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

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

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

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

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

1. There is no God.

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

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

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

2. Don’t blame God, blame Satan.

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

3. Don’t blame God, blame us.

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

Watch: Survivor of massacre says he forgives gunman

Believer summed up this position well:

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

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

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

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

Lenny wrote:

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

Read: The man who made Aurora’s iconic crosses

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Which God?

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

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

7. Who knows? It’s a mystery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

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

soundoff (4,074 Responses)
  1. 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 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Lorraine

      flo312, This is why I said that we must live by the law of the Creator YHWH, to praise Him as well, and by doing what pleases Him, and that is to do righteously by one another is what He wants, and to do the law. All the way to the last prophet Malachi 4, He ask us to do out of His love for us, it is to help to prolong our lives on this earth.

      I never said that YHWH wrote this book, but I've said that the first of the written law begins with Moses, for Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and Noah, all knew the law it was with them from the voice of YHWH as taught to us in Genesis 26:5

      July 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Lorraine

      flo312, Also, this is no religion, this is a law of righteousness, to do 'right' by one another that is all. Religions are all idolatry, pagan, man-made, for gain, and controlling, and this not of the Creator YHWH. His is the spirituality of all life connected to one another out of peace, and love, and righteousness.

      July 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      Hello All,
      If you think you will come up with you own criterion then why do you think these prophets "Moses, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and Noah" as you have mentioned had their mission and what was their mission... did they teach to follow them as well as follow ownself? NOOOOO they had one message and few of the communities believed in them and most of them did not... which side are you in if for example you were the time of any of these prophets???

      Peace!!!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  2. Lorraine

    Atheist, yes, what I like about them is that they do claim that things are just as they are; and unforeseen things can just happen to people, and to live ones life to the fullest, and be good, for goodness sake is all wonderful. We do all have a responsibility to ourselves, and to each other. And so what atheist don't realize is, that in order to do this peacefully, and justifiably among nations of people it has to be a rule of life, the law of life, as taught in Deuteronomy 30, and 32, to prolong all life in this world.

    There is no such thing as its not enough food, land, water, etc..only because we are not doing right by each other, we now have mayhem, injustice, from greed, selfishness, imposed poverty, in difference etc. But, YHWH made enough for us all to have, yet those who are prideful, greedy, selfish, will not do right by others. Do what is right.

    I once saw on a 20/20 shoot, a woman, and a man of ages 50-60, had a vast amount of land, no children. The woman loved gorillas, so she went to their habitat, and they were not endangered at all, and decided that she wanted 200 gorillas to be placed on her land. We have many people whose needs of having a place to live is not possible because of their situations, whatever they maybe, now the right thing to do is for this woman to help some of these people, and people like her, and her husband, but it's their choice, it's their land, and their money right? All belongs to YHWH as taught to us in Deuteronomy 15, and in Malachi 3:8.

    July 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  3. Peteyroo

    Please explain to me why Noah brought mosquitos on board. And how did he get two Komodo Dragons up the ramp? And how did he get to Malaysia/Indonesia to get the them in the first place? Did he have a magic carpet for rounding up animals from distant places? And I'd also like to know where he got the penguins. There are several different types of penguins, so I imagine he was at the South Pole among other places. Did he have a big kayak? I'm willing to bet rounding up two Andean Condors was a challenge. How'd he do that? Did he climb up high into the Andes of South America to get them? I'm wondering how many animals were left behind to perish because they were simply too hard to catch.

    There is also the matter of the flood changing the Ph and salinity of the ocean. How'd the fish like that? After the Ark settled onto Mt. Arrarat, how'd Noah return all the animals to their original homes? Or did he just turn them loose to fend for themselves? I would imagine that the penguins would have been in for quite a shock to find the ice sheets gone (unless the flood waters covered the ice sheets without melting them, which would require another explanation).

    You'll probably fall back on the "God helped him" explanation. Fine, but how did God help him? Answers, please!

    July 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  4. Salero21

    It is a foolish question to ask, thought it is done even sometimes by "people of faith". God was where HE has always been and where HE will always be for all of Eternity; in HEAVEN.

    Big problema is, that in a nation that is under God's judgment, some people will continue to believe that God owes them an answer. God does not owes anyone anything, much less to a nation and a people under his judgment.

    Actually there's people in this country who believe that God owes it to them. This is ONE NATION UNDER GOD's JUDGMENT and God does not owes it to you. To the contrary we owe it all to HIM. But an arrogant, petulant and stiff-necked people will still insist and even demand from God, that HE ought to come down from Heaven just to answer to them.

    Is NOT going to happen!

    The question now that we all should be asking is; Will Justice be done to the victims? In a nation where justice has been perverted from the very beginning, murderers get away and escape their due punishment by playing the Looney card. Then we have in one end of the spectrum, a legal system that allowed this criminal to obtain military weapons and gear. On the other end of the spectrum there is a cult-like fascination with guns, weapons and violence. Which is illustrated clearly in everything that happened that night, including the movie itself.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Salero21

      Strangely enough, nobody has ever asked, what was a baby or a six year old doing at midnight at a movie. The movie is part of the cult-like fascination with guns, weapons and violence. Because of that FACT nobody sees anything wrong with that. Should not these children been in bed at the time.

      ONE NATION UNDER GOD's JUDGMENT. Then of course, now we hear this murderer was under "psychological" observation. So the looney card is already being played. Which should take us back to how and why someone under "psychological" care is purchasing guns at all? But of course these are questions to be asked by reasonable people. Fools in the other hand, pretend that God answers to them.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • justme

      not bad but why so angry?

      July 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  5. derchoadus

    Dear Christians:

    God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in World history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

    You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire Universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?

    Further, do you really think I would sit back and do nothing while Nazis killed 6 million of my “chosen people,” but find it important enough to intervene and turn water into wine to stop some hosts being embarrassed at a wedding in Cana? Why did I seem to be so active in the Middle East for a brief period about 2,000 years ago, but totally absent everywhere else on the planet and for the rest of recorded history? Did I make the Jews or did the Jews make me?

    So, you really think my periodic miracles prove my existence hey? Then why not something inarguable and unambiguous, like a huge crucifix in the sky, or my face on the moon? Why is it always that believers have to construct my miracles out of perfectly explicable natural events?

    This happens every time there is a tragedy or near tragedy of any kind, anywhere in the world and in all cultures. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger pilots a distressed plane to land safely on the Hudson River in New York City with no deaths, and it's a miracle from God; a young girl is found in India, totally terrorized, but alive after being abducted and ra.ped for a week, and it’s a miracle from my competi.tor Rama (or Vishnu or Shiva) that she is returned to her parents; or a family in Northern Pakistan survives an errant American missile attack, and it’s a miracle from Allah.

    What all these self-serving proclamations of miraculous intervention always ignore is the downside of the incidents. The fact that the passengers and crew of Flight 1549 were terrorized and the plane destroyed, that 11 innocent people are dead in Aurora, that the girl was held for seven days, ra.ped and sod.omized and will be traumatized for the rest of her life, or that a number of innocent civilians were killed by the missile.

    Of course, none of these incidents really are "miracles.” When the totality of facts are taken into account, "miracles" turn out to be nothing more than believers who are desperate for some sign of my existence ignoring the downside of a set of facts, focusing solely on the upside and calling the quarantined "good" a miracle from me or one of the other sky-fairies. A CEO might as well ignore the liability side of his balance sheet and declare it a “miracle” that his company just doubled in value.

    Another annoying habit my “miracles” seem to have is that they always seem to tag along, just behind medical science, like an annoying kid brother who won’t go away. Until the mid nineties, those with AIDS who prayed for a miracle were never granted one. Medical science finds a way to permanently suppress the disease, and all of a sudden I start to perform miracles with AIDS patients. No polio patient ever received a miracle until the Salk vaccine and I routinely ignored cancer patients until chemotherapy and radiation treatments were developed. Suddenly, prayers to me from cancer patients are regularly “answered.”

    Why is it that I still seem deaf to the pleadings of amputees who would like their fingers, arms or legs back, to those who have physically lost eyes or ears, to the horribly burned and to all others who ail from patently visible and currently incurable maladies? Why is it that, at the very same time, I am very receptive to the prayers of those whose condition is uncertain, internal and vulnerable to miraculous claims?

    Take five minutes to make two lists; one of those ailments I will miraculously cure and the other of those I will not. You will quickly find it coincides perfectly with those conditions medical science (or the human body itself) can defeat and those we cannot. Why do you think that is? It is almost as my miracles are created out of medical ambiguity isn’t it?

    No, my human friends. I am afraid I do not exist. I do not read your minds (or “hear your prayers” as you like to call it) and you are not going to achieve immortality (or “eternal life” as you like to call it) no matter how many commandments from Iron Age Palestine you choose to “keep”. Move on and enjoy the few years you have. You were all dead for the last 13,700,000,000 years and it wasn’t that least bit uncomfortable now, was it?

    God

    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • justme

      so many questions and yet I wonder if you would listen if someone tried to share the answers with you. you seem so angry and no wonder since religion has hurt so many but if you would ask those ??? at J W . org you would find what the bible really teaches and it would amaze you that you and the rest of the world have been so misled. give it a try or maybe you really do not want to know.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • anthony

      this letter should be at the beginning and end of every religious text.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • anthony

      Justme, it sounds like you have only read the Bible, and that is it. i have read the Bible, and Torah, Quran, i have read into Buddha, Hinduism, toaism, and other religions. what i have found time and time again is that for the most part, they are all the same story just told differently. you can find many of the same stories found in the bible, in any ancient Greek Text.
      you would be amazed at how many similarities there are between Buddha and Jesus. like did you know buddha was tempted 3 times by evil while walking in a forest by himself for a while. now just change buddha with jesus and the forest with the desert. Funny how Jesus ascends into heaven, the only person to ever do that, o wait what about Heracles? ( Heracles is his Greek name, Hercules is his Roman name) again the only demi-god ever to become Fully god in Greek or Roman Mythology. compare the Similarites between the labors of Jesus and the Labors of Heracles, in essence they are all the same sorry just told differently to fit the time, place and people they were being told to. In the end both had to die to go to heaven. ALL of it is the same, in every religion, the same story slightly modified. if you think this is not true and impossible, that this cannot be the same story, do a little experiment. ( yes i know science, the tool of the devil). Start a rumor, give it a little time to age and travel around ( a week, two weeks, what ever) and see how many different stories you get all coming from the same rumor. now ask yourself why is this not possible with religion? after all most people until the 20th century didnt know how to read or write, and all stories and myths were passed down orally.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • justme

      in the past 50 years I have read so many "books" as you would put it and the only one with any real substance is the bible. and if you really want to know what it teaches go to http://www.jw.org or the next time one of Jehovah's Witnesses comes to your door have a serious discussion and don't just think people are being told things. over 30 years ago I was trying to teach evolution when I encountered these people and the publications they produce are more scientific than you would think. they never downplay science but use it to back up the bible and its creator. wish I had more time but I will check back to see if you are serious about learning and thanks for the comment.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • justme

      and please tony, don't think other people don't read. that really takes away from your credibility.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • OTOH

      justme,

      You can read numerous stories from/about former JWs here:
      http://4jehovah.org/ex-jehovahs-witness-stories/

      July 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • justme

      otoh, i have read many "stories" of disgruntled witnesses but that does not mean they are true. you need to check out the truth for your own self. at jw.org or watchtower.org

      August 1, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  6. Donna

    GOD IS EVERYTHING GOOD!
    WE JUST GOTTA LEARN HOW TO TRUST IN HIM
    TURN FROM EVIL AND THE WORLDLY THINGS,
    REPENT FROM YOUR SINS AND ACCEPT CHRIST
    INTO YOUR LIVES!

    July 31, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Peteyroo

      DumboDonna, you're full of crap. And please stop the all caps routine.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  7. kevininjc

    If God exists, I think he/she probably takes the George Burns / "Oh God" point of view: I put out everything here for you to have and use to the benefit of mankind. It's there for you to either work with to the benefit of all and everything around you or you can mess it up by pulling everything down. Either way, you're on your own to do as you do.

    July 31, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  8. Greg

    And honestly, can we all just STOP the debate. You have your opinions and others have theirs. Thats it.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  9. Greg

    Schmuckles, Satan is a fallen angel. So he isnt even as close as powerful to God. Thats the reason he turned against God. He wanted to be as powerful as God.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Schmuckles

      I was being sarcastic. I know the bible says Satan is not as powerful as God. God is supposed to be omnipotent/all powerful so it really doesn't make sense to me that God is not able to control Satan.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Guess What

      Pure fantasy, with not a bit of verified evidence to back it up.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Lurker111

      According to the Bible itself, God takes credit for about 25,000,000 deaths. Satan, about 10. See here:

      http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2010/04/drunk-with-blood-gods-killings-in-bible.html

      July 31, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      Satan was not a fallen angel... God created angels having no free wills, if there is no free wills then there will not be any disobediency, correct? here is what the Quran give clear picture about satan:

      Sahih International: And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange (Chapter 18:50)

      here is another one:
      Sahih International: [The hypocrites are] like the example of Satan when he (satan) says to man, "Disbelieve." And when he (man) disbelieves, he (satan) says, "Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds." (59:16)

      Satan believed in One God and he fears God but the only thing he didn't do is obey the command to prostrate to Adam (first human)... and then he vowed that he will take all human with him in hell by making them associating partners/son/daughters/any objects with The Almighty... and this is what we see around the earth... that human are worshipping either human, saints including the dead ones, statues, cows, trees, stones etc....

      So satan was not a fallen angel but he is from another nation that God created with smokeless fire and we do not see them but they do see us... and they have no power over human except whispers... and its human who listens to him to worship anybody or anything other than One True God the Creator of heavens, earch and everything between them...

      Please read quran to increase your knowladge... i am not asking you to revert but just get the truth as this is not a human words... if you study then you will discover it... but please do not comments without reading it OR seeing some bad muslim's action... this is my request to you brothers and sisters in humanity...
      Peace!!!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Manny

    0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls, Schmuckles, Peteyroo

    In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Antony Flew, the world's leading atheist, now believes in God.

    Flew is a pioneer for modern atheism. His famous paper, Theology and Falsification, was first presented at a meeting of the Oxford Socratic Club chaired by C. S. Lewis and went on to become the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last five decades. Flew earned his fame by arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He now believes that such evidence exists, and There Is a God chronicles his journey from staunch atheism to believer.

    For the first time, this book will present a detailed and fascinating account of Flew's riveting decision to revoke his previous beliefs and argue for the existence of God. Ever since Flew's announcement, there has been great debate among atheists and believers alike about what exactly this "conversion" means. There Is a God will finally put this debate to rest.

    This is a story of a brilliant mind and reasoned thinker, and where his lifelong intellectual pursuit eventually led him: belief in God as designer.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • liberalefty

      so what this doesnt prove gods existence

      July 31, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Schmuckles

      Flew became a deist, which is not at all like a theist. He did not believe in Christianity or any idea of divine intervention, special revelation, etc. Basically a deist believes a god created the world but has no active participation in it. They have no religion.

      Using an atheist conversion to religion as some sort of proof makes no sense. Using an atheist conversion to deism is even worse. To me a deist is only the tiniest steps away from being an agnostic/atheist, to the point where there is almost no difference at all.

      If I am missing something, or someone has a better way to explain deism then I would like to know. But anyways, my understanding is that deists believe something like 'a god created our universe but that god does not at all matter now'.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Guess What

      Manny,

      It wasn't your "God" that Flew alleged might be real.... nothing at all like your "God" character.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Greg

      Literally just stop. Im a Christian and you're wrongfully representing us. I understand you're defending our faith but you're just making people hate us more.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • cavediver

      Manny – read the whole article on Flew - the man was 89 (?) and suffering from dementia.. he also had a flock of holy rollers hovering around him in his last days....... disingenuous doesnt even begin to fit here... but that all creationist have left.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Donna

      IT'S NOT ABOUT US AND IT WAS NEVER ABOUT US BUT IT WAS ALL ABOUT GOD, AND AS CHRISTIANS OUR MISSION IS TO KNOW HIM AND MAKE HIM KNOWN, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DEFEND GOD, HE DOESN'T NEED YOU TO DO THAT, JUST BELIEVE, READ HIS WORD AND BECOME DOERS OF HIS WORD.., AND WE CAN START BY LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS AS YOURSELF.. GOD BLESS YOU AND LOVES YOU 🙂

      July 31, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  11. Manny

    Peteyroo

    If you believe God exists and yet you still rebel against him, then I could see your point.
    But atheists don't even believe that God exists. You can't rebel against something that doesn't exist. Your post makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  12. Manny

    Schmuckles, Peteyroo

    First, we have all to agree on what is intelligence with humans, for that is the only kind of intelligence we know, empirically, don't forget that word, empirical.

    In this connection scientists are working on artificial intelligence, and waiting for extra-terrestrials to get in contact with them, and show themselves the extra-terrestrials that is that they are endowed with intelligence, hence the search or the long long long wait for extra-terrestrial intelligent beings.

    Now, the atheists here deny or they insist that they can't rebel against God because they don't believe in God.

    But the fact is that not believing in God is an intentional statement which does not really convey their true heart and mind.

    You don't believe that?

    In which case you don't know your heart and mind.

    You don't believe in pink invisible unicorns so you don't write books, articles, blogs, etc. against pink invisible unicorns, same also with flying spaghetti monsters, but with God you write books; and now anyone who is a scientist and wants to get into the publishing world and succeed there, it is de riguer for him to write a book against God.

    So, it is just an intentional statement but not your spontaneous heart and mind that you can't rebel against God because your don't believe in God, the fact is that you do, your words in forums against God betray your true heart and mind, and you rebel against God.

    And rebelling against God is not being intelligent, specially by writing so many pseudo arguments against His existence, even with resorting to the much founded on the most profound mathematics, and depth very abysmally depth particle physics and quantum mechanics of astrophysics that the observable universe came from nothing.

    Anyway, what is intelligence? the human intelligence which is the only kind we know of and hopefully use to know about the world and life and everything that can be empirically proven to exist - of course also for astrophysicists specially in dark matter and dark energy by inferential reasoning.

    The first and most important ingredient of intelligence is the capacity and the habit of always trying to see the ever bigger picture of anything, either directly or indirectly by inference with, yes, one's intelligence.

    So it is not good intelligence if a person will simply put blinders to his eyes and to his mind, in order to not see beyond what his eyes can see, but also and woe his mind can still infer beyond the horizons reached by his empirical eyes.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Blah, blah, blah, blah... Lots of words and no facts or evidence – that's why we don't belief.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Manny,

      Atheists have no belief in a god(s). Believers in god(s) DO exist, however, and they are the ones who affect human lives (often for the worse).

      July 31, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Schmuckles

      Your argument about why people don't write articles discrediting the belief in pink unicorns is ludicrous. For a rambling post about how we should be more intelligent that was a mighty dumb thing to say.

      There isn't a bunch of people writing in opposition to the belief in pink unicorns because no one believes in pink unicorns! If all of a sudden the majority of Americans believed in pink unicorns then trust me, it would become an issue. It still wouldn't be anywhere near the same as religion though. Now, if people began believing that the pink unicorn had a book of rules to follow (even worse, one containing an atrocious set of rules like those found in the old testament) then of course people would start writing articles about how it was a terrible thing to believe in. The reason we write about Christianity instead of pink unicorns is because one matters in society and the other doesn't. To make a comparison is frankly moronic.

      The rest of your rambling post doesn't really say much from what I can tell. The one argument I can pick out is something about how such a complex universe came from nothing (i.e. what was there before the big bang?). I certainly don't know the answer to this question and I would never claim to. Where did your god that was so complex that he was able to create such a complex universe come from? You don't know.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  13. Peteyroo

    Mammy doesn't seem to understand the basic fact that Mother Nature made Christians stupid and dull-witted for a reason. I don't know what that reason is, just as I don't know why Mother Nature made atheists so smart and good-looking.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Susie

      and apparently delusional

      July 31, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  14. Manny

    From stock knowledge, and please correct me if I am wrong, Satan is supposed to be more intelligent than any humans.

    Now, Satan is into a rebellion against God.

    How can this guy rebel against God when being very intelligent he should know that he can't win.

    That is the mystery of the abuse of free will, to act against intelligence.

    Next, atheists who write in web forums are supposed to be pretty intelligent.

    Now these atheists are not only lacking (their technical self-description) any belief in all gods whatever, and of course in particular specially one more god, the Christian God.

    But from all indications they are definitively into rebellion against God, for example, the atheist communists who ruled half of mankind during the cold war years wanted to dislodge God from the lands where they grabbed tyrannical power over the peoples there, by violence and blood-let.

    How can atheists for being intelligent still be into rebellion against God?

    That is again the mystery of what I would call the abuse of free will against intelligence.

    So, the endowment of intelligence is no guarantee that the intelligent beings will act intelligently, for being endowed with free will they can choose and do choose to act against their intelligence.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Satan may very well be smarter than Christians, but he's definitely dumber than atheists.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  15. Manny

    Atheists who act as a group to displace religion as part of their 'belief system' necessarily have a religion themselves. Atheists who work to undermine faith systems and win converts do so on behalf of their own religion. Atheist activists are thus active on behalf of a religion.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Schmuckles

      "If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby".

      July 31, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Mammy, atheists have no religion. There is no belief system. Do you believe in unicorns or leprechauns? Why not? That's also the reason I don't believe in God. How about if I said that unicorns and leprechauns got togther and wrote a book. And in that book they said the very fact that there is book proves that unicorns and leprechauns are real. Have faith Mammy! One day a leprechaun astride a unicorn will come to you to pass judgment on your faith.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  16. Manny

    Schmuckles, 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

    Modified from C.S.Lewis:
    Jesus Christ lived and claimed to be the son of God, fact. He lived a ‘good’ life, don’t need to agree upon. Said he would be crucified and on third day rise from the dead. He was crucified, fact. He was buried, fact. On the third day (according to the Jewish week and way of measuring a day) his body disappeared from the grave he was buried in, fact. Their are then from what I have gathered 5 reasons for this, the four that say Jesus: didn’t rise from the dead are in this link with a response to each: http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/wrongtomb.html Otherwise Jesus rose from the dead and then everything he said was true and he is God. Also Christianity is the only religion where eye witnesses were present for the event in which the religion was based upon. Eg. Mormonism: Joseph Smith was the only person to read his golden plates. Eg 2. Mohammad had his vision alone. Jesus was witnessed by 500.

    July 31, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      None of the so-called facts above are actually facts. There is no evidence for any of the alledged facts. None.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Schmuckles

      I have video proof that Criss Angel can walk on water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBQLq2VmZcA

      That's got to be at least as worth as much as testimonials from people 2000 years ago. Maybe we should be worshipping Criss Angel? On second thought, Criss Angel is a tool.

      Eyewitness testimony is unreliable and is considered a very weak form of evidence, especially when you are using it to make incredible claims like resurrection.

      Here is a good article I found on the issue: http://www.atheismresource.com/2012/on-eye-witnesses-as-evidence

      July 31, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Mammy, your 500 witnesses were either drunk or paid off.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Guess What

      "Jesus was witnessed by 500."

      The bluster of Paul of Tarsus... super salesman and PR expert - sort of like the "more doctor's recommend Bayer aspirin" (which we don't even allow in advertising anymore).

      July 31, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  17. Schmuckles

    "I believe God had a hand in that the gun jammed so that more people weren’t killed". This logic is so twisted. So he intervened but decided to wait a while until after dozens of people had been shot? Why not just make the gun jam before any bullets were fired? You hear this type of argument after every tragedy (shooting, natural disaster, etc) and it never makes a bit of sense. If you are going to praise god for not letting more people die then you should also blame god for those that did die. He's omnipotent, right?

    July 31, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • one

      The reverse of your argument brings forth a question. Why is blame consistently assigned to God by someone who thinks he does not exist? Why is it quick to blame but slow to credit? How many arguments are made against God by individuals who claim he doesn't exist?

      July 31, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • LinCA

      @one

      You said, "Why is blame consistently assigned to God by someone who thinks he does not exist?"
      Did that make any sense when you thought that up? Those that see through the religious bullshit don't think your imaginary friend did anything. It simply doesn't exist.

      Showing that the believers "logic" (and I use that term very, very loosely) is anything but, doesn't mean atheists blame your god. It just shows how idiotic the beliefs are.

      You said, "Why is it quick to blame but slow to credit?"
      Only believers could possibly do that. I don't think their is a single atheist that would do something so outrageously moronic.

      You said, "How many arguments are made against God by individuals who claim he doesn't exist?"
      Millions, but only against its existence. When are you going to "get it"?

      July 31, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Schmuckles

      Just because I don't believe in god you somehow think that means I shouldn't be pointing out terrible arguments? Who would win in a fight between Batman and Ironman? Which is better, Stark Trek or Star Wars? Do you get my point? You can still debate fictional things. I can judge the idea of god without believing in god.

      Also, I am obviously not assigning any blame to god for this tragedy. I don't even think god exists, neither the Judeo-Christian god nor any of the other thousands of gods throughout history. It is certainly true that you cannot completely rule out the possibility of a god existing. My personal belief is that the likelihood of a Judeo-Christian type of god that can actually intervene in the world (through prayer, etc) is infinitesimally small, and belief in this type of deity is completely irrational. However, if I presuppose that the Judeo-Christian god does exist I can only come to the conclusion that this god is evil to the core. I see no redeeming qualities in the Juedo-Christian god.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  18. Manny

    Peteyroo

    You have a right to your opinion, but I hate to tell you there's a God and there is a real Satan. You are better served to choice God and to do his will. You life is like a vapor, that can end at any time. Remember this, his will be do, as on earth and in heaven. Everyone of us is giving a free will to do good and evil.

    July 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What?

      July 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  19. HiggsbosonIsReligion

    Most likely.....one minute before the shooting.....people couldn't of cared less if God was in the movie theater or not.

    July 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      And in a few days they won't care either. Why care about something that most likley, almost assuredly, does not exist?

      July 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  20. Manny

    God doesn't force or tell someone to do a horrible act. He's giving us all a free will to do good or to do evil. There are two realms that exist on Earth, the natural and the spiritual realm. We are not to wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickness in high places. Satan is very real, and he wants for everyone to view him as a fable or fiction guy with a pitchfork. You have to understand when Adam failed in the Garden of Eden, so did every human being on this earth. Jesus Christ is the second Adam, to be crucify for our sins. God have giving us a free will to choice to follow him or not. You have to understand that if God had intervene, he would have gone against what he's always done in history. Read the Old Testaments and understand God's nature. Stop placing blame on God and realize there is a war in both realms. Satan is the prince of this world and the prince of the air. Satan operates just like God. He have demons doing the opposite of what God's angels do around the world. Jesus is coming and the blinds of all of the non believers, will see these demons for real. Just like the days of Noah, every non believer will see the spiritual realm and that will be too late.

    July 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Mammy, there is no God. There is no Satan. You would be better served if you would live your current life as if it were the one and only life you'll ever have. Be good for goodness' sake.

      July 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • HiggsbosonIsReligion

      Peteyroo thanks for your opinion.....but I know didn't.

      July 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Schmuckles

      Here is one thing in Christianity I was never quite clear about...is Satan supposed to be as powerful as God? More powerful? I feel like God should be able to put Satan into a choke hold or something to stop him from creating all this evil in the world. But I guess in Job we learned that sometimes God just enjoys when Satan does some good ol' fashion torturing.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67
Advertisement
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.