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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. Higgs-Boson Baby

    test

    August 14, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  2. Gabriel Malakh

    @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    You stated: There is almost universal agreement among scientists that evolution has occurred and continues to occur. Doubtless you'll dispute this, but it's a fact.

    Can you please back you claim with some names or examples?

    From what I have seen in the past few years is that many scientists are jumping of the evolution bus.

    A London Times writer, Christopher Booker (who accepts evolution), said this about it: "It was a beautifully simple and attractive theory. The only trouble was that, as Darwin was himself at least partly aware, it was full of colossal holes." Regarding Darwin's 'Origin of Species', he observed: "We have here the supreme irony that a book which has become famous for explaining the origin of species 'in fact does nothing of the kind.'"

    Evolutionist Hitching agreed, saying: "Feuds concerning the theory of evolution exploded . . . Entrenched positions, for and against, were established in high places, and insults lobbed like mortar bombs from either side." He stated that it is an academic dispute of far-reaching proportions, "potentially one of those times in science when, quite suddenly, a long-held idea is overthrown by the weight of contrary evidence and new one takes its place."

    August 14, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • StallChaser

      This just in: Scientists have disagreements about things. As for evolution, it's things like when a particular mutation occurred, at what precise point species branched off. To pretend that this calls evolution into question wouldn't be much different than to deny gravity because a feather falls more slowly than a penny.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gabby, read what Stall wrote. Then try to figure out what I wrote. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      A vanishlngly small number of scientists do not accept the theory of evolution.

      If you can prove otherwise, go ahead. I have no interest in discussing anything with you.

      August 14, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Paul

      As you can see Gabriel they can offer nothing, just critise. I think Jehovah calls them empty headed.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's odd that opponents of evolution – of all theories of how life, in particular, changes over time – point to Darwin as sort of it's ultimate representative. If he found his theories flawed, then everything that came after must be flawed. All ideas, particularly in their inception, should be regarded as flawed. Honest people pick over their ideas, admit the limits of what they know and wait for more information or better ideas. Everything at all times is a work in progress. That process serves us well, not blind attempts to conserve what we thought we knew yesterday.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  3. cure AUTISM

    God, please cure my son's autism. Please give him a chance in life.

    August 14, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  4. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    No doubt tomorrow we'll have belief blog post on the latest multiple shooter. This time from College Station in Texas.

    The question of the day for the gun 'lawyers' will be do Texas 'homestead' laws allow you to shoot police officers who attempt to serve you with an eviction notice (and bystanders for good measure)?

    The whole thing is sad, for the family of the police officer, the family of the bystander and the familiy of the shooter.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      The answer to this madness is simple. Stop allowing people to buy guns, then it would not be so easy for people like that to damage so many peoples lives and themselves. Not saying there still wont be crimes, but it would not be so easy to kill if guns were not sold to the public.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  5. Oregon Alley Cat

    Yeah, its not a good idea to ask questions, in religion anyway. Best to just be a good little unquestioning drone.

    August 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  6. Paul

    Reason77 said; Be reasonable (I know, an unlikely stretch for a blind believer). Think about what the animals would do after getting off the ark. The predators (e.g the 2 lions) would eat the available prey (e.g. the 2 gazelle) then run out of food and starve. There would be no gazelle or lions left. The existence of lions and gazelles is proof that the flood is a myth.
    You obviously have not read the Bible as it clearly indicates that the wild animals were at peace with one another and man, as even lions ate vegetation.
    Modern proof of this was in WWI lions in the zoo were given straw to eat, as meat was not readily available and survived quite well on it.
    I think it is you that need to show reasonableness in the light of the information others have presented on the Bible. Or is it you just DON”T WANT to believe in a God as you will be then held accountable for your actions?

    August 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Reason77

      Wow. Talk about grasping at straws. lol

      August 14, 2012 at 4:03 am |
    • KAS860

      We are held accountable everyday, by the ones we love, by the law, etc., if believing that a higher power is watching you is the only reason you have to be a decent person, you are not a decent person

      August 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  7. Paul

    GodFreeNow said; Science rarely gives 100% certainty on any subject.
    Well that an easy copout. Makes you non responsible and basically wrong. Science relies on absolutes. As their studies rely on certainties. For example they know if they drop a ball from a two story building they can calculate it’s fall with certainty. They can send a group of astronauts into space with absolute certainty and precision. An example in point is the Mars probe, Curiosity. They rely on heavenly bodies being where they are at any given time, based on precise calculations. They would not risk billions of dollars and men’s lives carelessly. How do you think they found the “god particle”? Precise calculations were needed, they didn’t just shoot particles down a storm water drain.
    So the reasonable question is who set these precise rules in place, that they rely on so much?

    August 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They are "rules" as you are defining them, Paul, and there's no evidence whatsoever that some invisible god set the universe in motion. None.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They are not "rules" as you are defining them, Paul, and there's no evidence whatsoever that some invisible god set the universe in motion. None.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They are not "rules" as you are defining them, Paul, and there's no evidence whatsoever that some invisible god set the universe in motion. None.

      Your story about Noah's ark is sweet, but there's also no foundation for it. "The Bible says so" is not sufficient.

      You're welcome to believe in a literal bible is you want to, but don't bother pretending that you have any evidence that it's all factual or accurate.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sorry for the triple post.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      @ All atheist

      The principle steps en route to the origin of life, as envisioned by evolutionary theory are (1) the existence of the right primitive atmosphere and (2) a concentration in the oceans of an organic soup of "simple" molecules necessary for life. (3) From these comes proteins and nucleotides (complex chemical compounds) that (4) combine and acquire a membrane, and thereafter (5) they develop a genetic code and start making copies of themselves. Are these steps in accord with the available facts?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Eric

      Tom Just beause GOD hasnt been proven yet to your standards does not mean he does not exist either.

      From a scientific prospective you can not be unbiased if you start from a point not willing to consider a possible conclusion. That is for anyone who says GOD deos not exist a better answer for a non believer would be I do not know.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • LinCA

      @Eric

      You said, "Just beause GOD hasnt been proven yet to your standards does not mean he does not exist either."
      Yup, just like the Tooth Fairy and Bob the Magical Blue Sock haven't been proven to exist. They must be equally likely as your god, right?

      You said, "From a scientific prospective you can not be unbiased if you start from a point not willing to consider a possible conclusion."
      Unless there is evidence to support the phenomenon, it is unreasonable to assume it exists. Unless you provide evidence in favor of your god, belief in it is unreasonable.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Paul

      If they are not "rules" then what are they??

      If you have a math equation, you need a mathematician. If you have a law, you need a law maker. That's just logic. That's why some scientist say God was a mathematician of a very high order due to the mathematical equations used to make all things. The bounds these things revolve in are rightly called laws or standards imposed by the creator.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They are not 'laws' or 'rules' that had to be 'made' by some invisible creature.

      The existence of the universe is not proof that there is some god who put it together.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Paul

      LinCA:
      Now you are getting silly. The Tooth Fairy we know the origins of along with many other fables. This is vastly different from a belief in a God for which we do have solid evidence, even you you don’t want to accept it.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Can you prove there's no Tooth Fairy? How?

      Can you prove there are no pink unicorns?

      One cannot prove a negative. The onus is on you to prove there is a god.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • 2357

      Universal constants or your "Rules", were established when Jesus spoke them into existence. Angels executed then as they do now, and all of creation obeys in totality. Demons and humans who listen to them, are the only insubordinate ones.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Paul

      It had to be made by something, any other answer is stupid. How can the awesome universe which is governed by order and precision come by accident? Really I wonder at your stupidity if you can't see a connection between "order" and a great mind.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • LinCA

      @Paul

      You said, "The Tooth Fairy we know the origins of along with many other fables."
      Just as the fable of your god. The origins of your god are pretty well understood, and they aren't fundamentally different from any other mythical being.

      You said, "This is vastly different from a belief in a God for which we do have solid evidence, even you you don’t want to accept it."
      Try me. If the evidence was as solid as you would like to believe, there would only likely be one religion and very few atheists.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Eric, I suggest you re-read what I wrote. I did not say that there was no god. I said there is no evidence for one, and that is accurate.

      You and Paul can attempt to pretend that this, that, or some other aspect of the universe is evidence, but you are incorrect.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Paul says: It had to be made by something, any other answer is stupid. How can the awesome universe which is governed by order and precision come by accident? Really I wonder at your stupidity if you can't see a connection between "order" and a great mind.
      --–

      No, it didn't. Have you failed to learn anything about science?

      And if you think I'm stupid, bub, you're beyond clueless.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Eric

      Can you prove evolution correct?
      Can you prove how the cell formed?
      Can you prove how the universe started?
      Can you prove why morality exists?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • 2357

      "His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power"

      Classic core Christology to the children of God, abject foolishness to those under condemnation.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      2357 says:
      Universal constants or your "Rules", were established when Jesus spoke them into existence. Angels executed then as they do now, and all of creation obeys in totality. Demons and humans who listen to them, are the only insubordinate ones.

      -----
      You believe this. That doesn't make it true.

      If you can produce any evidence to show there are 'demons', 'angels', or a god, then do so.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Paul

      LinCA:
      Now you are getting close. There is actually only one “True” religion, although many claim to be such and has actually confused people if they allow themselves to be.
      All it takes is a little humility and accepting we are a created being and are responsible to our creator. With this in mind have a fresh look at the Bible, our creators letter to us, and see who this true religion is that listens to him and upholds his principles.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Eric:
      Can you prove evolution correct?
      Can you prove how the cell formed?
      Can you prove how the universe started?
      Can you prove why morality exists?

      ----–

      Aren't you the very same Eric with whom I have already had this conversation?

      Evolution isn't something you can say is "correct" or "incorrect", Eric. There is almost universal agreement among scientists that evolution has occurred and continues to occur. Doubtless you'll dispute this, but it's a fact.

      As for how the universe began, I don't know. And neither do you. We may someday know, or we may not. Not knowing does not equal "god must have done it." There were millions of things people didn't understand in the past that they attributed to a god that scientific discovery has explained. Again, we may not ever know, but that doesn't mean "goddidit".

      What you call 'morality' is the behaviors and customs that humans discovered over time would benefit groups of people most. People discovered that they could survive better in groups and societies than alone and established rules of conduct and consequences for violating them because certain actions were better for the group than others.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • 2357

      Ideas arise in our hearts as a result of having listened to a spirit. If you listen to God's angels, you repeat the truth you heard. If you listen to demons, you repeat the lies you heard.

      Never mind the realm of things, why should there be even a single idea in the universe? Without spirit, there are no ideas. Many have small medium and large brains in the animal kingdom, but only humans convey ideas though language and action. Ideas are the evidence of the existence of the spiritual realm. Your own death, is one idea that influences your thoughts and governs your behavior. How can you prove that you will die? Yet the certainty is undeniable.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Paul

      Tom Tom said; Evolution is a fact.
      You can't be a true scientist then as according to scientists there is no absolutes?? Hello!

      August 14, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Paul, go back and read what I wrote again. You have serious problems with comprehension.

      I did not say that evolution was a fact. I said that it was a fact that almost all scientists accept that it occurs.

      When you cannot read simple sentences here, why would I trust you to know what the bible says or how to interpret it?

      August 14, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • LinCA

      @Paul

      You said, "Now you are getting close. There is actually only one “True” religion, although many claim to be such and has actually confused people if they allow themselves to be."
      Get a fucking clue! Even withing christianity there are some 38,000 different denominations, sects and cults. They all base their delusion on the same fairy tale. They all came up with a different interpretation. If your imaginary friend had anything to do with the writing of his holy book, it must have been one major fuck-up.

      You said, "All it takes is a little humility and accepting we are a created being and are responsible to our creator."
      All it takes is application of a little rational thought to shed it all, and realize that every religion is nothing more than a fairy tale. The only difference is that children aren't allowed to shed the nonsense, as they are with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

      You said, "With this in mind have a fresh look at the Bible, our creators letter to us, and see who this true religion is that listens to him and upholds his principles."
      Your bible paint a picture of a monster that puts all human filth to shame. Compared to your god, the likes of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are sissies, unworthy of the title of "monster".

      August 14, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Paul

      Tom Tom,
      I re read what you said, and it could be interpreted either way. But from your posts I don't doubt you believe in evolution!

      And yes I do believe it was created, and I see the evidence all around me. Order and purpose tell me their is a mind behind what I see.
      It is not evolution which is a theory that has developed over time my men who seek anything for answers other than a God. It is their solution for not doing what God wants of us, and look at the mess it has got us in and what future does it offer?
      Believe that if you wish, but that's not for me. I would much rather follow and worship a reality and not a fabrication of men.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do whatever floats your boat, Paul, what you are operating in is the fabrication. As long as you keep it out of my schools, my laws, and my government, I don't care if you worship Gozer. Your beliefs do not equal facts.

      And you can't read.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Paul,
      "I would much rather follow and worship a reality and not a fabrication of men."

      Then you are in the wrong place for that endeavor. There is not a shred of verified evidence that the supernatural beings and events told about in your Bible are a reality.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You stated: "The existence of the universe is not proof that there is some god who put it together."

      You saying that there is no intelligent designer of the celestial bodies, is like saying there is no designer for the technology we use called the watch. If someone told you that the watch just came about by chance and there is no designer, it happened by accident, you would not think this person to be right in the head. Who or what inspired this brilliant designer to invent the watch? No doubt, he was copying off of the designer of the celestial bodies, using the precise movements of the luminaries set in place for the purpose of keeping time.

      Genesis 1:14-18
      14 And God went on to say: “Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years. 15 And they must serve as luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.” And it came to be so. 16 And God proceeded to make the two great luminaries, the greater luminary for dominating the day and the lesser luminary for dominating the night, and also the stars. 17 Thus God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth, 18 and to dominate by day and by night and to make a division between the light and the darkness. Then God saw that [it was] good.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Paul

      LinCA,
      I didn't think you were allowed language like this?? Sorry I upset you, the truth does that you know.

      You don't need to get upset when you have the truth. Remember Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot were all believers in a Godless world and look what they did.
      Read your Bible properly, Jehovah was nothing like them. Evidence we see around us and what he has made shows he is a loving God. Apply what you said to me about how you have read the Bible, you have misunderstood it.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • 2357

      Scientists have been pilfering ideas from God's word ever since they left the monasteries and credited themselves as proprietors of the natural laws they discovered. As the stakes grew with industry and liberalization, what started as trickle of boldness grew into a tsunami of outright rebellion. Legacy of modern science as it stands today, is a monumental mis-attribution of the glories of nature, as having originated from the minds of "great" bearded men. Scientific discoveries have become a ravenous piracy racket. Patents and copyrights are the canon at the mother church of minerals, military, mobility, media & medicine. They pull the strings of the scientific community with one clawed hand, and that of leadership communities with the other.

      "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened"

      August 14, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • LinCA

      @Paul

      You said, "I didn't think you were allowed language like this?? Sorry I upset you, the truth does that you know."
      Still no clue, I see. I'm not upset, just flabbergasted at the delusion.

      You said, "You don't need to get upset when you have the truth. Remember Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot were all believers in a Godless world and look what they did."
      You missed the point that they were boyscouts compared to that monster you call your god.

      You said, "Read your Bible properly, Jehovah was nothing like them. Evidence we see around us and what he has made shows he is a loving God."
      Wiping out the entire population of the earth is loving? Get a grip.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gabby, using the silly watch metaphor is beneath even you.

      There is no evidence that some invisible being 'created' earth or the universe (s). The fact that it exists does not mean a god made it. Unless you have some evidence that no one else has yet produced, you simply believe that there's a god and that it made the universe. I have no problem with your believing such a tale; I do have a problem with you and your ilk attempting to pretend it's fact and trying to have it taught in public schools as science.

      Just because something is complex does not mean "goddidit". Just because we don't yet know how the big bang was set in motion does not mean "goddidit".

      August 14, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • jim

      "5) they develop a genetic code and start making copies of themselves."

      What about 6): They die off., and what if 6) comes before )5? A theory on a theory. Don't bet the farm on it.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • jim

      @LIN CA:

      Whether you believe in God or not, and whether you believe the bible or not, the notion that 'Wiping out the entire population of the earth is loving' is not incongruous with the text of the bible because, in Genesis, it says death was the result of the decision Adam made and he was warned it would be. Wiping out the population was actually part of God's plan to redeem life. It could have been left as it was; stone, cold dead as a result of a selfish, deceitful decision. It's like having some of your body cut off because it's cancerous; would you complain that the surgeons were not loving because they cut off some of your body?

      August 15, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • jim

      @ Tom, Tom... "Just because something is complex does not mean "goddidit"."

      There's complex, and then there's amazingly complex, and then there's mind-bogglingly, infinitely complex, and at some point you just have to draw the line, get your head out of the sand and face the harsh reality the there is a God who is a loving God who gave it all up for you. Pretty tough news, I'm sure, but you can learn to cope with it.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • LinCA

      @jim

      You said, "Whether you believe in God or not, and whether you believe the bible or not, the notion that 'Wiping out the entire population of the earth is loving' is not incongruous with the text of the bible because, in Genesis, it says death was the result of the decision Adam made and he was warned it would be."
      I'm sure Hitler warned the Jews too.

      You said, "Wiping out the population was actually part of God's plan to redeem life."
      Wiping out anyone, let alone the entire world population, is barbaric. Even if it existed, your god isn't worthy of worship. It's a monster of unequaled proportions. Anybody worshiping such a creature should rightfully have his or her head examined.

      You said, "It could have been left as it was; stone, cold dead as a result of a selfish, deceitful decision. It's like having some of your body cut off because it's cancerous; would you complain that the surgeons were not loving because they cut off some of your body?"
      Are you fucking kidding me? Do you really believe that complete and utter bullshit? Are you completely off your rocker? Newborns are cancerous? Everyone was selfish? Selfishness deserves the death penalty?

      May I recommend that you find a psychiatrist? You appear completely deluded.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh? So it's a "reality"? Do tell, jimbo bimbo. Then you should be able to produce evidence. Do so.

      Thus far, you haven't produced anything but a lot of hot air. I can do that, too. Yours smells worse, though.

      Seriously, dipsh!t, people in the middle ages swore up and down that all sorts of things they couldn't explain proved the existence of GAWD. And you know what? Scientific study eventually explained most of the phenomena that had been attributed to some sky-daddy.

      Unless you can prove yours exists, using the excuse that "nothing so complex could exist if not for GAWD" doesn't prove there is one.

      So put up or shut up.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jimbo the Dumbo says: at some point you just have to draw the line, get your head out of the sand and face the harsh reality the there is a God who is a loving God who gave it all up for you.

      --
      No, you witless wonder, I don't "have to" do anything of the sort. The fact that we do not yet know how the universe began does not mean that a GAWD must have done it. Complexity does not equal giant fairy with a wand.

      Get a clue. Take a science class. You're dumb as dirt and less useful when you simply can't be bothered to learn and just give up. If you can't take it that we don't know yet, and may never know, how everything came about, that's YOUR issue, dear. I choose to wonder, learn, read, and listen to people with brains and education; that would be people who aren't like you.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • jim

      Tom Tom, LIN CA: Both of you are trying to insult with abusive name calling, but you are showing the level of your intellect to be rather low instead. Run along now, it's past your bedtime.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Allow me to translate your post for you, jumbo dimwit: You don't have any proof and now you're going to take your non-existent balls and run along home to your mommy.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • jim

      No exactly. I will run along home to my mommy, but probably not for a few years yet: she's in heaven, passed away in 1989.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @jim

      You said, "Tom Tom, LIN CA: Both of you are trying to insult with abusive name calling, but you are showing the level of your intellect to be rather low instead. Run along now, it's past your bedtime."
      You can't handle a little strong language?

      I'm just baffled, flabbergasted, completely and utterly at a loss to understand, that there are adults that seriously believe in that obvious nonsense.

      But to each his own, I guess. Don't let me stop you from your devil worship.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • jim

      Tom Tom: I don't need any more proof than I have already, but it's not transferrable, unless you're looking for God, hoping to find him. If you want to find God, you'll have to do the searching for yourself, and if you take a hard look at what you really believe, you will find it has no foundation if you're trying to convince yourself there is no God. Deep down inside you can't get away from it. Getting angry and abusive at believers is evidence of that. If, as you say, there is no evidence, that is your problem, not mine, because you have not bothered to look, and look really hard. It's your life and your responsibility to do that. You know you will have to give an account one day. Better do what you can about that now while you still can. Look around, everything has a time limit.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "you will find it has no foundation if you're trying to convince yourself there is no God."

      Listen up, azzhole. You know absolutely nothing about me or my life whatsoever. It's the arrogance of twits like you that drives anyone with a brain away from religion or belief. Your sanctimonious, shallow, idiotic as sumptions about other people you do not know and will never meet are indescribably ludicrous.

      I don't give a damn what you choose to believe, but don't you dare tell me what I "must" see or "will" find. You don't know me. You have no idea what I will or won't do, or what I need or want or think or have or feel.

      If reading the absurd conclusions and pap people like you post and enduring the stupid conclusions you make about others has done anything, it's been to drive me as far away from having an open mind about any sort of religion or its adherents as I could possibly get.

      Really, the bunch of you should just shut up if your objective is to draw people to your god. You do nothing but drive them away with your dishonesty, your hypocrisy and your ignorance.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • jim

      LinCA: You have a misconception about God. If you put yourself in the shoes of a man who has a son and must choose between his created son and his own, flesh and blood son, you will get a sense of what God struggled with when he could see you way off in the future, long before creation. He wanted you desperately, and he made that choice. In the story in the bible, he gets his son back, but in the time before creation, he gave up as much as you would have to give up if you had a son to give up, because of love. Don't let perceived judgment of you by Christians mask what God really is.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      Paul, evidence has been provided time and again on this blog that Hitler was a believer. Picking and choosing what to believe may be acceptable in your religion, but at the very least, you should respect doc.umented history.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • jim

      Tom Tom: You're right, I know nothing about you, nor do you about me. I was raised by an alcoholic, PTSD father who endured 5 years of punishing hell of war in Europe, lost a special loved one to a bombing raid and turned against God, who he had just begun to work at finding. We didn't get along too well, but later in life we did. I had some set backs, not from war, but from how I was raised and also from a serious, life-threatening brain infection that I learned to cope with for 12 years until I searched with everything in me for God because of these set backs and their devastating affect on my life. And it worked. I felt like I turned myself inside out, but things went much better afterward. That was well over 30 years ago. Years ago I met a guy up north who served as a chopper pilot in 'Nam, left with a dependency on heroine from morphine, but did the same thing I told you I did and he's not a junkie anymore. He was trying to help others down the same road he went.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • LinCA

      @jim

      You said, "You have a misconception about God."
      I'm pretty sure, I got it pretty much figured out. The only difference between your god and the Tooth Fairy is that children are allowed to stop believing in the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "If you put yourself in the shoes of a man who has a son and must choose between his created son and his own, flesh and blood son, you will get a sense of what God struggled with when he could see you way off in the future, long before creation. He wanted you desperately, and he made that choice. In the story in the bible, he gets his son back, but in the time before creation, he gave up as much as you would have to give up if you had a son to give up, because of love."
      Hook, line, sinker.

      You said, "Don't let perceived judgment of you by Christians mask what God really is."
      Your god is really just an imaginary friend for grown-ups.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  8. Harry

    Collossians 1:23-24 ..whereof I, Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind in the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church."

    And what could possibly be "behind" (lacking) in the suffering of Christ? Nothing. But this passage tells me that, like Paul, I can join my suffering to that of Christ, and thereby give it new meaning, make it into living prayer. Hat tip Jeff Cavins.

    August 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • 2357

      Suffering for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means for a worthless sinner to offer any glory to God. I know I have yet to suffer. I still cower in fear of insult and persecution. But I hope one day the Lord will fill me with his spirit in such a way that I will gladly and joyfully lay down my all so that He will be praised by men. I will be fearless in love, as He was for me.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  9. Norf

    Mr. Keller

    You state that "If there is no God or higher divine law then violence is perfectly natural."

    Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, meteorite impacts, super novas, and predators killing prey are perfectly natural and are violent. Your argument for the existence of God fails.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      No. It's the standard Christian philosophy that without a God humans are immoral violent sinful creatures. When one swallows that belief, you get the corrolary – without god violence is natural.

      It's a very negative view of one's fellow man. It also allows the corrolary to hold the belief that any non believer (not just an atheist, but one who doesn't ascribe to you're own groups interpretation of what god is) will be an evil violent destructive person. We're good, they're bad. Us, them.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • 2357

      I think Keller is referring to willful, volitional violence. I'd add to it violation of honor, pride etc. The animal kingdom cannot operate without these.

      August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  10. Wrenn_NYC

    It all comes down to the end point where if you question, you may decide you can do without. And then the pastor will be out of a job.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  11. bp

    "This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief. The great masses of a nation are not composed of philosophers. For the masses of the people, especially faith is absolutely the only basis of a moral outlook on life." – Adolf Hitler

    August 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  12. 111Dave111

    Mormon God is a Space Alien, LOL
    Mormons Baptize Dead People, L&LOL
    Mormon Religion, Big Money, Big Bigotry. L&L&LOL
    Mormon man in white underwear, a reference to special Mormon garments. L&L&L&LOL

    August 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  13. KAS860

    The issue I take with the article is that through all the "explanations" the pastor gives, he still comes to the good old Christian fallback "Don't ask why, God knows whats best for you". Asking why is human nature and if you are a believer then naturally you would ask your higher power this above all in times of strife. WHY NOT ASK WHY? Ask why about everything, blind obedience never brings anything worth while. The church is run by MAN, the bible was written by MAN, take faith in what ever God you believe in (or don't believe in depending on your views) but never take another human being word as absolute law because they claim to have an "inside track" to God. One more thing, it always amuses me that people will use the bible to back science (and vice versa) when it suits there needs but when it challenges their deeply ingrained beliefs they shun it as blasphemy(like so many Christians do with the theory of evolution). WAKE UP!!! We evolved, the earth was NOT created 2000 years ago, that is not to say life is not miraculous but it also does not give license for ignorance. If you truly believed in a great all powerful God couldn't you also believe that he had a hand in creating the evolution process???? You are falling victim to man's corruption of God, don't be a sheep, think for yourself.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  14. Gabriel Malakh

    Damocles, that's why the Bible was given to us. If you read it with an open mind you will see what God expects from our Government. Just like in the past, if they don't do things God's way, the loving way, then they are removed. That is why very soon, all governments on earth will be removed, God had already established his Messianic Kingdom in Heaven to rule over mankind in love and peace.

    Daniel 2:44
    44 “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;

    August 13, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  15. gigi

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/free-stuff/bible-studies/study-guides.aspx

    August 13, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  16. gigi

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQmLVU_nvo8&w=640&h=360]

    August 13, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      lol, that was hilariously stupid.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  17. louiske

    I'll stick with nietsche then.
    In the time you need to read this aticle, how many ppl have suffered injustly?
    We came in a bang and we will leave in a bang. In between there is a struggle to survive and how you fill that time that is your own choice.
    Fill your live with religious morality or listen to the wisdom of the ancients, whatever is best for you, as long as you don't impose in on your fellow human beings.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • Shawn

      Why can't I impose my beliefs on other people. There is no one to judge me after I die.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  18. Gabriel Malakh

    @Damocles

    What is a "cornerstone"?

    The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

    I will repeat! All the earth's layers press inward upon earth's core (foundation stone) from all directions, making it like the great "cornerstone "of support.

    In the Biblical account where God is described as questioning Job about the knowledge of the earth's history are described: it's measurements, it's cloud masses, it's seas and how their waves were limited by dry land-many things in general about the creation, spanning long periods of time. Among these things, comparing the earth to a building.

    Here are more scriptures as you requested:

    Job38:1-11
    1 And Jehovah proceeded to answer Job out of the windstorm and say:

    2 “Who is this that is obscuring counsel
    By words without knowledge?

    3 Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man,
    And let me question you, and you inform me.

    4 Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth?
    Tell [me], if you do know understanding.

    5 Who set its measurements, in case you know,
    Or who stretched out upon it the measuring line?

    6 Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down,
    Or who laid its cornerstone,

    7 When the morning stars joyfully cried out together,
    And all the sons of God began shouting in applause?

    8 And [who] barricaded the sea with doors,
    Which began to go forth as when it burst out from the womb;

    9 When I put the cloud as its garment
    And thick gloom as its swaddling band,

    10 And I proceeded to break up my regulation upon it
    And to set a bar and doors,

    11 And I went on to say, ‘This far you may come, and no farther;
    And here your proud waves are limited’?

    All I am saying is that scientists has proven these verses, especially verse 6 in relation to the the layers of the earth/earth's crust, and core/foundation to be accurate. What ever means were used to accomplish the raising up of dry land, the important point is: Both the Bible and science recognize it as one of the stages in the forming of the earth.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Damocles

      You make is sound like people just found out about things yesterday. There were people that knew the dimensions of earth either before the bible was written, or without benefit of the bible to go by. People obviously knew that waters washed up on the shore before the bible. It was known that clouds brought rain and there was a cycle to this... before the bible. So again, just because it's mentioned in the bible does not mean it was new knowledge or that some cosmic being did anything.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Paul

      Damocles;
      You speak with little knowledge my friend. The Bible is very old and dates back to Adam and Eve, the first humans. If you care to look, and I'm not sure you have an open mind enough to investigate. But I will tell you anyway. The account of Genesis was a compilation of several writings which Moses put into one book, the book of Genesis. It contains Adam history and his generations after him, including that of Noah.
      So when Jehovah spoke about the formation of the earth and us it was completely new info at the time, and helped with mans understanding the world around him and God's purpose for humans.
      How about you showing us writing other than the Bible dating back 4000 years that is scientifically accurate it it's detail about the formation of the earth.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  19. 2357

    Oh, and the underlying narrative that justifies the current genocide of unborn African and Latino Americans? Evolution, which leads to a logic of "Life begins at viable birth, conception is irrelevant" Eugenicist maniacs.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Then it's best to reject facts when people use them to support bad ideas?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • 2357

      "Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"
      That's the part of Darwin's "facts" that WON'T get him a date after the lecture.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      2357, as I said below, your statements suffer from your considerable misunderstanding. "Race" to a natural historian or natural philosopher of the 19th century meant something quite different from what you think it means. It meant a distinguishable population within a species.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • 2357

      Meaning of "Race" to literate citizens of 19th century England is pretty much what you think it was. Should we consult an elderly Indian or Kenyan for firsthand testimony?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      2357, that gets back to my original question. Let's look at it this way: Is someone's imperfect understanding of facts or true statements reason for us to reject them? Darwin was not writing about the preeminence of one race (as we commonly use the term now) of humans over others.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Also, 2357, even if we do apply to humans the term "race" as Darwin meant it the consequences are not what you imagine. A "race" of humans would be a group that possesses genetic information that others do not – information that distinguishes them in a non-arbitrary way. Something that, in Darwin's thinking, could be selected for. So if some humans had beaks that allowed them to eat larger seeds than other humans do, they might be called a "race" of humans and their distinguishing feature might allow them to compete more successfully for survival in certain environments. Care for a pumpkin seed, 2357?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • 2357

      A thinker may have interpret Darwin the way you seem to. A totalitarian doer with a real action agenda would push the interpretation a step further into policy. We have yet to see in full implementation a pure logical end to the secular, materialist view of life. But we can infer quite a bit from competing tribalism throughout history with similar paradigms. Care for a machete?

      August 13, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good night 2357. I'll pass on the machete.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • 2357

      The ways of darkness are known by the light. Goodnight Tom.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  20. BOB

    Atheists are going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it. That is why they know so much about the natural sciences.

    August 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Hey Bob, don't you just love Scientist? How they always prove the Bible to be accurate?

      Comparing the earth to a building, the Bible says that God asked Job:

      Job 38:6
      6 Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down,
      Or who laid its cornerstone?

      Interestingly, like "socket pedestals," earth's crust is much thicker under continents and even more so under mountain ranges, pushing deep into the underlying mantle, like tree roots into soil. "The idea that mountains and continents had roots has been tested over and over agin, and shown to be valid," says Putnum's Geology. Oceanic crust is only about 5 miles thick, but continental roots go down about 20 miles and mountain roots penetrate about twice that far. And all earth's layers press inward upon earth's core from all directions, making it like a great "cornerstone" of support.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Gabriel tell us about Prince Masaki again....

      August 13, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Damocles

      @Gabe

      Call we wacky, but I don't see the comparison between a building and the earth. I mean, I see where you have done your absolute bestest to hammer out something about the earth's crust, but I don't see it in that biblical passage. Maybe it'd make sense if you posted the whole passage and not some tiny part of it?

      August 13, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Paul

      Yes and all the walking up and down the earth scientists do, all they do is find what the Bible says.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Paul

      @Damocles
      Maybe you could read the passages yourself if you had a Bible. I don’t see how you don’t see the connection between a house and the earth. A house is crude in design and construction as compared to the earth and yet this crude house needed a builder and yet the far more complex structure of the earth doesn’t have a builder? Your arguments along with others in not logical. Your argument Gabriel are sound and convincing.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:18 am |
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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.