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My Take: This is where God was in Aurora
Twelve crosses comprise a makeshift memorial across the street from the movie theater where last week’s mass shooting happened.
July 28th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

Editor’s note: Rob Brendle is the founding pastor of Denver United Church, a former associate pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the author of "In the Meantime: The Practice of Proactive Waiting."

By Rob Brendle, Special to CNN

I held her hand as she died.

Her family had come to a church where I was pastoring that morning, a routine Sunday. A thousand things would never have crossed their minds as they drove through Colorado Springs toward New Life Church’s enormous concrete worship center - including the prospect of being assaulted in their minivan by a young man with a high-powered rifle.

Later that day, we were all at a local hospital. The girl whose hand I held, Rachel, had already lost a sister at the scene. Her father was down the hall in critical condition and her mother was coming undone in the waiting room, but she didn’t know any of it. Rachel lay unconscious for a couple of hours more in the ICU.

And then she died. Her family had come to church together that morning, and by nightfall they were shattered.

That was almost five years ago.

The movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado shook me and the rest of the nation. Reading about the young and unsuspecting victims took me back to the dying girl in the ICU who had come to my church that day in 2007, in a an incident that left the two girls dead and injured several others. Back to the Columbine massacre a decade earlier that horrified the world and traumatized Colorado. And back to the aching questions that accompanied those previous incidents: Why did this happen? Where was God in all of it? How could a loving God allow this?

Where was God in Aurora? 7 responses

We pastors face the unenviable task of being asked to answer for God. Most people ask the big questions in times of irresolution, times when satisfying answers are scarce.

Let’s be clear: there are no easy answers to the deepest questions of suffering. Libraries overflow with the volumes that have been written to address these questions. Centuries of philosophers, pundits and preachers have reflected on the existence of evil, the meaning of pain and the role of God in suffering.

I won’t begin to recount all of their ruminations here. But here’s what I think.

God is the author of life and the originator of good. He distinguished humankind from among his creation with faculties like reason, emotion, dexterity and choice. Scripture teaches that God made people in his image. Set apart from all the rest of his creatures, we were endowed with the capacity to know our Creator and ennobled with the ability to choose him. So singularly did God love humans that he gave us this ultimate gift.

Aurora survivor to alleged shooter: ‘I forgive you’

The capacity to choose God and goodness came with the commensurate ability to choose evil. Is it loving to force his creation to follow his order, or to teach it and leave the creature to choose? It would seem that God came to the same conclusion that America’s founders did many millennia later: compulsory virtue is no virtue at all.

But Scripture also teaches that God is totally in control. He is all-powerful and all-knowing and he is willing and able to intervene in human events. So there is a gap between human choice and divine foreknowledge, a gap that transcends understanding and that helps define God in my mind.

The debate over this theological tension has persisted for centuries, and I don’t aim to settle it here. Let me suggest simply that God, in his sovereignty, has chosen to make our decisions meaningful. Consequently, much of what happens on earth neither conforms to nor results from his preference. There are at least four influences on human events: God’s will, to be sure; but also the will of Satan, our adversary; peoples’ choices, for better or for worse; and natural law (gravity, collision, combustion, and the like).

It is difficult to know which force causes the circumstances that devastate us. But it is enough to know that God need not be responsible for them.

The man who made the Aurora crosses

Much of the internal gridlock around tragedy is because suffering is foreign to us. This foreignness is peculiarly Western and modern. Most of the world, for most of the world’s history, has known tragedy and trauma in abundance.

You don’t get nearly the same consternation in Burundi or Burma, because suffering is normal to them. God and hard times coexist intuitively there. For us, though, God has become Anesthetist-in-Chief. To believe in him is to be excused from bad things. He is our panacea for the woes of life.

The God of the Bible promises no exemption from suffering. In fact, he all but promises suffering. He does not suggest that his followers won’t go through fire, but rather that we won’t burn up. Mostly he promises to be there with us, to comfort and encourage us and renew our strength. God grieves with us, and he grows us into good people in the process.

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

Where was God in Aurora? He was on the lawn in front of the Civic Building as thousands gathered in solidarity, hope, and love at a packed prayer vigil last Sunday. He was in University Hospital as neurosurgeons groped for synonyms for miraculous.

He was in the outpouring of compassion at a victim’s funeral and in the passionate call for unity from a resolute councilwoman and at the bedside vigil of a wounded victim’s church community. Redemption has only begun in Aurora, and already God is everywhere. Their will be beauty once this story is written that overshadows and transcends the ashes.

Jesus started his ministry by declaring, “I am the light of the world,” and ended it with “you are the light of the world.”

What God our cities will see is what we show them. From the beginning, light has shone in the darkness - he ordered it that way. And the deeper the darkness, the brighter the light will appear. Where is God in Aurora? He is shining brightly from the hearts of his people.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rob Brendle.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • God • Opinion

soundoff (4,566 Responses)
  1. Tom Paine

    (@ Rob – the author). Well done and well written. This site, as I am sure you are aware, is largely hostile to faith of any kind. Expect lots of, "You might as well believe in a fairy tale princess" type comment. But do not use it to judge if you've made a good point. You have. I will print this one. All the best.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  2. PC3

    I only had to read this far before I found the stupidity of this pastor's thinking; " He distinguished humankind from among his creation with faculties like reason, emotion, dexterity and choice. " So this guy doesn't think animals have emotion, dexterity, reason, or choice? He is so arrogant in his thinking to believe other animals besides humans can't have these faculties? Any dog or cat owner would disagree, and so would scientists who have studied the other primates. I can't stand the arrogant religious mindset.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      I agree total bafoon

      July 29, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Christians love animals, and you're right. Animals have their respective reason and emotions. Our Heavenly Father gave us animals to appreciate humility. We can disagree as to the equality of animals to humans, but God loves all of His creations and He loves you.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  3. Terry Cooksey

    What a bunch of religious fruit cakes ! GOD distanced Himself from this nation long ago because of all chrtistians shaking their fists in GOD's Face habitually. And leaving you in the darkness of your own chosen sin and evil, your tragedies never cease. Did you notice all the people who got shot WHILE praying to their christian demon gods ? Where was ONE person who knows GOD in all this ! If only one believer was among those in the theater, they could have taken control over the demons controlling Holmes, stood in his face and prayed in the Spirit to stop this instantly. But all of them are like the rest of you......your god is your christianity, not GOD. And christianity isn't even mentioned in the bible and there are no christian teachings in any bible. Believers work miracles. But christians don't. And yes, you would have to actually know GOD to work miracles. Renounce your christianity and turn to GOD. Back in the 80's I predicted these Public massacres would start, increase in numbers and scope of tragedy. That was easy to predict after seeing how serious christianity is about their overt Public hatred of GOD, Christ and all of GOD's Sons. And as the next 300 Public massacres happen, none of you will change. But you will still believe you will get different results from the same behavior ! It's as certain as the sun rising each day.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Flooby

      Wow. YOU talk about religious fruitcakes! You are the nuttiest, fruitiest NUTCASE ever.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • apostate

      I'll sacrifice a goat to appease Yahweh for Merika.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Terry Cooksey

      That's the whole point about you christians........you insult and slander everyone who is NOT a christian devil like you christians, anti-Christs as the bible calls all "those who profess to be christians. So Congratulations on your latest massacre, I mean massacres. There were 3 in 5 days. No matter how many of these wake up calls you christian devils get, you sleep right through them so they keep on happening ! and btw.....christianity is NOT even mentioned in the bible and there are no christian teachings in any bible. The bible is all "GOD breathed", not christian breathed. Just as American is One Nation Under GOD, NOT one nation under christianity as you christians claim ! LOL

      July 29, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      There's a fine line between zeal and arrogance sometimes. Following your logic, recall that Jesus walked the earth during the era of ancient Rome. They committed mass murder. Even Herod, when he tried to destroy the baby Jesus, slaughtered Jewish boys in Jerusalem. Does that mean Jesus failed as you say the Christians failed to defeat the demons of Mr. Holmes? Tone down your rhetoric and stop judging Christians before you enter into a greater judgment.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Terry Cooksey

      GOD has already condemned, judged and sentence you christians for NOT believing GOD and working miracles as all beleivers do. Mark 16:17-18 Your Satanic christian false judgements are meaningless to Me. I'm not a christian because neither is GOD or Christ. As many as are led by the Spirit of GOD are Sons of GOD. Romans 8:14. NOT christians. So we know by this scripture that no christian is led by the Spirit of GOD. Yo u christians are led by other spirits, demons. And no matter how much you continue to Publicly hate GOD, the sentences against you christians will never cease.

      John 3:18 ..... but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God.[He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ.]

      Isaiah 1:6-7 From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness or health in [the nation’s body]—but wounds and bruises and fresh and bleeding stripes; they have not been pressed out and closed up or bound up or softened with oil. [No one has troubled to seek a remedy.]
      7 [Because of your detestable disobedience] your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land—strangers devour it in your very presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.

      Revelation 20:4 – Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  4. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Funny how the author only offers good, warm-fuzzy things in answer to where "god" was....but then doesn't really say where "god" was when the shootings occurred! Nope, no evil here. My sky fairy is nothing but good.

    However.......

    Isaiah 45:7
    "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, AND CREATE EVIL: I the LORD do all these things."

    Amos 3:6
    "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be EVIL in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"

    July 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Trying to read the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like a blind man trying to read a book without braille. The Lord allowed darkness and evil to exist because Lucifer rebelled and was cast out of His Presence to this mass we call Earth. Our Father, realizing that now darkness has entered the universe, created Man as a new creation, a little lower than Angels, to triumph over darkness and evil. But we have to show we are worthy to overcome darkness and evil. So God allowed Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, and fully desired that both of them would be victorious and choose not to want the choice between Good and Evil. They failed. So the Lord wanted the descendants of Abraham to triumph, and after limited success, they Failed. So finally the Lord God sent His only Son, Jesus, to triumph, which He did (hallelujah), and now He set up His Bride (the Church) to enter into His marriage soon. Thats the mystery behind the existence of darkness and evil, and light and good. But the world will not understand these words, which is why arguments such as yours continue...

      July 29, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  5. Dan

    It's amusing when people try to guess what their imaginary friend is thinking.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Pat

      Homerun, Dan!

      July 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Our "Imaginary Friend" is thinking, "I want my creation to love one another and to humble themselves before Me." Are you ready for the love of Jesus today?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  6. Pat

    There is no god, so grow up and get over it. There is no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, tooth fairy, Bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, pro wrestling is fake and Micheal Myers is really dead. When are people going to wake up and face reality? My guess is probably never.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Micheal Myers will never die,go to hell with such lies.ps. big holloween fan

      July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Nah, you grow up and receive love

      July 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  7. Olumide

    Well to d individual who says there is no God, I ask u a question, after death what next? Its a personal question, pls give me ur personal response.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Dan

      After death you are a pile of bones. Why would you think any differently?

      July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • PC3

      We don't know and neither do you. You haven't been dead yet, have you? I didn't think so.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      The same empty void which was and always has been before you were born. This, my friend, is the fate that awaits you. Why would it be anything else? Time stretches into infinity in the other direction, too, you know?

      July 29, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Pat

      There is nothing after death. You're dead and that's it, like it or not. So instead if living your life in a fantasy world, why not try to live it to the fullest and make the most of it? That makes a lot more sense to me.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • gager

      After death is the same as before life except there will be no life.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Oj

      Yep. When you're dead, you're dirt. There is no magical eternal Disneyland for you. That's what happens. Enjoy your time on Earth because that's it. No one goes to a fiery pit, no one goes to a fluffy cloud place. I know it's reassuring to get through the day thinking that, but the sooner you get a grip on that, the better life you can have here.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Flooby

      Here is the answer: YOU DIE.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • apostate

      You go to the morgue.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Tommy

      After death what happens to your cat? To a tree? What happens when u turn off a car engine? What happens when you are brain dead, and continue to lay on a hospital bed? What happens when you go to sleep?

      July 29, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Who can answer the question? Nobody living. Don't you think there are just some things you cannot possibly know? And even IF someone told you, why would you believe someone breathing? They obviously have not experienced 'true' death. Like 'forever' death, not that 'I was dead for 5 min jazz' (that doesn't count b/c it wasn't final).

      July 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      @PC3: But Jesus has been dead and is victorious over death and offers you that same victory. Ready to overcome death today?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  8. AverageJoe76

    As I gain more knowledge about life, my agnostic position makes more and more sense. Any questions/answers surrounding God, are too big to be answered by mankind. And this is obvious since everyone around the world has a different take on God. We will only know God, if God decides to show himself. Like literally SHOW himself, to EVERYONE. Not just this guy, or that woman. But EVERYONE at the same time. And without fallacy, everyone will agree they saw 'God' or at least the closest to what we've imagined a God to be. Until then, 'God' is basically open to anyone's interpretation of what God is. And since these descriptions are from humans, via in person or through media, they have very little merit.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      You are correct when you say "Any questions/answers surrounding God, are too big to be answered by mankind." This is why we need Jesus Christ, His Son, to answer these mysteries. But there is a reason we cannot see God directly in our present existence because the Law of Blasphemy exists (this takes the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to understand, which again is an answer too big for mankind alone to fathom). Remember Moses only saw certain allowable aspects of the Holy Spirit without seeing His total existence. Why is this important? Because Satan and his fallen angels with him received the eternal death sentence because they fully know the Holy Spirit's existence and yet rejected it in a vain attempt to be like the Most High. So one aspect of creating Man was to limit Man's full knowledge of the Holy Spirit directly. But now if we know Jesus, we know the Father, and we can receive the Holy Spirit through Jesus without risking the eternal penalty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  9. raffa

    What a nice long way to say that you dont know how to answer that question about where your imaginary friend was at that moment. And what a nice long way to say nothing. CNN is turning useless.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Our "Imaginary Friend" is right here knocking at the door of your heart so you can receive him before you die and it's too late. Ready for eternal love and peace today?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  10. Monty

    I'm a surgeon who has seen some horrific things. Two year old with brain oozing out of her skull after a motor vehicle crash. A 9 months old boy who was kicked so hard by his step father that he ruptured his bowel and died on the operating table. A 5 year old choked on a small block of wood he and his playmates found on the play area while his parents and everyone else were in church just 20 feet away. The parents, who were physicians themselves, had to withdraw care when it became obvious that the entire brain had died from anoxia despite the best medical efforts.

    BTW, that's a nice picture on your website with your wife and your kids. Let's see where your god is if anything as horrific as the above happens to one of your kids. If your so called god exists, he is one sick mother f'ker.

    All thinking man are atheists. Religion is for the feeble minded.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Flooby

      THANK YOU Monty!! What a great post. People are so dumb and brainwashed.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      @Monty: Your conclusion does not logically follow you first paragraph. What does your first paragraph have to do with your conclusion? As a physician, has your "God complex" increased your arrogance to the point where you dare question the Creator over matters that are clearly Man's doing, as your own words imply? Don't be foolish enough to mock God, for he cannot be mocked. You don't know if a time will soon come when you and your loved ones are faced with a tragedy that you wished God helped you with. Seek forgiveness and humble yourself before the Lord.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  11. LAIBACH

    There is a famous Greek saying: "To polli to kyrie eleyson to varietai kai o theos." Translation: "EVEN GOD TIRES OF TOO MUCH HUMAN TALK AND PREACHING OF RELIGIONS."

    July 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • PC3

      I like that, and I would use it on people at work who talk about religion all the time in a state-owned building, but they're too stupid to get it.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      But the ancient Greeks worshipped many gods, including one they called the Unknown God that the Apostle Paul preached to them about. So what's your point?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  12. sybaris

    and yet there is no evidence to support the pastors claim

    July 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  13. Russ

    I have an easier explanation...

    Your all powerful god of infinite goodness, wisdom, and joy is a real as shiva, zeus, and those theta things Tom Cruise worships so fervently.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Truth

      You are 100% correct

      July 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  14. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections.

    If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Christian religion” nonsense.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • LAIBACH

      Fantastic post!

      July 29, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Oj

      Great post. Makes total sense. Which means it will be ignored by those who most need to accept it.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • PC3

      I love your mind. Absolutely brilliant post! :)

      July 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Ting

      Hey, you managed to fit it all into a nice, short essay. well done.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Aljd

      Your post although lengthy is full of inaccuracies and generalities that's group all Christian faiths. Prior to going on an un educated rant you should do some research about the issue you speak about and not simply base your argument on things you have heard or read by others.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Awww, there, there, now. You think all Christians want you to go to hell? Not so. You can think and choose as you please. God gives us all the gift of life, whether we acknowledge Him or not. And after we die, He simply asks us how we used that gift. Now to some of your questions (which are illogical and nonsense, but the wisdom of Man is foolishness with God)

      1 – Why do you try to use the imperfect science and tools of many to judge an imperfect God? If your god is Science, then so be it. But I can tell you don’t have a mastery of science because not even the smartest and most accomplished scientists have as much blind faith in science as you do. Do you realize carbon dating and other manmade measures of age is imperfect? The Earth and the Universe did not come with a birth certificate. There’s no way to prove that dating methods work because no man alive, not even the creators of such dating methods, lived billions of years ago. So how can you prove they work definitively? All quality science requires testing, and test cases requires known input factors. How can billions of years ago be known to any man who lives at most 100+ years if that?

      2 – Our Heavenly Father has “eyes” throughout the earth, not Himself running around, o author of sarcasm. Just like we have a network of cameras everywhere, He has His visual network in place, too. But I don’t get the point of #2. He fully knows that Man’s nature tends towards evil, so His network is in place for something more than the obvious. When we get in a car accident, we call 911. Have you ever thought about the technology behind the call? There is a network of servers everywhere so that your call gets routed to the right source. Likewise, when we need Jesus for help, His network is in place to help us. It is also there to give us the Comforter for dealing with anguish and the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom when we ask. It’s the ultimate prayer network.

      3 – God’s existence is withheld from us out of love so that we do not run into the risk of violating the eternal death penalty of blasphemy. But we can know Him through Jesus Christ, which is why blasphemy against Jesus is forgivable. We can all escape the penalty of sin by asking the Lord for forgiveness and loving our neighbors as ourselves. So submit to Jesus Christ today to embrace His love and avoid eternal loss.

      4 – Nah, no Bronze or Iron Age mythology. Before the world was even created, Jesus Christ existed, which is why in Genesis, we read that man was created in “Our” image (Father and Son). Thus the Christian faith predates all other religions, but this does not matter. Loving your neighbors as yourselves and loving God with your entire being are important. Ready?

      5 – See #4

      6 – Trying to read the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like a blind man trying to read a book without braille. You find inconsistencies because you’re a spiritually blind person trying to ready without spiritual braille. Pray to the Lord for the Holy Spirit and then the “confusion” will become crystal clear. There are no inconsistencies in the Bible, just inconsistent humans imposing their illogical conclusions on it.

      7 – So that’s your conclusion – that Christianity is “outdated or mean spirited?” Who defines what is in style and what is out of style? Why is that that with each second that elapses, you think God becomes less relevant? What is mean spirited about loving your neighbor as yourself, or doing unto others as you would have them to do you? You have cherry picked verses out of context in order to weave a picture of meanness that is not there.

      8 – The 4 Gospels are credible, but your mind has been poisoned by a combination of the godless school system, media and Hollywood. Again, you are cherry picking verses of the Bible to satisfy your arrogance. If that tickles you, then so be it. I respect that. But where the Gospels fail you, they fulfill me.

      9 – Backed into what corner? And of course belief in Jesus requires a leap of faith. Duh! You can rationalize or reason your way into perfect salvation by using imperfect human reasoning. Europe has embraced Reason for some time now, and yet it is imperfect.. No one is arguing about the validity of Hinduism. If you recall, even God gave props to a the religious zeal of a godless nation near ancient Israel because they adhered to their god more than the Israelites adhered to Him. So the validity of Christianity is not justified relative to other faiths. It stands on its own. Either you believe or don[t believe. For all other faiths, we can peacefully co-exist with them…Geography and birthplace have nothing to do with the Christian faith. It is in every nation, culture and language.

      Your conclusion about faith may sound eloquent to you but is meaningless babbling to me. Let’s look at Hebrews 11:1-6 for a better definition of faith: “1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

      July 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Corrections:

      1 – Why do you try to use the imperfect science and tools of MAN to judge an imperfect God?

      9 – You CANNOT rationalize or reason your way into perfect salvation by using imperfect human reasoning

      July 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • acivilamericandebate

      Of course, of course. And thank you for this succinct statement of the religious problem. Now how do we start teaching the next generation to look at religions for what they are? Alas, we are currently going in the opposite direction.

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

      The wonderful counterpoint by VoiceOfFantasy above demonstrates the depth of the ignorance we face in the educational task I mentioned. Voice is completely ignorant of what science is and believes that argument means only restating one's conclusory fantasies. He or She is apparently incapable of analysis and smug about it - what I call The Arrogance of Ignorance. How do we make progress when folks like Voice get elected to Congress?

      July 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  15. zman

    yet more hand waving trying to justify a role for organized religion. I am a very spiritual person, who believes that there is more than this world to our spiritual existence. For better and worse, humans are gifted with free choice, and how we spend our lives is up to us. period the end. Bad things happen to good people everyday, and good things happen to bad people. Life is not "fair" in the sense some people would like to believe.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  16. LAIBACH

    JESUS IS COMING... LOOK BUSY!

    July 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Dan

      Keep up that false hope. The pedophiles at your church need your money.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • VoiceOf Truth

      Are you truly ready to get busy for the Lord?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  17. Another John

    Alaso, ArthurP seems to be engaging in a form of personal "transference" by ascribing his own feelings and then "transferring" them to other people who he doesn't know, and then making assumptions about the way things "should be" without asking them, or, in fact, assuming that they were somehow better off killed and then goes on to say things that to a human who is basically coherent, can appear fatalistic and perhaps even suicidal. His comments here should read with some "salt" so to speak, because he is not speaking for the good of things overall, but for their evil, probably after having suffered on Earth for quite some time. But, other people deserve life, and shouldn't have to lose their lives by someone else's plainly wrong personal decisions. That's murder. That violation is in direct conflict with the Sixth Commandment from God, if people still believe in God. If that commandment were followed, by the shooter, and applied to humans, the Dark Knight killing event would never have happened.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • PC3

      Unless the shooter was a Christian. Then it would be ok according to Matthew 10:31: And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  18. Terry T

    Many interesting comments. 'What does the Bible Really Teach'?
    James 1:13 " When under trial, let no one say; " I am being tried by God." For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does He himself try anyone."
    God is not responsible for such evil acts. If you are interested in knowing 'What the Bible Really Teaches' then simply 'google' that 'exact question' and go to the web site that will make the Bible study aid, "What does The Bible Really Teach" available to you at no cost. This in debth Bible study aid will take you to your Bible and answer questions like;
    Chapter 11 " Why Does Goed Permit Suffering?"
    Chapter 9 " Are We Living in "the last days"?"
    Chapter 7 : Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died."
    Chapter 1 " What Is the Truth About God?"
    When you are perplexed and troubled with questions such as these, blogs are interesting, the Bible, God's Inspired Word is where you find the truth of the matter on such questions. For those who offer opinions about what role they think God plays in such horible acts of violance, please support your comments and opinions with scriptures so the readers can also see for themselves what the Bible Really Teaches on such questions and issues!. Thanks

    July 29, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  19. Joe O'

    God was there just not the one everyone wanted The Kali Mar is always present at death.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  20. CNNJunkie12

    Believers claim God's hand in the miraculous things that happen and hold man accountable for the tragedies. God has a first-rate PR department.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:49 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.