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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. Swedish girl

    Atheists are concerned about the 10 commandments because they grew up by stupid parents telling them that to murder and not respecting parents are OK.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • rybl101

      Point good no you make wrong!!!

      If you are horribly unproficient in a language, I suggest that you not try to make an argument in that language.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      rybl101, She wrote her message perfectly clear. Why would you have a problem understanding her?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:07 am |
  2. Death bed

    conversions can work both ways. Mother Teresa spent her whole life shilling for the pope and RCC, which also includes jesus and god, but in the end she saw so much mysery she couldn't continue supporting the BS that is religion. You all that say there is hope for all the non-believers, let me return the favor, you can still give up on your religious delusios. Actually a large number of churches would run you out the door if you were not a paid up member, cash talks.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  3. rybl101

    Question – What is the difference between Theology and Mythology?

    Answer – Perspective

    July 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • on judgement day

      look for rybl101, it will be one of those with the oh sh it look on its face.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • rybl101

      Ahhhh… the classic religious fear tactic.

      People have been trying to scare other people into believing myths since man invented the campfire story...

      July 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      rybl101, fear of the Lord means to learn His wisdom.

      The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

      Psalm 111:10

      Amen.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  4. Swedish girl

    LOL why can't Atheists and Christians in America be friends with each other like in Europe?

    Here in Sweden 80% are nonbelievers, but we still celebrate Christian holidays and we baptize our children and go to church for cultural reason, while American Atheists are totally against anything that has to do with Christianity.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • truth be told

      American so called atheists are for the most part self righteous jerks. It is a unique American thing.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, most of us do indeed get along. But then you get those religious fanatics who try to make their beliefs into laws that hurt innocent people. I'm sure you can understand why we find that objectionable.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • truth be told

      no such law has been proposed,voted on or currently in committee.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Swedish girl

      What laws are Christians trying to put into the government?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • truth be told

      There are none.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • jj

      Truth be told...you have that backwards...it's the so called religious right who are intolerant and self righteous.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to this:

      Proposition 8 in California, banning same-s.ex marriage, was financed and supported by religious groups.

      In Arizona, a law was proposed that allowed businesses that offer insurance to deny coverage for birth control to women who actually used it to prevent pregnancy, A woman would require proof that she used it for medical reasons. This law that discriminates against women was proposed in the name of protecting religious freedom. Fortunately it didn't pass.

      These are just a couple of examples, but there are more. As far as I'm concerned, even one is one too many.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Our laws are from God. Atheists change God's laws to satan's lies. Hence, why the USA is going down.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:55 am |
  5. Topdecker

    People worshiped the sun and made human sacrifices before they invented god and the bible. Do you want to go back to that?

    July 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • just wondering

      How did people do that when God walked in the garden with the first man Adam? Are you saying there were people before there were people?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  6. † = Love, hope, faith

    Stalin "Imagine no religion"

    July 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why did christians murder so many of the people they accused of being witches? Why did christians murder and enslave indigenous populations in the nations they claimed to "discover"? Why did christians torture and murder so many jews in an effort to get them to convert? Why have so many people died in wars over which sect of christianity is the correct one? Why have so many atrocities been committed in the name of a god for which there is not a single shred of proof?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Confused face

      you are truly representative of the intolerant literal-minded brainwashed cult of Christianity. Not one of those secular leaders you named ever killed in the name of atheism. Stalin did not murder people to promote atheism.

      The same cannot be said of the people killed at the hand of the armies of god.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Swedish girl

      Actually Jews have persecuted Christians throughout the history for believe in Jesus. They also made the Romans suffer and kill him, and destroyed churches.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yeah, swede. The christians really suffered at the hands of the jews. The Inquisition, the Holocaust, centuries of oppression... Oh wait, that was jews suffering at the hands of christians. All because of some unproven story about a jewish guy that was allegedly killed by the Romans, and an unsubstantiated claim that the jewish guy was the son of god.

      Funny thing: You'd never know it was a bad thing, the way christians go on and on about how happy they are that Jesus died so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Wow Tallulah, if truth hit you in the face, would you know it?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:58 am |

  7. I'm Assyrian and I speak Aramaic – Jesus Christ native language.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  8. NavyDad

    Atheists cannot tell us how Earth was created.... so there you go that God exists!

    July 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I truly hope you are being sarcastic.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Satan

      Just because science has not found a definitive answer does not mean the real answer is not out there. God is a cop out for the intellectual challenged.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Filling in the gap of man's limited knowledge of the universe with "goddidit" is insufficient. Sorry.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • rybl101

      Argumentum ad ignorantiam

      July 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • on judgement day

      look for g zeus, it will be one of those with the oh sh it look on its face.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "stupid followed to its logical conclusion" gave himself the perfect screen name. He is indeed exactly the sort of end product you would expect from stupid.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      is a continuing statement, tallulah. Most people are bright enough to figure that out, but there is always one or two losers in any group.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No, dear, I get what you're doing. It's neither clever nor mysterious. However, your comments make your screen name the perfect description of yourself.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      provided for tallulahs condescending bull sh it to prove my point. Thanks loser.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, what planet do you live on? Scientists have never answered the question "where did it all come from". They make up stories like evolution that they keep on tweaking as time goes on. No beginning, a crazy ending. Same with Big Bang. No beginning, no ending, except made up stories ... that, LOL, all the dum dums believe and think themselves, intelligent.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  9. rybl101

    God was in the exact same place as Zeus, Buddha, Thor, Allah, Osiris, Vishnu, and Neptune.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • NavyDad

      Allah means God in Arabic. That tells us how idiotic and uneducated you are

      July 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  10. † In God We Trust †

    "Don't pray in our schools and we won't think in your churches."

    – Really? Atheists own churches..... something new I've heard.
    You will under God's rule, and our motto is IN GOD WE TRUST, therefore it's a Christian nation.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Atheists own public schools *

      July 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Satan

      We wish we did.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Wish you did?

      Your wish comes true in North Korea and China.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I noticed that you dodged my question on your comment. Perhaps you didn't see it because you were busy spamming it everythere, so I'll repeat:

      Why was god unable to cross the ocean to the New World (and Australia) until 1500 years after Christ? Why a being with the power to create the universe have to wait for humans with navigation skills and sea worthy vessels to take the knowledge of his existence across the oceans?

      And why is the hindu pantheon older than the judeo-christian god? Why have humans worshiped thousands of gods throughout history? And the biggest question of all: Why is there not a single shred of evidence to prove that your god (or any god) actually exists?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • truth be told

      Most of the native American tribes already had a working concept of God, many quite accurate. What they did not have was a complete knowledge of Jesus Christ. Within most primitive societies a key that parallels the truth of God has been discovered that has aided many missionaries in bringing the true gospel around the world.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So what. "truth"? Many religions are similar. Christianity itself contains the element of human sacrifice contained by so-called pagan religions.

      According to your religion, the only way to heaven is through Christ. Why did your god wait 1500 years to bring that salvation to the New World? Why did he condemn millions to hell by withholding knowledge? Maybe he was he was just lazy. Or maybe he was afraid of water. Or maybe your god is utterly dependent upon humanity for transportation because he doesn't exist.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jen

      Native Americans belief in God bared no resemblance to that of Christians. They believed in the preservation of nature and wildlife. No real Christian would argue that Christians have the same beliefs (the belief is that the world exists to take from).

      Natives did not have a complete knowledge of Jesus? Try they had ZERO knowledge of Jesus (perhaps you would know that if your good Christian ancestors hadn't slaughtered most of them).

      July 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • truth be told

      You wanted an answer, you got it , don't like it ? Tough sh it.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You didn't provide a real answer. Just more christian excuse making. It doesn't say much about a god if his followers have to make up excuses for him.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jen

      Tbt lied in his/her answer, by saying Natives did not have a complete knowledge. You very well know they had ZERO knowledge. Lying is a sin. Get ready for that lake of fire tbt...I hear it sucks....

      July 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      In God, the atheists church is any bar on the corner.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:03 am |
  11. Satan

    Religion is based on on ancient mythology. Myth is not real. The God of Abraham which the the major religeons of the world are based on, is just as real as Zeus, Santa Claus, or bigfoot ( the is more evidence for bigfoot...). Your fvcking delusional if you think an omnipresence, omnipotent god watches over you or exists.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Go to hell your moron. You will end up suffering with Satan and let you burn in hellfire

      July 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Satan

      A very Christian response from a proposed "true Christian".
      You invalidate every thing you have previously posted. Your the ultimate in hypocrisy.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Now Satan, you know your kid Cain and his kids made up all the religions to be some what like Jesus Christs truth 95% added with your 5% lies to cause chaos and confusion that creates doubt. Why? Because you knew it would work to get God's children confused so they wouldn't believe and would go to the eternal flames with you.

      Remember when Jesus said this to your son Cain?

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

      John 8:44

      Amen.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  12. † In God We Trust †

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Judeo-Christian is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and paganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Judeo-Christian is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and paganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Judeo-Christian is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and paganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    July 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  13. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    The christian (jewish) "god" is so loving that he once gave the following commandment:

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

    July 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Thank God for the New Testament. We don't follow Judaism and the terrible Torah

      July 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Satan

      Oh so you don't follow the ten commandments?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Ah, so you acknowledge that your religion was ripped off of a pre-existing one. Guess what? Judaism itself was ripped off of pre-existing Persian, Greek, and Egyptian (at least) religions.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      The 10 commandment does not mention that quote anyway your moron.

      10 commandment is something great

      July 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Satan

      But you said Christians don't follow the OT which the ten commandments are in. Oh ohhhhh get caught in a contradiction? Christian hypocrisy at its finest.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      10 Commandments was ripped off of the pre-existing Hammurabi's Code from Babylon.

      Also the story of Noah and the Great Flood was ripped off of the pre-existing story of Gilgamesh, also from the same region.

      Read your history. Learn!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The OT is the truth of God that gives us His laws to abide in (to be the best that He wants us to be) along with promising us that He would send the world a Messiah. The NT is the truth about God sending Himself as the Messiah to earth as Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us, continuing on with explaining How we can be the best that He wants us to be so that we can dwell with Him through eternity.

      Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

      Matthew 5:17

      Amen.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      G. Zeus Kreiszchte, you need to read about Cain, who slew his brother Abel, fled to the land of Nod, is the son of satan, who had children called the Kenites, who also reside in this world. Can't say they are living, for, they too, are spiritually dead following the lies of their ancestor, satan as they walk this earth.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      OR, it's all just a mildly amusing story. fundies = fanboys

      July 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      HeavenSent: You obviously missed the part about how the foundation of your religious opinions (Judaism) was RIPPED OFF of PRE-EXISTING religions that were popular in the region when Jews were just getting around to writing their ideas about "god" down. You really need to read something else besides your little bible.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "10 Commandments was ripped off of the pre-existing Hammurabi's Code from Babylon."
      @Chad "Really?? I guess I need to read up on Hammurabi's Code(either that, or you have no clue what the 10 commandments actually are..)
      , I had no idea it includes:
      1. I am the Lord, your God.
      2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me.
      3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.
      4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
      5. Honor thy father and thy mother.

      =========
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "Also the story of Noah and the Great Flood was ripped off of the pre-existing story of Gilgamesh"
      @Chad "actually, there are several ancient flood narratives, which one would expect.. since it actually happened...

      =========
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "Read your history. Learn!"
      @Chad "excellent advice!!!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      HeavenSent: I was raised in the christo-fascist tradition and I swear this is the first time I've ever heard anyone say that "satan" had children. HA HA HA!

      I guess you believe Hellboy is real? HA HA HA!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Chad: The fact that the story of a Great Deluge happened to be popular in the region is no surprise, but that does not prove that "god did it" or that "the WHOLE WORLD" was flooded. What would you expect the Jews to say when they had no idea what "the WHOLE WORLD" actually was? They had no idea the world wasn't flat. They had no idea the world consisted of what is now called the Americas. Go on. Pull the other leg!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "The fact that the story of a Great Deluge happened to be popular in the region is no surprise, but that does not prove that "god did it"
      @Chad "good point, it's popular because it actually happened, looks like you are acknowledging that...
      doesnt prove that God did it, however, it does demonstrate that the bible is accurate, and that your comment about it being "ripped off" from some other ancient tale is nonsense..

      ========
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "" or that "the WHOLE WORLD" was flooded. "
      @Chad "I actually agree with you, as you point out, it's critically important to understand what the biblical text actually says:

      the text can also support the interpretation that the flood was local, the entire world as the author knew it (in Hebrew, the word for "earth" can mean locality as well).

      For example: in the statement of Cyrus, note that his kingdom, though great, did not encompass the entire globe

      Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him! Let him go up (2 Chronicles 36:23).

      Scholars embrace the view that The Hebrew term eretz translated earth in Genesis 6-8 should be translated land instead of earth. The word eretz is used more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament with 80% of the time being translated land rather than earth. Therefore, the Hebrew writers employed the word with its much more restricted meaning about four times as frequently as they employed it with a broader meaning. What is in view, in the Flood account, is not the entire earth, but the land around Noah. If the word land is subst.tuted for earth in the Flood account then the passage has an entirely different sense.

      Consider how the passage would then be understood.

      Now the land was corrupt in God's sight, and the land was filled with violence. And God saw that the land was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the land. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the land, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the land shall die (Genesis 6:11,12,17).

      The point is as follows: the extent of the Flood cannot be decisively settled based upon the Hebrew word for earth.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Chad: Sure, I grant you that evidence supports the assertion that a rather large flood occurred in that region thousands of years ago. That's easy when other sources can be consulted for corroboration. However, it absolutely DOES NOT give you the liberty to conclude that the WHOLE bible is accurate. Big lose for you, chief.

      July 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      G.Zeus, those scriptures are explaining nonbelievers such as yourself. Funny, how all you atheists pick out the scriptures pertaining to your bad behaviors that you don't want to curtail.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  14. john beal

    A television host’s interview of Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s daughter, after 9-11 was along these lines, “Where was God on that morning? How could He have allowed such a tragedy?” Mrs. Lotz answered to the point, “God has been expelled from public schools, from the public square, and from public discourse. He is not invited and, at public request, had nothing to do with 9-11.” The TV host tacitly wanted to blame God as a justification for her implied prior decision to reject Him. To Mrs. Lotz, her answer meant, “You cannot hang that event on God,” and the event meant a reason to reconnect with the Living-God who can indeed help with such matters.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Confused face

      Billy Graham was an anti-Semitic charlatan. If 9-11 was a result of banishing god from the public square, then why the Holocaust before the banishment? Or really, any mass tragedy in the history of man before such bamishment?

      I love to see the mental gymnastics these believers engage in the make the facts fit their pre-conceived notions of god. Whatever the facts, they always come back to the same non-answer: "it is part of god's plan."

      July 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • TR6

      “You cannot hang that event on God,”
      What part of ISLAMIC terrorists screaming “god is great” as they slaughtered 3000 people don’t you understand?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      I am trying to decide who to believe...Billy Graham, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggert, Jerry Falwell. Hmmm...there's also L. Ron Hubbard and that guy to invented Mormonism. Such a great cast of characters!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mrs. Lotz doesn't know Jesus then if she denies His truth.

      "all things" are "of Him and through Him and to Him." (Romans 11:36)

      It is all His work (Job 36:24-37:24; Psalm 104).

      The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. (1 Samuel 2:6)

      God said,

      Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

      Amen.

      Any and all who die, die by the hand of God. For it is all His doing (Psalm 65:7-9; 66:1-12; 107; 118:22-24).

      Jesus warned,

      And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)

      For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, . . . (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

      Amen.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  15. damo12345

    "Let’s be clear: there are no easy answers to the deepest questions of suffering."

    There really is, you just don't like admitting it, because it scares you.

    The reason that your supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful god lets good people suffer is very simple. There is no god. People suffer because we are flawed organisms, living in an ecosystem that's not under any god's control.

    We have to look after one another, because no god is going to help us.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  16. † In God We Trust †

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Christianity is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Christianity is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Christianity is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    July 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Oj

      What, are you three? Take your fingers out of your ears and stop going 'lalalalala'.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It's 'PAGANISM" NOT PEGANISM! YOU IDIOT!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Rabid Goon

      Christianity is based on Judaism, so how can Christianity be the only religion not based on mythology. Try thinking for yourself for a change instead of relying on your idiot church leaders and make believe books.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Yes, christians are SO tolerant that they brought the world the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, the murderous conquest of Native Americans, converting them to christianity "by the sword", Westboro Baptist Church, etc.etc.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Confused face

      Don't pray in our schools and we won't think in your churches.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "Yes, christians are SO tolerant that they brought the world the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, the murderous conquest of Native Americans, converting them to christianity "by the sword", Westboro Baptist Church, etc.etc."

      =>just some reality:
      -7% of all wars throughout history can be attributed to "religious" causes
      -in the 20th century alone, atheists have killed:
      – Joseph Stalin (6 million)
      – Mao (more than 50 million)
      – Pol Pot (2 million)

      Contrasted with the religious portions of your list:
      – Crusades (~200,000 people)
      -Salem Witch Trials (12 people)
      – all of the Inquisitions combined (~10,000)
      so, a total less than 250,000 people...

      so, if you do the numbers, Christians have killed about .5% of the people that atheists have killed.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice of Reason, thanks for proving that your handle is a dummy one too used by Tommie Tom (who is Scott) has that mouth and can't control his wrath. Sociopaths can only be cured by Jesus.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • TR6

      No Chad they were not killed for atheism or because of atheism. They were killed by communists and communism is just another murderous, dogmatic religion, just like christianity

      July 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @TR6 "No Chad they were not killed for atheism or because of atheism. They were killed by communists and communism is just another murderous, dogmatic religion, just like christianity"

      @Chad "hmm.. interesting attempt at re-writing history.. actually quite an interesting piece of illogical thought!

      perhaps then you can explain how Marx considered the rejection of God (atheism) central to communism?
      In the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of Marxist theory, developed primarily by Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, religion is seen as negative to human development, and socialist states that follow a Marxist-Leninist variant are atheistic and explicitly antireligious. Due to this, a number of avowedly Marxist governments in the twentieth century, such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, implemented rules introducing state atheism.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      In God,

      Remember John 15:18

      Amen.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:21 am |
  17. damo12345

    Oh, that's where your god was?

    He couldn't be bothered to step in when a madman killed a 6 year old girl and severely injured the girl's pregnant mother, making her miscarry?

    Your god must have really hated THAT family.

    July 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Hey damo, the shooter is just as blind as you to God's truth. God allows all of you to be fools.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Satan

      If your god allows humans to be fools then he is an evil, inept, powerless joke of a god, not worthy of worship. Easy, don't believe, god doesn't exist.

      July 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Now now Satan, isn't it the sin of pride that did you under in the first place? God always obliges you of what you want. You wanted to be arrogant. He obliges you. You want to reject His truth. He obliges you. You want to be blinded by lies. Hey, that is you and He obliges you. What else do you want? He'll oblige you.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  18. exlonghorn

    Let's not forget the Westboro Baptist Church. :)

    July 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      They are not true Christians...

      July 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      I didn't see God make that call, did you? Or are you yet another self-righteous fundie who believes he can pass judgement on everyone else, including members of his own religion?

      July 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • WOOF

      "They are not true Christians..."

      Ah, but YOU are, huh? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  19. † In God We Trust †

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
    33% of the world are Christians
    25% of the world are Muslims

    = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

    Christianity is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
    Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

    God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
    Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

    Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me".

    July 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Oj

      'Christianity is the world’s only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
      Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world’s largest religion by far.'

      I couldn't have written better sarcasm myself. Nice work. 'peaceful', lol!

      July 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me"..

      Okay, so basically blessed = gullible. PT Barnum was right. Thanks for the reminder.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  20. True Christian Tolerance

    Nice example of Christian tolerance:

    A Mississippi couple says the church where they planned to get married turned them away because they are black.
    Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson say they had set the date and mailed invitations, but the day before their wedding they got bad news from the pastor of predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs: Some members of the church complained about the black couple having a wedding there.
    The Wilsons, who live in nearby Jackson, said they attend the church regularly although they are not members.
    Pastor Stan Weatherford told WLBT TV in Jackson he was surprised when a small number of church members opposed holding the wedding at the church.
    "This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that," Weatherford said.
    Weatherford performed the July 21 ceremony at another church.
    "I didn't want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn't want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te'Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day," Weatherford said.
    WLBT reported that church officials now say they welcome any race. They plan to hold internal meetings on how to move forward.
    Church member Casey Kitchens said she and other members of the congregation are outraged by the church's refusal to marry a black couple, a decision she says most of the congregation knew nothing about.
    "This is a small, small group of people who made a terrible decision," Kitchens told the Jackson newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger. "I'm just ashamed right now that my church would do that. I can't fathom why. How unfair. How unjust. It's just wrong."
    "I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn't stand up," member Charles Wilson said.
    Wilson told the newspaper that he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn't want the couple to marry in the church.
    "It's not reflective of the spirit of the Lord and Mississippi Baptists," the Mississippi Baptist Convention executive director, Rev. Jim Futral, said. "It's just a step backward.... It's a sad thing."

    July 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
      33% of the world are Christians
      25% of the world are Muslims

      = ~60% who believe in Jesus Christ + growing very fast

      Christianity is the world's only truly and blessed religions while all others are based on mythology and peganism.
      Being Christian is a blessing, and the greatest thing on Earth. Christians are the most tolerant and peaceful people in the world, and the only religion spread throughout all seven continents, and is the world's largest religion by far.

      God Bless all Christians and those who believe in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
      Convert and be part of us! Without Christianity, the world would have been a disaster!!

      Jesus said: "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me"..

      July 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Let's not forget the Westboro Baptist Church.

      July 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
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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.