home
RSS
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. Rainer Braendlein

    When will you die? Tomorrow? This evening? Now?

    It is beyond your influence when you will die (excepted you sadly commit suicide).

    Let us accept death as a thing which will once hit us, sooner or later.

    Before that background the massacre of Aurora gets somewhat relativized.

    Of course, Holmes did a great harm to his victims, but if he had not killed them, they had died another time (this is no excuse for Holmes).

    More important would it be to answer the question how we can live a meaningful life which will end in a peaceful death.

    Don't let us waste our money for too much food, cloths, big houses and cars and travels, but help the disadvanteged people.

    With the dollars which we waste for our egoism we could fund schools for poor children or hospitals for the poor or we could fund mission here and abroad.

    It is clear that we become righteous by faith alone, but why should we hide our righteousness. I guess our righteousness will rot within us and become poison, if we don't live it.

    Hence, become righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, and at the same time start a life of charity. This means health and deep peace for your soul, and finally your body will become healthy. Get the real thing.

    By the way, this has to do something with the credit crisis. Money which you use for travels is thrown down the drain, but if you use it for investment (building schools) you strengthen the economy of your home country. Think a little about that.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  2. Schlomo

    Why is it against the law to deny the Holocaust in many European countries?
    The truth doesn't fear investigation, check out http://www.nazigassings.com for the truth about the HoloHOAX and discover for yourself that the mass genocide of Jews is a GIANT MYTH.

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

      And almost no one in prison is guilty, just ask them. The evidence of the Holocaust is overwhelming, but may be overshadowed in your own mind by your own personal agenda.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Schlomo

      So you support the jailing of Europeans for expressing their God-given right of free speech? "The evidence is overwhelming..." hahaha that's a good one, the "evidence" conjured up by that soviet kangarroo-court in Nuremburg? THAT evidence? Boy, are you gullible. The "evidence" you speak of was extracted through torture and therefore holds no weight at all. You can get anyone to say anything through torture, bud. Please, visit http://www.nazigassings.com to learn the truth, you really need to.....

      July 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    I like the book "Everyone P00ps" too. It's filled with human truth and is a metaphor for human truth and equality. People should read it daily and share it's contents with everyone.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  4. Polli

    The movie ,"we need to talk about Kevin" is an excellent example of illness....it is a gut wrenching , searing look, an evisceral filmatic achievement and if you are near the shooting I suggest you not watch it for years...it is quite a purge of emotions, will not make you feel good, but is an exceptional portrayal of mentla illness. Watching that film for two hours made me feel as if I had cried for two days...they did a great job. I watched it 8 times. IT is too hard for people , especially family members, to see or comprehend mental illness as it is spiralling our to control unless you get help from someone who does know... The deal is a normal person, any age, any education or background can become" unglued" for no apparent outward reason...except they seem to be acting off or weird or troubled, confused, saying or doing strange stuff....and a lot of times these people are getting drugs coming into our nation from Mexico and points south by illegal aliens who purport to be "just looking for a job"...

    July 29, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Smurfette

      Oh, Polli, that was a really excellent post until the end where you went off on the drug/illegal alien rant.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • steven harnack

      It made you feel so bad that you had to watch it 8 times,eh? And your diatribe about Mexicans is out of place and shows that you have some mental problems of your own.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  5. tony

    That "god" actually put "his" fear of graven images and idols into the Ten Commandments pretty much proves that there was no god, but instead a very sharp marketeer "priest" who wanted to control his people and keep his job.

    Why?. Because if widespread worship of idols and images gives statistically the same results as worshipping an invisible Jehova, (which it does -or there'd be no Auroroa shootings) , then the priesthood is going to have an uphill battle convincing the general population to come over to their camp.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Reality99

      You should try to sober up.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  6. Christianity = Love

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7 .

    July 29, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Well, since everyone is doing it ....
      Nice post of pure christian love lol.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Protoclown

      I'm an agnostic, but if you really believe all of that, you're an idiot.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • ArthurP

      Lets see what our Founding Fathers had to say about the subject:

      1. "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man"- Thomas Jefferson

      2. "The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." – Thomas Jefferson

      3. "It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticism's that three are one, and one is three; and yet the one is not three, and the three are not one- Thomas Jefferson

      4. "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be cla.ssed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."- Thomas Jefferson

      5. "There is not one redeeming feature in our supersti.tion of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites."- Thomas Jefferson

      6. "Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin .

      7. "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Ben Franklin

      8. "I looked around for God's judgments, but saw no signs of them."- Ben Franklin

      9. "In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it."- Ben Franklin

      10. "This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it"- John Adams

      11. "The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.'- Thomas Paine

      12. "Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."- Thomas Paine

      13. "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."- Thomas Paine

      14. "Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies."- Thomas Paine

      15. "All national inst.itutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."- Thomas Paine

      16. "It is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene.”- Thomas Paine

      17. "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in
      hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society."- George Washington

      18. "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."- Abraham Lincoln

      19. "It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov't from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespa.sses on its legal rights by others."- James Madison

      20. "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

      21. History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. – Thomas Jefferson

      July 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • A dose of reality

      Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.
      1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.
      2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.
      3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.
      4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.
      5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.
      6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.
      7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.
      8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.
      9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.
      10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • steven harnack

      Put down your bible and pick up a dictionary. Now look up irony. I hope that you've convinced many more people that Christianity is a form of mental illness and a major cause of hate and ignorance. Good work. PS if you just wrote all of that as satire you should have dropped a couple of clues.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Andrew

      You gotta lotta hatred for someone who equates Christianity to love.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  7. Islam 4-ever

    ISLAM WILL TAKE OVER THE AMERICA LIKE WE DID IN EUROPE!!!

    THOSE WHO DON´T BELIEVE IN ALLAH WILL BURN IN HELLFIRE!

    July 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Nathan A Stewart

      You can keep telling yourself that if you need it for your self esteem.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Polli

      Christ is a living God of forgiveness....you actuallly think the God of Death Allah will last over Christ who loves and welcomes and forgives all sins? I think that Muslims , uneducated, dirty, rude and vile toward women and children should be returned to their home countries for saying like what he just said, becaus eit is obvioulsy not a religion but apolitical terorist group bent on upending the world for their religious beliefs...as he just said...Death to the world becasue we are Muslim...not too nice, is it World?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • NQuest

      @Islam 4-ever

      Aren't you really a disciple of Reverend Franklin Graham but is too afraid to stand up? (:

      Let's blame a diferent religion for the theatre terrorist because it may be too difficult to digest.

      Yep. That will surely help us all.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Smurfette

      @ Polli – Next on the Discovery Channel: When Imaginary Beings Fight! This week – Jesus vs Allah! Next week: The Easter Bunny vs Santa!!!! Who will win in this epic smack down??????

      July 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Immoral Minority

      @Polli – you do realise that your "God of Death Allah" is Jesus's dad? All Abrahamic religions have the same god, be he named Allah, Jaweh, Jehovah, etc. And this is why Atheism will prevail, because we take the time to think!

      July 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Reality

    Dear Pastor Brendle, (a response would really be appreciated but only from the pastor)

    We welcome you to the 21st century with a prayer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    July 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Reality99

      Your ignorance is impressive. With that intellect, you have a bright future working at Taco Bell.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Smurfette

      Oh, Reality99, what a cogent and compelling response. Next time, try this one: Nyah, Nyah!

      July 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  9. John

    There are enough scientific and historical evidence that Jesus and God existed.
    Source? Google and read the bible.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Pastafairian

      There is enough scientific and historical evidence in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster that He exists now.
      Try expanding your narrow views to the other religious tomes that exist in our world, you seem to be hung up on the jesus story.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  10. Atheist mom

    I found a nice husband who is Muslim. He told me I have to convert, otherwise he would leave me :/
    What should I do?

    July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • UtahProf

      Follow your heart and beliefs whatever they are and whatever the consequences may be – you will be happier in the end. Trying to be someone you aren't, Christian, Muslim, atheist, etc is a dead end.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Smurfette

      Hot,wet, sloppy BJs on an ongoing basis will trump any religious belief, or lack thereof

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

      Thou shalt not be unequally yolked...however you can marry a n onbeliever.....WHy waste your time? God loves you as youa re...if he is saying he will leave you before you even get started, where you going to end up?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  11. One one

    ‎" Is it loving to force his creation to follow his order, or to teach it and leave the creature to choose? ..... compulsory virtue is no virtue at all."

    God doesn't teach anything. People who claim to speak for god do. I have no more reason to believe such people than I have to believe a used car salesman.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  12. Doug

    Why do people put faith in an imaginary, supernatural being to guide, heal, etc., when it is clearly obvious it we must do everything ourselves. There has never been any rational, logical, or scientific proof of any supernatural being that has ever done anything on this planet. All you delusional religious people out there have been duped. Wake up and enjoy reality. "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

    July 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Reality99

      Doug is like one of those tribesmen that were hiding in the Amazonian jungle until "discovered" in the 1950s. When told that there were devices that could transmit sound and pictures through the air, the tribesman/Doug refused to believe it because he couldn't see it. Someday, perhaps Dougie will learn that just because he doesn't understand something, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Doug's ignorance is NOT proof of anything.... other than Doug's ignorance.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Reality99

      You said, "When told that there were devices that could transmit sound and pictures through the air, the tribesman/Doug refused to believe it because he couldn't see it."
      There is sufficient evidence to make a rational case for radio transmissions. Any rational tribesman will believe radios exist if shown the experimental evidence.

      You said, "Someday, perhaps Dougie will learn that just because he doesn't understand something, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist."
      The complete and utter lack of evidence in support, strongly suggest it doesn't. It's unreasonable to believe it exists until there is evidence.

      You said, "Doug's ignorance is NOT proof of anything.... other than Doug's ignorance"
      No, of course not. The ignorance is entirely on the side of the believers. They claim to have knowledge that simply isn't there. They make the claim about mythical beings for which there is no evidence.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Tim

    Trying (and failing) to explain the inexplicable. A simple "we don't know" would have been so much more honest, and would have been a glorious testament to God's majesty.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  14. Where is god?

    Where is god when 6 million children die each year from starvation world-wide.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • michael

      when is mankind going to move beyond religion and fables and fictions????

      July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • ArthurP

      Why he is eating at Chick-fil-A of course with at the rest of the God Fearing Folk.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Marcus Johnson

      ...probably wondering why the other 6 billion aren't doing anything about it...

      July 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Nathan A Stewart

      Where are we when this happens?You want to blame God when we are the ones who let each other down. I believe God is now to the point where he has to allow the most heartbreaking of things to happen to get though our thick heads as humans. Look what we are doing to each other,why should God snap his fingers to make it all better? I am a firm believer in God and his love for all his children,but, I also see the other side meaning the Devil,who's presents are becoming more and more seen as we pull further away. As a Christian I will say it's not God that fails us,it is all us. We are the one who are corrupt and selfish,we allow the the hunger and pain to run freely. I feel the reason these things are happening more and more is God is trying to tell us that without him the pain in the world is our future. We are failing not God. Everything has a price and greed,selfishness,hate,unforgiveness,anger,intolerance the price is a separation from God and an eternity of suffering. Suffer the little children come on to me,the children are taken home,but,what about use. Man has failed man Jesus paid that price so we could have hope,he's done his job,but,are failing in ours. Dose this make sense? We all God loved children that is the amazing thing we all share,but,it time for use to join the battle against that dark force known as Satan who we are falling victim to. Please just stop and really look around with your heart and mind open.Gods tears are always flowing he loves use more then we could ever know and he is there with his arms open and all we have to do is jump in them.I Love You and God Bless!!!

      July 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  15. Joyce

    Funny how non-believers spew the worst venom. I am a Christian. I make many wrong decisions and mistakes but I am a good person at heart. I feel no need to lash out. I have no anger. I am also a scientist who sees the other side. I can combine the creation into the big bang and be content that it wasn't seven days There is some evolution in there. Believing gives me peace and I have no expectations that God will protect me and my family from every bad event. That is not why there is faith. The devil will tempt us. The devil will make good people do bad things. In the end, the victims will find peace in forgiving. God gives us free will. Believe or not.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It's funny that you find "spewing venom" funny since you did just that in your post .. very passive aggressive of you.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Smurfette

      You're a scientist and you also believe in the devil? Interesting. What is your conception of the devil? Is it a sentient being/ What are its characteristics? What methodology did you utilize to come to the conclusion that the devil exists?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • One one

      Joyce, you have inspired me to pray. Dear heavenly Father, I pray for you to bring harmony between Christians and atheists. Help me understand why godless trash, who deserve to burn in hell, are offended by those of us who are holy, pious, and obviously god’s favorite people.

      Help the unsaved filth understand that by judging and condemning them I am trying to save them from your vengeful & vicious wrath, of which they deserve, AND I APPROVE, as long as they refuse to believe what I believe. Amen.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Although I am not Joyce I want to thank you One one .. It brought a tear to my eye. I am saved!!

      July 29, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  16. ArthurP

    There is no proof that the Bible is not in fact the work of the Devil and to use a passage in the Bible to prove otherwise will not work because that is just what the Devil wants you to do to hide his intentions.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  17. Debbie Reid

    Beautiful!

    July 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  18. Hypatia

    How nice. His fairy tale made him feel good.

    July 29, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  19. Jesus&me22

    God is real, Jesus is real, satan is real, good is real, evil is real, sin is real and so is salvation & man's need for it...we all have a choice to make & it is a choice that we will be held accountable for: believe God & receive salvation through His Son, or reject them... I simply pray for all who don't believe in Our Heavenly Father & His Son; I pray you will come to His marvelous light

    July 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Can you demonstrate that anything you're claiming is actually true, or are you just telling us about a book you particularly like?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • clubschadenfreude

      Indeed. Where is the evidence for this god, this satan, the hell that Christians delight talking about? Why is it that Christians must excuse their supposedly allpowerful god when it doesn't actually do anything, but have to claim that it was only around during the grieving and cleanup? Funny hwo this god can't do much anymore and its actions indistinguishable from coincidence, outright lies or wishful thinking. Nope, this god can't stop the shooter with stroke, allowing his intentions to be enough to damn him, but has to allow many many people do die. Poor puny god, can't even heal people magically. And now Pastor Brendle has to excuse this god by claiming it floats around uselessly allowing other humans to do the hard work of real sympathy, real medicine, and real justice.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • tony

      Then why hasn't your and all the others' prayersit worked for the past 2000 years?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  20. Priest

    1Peter 4:12-17 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelations of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    July 29, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Thank you for sharing a quote from a book you like. Now it's my turn!

      "If you only have brains on your head you would be as good a man as any of them, and a better man than some of them. Brains are the only things worth having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man.”
      ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

      July 29, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • clubschadenfreude

      So "priest", are you also down with Luke 19:26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” Funny how Christians don't like this bit but have to convince each other of how great they are by how many people show them that they are utterly wrong and utterly hypocritical with their claims of how pious they are, but when it comes down to it, they rely on people rather than some imaginary god.

      July 29, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Smurfette

      My turn: from the Book of Gozer, Chapter 7, Verse 2: "Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

      July 29, 2012 at 11:42 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 68 69

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.