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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. Lonely Atheist

    Blah I had an Atheistic sticker and my car got severe damaged at the parking lot here in New Jersey ! :(

    July 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Rick James

      You had a car in New Jersey. That's your problem right there. Pretty sure it had nothing to do with the sticker.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Skwisgaar Skwigelf

      Whys do you advertises your feeling on your cars?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Bummer, I guess the only to do is find another random car and do to it what got done to your car. Pass along the Karma

      July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Lonely Atheist

      Why can Christians have crosses and Christian stickers on their cars, but us Atheists cannot express ourselves?

      No, my car got damaged totally and my sticker was removed at the parking lot. While driving some cars were honking and giving me the finger.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • sue

        I am not sure of all that is going on in this talk , but, I can tell you a born again Christian that follows Jesus Christ would not give you vulgar gestures or damage your property . this would be a lost soul . If you would read the King James Bible ,and you can get one from the Jimmy Swaggert ministries that helps with each verse so you can understand what is really being said . not to change your mind just read it as a book so you can understand what we as Christians believe and how we truly live .

        July 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • exlonghorn

      Hey, if their ilk will bomb abortion clinics and fly airliners into buildings, I figure you got off lucky. Do the best you can, which is to teach your children something other than dogma. If my children choose religion later in life, I will be fine with that. But I'm willing to bet that it won't happen. Early indoctrination is crucial to long-term religious belief, with exceptions being substance abuse and near death experiences (i.e. coping mechanisms)

      July 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • sue

        Christianity and religion are two different things , people who believe different are truly blinded .

        July 27, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • exlonghorn

      Was it an atheistic sticker that bashed or insulted believers?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      @Skwisgaar Skwigelf; "Whys do you advertises your feeling on your cars?"

      For some strange reason, they feel that the rest of the world gives a crap what they think?????

      July 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lonely Atheist, I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but, isn't NOT having a bumper sticker is what the atheists are all about?

      July 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  2. Agnostic Lady

    FU.CK Religion & Atheism

    Nobody could prove whether God exist or not, so please both shut up and act like normal humans !

    July 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Agnostic Man

      They are acting normal. That is the problem!

      July 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Rick James

      Isn't debate are part of humanity?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      It is not for Atheists to disprove the existence of deities. Atheists, like scientists, simply require proof before any positive statement regarding the existence or truth of an assertion can be made. The burden of proof lies with the theists. they are the one making the affirmative claim of deities existence.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  3. Black and Proud

    Atheism IS a religion.... it requires faith to hate and not believe in God, as well as being a cult, ignorant and retarded.
    That's why they post billboards to get members, and they want donations.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • blackpeoplemeet.com

      No my brother! You can't be making up your own definiations for words fool! Look up Atheism in the dictionary if your stupid black a.s.s can read.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Rick James

      1. Atheism doesn't mean hate God, it means "without belief".
      2. Atheism is the complete opposite of a religion.
      3. Atheism is complete and totally free and decentralized.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Do you want to bring us down to your level by making atheism a religion? You do realize what the definition of religion and a cult is right?

      I can wait while you check dictionary.com

      done? Great. Stating atheism is a religion no more makes it one than saying god exists.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Incorrect. Completely incorrect. Atheism is the logical extension of our understanding of natural laws and evolution, and that religion is largely incompatible with science. Atheism is not a structured system with defined rules. It is simply the lack of a belief in the existence of a god, gods or the supernatural. It has no uniform beliefs and is not a means of understanding our existence. Atheism is not philosophy of life. My unbelief in Santa Claus is not a philosophy of life, and thus my unbelief in god isn’t, either.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Confused face

      I feel you have never read any of the points on the opposite side of your argument.

      Religion is the belief in a supernatural being and atheism is exactly not that. So how again is it a religion?

      As for hate, I cannot hate what doesn't exist. I don't hate Santa or the tooth fairy either. Just because I don't believe there is any proof does not mean I hate.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Its not hate. Its confusion.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Black and Proud and Really Stupid

      So then, any organization which solicits funds and members is a religion. Have you ever considered getting an education ?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Lonely Atheist

      ^^ Stop being racist. You do not represent us Atheists!

      July 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      exlonghorn: We have found no natural laws which show that God does not exist or are incompatible with the existence of God. Atheism is not a logical extensions of anything, but is a person's choice not to believe/

      July 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Bob Bales. Incorrect. There is plenty of scientific evidence refuting biblical assertions.

      Re 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door [a hatch] was opened in heaven [the rigid sky ceiling]: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

      Re 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

      Okay, so now we know all this is just silly. There are no cosmic attics.

      The description in Genesis of a firmament separating the sky and the waters is also now clearly incorrect. Ancient writers had no knowledge of the heliocentric solar system, or of the spherical nature of the earth.

      There's no evidence of the great flood, but there is plenty of evidence of an Ice Age. the physical age of humans on earth is all wrong. The fossil record doesn't align with Genesis.

      Care to keep going with your assertion, Bob? I can bring these examples all day long. I will now wait to see how long it takes you to argue that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. How convenient. I guess the 10 commandments weren't meant to be taken literally. Maybe that explains Jim Baker, Jerrry Falwell, and Jimmy Swaggert.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Bates,
      There are also no laws which say leprechauns do not exist. You must have quite the long list there, if you are consistent.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t440bxhn1qA&w=640&h=390]

      July 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • sowily.com

      I think that for a lot of people atheism becomes exactly what religion is for others. A lot of atheists feel almost assaulted by the the attacks of reason that one must endure to continually support a faith. After a while, its like saying a litany every week when you have to respond to a well intentioned gospel spreader. When you get in this reactive, authoritarian position after a while, saying the same arguments over and over, you stop looking at all the wonder of the universe that is open to a man or woman of reason. Atheism is not an end, it is opening to wider universe. But some people get bogged down just defending themselves against religion, and then, well, being an atheist starts to walk, talk, and look like a religion.

      July 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  4. organically

    Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

    July 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Black and Proud

      Including Atheism, which is a religion.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Confused face

      Black and Proudly ignorant.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Black and Proud

      I wouldn't be so black and so proud spouting-off something you nothing about.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  5. ■ Bible believer ■

    ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
    ■■■■■■■■■■■■■ IN GOD WE TRUST ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
    ■■■■■■■■■■■GOD BLESS AMERICA■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
    ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■PRAYER CHANGES■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
    ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

    July 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • ChristardMngle.com

      My thorns, now flies.
      Buzzing around my gruesome head and face.
      My wasted body……finally brought down. Breathe still in me, just a whisper.
      Nurtured and cleansed. Bandaged and cared for.
      Now I am risen to say my final farewell.
      Do not worship me.
      Do not mourn for me.
      Do not build churches for me or profit from me.
      I am a man, born of a woman from the seed of my father.
      I am as you are. A man and a human being.
      Learn from the sacrifices I have made. Learn from the hypocrisy.
      Bury me in good company. Remember me as a friend.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Confused face

      Wow. Written in bold and all-caps. That must make it true.

      As weak a proof that your god exists as every other.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  6. Rick James

    What I don't get about religious people is that the reason that they believe what they believe in is all an accident of birth and of human history. If one had been born in 11th century Norway, they would be believing in Thor. If they were in 15th century Mesoamerica, they would be sacrificing girls up to the Sun God. And so on and so forth.... Religions and gods are nothing more than human inventions.

    Maybe those who worship just baffle me. I was once like them, but I got out of it once I realize that I didn't need it to be a decent human being. Maybe they do need "God". Which is somewhat fine, it doesn't really matter to me. But once they start to influence public policy based on what "God" told them, and then be surprised when atheists speak out against it, it's a pizz off. Let's hope that in years to come, more people can finally see the light and we can leave a world better than the one we came in, if the religious don't nuke it out of existence first.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ■ Bible believer ■

      Christianity is only 2,000 years old... not that ancient.

      Not really that true; I was born and raised in Turkey (99% Muslims) yet I am Christian.
      My cousin was born in Israel, and he is Christian.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Rick James

      And musllims are born in America, yet it's predominately Christian. If those muslims were born to muslims, then that doesn't really go against me. If they weren't, then it would.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Were you born to a U.S. military family? My wife was born in Turkey, but she's about as Turkish as Donald Trump.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      So, I guess your idea of heaven (if you believed in one) would be that it was filled with "decent" people. So, there could be "minor" imperfections allowed in it, just nothing "major". Basically "decent" people could dwell therein. Sorry, but that makes no sense. It would either be "perfect" (heaven), or less than perfect (something other than heaven). Decent is not perfect. Only one percent was ever perfect. His name was/is Jesus. He must increase (within us) and we must decrease. Anything short of that (as decent as it might be) would not be "heaven".

      July 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Name*K

      I am not forced to believe in God, it's a choice. And with all this hate directed at Christians and religion, it is not an easy choice. I don't blindly follow Christ, I study, I pray, I fellow-ship. I don't do it because I can't think for myself, I do it because I see and know God's love for me. I would never turn my back on God or deny His existence just because of a few bullies on CNN comments don't understand.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. ■ Bible believer ■

    Hey atheists.... you hate Christians and God; yet you work, live next to, talk and breath in same place like Christians do...

    July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Look up the words atheism and misotheism, then come back and apologize.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Veritas

      Eeh, so...? And how do you "hate god"? I don't hate god more than I hate Santa Claus.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • iSpew

      Thanks for not breaking the cycle of Christian stupidity.

      How can we hate something we don't even believe exists?

      I don't hate Christians, but I will fight their foolishness for the good of the planet.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Skwisgaar Skwigelf

      I don'ts hates god, but I hates you dummies. lol's

      July 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Confused face

      the bible-beaters need to cast this as an "anti-god" debate so that they do not have to engage in rational discourse. They can simply say atheists are hateful and the armies of god are loving.

      But we know the truth.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Rick James

      It's hard to hate Leprechauns, let me tell you....

      July 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Believer

      Sorry brother, but that's ignant

      Atheists don't hate us or god anymore than we hate them. We dislike the fundamentalist atheists who go around trying to make us believe god doesn't exist and they hate our fundamentalist idiots who try to legislate god into the government.

      To the second part of your statement, true, we all work together and breath the same air. I wouldn't be surprised if you come into contact with a lot more atheists than you think.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  8. Boggie

    If I was a MOD here on CNN I would ban every single nonbeliever from this site.... !

    July 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Because your scared.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Skwisgaar Skwigelf

      It I was a mods on this sites I would feeds you to my wolves and p.i.s.s on your deads bodies.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Suppression and censorship have long been the tools of your ilk (assuming you're not being facetious).

      July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Veritas

      Yes, that sounds like a true christian. If crazy christians were in control of the US it would turn into the christian version of Iran or Saudi.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Your scared because they make you think. Your scared because the Christian god will one day follow all the other concoctions of man. Your scared because somewhere deep down you know they are right. And rather then confront it you would prefer to sweep it under the rug and pretend the truth doesn't exist. Your scared because others who aren't so sure might just realize that they too no longer believe.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      @indogwetrust; "Because your scared."

      ????You mean he possesses "scared"?????

      July 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  9. Blast from the Past

    You people don't know what it is to have it hard. When I was a kid, we had to walk 80 miles to school every morning and 80 miles back. Both uphill carrying stone tablets because we couldn’t afford paper. Then it was time for chores, like plowing the North 40. We got up before we went to bed and had to sleep in a cardboard box in the middle of the street and hunt squirrels for our meals with a sling shot. And you know what? We LIKED it. We LOVED it. We were lucky to have it so good.

    It was really bad in the winter. The snow was 30 feet deep. I lost one toe to frost-bite every winter for ten years. I had to wear my older sister's hand-me-down dresses because my Mother's arthritis was so bad she could not sew any boys’ clothes. That is why I had to fight the class bully every day. Sometimes when there were no squirrels, we had to eat rocks for dinner. That was very difficult with no teeth (from the fights with the bully). And you know what? I liked it! I loved it! I was lucky to have it.

    The worst part was every night after walking 160 miles, plowing forty acres, chopping the fire wood and eating rocks that made my gums bleed. My parents would come out to the box where my sister and I slept in the middle of the road and jump up and down on top of us screaming "Die!" "Die" "Die" with a necklace made out of my dead toes swinging from my mother’s neck. And you know what. We liked it. We loved it. We were lucky to have it so good.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Skwisgaar Skwigelf

      My mothers is sl.uts so I knows your feelings.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I just LOVE the dead toe bit! Hilarious!

      July 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Confused face

      I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and get everything I want so you are right.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Blind belief in the Sky Fairy is not healthy for young children. And to teach children that speaking to the Sky Fairy can fix your problems is ridiculous.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      You're right...ask the 9/11 hijackers. Prayer certainly changed things.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • truth be told

      9/11 hijackers did not pray to God, you are as mistaken as they were. All Muslims are deceived and follow an idol , allah is a false god and not God at all.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • pervert alert

      The only fairies are the qu eers whose constant whining impresses no one but themselves. Qu eers the folks who gave theworld AIDS

      July 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • on judgement day

      look for confused face it will be in the idiot section with the oh sh it look on its face.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Perv and judgement. You two just repeat the same thing.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • TR6

      Didn't do much for the movie goers in Aurora

      July 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  11. Name*K

    I'm reading comments from ppl who clearly do not believe in God. Mostly it's sarcasm, demeaning hatred, name calling and insults. I am so glad I don't live in your head. I love life, I love my Lord and Savior. Ii could choose to be one of you but why? Why would I choose hostility, animosity and intolerance. If my belief in God makes me a happy, caring, compassionate person, then what's the problem. I read what you all are saying (non-believers) and you sound like a miserable hopeless bunch. I have a great life. My goal is to help others find happiness and contentment...

    July 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      Most of the non believer posts are an attempt to help the blind see reason.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Fact

      Yes, and those who are seeking God with all their heart will find Him.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      You say "belief in God makes me a happy, caring, compassionate person" which is nice. I respect that. The entire problem is that it doesn't end there. It NEVER ends there.

      "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." – Mark 16:15

      "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." 2 Tim 4:2

      See your deity commands you to spread this garbage to everyone you can. Conversion has always been central to the major religions. Of course Christians will always say that they just spread the word and it's the Holy Spirit that does the conversion. My friends, this is absolutely splitting hairs. Their goal is still conversion, and I don't care for that mentality one bit.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Name*K

      Jesus commands us (Christians) to love on another. To love our neighbor as ourselves. His message promotes peace and love, among other things. Jesus set the example for how to go that.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Name*K, the Bible says a lot of things. The Old testament is chock full of horrifying and ridiculous garbage. Can't pick and choose what the bible says...either buy the whole fairy tale, or reject it en masse.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Name*K

      God's over-whelming message in the Bible is love and forgiveness, Grace and Redemption... Pick it up and study it sometime and you'll see for yourself.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  12. Sirius

    I believe the question reveals some contraditions – If there is a God, then the God was at Aurora. Or if the God was not at Aurora, Or the God was elsewhere doing other God things, then the God knew somewhere that a living thing was kilt. God does not intercede. Think of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or Auschwitz, or Pompei, Or the Chicago fire, or the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco or Jonestown when men, women and children were forced to drink the kool aid. Wow – the world is an awsome place to be.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  13. Name*Amy Laurent

    As Stephen Hawking put it the human body is like a computer and when the body shuts down that's it. There is no God to direct your fate. To believe otherwise is believing in a fairytale.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Fact

      That's your opinion, this is mine and comes from God's word:
      "The fool says in his heart,
          “There is no God.”
      If you want some help understanding the truth about Christianity do a search and find Ravi Zacharias. He can explain quite well where Hawkings is wrong.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You claim Amy's opinion is just an opinion,which it is, even though it's based on evidence and objective observation. Yet you give yourself the moniker Fact, then spout a bunch of gobbledeg.ook.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Confused face

      What nice circular reasoning: what is in the bible is true and it's true because it is in the bible.
      God's word? More like the word of bronze-age nomads.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Veritas

      Exactly!

      July 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Inspector Clouseau

      Why can't your silent, absent god, speak for herself ?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Don't bather with Ravi Zacharias, it's a rehash of First Cause, and Kalam. No creationist can explain how their god "acted", "before" spacetime existed. BTW, quoting the Bible to support (supposed) bible ideas, is practically the definition of circular. Bible scholars knows what group of humans wrote, and why they wrote, every human word in you god's "word".

      July 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • David

      Have you ever read "Life after Life" or met someone who had a near-death experience with post-trauma awareness of what happened to them after they experienced clinical death–out-of-body experience, a tunnel, a non-condemning life review, a loving bright light and someone to conduct them to the other side. This life-changing experience can happen to religious and non-religious persons alike. I have met one plus others who have had authentic spiritual experience. Not all churches are conducive to experiencing the reality of God.

      July 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  14. tony

    I thought gandhi was a atheist???

    July 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      He was a Hindu extremist, although his pacifism put him at odds with violent Hindu nationalists.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  15. exlonghorn

    Faith that could stand up to any form of reason is long gone. Our knowledge of the world from 2000 years ago to what we now know about the world has irrevocably changed the need for religion. We do not need God to explain things; and religion becomes obsolete as an explanation when it becomes optional or one among many different beliefs. We now see that the leap of faith is not just one leap; it is a leap repeatedly made, and a leap that becomes more difficult to take the more it is taken, reaching its pinnacle in blind allegiance and active denial and rejection of any other possibilities. At that point, the credibility of the faithful is entirely lost. Now add to this the hollow chiming for religious influence in our schools, government, politics, and workplaces, and you can see the problem. Atheists view this as under-educated zealots attempting to illegally and immorally impose their illogical will on society. Of course that's going to be a point of concern for all.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  16. David

    Where was God? God was with the people who passedfrom this life. God was in those who sheltered their family members or friend. God was with those who found a passage to safety. God was in the rife that jammed. God was in the choice of the theater that was only 1 1/2 minutes from the police station and with the police who responded so quickly and helped 58 people to the hospitals and apprehended the perpetrator. God is in the outpouring of concern and empathy from all over the world. God is in those who call for and demand gun registration, limits on clips, limits an/or investigation of large purchases on the Internet. God has called for, is calling for and will continue to call for a group, community, state, nation or world that "beats their swords into poughshares" ie. that converts all their weapons to instruments of peace and for a people that will care so much for others that no person will become so warped and disengaged that he will decide to do such evil. We have to choose God and God's purposes over what seems natural and right to us.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      God was the blood that the dying watched pour from their wounds.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  17. was blind but now I see

    From George Washington's first official order through his last, he displayed a Christian emphasis.

    QUOTE

    While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired that their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington's response, he first told them that "Congress... will look on them as on their own children." [4] That is, we would train their children as if they were our own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision:

    You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention. [4]

    According to George Washington, what students would learn in American schools "above all" was "the religion of Jesus Christ."

    For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources…
    ■George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
    ■George Washington, The Religious Opinions of Washington, E. C. M'Guire, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
    ■William Johnson, George Washington The Christian (1917).
    ■William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1932).
    ■James D. Richardson, editor, The Messages and Papers of the Presidents (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 51-57 (1789), 64 (1789), 213-224 (1796), etc.
    ■George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George & Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
    ■George Washington, The Maxims of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).
    REFERENCES
    1.George Washington's letter of August 20, 1778 to Brig. General Thomas Nelson, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XII (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 343.
    2.Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 103.
    3.George Washington's Circular to the States, June 8, 1783, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XXVI (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 496.
    4.George Washington's Speech to Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XV (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 55.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      So your "GOD" is George Washington?

      July 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You can find so many conflicting accounts of the Founding Fathers' beliefs that it's almost pointless bringing them up.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Confused face

      Benjamin Franklin: "Lighthouses are more useful than churches."

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

      Thomas Jefferson: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear."

      I think that about covers it.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  18. Name*Amy Laurent

    There is no God and there never has been. People who fear that their lives are finite cling to God to direct their lives. (Americans cling to God and talk about religion much more than do Europeans. As Stephen Hawking put it believing in God is like believing in a fairy tale. There is no deity to direct your fate. He goes on to state that the human body is like a computer and when we die that`s it

    July 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Skwisgaar Skwigelf

      I ems do God of Metal guitars. You should all practice mores.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • was blind but now I see

      So, your "god" then is Stephen Hawkings???

      July 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @was blind but now I see

      Read her first sentence you f*ucking idiot!

      July 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  19. sowily.com

    Atheist here, but there could be a god. I think the majority of Americans come from a middle eastern set of traditions that are showing themselves less and less valid as civilization wears on. That does not mean there is no deity, however, and events like this are in no way out of character for a deity of any origin.

    But maybe the question of "where was god" is a little beneath us in this age. Our traditions have brought us far, but we can no longer deny that they are the "best guesses" of people who knew very little about the nature of the world in their era. People say science is the religion of today, but isn't it more appropriate to say religion is the science of yesterday? We know more today, and maybe events like this ask us to take some new best guesses: have a little faith in a creature that is omniscient, omnipresent, and all powerful–that maybe we are looking at the wrong thing if we are looking at the horror of the Aurora massacre.

    The horror is always there, every day, all over the world, just more conveniently out of sight than this event. No, the question is not where was god, and we should not become apologists for ancient literature when something bad happens, instead we should look inward right now and seek answers about how close each one of us is to the monstrosity that came out of James Holmes. I bet there area lot of people really close. Instead of asking where god might be, ask yourself why you are where you are at. If you believe in a god, I think you will see him more clearly the deeper your search goes.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The horror... The horror....

      July 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • The horror

      The horror, Apocalypse Now, not quite, Dec 21, 2012, the wait will be worth it.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You are not an atheist, you're a liar, simple truth.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  20. the99percentsolution

    God will be more visible and present in our lives when religious leaders show more moral leadership and try to deal with the problems of the world. We all have been to church countless times in our lives. But rare is the occasion when the standard priest or pastor asks his congregation or flock to actually do something tangible for truth and justice. The collection trays are passed around and everyone leaves the church. if people in every church were mobilized most Sundays to tacke an evil or an injustice, a great deal could be accomplished. We need the moral leadership of a Martin Luher King or a Mahatma Gandhi to lead crusades against injustice and evil, wherever it may exist.

    July 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Gandhi was a Luddite who wanted to throw India back into the Dark Ages.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Confused face

      you don't need god to oppose injustice or evil.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Gandhi may have been a pedo, just sayin.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • indogwetrust

      That's all we need. The masses terrorizing us on Sunday. We already know you guys hate gays, muslims, etc.....

      July 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      There is no hate in Truth.

      July 29, 2012 at 5:37 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.