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.
God is where he has always been. He is not willing that any should perish. His ways are above our ways. But he was there with the Fireman, Policeman, EMT, friend, and person compelled to sheild there friend or loved one from bullets. God is our very present help in the time of need. Just like he can't make us live for him, it is our choice. He is there for us when we ask. He is touched by our infermities, how else could we be saved. When we call on him, he will be there. Just like the person that did not go to the movies that night because they asked for his direction. We need him So!
Yeah, I saw "God"... in Iraq, then I put two rounds in it's chest and one it's dome. It wasn't "God" any more. Your "God" is dead, and no one cares.
Aww....you made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! If I was a firefigher, EMT, police or human-shield your comment would really offend me. Where is the credit they deserve? If god came down and stopped those bullets (Pulp Fiction style), I would say you had a point there. All you described were people reacting to danger instinctually and people doing their job.
Why do believers quote bible verses to atheists? Do you think that we will read them, have an epiphany that god is real and everything makes sense? Don't you think that there are many educated atheists who, at one time, were believers with extensive knowledge of the bible and became non-believers due to its many historical inaccuracies and condradictions? Is it so hard to just admit that we, as humans, with our feeble minds, cannot possibly grasp the intricacy of the universe? It isn't really that scary just to say we really don't know. You can take comfort in science and the advancement of human understanding that we can get closer to understanding the world. If you just say, god did it, it kills all thought process and promotes stupidity and arrogance. Is that a coincedence that those two are the recipe for control?
Another thing: what is the purpose of prayer? If, like you say, god has a master plan for everything, why do you try to beg god to change his plan to make your life a little easier for the moment?
Good questions. $10 bucks says no christian comes up with a rational answer.
"God" is a term being used as a placeholder for things that some human beings either don't understand or don't want to accept. The possibility that "God" is nothing more than an ancient astronaut (alien) who might have created the first "adam" and "eve" in the garden of "eden" using genetics and something that we call... science. Hence, the often used phrase that human beings were created in god's own image. We are all human/alien hybrids. Either that, or perhaps the flying spaghetti noodle monster might be real after all! LOL! HAHAHA!!!
You sounds like having very limited knowladge about your Creator... Or may be you are limited to your book that you believe in... I would suggest to get out of it and increase your knowladge database by ready other books like the Quran to know the real truth about everything... here are few things that you will know about human creation talks in the quran and also use your intellectuals to decide instead depending on others opinion dear brother in mankind....
1. Allah created the first human Adam (ASW) from dust
2. And then the second human Hawaa created from Adam
3. Human are being created throught the parents by mixing of the sperm and ovam as it is called 'alaq/tin which we all are being created and it will continue till the end
4. The fourth one is the only one which is Isa (ASW) the son of Maryam who were created without father
Your "god" was an alien. Face it! LMAO!
There is only One God... I do not believe that each faith has different God... there is only One Sir... its human makes whatever we see around us.... i hope one day the entire earth will have only one faith and that will be 'There is no one worthy of worship except One who is unseen and knower of everything and Muhammad, Jesus, Moses Abraham are all prophets of God'....
I actually have a lot of "knowledge" of my "creator", my mom and dad are doing well, thank you. However, you have shown me your extremely limited "knowledge" of proper grammar and should seek a higher education beyond the 2nd grade. It will actually help you throughout your life, and try not to be so scared of the "boogie man"... he's not real, just so you know. ;)
:) English is not my first language... so I wouldn't expect as perfect as you Sir....
Glad to know that... please keep it up....
Also my apologies for my poor grammar and misspelling... and appreciate for reading it with difficulties :)
It is okay, all is forgiven Mohammed. No worries. Vain wisdom all and false philosophy.
Ohh, so the first human was created from dust. Well that certainly clears up some of my questions...
We all went to KFC for lunch today, and God was at the next table. Apparently He doesn't like Chick-Fil-A so much anymore.
Well, he still loves In-n-Out. They just sneak their verses under the cups. The burgers are ssooo tasty. But they give you heart disease.
Know who else likes the old in-n-out? Salero21. Right in the backside. With a crucifix. Loves it.
Where was god? No where, he doesnt exist.
Can you live with a mulfunction heart or any other parts of your body?
God is so mercyful and patient which is why you could say that... but we all will be standing in front of HIM on that day to be held accountable for everything we do and say....
O our Lord have mercy on us on that day....
"Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms."
Better to reign on 4chan than to serve in CNN?
What a bunch of mewling, exculpatory pablum. It is painful to watch otherwise intelligent people contort themselves, with such weak-minded casuistry, beyond all limits of reason to reconcile that which they know with that which they want to believe.
It is pitiful as it is pernicious.
Yes, Adam, we can all use a thesaurus.
Is there an administrator or moderator in this blog that can put an end to someone using my nickname?
This blog does not have a Login requirement, therefore any of the many charlatans of the atheists trailer park crowd, have taken upon her or himself to using my nickname to post his/her ho-mo-se-xual filth.
How can this be tolerated here? And why Registration and Login is not required?
Salero21, you inconsistent christard. You have slandered others. Your are therefore, according to your words, a filthy sinner who will burn in hell for eternity. Sucks for you.
Actually, no big deal. There is no heaven, hell, god or devil. Those are just silly things the evil christians tell children and the weak to keep dominion over them.
I want to see gay people punished! Whip them for me please, and make it hard. Sometimes it's all I can think about.
SALERNO21 – Rather than complaining openly to the forum, you can write to our administration team with your comments. In this case, you can secure your username without any trouble. Simply click "Secure Log In" under the "Settings" tab next to the "Log In" button at the upper right of the main page. It should be easy to find. You can also click on "Contact Administrators" at the lower right of the second page in if you wish to speak with us directly.
Thank You for using CNN.COM
My suggestion is that you don’t post a request to stop your handle jacking and then refer to the other side as “the trailer park crowd”. My prediction is that since you did, you will see a significant handle jacking increase.
Sal, I have had enough. You are the wrong kind of Christian. Your false faith preaches hate. You are posessed by ignorance, and the devil is dumb in you. The right kind of Christian preaches acceptance of everyone and the forgiveness of sins. We all get in to heaven, even the pedophiles and murderers. Heaven is a place of no need. Everybody gets what they want. Murderers and Pedophiles and even Moolsums. This is why god is great, he gives us what we want. All we have to do is pray. I know he is good I can feel it in the force.
Ok – it's Salero21 here I have decided to take over another name so people stop copying me. Two can play at this game, right? Seriously, though, I am really starting to get scared here. I am trying to save you all with my hate but you just mock me. Why do you mock me? I am really a nice person if you get to know me. Ok only if you get to know me a little. I do like little boys. Altar Boys... And every once in a while, between jail time, one might get to like me to.
Weird.. I didn't write the above comment.
What are you saying sir?
I just said that there is no Login button for this Belief Blog, neither I see a Settings tab anywhere either. I did contacted CNN about the issue, no response either. The only Login button is at the Main page of CNN, not at this Blog.
Thank you. Why should I have demons doing my work, when you do the job well enough. Keep the good work everybody!
Look out everyone! The evil, invisible, red lizard has an internet connection.
I've read many posts by atheists asking those who believe in God and eternal life, etc to stop consoling with fairy tales, etc. That we are not doing those who are grieving any favor by feeding them fairy tales.
If people choose to believe this in time of grief, why do you get indignant? Why is it not ok for them to believe in these fairy tales if it helps them cope with grief and death? It's not about you.
Assuming the pastor wrote that article to help those that are grieving, and you happen to think it's a bunch of nonsense. Why are you indignant? It's not about you. You chose to read the article. No one is cramming anything down your throat by writing an article filled with fairy tales.
Do you believe lying to people is ok? Especially when they are weak and heartbroken? Or to children? Or to those less intelligent? Then you are a sick person.
As for cramming beliefs down peoples' throats, where have you been for the past 2000 years. It is what religion does. It is what it is best at doing. Don't play the victim card now. That is dishonest.
But I guess you think dishonesty is ok.
You can believe anything you want, and if it makes you feel good all the better. But when people go around making statements and claims that their particular supernatural explaination is just as real as the car in the street, don't be surprised that people will call them on their claim.
NewYorkGal12, thank you so much! Your post has brightened up my entire life! I decided not to kill myself just because you have brought so much happiness into my life with your good news about God. You are absolutely correct about everything you believe, so don't let anyone tell you anything.
What some bullhocky. People, stop quoting the bible. There is just so much stupidity here, where the hell do I start? *bangs head on wall*
Start at the foot of the cross
And then what, Bill? And why?
People are sheep. Jesus is not real. Faith in ignorance is plentiful. Greed, Anger, and Delusion run amuck.
"Scripture teaches that God made people in his image. "
Cool, then he's a big ole lesbian like me.
You misunderstood that statement... that does not mean that God is like a human... i guess the problem here is as the teaching of most faiths is that making an image of human to show ileterate people that this is how God looks like where people gets confused.... but you can not blame other as you have the brain to think before you accept anything as you do use your brain/intelectual to go to a good school or find a better job etc... you are also bound to use your brain to chose what you should follow in terms of faith... whether to follow some faiths who worships creatures or the faith who worships the Creator without associating any perter with Him... i pray to Almighty to help you find the right path...
Let me sum up what Mr. Islam said,
"I know that religions teach that man was made in god's image, but that is not what they mean"
Or, Mohammed may be saying, "don't think about it. Just do it. Forget that it is completely contradictory and there is not a shred of evidence to support it. C'mon, what do you have to lose."
Used car salesmen have better pitches than the religious who peddle this nonsense.
So then as per you guys somewhere in India a guy called himself as God incernated in him and he died last year and human believed in him and worshipped him as God... so whats the difference in your faith and his? I do not see anything other than 2 diff ways making human as God...
We human are not created to know God completely... i would like to use the example of Moses... when he wanted to see God and he was told that you are not made to see Me.... and Moses found himself unconcious and the mountain turned to dust...
Human have been taught incorrectly about the knowing of God which why i guess in Christianilty we see the statues of an old man as black, spenish, chinise, arab, white etc..... Jesus was what he was or where he was born... why it is so difficult for people to accept him the way he was?
I pray for the mankind who are in lost thinking too much about it and being lost...
I do not believe there is a god and certainly not your god nor the christian god as the Abrahamic god is an immoral monster, if he did exist he would not deserve worship.
Lisa actually makes a good point. We know people with both male and female s.e.x organs are born into this world, so according to your dogma god made them that way. Would it then be far fetched to think males could be born to be attracted to other males and not females and god made them that way too. If that is the case then either god made them gay but expects them not to act on the nature he gave them, which would be cruel. Or god made them that way but what Christians and Muslims think god allows and does not allow as moral is completely wrong. Or there is a third option, the god of Abraham does not exist and this is all garbage. I am of the last opinion.
I don't get it Mo_Is. Soooo God is an Athiest like me, but doesn't look like me?
"You misunderstood that statement... that does not mean that God is like a human..." God has forty-seven dangling organs and a giant dragon-like snout? He's green and bald and drives a saucer? I always thought it meant that God was greedy and jealous and liked to kill people and knock down their walls and turn them into salt, just like a nasty old man would do.
I bet God plays a bass, then.
We all have to 'fee will' which is gift from the Creator of heavens, earth and everything btwn them... and which is why we all say whatever we want to say and we do whatever we want to do... and its not like a law of state i.e. driving with high speed in a lower speed limit will get u a ticket and points in ur dl....
Here is what i would say in reply of yours:
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. [al quran 4:1]
and everything counts what you do and what you say... you will see it on that day... it will shown to every one of us... and human will deny that they have done these and then our body parts will be testifying against us... O our Lord have mercy on all of us on that day....
You did not answer the question. Is it fair for a god to make a person that is only s.e.xually attracted to the same gender and then expect them not to act on it and if they do to torture them forever. Of course not. So your god is wrong, or your beliefs about god are wrong. Or there is no god.
I personally believe that there is an afterlife...and if God tells me, "I made you to suffer for 100 years on earth for an eternity with me," I can't say that I'd complain to the guy. I'd probably be thankful for the suffering, as I couldn't know peace without it. If you don't believe in an afterlife, or God for that matter, well then it's just a function of gravity and weak interfactions so there's nothing to worry about.
*slaps my own face in disbelief* Are you serious? What is the basis for said 100 years of suffering? Because a book says so? That you disregard your own life so completely and blissfully is scary. 'Someone told me I have to suffer, so suffer I shall. To question is wrong'. I just can't comprehend the suspension in thought it requires to reach that conclusion.
*Posts video of man slapping self on youtube* Damocles, get away from the bible, both for condemning and preaching; it's a brick wall. I did not reference any book. I did not condemn any line of thinking nor celebrate my own as the right answer. I stated what I hope to be true: If God exists, he is not just a "someone," he is God, and if God told me to suffer for the sake of being with him, I would not question him. Disregard my own life? I said no such thing. A life of suffering may be valued as much as any other. I'm not suspended in thought; rather, I am humbled that there are far greather thoughts out there than my own and I will give heed to them if and when they are shared with me.
Seriously? So lets say your parents are divorced and either one says 'hey, you know I love you and I want you to be with me forever... but... the thing is.... I'm going to make you suffer as a way to prove you are worthy of my love'. I assume you are ok with that?
I personally believe you are sheep and, what's worse, you want to be. It is the easy cowardly way out. Don't think for yourself. Just believe the fairy tale.
If you spend your entire life looking forward to the dream of an afterlife, then you've wasted your time on earth. Enjoy the life that you actually have.
Really? I'd ask Him straight up why He wanted me to suffer. Why can't I have as much money as Mitt Romney instead of having my dad drop dead and having to work all my life? Why did He invent polio, leprosy, and those Amazon fish that swim up your junk and die there? I created my son, but not so I could watch him suffer and die; he'd live forever if I could arrange it. Why worship a god who makes you suffer? Your point is that there's no choice, and mine's that not all slaves love Ole Massa.
Dear Atheists and Colin,
My belief in God does not stem from any proof i may have found. It was a truth thrust upon me in a way and time i was not even looking for it.
Salvation comes to you, as it did me, and as written in the Scriptures by His word. The Holy Spirit bathes you in love and forgiveness. This is the only way i know of God's existence, because i have felt it.
Know that as soon as i finish typing this, you (colin) will be in my prayers.
My prayer is that you too will know this love that only God can give, just like many non believers who were so firm in their stance have also felt.
May the Lord keep you and Bless you Colin.
What a bunch of claptrap. Is it impossible for you to see that other people may have done the same 'soul searching' as it were and somehow come up with ideas that run opposite of yours? Everyone has that journey of self-discovery. Just because they reached a different conclusion than you did, does not make them wrong.
Damocles – Is it impossible for you to see that other people may have done the same 'soul searching' as it were and somehow come up with ideas that run opposite of yours? Everyone has that journey of self-discovery. Just because they reached a different conclusion than you did, does not make them wrong.
dihappy – peace and blessings brother
" It was a truth thrust upon me in a way and time i was not even looking for it. " I remember being a small child and suddenly realizing the adults were all pretending they believed for the benefit of the children. I've always kept that faith that the universe is completely physical, not a trick played by some huge creature who intends to kill us all when He gets bored. Santa was just your mom and dad, you know.
"Everyone has that journey of self-discovery. Just because they reached a different conclusion than you did, does not make them wrong."
I appreciate your comment, however i was not "soul searching", nor was I on a "journey of self-discovery". I do know some who were at "rock bottom" and searching for answers when they found Salvation, but i was not one of them.
Bible Clown, your chosen forum name gives me indication of your motives/agenda and does not warrant any further reply.
This article is just silly.
What POSSIBLE evidence do you have for saying that the will of god and satan are forces on Earth? You can't make fantastic claims like that, with NO proof, then just move on as if it were an equal claim to natural laws.
They aren't the same. Gravity exists, and I can prove it.
Our perspective comes from a human view – we are all sinners. We often ask the question about evil, but we are asking the wrong question. The proper question is why does God choose to save any of us. Look in the mirror – own it – be truthful with yourself for once – you are sinful, depraved and there is nothing good in you. Apart from Christ (the risen and living God – the image of the invisible Father) you are hopeless, lifeless and dead. Yet even you serve a purpose – God's purpose of salvation. And even though you may reject Christ and profess that there is no God – you know deep down you are real trouble because you know deep down there is a Creator. You just refuse to be held accountable by Him and in the process you reject God's one and only Son who was sent to redeem you! You are no different than the jews who crucified Jesus. Repent and belive the Gospel of Christ. Once you accept the geift of faith given you – you stop rejecting the giver of the gift – God. Believe and be baptized and you will be saved. Repent and have faith in the forgiveness free from Christ that frees you from sin, death and the devil. Then these events will cause you to praise God for His salvation instead of trying to play God and be your own God in the process.
Why is that the wrong question? It's EXACTLY the right one. You just don't have a good reason for it.
So this "god" you speak of created a bunch of sinners filled with evil just so he could save them? Sounds like a real narcissist, wouldn't you say? And while you're at it, get yourself a copy of Strunk & White.
You are a special kind of backwards John.
I'm telling you quite truthfully, Confused, that I do not feel threatened in any way. Like the Bible, which is a book that is not written to "prove" that God exists but simply assumes that He is, I also know from different conclusions that God exists.
I do appreciate your genuine effort to try to help me see what you perceive to be true.
You write: "You are no different than the jews who crucified Jesus." If we are to believe the usual narrative, it was the Romans who did the crucifying. Be clear: JESUS was a JEW. The New Testament is a compendium of various accounts of Jesus, but the SINGULAR thread of it is that it consists of Jesus SPECIFICALLY talking to Jews. The IRONY of history, In fact, is that for the first 200 years of what is called "Christianity," people who wanted to follow Christ CONVERTED to JUDAISM. Without Judaism, there IS NO "Christianity." This is the dilemma for the so-called "Christian" world. Your emphasis on "Jews" having killed Christ merely perpetuates the twisted kind of anti-Jewish sentiment that has been responsible for centuries and centuries and centuries of anti-Jew hatred. Not very "Christian" in my mind. As the QUIP GOES: "Yes....Jesus WAS Jewish.....but ONLY on his Mother's side....."
The Jews didn't crucify Jesus, they had the Romans do it for them...kinda sneaky, and ironic, if you think about it!
" you are sinful, depraved and there is nothing good in you." Liar. You nothing about me, but I know you for someone willing to spout lies in the service of some supernatural being. Maybe you are God's Messenger, but I always heard it was the other guy who was the Father of Lies.
The same place he was when Cain killed Able and the same place he was when the Romans crucified His only begotten son, on His thrown.
He is MIA anytime he is needed. Funny how that works. Other than a flurry of activity ong the Bronze-age nomads of Palestine, he grew tired of miracles and has stopped.
Certainly no coincidence that as intelligence has advanced, the hysterical claims of the religious to miracles has decreased.
It is the sins of others that hurt others. GOD is not pleased and each one of us including this murderer will be judged accordingly! God has HIS timing. This who situation in terrible and definitely demonic. Anytime anything happens like this awful and painful. May the Lord be with the family and may everyone draw closer to GOD.
There is no god. Stop with the false consolation and wish thinking.
Give these families "true consolation" then. Write them a letter and comfort them.
I already did by posting on another site. What I did not do is torture them mentally with the religious nonsense of "this was part of god's plan," or "you will see them again in heaven's kingdom."
That is false consolation and cruelty. Grow up.
If there is no Heaven, there is no consolation. Your words are empty.
If there is no God and no Heaven there is no consolation. If we only live once then to the grave, these families have no hope of seeing their dead loved ones again. If that is true, there is zero consolation. Because some people do believe in God and have an assurance that Heaven and Hell exist, and have a sure hope that they will see their loved ones again, this IS consolation.
Let's say there is no god. I'm completely deluded and wrong. Then there is no consolation if one of my children dies and I never get to see them again. Stop assuming there is consolation if there is no god and no Heaven and no Hell for those who are not forgiven by God.
Then based upon your false choice which I will indulge, there is no need for funerals, hugs, sympathy letters or cards or any other human action or interaction which brings true consolation. The fact that, in your view, heaven exists, renders all of those activities superfluous and not "real."
Yet people still do them. Even religious sheep. I wonder what that says about their true thoughts on whether the heaven fantasy is real?
Anyone who claims to know what happens after we die is a liar. A charlatan. But, given how the religious have been lying to children for centuries, it makes sense.
Death is still hard, even if Heaven exists. You cannot speak for the peace and hope that believers (in Christ) have of seeing their loved ones, even in the midst of their grief. You simply cannot judge this.
I get it – you don't believe in God and think all religious adults are liars. if this is true, on the same token, people who tell their kids about Santa Claus are doing the same thing- lying to them. Let me guess, somehow this is ok.
Another thing – people that believe in God ARE going to teach their children about Him (even if He doesn't exist as you say) – why wouldn't we? We BELIEVE! How is it not logical for a believer not to teach his children whom he/she loves about the God they believe in?
Feel free not to teach your children – you are their parent. Atheists are free not to teach their children about this "fairy tales."
Believers, in turn, are free to teach their children. It doesn't make them liars if they believe it.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “ Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
I can tell you that it offers a false hope and peace. That the people providing it know they are lying and that makes me ill.
Santa Claus does not condemn you to eternal hell if you do not believe in him or do as he says. And once a child outgrows the silly belief, it is no longer crammed down their throat as if it were truth. The Santa lie is harmless; the other sinister.
That is the truth.
You are certainly free to fill you child's mind with lies. Just because you believe it does not make it true. Cue the fairies, pixies, Santa, Easter Bunny and unicorns. You have not a shred of evidence for that belief, other than the disjointed and conflicting writings of Bronze-age nomads.
Worse, you tell you children that if they do NOT believe, they will go to hell and suffer for eternity. What a wonderful story. And when they ask questions you cannot answer because you do not know, just revert to the religious person's favorite default, "It is part of god's plan. Just trust in Him." Which, of course, answers nothing.
I guess you showed me.
The truth is sometimes difficult, especially if you have preconceived notions of a fairy tale. If you feel threatened, maybe you should scrutinize your beliefs and see if they fit with what you actually can determine.
"I showed you." That is not what it is about. But as a true christian, you have an answer that answers nothing.
Confused, that I do not feel threatened in any way. Like the Bible, which is a book that is not written to "prove" that God exists but simply assumes that He is, I also know from different observations that God exists.
I have not come to this conclusion because I am "dim-witted" or "uneducated" as many atheists like to accuse believers of.
I have no doubt that you believe. And that you want to believe. But that does not make anything true. The Bible assumes something to be true then explains it as it being true because it is in the Bible. That is classic circular reasoning. How can you stand for that? There is probably nothing else in your life that you would condone with that sort of reasoning.
And I don't even mention the torture, killing, slavery and genocide that is contained in the bible. How can you possibly reconcile that? Or do you engage in "cafeteria" style religion, i.e. taking bits and pieces from here and there that fit into what you want to believe. That is dishonest and irreconcilable. It is either all true or none of it is true.
All of that, and there is no verifiable proof that any of it is or was ever true can lead a rational person to only one conclusion: a man-made fairy tale at best and a means of mind-control, torture and prejudice at worst.
Just because the Bible narrates a story on genocide or killing or torture doesn't mean God is giving it a thumb's up.
The one thing that must be understood is the nature of God and the nature of "sin" or "wrongdoing" – the truth is that God hates all wrongdoing. Not just murder and cheating on your spouse and robbing innocent people – but also slander, being disobedient to parents, he hates pride, he hates lustful thoughts, the list is endless. We are all guilty of some form of wrongdoing. Unless you come to understand the holiness of God and the nature of sin, you will never have a need for a God to save you from your own wrongdoing. If you think you are good and you don't need God, then you will never find him.,
I say that to say that if the Bible tells a story on killing or genocide or whatever, it is either simply narrating something that happened in history – whether by judgment from God or people's actions.
Either way, if you believe that the Bible is fairy tales, why do you care if there's a story on killing and torture?
"people who tell their kids about Santa Claus are doing the same thing- lying to them. Let me guess, somehow this is ok."
Santa is the "training wheels" for God. When you learn about Santa, you begin to wonder about his boss. Pretty soon you realize that's just Mom and Dad, too. Then you get to be a church deacon and help make decisions that 'true believers' are left out of.
Your last post is exactly why religion is a joke. "Narrates a story?". If your god's "judgment" is to kill, how is that any different than a flawed human?
"Let's say there is no god. I'm completely deluded and wrong." OK
I am going to say this once.
God is man, if god made man in his image and likeness, in his thoughts and everything. Then man is god, god is a fallible, evil, caring, destructive being.
God was there holding the trigger and killing people. He was also the nurses caring for the people. He is the one that hurts children, and then cares for the children. God is man. Because if god was 'only goodness and light' then all the evils he lets happen make him a even more sadistic being then the worst 'sinner' on earth.
If it was 'the devil' remember that god made him and could unmake him at any time he chooses but refuses to unmake the devil. Because he wants us to suffer and die. Worshiping the devil works more the worshiping a deity that CAN help but won't. The devil just says 'boo hoo there is evil so what?' it does not deny the terrible things done, and say that only one person is to blame is the devil. It is man and god himself, because god wants all things to suffer. While the devil just wants humans dead.
I would rather go with someone that wants me dead then someone that will shower me with love a caring then shove me into a fire and watch me burn to death.
Dude, what are you even talking about? Go back to your bong hits.
Wonder was anyone seeking God before this terrorist attacked. We go about our lives thankless towards God that we even exist. But one must also understand the ignorance of man like yourself, who has been mislead by false doctrines about God and have been blinded from the truth.
It would be wise for you and anyone else who does not understand what is going on in the world to heed this counsel:
2 Do not hurry yourself as regards your mouth; and as for your heart, let it not be hasty to bring forth a word before the [true] God. For the [true] God is in the heavens but you are on the earth. That is why your words should prove to be few.
8 “For the thoughts of YOU people are not my thoughts, nor are my ways YOUR ways,” is the utterance of Jehovah. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than YOUR ways, and my thoughts than YOUR thoughts.
3 It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.
16 There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: 17 lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, 18 a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, 19 a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.
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.