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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. Salero21

    So here, there and everywhere, arrogant and petulants want, even demand from God answers, explanations and even an apology. Really! Go see if your supervisor, manager, boss, mom or dad owes you one for some of the things they do first. If they all do (which I doubt very much), then come back to see if God still owes it to you. God has a Kingdom to Rule. A Kingdom is a Kingdom. In a kingdom the king rules, in HIS Kingdom God Rules. But some accustomed to the evils of men legal systems, will continue to think that God owes them something.

    I have bad, very bad news to ALL who think like that. God does NOT owes you anything you do owe Him just like I do too.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Confused face

      Are you his attorney? It seems someone that powerful could speak for himself rather than some random kook on a blog.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • cavediver

      lol i dont see the upside to enslaving myself to a bloody eternal dictator....

      please explain the benefits.....

      July 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      cavediver,

      This with much joy and pleasure I will explain to you (I guess I owe you that much). The Main "benefits" (if you want to call it that way), are Eternal Life in HIS KINGDOM and in Heaven as as HIS child. Otherwise there is also Eternity in another place that IS NOT Heaven neither a kingdom. Thanks for asking!

      July 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • cavediver

      Salerio21 Eternity......as an enslaved ghost? And what if on this eternal timestream, God gets a meanstreak and dumps all of us ghosts into his chamber of horrors he likes to call Hell... what are you going to do then? Because, going off the Bible, this could happen... hes not the most stable or consistent guy around.....

      Is all rhetorical bud ...just trying to show a tiny bit of the Glaring flaws the stone age writers didnt get together on....

      July 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Confused face

      Salero21, without addressing the relative merits of the afterlife, the fact you claim to know what happens after we die makes you a blubbering kook. You are no better than a witch doctor or shaman. What an idiot.

      BTW, if you don't believe in Santa, he won't leave you presents. IF you stop believing in the tooth fairy, she won't leave you money.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Salero21

      cavediver,

      What part of – Eternal Life – you don't understand? What part of as – HIS CHILD – you don't understand? What part of – Kingdom – you don't understand? See, the Faithless are doomed to that lack of understanding. Good bye.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • cavediver

      Salero21 He has quite the track record of throwing his 'children' under the bus so to speak. He's got his right hand man, Lucifer playing the bad guy..... he busted off a peice of himself and sent it down to get nailed to a board to save us all for a sin that he declared was a sin even though it was the ONLY path /Adam and Eve could have taken (Big Master Plan remember).... this is all the kinds of stuff you use to scare medieval surfs into submission.... and it fails now because its going against science and ....common sense....

      July 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Crimson777

    My God, the Creator of the Universe, thank you for your Will. Thank you for receiving those that died in the Aurora shooting into your Glorious Kingdom. Thank you Lord that in these last days an outpouring of your Spirit will be so PHENOMENAL that even those that doubt your existence will fall on their face to worship you. That they like the apostle Paul, who once persecuted you, will Reach so many for Christ. You have the future in your hands Lord, and that alone gives me and all of your Sons and Daughters Peace. Glory to God in the Highest.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Salero21

      Sorry crimson777 but not everyone goes to Heaven or is received in HIS Kingdom. There is no way to know who of those there went into God's Kingdom. Unless we have personal, first hand knowledge of their Faith.

      What you're advocating is universalism. Is NOT happening. Just because people are gone tragically that by itself is NOT a virtue that will en-ti-tle the bearer entry into God's Kingdom. BTW there is NOT such a thing either, as America being a christian nation, where all its citizens have a ticket to Heaven. Is NOT happening!

      July 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Confused face

      Listen to this idiot Salero21. He is picking winners and losers. He knows who gets into the mythical kingdom of heaven.

      Do you need any more proof that the religious are mentally flawed?

      July 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bartholomew Obleck

      CHRISTIAN FIGHT!!! Get them some spears and let them decide in the colosseum! It's funny when you are fighting for your life you need to trust your own body to survive. Or just go down like Obi Wan hands in the air praying and see what really happens...

      July 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  3. Salero21

    An arrogant and petulant people demands answers, explanations and even an apology from God. Like if God owes it to them. Good Lord, not even us the people of faith, owe them [arrogant & petulant people] such. How much less then God.

    God's judgments sometimes are quick, sometimes are slow from our limited perspectives. But in Gods view they're always on time. You have to wonder why is it, that some people wants God to judge things before the day of Judgment comes. Others want God to be Fair like if HE was a Fairy. Problem is, God is JUST not fair or a fairy.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Confused face

      I will agree that the god you describe is not fair. And there is a better chance fairies exist than your god (assuming you are describing the judeo-christina god; always have to ask because there have been thousands throughout humanity).

      And what a cowardly cop-ou that you do not owe anyone an explanation. You demand that others believe the way you do but do not wish to give any explanation. That is authoritarianism. More importantly, you do not give an explanation because you do not have one. Not one that makes any sense anyway.

      You are a charlatan and a hysterical believer in the celestial dictator that does not, has not, and never will exist except in your deluded mind.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Salero21

      confuseface,

      Right back at you the same. See how easy is that!

      July 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Samuel

      This dude is 10 years old! Nice retort pal.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Tooth Fairy

    God was the cashier at the movie theater when people were buying the tickets to see the movie, determining in which room people would go sit and watch it.

    July 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Make sure to repost

    Colin
    Dear Christians:

    God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in World history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

    You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire Universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?

    Further, do you really think I would sit back and do nothing while Nazis killed 6 million of my “chosen people,” but find it important enough to intervene and turn water into wine to stop some hosts being embarrassed at a wedding in Cana? Why did I seem to be so active in the Middle East for a brief period about 2,000 years ago, but totally absent everywhere else on the planet and for the rest of recorded history? Did I make the Jews or did the Jews make me?

    So, you really think my periodic miracles prove my existence hey? Then why not something inarguable and unambiguous, like a huge crucifix in the sky, or my face on the moon? Why is it always that believers have to construct my miracles out of perfectly explicable natural events?

    This happens every time there is a tragedy or near tragedy of any kind, anywhere in the world and in all cultures. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger pilots a distressed plane to land safely on the Hudson River in New York City with no deaths, and it's a miracle from God; a young girl is found in India, totally terrorized, but alive after being abducted and ra.ped for a week, and it’s a miracle from my competi.tor Rama (or Vishnu or Shiva) that she is returned to her parents; or a family in Northern Pakistan survives an errant American missile attack, and it’s a miracle from Allah.

    What all these self-serving proclamations of miraculous intervention always ignore is the downside of the incidents. The fact that the passengers and crew of Flight 1549 were terrorized and the plane destroyed, that 11 innocent people are dead in Aurora, that the girl was held for seven days, ra.ped and sod.omized and will be traumatized for the rest of her life, or that a number of innocent civilians were killed by the missile.

    Of course, none of these incidents really are "miracles.” When the totality of facts are taken into account, "miracles" turn out to be nothing more than believers who are desperate for some sign of my existence ignoring the downside of a set of facts, focusing solely on the upside and calling the quarantined "good" a miracle from me or one of the other sky-fairies. A CEO might as well ignore the liability side of his balance sheet and declare it a “miracle” that his company just doubled in value.

    Another annoying habit my “miracles” seem to have is that they always seem to tag along, just behind medical science, like an annoying kid brother who won’t go away. Until the mid nineties, those with AIDS who prayed for a miracle were never granted one. Medical science finds a way to permanently suppress the disease, and all of a sudden I start to perform miracles with AIDS patients. No polio patient ever received a miracle until the Salk vaccine and I routinely ignored cancer patients until chemotherapy and radiation treatments were developed. Suddenly, prayers to me from cancer patients are regularly “answered.”

    Why is it that I still seem deaf to the pleadings of amputees who would like their fingers, arms or legs back, to those who have physically lost eyes or ears, to the horribly burned and to all others who ail from patently visible and currently incurable maladies? Why is it that, at the very same time, I am very receptive to the prayers of those whose condition is uncertain, internal and vulnerable to miraculous claims?

    Take five minutes to make two lists; one of those ailments I will miraculously cure and the other of those I will not. You will quickly find it coincides perfectly with those conditions medical science (or the human body itself) can defeat and those we cannot. Why do you think that is? It is almost as my miracles are created out of medical ambiguity isn’t it?

    No, my human friends. I am afraid I do not exist. I do not read your minds (or “hear your prayers” as you like to call it) and you are not going to achieve immortality (or “eternal life” as you like to call it) no matter how many commandments from Iron Age Palestine you choose to “keep”. Move on and enjoy the few years you have. You were all dead for the last 13,700,000,000 years and it wasn’t that least bit uncomfortable now, was it?

    God

    July 29, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse | Reply

    July 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • toad

      More filth. When do you find time to write this with your devotion to acts of perversion?

      July 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Confused face

      Bravo. A phenomenal post. This should be emailed to every parochial school which indoctrinates and brainwashes the young and the sick.

      What is actually filth, you Toad, is the lies told to children. Fortunately, the grasp religion has on humanity is weakening and an accelerating pace and will leave it behind.

      As intelligence advances, religiosity recedes.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • cavediver

      Toad is either a clergy member whose job is on the line ....or someone who doesnt like the conclusion his own mind has come to. after the anger subsides..then he ll really begin to think...it ll unravel quickly after that. and life will have a bit less clutter for him.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Salero21

      Egolatry goes hand in hand with Idolatry. God does NOT owes you an explanation or an answer, neither do believers and the people of faith. God is in Heaven and you are not. He did take 6 days to Create all things but it will take only ONE to undo everything.

      God has Eternity on his hand and you don't. You are here today gone tomorrow but God is Eternal. Therefore HE is in no hurry to put an end to all things. If HE is no hurry and HE is God then; What's your hurry? BTW there is no one that is really innocent.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Confused face

      Hey, Toad, if that is in fact true, that you are part of the clergy and are struggling, check out Richard Dawkins' http://www.clergyproject.org. It will help you leave this silliness behind and provide support for you from all the venom that your supposed christian loving and caring congregation will spew at you.

      Free yourself from the nonsense. Stop lying to children.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Confused face

      Salero21, I don't even know what that means if it is meant to even mean anything. I can only ask, how do you know the mind of the creator? Are you privy to information I am not? Or, as I suspect, you are making this up based on how you feel? That may be a nice basis for a novel but not for lying to children and the weak about how they should live their lives and what happens after they die. That is cruel. That is why believers are a running joke.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Toad" is just that kid who was "Bartholomew" the other day. He forgets to turn off his ID; see his name at the bottom? He's VERY concerned about "perversion."

      July 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • cavediver

      Salerio21 what is worshop for? – I think i have a much better grasp on what your God would actually be like were he to exist than you do....omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence .. think..really THINK about those words... let them sink in.......all the laws of nature literally at your command....you can twist realities,time, space and matter to be anything...... and the Bible is the best guide you can manage? really? ... and if you truely grasp what im trying to say then your God should frighten YOU to no end.....

      July 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. LindyNC

    All I can say is this post/comments are saddening even heartbreaking. Sad for the athiests and the believers passing judgment.

    To the believers passing judgment on the athiests: the #1 reason Christians/Christianity gets a bad rap is judgment and hipocracy. There is only one Judge and his justice is perfect, let's leave the judgement up to Him. As Christians we are called to love God and our neighbor, spread the gospel and worship.

    To the athiests and non believers: As a former athiest I understand why this makes sense but I ask this question...what if you are wrong? I just encourage you to research Jesus, God, Christianity and try to disprove it. This is not a decision to be made lightly or base on face value of man and our fallen world. Some of the most faithful believers started out as athiests on a mission to disprove the Bible, Jesus's life and death, evidence of God in the world...etc and came to the conclusion that there is overwhelming evidence for, not against. Seek and you shall find. If you want a sign, ask for it. If you want answers research them. Make an informed decision...that makes sense right?

    July 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • cavediver

      What if im wrong? im not wrong....even if i was..which god? which religion is right? all of them are fatally flawed.....christianity is desperately trying to stay relavent in the modern world....the lengths that they will go a sometimes funny – other times downright sickening and horrifying...

      July 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Confused face

      As Richard Dawkins eloquently put it in response to the question of what if he was wrong, "What if you're wrong?"

      It is not up to the atheist to "disprove" god. It is up to the proponent of that fairy tale. In fact, I reject any proof that I have seen so far from the religious.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @LindyNC
      Are you worried about dying gloriously in battle so you can go to Valhalla? Why not? What if you're wrong?
      If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      ".what if you are wrong? I just encourage you to research Jesus, God, Christianity and try to disprove it. " Jesus Christ, what kind of simpleton would think that I haven't "researched Jesus?" I'm pretty sure I've looked more closely at these important issues than someone who pretends to be a "former athiest" but can't even spell it.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  7. There is no god

    Did CNN delete god's post?
    ---
    Colin
    Dear Christians:

    God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in World history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

    You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire Universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?

    Further, do you really think I would sit back and do nothing while Nazis killed 6 million of my “chosen people,” but find it important enough to intervene and turn water into wine to stop some hosts being embarrassed at a wedding in Cana? Why did I seem to be so active in the Middle East for a brief period about 2,000 years ago, but totally absent everywhere else on the planet and for the rest of recorded history? Did I make the Jews or did the Jews make me?

    So, you really think my periodic miracles prove my existence hey? Then why not something inarguable and unambiguous, like a huge crucifix in the sky, or my face on the moon? Why is it always that believers have to construct my miracles out of perfectly explicable natural events?

    This happens every time there is a tragedy or near tragedy of any kind, anywhere in the world and in all cultures. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger pilots a distressed plane to land safely on the Hudson River in New York City with no deaths, and it's a miracle from God; a young girl is found in India, totally terrorized, but alive after being abducted and ra.ped for a week, and it’s a miracle from my competi.tor Rama (or Vishnu or Shiva) that she is returned to her parents; or a family in Northern Pakistan survives an errant American missile attack, and it’s a miracle from Allah.

    What all these self-serving proclamations of miraculous intervention always ignore is the downside of the incidents. The fact that the passengers and crew of Flight 1549 were terrorized and the plane destroyed, that 11 innocent people are dead in Aurora, that the girl was held for seven days, ra.ped and sod.omized and will be traumatized for the rest of her life, or that a number of innocent civilians were killed by the missile.

    Of course, none of these incidents really are "miracles.” When the totality of facts are taken into account, "miracles" turn out to be nothing more than believers who are desperate for some sign of my existence ignoring the downside of a set of facts, focusing solely on the upside and calling the quarantined "good" a miracle from me or one of the other sky-fairies. A CEO might as well ignore the liability side of his balance sheet and declare it a “miracle” that his company just doubled in value.

    Another annoying habit my “miracles” seem to have is that they always seem to tag along, just behind medical science, like an annoying kid brother who won’t go away. Until the mid nineties, those with AIDS who prayed for a miracle were never granted one. Medical science finds a way to permanently suppress the disease, and all of a sudden I start to perform miracles with AIDS patients. No polio patient ever received a miracle until the Salk vaccine and I routinely ignored cancer patients until chemotherapy and radiation treatments were developed. Suddenly, prayers to me from cancer patients are regularly “answered.”

    Why is it that I still seem deaf to the pleadings of amputees who would like their fingers, arms or legs back, to those who have physically lost eyes or ears, to the horribly burned and to all others who ail from patently visible and currently incurable maladies? Why is it that, at the very same time, I am very receptive to the prayers of those whose condition is uncertain, internal and vulnerable to miraculous claims?

    Take five minutes to make two lists; one of those ailments I will miraculously cure and the other of those I will not. You will quickly find it coincides perfectly with those conditions medical science (or the human body itself) can defeat and those we cannot. Why do you think that is? It is almost as my miracles are created out of medical ambiguity isn’t it?

    No, my human friends. I am afraid I do not exist. I do not read your minds (or “hear your prayers” as you like to call it) and you are not going to achieve immortality (or “eternal life” as you like to call it) no matter how many commandments from Iron Age Palestine you choose to “keep”. Move on and enjoy the few years you have. You were all dead for the last 13,700,000,000 years and it wasn’t that least bit uncomfortable now, was it?

    God

    July 29, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse | Reply

    July 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • cavediver

      best post ive seen today. it will be ignored by those that should read it the most.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Confused face

      Bravo. Thank you. Our dear departed friend, Christopher Hitchens, would be proud of your theme, historical accuracy and style.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  8. Salero21

    God was and is where HE has always been and where HE will always be for all of Eternity.

    What we have in these blogs and the rest of the Media, is an Arrogant and Petulant people who believe that God owes it to them. These think that God ought to come down from Heaven and answer to them, who were not even there. Who are not victims and who are part of a Nation under God's Judgment. Is NOT going to happen.

    In the meantime, how about asking if this murderer is going to be brought to Justice or if he's going to get away with murder like so many others before him, by playing the looney card.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Maria Hunt

    I don't know how many people here are from Aurora – Co, but some comments are not helping in any way the survivors and families.I respect all religions in the world and I also respect the opinion of those who don't believe in God or anything.But, instead of blasphemy the name of God, send your positive thoughts and energy to those who survived this tragedy.Even though some of you show no signs of good Christians you should show at least signs of good neighbors.You still can be an Atheist and have compassion for others!Don't let the evil be inside you, Aurora – CO needs to heal in peace!!!

    July 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Russell"s Teapot

      @Maria Hunt,

      Not to rag on you too much, but if you respected their opinion not to believe in your concept of god, then why must you use such a charged word when referring to their comments on your god (blasphemy)? And before you jump on me, no, I did not see the comments that prompter your response...

      July 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • cavediver

      Religion is always the professional mourner...showing up at each tragedy .... it doesnt change the fact that religion is a load of fertalizer... by the way...this like the 4th(?) version of this column...maybe the media is where your personal ire should be aimed.

      July 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "You still can be an Atheist and have compassion for others!" Heck, even a dirty Christian can sometimes say something nice in between shouting filthy insults. At least, I'm told it happens sometimes. Not this time, though.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  10. the_dude

    Gays and christians are one in the same. They both believe in some made up fairy tale that has never been proven by science and never will because it doesn't exist.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  11. kdog

    What the.......D'oh!........Did God remove my post?

    July 31, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • LinCA

      @kdog

      You said, "What the.......D'oh!........Did God remove my post?"
      Are you having trouble getting your posts to show?

      CNN uses WordPress blogs for their opinion pieces, and they use automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. If your post doesn't show up, it most likely had a forbidden word in it.

      On the Belief Blog, repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
            arse             as in Arsenal
            bastard
            bitch
            cock           as in cockatiel
            coon           as in cocoon
            cum             as in circumstance
            cunt
            douche
            effing
            fag
            ftw
            fuck
            homo         as in homosexual
            hooters
            horny
            hump
            jackass
            jap
            jism
            kinky
            kooch
            nipple
            orgy
            pis
            porn
            poo           as in spooked
            prick
            queer
            rape         as in grape
            sex           as in homosexual
            shit
            slut
            smut
            snatch
            spic         as in despicable
            tit               as in constitution or title
            twat
            vag           as in vague
            whore
            wonderful us
            wtf

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      July 31, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  12. A. Morton

    This response seems somewhat rational at first glance. I have a hard time though with any piece regarding our will, God's will and suffering that doesn't take into the account the power of prayer of praying "heaven to earth"; the name and power of Jesus made available to all men through His death, resurrection and Day of Pentecost not even being mentioned by a pastor?

    The four "influences" on human events are ALL God. The "will" of satan is only allowed to operate as a result of God's permission. Nothing passes through without God's approval. God has supreme authority on heaven and earth and of "satan" as well. Satan must OK any deal he does through the ultimate supreme authority which is God Himself. Case in point... remember the story of Job? Satan had to ask God if he could do these things to Job.

    People's choices are either in alignment with God's will or they are not. Natural law was CREATED by God, so it is not as random as some may indicate. Nothing happens in God's world by accident. If He is truly in control, then He is in control. If He sends it then we need it; for whatever purposes or reasons. We cannot know the mind of God. It is not our business to sort out the reputation of God or defend His ways. His ways our higher than our ways and His way always leads to a higher good. Now that is either the Truth or it is not. Either God is everything or He is nothing at all. There is no middle ground, second guessing. This is the extreme call of faith ~ that despite ALL appearances we CHOOSE to believe in a God that loves us and provides for all his creation regardless of what that does or does not look like to our human understanding.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      There is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god. Therefore, when you talk about "god's will", what you are really talking about is what you want to think is "god's will". In truth, every time a christian claims to know what "god" thinks, they are simply elevating themselves to the position of "god."

      July 31, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Natural law was CREATED by God"

      Morton,

      Making this statement does not make it true. You end your post by saying you CHOOSE to have faith it is true.

      Question: How is that different that just believing any random thing you choose to believe. Faith is used to justify having no evidence for belief, why is that in any way a good idea?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Natural law was CREATED by God, so it is not as random as some may indicate. Nothing happens in God's world by accident." That is such a crock. Every little tribe says their magic zebra or god fish made the world and everything in it. The universe runs just fine without any help, and it was there before your storybook was written. And yes, I do know you hate me for not believing your storybook.

      July 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  13. georgex

    This is a question which is difficult to answer for Christians who always want to find some grace in tragedy. But I think it is wonderful that the Internet allows open discussion where many doubters to express their views here as we become a more open society. In the past they didn't have the chance to meet or discuss their views and felt a bit isolated. Today there are organizations for non-believers such as http://www.secular.org that have meetings and interesting projects and just good conversation..
    Personally, I don't think we can blame God for these killings anymore than we should give him credit for the survivors. He seems to stay out of almost every human event. He doesn't do much that I am aware of.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  14. mrmikerogers

    Religion is a cancer upon Humanity. The sooner it's eradicated, the better.

    Mike
    atheistroundtable.com

    July 31, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  15. Brandano

    The one thing that fictional supernatural beings and dolphins seem to have in common is very good PR people.

    July 31, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  16. Andy

    “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

    July 31, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Atheists are fools.

      God gave them a reason, in order to make the following simple conclusion: Creation proves Creator. As they prefer a life of ease here on earth, and deliberately pervert their own mind, ignoring the conclusion "Creation-Creator", they become mad and claim there would be no God. The longer they tell themselves the lie that there would be no God, the more they get convinced of it, and finally believe it.

      Atheists are cowards. They cannot endure a bad conscience and some disadvantages which they had to face as believers.

      Instead of repenting, Atheists try to explain away God which is outrageous ignorance. Ignorance always leads to big damage or destruction.

      Simply imagine what happens when you ignore a red semaphore.

      There is a God who gives you an awareness of your sinfulness, and the insight that you need forgiveness and deliverance. Don't ignore God's impact as delusion, but as him to forgive you and to deliver you. Don't ignore God, you will face a great damage, even destruction of your soul.

      July 31, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Confused face

      Your god doesn't exist, Rainman. And if he did, he died a long time ago. Don't be an abject slave anymore. Don't continue to be a coward to a man-made fairy tale. Show some courage. break those chains.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • rickinmo

      TO: Rainer Braendlein-Nice try. You can try to throw a bunch of flowery words together to justify your delusion but, atheists are people who think for themselves rather than accepting what others tell them are facts. I can explain what happened in Aurora without god or any magical thinking. Are you ready? Some people are just plain NUTS. Mentally Ill people don't make sense to the rest of us because their thinking is irrational by any standard. Like Christians, they believe things that aren't real. That's the explanation. There's no mystery here. The only question now is what kind of disorder he suffered from and is there any way to predict and treat his disorder to prevent future needless incidents like this. For that we need science; not religion. You'll probably not agree because science requires facts, education and knowledge.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Creation proves Creator."

      Rainer,

      No it doesn't. What created your creator? "Oh HE was uncaused" you will resond. Well then with Occu.ms Razor we can just say the Univesre was uncaused and cut god of the equation. Just because you want it to be true does not make it so.

      July 31, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • EnjaySea

      A correction for Rainer. You mistakenly characterized atheists as cowards. We are skeptics, nothing more nothing less. It doesn't require courage to believe and it doesn't require cowardice to question.

      Your comment, although it firmly demostrates the hatred Christians have for non-believers, makes no logical sense.

      July 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Russell"s Teapot

      @Rainer,

      Atheists are cowards? Hardly, after man came up with then disregarded as utter nonsense the previous 10,000 or so gods in existence, we decided not to jump on the current bandwagon claiming salvation for the believer and damnation for the rest... Pray tell, what became of all the people who had never the chance to hear of his words/deeds after he came and died? Are they too consigned to hell, for having the misfortune of not living in Jesus' sphere of influence?

      July 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Atheists are cowards. " You are a liar and a wimp, and probably have a pencil neck. You'd cry like a baby if you made the error of saying any of that to my face. Your whole post is insulting and false; you are expounding on what names you like to call atheists when they can't talk back instead of offering any proof of your silly mumbo-jumbo. Ignore a semaphore? I used to drive by the nursing home every day on my way to work, and one of the mental patients used to stand on the porch delightedly waving to every car. It was safe to ignore him, and the same's true of you.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    The death of the Aurora-people is very regretable, but it remembers us that also we can die every second by any misfortune.

    How can we escape the scare of death (it is clear that we hardly can escape the death itself).

    Jesus, the Son of God, once said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life!", or "the one who believes in me will never die".

    Of course, Jesus spares nobody from the biological death, but from the death of the soul.

    "In Christ" we can die peacefully. Our sinful body perishes, but our soul is kept by Jesus. Hence, believers only pass away, and thus the death loses its scare for them. Believers sleep until Judgement Day.

    How to "enter" Christ, the Life? Simply believe that he has borne your sins, when he died for you on the cross, and that he became your righteousness, when he resurrected. Remember your infant baptism or get sacramentally baptized, so that this will become metaphysical reality for you. Start a righteous life as soon as you start to belief. Faith is not only about forgiveness, but also about a righteous life. Remember daily your baptism, Jesus sacrifice, and invite him daily to take over rule. If he rules, your sinful body will not prevail, and once you will be happy to get released from the body.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    July 31, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Confused face

      I prefer to believe in Athena. Or Santa Claus. They are at least as plausible as your jesus. I don't agree with any of your evidence for a soul.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Confused face

      We can die by any misfortune and your imaginary sky fairy sits idly by and does nothing. Arms crossed. Now how, exactly, is that any different from no god?

      July 31, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Or you can simply accept that death is the natural conclusion to life, and try to live that one life you get to the best of your ability. You can try to learn from tragedies like this so that they can be prevented in the future.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      I'd have to see this to believe it. Have this "Jesus" drop by and fill out an application and we'll look Him over. Five bucks says He won't show.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Reality

    Dear Pastor,

    A 21st century wakeup call using a PowerPoint slide:

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • cobe

      and your comment is a perfect example how God allows idiots to make completete fools of themselves :)

      July 31, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Russell"s Teapot

      Come on now Reality, Abraham was the father of the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), coincidentally, he was also involved in an incestuous relationship (Sarah was his half sister), not to mention had a consort/concubine or just call it what it is adultery...

      July 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      You guys can't stop "Reality." He's on a roll. He's been on a roll for years.

      July 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  19. Damocles

    Sometimes my mind comes very near to exploding when I try to contemplate the utterly diagonal way of thinking some people use when trying to rationalize god. So this is what I got from reading this article: god is all everything but can't or won't stop bad things from happening... he's ok with suffering and will very generously comfort us from the suffering that he provides, all you have to do to receive this gift of comfort is to live with the suffering until the day you die.

    What is the brain malfunction that people seem to suffer that won't allow them to see what this and other tragedies are? These are bad things done by bad people. The only thing a deity is needed for is to make the guilty feel justified.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  20. Michael

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”

    Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270

    Yes and where was god when 6 million Jews and 5 million other people were murdered by the Nazis? Where was god when they threw thousands or perhaps millions of children into the Nazi ovens alive? If your god allowed this supremely evil act even though he is omnipotent then perhaps he is not who you think it is. Or more likely and simply explanation is that he just doesn't exist. Its time people stopped believing in fairy tales to explain why the sun comes up in the morning and what those bumps in the night are. But this of course then makes us responsible for not monitoring our brothers' actions and calls into question our own culpability when we do not stop the evil that we do see. Personal responsibility is heavy burden. Let's just go on believing that "its god's will" and then we won't have to worry about it.

    July 31, 2012 at 8:27 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.