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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. dotmafia

    religion is for fools and the ignorant.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism

      July 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    July 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      So, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have!

      I challenge you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50).

      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      July 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  3. Barney

    All those American Indian tribes that were massacred by the white man's guns must be believing that karma is for real.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  4. Barney

    When God's son supposedly 'dies', it was only for 3 days. When these poor parents have a children that dies, they really are dead(it is 10 days and counting). So how is God able to sympathize with these parents?

    July 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  5. jake

    i beleave that this is a movie with violence and God is againts violence, so i would not go where such takes place and i wouldnt be a victim of violence.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • S.Stern

      "god is against violence"
      ??
      have you even read the bible? the old testament is ALL violence.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  6. Timmy

    Please Christians...stop with the freewill dodge already. I guess your god only gives freewill to the shooter and the victims be damned. You are in a never ending battle to support one absurdity with another and another and another....

    July 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Kelly51

      Timmy, God was in exactly the same place He was in when His only Son Jesus Christ was tortured and hung on a cross ( violently murdered ) so that the sins of humankind could be washed away. It is hard for non believers to take that into consideration when they ask "Where was God when..."

      July 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Timmy

      See how you must make up another excuse to maintain your delusion? If you had the capability to step outside your buble of indoctrination you would see how absurd it really is.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ME II

      "Jesus Christ was tortured and hung on a cross ( violently murdered ) so that the sins of humankind could be washed away."
      Never understood this.
      How does the death of one "wash away" the actions, i.e. sins, of another?

      July 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Dave

      If you believe in the Bible... Adam and Eve screwed this up. God was willing to make a perfect world, and Satan convinced Eve that it was "okay" to eat the apple, (lied) and Adam didn't stand course and uphold his Godly command. From THAT POINT forward... our will is in OUR hands. God, like a commited father, allows us to make our own choices. If we make the wrong choices, we have reprocussions to that. (I am teaching my 10 year old daughter this very lesson). But, my take is.... wouldn't you rather live a life here on earth believing there is a God, and then eternally find our there isn't, then to choose as you do and live as though there is no God, and then find out there is????

      July 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • What IF

      Dave,
      " wouldn't you rather live a life here on earth believing there is a God, and then eternally find our there isn't, then to choose as you do and live as though there is no God, and then find out there is????"

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century.

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      July 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dave

      My reply was prefaced very simply.... "if you believe in the Bible".....

      July 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      MEII: Gods always seem to require some sort of sacrifice. Not all of them require a human sacrifice, but apparently the christian god does. Christianity isn't that far removed from the pagan religion is did it's best to wipe out.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Hawkeye

      Sins weren't "washed away" – they were paid for – our punishment (in this case capital) was upon him. If you go back into the original languages there is the context of an accounting system – Christ's death credited the accounts so that there was nothing owed before God. Kind of like paying a parking ticket only exponentially more valuable – and He paid it because of His love for us – all of us.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Hawkeye, remember ....

      Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

      1 Timothy 1:9

      Amen.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  7. Frank

    The short answer is: God is where he/she has always been, & will always be. History should prove that to you already (Wars, meteor collisions, etc ad infinitim)

    The longer answer is: Our connection/relativity to God is not unlike a single brain cell's relativity to the entire brain. Since each brain cell probably has some finite capacity for awareness, if we could measure it, we'd probably find it wondering the same thing about neighboring brain cell destruction it witnessess. And who knows, maybe some of our brain cells deny the existence of this so called "entire brain" other brain cells always "proclaim as existing". It's a micro/macro thing.

    BTW, if Earth really is our "mother" as it's often referred to as Mother Earth, then God/Universe is NOT our father, the Sun is.

    As such, consider this: The Sun is to the Earth what a cathode ray TV picture tube is to the TV screen, only in physical form, for "real". (as real as that is, anyway...).

    You can talk about God all you want (I most definitely believe in intelligent design – how else could something (Universe) come from nothing?) BUT, God did not directly create us, he/she indirectly created us through his one & only Sun (in this solar system).

    My gut feeling (National Geographic Show, & other resources) is we were visited by Aliens who guided our Species & helped us get over a big evolutionary hump. But we didn't know reading & writing, so we told stories instead. And you know us, we like to personalize everything we do, especially after they left us to ourselves. This turned into religion. Sun turned into Son. You can only know the Father (universe) through his one & only begotten Son (Sun).

    Blaming God for anything WE DO on this rock is a lot like blaming GM for one of their cars plowing into a crowd of people when it was driver error.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Kelly51

      I appreciate your reasoning, Frank. God Bless.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rob

      I'm a Deist and i love this post.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • cavediver

      Intelligent design is based on christian creationism..... that , like all the Gods before was a rather crude first attempt. We have progressed to the point where god only exsists now in what we dont know. Intelligent Design says theres an apparently omnipotent cosmic being that can create universes easily... and invariably gets twisted back down into supporting the bronze age myths...... and IF you were to be correct...How exactly would your version fit in this world? ,,,,why give such a being any nod at all? it wont care, probably wounldnt even know we exist...and totally would not be in our image... the thought process would be completely unrecognisible to humanity.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So many folks in the world today, believe the lies of satan, confusing Jesus' truth to young believers.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Frank

      "cavediver: Intelligent design is based on christian creationism"

      I'm not into hoop jumping, mind-numbing dogma, so I'll take your word for it. To me, the phrase "Intelligent design" are only words, of which there are only so many, so to me Intelligent design means exactly the context I was referring to; before the Universe existed there was nothing, so where did it come from? By chance? No, only by some sort of intelligence could it have possibly began. Unless you know another way? I apologize if there is a religion called "intelligent design". To me the phrase Intelligent Design is synonymous with the word God, & the word everything (as in there could only ever be just ONE everything). Word games I am not into, sorry for my ignorance there...

      "cavediver:How exactly would your version fit in this world?"

      These are just my views & some of my beliefs, I'm not trying to get anyone to believe anything, so please don't be offended, as it is certainly not my intent to do so.

      Like I said about the brain analogy, that's how. If we could shrink ourselves to the size of a brain cell & go inside our brain & look around, I imagine it would look a lot like or similar in function to how the Universe looks/functions to us from Earth now.
      I believe Life is living us much more than we are living life. Essentially, I believe we aren't "us." That is to say, the part of us we are aware of as being us is such a tiny part of our totality, that that is precisely why we don't know our totality. That & the fact that our species is still very young & primitive compared to what we will eventually evolve to in our totality. For example, I believe I'm (about) 1/4 me, 1/4 my father, 1/4 my mother, & the last fourth I call the combination of the joined bloodlines/DNA of both of my parents. Right there explains how we are less us & more of our connectedness to our past. But it doesn't stop there, no it goes all the way back to the first humans here (even then it doesn't stop there). There's "a piece" of every bit of that in all of us which has gotten us to where we are now.

      And I do not believe all of our thoughts are our own. I believe our brains contain channels (one is somewhat of a God channel), not unlike radio stations, & we tune into what ever channel we want to/have ability to (although sometimes the dial spins uncontrollably, or from somewhere else remotely. I believe we exist in a much greater capacity (w/o the exact bodies we have now – but prime) somewhere else & are trying to operate ourselves remotely (somewhat similar to the movie Avatar). I know for a fact extra-sensory exists because I've experienced it countless times & I bet everyone else has too, although they may not be aware of it. I can't tell you how many times in my life I went to pick up the phone to call someone & before my hand got to the phone, it rang with them on it. Happened at least 30 times w/i the last year, alone.

      "cavediver: why give such a being any nod at all? it wont care, probably wounldnt even know we exist...and totally would not be in our image... the thought process would be completely unrecognisible to humanity"

      Again, the brain analogy. Are you aware of each & everyone of your brain cells singularly? Are they aware of each other & do they totally comprise our entire being's image? No, just the brain itself (not counting the mind), which looks nothing like our total body. Since each brain cell must have some finite amount of awareness, could it by itself even in it's wildest dreams recognize all the brain cells in our entire brain at once. No, I doubt any of them could by themselves. Each one's similar to an electric transistor with it's own specs.

      "cavediver: the thought process would be completely unrecognisible to humanity"
      Agreed! But that's not one bit different from what I'm saying about the analogy of the brain relative to it's cells, which I believe is precisely the exact relationship between God & humanity (here on this rock, anyway, other rocks no doubt contain much more matured cells – probably similar to our brains relativity to it's own cells).

      I think each of us are little radio/TV stations walking around transmitting signals to each other & to the big kahuna itself. We are it's brain cells, which is why we should do no harm to each other. Which is why we should love each other. We hurt each other we hurt ourselves – same with love & everything in between.

      Because the only thing that really exists for our lives are results from either love being present, or not. And it works at the speed of light – pure unadulterated electromagnetic light spectrum.

      We ourselves are electric. 98% water (best conductor). We know an electric spark is what causes each heartbeat to occur.

      What happens when you turn off the TV? The images are gone. Same thing with us & the Sun – it goes out, so do we. We're projected images in physical form caused by the relationship between the Sun & Earth.

      I personally like the car battery analogy the best. It's the easiest to understand/explain.
      Half has to be positive & half negative (good/evil). The idiot light on the dashboard showing the needle slightly towards the positive side (but not too much or POW) is the only way it will keep running, hence keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

      Our vessel/body/life is the exact same thing. Half of each of us is negative like the battery, the other positive, & our intent/life is the needle. Our batteries are huge, though, & it's only natural for us to explore it's boundaries. When we send the needle to the negative side, look what happens to ourselves, everyone around us, & the species itself.(hell). Conversely, there's good ole' heaven on Earth.

      This existence is nothing more & nothing less than transposed light into the physical world, just like the TV analogy, only physically real.

      In the same way (electric, don't forget) computers simulate how our brains work to a large degree (we just haven't discovered/developed scandisc or defrag for our brains yet?)

      In the same way (electric, don't forget) telephones simulate the radio channels I mentioned above to communicate with. We use telepathy constantly, we just don't realize it (thoughts just "pop" into our heads...they all come from us....ya right...we're so smart-not).

      You know the part of us that's actually us? When we encounter a new thing or many things, our 1st response"intake of perception" is what is the "us" in us. Everything else comes from each other, even from the ether itself. Sure we have memory banks that are like slow hard drives we access storage from to aid us, but that's not us. That's stored choices for slower recall later, when needed. Check out Edison's mentioning this during his flood of thoughts & ideas (outside himself) which he was distinctly aware of not coming from his own mind/thought process( Akashic Record). Imagination itself is remote & is relative to our own experience/growth/whatever, which is why it comes to each of us according to our own "flavor". Which explains an awful lot. It's what gives us what individuality – our flavor that we have. It's why music/bands/art, everything actually is different to & for each of us. We aren't at all individual as we think (other than physically) flavor/taste/intent/love is.

      We are all the same (car batteries on the inside) with different capacities, & mirrors on the outside.

      cavediver, you did say "exactly"... While there's infinitely more (stargate/escaping death/Toltec knowledge – Don Miguel Ruiz & Casteneda) I've gotta go. Sorry if I wasn't concise enough.

      July 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • cavediver

      Good post Frank – truely 🙂

      July 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  8. SciGuy

    Lincoln? Please. The tyrant subjugated the South, murdering hundreds of thousands in the process, and then laid it at God's feet? Lincoln has the blood of many innocents on his hands. He got what he deserved, only four years too late.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  9. Shoshanaz

    Where was God at Treblinka where 800,000 were murdered? Right there. Giving life to the murderers. Do we understand? No. We only know that each person is given a choice. Our purpose is to choose righteously. Free Will. Some fail miserably.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Lorraine

      Shoshanaz, but this World War II was instigated by the zionist jewish leaders as well as World War I, and Pearl Harbor, all instigated by wicked, selfish men of greed, and power. Look around you know, who has the dominion today? Mostly these high powered zionist jews, ' not all jews are complicit of this' but the fortune 500, also the international bankers, the high mason, need I say more. This was all prophesied in Genesis 27 of the two nations decrees, and inheritance.

      Therefore, this is a blame for mankind, and so was Hiroshima, this was all instigated by man into war, for power, and gain. They even run this site, among all the rest of this world, the media, the queen, etc. And If I had dominion do you think I would care if you told someone? No, what could anyone do about it, lol?....Oh, but YHWH can, and He will as prophesied in the book of Obadiah, and in Isaiah 34:8.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "but this World War II was instigated by the zionist jewish leaders as well as World War I,"

      Stop blaming the victims, Lorraine. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, stop believing lies.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • JWT

      Maybe lorraine also knows what happened at roswell and who was on the grassy knoll ?

      July 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  10. Reality

    As we again scroll to that famous 21st century prayer:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    =====================================================================================
    ----------------------------------------------------

    July 29, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ....

      AVOID THIS BULL SH IT

      July 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, Jesus wasn't a temple rabble-rouser. It was the Kenites (son's of Cain, son of satan who is a liar and teaches his children and future children to lie) that made their way to the highest seats of the pharisee priesthood that lied to the Jews and got them to cry out to crucify Jesus.

      Just as their are children of God's walking the earth, so too are the Kenites (children of satan) walking the earth at the same time.

      Satan deceives the entire world. Pay attention to #9 of the following scriptures.

      Revelation 12:7-12

      7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
      8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
      9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
      10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
      11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
      12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

      Amen.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Typo, I meant to write there are.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus speaking with Cain after Cain killed his brother Abel.

      Ye are of your father the devil , and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      John 8:44

      Amen.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Reality

      Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      July 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  11. Whole truth

    There is no need to argue with a person who is a hater of G-d or denies the existence of our creator. Atheists' think they are wise but in reality they are like fools without true understanding.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • LinCA

      @Whole truth

      You said, "There is no need to argue with a person who is a hater of G-d or denies the existence of our creator."
      I don't hate the figments of your imagination.

      You said, "Atheists' think they are wise but in reality they are like fools without true understanding."
      Ten why don't you enlighten us? What is there that leads to "understanding"? Did we miss a crucial piece of evidence that shows beyond doubt that there is such a creature?

      Do you have anything other than your book of fairy tales? Do you have any hint of evidence that your god is any different from the Tooth Fairy?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Jef Mayz

      And this is why a Christian should not ask why Atheists "Attack" them. This guy is quoting right from the Bible which says because I don't believe in god I'm a "fool" and "evil" and I can "do no good" and that I should be "stoned to death" .

      So Christians the next time you feel an Atheist is roughing you up by not believing in your god and being vocal about it, remeber you asked for it.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Whole truth

      @LinCA AND Jef Mayz:

      Like Apostle Paul said, "G-d has given you over to a reprobate mind". You have changed the truth of G-d into a lie. There is no need for me to enlighten you or make you believe because G-d has already proved that he exists through his creation.
      I can write my testimony about how G-d has worked through faith in my life, but the truth is you have made up your mind about G-d and your imaginations will only lead you to throw rocks at everything I say.
      You have no sound explanation to why the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not exist, therefore, your arguments lack validity.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Whole truth
      Is this the same "Whole truth" as the OP?

      You said, "There is no need for me to enlighten you or make you believe because G-d has already proved that he exists through his creation."
      Unless you start off with the assumption that your god created everything, there is no rational case to be made that he did. And starting off with the assumption constitutes circular reasoning, which is also not a valid argument.

      You said, "I can write my testimony about how G-d has worked through faith in my life, but the truth is you have made up your mind about G-d and your imaginations will only lead you to throw rocks at everything I say."
      Just because you are convinced doesn't mean anything for anyone else. From the outside your conversations with your god are indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

      You said, "You have no sound explanation to why the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not exist, therefore, your arguments lack validity."
      I don't claim to know there are no gods. The lack of evidence in support of them simply leads me not to believe they exist. Provide some solid evidence and you will convince me.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Whole truth

      LinCA

      Pick up the book and truly study it. Ask G-d for understanding and he will show you the truth. Oh wait a minute, you can't even do that because you have already concluded that there is no G-d. I'm sorry but the evidence is in the book and I'm not here to convince you or enlighten you. Please go study the book yourself and stop waiting for others to provide you with evidence of G-d's existence.
      As it is written, "The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction". You have not the fear of the L-rd in you, therefore, you cannot even begin to understand or prove G-d does not exist. What you need is is true wisdom not evidence.

      July 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • OTOH

      Whole truth

      " Atheists' think they are wise but in reality they are like fools without true understanding."

      Ah, but you think yourself to be wise in believing that book?!

      July 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • cavediver

      Who created the Egypians, the Babylonians, the Indians, the Chinese, ect there are settlement in south america that predate the Jews by as much as 6K years ... Egypt alone existed 3k years before the first mention of Israel Tribes...

      Yet its the creation stories of this one group of tribes are called the Starting point for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

      If the foundation is wrong...how right can the rest of it be? even without all the magic ....the timeline is blown.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Whole truth

      You said, "Pick up the book and truly study it."
      I'm assuming you're referring to your book of fables, AKA the bible? Been there, done that, wasn't convinced.

      You said, "Ask G-d for understanding and he will show you the truth. Oh wait a minute, you can't even do that because you have already concluded that there is no G-d."
      Minor point of clarification. There is no evidence, and therefor no reason to believe, your god exists.

      You said, "I'm sorry but the evidence is in the book and I'm not here to convince you or enlighten you. Please go study the book yourself and stop waiting for others to provide you with evidence of G-d's existence."
      I've read "the book". There is no evidence, of even truth to be found anywhere in it.

      You said, "As it is written, "but fools despise wisdom and instruction"."
      That explains the believers' mindset exactly.

      You said, "You have not the fear of the L-rd in you, therefore, you cannot even begin to understand or prove G-d does not exist. What you need is is true wisdom not evidence."
      I cannot fear what doesn't exist, and being a sheep will not lead to wisdom.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  12. flo312

    question for the "atheists".
    please explain, without mentioning the word religion, why you don't believe?

    July 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Jef Mayz

      Why should we? Is there any substantial evidence that a god or gods exist? Not from what we've seen. Besides it isn't for us to say why there isn't a god , thats not our burden. The believer has the burden of proof to say why they believe there is a god.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • LinCA

      @flo312

      You said, "please explain, without mentioning the word religion, why you don't believe?"
      It's really simple. For me it boils down to: "If there is no evidence to support a hypothesis, there is no reason to believe it is true".

      So, without any evidence to support the claim that there are gods, it is unreasonable to believe there are any. Without gods, there is no need for all the hocus pocus.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Shlarg

      "Either there is a god (or gods), or there is not. If there is, then we should reasonably expect to find empirical evidence in favor of his existence. To date, however, all forms of evidence have been lacking, and the assumption of god does nothing to quantifiably model a large body of observations or reliably predict future events. The god hypothesis therefore adds nothing to our understanding of nature and may as well be equivalent to no god at all. Unless the situation ever changes, the only rational conclusion is to assume that god does not exist."-AntiCitize​nx

      July 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • flo312

      either you believe or you don't. no proof is required by the beliver or the disbeliever. nobody here was present when the universe was created, so all these comments are opinions.

      just be good to your fellow human beings. when you were born, you relied on a fellow human being to feed you. when you die you rely on either your creator or on nobody.

      in my humble opinion, we humans were created in the image of GOD the creator. we stand out from all other beings on this planet and for this reason i believe we will be judged according to our actions. 🙂

      July 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Barney

      Why don't you believe in Santa Clause, Thor, Zues, etc...?
      My answer is the same for Yaweh, Jesus, Muhammed, etc...

      July 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • *

      *Claus
      *Zeus

      July 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • S.Stern

      I love it when people say they are being humble, then make a wild human-centric pompous statement that what they believe, without ANY evidence, is completely true – especially if it is in relation to the creation of the universe/ world/ humankind.

      how is this humble? do you need help with the definition of the word? or your 'humble' opinion probably redefines it to whatever you believe it should be.

      saying humans were made in the image of an all powerful sky daddy is NOT a humble statement.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @flo312

      You said, "either you believe or you don't. no proof is required by the beliver or the disbeliever."
      To make a non-believer believe, evidence will most likely be required.

      You said, "nobody here was present when the universe was created, so all these comments are opinions."
      True, but that doesn't mean that all have equal merit.

      You said, "just be good to your fellow human beings. when you were born, you relied on a fellow human being to feed you. when you die you rely on either your creator or on nobody."
      Don't forget the thousands of other deities that may be out there. Without any evidence to support yours, you have no way of knowing whether it was the right one.

      You said, "in my humble opinion, we humans were created in the image of GOD the creator."
      You call that humble? It's a pretty bold statement considering that you have nothing more than a fairy tale to support it.

      You said, "we stand out from all other beings on this planet and for this reason i believe we will be judged according to our actions"
      You may be surprised at how similar we are to other animals.

      But please return the favor. You say you believe, but also please let us know why you believe.

      July 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • flo312

      dear non-believer,

      there is no proof or evidence GOD exists. never was, never will be, so stop asking for it. get over it.

      i believe there is a GOD because i believe in the ten commandments and in the teachings of JESUS. PERIOD.

      ps:
      i also believe "atheists" can be very moral and righteous human beings as long as they are free from religion.

      July 30, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • LinCA

      @flo312

      You said, "there is no proof or evidence GOD exists. never was, never will be, so stop asking for it. get over it."
      Then please help me understand what is so compelling that you believe it even if you realize it isn't based on anything tangible? How do you distinguish between what christians believe and muslims? What makes your god so real to you, and why not others?

      You said, "i believe there is a GOD because i believe in the ten commandments and in the teachings of JESUS. PERIOD."
      So, you believe a few parts of the bible? Do you believe any other parts? If you do, how do you reconcile all the contradictions? If you don't, why not, and how do you select the parts that you do?

      You said, "i also believe "atheists" can be very moral and righteous human beings as long as they are free from religion."
      Thanks. Religion is not required to be moral. On the contrary, religion seems detrimental sometimes.

      July 30, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • flo312

      1. religion should not play a factor in one's faith/belief.

      2. the bible, koran, torah, etc.. are books written by humans. GOD never wrote a book. therefore, i believe only what i consider to be divine revelation found in these books.

      3. i believe our creator loves us all, whether we believe he exists or not. i believe love is the greatest gift given to us by GOD and how we apply it toward others, determines our happiness.

      ps. we should not live for the world, or for our own honor, but for the honor of GOD, for the glory of GOD, for the service of GOD.

      July 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  13. Pamela Haley Design

    America... 77% Christian from 27 denominations who disagree on how to believe in God. 16% Don't care either way. 4% Jewish. 2% Athiest. 1% others who must believe in God but are doing it completely wrong.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  14. Jef Mayz

    Stephen Prothero is a perfect example of why I can't stomach pure Agnosticism . He has in one article managed to show that he doesn't know what Atheism is AND he attempts to lump us all into one tidy little box that he has been given out of sheer laziness. He doesn't address that one can be both an "Agnostic" and an "Atheist" at the same time, just like one can be a "Theist" and an "Agnostic" at the same time.
    The tone of his article is one of self congratulatory reverie for simply saying "I don't know" . Well most Atheists don't claim to "know" either , but what separates them from your run of the mill "stuck in neutral" Agnostic is that we say we don't "believe" . In the future please try to give an accurate picture of the subject you're referring to instead of going right for the easiest definition you could find.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  15. stateschool

    Which god?

    July 29, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  16. timothyclee

    I agrer that “Josephpusateri” made perhaps the most eloquent comment of all, as the author said at the end:

    "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."

    July 29, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  17. richwood7

    Religion is just another big business.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  18. flo312

    i see GOD laughing at all the comments, especially the ones that refer to him as a "myth".

    LOL 😉

    July 29, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • cavediver

      You know .... i think those desert guys were on to something...... lets ALL do exactly what they did....and create our own gods...make him or her exactly how YOU want him or her to be... i mean really, a bunch of guy have already dismissed the original and created their own flavor , why not you? what makes the clergy any more qualified to tell you what god wants?

      July 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • OTOH

      flo312
      "i see GOD laughing at all the comments,"

      You do? LOL 😉

      July 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • S.Stern

      'humble' flo assumes god reads the cnn blogs she reads AND has time to mock atheists that she thinks are silly. no wonder 'he' is impotent in saving innocent lives – the internet eats up all his time! 😉

      July 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If you are "seeing" god, flo, perhaps you should take a picture. There are reasons why people call god a myth, and one of the main ones is that there isn't a single shred of evidence to prove that your god, or any god, actually exists.

      July 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  19. The Lord's Light

    God is always there! The light of God shines through us.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  20. georgex

    The availability of the Internet allows many doubters to express their views here as we become a more open society. In the past they didn't have the chance to meet or discuss their views and felt a bit isolated. Today there are organizations for non-believers such as http://www.secular.org that have meetings and interesting projects and just good conversation..
    Personally, I don't think we can blame God for these killings anymore than we should give him credit for the survivors. He seems to stay out of almost every human event. He doesn't do much that I am aware of.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
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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.