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.
So the invisible being strikes again. How many of you "Christians" out there own a gun? Member of the NRA? Collecting thousands of rounds? Would shoot a fellow human for tresspassing on your land?
That's right, praise the lord, and pass the ammuntion.
God has given us free will to make our own decisions in this world. We are not robots but free to think and do what we want. Unfortunately this freedom allows the evils of the universe to influence people to create destruction and harm. This shooting is another example of the effects of sin. It is more reason for us to realize this world is chaotic and ultimately doomed. Despite the human intelligence and advancements in knowledge and technology mankind has failed at creating a loving peaceful society. This is why we need Christ to save us from ourselves.
Santa Claus has given us free will to make our own decisions in this world. We are not robots but free to think and do what we want. Unfortunately this freedom allows the evils of the universe to influence people to create destruction and harm. This shooting is another example of the effects of sin. It is more reason for us to realize this world is chaotic and ultimately doomed. Despite the human intelligence and advancements in knowledge and technology mankind has failed at creating a loving peaceful society. This is why we need Santa Claus to save us from ourselves.
This shooting is the effects of living in a armed terrorist training camp. God, does not have anything to do with it.
Why are you infusing god into this. Free will exists because there is no god. That is the most likely answer.
Promising peace in death, is like promising ice in winter. Bringing peace during life would be praiseworthy.
Free will implies that god is not in control ....basically you are saying that we are gods
If there is not a God stop breathing and see how you will last without air. God is this simple...May the mercy of God be with you all always.
That ias a silly statement. One breathes just fione without a mythical creator.
?? Your brain stem will cause you to start breathing again, it's an automonic function. But...that's science, you probably don't want that.
And may the blue bird of paradise fly up your nose.
It is not automatically neither science. It is God's love for His childreen. He gave us our breath through the Holy Spirit.
Not a real good example, I can account for oxygen without ever involving "God" in the discussion, so he wasn't necessary for my sruvival that way. I have never accepted, known, or felt a rearning for "God", yet I am still very much alive, so it doesn't seem that the comparison works that way either. Was this just a spiritual metaphor?
@Daughter: well, oxygen is actually a poison and respiration is not the only way to get around on this planet. I wish god had built his...uh, 'childreen' a little better.
@Daughter of the living God!
and the animals and plants that don't breath?
My "god," never mind air–you must be on drugs!
*breathe = to take a breath
Both plants and animals carry on a process called respiration which occurs on a cellular level and involves an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This is also trough the grace of God because He is the creator of all things.
If there is not a Tooth Fairy, stop breathing and see how you will last without air. The Tooth Fairy is this simple...May the mercy of Tooth Fairy be with you all always.
Your god is nasty. He created cancer, viruses and birth defects. What a miserable SOB. How dare he use us as his petri dish.
Forgive them Lord for they not know what they say.
Forgive Daughter everyone, for she was the sucker born that minute
They know exactly what they say. Your comment had no relevance to reality.
Daughter of Living God = Carries' mum
God gave us authority over the earth. He gave us His Word and redemption from sin to stand against evil. Until people use the authority God has given them over evil nothing will change! You have power to heal, make whole, raise from the dead, cast out spirits, and have no deadly thing hurt you in Jesus' name. Believe it and use it and nothing can stand against you. We hurt only because we choose not to believe.
Bwuh? So...the theater was full of nonbelievers?
Evolution gave us authority over the earth, to destroy it, and everything on it.
Clearly, the last true believer died on the cross. Nothing left but the gullible and charlatans.
Do you know what it means to really believe and have no unbelief? Have you ever read Matthew 17:19-21. The disciples, who had already been given power to heal and cast out spirits failed to heal that boy. They had already been doing amazing things. Unlike most of us they had already prayed for the sick to have them healed as well as cast out spirits yet they failed. Why? Read the verses. Because of their unbelief. Don't tell me the disciples did't believe. They'd already done it, but something happened in the physical that caused a level of unbelief. Maybe the boy was't healed instantly. Maybe it was the thrashing on the ground. I'm not sure but Jesus' answer to unbelief was to fast and pray. While I'm sure there were believers there I'm also sure that very few knew the authority they had in Jesus let alone been fasting and praying so that the situation they wre in didn't move them from their faith in what God could do right at that very moment.
Authority over the earth? Germs and viruses have dominion over us. Why wouldn't that make it into the bible? You'd think those would be important points especially since the ominiscient creator would know about viruses and germs.
Or maybe, the individuals who made up the whole god story didn't know about germs and viruses so that is why there is no mention in the bah-ble.
Like I said, no true believers left. Certainly no miracles or any other evidence of supernatural intervention. The best anyone does is point to the occasional low probability recovery.
Confused, you never read about John G. Lake obviously.
“He proved to local physicians that the germs would not live on his body due to the Holy Spirit alive in Him. He actually verified this under a microscope showing that the germs died upon contact with his body. Those who witnessed the experiment stood in amazement as Lake gave glory to God explaining that: “It is the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”
Markin, Maybe not in your little box.
You are a ridiculous buffoon, Martin. Would you then state that the thousands of pious who die of disease did not belief strongly enough? Or does god pick winner and losers in your view. What basis do you have for this John G. Lake character? Is it a comic book? Or did one of the pentecostal nut jobs tell you about him.
All these hundreds of millions spent on finding cures and vaccines and all that is needed is faith in the sky fairy. Amazing more people don't know about this.
The only problem is, it is a lie. False, Fake and dangerous to innocent people who buy into that garbage until it is too late to take the appropriate vaccine. You are a simpleton. A charlatan. But you should put your money where your mouth is. The next time you or your children, if you have any, are violently ill, drive right past the hospital and go straight to church. No matter the degree of anguish and pain suffered by you or your children. sit them in the pews until god's healing hand comes forth.
You are the virus but the future does not belong to you. Mankind is moving, ever so slowly, from the beliefs carried over from the infancy of our civilization. Put the fairy tales to bed.
"He proved to local physicians that the germs would not live on his body due to the Holy Spirit alive in Him. He actually verified this under a microscope showing that the germs died upon contact with his body"
*facepalm* oh jeez, ok then.
Confused, I prove it daily with my family and have seen miracle after miracle but that is only because I began to believe and over time through fasting, prayer, and putting my faith in the smaller things was able to believe in the larger things. I would never recommend someone to jump straight into believing in the miraculous if they never believed and received in the smaller things.
It is something we will experience when all of us, death arrive. This is about faith, not something I need to see then believe, anyway you decide. Every second that we live, is something that you may be thankfull. Things happens fast. Too many religious, too many point of views, too many humans, too many cultures, too many too many.......You could be nuked where you live, or where I live, we can survive then suffer or just die and nothing more. Matter of fact that it could happeb any any second.
All of us have fear to suffer, to lose someone, die with suffering, etc.
Well, at least earth is still going,
So, exactly what were trying to say?
Ransom drank the religious kool-aid. Their can be no rational thoughts from that. He HAS to believe that god exsists, otherwise it's all a lie and he can't deal with that. Prove the supernatural and I will give you some credit for logical thought. At this point you have none, other than rationalization. A shame.
Ok, I'm ready for the snappy comeback.
God killed most of mankind along with helpless animals in Noah's Flood. This God is mean. Why would He care about what happened in Aurora?
Because all the tickets were sold out, and he got POed
BRC.....I am confused was my attempt at sarcaism...I am actually confused with much of what bibilicals have to say. As an existentialist....I want evidence. And if there is a hell below, does it make sense that the nonbeleivers will burn forever and the believers will live in paradise forever. Seems both will get bored with the forever stuff. Was slavery and killing the American Indians evil or god's plan. Do taking Palestians land evil or god's plan...I can go on, but as the old people say..You get my meaning. The has the bible creation is a justifiable tool for the evil acts when it is expedient.
Got it. Sorry about that, we really need to create a sarcasm font for these boards.
Now thatz sarcastic
He was busy making sure that someone collected 100 foreskins, as described in Samuel 18.
I too, a Christian, have a lot of questions about where God was that evening in Aurora.
I suspect it was the same place He was when His own Son was crucified on the cross by evil men.
That said, a couple questions haunt me:
1) Why is my free will to do good/be good/make good choices able to be trumped by someone else's will to do evil/be evil/make evil choices? Why does evil seem to be stronger than good? These questions go to the "free will" issues.
2) If God can't/won't stop evil/evil people/evil choices at some point, Who can? Obviously, we need some kind of help to stop evil that comes from outside this dimension, since we certainly aren't able to in this dimension. This goes beyond God as an "Anesthetist," rather we need major system repairs here on earth on many levels. At the cross, Jesus dealt the crushing blow to Satan and sin; yet the years keep stretching out before the final mop up of that work - why?
Guess it just points to me as finite/ and God as Infinite. But I really wish He would hurry things up and intervene in a clear way that points to Him doing it more often. I have too many questions.
You are asking questions that have no answer as there is no god – at least no god that would get involved in something as unfortunate as Aurora.
How many other children were killed around the world on the same day? We as a nation need to put things in the right perspective. At least that many people were killed over the weekend in the US.
If you think evil is more powerful than good you simply aren't paying attention.
Yes. Jesus will always defeat Satan just as He-Man always triumphs over Skeletor.
Logos, your hunger is holy. Keep it alive.
It is easier to believe, as some top religious scholars have concluded, that the diety is NOT omnipresent and all knowing, but instead remote, distant, and totally unaware of our daily goings-on - terrific or tragic.
I have good word he was twittering.
@terra – I follow him on twitter.
God also sat out the inquisition, the Holocaust, the Rowandan genocide, the millions killed by Stalin, and countless other mass exterminations because he wanted to let madmen exercise their free will over millions of innocent people.
When are we going to stop making excuses for an imaginary, absentee, sky daddy?
He either has to show up and tell all his followers he doesn't exist or they will just continue believing without a single epithelial or the slightest DNA sample that their God is the perpetrator...
Lets not forget the thousands of innocent souls he creates every day and then kills them thru disease and starvation. That my friends is the epitomy of evil no matter how you try to spin it.
Well-said. Using our own intellect, let's do our best to make this world a better place and quit worrying about what some non-existent sky creature thinks of us and how we are going to spend eternity....
Yes, I am still waiting for all atheists to band together and buy out all the hospitals, day centers for the homeless, food banks, women's shelters and other social agencies being run by selfish religious people. Then the world will be just fine.
(Bill tends to conveniently forget there are plenty of 'heathens' running these places as well, or at least working for them and donating to them)
Got any stats for that sam or are you just feeling put upon and defensive?
I wish I had a good answer to all of the folks out there who wonder where god was in this and how a just god could allow bad things to happen to good people. I really dont have an answer to the first but the second question is easy THERE ARE NO GOOD PEOPLE. NOT EVEN ONE. This is the reason That GODS own son had to die for our sins. Its because there is not one single person reading this who could stand before god without getting burned up without the blood of christ cleansing away our sins. God selected the Jews as his holy people and after reading the old testament and looking at it as a big picture I think I can see why. It seems to me that going by the old testament the Jews are the most hardheaded people of all time. The are constantly getting wiped out for their transgressions and then repenting and being brought back again. This is the lesson of the old testament. Only through grace and forgiveness can we be saved and by showing these traits to others can we show God in us. So here we have a very large and difficult job of forgiveness in this case. The jews are back to the front here but once again they have the wolves snapping at their heels.
I had a friend of mine say something along the lines of all of those people killed in Aurora must have gone to heaven because they were innocent when they were killed. I had to correct him and let him know that All of those people killed who were saved went to heaven and I am sorry but my bible does not say that the others went to heaven. It does not directly say that they went to hell either but it is likely that they did except for the little children. Once someone has gotten to the age of 13 they are old enough that if they have had the decision placed before them in the past and they rejected the offer then you know where they are going, but if they have never had an oportunity to make a choice then I am not sure what happens to them..
Oh, Bill, come now. You made a basic inference that atheists are not doing what 'selfish religious people' are doing. Where are *your* stats, then? You shaped your comment to be inflammatory, and now accuse people of being defensive. That's silly even for you. Case of the Mondays?
I'm sure your god will forgive you for being obnoxious.
How many things in science were imaginary until proven? You can call it imaginary, you can talk down to others and be flat out rude. One day it will be proven. I am not asking you to believe. There have been many cruel things done under many different name be it religion science or politics. I know there is something more. I know that I would rather be kind to my neighbor than mean. In my life kindness has gotten a lot further than anything.
20% of hospital patients are cared for in Catholic hospitals. That doesn't count those cared for in Jewish ones. Nice dodge though sam, I'm sure all your atheists buddies think you're clever. Next time you go to the hospital, why don't you look for an atheist funded and staffed hospital. I'm sure your integrity demands that doesn't it?
So...20% based on what? I guess you feel that was good enough, point proved, super-smug behavior quota reached for the day? I don't get it. You don't really have a leg to stand on, but that's never hampered you. The point yet again is that religion is not necessary to do good. So your original comment was specious at best, and meant to be inflammatory
You really are a snot. It's not very christian of you. Or, actually it is, because I do keep running into snotty christians.
Calling names? Really? That's your argument. All I'm saying is that for all the "good" I keep hearing that atheists do, I just want to see the evidence. You guys like evidence don't you?
Yeah because we wouldn't want anything to be inflammatory on here. You crack me up sam with your double standards.
"why don't you look for an atheist funded and staffed hospital."
Atheism is not an organization. If you want a list of secular hospitals, that can be assembled quite easily.
p.s. The only hospital in my city is Catholic. Atheists quite generously support it and work at it for the benefit to the community, their families and themselves.
In the end, people are going to believe or not. That is the essence of faith itself. The God that I believe in does not promise a life free of hardship or challenge or pain or suffering. But in life there is also to be found joy, happiness, satisfaction, and contentment. It is up to each individual to make that choice. We should hold no person's choice regarding religious belief in contempt UNLESS that belief results in actions that are injurious to others and/or society at large. As for me, I remain firm in my bellief and in my faith. And I ask God to please comfort those whose hearts are aching in the aftermath of the tragedy in Aurora.
What you wrote makes some sense on the surface. However, my opinion is that you need to think about about all of the atrocities that have been committed over the centuries in the name of one god or another. Many people seem to be convinced that their god encourages them to kill others who believe in a different god. I fail to understand how such beliefs benefit mankind in any way, shape, or form. Here's another example. According to the Christian bible, believers are ordered to stone people to death who use the lord's name in vain. Does anyone really think we should do this? People of faith seem to pick and choose what to believe out of their "holy" books and ignore the rest.
How about writing your senators and congresspeople about stricker gun control-and pray that they don't fall off their chairs with laughter after reading it.
This is a thoughtful and well-written article that expresses the view of most Christians, I think. Of course, it will not convince any atheists that there IS a God. And others will say that they don't want a God who lets this kind of thing happen. But as this pastor says, God permits sin–your sin, my sin, and James Holmes' sin. The answer is that Christ forgives sin and that there is another life beyond this one. Believe it or not, God also gives you that choice.
If only the shooter had been shot down in a firefight with the police, he could find his glorious place in the afterlife.
But alas, he'll probably be executed by the state instead of being cut down in battle.
No Valhalla for him.
Or are you speaking of another sort of afterlife?
Maybe the Mormon one wherein he can get his own planet over which to rule?
How is it that "Christians" are the most intolerant, most hateful, most obnoxious people on earth?
Why is it that its all God's way, and not their own responsibility?
So you're saying James Holmes can go to heaven if he accepts Christ as his savior and repents for his sins before he dies (likely executed), while any non-believer gunned down in that Aurora theater who were otherwise good, moral and upstanding people will have to suffer an eternity in hell? I struggle to find any fairness in this.
what choice did the dead have to not be a victim to this guy's sin?
This was sign, it is God's way of showing us that guns and the people who own them are are evil.
You are an idiot.
No, I am a God fearing Christian. Who reads his Bible and communes with God the Father. I asked him the other day 'Lord are guns the tools of the Devil" and shortly thereafter he answered my question by allowing the tools and the messenger of the Devil kill all those innocents.
Rational's right – you're an idiot, whether you're trolling or not.
God does NOT promise no suffering, Jesus Said there will be suffering. He promised us "calm within the storm".. or as Paul put it, "that peace that passes all understanding".. He also says "All things work out for the GOOD for all those that Love the Lord" (what about those that don't, wrap your mind around that one..) He also says that "these sufferings are NOTHING to be compared to the glory that will be revealed within us." So you may blame God if you like.. God gave us all free will, the only problem is NO ONE makes the right choices, not one of us.. God wants worshipers, worship is a VERB... not puppets.. I believe in God.. and life's NOT easy.. Don't know how so many could not believe in God with all the proof around them... like it was said, "you're walking through the woods, and you find a watch on a stump, did it just appear there out of thin air? no. someone had to create it.. we didn't appear through millions of years of chance.. if you believe that.. then you probly subscribe to "darwins- survival of the fittest" if so.. if that was the case, why cure disease, why help anyone? We are here to help one another, specially int times of crisis.and allow ourselves to be helped when we need it.. Odds are (pascals wager) that God exists.. why beleive in nothing, die and there "IS" something and have an eternal and infinite loss..when you can believe in something, die and your gain is infinite and eternal? in closing, I just realized.. if there was NO GOD.. than there'd be no atheists..
You find the truth very hard to take, hu? But the most likely truth is that there is no god. But it doesn't have to be the end for you. Instead of getting depressed about "what's it all for" you can embrace the one life you know about and make it the best possible. And guess what.... you have the freedom to choose how good to make it, not some 2000 year old book and a bunch of religious zealots.
If there was no god...everyone would be atheist silly person
Before anyoen has to spend the couple minutes it takes to break down all the logical flaws in your post, can you just say if you're trolling? Post a winking face or something, just so we know.
A watch doesn't reproduce itself, we do. The watch is a bad example. I believe in evolution, and let me ask you this, do you understand the premise of natural selection? (not survival of the fittist, natural selection) because if you don't, its like not believing in gravity because you don't understand movement.
As for your last line, doesn't matter if god exists, atheists exist because theists exist.
Please, I just ate.
"God wants worshipers"
why? why does god need worshippers? for what possible reason?
I always admire the blind arrogance of pastors and Christians to tell everyone else "how it is" and "the meaning of life". Then usually when you look at their lives they are shambles. What a stupid excuse for this massacre, if that is your definition of God pastor then I certainly would not want this warped deity running our planet or the universe. It looks like God is the one who should be tried in court for mass murder.
The only good part of this article is that we can push the "X" at the top-right of our browser.
God – if there is one – does not have a place in the Aurora discussion.
An examination of the psychiatrist that had a feeling that something bad could happen and did nothing
needs to be held accountable.
How about ordering 6,000 rounds of ammo over t he internet and no one looks into it?
Skip the anal gymnastics of a trial and execute him on HBO with Bill Maher as the announcer.
Its all Good.
The Good is Good and the Bad is Good.
In the end its all Good.
Some of us except that it's all good and some of us don't.
Its had to except and especially hard allow in your mind that its balance.
The Forces Balance themselves.
We all know it, don't we? You can't have one without the other. There's contrast and contrast makes balance?
Sooo.... where was god again?
In our head.
The next time you get a front row ticket for a primere, then tell everyone how good it is.
Suffering is part of mankind and has been around since it's beginning. Today, because we see ourselves as priviledged, we believe we should be immune to suffering. God should provide us with a "Get out of Suffering Free" card. It doesn't work that way. It never has. It never will.
Dont you see? God was there, everywhere. At least this brainwashed guy by someone (you know, conspiracy).... Did not kill too many more people with those guns, so what you think? Evil also play part of this, good vs evil? This time good won and you know why. Few died, many more survived... If someone of my family was there, I do not know what is that feeling feel like but I still thanks God that I have not felt that yet, but someday I will. At least they will be in a better place in peace. Something that everybody try to find here in earth, living in Peace.
Tell that to the dead. Enough of your religious stupidity.
I don't see. Please try again.
Ragon, you seem to be a very self centered person with a very low IQ.
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.