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My Take: God not in whirlwinds of Sandy, presidential race
A NASA image of Hurricane Sandy.
October 29th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

My Take: God not in whirlwinds of Sandy, presidential race

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

I am riding out Sandy on Cape Cod and wondering whether this, too, is God’s will.

As this storm has carved its path through the Caribbean and up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, it has taken 67 lives and (so far) spared the rest of us. Was it the will of the Almighty that so many should perish?

Is God angry with Cuba, where 11 died last week? More angry with Haiti, where 51 perished? Relatively unperturbed with Jamaica, where the death toll was only two? If a tree falls on my house today, will that be an Act of God, too?

There has been a lot of talk lately about what is and what isn’t willed by Providence, thanks to Richard Mourdock, the Indiana Republican and U.S. Senate candidate who said last week, “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Whether “it” in this sentence refers to rape or to conception, it assumes that God is both busy and capricious. Why does God offer the gift of life to some rape victims and not to others? Why does God allow some elections to be close and not others?

One answer, of course, is that God does nothing of the sort. Perhaps there is no God. Or perhaps God is more like the watchmaker divinity of Deism fame who winds up the universe, sets it in motion and then leaves it to its own devices.

In the thought worlds of Indian religions, things operate not by the will of God but in keeping with the laws of karma. So to put it in crudest terms, those who are injured in Sandy somehow have it coming to them, as do victims of rape who find themselves pregnant.

The western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have argued that God has a hand not only in setting our story in motion but also in seeing it through to the end. So Jews, Christians, and Muslims have had to reckon with the classical problem of “theodicy”: In a world in which God is all powerful and all good, why do bad things happen to good people?

As I wrestle with these questions, I cannot help thinking about how differently my New England forebears interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, New England's colonists were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was forever watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

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

When the Great Colonial Hurricane raced up the east coast and lashed New England in August 1635, its 130 mph winds and 21-foot storm surge were almost universally viewed in supernatural rather than natural terms — as a judgment of God on the unfaithful.

We still have Puritans among us today, of course.

Televangelist Pat Robertson is notorious for turning natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina into supernatural communications — God’s curse on Haiti or New Orleans for bad religion or widespread abortions. And with this “Stormpocalpyse” arriving on the eve of the election, I suspect some will suggest that the rain and the wind are God’s judgment on the leadership of President Obama.

Still, American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of a coming apocalypse or evidence of past misdeeds. When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, we tune in to the Weather Channel, not the Christian Broadcasting Network. And we interpret these events not through the rumblings of biblical prophets but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates.

As a result of this sort of secular turn, we are much better at predicting the course of hurricanes. The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 arrived as a surprise and took many lives with it, including, according to the report of the Massachusetts governor, John Winthrop, those of eight Native Americans taken by the storm surge while “flying from their wigwams.” Sandy is a surprise to no one, thanks to science.

Still, we Americans cannot give up on talk of God’s will. At least according to Newt Gingrich, Mourdock’s foray into rape and theology reflects the position of “virtually every Catholic” in the United States. And if we are to believe the full-page ads taken out  by Billy Graham, God wills the victory of Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

As for me, I am less sure about what God wills for our storms (political or otherwise). In my view, any God worth worshiping isn’t going to be so predictable, or so capricious.

I don’t think Graham, Mourdock, or Gingrich is speaking on behalf of God. They are speaking on behalf of themselves, on the basis of their own fears and experiences. And they are reading the Bible through their politics, not the other way around.

When it comes to storms like Sandy, I just don't believe in a God who drowns black babies in Haiti yet refuses to drown out the voices of cranky white men who claim so irreverently to speak in His name.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • Faith Now • My Take • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Science • United States

soundoff (2,188 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments
    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    Human Evolution

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/3b1508d1f0/cheech-chong-s-history-of-420?rel=player&playlist=341944

    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

    Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    Education works for children

    Earth From Space

    Detailed satellite images reveal the web of connections that sustain life on Earth. Aired February 13, 2013 on PBS

    Program Description

    "Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/earth-from-space.html

    February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |

    Peace

    May 5, 2013 at 6:13 am |
  2. Sane

    I see completely rational, well educated people here. These people have responsibilities, children. These people are everywhere. In the street, in their cars, in their homes, at the market, they profess their undying love and devotion to a storybook figure. I can never tell if it is a handicap of the mind, an inability to face reality, a fear of death that makes these otherwise completely sane individuals act as a 5 year old child sending letters to Santa Claus. They believe. I wish they would believe in the power of humanity. I watch them say things like, "It's all God's plan. It's not up to us to provide judgement. Someone is up there looking over the poor, starving, diseased people." I imagine a world where every person agreed that we, humanity, are alone here. We only have each other. There is no plan but the plans that we make, or fail to make. There is no judgement but the judgement we pass down to one another, only humanity can hold "angry white men" accountable. There is no one smiling down on starving children other than the courageous individuals who dedicate their time and money to helping them. I wish humanity would stop indulging itself in the completely self-centered pursuit of salvation. Through your unequivocal faith in a fairy tale of old you are bequeathed with an indifference, short-sightedness, and violent passion that has proven for centuries to be the darkest, most polarizing, and deadliest force humanity has ever conceived.

    December 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Rolita

    Well said, stage9.

    To Stephen: It is very interesting to me that people do not want to think of God as One who will declare judgment on people who are sinning especially when it effects babies. Well, He is the same God yesterday, today and forever. I was just reading Ezekiel 9:3-11 again where God sent a man (an angelic host) to mark those who were crying because of the abominations of the people so that they would not be destroyed. He then sent more men to follow and kill men, women and children without any pity because of their sins.

    Even Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law (Matthew 5:17). God has standards. And while we are in a time of grace, I pray that people will not take grace for granted and forget that God does chasten and judge. And He is keeping record of even the cranky white men who so irreverently speak His name. However, it is not for us to determine when God establishes judgment, but know that unless they repent judgment will soon follow.

    November 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Your god is really one pathetic, petty, vindictive douche . It's a good thing that god doesn't exist.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. stage9

    Then you don't know the God of the Bible, Stephen.

    Everyone who dies in an unconventional way was going to die eventually anyway. There is no getting around it. One day each of us will die. Whether it is at the hand of a madman in a crowded theater; or whether in a third world coastal town devastated by a natural disaster; or whether by a drunk driver or alone in our own beds, EACH of us will die somehow, someway, sometime.

    No one gets to choose how, and no one is infinite enough to know why theirs is not as "favorable" a death as another's.

    God has always sent minor calamities to awaken the spiritually apathetic. He has been warning America for YEARS now to turn back to Him, but we have thumbed our noses at Him. Little by little the hedge that we always took for granted has begun to crumble. That hedge was His grace and His protection. Sin has a debilitating effect not just on individual lives but also on entire societies when God's Word is ignored. The wages of sin is death. This may begin as spiritual death, but it always will eventuate into physical death as well.

    It is not that God is not compassionate or that he hates mankind, it's that He cannot and will not tolerate open rebellion and sin against Him. Even if He DIDN'T send Sandy, those who died would still face His justice one day. Mourning would STILL ensue. Tears would still fall. God has warned us time and again, yet we refuse to return to Him. And Stephen, your response to God is the same response MANY have given over the centuries when God has warned of His impending judgment. People could never believe that God would send judgment on His own people. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah would disagree with you. Katrina, Sandy, the tornadoes that struck Alabama last year, are all warnings of what's to come if we do not return wholeheartedly as a nation back to God.

    There is a point when God says: "ENOUGH!"

    "There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5

    November 5, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Katrina, Sandy, the tornadoes that struck Alabama last year, are all warnings of what's to come if we do not return wholeheartedly as a nation back to God. " No, they were all *natural disasters*, the same kind that have been happening all over the world since time began.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  5. The Gunney

    I will vote my faith next week in that Life is more important than politics.
    The Dems have been strong proponants of Abortion for the past 50 years.... end result = (54,000,000 murdered children) ... I as an American and Christian cannot support anyone who supports this.
    As a Retired Marine I cannot support a man who is outwardly leading our nation to communisim via socialism!!
    His lack of leadership was evident when our embassy was attacked in Lybia and he sat in Washington and did nothing!!
    Yes Romney is a Morman.... but he is also an American with obvious leadership capabilities. How can Christians vote for a Morman...... I believe the Dems like to throw around a word... oh yeah... diversity. Would the Dems have us be prjudice against a man for his faith???

    November 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Jaimie

      Go read your bible, and see all the innocent children your god killed.

      I hate to break it to ya, but this aint the dark ages. Women have rights now, men don't own them anymore. The human race has evolved (well, some of us anyway). Go crawl back into your cave clutching that pathetic excuse of a book you like to selectively quote from.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah Gunney the human race has evolved to where we allow women to kill their own children now just because they want to. We are so advanced

      November 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  6. Chad

    In 1959 a survey was conducted of scientists across America concerning their understanding of the physical sciences. One particular question asked “What is your concept of the age of the Universe?” More than two thirds of the scientists polled responded that there was no origin of the Universe. They believed that the Universe was eternal.

    Then five years later, in 1964, radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered a microwave signal buried in their data. They attempted to filter out the signal, assuming that it was merely unwanted noise. However, they soon realized what the signal actually was; they had inadvertently discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The CMB had been predicted by a theory that few believed at the time called the Big Bang. This discovery was the first evidence that the Universe had a beginning.

    Once it was understood that the Universe had a beginning, scientists began to ask “how did it come into existence, and what existed before it?”

    Most scientists now believe that the answer to the first part of the question is that the Universe sprang into existence from a singularity - a term physicists use to describe regions of space that defy the laws of physics. We know very little about singularities, but we believe that others probably exist in the cores of black holes.

    The second part of the question, as to what existed before the Big Bang, has scientists baffled. By definition, nothing existed prior to the beginning, but that fact creates more questions than answers. For instance, if nothing existed prior to the Big Bang, what caused the singularity to be created in the first place?

    November 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to;
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Paula Marie Bernadette

      CHAD EASE OFF ON THE HTML ATTEMPTS YOU EVEN MAKE ME LOOK BAD!

      November 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Chad, that does not prove that a god exists, it does not prove that your god exists. Since the Big Bang there has been no evidence of god (and no the much modified diaries of anonymous goatherders does not count as proof).

      November 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Chad

      Why would you think nothing existed before the beginning of our universe? Something existed before all the black holes we can see. They didn't materialize from nothing. The big bang was simply the beginning of our universe. There may be countless other universes beginning and ending beyond our range of detection. And there is no reason to believe there once was nothing. Maybe there always was something. Why should there be nothing rather than something? And don't say singularities defy the laws of physics. Of course they defy our laws of physics, but there could well be other perfectly consistent laws of physics quite different than the ones we know. These possibilities make infinitely more sense to me than to believe in some absurd "god" nonsense to explain it.

      November 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @Athy "Why would you think nothing existed before the beginning of our universe? Something existed before all the black holes we can see. They didn't materialize from nothing"
      @Chad "Nothing of our universe existed "before" the big bang, as all of the matter in our universe, time and space itself came into existence at the singularity point, as is stated above "Once it was understood that the Universe had a beginning, scientists began to ask “how did it come into existence, and what existed before it?”

      now, the multiverse theory says that the external agent that created our universe was another universe, as you note.

      that is precisely why I always say that the neccessity of an external enti ty is not the debate, the debate is the identi ty of that enti ty. In your view it could be another universe

      of note: For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.

      — Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse

      November 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  7. Paula Marie Bernadette

    TO HAWAIIGUEST: ARE YOU AS OBNOXIOUS AND HATEFUL IN PERSON AS YOUR COMMENTS REPRESENT YOU TO BE? ARE YOU A POLITICIAN, A SKIN-HEAD, OR JUST TOTALLY IGNORANT? I AM BETTING ON THE LATTER (IGNORANT). OH YES, OBNOXIOUS AND ANGRY TOO. WHAT MADE YOU THE WAY YOU ARE?

    November 2, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Damocles

      Are you just naturally gifted at screaming like a drunken banshee or did you have to take a class?

      November 2, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Paula Marie Bernadette

      I'M JUST NATURALLY A FAT, SHRILL BITCH!

      November 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Paula

      Does using caps lock make you feel better about yourself? I'm also wondering, what comments do you think make me obnoxious and hateful? Or could it possibly be that you just can't handle opinions that dissent from yours?

      November 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      pot kettle black

      November 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Dippy

      Paula Marie Bernadette: turn off your fucking caps lock! It's childish and unnecessary.

      November 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  8. Calvin

    I find it fascinating but not too surprising that even a religious scholar and author like Stephen Prothero has more questions than he has answers. He poses more questions in this article than he answers and he states: “I am riding out Sandy on Cape Cod and wondering whether this, too, is God’s will.” and “As I wrestle with these questions…” After all, good critical thinking requires questioning.

    To me, his most fundamental and interesting unanswered question is, “In a world in which God is all powerful and all good, why do bad things happen to good people?” Maybe this question is unanswered because it does not have an answer. Maybe this question is proof by contradiction that an all powerful and all good God does not exist.

    November 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • tonykeywest

      "Bad things " dont happen to good people. God is righteous and good when he judges mankind in any way he sees fit. and for the information of the Bible illiterate who wrote the article. God IS in the whirlwind and the scripture is *crystal* clear on that fact: Isa 66:15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. ;Jer 23:19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
      And HERE The Westboro Baptist Church replies tothis article! http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftelly.com%2FN8NHZ&h=7AQEcRvmAAQG7p6ZT7H0rc8Qt1YTQ9Ipv7XBn0JjEFEvcPQ&enc=AZPsom_cwYKcEajlcJEpfQngGhzWgy8CCRwWJr8_9Lbhez_LzjCbsVHwnzCpIm2zsbJS1Ds8boc3tlE-B1aBTO76&s=1

      November 2, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Calvin

      tonykeywest

      If it is really true that "Bad things " don't happen to good people." as you claim, then you must believe that a small child dying of cancer is not a "bad thing" or a small child is not "good". Dying of cancer is indisputably a "bad thing" for an innocent child.

      November 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      "bad" and "good" are only human perspectives. It reminds be of an old comedy routine where one guy tells a story and the other guy says 'Oh, that's bad" The first guy says "No, that's good because.." to which the second soon replies "Hey, that's good". "Well no that's bad..." you get the idea.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  9. CHRISTIAN FOOLS!!!

    The reason Atheists laugh at so-called Christians is because of all the foolishness and lies coming from all the churches. Christians lie on God continually – and these will be the same ones who will deny Him if they ever actually read the Bible.

    God is a vengeful, jealous God who loves & hates, He creates evil, He sent an evil spirit to King Saul... STOP LYING on The Most High.

    When people are faced with the truth of the scriptures instead of what they 'feel in their heart' (pathetic) many would rather stop believing all together instead of accepting the truth.

    Why do Atheist know the Bible better than many of you who identify yourselves as Christian???

    November 1, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Because knowledge and understanding are not the same thing.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things'

    November 1, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Jesus

      `Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  11. MikeP

    A lot of hate is Soren across this DB. It's ironic that the minority(those who don't believe) are allowed to have an opinion, butif you disagree you're intollerant. Stupid and guilable....interesting

    November 1, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  12. MikeP

    The point of these terrible actions is to experience suffering, and to be humbled. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction; in every good, there is bad, in every bad, there is good. It's also interesting to note that people are attempting to understand what gods will is, as if one can even think on the same level as him

    November 1, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Just because you have no comprehension of how our planet works does not mean you get to use your imaginary friend as an excuse.

      November 1, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • captain america

      Just because no one in your own country listens to you does not mean you get to dump your bull sh it opinion on US. There's your sign

      November 1, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Sean

      TruthPrevails :-), just because God's truth is only words to you, doesn't mean he didn't explain all to us. You, my friend are full of excuses.

      November 1, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      Redemptive pain and suffering is possibly the sickest, most twisted, psychotic, concept even raised by religion.

      And claiming god sends hurricanes to punish sinners only shows the profound depths of your scientific ignorance. You folks are every bit as loony's who tossed virgins into volcanoes to appease gods.

      November 1, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Huebert

      Sean

      Just because you believe that biblical myths are the word of god, doesn't mean that they are true. You, my friend, should examine the inverse of an argument before you post.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  13. Star Girl

    When do religion professors ever see God's hand in anything?! Look... has anyone considered that Earth might be fighting back. Last I heard we take approximately 1.5 the amount of resources that the Earth can recreate in a year... we are making her sick. When we're sick our bodies heat up with fever and do explosive things like vomit or sneeze or cough to drive out the offending organisms and preserve our own life ... or in Earth's case warm globally and have earthquakes, wildfires, floods and volcanoes. Maybe she doesn't distinguish between the individual organisms – black babies or white – just like we aren't consciously aware of each individual organism that dies when we get sick. Maybe she is just focusing on getting well. Maybe God is using the forces of nature to help Earth survive the abuse of humans. Seriously, did anyone ever consider that maybe its not all about us ... that maybe God has priorities that mean our endless dreams of SUVs, lattes, unending growth – and the oppression and dehumanization that goes with it – is not what God is supporting at this time? Seriously... what kind of loving God would support us in our excesses when those excess serve the good of no one?

    October 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Glenda

      What kind of 'loving God' would let so many innocent children die of hunger and cancer?

      November 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  14. JM

    How do I get my comment on here?

    October 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      you may have embedded words like t.it in ent.ity or const.itution; a.ss in cla.ss etc

      October 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • the AnViL

      you'll need to pay for the CNN Gold account.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Athy

      Let me try it: tit in entity or constitution; ass in class, etc. Hm, shit, it works for me.

      November 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  15. Paula Marie Bernadette

    To hawaiiguest, Haven't heard your opinion(s) in a couple of days. Oh, I forgot, tonight is Halloween, must be like Christmas for you. I know, (WE ALL KNOW) you purport to not only NOT believe in God, but exhibit quite and angry disposition towards someone in whom you don't believe. Do you believe in evil, as in the devil? Are you the devil? If you ARE I know you will deny it because satan's favorite ploy is to disprove his existence. That is why he,among other things, is called the prince of lies. Food for thought for your little brain.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  16. His panic

    No need to Panic yet!!

    God was just Trick or Treating, just a Friendly reminder of His infinite Power. It will be much, much Worst at the end of ALL things.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  17. Paula Marie Bernadette

    Your words speak the truth. . . a very serious truth. Thank you. I admit my earlier comment about seeming to be the only "believer" to comment is definitely WRONG. I just did not read enough comments. Mistakes, common among sinners like me. God bless you and your family.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.