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

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

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

By Rob Brendle, Special to CNN

I held her hand as she died.

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

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

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

That was almost five years ago.

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

Where was God in Aurora? 7 responses

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

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

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

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

Aurora survivor to alleged shooter: ‘I forgive you’

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

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

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

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

The man who made the Aurora crosses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • God • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (4,566 Responses)
  1. Michael

    To all the non-religious fundamentalists: The same "utter simplicity" that makes religious fundamentalists incoherent in their world view makes you incoherent in yours. Please show the same appreciation for complexity in all things, in religion and and in science, in history and in philosophy, in culture and in technology.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Michael' is an instance of a False Analogy fallacy and is also Begging the Question repeatedly.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/

      July 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Michael

      My analogy doesn't set out to validate religion, but it does, I believe, accurately point out the intellectual inconsistency of many. You did make me smile, though.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      You said, "The same "utter simplicity" that makes religious fundamentalists incoherent in their world view makes you incoherent in yours."
      The utter simplicity is that if there isn't any evidence to support a particular hypothesis, there is no reason to believe it is true.

      If you feel that is "incoherent", I can only feel sorry for your shortcomings.

      You said, "Please show the same appreciation for complexity in all things, in religion and and in science, in history and in philosophy, in culture and in technology."
      No matter how many layers the believers wrap around their turd, at the core it remains bullshit.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Michael

      @Lin That wasn't the simplicity I was referring to at all. The simplicity I refer to would say that quantum mechanics is false because I don't sink through the ground. Therefore, I'm a particle and never a wave.

      My point is that many anti-Christians denounce Christian fundamentalists for their unwillingness to engage in scientific discovery/complexity. The anger is understandable, as those who refuse to learn are intellectually dishonest while supposing to propose eternal truth. My contention is that many in the anti-religious communities commit the SAME type of error in regards to religion. Quit denouncing the ostrich that has its head in the ground while you say that stars don't exist because you can't detect them with your compass.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Michael

      Would the contention be a bit more palatable for you if I said "similar mistake?"

      July 31, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      You said, "My point is that many anti-Christians denounce Christian fundamentalists for their unwillingness to engage in scientific discovery/complexity. The anger is understandable, as those who refuse to learn are intellectually dishonest while supposing to propose eternal truth."
      No anger. Everyone has the absolute right to make an ass of themselves. I won't stand in their way. I'll point it out to the sane crowd. We can all use a good laugh every now and then.

      You said, "My contention is that many in the anti-religious communities commit the SAME type of error in regards to religion. Quit denouncing the ostrich that has its head in the ground while you say that stars don't exist because you can't detect them with your compass."
      Making shit up and passing it off as real just doesn't quite cut it. I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series. There are quite a few good lessons to be found in them. But just because I enjoyed it, and even if it was educational, doesn't in any way, shape or form imply that wizards actually exist. You can't have a serious discussion about gods or religion with people that actually believe there are gods, or that religion is more than a fairy tale.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      You said, "Would the contention be a bit more palatable for you if I said "similar mistake?""
      A distinction without a difference.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Michael

      @Lin You have taken a large responsiblity on your hands. Do you really believe that EVERYONE who has had religious experiences is lying? Can you explain religious experiences, especially healing and prophecy? While I understand that you may not have had interaction with such things, if you wanted to, you could find places where such things occur and actually observe them for yourself. Your assumptions are so strong. On a side note, how would you explain the contingency of the universe/multiverse? And how do you explain sentience from non-sentience? If something must be eternal and we find ourselves in a self-aware state, how is it that it makes more sense for a non-sentience to be eternal rather than a Person?

      July 31, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      You said, "Do you really believe that EVERYONE who has had religious experiences is lying?"
      Lying, no. Delusional, probably.

      You said, "Can you explain religious experiences, especially healing and prophecy?"
      I know of not a single one that was established to be true or accurate.

      You said, "While I understand that you may not have had interaction with such things, if you wanted to, you could find places where such things occur and actually observe them for yourself."
      Anyone can put on a magic show. Smoke and mirrors doesn't make it real. If any of it was verifiable, there wouldn't be any atheists.

      You said, "Your assumptions are so strong."
      I'm not assuming anything. Bring me evidence and I will believe.

      You said, "On a side note, how would you explain the contingency of the universe/multiverse?"
      I don't. But just because I don't know how the universe began, doesn't give any other hypothesis any more value. It doesn't mean the Tooth Fairy poofed it into existence. Claiming a mythical being created the universe, only pushes the question to where this creature came from? It doesn't answer anything. It only soothes the feeble mind of believer.

      Unless you start out by assuming there is a creator, you can't logically get there through any other means.

      And how do you explain sentience from non-sentience?
      Evolution.

      You said, "If something must be eternal and we find ourselves in a self-aware state, how is it that it makes more sense for a non-sentience to be eternal rather than a Person?"
      Who claims anything must be eternal? And I have no way of knowing why something makes more sense to you than something else, but you seem to be rambling.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Michael

      ou said, "Do you really believe that EVERYONE who has had religious experiences is lying?"
      Lying, no. Delusional, probably.
      Everyone with a religious experience is delusional? That's a strong claim, and the probability that all (billions) of religious people are delusional is not a strong argument at all. But suppose that most are delusional and a few aren't. What about the atheists that convert to Christianity or at least theism (C.S. Lewis, Francis Collins, Anthony Flew, Alister McGrath, Peter Hitchens)? Do you think they lost their rationality? Have you ever read their arguments? I think you might find that you actually enjoy reading their works. I'd personally recommend starting off with with Flew or Collins.
      You said, "Can you explain religious experiences, especially healing and prophecy?"
      I know of not a single one that was established to be true or accurate.
      Since you are from California, I'd recommend visiting Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I was on a mission trip a few years ago with people influenced by this particular church, and they are known to get results when they pray. Every time? No. Are there legitimate healings that happen in Redding and Mozambique (with Heidi and Roland Baker) and all over the globe? Definitely. Do people ever fake healings? Yep. But Bethel, like the Catholic Church, verifies many of the healings. Since you only need one case to prove the existence of something, there is ample proof for you in that department. Go seek it out if you love truth.
      You said, "While I understand that you may not have had interaction with such things, if you wanted to, you could find places where such things occur and actually observe them for yourself."
      Anyone can put on a magic show. Smoke and mirrors doesn't make it real. If any of it was verifiable, there wouldn't be any atheists.
      The last part is completely untrue. While atheists tend to be intellectually honest in many ways, they are usually predisposed to naturalism, and normally (in my experience) will search for any explanation that doesn't involve God, even when such explanations are extremely unlikely and sometimes do not apply to the case at all. I know because I have been such a person. To be intellectually honest, one cannot assume atheism (or theism). Take the totality of information/reason (scientific/philosophical/religious experiences and claims) and weigh out the evidence. See what's most likely.
      You said, "Your assumptions are so strong."
      I'm not assuming anything. Bring me evidence and I will believe.
      If I bring you the evidence, you will not believe. But I can point you in a direction where you can find the evidence yourself, that the discoveries will be your own and not another's.
      You said, "On a side note, how would you explain the contingency of the universe/multiverse?"
      I don't. But just because I don't know how the universe began, doesn't give any other hypothesis any more value. It doesn't mean the Tooth Fairy poofed it into existence. Claiming a mythical being created the universe, only pushes the question to where this creature came from? It doesn't answer anything. It only soothes the feeble mind of believer.
      If there is no God, then the laws of physics must be eternal. But how did they come into existence? When scientists like Hawking say that “something will always come from nothing,” they are redefining “nothing.” A quantum vacuum is something. As such, it must have an origin, as does anything inside of a system. A system cannot create itself, nor can a system's components give origin to the system itself. There must be, then, something that exists outside the system that allowed the system to be created. Obviously, there's an infinite regression until something has to stand alone, uncreated, eternal, and having the potential to yield such a great universe.

      Unless you start out by assuming there is a creator, you can't logically get there through any other means.

      And how do you explain sentience from non-sentience?
      Evolution.
      Please explain the mechanics. I am a devout believer in evolution. I know that Harris is working to give this explanation, but I haven't gotten the chance to read his research yet. If you have, please fill me in.
      You said, "If something must be eternal and we find ourselves in a self-aware state, how is it that it makes more sense for a non-sentience to be eternal rather than a Person?"
      Who claims anything must be eternal? And I have no way of knowing why something makes more sense to you than something else, but you seem to be rambling.
      See above response.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Michael

      (For some reason my formatting is not showing up. I apologize for the congestion.)

      July 31, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      Let me try to boil it down for you. Unless you can show a rational case for any god, it isn't rational to believe there is one. If you have evidence, please lay it out for me. If you don't, all you have is speculation and conjecture.

      You can't logically establish your pet hypothesis as having any merit by simply casting doubts on alternate ones (that's an argument from ignorance). Just because a divine creator isn't entirely out of the realm of possibilities doesn't make it likely. To move the needle on the likelihood scale off the peg, you'll have to bring independent evidence.

      There is absolutely no difference between any god and the Tooth Fairy, except for the number of believers in each. As soon as we start treating the christian god (or any other) the same way as we treat the Tooth Fairy, this god will go the way of the Dodo. It will be relegated to the realm of myth and fable. Just like the Greek and Roman gods, and thousands just like them.

      There are really only two ways to save this (or any other) god from that fate. The first, and most often employed, is continued indoctrination. Get the children when they are young and impressionable, and keep hammering. Suppress any individual thought by threatening hell and damnation, and suppress science and education.

      The second method, of course, is to provide evidence and establish once and for all that it actually exists (good luck with that one).

      I won't fall for the first, and the second isn't likely to happen (but feel free to try).

      July 31, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • LinCA

      @Michael

      You said, "(For some reason my formatting is not showing up. I apologize for the congestion.)"
            This comment board allows for html tags for italics and bold face. For indentation (as at the start of this line) you can apply non-breaking spaces.

      Just view the page source to see the character strings to use (or google them).

      July 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Michael

      Thanks for the formatting tips.

      I can't give you my personal experience, not can anyone else. I can show you that Christianity is wholly reasonable. I am working on a book that shows by means of medieval rabbinical commentary, Hebrew semantics, and biblical genre studies, that Genesis 1 is scientifcally accurate and the first part of a semitic chiasm. The second part (Genesis 2) is the theological "story" as some would say.Unfortunately, this project isn't done yet. I am still in the process of verifying some of the mechanics of whale evolution. I would recommend reading Christian scientists, however. Hopefully the day will come when I can (preferably in person) give you a point by point presentation of why Christianity ought to be considered above other religions. My basis will be science. Once one believes, there are many other questions that I believe are best answered by theology. By the way, even from a biblical perspective, it can be difficult to find God at times. The Gematria for "God" (Elohim) and "nature" are, in fact, the same. From this rabbis concluded that God often veils Himself under the cloak of the forces of nature. That's not meant to convince you at all; I just thought it was an interesting point. Until I can give you my presentation, I will pray that God reveals Himself to you in a way that's meaningful to you. God desires a relationship with each of us. The dynamics are never the same in any case, though they may be similar. I think that is why He has not provided for "objective proof," at least not in the naturalistic sense. Biblically, the arguments for God's existence are the continued existence of the Jewish people, fulfillment of prophecy, and design in creation. I know the last one in particular has faced "certain rebuttals," but the phenomena of convergent evolution appears to be rebutting those rebuttals. I wish you well in all that you do well. Peace.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  2. Jay

    Gotta love how the author lays out a rather detailed case and most detractors respond with simply with "God is nowhere" Yeah convincing, not.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      It's time to stop making excuses for your absentee sky daddy.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • cedar rapids

      you call his arguments convincing huh? hope no one ever gets you on a jury.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  3. PaulBel

    This article is what I term mental masturbation. It makes you feel good, but in the end is pretty much meaningless. You can twist the facts any way you wish to shoe-horn a god into some convenient alibi. "he gave us free will", "he allows suffering to teach us." etc... None of these excuses are either reasonable nor sufficient. For a god to allow a six year old to be gunned down by some moron with a joker complex is tantamount to saying either 1) This supposed god is sadistic, and not worth of being followed, 2) This god is powerless, and therefore not a god at all 3) This god is uncaring about humanity, so why bother?

    But the best explanation I can come up with is that it simply doesn't exist, and that its far more important for humanity to take care of its own business than wait for some divine intervention that just won't come.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Jay

      They are sufficient and reasonable explanations. You just don't like the answers. What isn't reasonable is to diavow something simply because you disagree.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  4. yourlogicisflawed

    God was much too busy helping professional athletes win games and rappers make award winning albums to help keep the little people from getting killed at a movie.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  5. guest

    wow this God guy sounds like he doesn't care about his people...why do people worship him again?

    July 30, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  6. LouAZ

    “No man can be a pure specialist (PREACHER) without being in the strict sense an idiot.” – George Bernard Shaw

    July 30, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  7. krehator

    God is on vacation. Free will comes with a cost.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  8. nonyabidnes2

    I believe God being ommipresent is everywhere. Sadly, we live in a fallen world. Where bad things happen to people. The senseless death's of these people clearly demonstrates, we need God more than ever. In John 10:10 it clearly shows the thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. God came that they (us) may have life, and have it abundantly.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • exlonghorn

      LOL...we HARDLY need God more than ever. What the world needs is a different coping strategy.

      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.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  9. Bob

    Anyone who attends this fools church should be subjected to the same pain those victims in the movie theater had to endure. Reverend Brendle, you did Chrisitianity a disservice today.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  10. Magman

    I'm really tired of this ancient concept of God. It's time we realize "scripture" for what it is – an attempt by bronze-aged man to explain their existence based on the knowledge of the day. It's time we moved on and look for God within.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Michael

      As such, it's amazing Genesis 1 is scientifically accurate, isn't it? How did Bronze-age nomads get that right? (That's a chapter in my upcoming book.) I can promise you that if you care about truth, no matter where it leads you, you will likley come to a different conclusion. But a fair warning: biblical studies has a high degree of complexity, and theology, by its very nature, includes and then surpasses the most complex natural studies.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Michael
      " it's amazing Genesis 1 is scientifically accurate, isn't it? How did Bronze-age nomads get that right? (That's a chapter in my upcoming book.)"

      Be prepared for believers to drool all over you and for scientists to blow you out of the water... Genesis 1 is not scientifically accurate.

      July 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Magman

      Michael – I appreciate your sincerity, and won't dispute that there may be some accuracy contained in Genesis, but I can't get past the obvious inaccuracies one will read as well; e.g. all decedents from a single breeding pair (a.k.a. Adam and Eve), the extreme ages listed of 700 to 900 years old, just to list two. Again, scripture had its reign when we didn't know any better, but that time has passed. I can agree with you that we have a creator in God, but we must develop the courage to re-evaluate how creation took place. We'll have a couple of generations of debates such as this and as time passes, that philosophy will eventually die out.

      July 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Michael, I'm afraid the Bible is complex for the same reason that Rube Goldberg designs are complex.

      July 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Michael

      Many scientists (Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins, John Polkinghorne, Gerald Schroeder, Andrew Parker) will be completely in my corner, I believe. And one must separate Genesis 1 from the rest of Genesis (due to authorship reasons). Genesis 1 is historically/scientifically accurate. Genesis 2 on is historical, though perhaps not history. Trust me, I wouldn't be making such claims if I hadn't invested much time into this study. A couple of years ago, I traveled all the way to Oxford to have some of my thoughts/questions reviewed.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  11. Adam

    admittedly i'm not a religious scholar but it just seems to me like god gets credit for everything good and absolved of blame for everything bad. worship that? never.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • cedar rapids

      yeah, apparently the girl not opening the door was god saving her, but apparently the people being killed in the theatre was satan's fault.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  12. Ridiculous Blog

    I don't know about everyone else... but I am "really" inpsired to run to church right now!

    July 30, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  13. Brent Slensker

    This shooting PROVES that if there is an omnipotent God he could have stopped it but chose NOT to...He's evil
    Or he's playing a magical/mystical GAME with everyone that only makes sense to him and deluded humans, EACH of who are screaming that only THEY know "His" true word...

    July 30, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Jared Lee Loughner

      Nope, it hasn't PROVED anything but it SHOWED what an atheist can do out of its unbelief.

      July 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  14. I'mabeliever

    Wow! You anti-Christan folks really need to settle down. Why did you read what the Pastor had to say if you KNEW it would only upset you so badly? The truth is that you all need to stop and wonder why you are so full of hate and anger. Perhaps it is because you are just sad and broken. What happened to you that hardened your hearts so badly? Chill out and seek God. By the way...I could care less if you come back with hatred toward me. I am smart enough to know you are your own problem. :-)

    July 30, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "The truth is that you all need to stop and wonder why you are so full of hate and anger. Perhaps it is because you are just sad and broken"

      actually my life is pretty good thanks. job, house, family, kids, yep, life is good.
      oh and by the way, your post shows signs of arrogance and judgement, both are no-nos. you had better sort that or pack light for somewhere warm.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Charles

      Faith is believing in something you know isn't true.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • sam

      Disagreeing with you or your belief is not 'hate and anger'. Once you accept that, you'll be better off.

      Also, the passive-aggressive smiley face at the end...a little creepy.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Bob

      Really, believer, it is your own book of nasty and your religion that are the hateful things. Seriously, let's take a close look at the awful, hateful things that your "loving" god demands that you do or does himself, according to the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible. The hate, and especially the drive to violence, is predominantly from your side, and is part and parcel of your nasty, despicable belief system:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      July 30, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • PG13

      This is classic; to accuse the non-believer of hate and all other bad qualities. All that a non-believer is doing is calling something not true. Like, Santa doesn't exist. Where is sadness and the other negatives in that? The fact is Santa doesn't exist. The sad thing is accusing others of negative things because they don't disagree with you.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Adolph Hitler

      Nice to read that you think you're 'smart enough',.. Sounds like you're a huge fan of yourself,...

      July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • johndanger

      You "could care less" or perhaps you couldn't care less? Why do people often make that error? And, by the way, has anyone ever mentioned that you come off as just a bit arrogant?

      July 30, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • kenny

      hatred comes from anger which comes from fear... fear of the unknown... death is unknown.... NO ONE that has dies has ever come back in any way shape or form... NEVER ... EVER in the history of this earth... religion is a myth perpetrated by those who can't handle reality and or want money and or power... it makes you feel good when bad things happen.... PERIOD... just like alcohol, just like coke.... it removes you from the harshness of REALITY which has no sense of right or wrong... humans are raised on fairy tales so we are predisposed to think happy endings are the meaning of life.... sorry to break it to you believers but LIFE JUST ENDS... its that simple... no volumes of text will make it any easier... just ACCEPT REALITY ... sometimes it sucks... sometimes it doesn't... DO YOUR BEST TO NOT MAKE IT SUCK...

      July 30, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • MissFitzX69

      When the Bible bashers settle down the "realists" will? The book is a fairy tale wake up dummy!

      July 30, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  15. nlcatter

    its the Pastors who support NRA blocking attempts for sane gun control.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  16. Charles

    What incredible babble. His god kills children and still he worships him? How sick is that?

    July 30, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Ben

      How is it that you place the killing on God? We are all given the freedom to choose whether we will do good of evil. It's called agency, or freedom of choice. God gives that to all and doesn't restrict it. If God forced you to do good all the time, how would you learn or gain experience? At the same time, people who choose evil will obviously do hurtful things, BUT, they will be judged for it.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "We are all given the freedom to choose whether we will do good of evil"

      but didnt god also chose to let that evil happen to other people? its one thing to say we are free to chose to DO evil but god is also apparently willing to let people be the victim OF evil, that wasnt even their choice,

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

      What does your "god" do?

      July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • John

      @Ben

      Freedom of Choice? Tell that to those who were killed. "God gave James Holmes the freedom of choice to kill you. Unfortunately, his freedom of choice to kill you supercedes your choice to continue living."

      If ONLY an omnipotent god could have done SOMETHING! Probably too busy watching a midnight screening of the Dark Night Rises himself.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  17. Saul

    Where was God? He was the One saying "don't go to the theater tonight, but nobody heard him. He was the one who told the woman who went to Holmes apartment to turn down the music, "don't go in there". She said that something (someone) told her not to go in and because she obeyed that "something" she's here today. God speaks to everybody, the question is, is anybody listening?

    July 30, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Will

      I think Holmes heard god loud and clear.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Seamusgirl

      He was also there when the gun jammed and He was there with those who stayed behind to care for the wounded, He was there when the majority of folks got out alive. He was also there with the responders who cared, the people who came to assist in other ways, in the outpouring of love and grief the community and nation is giving, He is where someone is making a difference AND He is with us as we type our grief, belief, vitriol, love, anger, and hope.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Drinky Crow

      He was also the one that was there while Holmes killed 12 people and injured 50 more. You can't give your sky fairy the credit for saving some, but hold him blameless for killing the others.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  18. jude

    So god is basically a grade A @$$ who will let some punk shoot up a movie theatre and only provide "comfort" when he could have inspired the killer to not do it. What a bunch of bull!

    July 30, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Brent Slensker

      It IS bull indeed!

      July 30, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • 1927 henritta

      This! Was man made ok not God job to kiss your ass

      July 30, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • LouAZ

      Exactly. #3

      July 30, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • CRayDallas

      Jude, I am so sorry that believe that God is so terrible to allow all of this pain, suffering and you to have such a low opinion of Him. He still loves you no matter how you feel about Him. It is my pray that before you take your final breath on this earth that you will come to know Him and accept his Son Jesus Christ as your Savior.

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

      Yes, God has Munchhausen by Proxy Syndrome......he lets his children suffer so he can get attention.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "He still loves you no matter how you feel about Him"

      unless you didnt follow him when the time comes for you to die, whereupon he will show his love for you with eternal torment.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Richard Koffarnus

      Your complaint assumes that God did not try to "inspire" the killer to not kill. In fact, Holmes sent a letter to his psychriatrist pleading for help, and the letter sat in a university mailroom for days. Who failed there? The only way for God to absolutely prevent the killer from pulling the trigger would be for Him to remove Holmes' free will (and yours and mine, whenever we are tempted to do evil). Then you would complain that God does not allow us to have free will. With freedom always comes responsibility and the possibility of great evil.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Seamusgirl

      Hey Atroy, when the time comes, dont take the mark ok? Be mad at your creator all you want, dont betray Him. Oh, and He doesnt need your attention, Sunshine. He made it all , what did YOU do they last 7 days?

      July 30, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "what did YOU do they last 7 days?"

      i tried creating some life of my own....if you know what i mean *wink*

      July 30, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. Grampa

    Brendle's answer, such as it is, highlights a key difference between religion and science. Scientific explanations have been wrong many times in the pas (steady-state universe, denial of continental drift). When more accurate observations reveal such errors, scientists study their data and make further observations to understand where they went wrong and what a better explanation would be. Thus is science self-correcting. Religion, on the other hand, begins with the self-defeating premise that its teachings are perfect and will never need any correcting. So, when an obvious contradiction occurs, such as good and innocent people being harmed by needless evil in a world watched over by a loving, omniscient, omnipotent god, they don't say "Oh, that won't work. We have that wrong. There must be a better explanation. Let's find it." Instead they manufacture sad and tortured arguments, like the one offered up by Brendle which, if carefully analyzed, amount to no more than "We have no idea why these things happen but God's in charge and He's perfect so they must be for the best." Scientists have learned that, all other things being equal, the simplest answer that fits all the data is generally the best one, a doctrine developed by a 14th century Franciscan friar and known as Occam's Razor. For the question of "Where was God?" during the Aurora shootings or other tragedies, the simplest and most obvious answer is that there is no God.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • LouAZ

      Exactly

      July 30, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Will

      I completely agree.

      July 30, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Grampa,

      Yes... but unfortunately, for believers the simplest answer is "goddidit" (and "it's a mystery").

      July 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  20. TomGI

    A nonsense column, a total waste of words.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:20 am |
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About this blog

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