home
RSS
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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. Reality

    Saying a prayer while waiting for the Curiosity to land on Mars:

    Starting the afternoon with a 21st century prayer:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    August 6, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Hail Mary, fulll of grace.
      may someone hot,
      sit on your face.

      Amen.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  2. jon

    "So abandoning belief in God doesn’t help with the problem of suffering at all."
    Not believing in God is not meant to help with the problem of suffering. It just means some people don't believe in God because they don't believe a God would allow such terrible things to happen. Bad things happen to good and bad people and there are no exceptions. The natural world is a beautiful and sometimes terrifying world. Unfortunately it's just how reality and life is. Even if everyone on this earth was a good person they can still die in a flood, earthquake, hurricane, or disease ect. We are the only ones that can help stop the suffering the best that we can, and that is all we can do.

    August 6, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • realbuckyball

      It's all such BS. "as if" one actually gets to pick and chose what is the most useful, in the picture, and keep it, because of it's utility. Do these people ever think before they write ?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Bad things happen to good and bad people and there are no exceptions."

      but there could be. god could make bullets and natural disasters only kill bad people.

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

      August 6, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      Epicurus

      August 6, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  3. Bootyfunk

    Christians - read this:

    2 Kings 2:23-24
    23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
    24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    some kids made fun of one of God's prophets for being bald. so god sends 2 bears to kill 42 of the children. CHILDREN.

    how do you justify this kind of horrific and cruel infanticide with God being 'loving' and 'compassionate'? think of it in real terms. think of the grieving parents. think of coming upon a field with 42 children torn apart by bears. think of how truly terrible and gruesome the death of so many kids would be. and God murdered children for making fun of a man for being bald?

    i'm truly curious how christians can justify such disgusting and murderous behavior.

    August 6, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      b4bigbang

      you want to handle this one?

      August 6, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • guest

      You really need to ask God, but since you don't believe, don't expect an answer from a Christian because a Christian would be answering for God.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • b4bigbang

      So, since you're changing the subject from my last post, I'll as.sume that you've come to your senses re your last fallacy, so we'll move to this question.

      What do I think about the 42 kids? I think they were juvenile delinquents, I think they had themselves a pretty good sized gang (I've never heard of even Bloods nor Crips going after a solitary pedestrian in numbers that large).
      I think they were well on their way to becoming adult 'boys-in-the-hood', and they messed with the wrong man (btw, Elijah was known as God's prophet in that whole area, so they weren't just messing with a stranger – they knew full-well who he was.)
      I further think that if they were under the age of 12, that God spared them hell, and gave them eternal life at that point, when in fact, their behavior could've been rewarded with hel.l.

      Finally, I think that if I was walking down a road, and 42 (42!) youngsters came at me all at once, I'd have good reason to wonder how I was going to get out of that potentially dangerous situation

      August 6, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you think children teasing someone means they deserve death? you are demented and disgusting. just like your god. how could you justify such appalling behavior?

      and btw, i didn't change the subject. go to your post. i answered you. in fact, i await your answer.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • b4bigbang

      So what would you do Bootyfunk if you were walking down a rural road by yourself and 42 youngsters came at you en masse mocking? If you ignore them, and then they start poking and slapping your head from behind? You continue to ignore, and then they begin throwing stones at your head?

      Yes, that's how juvenile delinquents minds work, it's been demonstrated. Go to the video of the kids on the school bus from a couple weeks ago. First they were merely taunting the old lady. Then their taunts got meaner and she began crying. Then they mocked her tears, then they BEGAN POKING HER AND THAT'S ASSAULT.

      I believe this was what was about to happen to Elijah.

      Per your other post, you merely pronounced the web-source to be "garbage" – a mere fallacy. No proof.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Now if you all will excuse me i must go watch the news of the mars lander....

      August 6, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Hurray! Curiosity has landed and is transmitting images!
      Gotta go now – see ya all tomorrow!

      August 6, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • H. L. James

      You atheists should know the answer to this story. It's about disrespecting the Lord's truth while following the lies of Satan.

      Read it for yourself http://bible.org/seriespage/elisha-and-two-bears-2-kings-223-25

      August 7, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  4. b4bigbang

    Kevin Wills: "I'm a former atheist who is now a Christian. Jesus is real. I no longer have doubt. If you have doubt, take a look at these articles:

    Five ways to evaluate a claim that Christianity was influenced by other religions
    http://www.about-jesus.org/fiveways.htm

    Was it just a coincidence?
    http://about-jesus.org/coincidence.htm

    My advice to people who have doubt – study, learn more and be skeptical of what atheists tell you, just as they might be skeptical as to what a Christian might say. You will be rewarded by your courage and you will find that Jesus is real."

    The source of the above-post with the whole article on the alleged pagan source of Christianity:

    http://www.about-jesus.org/paganism.htm

    August 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It really does not matter if the christian cult was based on previous cults as there is no proof for the basic premise that there are gods. Until believers prove the basics, the rest is just bullshit!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      those sites are garbage. there are glaring holes in those arguments. the authors assume all kinds of craziness an atheist wouldn't agree with. the authors use a very twisted "logic", ignoring all kinds of facts and contradictions. very lazy and not worth reading.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • tony

      Who knows what might have preceded the last big bang. What is apparent is that the Universe we know has laws that no god appears to have broken in the 13+ Billion years since.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Two zero-value answers so far to my post. Anyone care to support the two atheist's "claims" with evidence?
      Corr: Bootyfunk's? (the other was non-sequitor, so can be ignored).

      August 6, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Here's some "evidence" for ya. If you accept the resurrection, based on that level of evidence, then, if you are honest and consistent, you must accept the Salem witches, actually were witches.
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xv_Iklb1V4&w=640&h=360]

      August 6, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummm.... If I claim that there is no evidence for any god, it is not likely that I'm going to be able to produce anything to support the claim. If you disagree with me, please prove me wrong.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      okay, i'll bite.

      these sites use ridiculous loaded questions, are full of fallacies. for instance:

      "• If the New Testament was not the true continuation and fulfillment of the Old Testament, then where is the real New Testament and why hasn't it become widely accepted as being the word of God?"

      this is a really dumb question. the OT is just myths and fairy tales - and so is the NT. next.

      "• And if there was no God controlling the writing of the Bible, well, then anything could have happened. We could have dozens or hundreds of competing Old Testaments. We could have dozens or hundreds of internationally, or nationally, or regionally, or locally accepted messiahs, scattered throughout the world, each claiming to be the fulfillment of scripture."

      wrong. if there was no God, then the OT and NT are myths and fairy tales. which is exactly what they are. rendering the rest of this gibberish question irrelevant.

      "Was it just a coincidence? During the same century in which Jesus died for our sins, Judaism lost the ability to carry out the yearly symbolic atonement for sin at the Temple."

      the author assumes that the reader believes Judaism had the ability to blah blah blah in the first place. they never had any sort of mumbo jumbo power.

      see how silly these arguments are? i could literally go on all down showing you how truly dumb these arguments are. so full of holes they could be swiss cheese.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • What IF

      "Was it just a coincidence? During the same century in which Jesus died for our sins, Judaism lost the ability to carry out the yearly symbolic atonement for sin at the Temple."

      Even if this were true, it only backs up the assertion that Paul of Tarsus, a devout and avid Jew, hijacked the new Christian cult to give a faltering Judaism a boost. Judaism, The Sequel.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Or, Saul of Tarsus was a Roman mole, sent to purposely cause dissention in the new cult, which he certainly did.

      Or, Saul, who came from Tarsus, (a hotbed of Mithraism), grafted the "salvation" paradigm, (from the Greek Mystery cults), onto the sect to keep it alive, after the "kingdom" was not ushered in, when the temple was destroyed, and the Romans were not expelled.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  5. Toddz

    Timothy Keller reminds me of a rich politician with his double talk. I'd like to know what this man does beside talk and sell books. Mother Teresa he ain't.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Mother Teresa was an atheist you know. Google it. I had no idea she lost her faith. She said in one of her letters,
      "I dare not name that which I feel within me". $100.00 they never make her a saint.

      To my fundie Bible pals : please explain the "fight or flight" response in humans, if Adam and Ever were created in Eden.
      (Or did it "evolve" later...ahem).

      August 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  6. DanW

    LinCA has given us one of the best posts that I have seen for any CNN article. The logic is excellent. If you are thinking tl;dr, rethink and put the effort into understanding what was said. On the other hand, Believe in God has posted something that is most likely a joke but, if not, should compel any reader to re-read LinCA's post.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  7. PhilG

    Being close to God does'nt require a church ,doesnt require a structured belief,does'nt require someone elses permission.

    You just have to ask God to be inside of your heart and soul so as things get rough,you can feel His Presence helping you through those times.

    And that you also Thank Him for the blessings-no matter how small they may seem to be at the time that left you through your daily life.

    It's not a complicated way to live.

    God is right here right now-all you need do is ask for His help.

    You don't need anyone's permission on when or how you ask.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Jesus told me you're ghey

      Oh, sure!! It's all subjective!! Some man says god told him to donate his time and money to the poor, and people say he's a gift from heaven, he does gods work!! A psychopath says god tells him to k!lll everyone and people call him a sociopath, a mentally sick cold blooded murderer. So take your relationship with invisible men having delusions and shove em up your pea hole 😀

      August 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Being close to god (any god) only requires that there be a god and as far as I know, no one has yet proven that any gods exist. I look forward to your novel proof for any god.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Be sure and only put part of god in your heart. You may need an angioplasty, sooner than you think

      August 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      being close to god requires you to be in a cult, to have all sorts of delusional beliefs that defy logic and reason, to be ruled by guilt, fear and ignorance.

      get up off your knees. leave the cult. go outside. think for yourself. be a better person.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • tony

      Your god IS inside your body. We've all got one – of our own. Aka as your subconcious/survival instinct/remnant of instincts/conscience. No telepathy or group powers though.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  8. Free Thinker

    Barf!

    August 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  9. 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!

    August 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Indeed. It's called Special Pleading in Logic. It's a fallacy.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  10. trollol

    Apparently, the first mistake was asking god in the first place.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  11. 2357

    Prophet King Jesus humbles us concerning disasters in life:
    "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”

    His disciples repented, yet they were all martyred except for St John. The way of a prophet is narrow, and the hardest path for those of his own household. Who can justly boast of his faith before the Holy One?

    Prophet Amos urges us to all be humble concerning God's judgement:
    "Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light"

    and Prophet Micah
    “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings."

    Take shelter in his open wings, lest your ignite before the glorious presence of the Lord YHWH.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • trollol

      Yea.. keep quoting that book. You aren't crazy at all.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  12. Wisdomforlife

    Another side to this is to also recognize that when evil seems to serve no higher purpose or is not necessary to accomplish some equal or greater good, it makes no sense. It did not belong to God’s original good creation and will not belong to God’s new creation. Can we find a degree of relief in the face of evil that doesn't make sense? If "making sense" is a good thing, than we cannot expect evil to make sense.

    Christopher Wright suggested that this view “carries the implication that whenever we are confronted with something utterly and dreadfully evil, appallingly wicked, or just plain tragic, we should resist the temptation that is wrapped up in the cry, ‘Where’s the sense in that?’ It’s not that we get no answer. We get silence. And that silence is the answer to our question. There is no sense. And that is a good thing too.”

    But, if we cannot make sense of evil, what should be our response to it. Wright raised the valid concern that, “This may seem a lame response to evil. Are we merely to gag our questions, accept that it’s a mystery, and shut up? Surely we do far more from that? Yes indeed. We grieve. We weep. We lament. We protest. We scream in pain and anger. We cry out, ‘How long must this kind of thing go on?’”

    In short, there is a language of lament that is significantly neglected in the Church. Wright suggested that, “…it is precisely those who have the closest relationship with God who feel most at liberty to pour out their pain in protest to God–without fear of reproach. Lament is not only allowed in the Bible; it is modeled in abundance. God seems to want to give us as many words with which to fill out our complaint forms as to write our thank-you notes.”

    In summary, Wright argues two main points on this subject:

    “The Bible compels us to accept that there is a mysteriousness about evil that we simply cannot understand (and it is good we cannot).”
    “The Bible allows us to lament, protest, and be angry at the offensiveness of evil (and it is right that we should).”(Christopher J. H. Wright, The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith)

    Steve Cornell
    http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/?s=lament

    August 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Wisdomforlife

      Link correction: www.http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/making-sense-of-evil/

      August 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Or, instead of making up that junk, you cou;d see that the universe is entirely consistent with probability teory, and science, and understand that things you perceive to be "bad" are really just "consistent". One would not really want the universe to be randomly capricious.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Wisdomforlife

      How then do you explain the problem of goodness in the world?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  13. sdef

    Ive learned to ask 'why not me?'. Nobody is immune from pain amd suffering in this life, who am I to think I'm special? There is nothing I'll go through that millions and millions of others havent endured also at some time or other.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • ARaine

      Similar to that...I ask, "why me" in this way. Why did I get to be born in a great country like the U.S.? Why did I get to be born at a time of education and convenience? Why did I get to be born to parents who loved me and took care of me? Why did I get to be born healthy? People would be happier with their life if they would start recognizing what they do have instead of focusing on what they don't.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  14. 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 11:09 pm |
    • trollol

      You copy paste that without thinking and you tell the atheists they are brain washed? I rest my case.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • God is an imaginary friend for grown-ups

      Aside this guy being totally unable to back up his baseless, malicious and stupid claims, it looks like the copy and paste war has already begun, and this post really needs some solid facts so...

      Know you're a Christian fundamentalist when...

      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

      1 – You actually know a lot less than most atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

      August 5, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • logan5

      Not only are you dishonest and intellectually deficient but you also could use some psychiatric counseling. Good luck with that!

      August 6, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • .

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

      It just goes to show that Christians can’t even follow one of the basic Ten Commandments by posting all these lies. What a hypocrite

      August 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  15. ken baldwin

    No God...no word from God...no sin, no accountability, no problem. We will all die and after that last breath, last heartbeat, last brainwave...all bets will be off and there will be accountability for our actions and choices. Ignore the sign that says the "bridge is washed out" & steady as she goes...right over the cliff. Jesus tells us of the lost son, coin, & sheep... God is
    looking for the lost. Unfortunately they choose the wider road with the washed out bridge, yet still continue. I pray for my loved ones who are lost by choice.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Fortunately, some of those choosing the washed out road also happen to be civil engineers, who actually got an education and learned how to solve REAL problems on this earth, in this lifetime. Future generations will stand on their shoulders going farther, faster, and higher as a result of what we do today. For the faithful, future generations will stand in the same dark, prostrate position before their deity, wasting this life while praying for what may come in the next.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  16. hh

    A very shallow and simplistic response to an incredibly difficult and complex issue. If you want to remain a child and never grow up, then this is the kind of religion that might be comforting. I'm all for honoring the "child" within us all, but to never allow yourself to grow into a much more complex, mature, and questioning human being is not what the best of any healthy religion or spiritual belief system is about.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • DP

      "but to never allow yourself to grow into a much more complex, mature, and questioning human being is not what the best of any healthy religion or spiritual belief system is about."

      Did you only read the final paragraph? The columnist isn't suggesting that you shut your brain off and "believe like a child." He is actually doing what you suggest... questioning a complex issue. In all of human history no one has been able to solve the problem of pain. In one fell swoop he has given a thorough, reasoned approach to assailing this difficult problem... complete with quotes and thoughts from King and Nietzsche!

      The fact that it is "simple" is a neutral thing. If the thought is logical and obeys the rules of its own system, then one can only criticize it based on its disagreement with their own presuppositions. But to charge it with "simplicity" does not work as a criticism.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  17. Converted

    I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost!

    August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • toad

      Well, fine.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Satan

      I believe in bigfoot, the loch ness monster, and chupacabra!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • logan5

      That's great! Now try keeping it to yourself.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  18. Brad

    I find these threads hateful, demeaning, and many not even intelligent.. but I will say this.. I'll say two things; "if it wasnt for God, atheists would NOT exist.. " (because whether someone believes in God or not, is no "intelligent" persons concern, so the atheists on here are at most unintelligent.. and "I'd rather believe in something, something greater than myself and this life we live and be wrong, and when I die NO harm no foul..i'm just dead, then NOT believe in something that IS true and my loss in infinite as I spend eternity in Hell" ... We will spend FAR more time on the OTHER side of death than this one.. where do you believe YOU will spend it?? again back to my first point.. "if there was NO GOD, there'd be no ATHEISTS" I'm sure the many small minded hateful people on here will correct my spelling, sentance structure on syntax, cauuse small minds can't conceive of better things than to bash someones beliefs that DO NOT actually affect them.. and by the way.. marriage is between a man and a woman.. not 2 women or 2 men.. do they have rights.. of course.. render to God what is God, to Ceasar what is Ceasars. (read the bible you may actually get this reference) The CEO of ChickFilA didnt say he "hate\d" anyone.. he said he believed in traditional marriage.. I see nothing offensive about that statemnt.. its just funny how when a liberal makes a statement it's their "right" their 1st admendment rights... when a conservative does the SAME thing its HATE SPEECH.. just like bashing bush is ok, not agreeing with obama makes you a RACIST.. and one last last note, REAL christians do NOT try to "change" anyones belliefs.. they live by example and if anyone asks them, they should be ready to state why they have faith.. don't know about the bible thumpers, or those trying ways to forcefully change someone elses views.. no matter what they are.. God Bless and goodluck.. and the great thing is, if I'm wrong about God..and I die NOTHING happens, but if you ARE WRONG... use your imagination or read the Bible..

    August 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • sybaris

      By your logic you will have to worship every god known to man.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      Yep, including Zeus, various goddesses, etc. Otherwise, when you die, OMG I picked the wrong one!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • kenny

      brad... everyone is an atheist... deep down we all know there is no god but that idea is soooo scary for most of us we create the idea of never ending life and happiness ... its very logical since NO ONE REALLY knows for sure but the stuff spouted around from everyone religion is clearly bs... what really bothers admitted atheists is when you guys try and push ur phony beliefs on us... you vote based on who is more godly, which is usually a clear indicator of who is the most ignorant fool, and you wanna pass laws that hurt or restrict people that don't believe the same fairy tales you do...

      August 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Brad

      You said, "I find these threads hateful, demeaning, and many not even intelligent.."
      Yeah, what can you expect from adults that still believe in the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "I'll say two things; "if it wasnt for God, atheists would NOT exist.. ""
      Bullshit. If there wasn't a notion of gods, everyone would be an atheist. We wouldn't have a term for it, but everyone would be one.

      You said, "(because whether someone believes in God or not, is no "intelligent" persons concern, so the atheists on here are at most unintelligent.."
      While you are free to believe whatever nonsense you want (I couldn't fucking care less what you believe), but don't ever assume it's the intelligent choice.

      You said, "and "I'd rather believe in something, something greater than myself and this life we live and be wrong, and when I die NO harm no foul..i'm just dead, then NOT believe in something that IS true and my loss in infinite as I spend eternity in Hell""
      Major Pascal's Wager fail. You are far more likely to believe in the wrong god than being right. Your odds of having picked the right religion are negligible.

      You said, "We will spend FAR more time on the OTHER side of death than this one.."
      Only if you were right.

      You said, "where do you believe YOU will spend it?"
      Probably rotting in the ground, but who really cares?

      You said, ""if there was NO GOD, there'd be no ATHEISTS" I'm sure the many small minded hateful people on here will correct my spelling, sentance structure on syntax, cauuse small minds can't conceive of better things than to bash someones beliefs that DO NOT actually affect them.."
      I couldn't care less about your spelling. I care about your massive logic fail.

      You said, "and by the way.. marriage is between a man and a woman.. not 2 women or 2 men."
      If you don't want to marry someone of your own sex, feel free not to, but keep your fucking delusion out of secular law.

      You said, "The CEO of ChickFilA didnt say he "hate\d" anyone.. he said he believed in traditional marriage.. I see nothing offensive about that statemnt.. its just funny how when a liberal makes a statement it's their "right" their 1st admendment rights... when a conservative does the SAME thing its HATE SPEECH."
      Just like the KKK and Aryan Nation, the religious bigots are free to pretty much say whatever bullshit they want. But just because they have the right to say it, doesn't mean it's the right thing to say. They are dead wrong. They are immoral. The should be called out on their despicable stand.

      You said, "REAL christians do NOT try to "change" anyones belliefs.."
      You may want to try to convince your fellow believers of that. There appears to be some disagreement on that.

      You said, "and the great thing is, if I'm wrong about God..and I die NOTHING happens, but if you ARE WRONG."
      Another Pascal's Wager fail.

      Pascal's Wager:
      In effect, Pascal's wager states that while we can't know with absolute certainty whether the christian god exists, a rational evaluation should lead to a belief. If having to choose between believing (in the christian god), or not believing, the reward for being correct, and the price for being wrong, tips the balance in favor of believing.

      It says, if you believe and are correct, you will gain heaven, while the price for being wrong is nothing. On the other hand, if you don't believe, it says you will gain nothing for being right, yet lose everything if you are wrong. So, belief results in a win/neutral, and non-belief in a neutral/lose position, tipping the balance clearly in favor of the "belief" position.

      Why Pascal's Wager is a fallacy:
      a) Pascal's Wager assumes that there are only two options.
      b) Pascal's Wager assumes the christian god doesn't care whether someone actually believes, or simply goes through the motions.
      c) Pascal's Wager discounts the price paid for belief before death.
      d) Pascal's Wager vastly overestimates the odds for the reward and the risk of punishment.

      Positing only two options is ridiculous. There are, of course, thousands of possibilities when it comes to gods. Based on the evidence available for these gods, it is not reasonable to assume one is more likely than any of the others. To increase the odds of a positive outcome of this wager, the believer would have to believe in, and worship, every possible god. Including the ones that haven't been invented yet. Aside from the drain on the available time, it presents the problem that quite a few of these gods are pretty selfish. They frown upon believers believing in other gods. In some religions that is enough to not be eligible for the reward (making the belief position a lose/neutral one).

      Also, just going through the motions and pretending to believe may fool your community, but it can't fool an all-knowing god. It is very unlikely that anyone would gain the ultimate reward for simply faking belief (making the belief position a lose/neutral one).

      The price paid for the belief position isn't nothing. It involves going through the rituals, day after day, week after week. It may have severe side effects on physical and mental health. Sex life suffers, too.

      In estimating whether the cost of any given action is worth it, an evaluation of risk versus reward is in order.

      Risk is (simplistically) the chance that a negative event occurs, multiplied by the cost of that event. As an example, being hit by a meteorite carries a very high cost (probably death), but since the odds are extremely low, the risk associated with it is low. Similarly, the chance of getting rained on is pretty high, but the cost is very low, representing also a low risk. On the other hand the cost and chances of, and therefore the risk associated with, a traffic accident are high.

      The choice whether to mitigate a risk depends on, among other things, the severity of the risk, the cost of the mitigation and the tolerance of that risk. In the above examples, the cost to mitigate each risk are; exorbitant, low and high, respectively. Methods to reduce or eliminate the risk of meteorite impacts are cost prohibitive and far exceed the risk. An umbrella and a check of the weather forecast effectively mitigate the risk of getting rained on, and is easily worth the cost. Car crashes, and their after-effects are mitigated to various degrees by expensive technology (from street surface technology to driver training, airbags and traction control). People bear those costs to their financial ability and tolerance for the risk.

      A similar reasoning applies to reward. The choice whether to pursue a reward is guided by the perception value of the reward, the perception of the odds of gaining the reward and the cost to pursue it.

      In the belief versus non-belief question, believers tend to irrationally overestimate both the reward for belief, and the risk associated with non-belief.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • trollol

      I hate the break the bad news to you but.. we are all born lacking a belief in any god. That makes us all natural born atheists!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Brad,

      Does a human that grew up in isolation believe in God? No. All humans begin life as Atheists. They LEARN language, religion, norms and values, skills, and the like. Your premise is entirely wrong.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @kenny
      You said to Brad... "everyone is an atheist... deep down we all know there is no god "
      No, you couldn't be more wrong! You have just shut yourself up into your turtle shell! LOL!

      The fact is , you can convince yourself there is no God, but the knowledge of God was IMPRINTED ON YOUR , as well as EVERY HUMAN CONSCIENCE!
      What each of us do with this what God gave us, determines our state of being in our lives here and afterwards in eternity. You believe what you want, and that's because of the gift of free will, but neglecting the gift of God given you and refusing to pursue to seek after Him, is your own chosen path that leads to perdition.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • DanW

      Brad, LinCA has given you a gift. Study the reply until you truly understand it. There is more wisdom in that reply than you are likely to get from any other person you encounter. You can believe what you want, but when your belief runs counter to obvious fact then you should really examine your life and become open to change.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      PRISM 1234, do you have any proof to back up your asserted "fact" above, or are you just another lying believer? There is no middle ground here – it has to be one or the other, so start yapping believer!

      August 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      prism, that's just crazy. If you visit tribes that have lived in isolation, they have no understanding of the Christian god. None at all. In fact, they don't have the shared language to even learn about it. However, nearly EVERY culture has a deity of some form, and it always seems to pick up where their real knowledge of the physical world stops. Even an intellectual giant like Issac Newton...easily the most brilliant man of science who ever lived...gave up when trying to describe the motion of all the plants in our solar system simultaneously. In Principia, he attributed the motion of the planets to God. It was years later when more advanced uses of the calculus he created eventually defined and explained the EXACT motions of the planets to the point of being perfectly predictive. Suddenly it's not God anymore, because now we understand it. However, the boundaries move and the stuff outside of it NOW becomes the stuff of God. It's kind of funny, really. This cycle just keeps repeating, but at least the scientists are failing forward. Theists simply reside in the same mental box they created 2,000 years ago.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • guest

      I don't want to insult your intelligence there, Kenny, but the Bible is not a fairytale. Even historians will tell you that Jesus is a historical figure who once walked this earth.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • What IF

      guest,

      The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      The NT is a collection of the writings of various 1st century evangelists who were promoting their new offshoot religion.

      There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events in that book.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • guest

      Your name "WHAT IF" says it all... Even Islam spoke of Jesus and Mary having existed. Other people knew of his existence like Thallus and Pliny the Younger, even if in a different light. There's also Judaism which tells of his existence here on earth. Like I said, even historians will recognize Jesus' existence. Cultures spoke of a man named Jesus. The question is, with all these books having once described such a man, why don't people believe the things he did and preached?? Instead of you acknowledging his existence through these facts, it's funny how you now change the subject to myth and legend. I'm sorry if the truth offends you...

      August 6, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • What IF

      guest,

      I guess you missed my last sentence: "There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events in that book."

      As for Islam mentioning Jesus and Mary, the Quran was written 600 YEARS AFTER those legends started circulating. Thallus and Pliny the Younger mention Hercules in their writings - does that mean that his supernatural feats and attributes were real?

      August 6, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • What IF

      p.s. I think my screen name shows a willingness to explore. Yours? Well, maybe you just didn't feel like looking up how to spell "Dogmatist"!

      August 6, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      O, you foolish (wo)men... Let your own heart teach you! But you have refused to look into it and acknowledge what's in it! And that's the reason you'll live in darkness and die in it!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • What IF

      PRISM 1234,

      YOU are darkness, sir... a dark prism indeed, casting your sunless jeremiads upon the populace with full abandon.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Maybe these words will give you some glimpse of WHY you said what you said about me!

      "....For we, God's people, are to Him the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

      ~~To the one – we are the aroma of death leading to death,

      and -

      ~~ to the other – the aroma of life leading to life"

      (2Corinthians 2:15,16)

      August 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I particularly enjoyed: "The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America" by Kevin Phillips.

    It's not particularly well written, but I liked the thesis. It is a very interesting look at religion in US history through the prism of three centuries of what were essentially religious war in the US. I offer it because you asked, but not in acceptance of any deal. I don't expect you to read it.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry – posted in the wrong spot – belongs on p28.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. exlonghorn

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti3mtDC2fQo&w=640&h=360]

    August 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.