright: Okay, now in saying this let me first say that I do not share the same beliefs as Paul Silivale (I am agnostic). However, if we imagine God as the creator of all the universe, including humans, and that only our will is our own, then you could see why it would be frustrating to God that humans were using things in this world for our own, sometimes self-serving purposes without even stopping to give thought, let alone thanks, to the provider of those things. Within that belief system, there is no such thing as "public places," really, in the sense that the places would be 'owned' by the public. Rather, all the Earth belongs to God, and we only work within it, so God not only belongs everywhere, but in fact is everywhere, and it is only us who choose to recognize and give thanks for that or not. (Again, those aren't my beliefs, but it might help to understand how far apart an atheist and a theist's views of the appropriate place for God may be)

      July 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  13. yourlogicisflawed

    He was much too busy helping athletes win games and music stars win awards to worry about all the little people.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • cdavidchurch

      haha exactly! Probably helping Tebow throw some passes.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  14. God is great

    Stalin: "Imagine no religion"

    ... then killing millions and millions of religious people.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Answer

      He didn't finish the job and that was his greatest fault.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Guest11

      Actually, you are quoting John Lenon.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • sybaris

      Modified Godwins Law and in an original post no less.

      Clearly you do not understand atheism, Stalin and politics

      July 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Etalan

      Stalin was a priest for 5 years before he reject his religion and kill million of religion people. It the same was as a child getting molest by a priest and growing up to kill religion. So it religion fault.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @sybaris,

      Indeed. A new corollary of Godwin's Law – a reductio ad Stalinum argument. It is a popular one here for the fundies.

      I think there's a sermon that gets passed around about how Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hilter were atheists.

      The Bolsheviks were atheists.
      Stalin was a Bolshevik.
      Stalin killed people in the Gulag.
      therefore ...
      Atheists kill people.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Grey Faux

      They got into "Heaven" didn't they?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  15. Jasmine

    Saying God does not exists is same as saying that Washington did not exists, nor did the Armenian and Jewish genocide occur.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Answer

      There is a saying that you can find evidence of Washington's life. But your god? LOL

      July 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Etalan

      Saying God does not exists is same as saying that Santa Claus did not exists, nor did the Battle of Middle Earth and Elf genocide occur.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      How do you figure that Jasmine?

      How does God "exist" in the historical record?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Etalan,

      what is this elf genocide and battle of middle earth of which you speak?

      The elves left of their own accord. If you're going to reference JRRT, you're going to have to be specific!

      July 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Prove God exists.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Grey Faux

      Lol. Let me guess.. he's talks to you often?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • sybaris

      Oh Jasmine!! Where have you beeen??!!

      I've waited so long for someone to regurgitate some tripe from that hack Lee Strobel.

      Here's the thing, in a half hour I could get one of Washingtons ancestors on the phone.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • sybaris

      correction, descendents

      July 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @sybaris,

      Washington's ancestors on the phone. 😉 That would be something to see. I don't think I would have noticed if you hadn't posted the correction.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  16. Mom

    God exists... it says on the Bible, Torah and Quran!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • sybaris

      You do realize there are many many other texts that also describe different gods so by your logic you must believe in them too.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • TR6

      Santa Clause exists. It says so in hundreds of different books

      July 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith

    People give God credit for miracles, why don't they blame God for allowing bad stuff to happen?

    July 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Because god apparently has an incredibly fragile self-image and we wouldn't want a responsible god would we?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • dogpatchnews

      God can create miracles, people cannot. God does not commit evil, people can and do. Free will. Read some CS Lewis. Or maybe the New Testament? Then decide what side you are on.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Etalan

      It a christian attempt to try to not pay the bill. A doctor cure you, thank god...hint hint, i trying to avoid pay you guy. It got worse... of course it not god fault, so i have the right to sue for all your money.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  18. DaveR

    There are things we cannot understand. Things we will never know. We spend so much time trying to unravel these mysteries and make ourselves "feel better' by looking for a "unified theory of God".

    I think the gyrations we go through trying to find answers to unanswerable questions is a scapegoat for our collective psyche – a sidestepping of the real question.

    Where was God? I don't know.

    My question is – Where were God's people? We failed as a community and a society. We failed God, he didn't fail us. Why is no one talking about that?

    July 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • sybaris

      Which god did you fail?

      Say you were born and raised in middle america some 800 years ago, which god?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Well what would you have had the community and society do??? Imprison anybody who acts slightly weird? Ban guns? Give everybody a gun? Have guards guard every gathering of more than one person? The reason people ask where god was is because presumably god is all powerful. Therefore god could've stopped the guy from killing people and leaving families to suffer and grieve. When community and society become all powerful, like god is supposed to be, then you can ask where they were. Otherwise it's a pointless comparison.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • DaveR

      The God who calls me each day to reach out to "the least of these", who calls me to love the unlovable, who calls me into relationship with him and his people – all people. I fail my God daily and yet he accepts me and loves me where I am. If you don't know him, you should look for him. He doesn't really care what you call him or how you reach out to him. But once you know him and accept his relationship, you are on the hook for this and every tragedy in the world. We are his children and like any good parent he requires us to clean up our own messes and take responsibility for the consequences of our actions and inactions. I am my brother's keeper.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Do I not do enough to help the least among us? Correct, I don't. That I take responsibility for. But being responsible for some nut shooting up a movie theatre??? Uh, sorry, no, not taking that one on.

      It seems you have an intense need to feel guilty. Maybe let that go a bit and you'll feel better.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • DaveR

      @yeahright – There is a big difference between taking responsibility and feeling guilty. I don't feel guilty. Should I want to "feel better" about this? Is that the point here – lets figure out where God was or wasn't or is or isn't so we can all "feel better". Lets do everything we can to disconnect *ourselves* and *our* actions from what happened – so that we don't have to worry that it might happen to us – then we can "fell better" and move on.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  19. Ron Long

    Do you ever watch those Science shows with Morgan Freeman, Mitcheo Kaku, Brian Cox, and Brian Green. They talk about Quantum Mechanics and Physics and the tiny "PARTICLES" that make of atoms, that make up every thing else. They talk about that tree that falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, or see it, to feel it, smell it, to taste it. So, as far as I am concerned, the incident in Aurora, Co. has not happened....YET! All of my senses had to detect it, and make some type of calculation. Even the 2 dementional news frontage doesn't count. The possibility was still there of conspiracy, or some other kind of alignment of all atoms involved, and how your brain interprets those tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, very tiny PARTICLES. on the retina of your eyes.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Woooooah man... You just blew my mind man... Lol.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  20. Cheese is the answer

    maybe he was at Chick-fil-A

    July 26, 2012 at 8:58 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.