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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. Bootyfunk

    read answer #1 in the article. you can stop there. the rest of the answers require you to believe in santa claus.

    July 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Troy

    I believe the only people who should comment are the survivors, families and friends of those who lost there lives, emergency personnel, those who were there that night in the middle of it. So all the skeptics get a ticket and go talk to those people. Visit them in the Hospitals. Look into there faces and ask them "Where was God" As far as this continuous debate everyone who had commented so far pretty much know where they stand in their relationship or non relationship with God. So just go ask the people in Aurora then comment here. I keep reading about Jessica Ghawi (Redfield). I think her life would be a great lesson for us all. Her statement after the situation in Toronto makes me wonder how her life did change before this happen. Instead of just mourning the lost of life and trying to blame everyone including God why this happen we should look at our lives and embrace every second as if it was our last.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • god's savior

      pssst, 17,000 babies/children starved to death today, just today only. slow anguishing, painful starvation. HOW could 12 white people in privileged america even cause him to look up?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "I believe the only people who should comment are the survivors, families and friends of those who lost there lives, emergency personnel, those who were there that night in the middle of it."

      hypocrite.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Right Troy,

      Because the only people who suffer in the world were these victims. If you don't get the larger question of why and how a god allows needless suffering you are small minded. The problem of suffering is one of the 'believers' biggest dilemmas.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "If you don't get the larger question of why and how a god allows needless suffering you are small minded"

      lol. anyone who believes in a magic sky fairy is small minded.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  3. god's savior

    Mormons believe that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you. If recruited you are a notch on the belt. When they go to heaven they will have many many many spiritual Wives (plural marriages). The wives will remain eternally pregnant in heaven, endlessly having the mans spirit babies. Once the man has enough spirit babies from his many orgiies with his many spirit wives they will all eventually inhabit another planet where the spirit babies will be born and the man will be the LOCAL god over that planet. We are currently worshiping our LOCAL god (yes our god/jesus were once real men like mitt romney). The true god over all the local gods lives on planet Kolob. GOOGLE IT!!! Mormons are crazy.... also google joeseph smith lol, the founder of mormons who was a convicted felon

    July 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Dang! That sounds almost as weird as the stuff I read in the Bible!

      July 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and christians believe in a talking snake and donkey (nope, not shrek), unicorns, dragons, satyrs, c.ockatrice, a man living in a whale for 3 days (nope, not pinnochio), men with wings, a magic kingdom in the clouds where everyone you ever loved is riding roller coasters all day....

      lol, look at your own nutty bible before you make such an ignorant comment.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • god's savior

      @bootyfunk
      Obamas belief in a protestant god is no less disturbing to me.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm with you - it disturbs me, too.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Torn Rhetoric

    I think this was an interesting topic to bring up. No matter what side someone takes, it reveals what we as individuals really hold on to be true and how we justify it. If we’re incapable of testing and scrutinizing our beliefs, then we really don’t hold them to be reality.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  5. tim young

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      OK

      July 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Pharaoh's Revelations

    God has given us free will. Whether we choose to use that for good or for bad is up to us, but God does not strip away free will just because what someone is about to do is bad. Holmes will have to answer to God for himself about what he did. God didn't stop him for the same reason that he doesn't stop us before we sin or harm others in our sin. We have free will.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Holmes will have to answer to God for himself about what he did."

      Not according to christian dogma, he can just accept Jesus as god and say he is sorry, not apologize to all the people he actually hurt. And if a moral person lives a good life helping others that person will be punished forever for a "thought crime" (unbelief). The christian god is an immoral monster.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      The funny thing is that few people actually agree on what this god wants us to do. So since you are most likely to get it wrong, why bother?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • god's savior

      how is it free will when he already knows the outcome of your actions and every action until the end of time?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cq

      If it were free will then God wouldn't be interfering through prayer, miracles and other "signs". What Christians describe is a God who is an experimental scientist, testing, altering and subjecting one population (the Believers) to a number of external stimuli while leaving a control group (unBelievers) untouched, and seeing how each reacts to the general environment.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      god created everything?

      then he created evil. he created murder. he created r.ape and child m.olestation.

      why not just make it impossible to kill a good person? he's god, he could do it, right? bullets bounce off good people - sounds like something an almighty god could pull off. so why doesn't he?

      the answer: THERE IS NO GOD. simple and satisfying. the only answer that makes sense.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Sy2502

    Either god is such an evil being that he can watch horrific acts happen without lifting a finger, or god doesn't exist. Additional evidence (or lack thereof) suggests the 2nd is the most probable.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Scary is the fact that so many people want to worship an evil megalomaniac.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Servant63

    What if we hear from someone who was right next to the shooter – http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/us/2012/07/27/ac-pkg-kaye-co-theater-survivor-walks-out-of-hospital.cnn

    July 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    July 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      My dog is a believer, but then she is a goldie and will believe anything. She prays for doggie treats and gets them.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Wow this person has used this tag and this comment on multiple articles. Try presenting an argument.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Prayer doesn't work as well as kevlar when it comes to stopping bullets, but have at it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      asian atheist
      it is a troll...pretty soon right behind each of them on all the blogs will be Jesus, calling this troll a liar.
      it is the same moron

      July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      What a waste of time for those who would like to have a genuinely interesting discussion.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, I see it more as spam. This person has been posting the same thing on MANY blogs for a long time. Occasionally I respond when it gets slow. This troll/spammer will continue whether or not it is fed anyway.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Jimmy Rustles

      Children are born atheists, as are all animals. Religion is something taught, not inherent.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!|

      July 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Still praying for personal wealth and a naked man?

      July 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  10. bc

    2%? Please. Did you ever take a statistics class?

    July 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • god's savior

      they left off the 0 behind the 2

      July 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  11. gman

    GOD WAS IN THE SAME PLACE AS HE WAS WHEN " JOB " WENT THROUGH HIS TRIAL !!!!!!!!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ON HIS THRONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and in the end he rewarded job with twice as much of everything for his suffering and faithfulness.

    sons, daughters, year of age, cattle, oxen, land, wealth, ect....;;;;;;;;;;;

    July 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      and he rewarded the little 6 year old girl with a bullets.....

      July 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Job lost his first family due to the 'test'. Gee thanks God.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well heck, as long as he got a replacement.....

      July 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      He rewarded Job????? What about Job's whole family which was destroyed to prove a point? Just collateral damage...no big deal?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • gman

      We are all in this together, Sin came because of one angel beguiling eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. As the bible
      says he was a murderer from the beginning. Now the world is what it is because of man's fall. Job took a hit for God's
      team but the Lord new he was up to it.

      THE LORD SPEAKING TO SATAN :

      " HAVE YOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB ? , THER IS NONE LIKE HIM IN ALL THE LAND. HE IS BLAMELESS
      AND UPRIGHT. HE FEARS GOD AND SHUNS EVIL. "

      fears God. meaning he trust in his maker. Also satan killed jobs children , god didn't. he only gave satan permission
      to do the evil he did to show that job would never break. Job didn't !!!!!!!!!!! A mere mortal defeated and angel
      by having faith and not cursing God. How awesome is that.

      Do you know where Job is now ? With his first and second family in heaven. He's with the Lord for all eternity
      because he wouldn't curse God and his name is highly esteemed in the kingdom of heaven as it is in the bible.

      what team do you wan't to be on since we are all going to die anyway sooner or later ?

      1) GODS TEAM , behold i'am coming back soon to gather my own to live with me for eternity in paradise.
      i will wipe every tear from their eyes. i make all things new.

      2) Satans Team , blame God for everything in the world that man made, curse god and die with me in hell.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Cq

      sqeptiq
      The Bible was written by men for men. Children and wives were just another form of "wealth" to them at the time. From a man's point of view what happened to Job was no different from losing a Chevy and getting a Hummer in return.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      But I liked my Chevy and Hummers suck.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      GstringMan, would that throne be the toilet down at the bus station?

      July 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • gman

      @ peteyroo , when jesus was here in the flesh , i'm sure the one down the street would do just fine but

      in heaven i suspect it more closely resembles the one described in revelations where all will bow before it

      who come into his presence there, if they make it there.

      July 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  12. lover of freedom

    so for the good christians who never do anyone harm and don't have "bad" thoughts and don't say "bad" words and blah blah blah. what to they say when they get cancer, etc.? Do they then doubt their god or are they afraid that if they doubt it they won't get to go to heaven

    July 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Cq

      The Christian treatment of the gay community is testament enough to the kind of harm they do. Of course, they don't see this as harm, just doing "God's work" as they see it but, like the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  13. Peteyroo

    Jerry Sandusky was a good, church-going Christian. One can only wonder what he prayed for.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • palmidillard

      Going to church doesn't make you a Christian. And, while I absolutely do despise what he did, all Christians sin, no one can be perfect.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Cq

      palmidillard
      If being a Christian doesn't improve your behavior then what's the point of being one, and why do Christians like to claim that they are the true holders of what is moral, or not?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Solomon

      Dude its like you arguing that sitting in the garage will make you car!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  14. mojjs

    he was bowling in columbine

    July 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  15. ppt

    Jesus said to his disciples,
    I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him (Lk. 12:4,5).
    NEWSFLASH–we are all going to die people, one way or another. God is concerned about our souls; our eternal lives. Do you really think you are going to live forever? Why point to people dying physically as a sign that there is no God? That's ludicrous. Read the bible. There is a much bigger picture to your life.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I agree, this is the least of reasons to not believe in a god. Just read the Bible or Koran or Torah, etc etc. if you want countless more reasons not to believe.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Any god that would torture others for a lack of belief is an immoral monster and does not deserve worship.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Drinky Crow

      You left out my personal favorite "A FEAR of the lord is the beginning of wisdom." So, being scared of being smitten by your all loving god is what makes us wise? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Thanks, but I will save my fear for the deranged followers of your sky fairy.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      PeePeeTea, wrong! There is no afterlife because there is no God. Sorry, but you'd be better off concentrating on your current life rather than on a magical afterlife.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • gman

      @ Drinky Crow , yes we should fear God but i think you take it to an extreme measure. it also says we fear
      god as we would fear our earthly fathers. they love us but haven't you ever feared crossing the old man
      when you were a kid. you know that if he told you something 10 times and you did it again he would tan your
      behind or express his disappointment in you. that's the kind of fear it means. another fear is the fear for
      those heading for destruction. if we don't have laws or values in how we treat each other then how will the
      kingdom of heaven fucniton. the bible says satan is at war with god right now but that will end for all eternity
      with him being sent to hell for ever. look at the evil in this world and if satan is the author of evil , can you
      seriously tell me he doesn't deserve to go where he's going. fearing god's commandments is as fearing or
      honoring your earthly parents which god gave you. ONLY THE STAKES ARE A LOT HIGHER WITH ETERNITY.

      That's why Jesus spells out our condition since the fall of man. The heart is wicked and we all do wicked
      things. He showed us our sin and we see it everyday in world affairs. Our life here is a small time compared
      to eternity. God limited our number of years here on earth after the fall to show us the price of sin. Sin brings
      death. Christ provided the bridge to walk over the punishment for something we don't fully understand. Earthly
      parents discipline their children in their own way. God deals with mankind as a whole. But we still make individual
      choices to accept that we need someone who is omnipotent to guide us.

      JESUS IS THAT PERSON, god in the flesh, the great i am , the beginning and the end, alpha & omega.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      gman,

      You are right, god is like our father and as such I have learned to be a better parent.

      I am going to take what your are saying and apply God's teaching to my life and the life of my son. He is young enough so I can leave his life and he will not remember me, I will however have my neighbor down the street write a book about me and let my son know I exist. I will return to his life when he is about 40 years old, if at that time he believes I am his father and he loves me I will buy him a car, if he does not I will set him on fire. It all makes sense now, whatever happens he is responsible for the outcome, I will have done everything I can, my conscience will be clean.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • gman

      @ NO TRUTH JUST CLAIMS,

      ok, lets suppose that there is no god. then when you die your son is left here. who says you will ever
      see him again anyway. what hope is there if you can't even add 1 second to your life. and i think it's a safe
      bet that we all know death is coming one day in this world. what happens then ? Jesus said he hates
      death and his plan was never that we die. there was a reason and it all started with eve eating from
      the tree of knowledge because satan beguiled her. so if Jesus isn't who he says he is and you don't
      believe in eternal life, or your affraid of accepting him because you think his only motive is to punish you,
      what hope do you have for your future 60 years from now. Jesus show his love on the cross. He offers
      everyone a way back to eternity. all you have to do is listen to the right voice. Not Satans who started
      death for this world in the first place.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Comparing eternal torture to what a real father would do makes me wonder if you were abused....
      If so, maybe you find solace in your religion, but you can leave us out of it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • gman

      @ MARKINFL , who says you have to suffer eternal torture. and as for satans destination. it use to bother me that
      god could send one of his angels to hell for eternity. it doesn't at all anymore. when you look at this world
      and as one of the victims said who lived, you could feel the cloud of evil come in the door. i have no
      compassion for an angel that teaches disobedience to gods laws and lead others astray and refused to listen
      to gods commands. you don't know what your dealing with if you feel sorry for satan. there is no end to
      his evil ways. why not believe in a creator who was willing to die on a cruel cross for all instead of a fallen
      angel that would rather have you die and go to hell for him by not accepting christ sacrifice ?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      gman,

      Satan is only allowed to do anything with the consent of your god. The point is I could not punish my son for ETERNITY for anything he does, it would be immoral to do so, especially if his 'crime' was as trivial as not believing I exist. It is not a crime. I don't think you would either, so that makes you and I more moral than the god you think is perfect.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Cq

      ppt
      The "bigger picture" is that there have been thousands of proposed gods throughout history, and most of them have disappeared from being worshipped for the exact same reason why so many of us have stopped believing in God.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • JWT

      Curtain #3 – neither god nor angels nor satan exist.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • gman

      @ NO TRUTH JUST CLAIMS, ok lets pre suppose that god is who he says he is. and that he has certain laws and
      rules which we have already broke one and all. it only takes one sin to step out of gods holiness. so being
      god he creates a paradise and makes a way for those who believe. he also makes another destination for those
      who don't. also it says in the bible that your words will condem you on judgement day not the lord.

      so if you claim to have superior wisdom to govern people or make them get along better than the lord can lead
      them , then when you die you will be able to make your own world. if you can't do that don't you think the
      creator of the universe deserves a little respect. also you seem hung up on blaming him for damnation. it is hard
      to understand but he offers every chance. all people have to do is believe in the one who created them.

      else if they can by their own hand , pull themselves out of the grave when they die and make their own
      universe.

      i suggest you read the last few chapters of JOB where god answers job out of the storm after all his
      suffering. he goes on for about 3 chapters. no one on earth could possibly write something so boastfull
      and if you can't tell that's the lord speaking then you need to pray for bigger ears.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • sam

      @No Truth:
      "I will however have my neighbor down the street write a book about me and let my son know I exist. I will return to his life when he is about 40 years old, if at that time he believes I am his father and he loves me I will buy him a car, if he does not I will set him on fire."

      That is damn hilarious.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      gman,

      Reading Job will not help, I have had plenty of christian indoctination growing up. The answers for the questions were, to put it mildly, lacking. After looking at the teachings of christianity it was apparent that they are not enitely wise nor are they in any way moral. The god of the bible treats people like garbage and then expects worship. Job should have told him to "shove it". I would not treat my worst enemy the way god treats people. Might does not make right and that is why I think it is bronze age mythology and not divine.

      Sam,

      Thanks for the compliment but I have to admit I stole it myself because I thought it was hilarious.

      July 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • gman

      @ No Truth Just Claims , it's just as hard for me to understand sometimes why we are allowed to suffer the way
      we do in life. It's a daily cross we carry to have any faith at all. But it's just as easy to curse God and blame
      him as it is to eat a piece of candy. That's what makes me realize that Satan is real and the words out of our
      mouths many times are poison from him. We live in a fallen world and the Lord said this would happen when
      eve transgressed. It's human to be angry and even at God but that doesn't lessen a simple act of confession
      to him that you are just struggeling to have faith. Heroe's like Job show us through their faith who the enemy
      really is. After all he suffered he still wouldn't curse God. And the Lord blessed him abundently. Telling Jesus
      that your angry doesn't mean he doesn't understand. This world is at war and will be until the door closes for
      the kingdom of heaven and the end times unfold. Satan will not rest until God puts him to rest for good. Don't
      follow him even if your a doubting thomas. Thomas had to see and feel the wounds in Jesus side after he
      was resurected before he believed. Satan can only kill you he can't take your soul if worse comes to worse
      unless you let him. God will call his own out of the grave when it's time.

      July 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    @Dorothy
    Is slaughter evil if God commands it?
    If Jesus tells you "But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." (Luke 22:36), would you arm yourself?
    If God Himself orders you to "go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (samuel 15:3) or "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." (Numbers 31:17) would it still be evil to massacre an entire village except for the virgins you want to keep as s/ex slaves?

    July 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • MarkinFL

      A mass murders dream scenario. Or just god up to his old antics. Hard to tell the difference.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • CJ

      Perhaps you should ponder those passages in their proper context. Or you can mock God. He lets you do either.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • MarkinFL

      And in what context do you find mass murder of children and the kidnapping of virgins to be a good thing?

      July 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • jalek

      People who can conceive of a situation where they would use a sword against a 4-6 year old and consider it God's work are truly scary people.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah, it's always out of context when a christian doesn't like it.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  17. Ken Frasard

    *** bh chap. 11 p. 108 par. 7 Why Does God Allow Suffering? ***
    The Bible clearly states: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) When you think about it, does that not make sense? This world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel. So the world, under his influence, is full of hatred, deceit, and cruelty. That is one reason why there is so much suffering.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • MarkinFL

      So god allows Satan to influence the earth for his own purposes? So is Satan really evil or is he doing god's work? Or is your god the evil one? Which one is in control? Is Satan stronger than your god? Apparently so.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Ken Frasard

      *** bh chap. 11 pp. 110-111 pars. 12-14 Why Does God Allow Suffering? ***
      Consider an illustration. Imagine that a teacher is telling his students how to solve a difficult problem. A clever but rebellious student claims that the teacher’s way of solving the problem is wrong. Implying that the teacher is not capable, this rebel insists that he knows a much better way to solve the problem. Some students think that he is right, and they also become rebellious. What should the teacher do? If he throws the rebels out of the class, what will be the effect on the other students? Will they not believe that their fellow student and those who joined him are right? All the other students in the class might lose respect for the teacher, thinking that he is afraid of being proved wrong. But suppose that the teacher allows the rebel to show the class how he would solve the problem.
      God has done something similar to what the teacher does. Remember that the rebels in Eden were not the only ones involved. Millions of angels were watching. (Job 38:7; Daniel 7:10) How God handled the rebellion would greatly affect all those angels and eventually all intelligent creation. So, what has God done? He has allowed Satan to show how he would rule mankind. God has also allowed humans to govern themselves under Satan’s guidance.
      14 The teacher in our illustration knows that the rebel and the students on his side are wrong. But he also knows that allowing them the opportunity to try to prove their point will benefit the whole class. When the rebels fail, all honest students will see that the teacher is the only one qualified to lead the class. They will understand why the teacher thereafter removes any rebels from the class. Similarly, God knows that all honesthearted humans and angels will benefit from seeing that Satan and his fellow rebels have failed and that humans cannot govern themselves. Like Jeremiah of old, they will learn this vital truth: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”—Jeremiah 10:23.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • MarkinFL

      So Satan has power over god and it serves god's purpose to allow Satan to reign over humans so that he can keep control of the angels? So if angels can be influenced by Satan, what chance does a human have? Talk about a setup!

      This is what we in the real world call poor management.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      If that 'teacher' knows those 'rebellious' students are going to go out on the school yard and r.a.p.e kill, and cause suffering to the other students and the teacher refuses to stop it because it will be a good 'life leason' to the rest of the school are you seriously arguing the teacher is not responsible for the chaos and suffering that happans?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  18. CJ

    As Allen Hunt pointed out, God was there in the self sacrificing love of the 3 men who were killed protecting someone they loved by laying on top of them to catch bullets. There is no greater love than to lay down your live for another. These men have their reward in heaven, and have demonstrated to the rest of us how to die with courage.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I respect those men. gods had nothing to do with it.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  19. Steve Palmer

    I am done with CNN. This morning's newscast with Carol Costello asking this question as part of the newscast was absolutely ridiculous!

    Where does the madness end?

    Will will be asking where God was when the Dow drops 50 points? Will we wonder where God was the next time a car is recalled for faulty brakes? Will we wonder where God was when the US Olympic team is robbed of a medal by another country? Will we wonder where God was when our home team loses a baseball game? Really?

    Yes. This was a tragedy. But we should not toss the blame to an imaginary bearded man that live in a castle in the clouds, a ball of energy, or the source of the Big Bang. Our questions should be aimed at more earthly targets so we can determine what happened here. Did the healthcare system fail the shooter in some way? How was the shooter able to obtain these guns and weapons so easily? How do we prevent something like this from happening again?

    If the solution as CNN seems to put is is to pray and wonder why God did this and what role he had, we are all doomed as a society.

    Sorry for running over your daughter while I was driving drunk. Blame God.

    Sorry for bilking you of millions in my Ponzi scheme. You're broke now. Ask God why this happened.

    Sorry for the rain, snow storms, or hurricanes that made you're life miserable and made you lose your home. God's fault.

    Sorry for losing a CNN subscriber. Blame God.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • stfueveryone

      that's the beauty of christianity, nothing is ever your fault, it was god's plan all along, and if you're sorry for doing horrible things he'll forgive you, just like nothing happened. You get a do-over every time no matter what, if this were a christian nation prisons would be empty and graveyards would be full to the brim.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  20. Ken Frasard

    *** bh chap. 11 p. 108 par. 7 Why Does God Allow Suffering? ***
    7 The Bible clearly states: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) When you think about it, does that not make sense? This world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel. So the world, under his influence, is full of hatred, deceit, and cruelty. That is one reason why there is so much suffering.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      No it doesn't Ken, If you god is the most powerful being and created the universe nothing happens without his implied consent. Satan would have to be doing god's will even is Satan did not know he was. The whole idea of your god getting all of the credit and none of the blame is so absurd as to be laughable, except people like you actually believe this drival and that is not funny.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Or through fear mongering and religious dogma, nations of faith have been engaged in wars for more than a decade. If there was no religion, there would be no reason for people who would otherwise get along to engage in combat, or commit acts of terror.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.