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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (4,566 Responses)
  1. jrfedor

    Pretty sad when the Rants and Raves section of Craigslist has better comments on current affairs.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  2. Ares

    Thesis: God is the Master of all creation, all things good and all things evil, and all things that exist are of his doing and exist at his pleasure. He is omipotent - all-powerful and all-knowing.

    The Test: One day, with God's fore-knowledge, a deranged person (whom God Knows is deranged, having caused the condition) enters a crowded venue filled with people - believers and non-belivers, Christians and non -Christians, saved and non-saved, old folks and young children, men and women, and begins randomly shooting people. God has knowingly caused this group of people to be in this place at this time, and God had the power to intervene or allow the tradegy to occur. If evil exist, it does so at God's pleasure.

    In the tragic many die, many are wounded and many escape. If God is credited for being with the survivors, then he also is responsible for the victims - deciding who dies and who get wounded. Being the Creator, good and evil are the tools he uses to test free-will, but in this tragic event, He does not chose between those that are good and those that are evil.

    Conclusion: When such events occur daily, man-made as well as nature, one has to conclude that either the message we got was wrong, or that we misunderstood it.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  3. fryuujin

    I recall many people voting for Bush because the dolt was a christian. How did that turn out, 2 wars trillions $ down the drain, 10s of thousands dead. All for that smirk of a cult member.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  4. Sammy

    "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."
    The good pastor obviously hasn't spent any time with dolphins or apes. We're not that far elevated above them.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  5. Name*K

    I am a Christian. I am happy to be a a follower of Christ. I try to live by His example of love, caring and compassion for others. I realize that non-believers can be wonderful caring people, too. But I will praise God, because I know that He exists. I know beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not my job to prove his existence to you, He is there if you seek Him. I am thankful that this earth is not all there is, that there is a place for me beyond this world.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Stan

      Vapid declarations are all you've made. Next time around, if you can't offer any proof, please keep your delusions to yourself.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Sammy

      Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that you believe that God is real? You know, and believe beyond a reasonable doubt, for yourself, but that criteria has not been met for everyone. Many of us see plenty of reasonable doubt as to God's existence, just as you likely see plenty of reasonable doubt about the existence of the Hindu gods, right? You don't need any "proof" not to believe in them, and we don't need any proof not to believe in yours. See how it works?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • sybaris

      "But I will praise God, because I know that He exists. I know beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not my job to prove his existence to you"

      Way to pass the buck

      Why don't you believe in Zeus, Ra, Mythros or Quezoacotl?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Keith

      I don't share your enthusiasm but I believe it is fine for you to believe such things. What I worry about is folks that let those beliefs affect their life decisions.

      You say you praise God, what exactly has he done for you? Do you also blame him for the bad things that happen in your life?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Name*K

      As previously stated in my post, it is not my job to prove anything to you. If you want to know God then You have to seek him out. It starts with a prayer. You sincerely ask God for guidance, you have to be willing to open your heart and mind. God is not a genie in a bottle, he's not a magician here to entertain you. But you can come to know God through sincere prayer. You can ask him to open your eyes to His grace. You can also seek counsel from a minister, although clergy are not perfect men, they can help guide you to the One who is. I don't personally know everyone on CNN reading this but I can say that as a follower of Christ, I wish you love, peace and understanding. I love this country and I love my fellow citizens.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Name*K

      I do not blame God for the bad things that have happened in my life. I'm nearly 40 years old and I have experienced my share of heart-ache. There was a time when I was like many of you, ive had my doubts and I've questioned all the things that you all have brought up. I have felt despair, I have asked the question Why does God allow tregety and suffering... Everybody has asked theses questions, it's only human. And I can tell you that I got on my hands and knees and I prayed to God and I have sought answers in the Zbible and I have sought answers at church and there is a certain understanding after reading His word that is revealed to you. Humans complicate things. I think God gets frustrated with us, read what he went through with the Isrealites in the old testament, it was like hearing cats. The people constantly questioned God and doubted him. But to answer your question, I don't blame God for tregety that man-kind is responsible for. We shut him out and then ask "Where was God," well folks, it doesn't work that way. He will be there for you when you ask for his guidance and Believe in Him. If you don't believe in Him then he can't be there for you when you need it most.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Bob

      Name*K, maybe you should look more closely at some of the horrid stuff that the "god" of your bible actually demands that you do, according to that Christian book of nasty. That's not a god any reasonable being should worship:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 29, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Name*K

      Hi Bob... You sited a lot of scripture from the old testament... Thankfully, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take all that away so that we don't have to live by old testament laws. Jesus is the answer to all of the things you mentioned.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Name*K

      I have read a lot of comments posted in response to this aticle and while my life is not perfect, I do live in peace. I am not restless, that's not to say that I don't have problems, I do, but I have learned to turn them over to God. There is so much that is out of our control. Attacking Christians (true followers of Christ) is not the answer, it never has been and it never will be. Peace is attainable, maybe not in the world but within. There will always be problems in the world, humans are flawed creatures, God is also about Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy. All you have to do is believe.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  6. Polli

    Mental capacity might be a good test for gun ownership...but if someone wants to get a gun I think all they ahve to do is call Eric Holder and he will ship you one...

    July 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  7. McMullet

    It's very simple: Either you believe in a god or you do not. At the end of the day, what really matters is that a lot of religious people feel the necessity to impose their views on people who believe otherwise. I'm sure I can speak for many people when I say that George Carlin was the one who worded it perfectly: “Keep thy religion to thyself…” That's it, that's all we need to agree upon.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Name*K

      That's a nice thought except there are people who are seeking answers. God has a message and it won't be silenced. There is peace in His message and why would we not share that with our fellow man who are open to receiving it.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  8. Daydreamer

    Mr. Brendle, you sicken me. So, let me get this straight: God created us, created good and evil, and then put his son on this blue planet 2000 years ago and we humans, given the bounty of reason, are supposed to believe this nonsense? That's simply unreasonable. If God wants us to believe your rhetoric then let God come down and definitively command us. That would be reasonable. But no, your ilk go on insisting that God works in mysterious ways and that you know what he wants. Sorry. That's unreasonable.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  9. Dennis Ryan

    And he put HIS own Son on this earth to be his Lamb for Man , and HE didn't save him from his fellow man..do you think for ONE moment YOU are more important than the Son of God , to be saved or spared ???? PTL Amen, yea of little faith.. My Father knows when a sparrow ..hits the ground ! All who are born ..will die ! My father has many rooms in his house.My Father is Know by many names ....he alone rules.....good and bad happen !!

    July 29, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  10. Turn yourself into a philosophical pretzel

    What a violation of Occam's Razor when you try to explain the deep mysteries of why an omni-benevolent, omnipotent deity would allow such a tragedy.

    Maybe the fact that one has to twist himself into a philosophical pretzel to explain this invites another look at whether such an unseen being actually exists. Why not look at this as a case where a psychiatric patient – probably a paranoid schizophrenic – took advantage of permissive US gun laws and carried out the wishes of voices in his head?

    July 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Bob Bales

      With the God of the Bible, it is neither a violation of Occam's razor nor a philosphical pretzel. God, as stated in the Bible, clearly have mankind a free choice of doing things according to His ways or in opposition to His ways. He warned, however, that doing things according to mankind's ways would result in disaster. Nevertheless, mankind made that choice, and disasters have resulted. It's as if a person is warned by his doctor to lose weight and stop smoking but does neither, but, when he has a heart attack, proclaims his doctor to be a quack.

      July 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  11. Ami

    The bronze aged tribal middle eastern deity was exactly where all other ancient deities were – in people's heads.
    It's time to grow out of this belief in an imaginary friend.

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

    @MyManDarwin... this should not surprise you or anyone else. When you're dealing with a group of zealots who don't require plausible expanations or facts, anything becomes reasonable in their primitive minds.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  13. Sophia

    What a thought provoking commentary. We as a society are always looking for the quick fix or quick answers. Stop and think about your life. How are you giving of yourself to others. God is showing us the way, and does not force us to follow Him. Those are our choices. We will not know good if there is no bad or happy when there is no sad. Our life on earth is not supposed to be perfect, it is meant to prepare us for eternal life.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • sybaris

      "We will not know good if there is no bad or happy when there is no sad."

      Those are human attributes and no one is complaining that your alleged god is allowing there to be extremes. Your "omnipotent" god could have made humans to feel nothing and that would have been alright because you wouldn't know the difference.

      What people tire of is the cognitive dissonance that christians practice when trying to explain their deity. Your post is a perfect example.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Bob

      Sophia, if you think "god is showing us the way", then I really hope that your god isn't the Christian one, because his way as stated in the bible is horrid and murderous. Just look at what the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible has god instructing people to do:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 29, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  14. Colin

    Dear Christians:

    God here.

    The reason I was absent in Aurora, as well as World War I, World War II, the Holocaust and every single man made or natural disaster in human history is very simple. I do not exist.

    The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    July 29, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Mastodonrocks

      They need a LIKE button for this.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Paul

      THANK you. From a Coloradan.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Pericles

      I read this entire post. So awesomely put. The shade of cheekiness in it is going to really get the bible thumpers going though..

      July 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • mcrunner34

      It's good to know that you're cynicism doesn't play a part in the order of things. After reading over your tantrum, it's obvious to me you've never really studied the culture, context, and languages of the scripture. If you had, nearly all of your rantings have a resolution to them.
      Don't rant until you know. There is just as much reason in faith as there is in atheism or agnosticism.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • MalcomR

      Good!

      July 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Polli

      WellWriter, I think maybe you are not in the book of life....I think maybe your name has been left out....

      July 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • saabguy

      Well said. I'm so tired having Christians explain away every bad thing as "God's will." Stop being a stupid sheep and think for yourself. The world would be a better place without most religions.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  15. drinky

    How long will it take for people to stop believing in fairy tales????

    July 29, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • mcrunner34

      Probably as long as it takes for you to realize that it's not a fairy tale...

      July 29, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  16. A dose of reality

    No matter how you dress it up, there are some fundamental difficulties with Christianity that are pretty hard to overcome.
    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, Ho.rus 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 10:36 am |
    • Charles

      No one is forcing you to read this article. No one is forcing you to believe in God. Believe what you wish to believe and let others express their opinions.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Stan

      Problem is, Charles, fools like you vote too.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  17. Name*godless wonder

    Can you please discuss news and current events not myths once man can get passed the whole immaginary man in the sky thing the sooner we can move on and attempt to better ourselfs as a whole please drop the immaginary man in the sky and focus on your brothers and sisters here on earth men and women realize there is no heaven and the only hell is real and it is events like these for the people who were there

    July 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  18. Rob

    The useless ness of this man article shows why people have left the churches. The answer is simple. We have turned our backs on God and now he has turned his back to us. We abort his children, we defy his laws, we legally ban him from our schools and our lives etc... Then we ask where is god. The answewr is that God has turned us over to satan. Life will increasingly deteriorate. Our economies will collapse. Social disorder will increase. Famines will be our norm. Good luck earth. You have mocked god and now god will allow you to mocked.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • drinky

      Please don't have children...

      July 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Rob

      I will add one more comment. Our church leaders are the greatest embarrasment tyo god.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Seyedibar

      we turned our back on gods because they are an outdated way of explaining the world. We now know that Thor does'n't cause the thunder with a goat chariot. The ground does not quake when Hades shifts. Poseidon does not move the ocean waves. And Yahweh doesn't get emo. it's 2012. Time to come back to reality.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Rob

      Drinky your are just another comedian with nothing to say except to mock the widom of God. To you I say keep mocking. Keep up your jokes. Get as much fun as you can for the day of gods anger is here. The ignorant will always mock.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Posts by Rob are instances of the Non Causa Pro Causa fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org

      July 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Rob

      We bomb any nation we dislike and kill innocent people who we call collateral damage. Then we ask why when we feel the pain we inflict on others.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Mark T

      I thought He(She) loves us no matter what. Oh, well...

      July 29, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Keith

      If you had lived the first part of your life so devoid of logic you would have never lived long enough to learn to write.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Mark T

      "We bomb innocent nations"? Isn't it a hand of god?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Rob

      Keith: Keep on mocking. Thats what people do when they have nothing to add to a conversation.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Rob

      Mark T: What are you talking about as to the hand of god? These are man made wars originating from greed.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Rob

      Mark T: There are limits to his love. He allows us to sin and still loves us. However now we have reached the point of mocking God. He allows sin but not mocking.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Bob

      Yeah, Rob, that fine "loving" god. According to the Christian Book of Nasty AKA the bible, "loving" god demands that we do horrid, murderous stuff like the following. No thanks, you can keep your murderous, vicious jerk of a god:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 29, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Rob

      Bob – You missed the second part of what god said he killing people for sin. He said through Jesus "LET THE MAN WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE". So while laws exist none of us are blameless and none are without sin. So none of us has the right to carry out these punishments. Unfortunately you do not understand the whole story because those who claim to represent god in our churches are evil men acting as gods servants. They abuse children and teach lies in his name. You don't fully understand the entire law of god because you have never been shown the entire truth. So no one has the right to act out his punishments for we are all sinners in need of his forgiveness.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  19. Brutaltrouth

    God is not real

    July 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  20. MyManDarwin

    What a huge pile of steaming crap. It amazes me the way religous idiots can find the most obscure and ludicrous ways to attach their mythological invisible friend to any event....or act as his PR reps in defending him.

    July 29, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Rosemary

      Why so angry and hostile?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Smurfette

      Oh, I don't know? Perhaps because religious idiots do things like fly planes into buildings in the name of their god?

      July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Pamela Haley Design

      Well, actually God commandeered the mind of a Genius and influenced him to build a bunch of bombs and plan a shooting spree just so people could feel compassion... or something. Forgiveness? No... he gets the death penalty but, we forgive him in our hearts but, only so long as he accept jesus as the shot goes in.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.