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My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'
August 4th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'

Editor’s note: Timothy Keller is senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and author of The New York Times best-selling book "The Reason for God." His book for church leaders, "Center Church," will be published in September.

By Timothy Keller, Special to CNN

(CNN)–When I was diagnosed with cancer, the question “Why me?” was a natural one.

Later, when I survived but others with the same kind of cancer died, I also had to ask, “Why me?”

Suffering and death seem random, senseless.

The recent Aurora, Colorado, shootings — in which some people were spared and others lost — is the latest, vivid example of this, but there are plenty of others every day: from casualties in the Syria uprising to victims of accidents on American roads. Tsunamis, tornadoes, household accidents - the list is long.

As a minister, I’ve spent countless hours with suffering people crying: “Why did God let this happen?” In general I hear four answers to this question. Each is wrong, or at least inadequate.

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

The first answer is “I guess this proves there is no God.” The problem with this thinking is that the problem of senseless suffering does not go away if you abandon belief in God.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that if there was no higher divine law, there would be no way to tell if any particular human law was unjust. Likewise, if there is no God, then why do we have a sense of outrage and horror when suffering and tragedy occur? The strong eat the weak, there is no meaning, so why not?

Friedrich Nietzsche exemplified that idea. When the atheist Nietzsche heard that a natural disaster had destroyed Java in 1883, he wrote a friend: “Two-hundred-thousand wiped out at a stroke—how magnificent!”

Because there is no God, Nietzsche said, all value judgments are arbitrary. All definitions of justice are just the results of your culture or temperament.

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

As different as they were, King and Nietzsche agreed on this point. If there is no God or higher divine law then violence is perfectly natural.

So abandoning belief in God doesn’t help with the problem of suffering at all.

The second response to suffering is: “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything. He couldn’t stop this.”

But that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of “God.” So that thinking hardly helps us with reconciling God and suffering.

The third answer to the worst kind of suffering – seemingly senseless death – is: “God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.”

But the Bible forcefully rejects the idea that people who suffer more are worse people than those who are spared suffering.

This was the self-righteous premise of Job’s friends in that great Old Testament book. They sat around Job, who was experiencing one sorrow after another, and said “The reason this is happening to you and not us is because we are living right and you are not.”

At the end of the book, God expresses his fury at Job’s ”miserable comforters.” The world is too fallen and deeply broken to fall into neat patterns of good people having good lives and bad people having bad lives.

The fourth answer to suffering in the face of an all-powerful God is that God knows what he’s doing, so be quiet and trust him.

This is partly right, but inadequate. It is inadequate because it is cold and because the Bible gives us more with which to face the terrors of life.

God did not create a world with death and evil in it. It is the result of humankind turning away from him. We were put into this world to live wholly for him, and when instead we began to live for ourselves everything in our created reality began to fall apart, physically, socially and spiritually. Everything became subject to decay.

But God did not abandon us. Only Christianity of all the world’s major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death himself, dying on the cross to take the punishment our sins deserved, so that someday he can return to Earth to end all suffering without ending us.

Do you see what this means? We don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.

It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.

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Someone might say, “But that’s only half an answer to the question ‘Why?'” Yes, but it is the half that we need. If God actually explained all the reasons why he allows things to happen as they do, it would be too much for our finite brains.

What we truly need is what little children need. They can’t understand most of what their parents allow and disallow for them. They need to know their parents love them and can be trusted. We need to know the same thing about God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Timothy Keller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • God

soundoff (3,664 Responses)
  1. Chris

    The world seems at times to be ungoverned by a divine power. Tornadoes, terrorism, child leukemia don't make sense in a world controlled by a benevolent god.

    As far as the claim that law and order comes from a divine source...it comes from the same place as the invention of gods themselves. We made it up. It comforts us to think something is out there looking out for us. Its how we explain the world until science reveals the real reason for flood, drought, and disease. Its easy for the living survivors to believe in a hopeful world. We're still here. The dead don't get a vote.

    The author is right. Abandoning god doesn't give us an answer to Aurora, Co or Virginia Tech or the Holocaust. But abandoning god does strip away the final distraction to getting to answers that do more than just comfort us.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chris "It comforts us to think something is out there looking out for us"
      =>evolution would predict the exact opposite..

      There are four possible outcomes when a person that hears an unidentified sound in the woods at night.
      1. The sound is a threat and the person ignores it
      2. The sound is a threat and the person treats it as such.
      3. The sound is NOT a threat and the person ignores it
      4. The sound is NOT a threat and the person treats it as a threat

      #2 and #3 are appropriate responses.
      #1 and #4 are inappropriate responses.

      Since it is far better to be paranoid(#4), than dead(#1) evolution would favor the paranoid over the delusional.

      yet again, evolution simply can not explain humans..

      August 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      You didn't answer on the previous page AND you again proved you misunderstood evolution here.

      Constructing a benevolent god has nothing to do with instinctual reactions to sounds in the woods. How you equated to two are a mystery to me. Your entire response to chris didn't answer, prove or say anything nor did it have anything to do with the initial post itself.

      Please try again.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Chad, so you're saying that the only reason humans have survived is because your fairy tale "god" gave us the ability to properly discern threats....without even checking them out first? Then why were all those people killed in Aurora? Wouldn't there have been some that should have instinctively KNOWN that an attack was imminent? Or are you saying that there must not have been any Xians in the theater? Or 9-11? What? No Xians in the WTC? Or any of the recent atrocities committed where there were undoubtedly SOME Xians (statistically speaking)? Give me a break!

      August 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Chris –

      Ignore Chad. This is just more of his ignorant, dishonest equivocation. #3 in his list certainly conveys a survival advantage, which is the reason humans (and most animals) display false-positive pattern identification. His last sentence is such a bald-faced non sequitur that I'm a bit surprised even Chad had the nerve include it in his post. Well, chalk another one up for Chad's stupidity and dishonesty.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Chris –
      Sorry, "#3 in his list certainly conveys a survival advantage" should have read, "#4 in his list certainly conveys a survival advantage".

      Cheers

      August 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The only thing you are proving here, Chad, is your ignorance of evolution.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Chad

      Chuckles: it is very simple, "Constructing a benevolent god" is delusional according to an atheist.
      right?
      You folks think it is simply something that humans made up to be more comfortable with the many unknowns out there.

      however, as shown, since it is better to be paranoid(the false positive case, #4 above) than delusional (the false negative case, #1 above), evolution can be predicted to produce paranoid creatures, not delusional ones.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Uh, Chad....we ARE paranoid creatures. It just gets old after a while. Remember the old adage about the boy who cried wolf?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • One one

      @chad, people can be both delusional and paranoid.

      Example :

      I feel sick. Not to worry, god will heal me. But, just in case he doesn't, I better go see a doctor.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Chris –

      I'm sure you know this (although Chad obviously does not), but mankind's innate propensity to believe in gods and to identify patterns and threats where they do not exist, both have same root – our neurology is wired to assign agency to events.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @One one –

      Precisely one of the reasons I accused Chad of equivocation (although it may just be ignorance).

      Cheers

      August 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...please forgive my omission of a couple of parts of speech.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @Really-O? "mankind's innate propensity to believe in gods ..."

      @Chad "... can not be explained by evolution"

      that's the whole point. Evolution, as shown above, simply can not produce creatures that are delusional (believing in religion.)

      August 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Wow...can Chad really be that dense?

      Our propensity to assign agency to events, whether or not the agent actually exists, is an evolutionary survival advantage. Belief in gods (agents) is a side effect, if you will, of this inclination. Now, I ask the forum, is that really so hard to understand.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...that was a question.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Chad is an expert at putting up straw man arguments intended to support his delusional beliefs in unsupported imaginary beings. Chad, your proposed 4 situations are not the complete set of responses. One you have overlooked is to take reasonable precaution for physical safety while investigating the source of the sound and then taking appropriate action based on the actual data gathered.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Chad

      Why re­li­gion emerged among early hu­mans re­mains a source of con­ten­tion among schol­ars. Many sci­en­tists be­lieve re­li­gion is ul­ti­mately based in the brain, but that still leaves un­clear how and why these be­hav­iors orig­i­nat­ed and how they may have been shaped dur­ing ev­o­lu­tion. Some arch­aeo­logists think re­li­gion came about partly as a stra­tegy by some peo­ple to grab pow­er, sim­ply by claim­ing some sort of se­cret knowledge World Science.

      You are just better off adding to the list of "I dont know's", than having a baseless confidence..

      August 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Really-O?

      More copy-&-paste diversion from Chad. He really is a peach (or is that "piece"?).

      August 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...and I will point out that this is not only more of Chad's diversion, but another example of his glaring dishonesty.

      Chad's copy & paste post above beginning with, "Why re­li­gion emerged among early hu­mans re­mains a source of con­ten­tion among schol­ars" is actually the second sentence from an article (-http://www.world-science.net/othernews/100208_religion.htm), the first sentence of which (following) clearly shows the author's position is diametrically opposed to Chad's misrepresentation –
      "Re­li­gion evolved as a byprod­uct of pre-existing men­tal ca­pa­ci­ties, and not be­cause it ful­filled a spe­cif­ic func­tion of its own—though it can fa­cil­i­tate coop­era­t­ion in so­ci­e­ty, a study concludes."

      Chad really is a dishonest piece of sh1t!

      Liar, liar, pants on fire.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...not to mention the fact that Chad changed the subject from "god" to "religion". Does anyone really think Chad believes that went unnoticed?

      August 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Chad

      The entire article, decide for yourself 🙂

      As illustrated, the "evolutionary mechanism for religion" is clearly a contentious issue. as I said.

      Re­li­gion evolved as a byprod­uct of pre-existing men­tal ca­pa­ci­ties, and not be­cause it ful­filled a spe­cif­ic func­tion of its own—though it can fa­cil­i­tate coop­era­t­ion in so­ci­e­ty, a study con­cludes. Why re­li­gion emerged among early hu­mans re­mains a source of con­ten­tion among schol­ars. Many sci­en­tists be­lieve re­li­gion is ul­ti­mately based in the brain, but that still leaves un­clear how and why these be­hav­iors orig­i­nat­ed and how they may have been shaped dur­ing ev­o­lu­tion. Some arch­aeo­logists think re­li­gion came about partly as a stra­tegy by some peo­ple to grab pow­er, sim­ply by claim­ing some sort of se­cret know­ledge.
      Re­li­gion evolved as a byprod­uct of pre-existing men­tal ca­pa­ci­ties, and not be­cause it ful­filled a spe­cif­ic func­tion of its own—though it can fa­cil­i­tate coop­era­t­ion in so­ci­e­ty, a study con­cludes. The new stu­dy, pub­lished Feb. 8 in the re­search jour­nal Trends in Cog­ni­tive Sci­ences, takes a some­what diff­er­ent track, ex­plor­ing the link be­tween mor­al­ity and re­li­gion.
      “Some schol­ars claim that re­li­gion evolved as an adapta­t­ion to solve the prob­lem of coop­era­t­ion among ge­net­ic­ally un­re­lat­ed in­di­vid­u­als, while oth­ers pro­pose that re­li­gion emerged as a by-prod­uct of pre-existing cog­ni­tive ca­pa­ci­ties,” said study co-author Ilkka Pyysi­ainen of the Hel­sin­ki Col­le­gi­um for Ad­vanced Stud­ies in Fin­land.

      Pyysi­ainen and a co-author, ev­o­lu­tion­ary psy­chol­o­gist Marc Hauser Har­vard Uni­vers­ity, re­viewed the two com­pet­ing the­o­ries us­ing the prin­ci­ples of what they call ex­pe­ri­men­tal mor­al psy­chol­o­gy.

      “Re­li­gion is linked to mor­al­ity in dif­fer­ent ways,” said Hauser. “For some, there is no mor­al­ity with­out re­li­gion, while oth­ers see re­li­gion as merely one way of ex­press­ing one’s mor­al in­tu­itions.” But past stud­ies, the au­thors said, show that peo­ple of dif­fer­ing re­li­gion or no re­li­gion show si­m­i­lar mor­al judg­ments when asked to com­ment on un­fa­mil­iar mor­al dilem­mas. That sug­gests in­tu­i­tive judg­ments of right and wrong work in­de­pend­ently of ex­plic­it re­li­gious com­mit­ments, the re­search­ers ar­gued.

      “This sup­ports the the­o­ry that re­li­gion did not orig­i­nally emerge as a bi­o­log­i­cal adapta­t­ion for coop­era­t­ion, but evolved as a sep­a­rate by-prod­uct of pre-existing cog­ni­tive func­tions that evolved from non-re­li­gious func­tions,” said Pyysi­ainen. “How­ever, al­though it ap­pears as if coop­era­t­ion is made pos­si­ble by men­tal mech­a­nisms that are not spe­cif­ic to re­li­gion, re­li­gion can play a role in fa­cil­i­tating and sta­bi­liz­ing coop­era­t­ion be­tween groups.”

      This might help to ex­plain the com­plex as­socia­t­ion be­tween mor­al­ity and re­li­gion, the sci­en­tists added. “It seems that in many cul­tures re­li­gious con­cepts and be­liefs have be­come the stand­ard way of con­cep­tu­al­ mor­al in­tu­itions. Al­though, as we dis­cuss in our pa­per, this link is not a nec­es­sary one, many peo­ple have be­come so ac­cus­tomed to us­ing it, that crit­i­cism tar­geted at re­li­gion is ex­perienced as a fun­da­men­tal threat to our mor­al ex­is­tence,” said Hauser

      August 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...upon review, Chad's post is not actually diametrically opposed to that of the papers author; however, his intention is still diversion and obfuscation (read the link and decide for yourself). Therefore, I still conclude Chad is a dishonest piece of sh1t.
      ...an unchanged assessment.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Looks to me like the article clearly supports a natural explanation for religious belief (however, I wouldn't expect Chad to see this -clearly no university degree...perhaps no high school diploma). Not to mention the fact that this thread was about belief in god, not religion, before Chad diverted it. You're a dishonest low-life Chad (and you know it). Go drink another glass of sweet tea and eat some fried catfish.

      August 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...and just to keep the cards on the table...

      Chad did not say, "[this] is clearly a contentious issue." What he did say is, "evolution would predict the exact opposite" with regard to Chris' position that "It [a belief in god/gods] comforts us to think something is out there looking out for us".

      Does anyone think Chad is capable of honesty?

      August 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Damn it! I'm feeding into Chad's narcissism once again! Why, oh why, don't I learn.

      ...perhaps Dr. Walker's magic elixir has something to do with it. Damn you Johnnie!

      August 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I'm really wondering if Chad will have the b@lls to continue this thread as the source he cites not only does not support his position (not the first time), but also refutes a number of the god-tosh assertions he has made innumerable times on this blog.

      Huh, Chad? Do you have a pair?

      August 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...I already know the answer – you don't. You may abandon this thread or you may return hours or days later – in a childish attempt to have the "last word" (yes, Chad, it's obvious you do that) – with another lame diversionary tactic. Read through your post history, Chad; you're not only this blogs whipping boy and focus of ridicule, but also it's dancing monkey. I can't believe you haven't seen that yet.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  2. Reality

    It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • David

      Just require all Christians to actually act like Jesus. The cult would vanish overnight.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Or we could start taxing the d@mn churches and maybe curtail some of our national debt.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Yes – well I was also thinking storm shelters. Anything but places that block traffic on a regular basis so people can weaken their minds.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • MadMunchkin

      @Reality: Why do no harm? On what authority do you base this rule? Why is doing no harm better than removing from our gene pool those that are weaker, as dictated in the naturally apparent and evolution-justified "Survival of the Fittest?"
      Now that our species has evolved the intellect to understand the importance of genetics and concept of evolution, where is the evolutionary advantage to letting the genetically weak and inferior survive and corrupt the gene pool? Why let people with genetic defects or weaknesses (propensities for diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, various mental illnesses, etc) be allowed to perpetuate these weaknesses? Why not remove them from being a continuous "threat" to our species? Isn't this what Nietzsche preached, and was then put into practice through Stalin, Mao and Hitler?
      Because, by and large, mankind has a universal understanding that killing the crippled, weak and old of our species is not "right," even though we intellectually understand that it is not to our evolutionary advantage.
      Why, then, are we going against what should be the logical evolutionary decision of culling the weak, or at least letting them die? Either we, as a species, have developed an evolutionary flaw call compassion, or we are answering to a higher authority.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Reality

      "Elements of beneficence

      These four concepts often arise in discussions about beneficence:
      1.One should not practice evil or do harm, often stated in Latin as Primum non nocere
      2.one should prevent evil or harm
      3.one should remove evil or harm
      4.one should practice good

      Ordinary moral discourse and most philosophical systems state that a prohibition on doing harm to others as in #1 is more compelling than any duty to benefit others as in #2-4. This makes the concept of "first do no harm" different from the other aspects of beneficence."

      August 6, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  3. lingis

    sorry Mister Author. Your explanations are very far from solving the problem. Lets take a look:
    to the 1st answer “I guess this proves there is no God.” you counter by saying that if there is no God, all value judgments are arbitrary. All definitions of justice are just the results of your culture or temperament.
    Analysis: GOD is itself a product of each society's culture and temperament. That's why we have different set of values from culture to culture

    To the 2nd answer “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything." You counter by saying that " that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of “God.”
    Analysis: This explanation starts from the premise that our definition of GOD is the correct one. Mr Author that definition is EXACTLY what is put in question here.

    To the 3rd answer :“God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.” you counter by saying that the Bible refutes that. i agree that it wouldn't be fair. However, is the Bible the right source for finding sense to senseless situations? Ireally dont want to get started on the Bible.

    You counter the 4th answer with the same Bible so i am gonna skip that.

    One last thing: you say "Only Christianity of all the world’s major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ ".
    Duhhh!!! Thats why it's called Christianity!!! This statement is an insult to the intelligence of the reader. Am disgusted..

    August 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  4. John 14:6

    Perhaps you have questions that hold you back from faith. First, almost every question you have about suffering humanity etc., can be adequately answered.

    Second, we have faith in plenty of things we don't understand. Did you understand the mechanics of television before you turned it on? Probably not. You took a step of faith, turned it on, and after it worked, understanding how it worked wasn't that important. We accept that there are unseen television waves right in front of our eyes. We can't see them because they are invisible. For them to manifest, we need a receiver, then we can enjoy the experience of television.

    God is not flesh and blood. He is an eternal Spirit-immortal and invisible. Like the television waves, He cannot be experienced until the "receiver" is switched on. Here is something you will find hard to believe: Jesus said, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).

    Either that is true or it isn't. Jesus Christ says that He will manifest Himself to anyone who obeys Him. Approach the subject the same way you approached your first television set. Just take a small step of faith. If it works, enjoy it, if it doesn't, forget it.

    Or have you an ulterior motive? Could it be that the "atheist" can't find God, for the same reason a thief can't find a policeman? Could it be that your love for sin is clouding your good judgment? If the Bible is true, and Jesus Christ has "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel," then you owe it to yourself just to check it out. God will never let you down. Thank you for taking the time to read this booklet.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • David

      Such a misguided attempt to invoke David Hume, someone whose writings you obviously have never personally read.

      I expect the TV to work only because it has repeatedly done so, and is based on principles that have been demonstrated to produce repeatable results. I've seen plenty of working TV's, I've never once had a two-way conversation with a burning bush.

      Let's see you take a "leap of faith" and believe in anything I tell you. Or will you invoke the "perfect island" out of thin air. Do yourself a favor use your frigging brain.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You don't know the difference between faith and confidence or between faith and trust. I have confidence that my TV works because I've seen it do it before. I have trust that the nabor kid will mow my lawn while I'm on vacation because he's a good, responsible kid. In turn, he trusts me to pay him when I get back.

      NONE of that has squat to do with faith, which is holding some idea to be true without a shred of evidence in support of it and frequently in the face of massive evidence to the contrary.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Reality

      From Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416, "Anyone in search of the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John......This verdict is the consensus among New Testament scholars."

      August 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Thank you for taking the time to read this booklet."

      Thank YOU for including this last sentence, so that we can see you're still capable of copying and pasting, if not original thinking.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      "Could it be that the "atheist" can't find God" Oh my. Atheists don't search for god. It is the Christian that is constantly searching for god, often for quick forgiveness for something bad they did, or to quell their wonderings about the after-life.
      Atheists assume full responsibility for their actions and simply are content with being just human beings and can just wait till the ends of their lives to find out what's next. Religion = made-up stuff to pacify the weak-minded, the fearful.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      John:

      I don't believe in god because there is no proof to support the existence of god. It's as simple as that. My morals are determined by my empathy. I don't like hurting others. I don't even like killing spiders.

      I don't have a "sacred" hand book that gives me a list of people it's okay to hate, therefore I judge people by their actions, not by an arbitrary label. I listen to what others say, but I think for myself.

      Frankly, I find no reason to trust someone like your, who is content with simply believing and parroting what you've been told.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  5. John 14:6

    Charles Darwin said,

    "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." (The Origin of Species, Chapter 6).

    If man cannot begin to make a human eye, how could anyone in his right mind think that eyes formed by mere chance? In fact, man cannot make anything from nothing. We don't know how to do it. We can re-create, reform, develop . . . but we cannot create even one grain of sand from nothing. Yet, the eye is only a small part of the most sophisticated part of creation-the human body.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I notice that you STOP quoting Darwin right before he gets to the next part, which is, in essence, "but that's exactly the way it works, however hard it may be to believe".

      August 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • naturechaplain

      Your "reasoning" and that of the author need some evolution. Your name and comment make it clear that you cherry pick what you want from whatever book you choose. In that same chapter (if you were truthful and cared), Darwin (who believed in Providence by the way) said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case." The difference between Darwin and the author and you is that Darwin was an honest follower of truth (science was his way, his truth, his life). You and the reverend may "truly need what little children need," but those of us who are honestly seeking truth through exploration and evidence will continue on the path of reason to bring you your cellphone, internet, spaceflight and cup of joe.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Chris

      Actually the human eye is not the most sophisticated contrivance in biology. In fact biologists consider the human eye to be placed backwards. The eye of the squid is far more effective and elegant. Additionally, humans see far less of the visible spectrum. The mantis shrimp currently holds the record for color vision with 8 color receptors vs our 3.

      Something the mantis shrimp can't do...cure color blindness in the lab by introducing a third color receptor. That's science.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • MadMunchkin

      Darwin's "Origin of Species" makes a great case for 'micro evolution,' or small steps between breeds within a species, but with all the research on the subject we have now, we see that he made some pretty big leaps of "faith" in his theories at the time. And taken by itself, it's definitely NOT proof that there is no God. At best, Charlie can try to make the case that a God doesn't guide the evolution of a species.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @MadMunchkin –

      Where in the world did you get the idea that Natural Selection posits a position on the existence of a deity? Seriously, do some reading.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  6. John 14:6

    The banana-the atheist's nightmare.

    Note that the banana:

    Is shaped for human hand
    Has non-slip surface
    Has outward indicators of inward content:
    Green-too early,
    Yellow-just right,
    Black-too late.
    Has a tab for removal of wrapper
    Is perforated on wrapper
    Bio-degradable wrapper
    Is shaped for human mouth
    Has a point at top for ease of entry
    Is pleasing to taste buds
    Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy
    To say that the banana happened by accident is even more unintelligent than to say that no one designed the Coca Cola can.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Poe's Law in action. This would be hilarious if you weren't serious.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • David

      I can think of somewhere else your banana will fit. I guess god must have intended that, as well.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • UncleM

      So many dumb Christians, so few lions.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      This is what a wild, natural banana looks like:

      The ones you are talking about were hybridized and developed by humans.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      LOL! John really went there! Now I can't decide if he's really a believer or just a troll.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chris

      You really shouldn't get your science from a teen actor. You probably didn't realize the banana you are mentioning (Cavendish) is a hybrid created by humans. Most bananas have to be cooked in order to be edible.

      Consider the apple.
      Round to fit the hand.
      Red and Green pleasing to the eye.
      Non-slip surface to grasp firmly without turning into mush.
      Keeps doctors away.
      Makes a great sauce for pork chops.
      Can be eaten from almost any angle.
      No need to peel.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  7. 2357

    Does your computer think you exist? How can you prove to your computer of your glorious pre-PC existence? Futility.

    Do something useful, like telling Jesus about your doubts. He actually answers prayers along those lines.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      My computer doesn't think at all.

      And if you truly believe that talking to your imaginary friend is somehow "useful", neither do you.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I use a Mac, not a PC.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  8. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    God, I humbly beseech thee to save us from thy followers!

    August 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • on judgement day

      remember what you have asked for as you are headed into the lake of fire

      August 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I love threats from people who can't even prove that their god exists. It's just as likely that your soul will be eaten by Ammit the Destroyer if Anubis weighs your heart and it is heavier than the feather of Ma'at.

      In fact there is nothing to indicate that death leads to anything more than decomposition.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  9. BK

    Suffering and death seems all the more trivial when you re-frame the question of the unbelievable prosperity and fortune of life. Out of all the planets in all of the galaxies in the vast solar system, we're on the one (or one of several) that sustains life. Out of that life, we are born into the species with the highest cognitive capabilities and richest lives. Out of all humans, everyone responding to this post is fortunate in that they are extremely wealthy by world standards, or at least are lucky enough to have computer/internet access.

    What I'm really getting at is this. Why do we need God to keep us from sin? Instead of focusing on preventing wrongs, focus on harvesting beauty in your life and experience everything you possibly can in your limited time.

    All organisms die, and I have no particular reason to believe humans get some special treatment such as heaven. I feel like we wouldn't need that golden carrot on a stick, however, if people took some time and appreciated the cosmic perfection it takes for each and every person to be born.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I prayed for God to rid the world of trolls. Prayer failed again to change things.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • John 14:6

      You sir Richard are that very troll

      August 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Then pray to your God to get rid of me and see what changes.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • David

      Smiting babies and carving-up concubines is so much more healthy.
      Nothing improves one's health like a good old-fashioned stoning.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • truth be told

      God will endure the sin of a man only so long and then comes judgement. Knowing this you are found without excuse

      August 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • kindless

      Atheism is wonderful for all kinds of people – even people like you with tiny minds. In fact, you will realize you have all kinds of mental capabilities with atheism. But you will also have some responsibilities that you'll have to fully accept to be in harmony with society. Responsibilities that you used to be able to just get a quiet pardon for when you would confess at church.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • truth be told

      No need to pray against you richardsrussell you are cursing yourself. In a short span you will be gone and then to face forever.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Wholly Goats

      Ah, John 14:6 speaks for himself, instead of copy/pasting from the Babble and Ray Comfort!

      How'd we know that John's real voice would turn out to be stupid?!~

      August 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Anti-christ troll

      Once the children are brainwashed it is very difficult to reprogram them.
      Other living things have been sacrificed as required.
      Preying on children is criminal.

      August 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  11. Chayenne

    FVCK ALL ATHEISTS..... THEY ARE SON OF SATAN

    August 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Fvck all those who don't believe in the fairy tale "god" I believe in. They are sons of the fairy tale bogeyman that I believe in.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Uh oh! Some one done awoken Carrie's grandpappy!

      August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • David

      Thanks, Maury.

      Finally I know who my father is.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So who fathered the female atheists?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  12. Ron Long

    I don't believe. Believing may be hazardous to your health.

    August 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  13. Believe in God

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:.

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    *****************************************
    Attention: American Christians (being 80% of the population) are stupid and brainwashed for supporting Israel and the Jews when they deny and made the Romans persecute, suffer and kill our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    We give Israel billions of dollars of aid every year from our hardworking tax-payers' money when nearly 50 million Americans live under poverty in this nation, as well as having lots of problems in this nation, such as bad infrastructure, high unemployment rate, billions of dollars in debt, etc.

    >-->> WAKE UP AMERICA! WE NEED OUR $MONEY$ IN OUR COUNTRY! <<--

    American Jews and Israelis do not even like us, spit and make fun on us, as well as bashing our religion. They just want our money and support!! Google and watch Youtube to see what I'm talking about!

    Keep in mind that there are many Palestinians who are Christians....

    ^^ No, this is nowhere near of being Anti-Semitic or Anti-Atheist – I just tell the truth and opinion! ^^

    August 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      And just on the previous page somebody was honestly asking why the performance of the True Believers on this board is a powerful argument in favor of atheism, and I was reduced to citing bullets, when all along here you were, waiting with this howitzer shell. Thank you for making the point so effectively.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • David

      You obviously don't know much about our founding fathers or the history of our country.

      Try again.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Oh my this is what we call extreme christardation. And I will repeat, do not apply christianity nor atheism to your begonia and not too much sunlight either. But for people, atheism is fabulous for children and all people. It makes them take responsibility for themselves; allows more time to be more productive and to make real contributions to the world. (In other words, religions, among other bad things, is a time-sucker-upper.)

      August 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  14. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Judges 19:20-29
    20 "You are welcome at my house," the old man said. "Let me supply whatever you need. Only don't spend the night in the square." 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.
    22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have s-ex with him."
    23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing."
    25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they ra-ped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
    27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
    29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.

    August 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • truth be told

      That is a passage, now what does it mean?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  15. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    1 Samuel 15:3
    3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "

    August 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • truth be told

      God was patient with the Amalekites for centuries then came judgement. God is patient with the godless mocking atheists for a time then comes judgement...

      August 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. David

    "This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief."
    –Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf , pp.152

    August 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • truth be told

      Anyone quoting adolf for truth is immediately suspect.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Poor christian. I guess that you are uncomfortable with the fact that Hitler was one of your own.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  17. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Judges 11:29-40 – Child Sacrifice
    29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
    32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
    34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break."
    36 "My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."
    38 "You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
    From this comes the Israelite custom 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

    August 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • David

      Yes, god is a sick f_ ck.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • David

      Yes, god is a sick f _ ck.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  18. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

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

    August 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      TRUTH BE TOLD: Please response to THIS one. And please take the time to read it IN CONTEXT. It is a direct commandment from your "god".

      August 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Selena

    I am writing my commentsbefore I read all the idiotic rants from people that say there is no god, talking about Obama, kim k etc. This was a beautiful well written article.

    August 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  20. David

    Ezekiel 9:5: 'Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women...'

    Sounds like good advice, given by a loving God.

    August 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • truth be told

      Yes. God had put up with the atheists for centuries, waiting for them to accept the light He extended to them. Then it was time for Israel to show the godless heathens the real light.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      truth be told: But since we NOW know, because of fossil finds and carbon dating, that modern man has been around for nearly 30,000 years. Why did your "god" wait so long to reveal this allegedly all-important message? Also what are Neanderthals? You know? The man-like, but not-so-man-like, creatures that were around before modern man, and which according to DNA EVIDENCE, obviously interbred with modern humans? Were they doomed to your alleged hell for not believing too?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      And in the response of "truth be told" we have the answer to the question, frequently posed on this board, "Why do you atheists fear us Christians, anyway?" It's because you're perfectly willing to rationalize the worst forms of human depravity in the name of your imaginary sky daddy.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • truth be told

      Not an impossibility that man may have been around 30,000 years, as with Neanderthals we simply do not know conclusively yet, unless you have special insight the rest of the world doesn't. We do not know how long the earliest dispensations were. Just suggesting but possibly Cain was the first Neanderthal, again we don't know. We do not know how long Adam and Eve resided in the garden or how many children they had. All ancient history, that is more than several thousand years is lost to us and at best speculation.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • truth be told

      MR russel I have never heard that question before and the rest of your post seems a little flighty to me. You really went around the fence in your hatred of God. Do you have any normal communication skills?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      truth be told: So if you accept the SCIENTIFIC view (which has actual empirical, repeatable evidence to support it) that modern man has been on this planet for around 30,000 years.....but also that your alleged sky fairy's "true message to the universe" didn't get here until just a mere 2,000 years ago....then don't you find it rather disconcerting that it took SO LONG???? The nicest way to put it would be that your "god" is an incompetent, bungling dolt! Not to mention that your supposedly all-knowing "god" made the initial mistake by making an imperfect angel who turned against "him" and became "satan"....and making an imperfect man whom "he" must have known beforehand would turn against him.....AND then destroying all but Noah and family, giving imperfect man yet another chance to figure it out......and then finally not until just 2000 years ago revealing the correct answer. BS! BS! BS!

      August 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • truth be told

      You are way off base with your figures regarding either Christian or Biblical belief. 2000 years ago God appeared on earth in human form, that is not the date of creation. In fact no actual date is given in the Bible for creation.

      August 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      But it is well-known that your Jeebus is said to have existed only 2000 years ago, and it is also well-known that according to your mythology, Jeebus IS the ONLY way. So why did your "god" take so long to provide the ONLY "right" answer?

      August 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
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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.