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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. Jonboy

    If God told us why he does things it would be too much for our finite brains. LOL what a laugh. Maybe for your finite brain. He could at least try to explain why he gives cancer to babies. G'head, let's give it a shot...*crickets chirping* Maybe the simplest answer is the best answer. The invisible man in the sky who needs 10 percent of your paycheck (in all of his infinite power) is as real as Santa Claus!

    August 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Steve Chenoy

      Might as well believe in Leprechauns. At least they have their own cereal! Maybe 2000 years from now, someone will un-bury a box and deem it divine, and here we go again....

      August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • toad

      Better to ask "Why does God not prevent cancer in babies? If you followed molecular medicine you would know that there is an inevitability about cancer.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Colin

    Chad, Mark etc.,

    What got me thinking about this are some tapes I am listening to in my car at the moment. They are about the development of Christian theology in the Eastern Mediterranean during the period from the death of Jesus through to and including Augustine.

    What struck me more than anything is how the whole thing is totally made up. The trinity, the incarnation, grace, the re-reading of the Jewish texts to make them fit the Jesus story, indeed the whole thing. The early church leaders made it all up, lock, stock and barrel. Not 99% of it, but all of it. Every last piece of Christian theology is nothing more than mental musing by early church leaders. It is the product of pseudo-intellectual religious meanderings at a point in our history when eye glasses were 800 years away from being cutting edge technology.

    What is even more bizarre and disappointing is how billions of us today will blindly accept the theology of Christianity without even questioning its validity or having the slightest clue about its origins and development. Perhaps the one accurate analogy in all of Christianity is that of a Lord being a shepherd and Christians his sheep.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      One only needs to go back further in ancient history to understand how religious deception became the norm. christianity "stole" every bit of the weirdness that goes along with believing in the supernatural. They are unoriginal, blatantly so.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • sybaris

      People put more thought into picking out their vacation travel plans than the history behind the religion they practice.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      They have proof that 99% of the bible was made up? That's news to me – I would have expected that would be in the headlines everywhere. Please show us the proof that it was made up.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @JuJu Bee

      Do you know anything about ancient civilizations and their religions and gods?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Colin

      Ju Ju Bee- I said Christian theology was totally made up – the trinity, grace, the incarnation, etc. The pure philosophical elements. This is, without doubt, 100% made up. As to the historical elements of Judeo-Christianity, I suspect that the vast majority of it is mythology or otherwise fabricated, too, but it is not as obvioulsy so as the philosophical aspects are.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      Ok – but you stated that it 100% made up (my error – I read 99% previously). Now, if that is the case – what is your proof that it's 100% made up? If you don't believe in what it says – that's one thing. But you made the claim that it is 100% made up – I just asked you for proof.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Chad

      Colin "What got me thinking about this are some tapes I am listening to in my car at the moment. They are about the development of Christian theology in the Eastern Mediterranean during the period from the death of Jesus through to and including Augustine. What struck me more than anything is how the whole thing is totally made up. The trinity, the incarnation, grace, the re-reading of the Jewish texts to make them fit the Jesus story, indeed the whole thing. The early church leaders made it all up"

      =>are you including the written testimony of the early apostles in your definition of "early church leaders"?
      how do you explain the empty tomb and the belief in the resurrection appearances?

      August 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  3. the good news is

    There is no god and there are no gods. But this seems to be difficult for most humans to admit to themselves and seemingly even harder to admit to their fellow humans. Children are indoctrinated into believing there is a god or gods by well-meaning parents who take comfort in such magical thinking. Unless and until this cycle of self-deception is broken, the scourge of organized religion will continue to plague our species. Only by treating our children with the respect they deserve will the human condition improve. Readers of this post (and readers of all internet posts related to the existence of a god) fall into two opposing camps whose positions are never changed by what they read.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      the good news is: "There is no god and there are no gods."

      Fallacy check: 'the good news' has committed the fallacy of 'Argument from ignorance'.

      Come to think of it, has the "real" fallacy-spotter ever pointed out an atheist's fallacy on these boards?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  4. mountainmama82

    God has left the building!

    August 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  5. Al

    I think the best explanation of why God allows bad things to happen to good people came from a Muslim friend of mine. He pointed out that he expects to be in heaven forever. As the amount of time in heaven approaches infinity the proportion of suffering on earth approaches zero. No mater how much he suffers in this life it is insignificant when compared to infinity. The problem I have with Judo-Christian-Islam isn't the problem of suffering on Earth but the problem of suffering in the afterlife. If it is evil to unjustly punish someone than God who gives infinite punishment for finite sins becomes infinitely evil.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Don't you have a problem with believing in a god?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Al,
      By that logic, I am morally ok if I hurt someone as long as I also give them something in return. That doesn't fly with me, but what I do I know? I am just an atheist who acts humanely and kindly to his fellow man.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      God becomes infinitely evil because he punishes finite sins with infinite punishment?
      Not so.
      All sins are forgivable except for unbelief. If a person goes into eternity, which is infinite, in a state of unbelief, it becomes de facto eternal/infinite.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      If you knew the depth of suffering of Christ, and the meaning of what it took for God to send His Son to save us, fallen human race, you would never say that God is unjust for casting rebellious, unrepentant sinners who refused and spurned His gift of salvation to us, into eternal separation from Him. And where there is such measure of love and sacrifice offered to us so freely, there has to be a sentence that's fitting for rejecting it. This is God's justice and it is perfect and flawless! Anything less would out of balance and out of line with the character of God. Maybe this will help you to understand....

      August 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • OOO

      So if this life is basically 0, then why does god do it at all?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @PRISM 1234
      "...Maybe this will help you to understand...."

      Absolutely, it makes me understand that you live in some crazy place and it is as disturbing as disturbing can be.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • David

      Lots of people have suffered and died for their fellow man. They, however, did not demand that we worship them or else.

      This god of yours sounds like a real piece of work.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "If you knew the depth of suffering of Christ"

      The idea god had to sacrifice himself to himself in order to open a loophole is absurd.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Solidroque

      If I live in a kingdom, and I slap a peasant, no one will really care. However, if I slap the king, I will be thrown in jail or worse. The offense is the same: slapping. It is the worth of the one you are offending that determines the severity of the punishment. If you sin against an infinitely good God, then an infinitely long punishment is not evil, but just.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      David, I'm talking about the WORK OF GOD, not work of man. What Christ did goes way beyond what human reason can understand. If you humble yourself before God and cease to be wise in your own eyes, then God can show you. Otherwise you'll remain blind and without understanding.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      " The idea god had to sacrifice himself to himself in order to open a loophole is absurd."

      The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? Oh, yes He has! But He has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

      For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message of the Gospel of Christ preached, to save those who believe....
      Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
      – The Word of God (1 Corinthians 1,2)

      Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and the knowledge of God!
      How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
      He has hidden them from those who are wise in their own eyes, but revealed them to the humble, and to those of broken and con/trite hearts...
      This is the wisdom of our God, which the world in all its wealth and glory can not fathom!
      To Him and His Christ, our redeemer be praise, honor and glory, forever – world without end – Amen!

      ***reposted – first one went to wrong place

      August 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  6. Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

    Christians believe that God wrote a book (the Holy Bible). The historical accuracy of the bible and it's message of a messiah (Jesus) is backed by more tha 20,000 ancient manuscripts and fragments and all of the ancient secular historical accounts.
    Nobody denies that Jesus actually existed and his ressurection was witnessed by more than 500 people. If Jesus rose from the dead then it's something we need to deal with. Its clear from history that something happened 2000 years ago. Even jews and Muslims believe that Jesus existed.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • David

      I'd love to see the 20,000 ancient manuscripts that mention Jesus.

      BTW, we all agree that Hannibal existed. Should we worship him, as well?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Will you shut the f*uck-up already, you posted that just a couple of minutes ago!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Timmy

      I have no problem with the possibility that some Jewish rabbie named Jesus existed 2000 years ago who claimed that he was a god but I do have issues in claiming he became a zombie.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Amazing...

      Witnessed by 500 people? How do you know 500 people witnessed this? Do you have names? Do you have signed affidavits?

      I'll bet that what you have is that someone TOLD you that there were 500 people there, and you decided to just believe it. If someone else told you that no one saw it, you would decide that they needed to prove it.

      See where I am going here? Before you make a claim that something is the truth, better present some objective evidence.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      There is evidence – it's called a bible. It even has names in it.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  7. Ron

    "God did not create a world with death and evil in it. It is the result of humankind turning away from him."

    Pastor Keller,

    I am saddened and discouraged by your concept of God. Your quote above makes God sound very small – and even stupid – as though he was very suprised by our sinfulness. You may say, "Well, he chose to take a risk in creating us with free will." More small-minded thinking, in my estimation, as though this god expected that it might well turn out differenty. Keep seeking, Pastor, hopefully with an open mind. There are better understandings (though still limited) out there.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Lisa

      And small thinking for you as well Ron, that if God were to know that given free will his creation would reject Him that He would choose not to create. Small thinking to assume you are in a position to conceive what an all powerful, infinite being conceives, knows and thinks.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Lisa
      " Small thinking to assume you are in a position to conceive what an all powerful, infinite being conceives, knows and thinks."

      And you are saying you don't?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Lisa

      I didn't make a claim that suggested I did.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  8. JustTheFactsMaam

    I wonder if Mr. Keller has read (among the posturing and name calling) any of the cogent posts here that show his shoddy reasoning for what it is. His arguments are entirely unconvincing, and the God he prays to is shown to be primitive and vicious. Does Mr. Keller really believe that all suffering pain and death are because " the result of humankind turning away from him"? The bible is more specific. It says that suffering and death are punishment for disobedience. That sounds like collective punishment to me, and it's a punishment that far outweighs the crime. I'm sure glad that Mr. Keller's God does not exist, because even if it did, I wouldn't pray to it.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      And it is punishing the sins of the father (and mother) on the sons, daughters ad infinitum, not exactly a moral position.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Lisa

      What is life of random chance, evolution and meaninglessness? Your time here means nothing? When you are gone, we are gone, that's it? Nothing? After we're dead we can't change our minds. I'll err on the side of caution and take my chances that it all does mean something.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • JustThe FactsMaam

      "What is life of random chance, evolution and meaninglessness? Your time here means nothing?"

      Lisa – Just like gods don't create morality, neither do gods create meaning. Humans create meaning, and life is so much more meaningful if one is not confused by stories of a God with inscrutable purposes and an afterlife for which there is no evidence. This life is all you have, so make the most of it. Learn, love, explore and create. Help others. Make the world a better place, and you will find more meaning that you ever will in church.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    questioning religion is always dangerous - you might actually follow logic to its conclusion and become an atheist. oh the horror! lol.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Lisa

      The horror comes if you find out you were actually wrong.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • sybaris

      Right Lisa, you should have been worshiping Osiris all along.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Amazing...

      Lisa,

      Know anybody that worships Odin anymore? How did he fall off his pedestal?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

    Childish nonsense. The basis of non-theistic ethics is the human person itself. We start from 'is' and then work to 'ought.' This is why religious ethics can be so easily bent to serve any debased goal at all. When you rely on "God said X" and your god only speaks through you or through scripture which is interpreted by you, then your god is a puppet which can be made to say anything at all.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Lisa

      Excellent point, very true. We've seen this happen repeatedly in history. People depend on other people to define a religion for them. People should interpret for themselves.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • toad

      This is interesting. How does this one get from "is" to "ought". It's a long-standing problem. Let's see the Belief Blog approach to it.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @toad,
      Start by studying the historical development of humanism.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • toad

      I apologize, Cthulu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths. I did know that no one grapples with anything substantial here.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  11. Toad

    "It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care." It can't be that we die. What I don't want to be can't be, because I don't want it to be.

    Grow up.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • David

      He only hits me because he loves me. Please don't be mad at him.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  12. Chafin Rhyne

    There is no proof of any supernatural being period. Go ahead an make it up as we go.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Let us not forget to make laws that the supernatural being made.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Turn from your sin and believe in Jesus Christ who died to pay for your sins and you will have eternal life.
      I promise you will never regret it. Then read your bible and obey it. Start with John.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved,
      I have read the Christian bible. I know it better than most Christians. That's why I rejected it as the silly Semitic superitious nonsense that it really is.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Hairnet

      Consider Who lifts the sun up every morning?... Who puts breathe in your body?... Who keeps your heart beating? Who made your brain?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Hairnet
      "Consider Who lifts the sun up every morning?... Who puts breathe in your body?... Who keeps your heart beating? Who made your brain?"

      You are joking, right?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      Can you prove that there wasn't?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  13. Colin

    Two stories are nicely juxtaposed in today’s news on CNN. In the first, scientists have a question about whether there has ever been life on Mars. So, they spend a couple of billion dollars, employ the latest developments in mathematics, engineering, computing, astronomy and radio communications, and send a probe to Mars to investigate the question. They will spend the next few years objectively analyzing the data to see if, and what results they achieve. If they achieve nothing, they will say so.

    On the flip side, religious philosophers have a question about life after death and, in particular why “God” allows suffering and death. In addressing this question, they employ nothing more than mental gymnastics. No tools or technology are utilized, no experiments or other validating factors are engaged and no external feedback of any nature is implicated. There is no way to validate or discard whatever answer they come up with. In short, they get to make the whole thing up.

    This fundamental difference between science and religion is why science has given us everything we have today – longer life spans, greater opportunities to travel and know and understand the World and comforts like televisions, the internet and modern medicines.

    Religion has offered up zero. Nothing but the same tired c.rap they have been going on with for the last few thousand years. The sooner we discard this useless garbage to the dustbin of history, the better.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      Bravo, my friend!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Just sayin'

      Two thumbs way up!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "No tools or technology are utilized, no experiments or other validating factors are engaged and no external feedback of any nature is implicated"

      @Chad "how exactly do you suggest we design an experiment that detects God?
      How can you design an experiment that detects any person at all?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Right On!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      So VERY well said, Colin!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • C-Sizzle

      Yes! Well said. We have to call out these wackos on their circular logical and end their grip on our culture.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Chad,
      If your god had an impact on the universe, it would be measurable. If it does, then you can test it. If it doesn't, then anyone claiming to know anything about your god is lying through their teeth. End of story.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Chad

      Why does your god allow you to be so f*ucking stupid?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • toad

      There's a lot of meirt in what you say Colin. We've pursued the "fruits" of scientific reasoning for far too long. We are becoming complacent and dependent on the things we've created and are losing sight of the trully important things, such as why I should care about you even though I regard you as filth. Finding evidence of there having been life on Mars, or substantial reasons to think it never existed there, contribute nothing.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Bravo Colin, you're right!
      Let's get rid of all this Golden Rule religious stuff and receive ALL the wonderful gifts of science – including the gifts you conveniently omitted, e.g., nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and all the other more deadly ones that may arise!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths "If your god had an impact on the universe, it would be measurable. If it does, then you can test it. If it doesn't, "

      @Chad "God created the laws of nature, they are measurable (atheists cant explain how/why they exist).. is that what you mean?"

      August 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @toad,
      "such as why I should care about you even though I regard you as filth"
      And yet it is you, not Colin, who cannot do better than this. What a shame you are to the human race.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Christians believe that God wrote a book (the Holy Bible). The historical accuracy of the bible and it's message of a messiah (Jesus) is backed by more tha 20,000 ancient manuscripts and fragments and all of the ancient secular historical accounts.
      Nobody denies that Jesus actually existed and his ressurection was witnessed by more than 500 people. If Jesus rose from the dead then it's something we need to deal with.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Chad,
      Prove that you god exists and made said laws, and we'll talk. Until then, you are just making unfounded assertions without merit. It is a fundamental failure of reasoning.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Nobody denies that Jesus actually existed and his ressurection was witnessed by more than 500 people. If Jesus rose from the dead then it's something we need to deal with."

      I deny that your jesus existed.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • toad

      Ah, but Colin's Lickspittle, I do care about Colin and wish him well. I don't know why and nothing in your reasoning and philospophy is likely to explain it.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved,
      "Christians believe that God wrote a book (the Holy Bible)."
      False, on every count. Are you unaware of the Jewish beliefs about the author of the Pentateuch? Are you not aware of where the names of the books of the gospels came from? Seriously, at best (non-stupid) Christians claim that the bible was inspired by their deity, not written by it.

      "The historical accuracy of the bible"
      The bible has been shown to be laughably inaccurate, from Genesis onwards. It gets very little right at all, and even where it has some semblence of reality, it gets the whole context wrong.

      "and it's message of a messiah (Jesus) is backed by more tha 20,000 ancient manuscripts and fragments and all of the ancient secular historical accounts."
      You can say the same about ever single religion we know of. Correlate those accounts with reality and you might have a point. I'll give you a hint: the two do not match up.

      "Nobody denies that Jesus actually existed and his ressurection was witnessed by more than 500 people. If Jesus rose from the dead then it's something we need to deal with."
      Poke your head out of your rectum and you'll find plenty of people who deny that Jesus existed. Furthermore, you'll find that many who think that Jesus existed in some form also reject that he was anything like the story of the Gospel or Paul's messianic ramblings. It's funny how the Jews never noticed and bothered to write down any of the accounts of their messiah wandering around. It's funny how the Romans never noticed all of these miracles happening. All we have is the word of some cultists that these earth shaking events took place, and that is the flimsiest kind of evidence. You might as well think that the Mormons or the Scientologists got it right, for all the evidence you can muster.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I see Chad receiving an ass-kicking on this thread too. Some things never change.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @toad,
      "I do care about Colin and wish him well. I don't know why and nothing in your reasoning and philospophy is likely to explain it."
      It is because you share the basic human tendency of empathy and are not a sociopath. These are the result of the evolution of our species as a social species. It is no more inexplicable than the fact that other creatures can manage to take care of others in their tribe.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad = Chad's

      Damn it.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths –

      Well constructed thread.

      Cheers

      August 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”So, they spend a couple of billion dollars, employ the latest developments in mathematics, “

      Often, a few Atheist chime in and question Religions such as the Catholics and ask why do they not take all of their wealth and feed the poor or similar. Today Colin ask us what has science given us today. I would then offer the question of why are wasting money to discover “if” life ever existed on a dead planet, when we have people suffering right here and now on this planet? In general, I do not have a issue with advancements in science but when I hear about ..how did Colin put it … “Billions” being spent to discover a “if” when we have active needs here, I have a issue with those in science. Those Billions ...or basically .. those six figure paychecks... I call into question if they would tell us anything that might jeopardize their monetary interest.

      Look at all of the diseases that we have been pouring tons and tons of money into and each year … “well we are 10 to 20 years “ or “I hope it will be cured in our lifetime”. Colin, how many billions of dollars in probes are we going to have to keep paying for to investigate questions that would have no tangible impact on today's world?

      On the “flip side”, Billions of dollars of our tax money does not go into the church. The money that the churches, temples, mosques get are voluntary. If one church wants to build a day care with their money and another wants to add another water fountain in Rome, we have a choice. With the funding of your science, through Government agencies such as NASA, we do not have a choice. We barely have over-site. Our money just goes into this study or that. As soon as those scientist are paid another group will have their hands out for funding to disprove the first groups study. It is an endless loop, that folks are getting tired of.

      >>>”This fundamental difference between science and religion is why science has given us everything we have today – longer life spans, greater opportunities to travel and know and understand the World and comforts like televisions, the internet and modern medicines.”

      Yeah, science also wasted two major Ja'panese cities. Science has also gave us chemical weapons. Science has also gave us global warming and if I take your last three inventions...televisions, internet, and modern machines... then it has also gave society a more sedentary lifestyles. I could just say that the increase in obesity can be causes be the very inventions that you mention Colin. For proof, notice as the 3rd world countries are rising and they have access to the things you mention … their rates of obesity and diseases such as Diabetes increase.

      Wait... aren't we paying scientist billions to cure Diabetes? If the suggestions you gave are what science “gave us” and they cause effects that we have to pay science to cure us of.... Sorta explains why Sony is coming out with a 74 inch flat screen and the scientist are demanding more money to cure the effects of the poor slobs that park themselves in front of it.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Colin, Cthulu and Really-O are doing a circle jerk. Hey, if the shoe fits...

      August 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • letrapresscards

      Nobody, no science, no one has been able to create a single leaf of a tree from scratch. A natural one, not an artificial one, or a clone, like Dolly. When science finally reaches the top of the mountain, then it will discover that God has been sitting there since the beginning.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths "Prove that you god exists and made said laws, and we'll talk"

      @Chad "again, we get to the fundamental question.. How do you prove that a person exists, and did something?"

      The problem you are having in (not) answering that question, is due to the fact that people arent laws of nature, and the same techniques used to test laws of nature simply dont work to test the existence of humans.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Mark, you issue seems to be more with the way we utilize science and the priorities we should give to funding various scientific endeavors. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with you on priorities. On your point about science giving us powers that we may misuse, I agree, but this highlights the power of science, it does not argue against it.

      Tom, Tom I am not sure whether u have me in the circle jerk or not. If so, I hope the p.orn is good – :).

      August 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Amazing...

      Really well-stated.

      Who is that guy who claimed the world was going to end last May 21, then he moved it to Oct 21? Well, after the whole thing collapsed, he did what all religious leaders do...he spiritualized it. He changed the message. Now it needs to be interpreted in a spiritual manner. It must not have meant the physical end of the world, but the some spiritual analogy of "end of the world."

      August 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • clgmm74

      @Really-O

      Continually examining the character of Chad will bring your own integrity into question. Are you not capable of a civil discussion with an opposing viewpoint? Is it not possible to disagree and still have some tact and respect when doing so?

      August 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Amazing...

      I think that nut case committed suicide.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Colin

      @ Amazing. The guy's name is Harold Camping, and, I'm afraid the harmless old fool had a stroke soon after the non-event. I think he is one for the history books now. Others will come, predict and be proven wrong. Ironically science knows when it will all end, or at least the backstop date. When old Sol goes supernova.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths

      @Chad,
      Sure you can. I can physically interact with my spouse. I can measure the change in sound waves when she speaks. I can measure her body heat. I can sample her DNA. I can use spectrographic analysis to determine her physical makeup.
      As for what she has done, I have first hand reports of her activities from multiple reliable sources. I can double check those sources by interviewing her directly, and by checking on the physical consequences of those actions. If she drove to work, I would expect it to have an effect on the vehicle. If she had a child, I would expect to find her DNA matched that of the child's maternal parent. In all of these things, I can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that my wife exists and has had contact with the world. None of these things are possible with any deity.
      Furthermore, if you claim that your deity is active in the world today, then none of that esoteric silliness matters. If miracles are occuring, then they are measureable. As the one making the claims, I invite you to present your "compelling" evidence. I have yet to have seen any theist manage it.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths "Sure you can. I can physically interact with my spouse. I can measure the change in sound waves when she speaks. I can measure her body heat. I can sample her DNA. I can use spectrographic analysis to determine her physical makeup."
      @Chad "ah.. but that's only because of two things:
      1. She is cooperating with the test (she could refuse to participate, but would of course still exist)
      2. She is living in this universe time/space. How would you propose to measure the existence of someone that was either dead, or living outside our time/space?

      =======
      @Cthulhu the Unspeakable Horror of the Depths "I have first hand reports of her activities from multiple reliable sources"
      @Chad 'we have all of that in the biblical and extra-biblical sources, and how would you do that for ancient persons activities??

      August 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”On your point about science giving us powers that we may misuse, I agree, but this highlights the power of science, it does not argue against it..”

      Hi Colin. Excellent response now apply that reasoning when we hear some of the more radical Atheist chime in and state all of the horrors of Religion in history. Religion has been used as a battle cry for genocide. At the same time we have examples of Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Teresa and countless others who use the power or Faith and Religion in a positive way. On a “flip side” … this just highlights the power of Faith and Religion.

      Try this... not a gotcha... but scientist announced recently that they might be able to cure AIDS. This is good and excellent news. Now, I do not consider myself old but I remember that the big killer was Cancer. Other diseases such as malaria, which have been killing people for a lot longer, still are not that close to a cure. I think, according to a BBCreport, bed nets with pesticide sprayed on the netting is the most effective defense.

      How did funding and research towards a disease that effects less people on the planet, get more per person?

      “The federal appropriation for AIDS research and care in the 2011 budget was $27.2 billion. The same for cancer was $38.9 billion. AIDS got 70% of what cancer received. Those being treated or monitored for AIDS in this country number 1.2 million. The same for cancer is 12 million” : source http://www.newcancerstrategy.com

      See, this is where I have not my doubts in science but major doubt in the actual scientist because with a cure ends a paycheck. Its like putting ExxonMobil in charge of developing a car that does not run on gas. The moment they produce the vehicle is the same day they are out of business. The same fear, I feel is in science. If they find cures then themselves and all the jobs that support those afflicted with them, would be out of business.

      Think of the advancements you spoke of. Imagine if your examples could have been …. cured blindness. Something that has been around since the Biblical times. Then again, think of the industry around the blind community.

      Lastly, look at scientific advancements today and their cost to produce compared with scientific developments in the past. The other day a commercial stated that to create the SR-71 Blackbird.. a jet that still holds multiple records... took a small team 18 months to develop. How long, how many engineers and scientist and billions to create our latest strike fighter?

      That is why I do not argue against science but in the end game the field of Science has done some good, some bad and is run by humans whose paychecks depend on it.

      L'Chaim

      August 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  14. aeronator

    It's all random and in the end life is a joke.....the punchline.....We all die...get put in the ground and rot. That's why I'm enjoying every minute that i have here on earth.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  15. ME II

    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.

    What a ridiculous selection bias. Let's exclude this argument because it doesn't match our definition, regardless of the fact that no one really knows how powerful God is, let alone whether he exists or not.

    Perhaps, the reason everyone is so confused about religion is that God was only capable of doing a few impressive things, parlor miracles, if you will, and ever since has been unable to affect this universe. 'Deism plus', perhaps? That would explain a lot, in my opinion.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ME II,

      Yes, Rev. Keller really cherry-picked his list:
      1. I guess this proves there is no God.
      2. While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything. He couldn’t stop this.
      3. God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.
      4. God is that God knows what he’s doing, so be quiet and trust him.

      Even Stephen Prothero's list compiled from the comments to the Aurora shootings ran to about seven? alternatives.

      My short list wold be:
      1. There is no God
      2. There is a loving but impotent God (would explain a lot, but not popular)
      3. There is an indifferent God (deism)
      4. There is a vengeful God who enjoys punishing his chosen people (Yaweh, Zeus etc)
      5. There is a contradictory God no one can adequately explain ... because he's a mystery and far above us.

      Of course, the existence of the Christian trinity concept is an attempt to meld these inherently contradictory traits.
      Loving – Jesus
      Stern and retributive – Yaweh
      Pervasive – Holy Spirit

      The 'purity' of the early church (pre Catholic/Orthodox schism) that so many religionists here like to imagine was rife with accusations of heresy between different theological interpretations of the nature of God. The monophysite and dyophysite argument is one. Perhaps they haven't quite sorted it out yet?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  16. John

    You stole the beginning of the article from Breaking Bad.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  17. thewhyteman

    The main danger is that you do believe that there is a god, and proceed to live a life of complacency of the mind.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  18. Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

    People wonder why God would allow suffering and pain, especially for believers.
    The bible addresses this fully. We cannot know the depths of the mind of God and therefore we need to humbly be aware of the limitations of our ability to reason. Until we humble ourselves before the Lord and seek to know him through his revealed word we are by nature enemies of God. The bible shows us clearly the way that God uses suffering to bring people to him and then to sanctify them into the image of Christ.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "We cannot know the depths of the mind of God"

      Do you know why? Because there isn't a god.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • thewhyteman

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oxTMUTOz0w&w=640&h=360]

      August 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jeebus and you will be put in a 401k

      Never mind. I just realized I needed an enema. That should take care of my problem.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Believe that lie to your own destruction. Their is more evidence for Jesus Christ than anything on earth. You simply suppress the truth

      August 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      You have it backwards, YOU suppress the truth.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Just sayin'

      Oh, I get it now. I just have to stop reasoning and then it will be clear. That makes perfect sense...

      August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Evolution/Mother Nature gave Christians single-digit IQs and emotional instability while blessing atheists with intelligence, imagination, and good looks. It's not fair, but that's how it worked out. BTW, will believing in unicorns with all your heart and soul make them real? There is more evidence for the Loch Ness Monster than there is for God.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Just because the bible addresses suffering doesn't mean it addresses it CORRECTLY! Sheesh, USE YOUR BRAIN!!!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Amazing...

      "cannot know the depths of the mind of God"

      That is a catch-all phrase used by strong believers, that is supposed to get people to wisely nod their heads in agreement, "Yup, that there God feller sure is a mystery." But read it again. What does it actually mean?

      Don't you wonder, "This is in direct conflict with everything I have ever been taught about a loving and merciful God." It can't be that He is indifferent to suffering, so it is best to just sweep in under the rug and pretend that everything is OK.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  19. TheyNotHim

    I have let Jesus into my heart. I am converted and saved!

    There is just one thing...I just need proof that Jesus actually existed. Then I will sign up. Can anyone offer proof?

    August 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • toad

      Sorry, no.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Can you offer proof that I evolved from an ape? Hooo ho ho ha ha ha

      August 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      You really are a f*ucking moron, you know that right?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Regret and lie for Jesus and you will be screwed

      Can you offer proof that I evolved from an ape?

      Yes, you smell like a large hairy ape. I am sorry to inform you that unicorns and leprechauns are not real. The same for Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • JuJu Bee

      Yes – it's called the bible.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  20. toad

    Pity the filth, "Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved". Let's look at your handle: are the people you are talking to even able to repent or believe?

    August 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Jesus commands them to.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • toad

      Jesus did say what they have to do. Not the same thing as commanding them.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • JWT

      There is nothing to repent.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And nothing to be saved from.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jesus and you will be saved.

      Turn from your sin and believe in Jesus Christ who died to pay for your sins and you will have eternal life.
      I promise you will never regret it. Then read your bible and obey it. Start with the Gospel of John.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Regret and lie for Jesus and you will be screwed

      Jesus did not die for me or my sins. Jesus saves baseball cards, nothing more.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • JWT

      The bible is your thing, not mine, there is no reason for me to believe anything in it. None of it even applies to me unless I happen to like a little piece here and there and adopt them. Your beliefs are fine for you but do not apply to others.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, absurdity of hindu's, pagans, book of hinduism, contradiction does not substantiates it.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:45 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.