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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. Laura

    Its too easy to blame God. There is a God and He is love, goodness and life. He knows everything about us and sees what we experience. He is there always – IF we want Him there. He loves us despite our choices whether we are following His laws or not.
    Satan is the one who causes all the trauma, grief and anything negative. Why not blame him? The person who did this horrible thing did not have God in his heart, that is obvious.
    Prayers are still going to all who are hurting and feeling such sorrow and doubt right now as well as those victims and their families. Hold on to God!

    July 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Satan can act only as god allows him to, this makes saten god.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Chuckles

      So pretty much good thing = god and bad thing = satan right? How do I get a job where I get all the accolades of being awesome and none of the responsibility for anything bad?

      Does it not seem at least a little strange to you that with god being all powerful and what not, he should at least be held liable for things that he could have stopped and chose not to? I'm not going to blame an all powerful god for stubbing my toe, I will blame a god that could have stopped a mad man from storming a movie theater and massacring people

      July 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • JoeyE

      satan is not a god... He wanted to be equal to God but no.. God is only one .. quit confused us.. satan knew that God allows satan to do what he wants to put evil things on us.. its why we have a choice.. a good action or a bad action.. God DOESN'T allow satan to do too much power on any person but limited.. because God wants to test your faith!

      July 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • eroteme

      I would suppose it may be understandable for those who thank God when things go good to blame God when things go bad. God has always permitted crazies to do their deeds. We have suffered and will coninue to suffer from events beyond our control. Besides foul deeds from our fellow men (women?) God also sends us earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc. Here again, some people will suffer. I believe God is on a different level than we mortals, those who claim full knowledge of God may fool themselves as well as those they seek to enlighten.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Joey,

      God could get rid of Satan right? We could still have free will without Satan right? Then in your dogma god allows satan to do the things he does and satan is no more than god's 'tool'.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • JoeyE

      No Truth, Just Claims,

      perhaps you need to read a Holy Bible again.. better specific... go read revelation.. maybe it helps you understand more ;)

      July 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  2. ChimChim

    To those of you on here spewing hatred toward God: Who are you mad at? If you think God doesn't exist, then we're all responsible for our own actions. God had nothing to do with Aurora or Columbine or any other unimaginable tragedy. We're all just animals after all, and if there is no God there is no morality. Whose to say that what happened at Aurora is wrong, if there is no God? Your life is just an accident, you're nothing but a blob of cells and all life is meaningless. So go ahead and kill yourself, or kill a bunch of other people. Doesn't matter, right?

    July 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • helpful hint

      You have it wrong. You have your morality in spite of your religion or god. I am athiest and I haven't killed anyone yet :-)

      July 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • mike

      um.........right?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Confused face

      "and if there is no God there is no morality." That is a red-herring. I completely disagree with your premise. It is false. You do not need god to be moral (I assume you are referring to the judeo-christian god, right?). Morality is innate in some of us. Are you claiming morality comes from the 10 commandments? Which version of the 3? And are the first 4 morality statements? Not at all. Is considering women chattel property a moral stance?

      You are wrong. And I want to live. This is the only life we have. There is no land of milk and honey on the other side. Live with it.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You almost got it.....

      "then we're all responsible for our own actions. God had nothing to do with Aurora or Columbine or any other unimaginable tragedy. We're all just animals after all," Correct! Is there anything wrong with these statements?

      "and if there is no God there is no morality" Your first mistake, long story short, of course there is morality without god, not only do people live moral lives without being religious, but before god came onto the scene, there was still morality.

      "Whose to say that what happened at Aurora is wrong, if there is no God?" – Us, we're to say it was wrong because society has deemed murder wrong.

      "Your life is just an accident, you're nothing but a blob of cells and all life is meaningless." – Accident seems like a weird way to put it, but hey, I was made in a test tube so there were some very purposeful people who really wanted me, maybe you were a surprise but I really wasn't. As for being a blob of cells, yeah so? Everything is made up of molecules and mass, why do you sound so nihilist when you say that? Also, life is only meaningless if you want it to be. I don't find life meaningless thus it is not. it;s that simple.

      "So go ahead and kill yourself, or kill a bunch of other people. Doesn't matter, right?" Um... no, since I'm pretty sure this is my only life to live I want to make the most of it, I don't get an afterlife or a second chance, if anything you should be the one contemplating suicide, but that would be a shame.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • HeLives

      thank you ChimChim for your post...I hate that out of all the good people find the bad. God does is a perfect gentlemen and he does not force himself on anyone. he allows us to do what WE please and if our desire is to do wrong he will not stop us. there is only one who is the author of lies and desires to kill steal and destroy, but it seems that people because of a lack of knowledge and with the wrong examples always in the spot light dont know who he really is. we are free to chose if we want God in our lives, but he will not force or possess a person by force to do good it has to be our choice...so where was God when this happen to these innocent ppl the same place over 2,000 years ago when they killed his innocent son on the cross...its up to us to live for him so when our time comes however it is we will meet him.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • OTOH

      HeLives,
      "where was God when this happen to these innocent ppl the same place over 2,000 years ago when they killed his innocent son on the cross"

      If someone hadn't come along to kill Jesus, he would have to have killed himself some other way to make that "died for our sins" schtick flow..

      July 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • JoeyE

      actually Jesus is a God, so Father commanded Jesus during his last prayer before caught him from guards.. that he had to die.. and why he had to die? to give us GRACE.. I'm grateful for his Grace, without Jesus' death, we are doomed!

      July 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • HeLives

      OTOH I guess you are one of those ppl who have a habit of speaking without knowing your facts! If you look in the bible it is not "Just a book" it is history. there are artifacts and so many historical findings over these last couple years that prove that Jesus is real. But how many times has an explosion created anything??? What foundation was this country built on??? Christianity...right? didnt the founding fathers found this country on GOD? YES, But if God came down himself told you and showed you everything to prove that he was real you still wouldnt believe because you have alread decided not to believe. My hope is everyone on here realizes that Jesus is real God is real.

      In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 COr. 4:4

      It's a given that some will not believe because it is foolishness to them....

      July 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @HeLives

      Seems like you're the one in need of some history lessons. Can you cite anything to support your assertions of historical artifacts supporting the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, as characterized in the bible? Also, our forefathers did not create this nation on the principles of christianity. In fact, they came here specifically to escape christian oppression in Britain, and founded this nation on secular principles to protect the rights of everyone.

      "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 COr. 4:4"
      So those who don't believe are kept from the knowledge of the truth of your claims? How convenient.

      If your god came down and proved to me he was real (I'm assuming it's the god of the bible), then I would be forced to believe, and then I would tell him to fuck off because he's a dick.

      July 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  3. Dean

    We are all human. We all breathe the same air, live in the same world, we are all equal. The problem is people want power, people are greedy, people don't have accountability for actions and want to blame others, people put themselves above others, people judge others. Bottom line, man is the one that created evil because of this. This started happening when man first existed.

    Think of what this world would be like if we all loved one another, if we were kind to one another, if we helped the less fortunate, if we were to obey the laws, if we weren't greedy, if we owned up to our own mistakes and didn't blame others, and if we comforted one another during a time of grieving. I 100% believe there is a GOD and I will not try to shove my beliefs down someone elses throat. But given I believe in GOD, his message is simple...love one another.

    I believe bad things happen because of free will. I also believe in natural balance meaning there will be earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, just as there will be perfect 75 degree sunny days without a cloud in the sky. When there is a good, there has to be a bad. That's balance. Believe what you want to believe, but how about just being good to one another. It's really not that hard...and it feels pretty good too.

    " I know I was born, and I know that I'll die, the inbetween is mine" ~ Eddie Vedder

    July 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Confused face

      Dean, I am good with your statement as far as the live and let live aspect goes. Unfortunately, so many of your fellow believers cannot leave it at that. They will thrust their beliefs upon others and do hold that those who do not believe like them are broken and headed for hell.

      You believe. I don't. You think that there is a god based on what you see. I do not agree with what you see as evidence of god or any god. Remember, there have been thousands so you have to be specific.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • JoeyE

      confused faces.. you keep telling others that God isn't existed.. why are you keeping tell them that God is false? quit telling others.. We believe in God and as our actions.. we will witness others and IF you want to reject God.. it is OKAY, we will not bother you or lecture you anymore.. it is already written in a Holy Bible that WE respect others who rejected God even We pray for any sinner/non-christian.. but you do not respect Christians.. you keep telling us that God is false.. come on gimme a break! you like to judge others to tell them that God is false or insult others.. I do not believe to judge others nor insult.. I'm grateful for learning my manner.. yours not..

      July 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Dean

      Confused..I am 100% convinced there is a GOD. However, I am not a huge believer in religion. I am not the one who determines who goes to heaven or hell...God does. You may not believe, but you may have a very good soul. My belief is good people go to heaven...regardless of their beliefs. Maybe I am wrong? But the problem is religions have put their own twist on the bible which was written in a language that no longer exists. My point is that people create evil because of their own free will. I am far from perfect and I definitely have sinned. But I don't try to purposely hurt people. It's just a shame that there are so many people that do...but again, that comes from free will.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • eroteme

      We are all human? Hard to dispute that. But all people want power? People are greedy? People blame others? People put themselves above others? This is not me. Perhaps you are speaking about yourself?

      July 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Dean

      Eroteme, I am gereralizing humans will to sin in general. Not all 7 Billion people in the world are like this. But there are some that are, some that were, and some that will be like this. Therefore there will always be the will to kill people.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Frayed Know,

      The sun doesn't really rise. It doesn't really set. Yet, we use that terminology – "sunrise" and "sunset" – I don't get why "four corners of the earth" means flat. I never saw it that way as I read through these passages.

      And, if you study the Hebrew languages, you can really understand the Bible even more.

      http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c015.html

      July 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  4. turi

    first of all, while this guy was in Colorado killing people, at the same time in many other parts of this country and the world other people were killing other people. So religion should just stop making stupid hypothesis. Either god is everywhere or anywhere. Fortunately science already proved that the god of the bible doesn't exist, as much as other things that ignorant people wrote in the bible, such as flat earth or that it doesn't reflect the truth about the sun and moon and so on. Religion is out of justification for their own stupidity and delusion. The biggest lie of human history! period

    July 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • mike

      well-written

      July 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • JoeyE

      science proves that God isn't existed? LOL! how amusing! Science hasn't invented enter any phase, dimension or other reality at all.. I adore science but not your statement!

      July 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • OhReally?

      How has science proved that the God of the Bible doesn't exist? Are you really that desparate for God not to exist? What have you done?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It is at the least intellectually honest to say "I am not convinced" or "it has not been shown to me" But, atheists cross their own self imposed line when they boldly assert there is no God. Get your positioning right or get out of the argument.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • mike

      OH REALLY ... didn't "God of the Bible" create the universe 7,000 years ago, but its been scientifically proven that the universe is a little older than that? what am I missing?

      July 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • jknows

      Please site your evidence of God's non-existence. As clearly from other comments from this site Atheists only believe in evidence and since no evidence has apparently been provided proving God's existence there must be evidence of his inn existence. Something must be available to prove the God "theory" wrong. I mean it's one of the oldest theories in existence.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • jknows

      Really 7000 years ago? if you read the Book of Genesis at least 4000 years pass between Adam and Noah (just a rough estimation). Please at least research the Bible at an academic level before you spout information out. Other than a translated english version of the Tora which translated God creating the Heavens and the earth in "7 days" there is no mention of the earth's actual age. I hope you aren't going based on the Julian or Gregorian calendars to get your date?

      July 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Believe it or not, the Bible never says the earth is flat. The Bible is not a science book, but when it speaks on scientific topics, it does so accurately. Here are just a few examples:
      1. Earth is a sphere suspended in space. Isaiah 40:22, Job 26:7
      2. The water cycle keeps the land watered. Job 36:27, 28, Ecclesiastes 1:7, Amos 5.8
      3. The universe is running down. Isaiah 51:6, Psalm 102:26
      4. Ocean Currents flow thru the sea. Psalm 8:8
      5. Blood sustains life. Leviticus 17:11
      6. The stars are incredibly distant from the earth and cannot be numbered. Job 22:12, Genesis 15:5, Jeremiah 33:22
      7. The winds form a circulating system. Ecclesiastes 1:6
      8. Earth rotates on its axis. Job 38:12, 14
      9. Man’s body is composed of the same materials as the earth. Genesis 2:7, 3:19, Psalm 103:14

      July 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      NewYorkGal12,

      1. Earth is a sphere suspended in space. Isaiah 40:22, Job 26:7
      – Nope, it says the Earth is a circle – they had a word for "ball" or "sphere" and they did not use it.

      2. The water cycle keeps the land watered. Job 36:27, 28, Ecclesiastes 1:7, Amos 5.8
      – Duh, easily discerned by observation.

      3. The universe is running down. Isaiah 51:6, Psalm 102:26
      – Duh, time passes, things get old – that's all it says.

      4. Ocean Currents flow thru the sea. Psalm 8:8
      – Known long before the Bible was written by ancient seafarers.

      5. Blood sustains life. Leviticus 17:11
      – Duh.

      6. The stars are incredibly distant from the earth and cannot be numbered. Job 22:12, Genesis 15:5, Jeremiah 33:22
      – Duh.

      7. The winds form a circulating system. Ecclesiastes 1:6
      – Nope. It says the winds blow from different directions.

      8. Earth rotates on its axis. Job 38:12, 14
      – Huh? Contradicted in other stories.

      9. Man’s body is composed of the same materials as the earth. Genesis 2:7, 3:19, Psalm 103:14
      – They saw bodies decompose.

      That's a brief rebuttal. More here (and elsewhere): http://home.nctv.com/jackjan/item65.htm

      July 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Is "duh" your rebuttal on most of these? As in "duh" the Bible is right on that one?

      Which stories contradict Job Job 38:12, 14? I want proof.

      July 31, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      NewYorkGal,

      No, the "duh" is that these things are naturally observed by the even the dullest of people.

      As for the "Earth rotates on its axis" deal, it is contradicted by all of the passages which say the the Earth is a flat disc.

      Isaiah 11:12
      And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

      Revelation 7:1
      And after these things I saw four angels standing on four corners of the earth. holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

      (A spherical earth does not have corners. Its surface is continuous.)

      Job 38:13
      That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

      Jeremiah 16:19
      O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

      Daniel 4:11
      The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the ends of all the earth:

      (A spherical earth does not have ends. It is continuous. And, in order to see a tall tree from everywhere on earth, the earth would have to be flat. Not to mention a tree so tall it touches heaven.)

      Matthew 4:8
      Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

      (The only way to see all the kingdoms of the earth from a mountain would be if the earth is flat.)

      Here is an illustration of how the old Hebrew Bible writers pictured the Earth:
      http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/images/genesisearth.jpg

      July 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Frayed Knot,

      The sun doesn't really rise. It doesn't really set. Yet, we use that terminology – "sunrise" and "sunset" – I don't get why "four corners of the earth" means flat. I never saw it that way as I read through these passages.

      And, if you study the Hebrew languages, you can really understand the Bible even more.

      http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c015.html

      July 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  5. Keith

    Please look into the comparisons between James Holmes and famous spree killer Charles Whitman. Both of them hoarded lots of guns and weapons and ammunition. Both were considered intelligent white males. Both kept journals. Both opened fire in public and killed and wounded many people. Charles Whitman died during his crime spree and in his suicide note he wrote that he wanted an autopsy. An autopsy was done and it was discovered that Whitman had a brain tumor. The most common and aggressive form of cancer. And it was in the area of the brain that controlled emotions and many people who had a tumor in this part of the brain also had obsessed urges to write. As in keeping a journal. Both of them were seeing a psychiatrist and both showed signs of premeditation. PLEASE look into the comparisons between the two cases. An MRI should be done on James Holmes to see if he too has a brain tumor that could explain the reason behind this senseles tragedy. There is a ton of info at google, wikipedia and youtube regarding Charles Whitman

    July 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • helpful hint

      Also, John Holmes is very young for a mass killer. It usually takes many more years of adulthood to produce the anger required to perform this act.
      However, he is at the right age for skitzophrenia (spelling ?). This usually hits folks in this age bracket. Tumor is also possible.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  6. mike

    God is leaning back drinking a beer laughing at this blog site.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Confused face

      and jerking off.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  7. Atheist = Self Absorbed

    The epitome of arrogance = An atheist stating to Christians/theists that they're deluded, and that instead of believing in a "sky fairy," they should believe the same way atheists believe. No matter how hard you atheists try, you'll never get rid of Christianity. You're even more of a fool to try to extinguish it from the comments section on CNN.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • helpful hint

      I think you are confused. Arrogance is claiming something without any evidence at all. Atheists simply don't believe without evidence.

      You sir are the arrogant one. Sorry.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Confused face

      But I guess stating that we are headed for damnation and are incomplete because we don't believe like you is not arrogant? Religion is a branch of the infancy of our civilization which is dying out. It is why the churches are empty. People are actually starting to think. Well, except you.

      It is liberating to be free of the sky fairy. You can continue to live the lie under the celestial dictatorship which does not exist.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Stan

      Christianity has nothing to do with God. Nothing.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Atheist = Self Absorbed

      Helpful Hint: Atheists believe that no gods exist, however there is no evidence for this position either. There is no such thing as a lack of belief either so don't go down that road, its been disproven. A lack of belief without evidence is illogical. To have a "lack of belief" you have to have evidence that supports your position.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Atheist = Self Absorbed

      @ confused face: You are very much confused indeed....the churches are not empty. There are over 2 billion Christians on the planet. More than there ever has been. You're a small minority. Sorry

      July 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You ralize that number includes Mormons, Catholics, all the different Baptists, Protestants, and every other denomination don't you? Funny how they're all lumped together when it comes to counting numbers, but any other time, it's "oh those people aren't true christians".

      July 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  8. Nathan Prophet

    Rob, Tell the truth: GOD was MIA in AURORA. And, why don't you talk about all the other Gods that the good people on this earth believe in? How about Vishnu? Isis? Zeus? "The Bab". Tell the truth – you have absolutely no idea about the whereabouts of God then or now or in the future, nor does anyone else. Statements about God or gods are personal faith statement with no authority at all, just opinions.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • jknows

      I wasn't aware I could keep God in my pocket or track him via GPS. If God is God then how do I contain or maintain him in order to know about his whereabouts? Is the point of God is that he is greater than the limitations that humans are set to? Isn't that what makes him God? I don't believe a statue is God because I can visually see his limitations. Why would I worship a statue? And how does a polytheistic person keep track of which God he should revere for which occasion?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • D N Bonardy

      Why do humans have that ingrained belief that God is on-call 24-7 !? ... an exceedingly small minded species ! ... the longer I live , the more disappointed I become in my Fellowman ... they only seem to want to acknowledge God exists when Tragedy strikes ! and to hold him responsible too ! ... I too believe in God ... but not in that way .... my Faith is deep and abiding and unshakable ! ... its my fellowman that causes doubt in life ... and their ability to co-exist peacefully .

      July 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  9. jknows

    To those saying there is no God. Why do you ask where was God during this tragedy? You don't believe in him so why do you care? To acknowledge a question of where God is one must first assume that said God exists in order to believe he should be present at some specific event. I don't ask where Santa Claus was when this happened or if he crossed the murderer's name of his naughty/nice list. I know Santa Claus doesn't exist so I don't ask where he was. Truly Atheists are Agnostics at heart.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Frank

      We are asking where YOU think God was, it's a question that is asked to bring light to a logical inconsistency, like when you ask a child if they did something wrong when you know they did it. You are trying to get them to understand something. It usually doesn't work though, obviously.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • helpful hint

      If athiests are asking this, it is to point out all the contradictions that theists must juggle in their heads when they contemplate the answer. Our answer is always that there almost certainly is no god.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Nathan Prophet

      Very faulty logic you have my friend. The question was asked, "Where was God during Aurora?" Anyone has the right to make a statement in response to the question. To respond is not to affirm anything. As I have said before and again now, you, me or anyone else has no idea if God even exists, let along where "he" is. Statements about God and gods are personal faith statement, with no factual content.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • jknows

      I apologize Frank I am certain that I'm never asked where I think God was, only a general statement of where was God during this tragedy? To Nathan how is my logic faulty? Do ask where a person is if he doesn't exist? At your work place if you asked if a person who doesn't work at your place employment was wouldn't your co-workers think you were a little off? I can't fathom asking about anything's whereabouts every time a situation arises if I didn't believe that said being had an influence on the situation. It would seem irrelevant to ask where a being of no importance was if that being's relavency or existence didn't matter.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      I don't think so, Frank. I don't think the article was written so that atheists could ask believers where God was so that believers would be enlightened by atheism. Where do you see that logic?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Ryan

    wooooo exploiting faith and horrific events for page hits!!

    July 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  11. ray villarreal

    if god could have stopped it but did not, then he' evil

    July 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're not seriously wading into the good vs evil debate with that chin are you?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  12. dwp19542004

    god was with obama at a party

    July 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  13. steven smith

    For the writer named Reality–

    the reality is that your arms are too short to box with God.
    Gallant

    July 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Rampas Mornay

    I am certain that a monkey has dexterity, and that a dog has emotion as well as choice. Porpoises are capable of reason. These are just a few examples. How are we distinguished from other creatures again?

    July 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      We condemn our creator

      July 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • What IF

      Bill Deacon
      "We condemn our creator"

      Who (or what) is that?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ChimChim

      Flipper didn't use the internet.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  15. solex

    Hey Zev,

    Wanna see my gaping v4g1na???

    July 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  16. genebrady

    Wasn't GOD with Tim Tebow? With the NRA Lobbyists? They both seem to do very well so GOD must be with them both. Actually, I can think of at least 10 places where GOD SHOULD be, but isn't, ever.....

    July 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Baman

      Where was God when you were born?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Right there

      @Baman
      He slapped me on the asz and cut of my foreskin, stupid semetic cultures, I want the rest of my dick back!

      July 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • eroteme

      I believe there some amongst us who were not aborted but maybe should have been.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  17. Sephora

    I think those three guys who sheltered their girlfriends were God sent. They gave their lives for their friends. I think examples like that show us God is working despite the trauma and pain. Trauma is awful but one thing I did notice is it brought people closer. For during these moments men could care less about how much money we make or the color of our skin but simply that we are all fragile humans who hurt.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • OTOH

      Sephora,

      I think that they were amazing heroes too. No god necessary.

      p.s. one (or more) of them was living in "sin" with his girlfriend, though, tsk, tsk,... right?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • helpful hint

      What about these guys mothers/fathers. They wouldn't have wanted their sons to be in this situation. And they did this because of sociatal norms, not because god sent them. If it was god, then you would have to conclude that the girls lives were worth more to god than the boys lives.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Confused face

      yes, the god of your twisted logic picks winners and losers. what a being.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Nathan Prophet

      So, Sephora, by your logic, the innocent little 6 year old girl didn't have any "God-sent" people to shield her. Perhaps she was deemed unworthy. Can't you see the fallacy of your thinking? The people who shielded others were brave, very courageous, and the people shielded were fortunate to be in a position so they could be shielded. It is no more than that, but my salute to those brave people who did the shielding.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • ME II

      @Sephora,
      Wait, so the good guys were "god sent," but the shooter was acting on free will. How's that work?

      p.s. I think those that sacrificed themselves to save others are heroes and theirs actions commendable. No god needed.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • OTOH

      Men often have larger bodies and stronger upper-bodies, but "analysis of national data from more than 48,000 patients who suffered severe trauma showed that women are 14 percent more likely to survive than similarly injured men." http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=644714

      So, maybe it should have been the females doing the shielding?

      July 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • ME II

      @OTOH,
      Very interesting! I had not been aware of that study, cool.
      Although, I would posit that there are still evolutionary benefits to male self-sacrifice versus female, mainly due to procreative capabilities.
      Thanks for the link!

      July 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  18. SC

    There is either no God or God is not omnipresent as all religious nutters believe. Therefore, you can't find God in Aurora or He may have been too busy watching Batman himself and admiring Christian Bale and Ann Hathaway in a movie theater in another part of Aurora. All those nutters believe God's love is the greatest that He shed his blood to save humankind. If there is such a loving God, why won't He save his children that He loves more than his own life. Even a loving mother would save her own child and yet her love is not as great as God's according to those people that are seriously impaired in their critical thinking, i.e. religious nutters.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mike S.

      He did save them. This life is not the end. It is but a blink of an eye compared to what God has in store for us. He sent His son to die in a brutal death that including scourging and being nailed to the cross...all so that we could have the easiest road to Heaven possible which is a faith in Jesus as our Lord and the sacrifice He made for us.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bob

      Mike S., that's baloney, to put it politely. Think this through a bit: how come your ‘omnipotent’ creature couldn’t do all that supposed easing without the loony, brutal son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you’ve made for yourself there.

      Give that some thought and maybe it will help you leave your delusions behind. You will remain a laughingstock otherwise, and the more you dwell in your silly delusion and ancient myths, instead of keeping up with advances in medicine and technology, the more America slips downward relative to the rest of the world in science and other fields.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Bob, you don't know Mike S. Why do you want him to leave his "delusions" behind?

      And, to put it politely, "The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1 :)

      July 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      NewYorkGal12
      "And, to put it politely, "The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1"

      You think that's "polite"? Ah, well being a New Yorker, maybe you would.

      It is a quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Frayed Knot, I was just giving Bob a hard time because he was making fun of Mike's beliefs in such "delusions" – he seemed so confident that Mike (and by association all theists) would eventually be laughing stocks.

      Believe me, I'm not in any way trying to "convert" anyone on this blog. It doesn't work that way.

      My suggestion, to atheists, is to read the Bible without the influence of anyone else'e opinion, including Joseph Smith's. Read it with a purity of heart, not arrogance nor pride. And ask God, even if you don't believe in Him, to show you the truth – that you really are seeking the truth.
      If you read the Bible with an agenda and not by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will not find God and you will not find the truth that sets you free.
      Read Romans 1. Read the book of John.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  19. Neeneko

    Other animals have reason, dexterity, emotion, and choice too....

    Then again, this is the same scripture that was used to classify women, children, the poor, and other races as animals too...

    July 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  20. Jason

    So that long drawn out explanation somehow explains the absence of God in this horrible incident. How bout an easier one? Maybe there isn't some celestial being that seems to have a hand in everything we do. I think if there was a God there wouldn't be so much debate on his existence.

    July 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      "I think if there was a God there wouldn't be so much debate on his existence."

      Or, If God doesn't exist, then there wouldn't be so much debate on his existence. The idea of God didn't come from humans. God placed eternity in the human heart and that's the reason why men and women have always wondered about life and death and the origin of life.

      If God exists and free will exists, and God is ALL good, then the devil and humans are the authors of evil – as we saw in the Colorado shootings.

      If God doesn't exist and free will exists, then humans are the authors of evil.

      In the end, it is humans, not God, the doers of evil.

      July 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dean

      GREAT answer NYGal12!!!!

      July 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Commenter

      NYGirl,

      "In the end, it is humans, not God, the doers of evil."

      And there you have it.

      We are on our own here.

      No one is out/up/over/under there.

      No one is coming.

      It's up to us to do the best that we can to make this place nice.

      July 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      Commenter,
      "And there you have it.

      We are on our own here.

      No one is out/up/over/under there.

      No one is coming."

      How do you know?

      July 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • One Observer

      Doesn't it seem that this 'theory' of Evolution and no accountablity to an Intelligent Designer, could be behind people with evil intent doing the things they do? If there truly was a hellfire, (which is not a true bible teaching, eternal death is the punishment for sin) and people REALLY believed it existed, or if they believed there was a higher power they were accountable to, do you think there would be as many horrific crimes as there are? And the clergy that doesn't explain God's purpose and say 'they don't know why God allows such things' instead of teaching who the bible says is behind it and explaining the universal issue we are all involved in, are responsible before their creator for their neglegence in teaching what the bible really has to say on the issue? If there were no God to give standards and morals to live by, why would anyone have the right to decide what is right and wrong? Which culture has the right ideas to live by? Bible standards are appropriate in every culture and work for the peace of all, IF ADHERED TO. No man made laws can say that. There are flaws in every system that rules today. There was an issue raised in the Garden of Eden that has taken time to settle, and we are all involved whether we like it or not. One way or another we are taking sides on the issue. Just as a house gives evidence of it's builder, the universe gives evdience of the 'intelligent designer' of it all. He went to great links to get his message to us and it's opened to anyone of humble heart who searches for it. His son told us that we can not approach him unless his father draws us. So if we ask, we will recieve. His father said he didn't do a thing unless he told his prophets before hand. It's our job to ask and search with an open mind and heart, and then our creator says, 'he will let himself be found by you'. I'm not ignorant of the fact that this will not go over too well with everyone, but that is where our free will comes in. We can choose to search for this knowledge or not. It should not be surprising that even if some read what God's purpose is would still refuse it. Two perfect creatures and many unfatihful angels that saw God face to face, chose not to stay in his presence. 700 people a day are learning and responding to bible truth, so God's allowing this time for people to make a choice is not being wasted. And those that have suffered at the hands of others such as this, will be restored to life in the coming paradise where they will never experience such horrible acts again.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • NewYorkGal12

      One Observer,

      The Bible does teach about hellfire. Jesus said in Matthew 18 " “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

      It's pretty clear and straighforward.
      Question, how do you come up with the number 700 when referring to people responding to Bible truth? Curious..

      July 31, 2012 at 7:25 am |
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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.