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December 14th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) – As he waited with parents who feared that their kids were among the 20 children killed at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, Rabbi Shaul Praver said the main thing he could do for parents was to merely be present.

“It’s a terrible thing, families waiting to find out if their children made it out alive,” said Praver, who leads a synagogue in Newtown, Connecticut, and was among nine clergy gathered with parents at a firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the shooting occurred.

“They’re going to need a lot of help,” Praver said of those who are close to the dead.

From the first moments after Friday’s massacre, which also left six adults and the shooter dead, religious leaders were among the first people to whom worried and grieving families turned for help.

Over the weekend, countless more Americans will look to clergy as they struggle to process a tragedy in which so many of the victims were children.

“Every single person who is watching the news today is asking ‘Where is God when this happens?’” says Max Lucado, a prominent Christian pastor and author based in San Antonio.

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Lucado says that pastors everywhere will be scrapping their scheduled Sunday sermons to address the massacre.

“You have to address it - you have to turn everything you had planned upside down on Friday because that’s where people’s hearts are,” Lucado says.

“The challenge here is to avoid the extremes – those who say there are easy answers and those who say there are no answers.”

Indeed, many religious leaders on Friday stressed that the important thing is for clergy to support those who are suffering, not to rush into theological questions. A University of Connecticut professor on Friday hung up the phone when asked to discuss religious responses to suffering, saying, “This is an immense tragedy, and you want an academic speculating on the problem of evil?”

“There is no good answer at that time that anyone can hear and comprehend and take in,” said Ian T. Douglas, the bishop for the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut, referring to counseling family and friends of the dead. “They’re crying out from a place of deep pain.”

Praver, the rabbi, will join a memorial service Friday night at Newtown’s St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church.

“We’re going to have a moment of prayer for the victims,” Praver said of the service. “We cannot let it crush our spirit and we march on.”

Some national religious groups are also sending staff to Newtown, with 10 chaplains dispatched from the North Carolina-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Friday.

Public officials including President Obama, meanwhile, turned to the Bible in responding to the shooting. “In the words of Scripture, 'heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds,' ” Obama said from the White House, citing the book of Psalms.

On Twitter, #PrayForNewton became a trending topic.

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

Some religious leaders argue that modern American life insulates much of the nation from the kind of senseless death and suffering that plagues much of the world every day.

“Most of the world, for most of the world’s history, has known tragedy and trauma in abundance,” wrote Rob Brendle, a Colorado pastor, in a commentary for CNN’s Belief Blog after this summer’s deadly shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which left 12 dead.

“You don’t get nearly the same consternation in Burundi or Burma, because suffering is normal to there,” wrote Brendle, who pastored congregants after a deadly shooting at his church five years ago. “For us, though, God has become anesthetist-in-chief. To believe in him is to be excused from bad things.”

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

Lucado said there was an eerie irony for the Connecticut tragedy coming just before Christmas, noting the Bible says that Jesus Christ’s birth was followed by an order from King Herod to slay boys under 2 in the Roman city of Bethlehem.

“The Christmas story is that Jesus was born into a dark and impoverished world,” Lucado says. “His survival was surrounded by violence. The real Christmas story was pretty rough.”

Many religious leaders framed Friday’s shooting as evidence for evil in the world and for human free will in the face of a sovereign God.

“The Bible tells us the human heart is ‘wicked’ and ‘who can know it?’” the Rev. Franklin Graham said in a statement about the massacre. “My heart aches for the victims, their families and the entire community.”

Many religious leaders also said that such tragedies are a good time for lay people to express doubts about God – or anger.

“This is a time to go deep and pray,” says Lucado. “If you have a problem with God, shake a fist or two at him. If he’s God, he’s going to answer. And if he’s in control, he’ll find a way to let you know.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • God • Uncategorized

soundoff (9,195 Responses)
  1. the AnViL

    http://i.imgur.com/Rtsqh.jpg <--this

    December 18, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  2. gary

    He is on the throne and alive and well.His name is Yahushua! He is coming soon.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Bet

      Has he tried more fiber in his diet?

      December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Athy

      Define "soon." He's had almost 2000 years and hasn't shown up yet. Better never than late?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • DJ

      best explanation i've heard – from this interview

      http://video.insider.foxnews.com/v/2036473010001/

      December 18, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Oldman

      He's sitting on the throne, and he's going to come soon? Is Yahushua a teenage boy with a copy of Penthouse?

      December 18, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Yahushua's Dad

      KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

      "Yahushua!!! Stop that right now!!! You'll go blind!!!"

      December 18, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • sam stone

      he is on the throne and coming soon?

      "jesus, you're spending a lot of time in the bathroom...."

      December 18, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  3. Decency costs Nothing

    Oh great! Out they come, bang on cue – the God blamers.

    You really are a bunch of uneducated people aren't you?

    A man with a gun [who was already flagged as 'disturbed', 'weird' and 'odd'] used his freedom of will, movement and action and ginned down his own mother, 20 innocent babies and other adults before killing himself.
    Where were his doctors, teachers, friends a,d relatives? A RED FLAG is a red flag and he should have been treated.

    Do NOT blame God. Do NOT blame gun owners. Blame your failure of a country which – because of your refusal to deal with these killers has caused the deaths of so many this year alone.

    How many more massacres before you quit whining about gun laws and tackle the real problem? When a person is flagged as a possible danger DEAL WITH IT! If you had in this case, the Indian temple and the last theatre shooting, lives would have been saved. Get a grip America. Deal with the problems in your society.

    Before you start – I had 2 cousins who went to America to start a new life. One was pushed off a roof and is permanently damaged; the other was found shot in the head just as his parents [my aunt and uncle] arrived in the cesspit of a USA for his wedding. And all because my cousins wouldn't pay "protection money!"

    December 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Clues to the clueless

      Why did the shooter have free will, but not the children or the parents or anyone else?

      Oh, the people who demand protection money from immigrants are always immigrants themselves. The Italian mob preyed on the Italians, the Russian mob preys on Russians, and so forth. Americans didn't do that – your own fellow countrymen did that. Don't blame us.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • skytag

      My condolences on your loss. You are correct, we do have some serious problems here that we shouldn't have.

      December 18, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • WASP

      @nothing: "freedom of will."
      now please explain how the creator of everything, that knows everything from your deepest darkest thoughts to your happiest moments long before humans were ever created could allow "free will."
      free will is chaos, it's the ability of an animal to change it's path in life, however being "all knowing" means that it has a plan for all things living which implys no free will seeing you have to follow his plan.
      so which is it? do we have free will, thus no god
      or is there a plan which means god created that ki11er knowing he would massacre those children?

      i know you will jump on the logic hamster wheel for a while so i will leave you to your exercise. :)

      December 18, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  4. Bill

    @Athy...Seeing the religious responses on these blogs over the years during troubling times has been amusing but mostly sad. Am I an Atheist? I'm not sure but I know for certain I'm not a Theist. There are Rabid dogs and sick and troubled animals in every species. As far as I know though, We're the only ones who kill each other for sport.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Athy

      We're the only species that can kill for sport with a minimum of personal involvement. Can you imagine a nut like Lanza going to that school without a weapon and strangling all those children with his bare hands? High-powered rifles make the process so much quicker and impersonal. We've got to limit access to these killing tools. But it won't be easy.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • lol??

      So Bill, you're 45% amused and 55% sad? ..............."Jam 1:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways."........Don't trip. It might be a bad one.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Bill, there are plenty of animals that kill each other for sport. When's the last time you even read up on animals, 1939?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • fintastic

      RH..... please tell us what animals kill for sport beside humans?

      December 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  5. Bill

    It's never been more obvious to me then right now that god is a fairy tale, always has been, always will be. This guy was nothing more then a sick, abnormal human being who took the lives of these children and teachers. You can't fix stupid and you can't fix a lunatic. You can only hope to contain them both.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Agreed, Bill. But isn't it amusing to see how the religies attempt to reconcile this event with their nonsensical beliefs?

      December 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • lol??

      Man with a disability=No God................... Containment? Whaaaaaa?

      December 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • skytag

      Athy: Indeed. I was a Christian for many years. Even then I felt I had to spend too much time rationalizing the inconsistencies between what I believed and what I saw in the real world. Eventually I got to the point I couldn't keep rationalizing. Now I look at Christians and am amazed by how much energy they put into rationalizing why their beliefs aren't consistent with reality. It's not a stretch to describe them as conspiracy theorists.

      December 18, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  6. brid

    God is in the same place He is when we choose to commit the heinous crime of abortion – killing more children than the awful massacre in CT. God sees it all as murder. Sin. Crime. He hates it all equally, as we should.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Athy

      That's the way you see it, brid. How could you possibly know how your imaginary god sees it?

      December 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • lol??

      "Jhn 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

      December 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Bet

      It's interesting that on one hand, god bears no responsibility for bad things that happen, because his ways are mysterious and unknowable, yet you claim to know what he thinks about abortion, which is never mentioned in the bible.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • skytag

      More pregnancies self-termintate, resulting in miscarriage than are terminated by abortions. In other words, God does more abortions than we do. That's if you're foolish enough to believe in God.

      December 18, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • WASP

      @brid: when females ahve abortions or a gunman shoots people it's murder; however when god wipes out whole towns and floods the planet..............................it's good?

      December 18, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • sam stone

      brid: why do you feel you have the authority to speak for god?

      December 18, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • fintastic

      To know the mind of god? very interesting.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  7. Salero21

    Having established that atheists are way below the level of apes, from which they believe and claim to descend. Thought the apes only descend from the trees, atheists take it to a whole lower level. Their total lack of compa$$ion and sympathy toward other humans. Their mock and scorn of religion and the simple faith of others, whether in a Creator or in a Supreme Being.

    The only thing left to add is that trying to deal or reason with such atheists is like trying to put some order to a barrel full of monkeys. Because atheists are always mocking around like monkeys.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Athy

      Wrong on every count, Sal. But it would be futile to try to correct you, you're way beyond that.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Bill

      I direct you to my statement above Sal. You can't fix stupid or a lunatic.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • ??

      Your little rant serves to re-enforce the views of atheism quite nicely...and I thank you!

      December 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Bet

      Having established that atheists are way below the level of apes, from which they believe and claim to descend.

      You've established nothing but that you are an incompetent nincompoop who can't write a coherent sentence.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      salero: you are a punk. walk in front of a speeding bus, please

      December 18, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • WASP

      @SAL: "Westboro Baptist Church Member Says Group Will Picket Sandy Hook Elementary Patch – Pearl River, "
      if this is the example of how loving christians are then i'm glad i'm atheist.
      oh and BTW the westboro church is saying accordingt o the bible the shooter was doing god's work............lovely thought right.

      December 18, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • eden

      Sadly I have to agree..i have yet to see one atheist show any compassion whatsoever...why do you care if people believe in God,,what do you care when someone holds on to their faith. Your ranting and raving is NOt going to change anyones beliefs so your sarcastic foul languaged hateful words are doing nothing but actually making me more of a believer. Believe what you want, believe what you dont want but just an observation some of you sound like complete classless hateful people. If a father that lost his daughter can go on national TV and still stand strong on his faith then what are yourunning your mouth about?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • sam stone

      "i have yet to see one atheist show any compassion whatsoever"
      you need to look around more

      "why do you care if people believe in God,,what do you care when someone holds on to their faith."
      because they try to legislate it

      December 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  8. Oh well, so I'm a tard

    I can admit it. I did go to community college (and struggled). I'm not as smart as most of you Christians and Atheists alike. I can't picke through the Bible, I guess I'm not smart enough. I'm still productive though in society and all. Anyway my being dumb isn't the end of the world. I get by and do some good for others. Somebody has to was the dishes and pick up the poo. And yes, I believe in God. I don't call God anything but just God (not Allah, or Jesus, or Krishna)..I figure everybody has their own ideas. God is just that feeling behind my eyes and at the pit of my stomach and across my chest. Something I feel when it rains or sometimes when the sun sets.

    I'm sure you scientists have a fancy word for it. But you can't tellme I don't feel it any more than you can tell me wether or not my arm hurts.

    And I can't tell you why God would allow this to happen. But you all do have my sympathies. I can't proove what I feel anymore than I can proove a toothache. But if it helps anyone..I still feel it some.

    I am sorry everyone is fighting about something so simple.

    Regards..

    Plain old blue collar, and not very important me.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • JJ

      That's cool if you believe in some kind of higher power even without a shred of evidence. Just don't create a cult around it and push it onto everyone else.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • niknak

      At least your post was from the heart and sincere.
      But just because you feel it does not mean it proves that god exists.
      And I am cool with that, and so are all non believers.
      It is this Tard, we have an issue when you want to inject your "feeling" for god into OUR lives.
      And I am useing the collective you, no you personally.
      Religious people are not content, like you seem to be, to just believe and go about their lives.
      They want everyone else to "feel" god like they do, and even more, they want to force us to "feel" god by putting it in our government, our schools, our medicine and our bedrooms.
      In some very religious countries they will even kill you if you don't go along with it (we did that here to back in the day).

      So that is the problem with god.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • ??

      You ain't no tard.This is one of the most honest comments I have ever seen from a believer...and to think you did it without quoting scripture.I find this very refreshing,but sadly,very rare.Good for you!

      December 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      For a tard you write very well. I'm impressed also.

      As to your inner feelings, they are just caused by different brain chemicals.
      Nothing complicated about that, is there?
      So if you can't help believing something that isn't true, that's okay. You certainly have plenty of company, right?
      Just keep it in your pants. That is all we are asking. Religion is a type of mental illness. Don't spread it around.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • skytag

      I wouldn't question your feelings for a second, only that the source of them is some supernatural being.

      As for how smart you are, I don't care. Half of the population has an IQ of 100 or less. 16% have an IQ of 85 or less. But as you point out, they can be fine human beings and make essential contributions to our society. The only time I have a problem with dumb people is when they try to compensate for feelings of inferiority by acting as if they're smarter than everyone else.

      No society can function with only doctors, professors, and CEOs any more than an army can function only with generals. We need lots of people doing the grunt work that makes the system run. I've done some of those jobs myself and I've taught in universities. I don't look down on anyone who does his job well, whatever that job is.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • eden

      Thats funny JJ because arent you doing it yourself???? Someone speaks of their faith and the non believers come out in full force about how God is a magical nothing....but I wonder how many non believers are outting up a Christmas tree and "not celebrating " Christmas...are you fighting your employer about why you are forced to not work in 12/25 as others celebrate Christmas or are you enjoying the day off, are you refusing to handle our US currency that cleary says " In God we Trust"? oh in my book that makes you a hippocrite as well. I can respect anyone and everyones beliefs and non beliefs but when you come off as hateful , hearltess people you just reinforce my faith.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Bet

      @ eden

      I can't speak for other nonbelievers, but sometimes I decorate a tree and sometimes I don't. I have a lot of decorations that were my mother's, and I enjoy looking at them. The lights are pretty. This year, I put up my leg lamp, but that's all. We give gifts to the children. Some of them still believe in Santa Claus, and some of them still want to believe, because they are children. Sometimes I even sing carols. I was raised in a religious home and sang in the choir for years. Some of the music is beautiful, but singing Silent Night has no more meaning to me than singing Here Comes Santa Claus.

      My workplace closes for the day, so I don't show up for work. If my workplace was open, I'd be there. I work the days my employer schedules me to work. I'm always happy to have a day off.

      I also decorate for Halloween. That doesn't mean I believe in witches, ghosts and vampires.

      Our currency didn't always have that phrase on it. It was added later, same with the pledge of allegiance. Personally, I rarely use cash. I use a credit card with a cash back bonus and pay it off monthly. It has nothing to do with god, I make a little money that way, that's all.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @eden,

      ...but I wonder how many non believers are outting up a Christmas tree and "not celebrating " Christmas...

      I'm not a "non-believer" as I do have beliefs, they just don't happen to be Christian. I am a Pagan myself. And, despite the fact that "Christmas" trees are actually Pagan in origin, from a time when people celebrated the winter solstice by lighting candles to welcome back the light as winter turns toward spring and decorated trees to "warm" their spirits in the long, cold darkness, I don't actually put up a tree. I live alone, and don't really have room for one. I do put some evergreen on my altar though, to remind me that the winter isn't forever, and the light returns.

      are you fighting your employer about why you are forced to not work in 12/25 as others celebrate Christmas or are you enjoying the day off,

      My employer, being a government contractor, is closed for the federal holiday on 12/25. We're also closed on 12/24 and also on 12/31 & 1/1. I do, however, have to work on my holy day, the solstice, or take vacation to celebrate it.

      are you refusing to handle our US currency that cleary says " In God we Trust"?

      I tend to not handle cash generally, as I find it much easier to pay most things with my debit card. Also, "In God we Trust" was not always on our cash, it was added during the big communism scare, when people in this country were so afraid of "the Reds" that they illogically connected atheism to communism and in a knee-jerk reaction violated the constitution by adding these words to our money.

      oh in my book that makes you a hippocrite as well.

      How so? Am I supposed to live my life with nothing simply because of a few words on a piece of paper? I fully support "In God we Trust" being removed from our money. Until it is, I am forced to use that money as a means of survival. That doesn't make my a hypocrite, though it does rather paint the people who put the words there as hypocrites.

      I can respect anyone and everyones beliefs and non beliefs but when you come off as hateful , hearltess people you just reinforce my faith.

      I submit that this is something you tell yourself, but your words seem to show the exact opposite. There is hate enough on both sides, spewed with vitriol from both Christians and Atheists alike. We are too quick to see in others those things we most fear or despise in ourselves.

      May your faith keep you warm in the cold of winter, and your table be blessed with bounty.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  9. Eduardo

    It was twenty years ago today
    That the coaches said we couldn't play
    Our classmates called us nerdy geeks
    Our pastors told us to be meek
    You wonder why we're full of rage?
    We need this electronic stage.

    RICHARD DAWKINS' LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND!

    We're Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band
    We've got no bloody place to go
    We're Richard Dawkins' one and only Lonely Hearts Club Band
    The girls in high school told us "no"

    Richard Dawkins', Lonely, RIchard Dawkins' Lonely
    Richard Dawkins' Lonely (Harmony) Hearts Club Band

    I don't really want to spoil the show
    But I thought you'd all like to know
    My daddy was a fall-down drunk
    His uncle was pedophile monk
    I don't know how to handle pain
    My childhood prayers were in vain

    Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band!

    Billy Shears!

    What would you think if I called God a jerk, would you stand up and walk out on me.
    Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song of why your faith bothers me

    Oh I get by with a little hate in my heart
    Ooh, and I cry with a little hate in my heart,
    Yeah, I'm going to die with a little hate in my heart.
    Mmm, I'm going die with a little hate in my heart

    CHORUS

    (Could you be more obnoxious?)
    I just want someone to hate

    (Don't you know you're obnoxious?)
    I need somebody to hate

    Oh I get by with a little hate in my heart
    Ooh, and I cry with a little hate in my heart,
    Yeah, I'm going to die with a little hate in my heart.
    Mmm, I'm going die with a little hate in my heart, a little hate in my (Harmony!) Heart!

    December 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • ??

      You have obviously put some effort in to this.So it deserves some comment.This song was written by an atheist.Beatle records were burned in the bible belt during the sixties due to an innocent comment by John Lennon.This was one example of religious hatred and intolerance.You obviously know nothing about atheism and you find this frustrating,causing you to post a silly hateful diatribe using a classic song.Don't be too offended when I rate your song lyrics;FAIL..ps:feel free to post another effort.LOL

      December 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Bet

      Unfortunately, John Lennon was murdered by a born again christian.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  10. niknak

    Where was god?

    Where god always is, in the minds of delusional people.

    Since it does not exist, it was nowhere.

    But I know what the answer is....
    More guns please!

    December 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  11. Atheist Hunter

    The main thing that proves Christianity is the amount of atheists who fight it daily. You don't see that with any other religion. We feel honored to have your complete attention, fear and respect. If there was nothing to us there would be no threat. Our God is and Awesome God and even atheists know his power and seek to destroy Him. You're wasting your time. Go watch a movie or something instead!

    December 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      If America was 80% Hindu, and they were trying to force their religion into law, then I would be railing against and fighting against that. You're idiocy is astounding, not to mention you running away when confronted with the fact that you don't actually answer anything or say anything of worth.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Atheist Hunter

      You said, "The main thing that proves Christianity is the amount of atheists who fight it daily."
      It's equal parts mental health care for the deluded believers and radiation treatment for the cancer that religion is. Coverage is provided free of charge under Obamacare.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • lol??

      Hinduism is about change and they have their hopey changey prez already.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • lol??

      However the caste system and karma is cool.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • niknak

      You are such a fool atheist lover.
      We could care less about your stone age fairy tale.
      What we rail against is that you fundies keep trying to force that fairy tale on us.
      Xtian, hindu, muslim, etc, it is all the same.
      A big fat lie.
      Face it bro, you have an imaginary friend.
      Cute when a kid has one, really creepy when an adult has one.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      A**H***: Your god is a vindictive little punk. Likely why you take such comfort in it.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • lol??

      sanstone, "Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"

      December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • ??

      Your awesome god demonstrated his awesome power last Friday.O yeah- did he ever.Some demonstrations are more mysterious than others.Right?You wouldn't recognize god if he kicked you in the n ut s.Be honest- all you have is a hunch or a feeling.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      When knucle-dragging zealots try to shove science out of the schools and replace it with religion as a stepping stone toward establishing a theocracy and forcing everyone to hew to their creed under penalty of law, that's all the threat needed to motivate lots of right-minded people in opposition. Atheists aren't opposed to god – there is no god – they're opposed to those who promote intolerance and bigotry in the name of god.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • skytag

      "The main thing that proves Christianity is the amount of atheists who fight it daily."

      The main thing that proves atheists are right is the amount of Christians who fight it daily with the most pathetic arguments imaginable, such as this one.

      "You don't see that with any other religion."

      Possibly because I live in America and Christianity is by far the most prevalent religion here. We only see Christians trying to codify their religious beliefs into laws. If you read the comments in this discussion it's only Christians who try to blame this tragedy on America not being Christian enough. Whatever followers of other religions may believe about atheists, the only people I see who are arrogant enough to actively demean atheists are Christians.

      "We feel honored to have your complete attention, fear and respect.:

      You have my attention, but if you think I fear or respect you then you're suffering from even more delusions than the one in which you have an all-powerful imaginary friend.

      "If there was nothing to us there would be no threat."

      As I've said in the past, religion makes people stupid. If there is nothing to atheism why do you pay so much attention to us and work so hard to dismiss us? I'm posting as "skytag." You're posting as "Atheist Hunter." Seems to me you're projecting.

      "Our God is and Awesome God and even atheists know his power and seek to destroy Him."

      See? Religion makes people stupid. You'd have to be really stupid to believe this.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:26 am |
  12. Atheist Hunter

    Christianity is the ONLY religion that has been run out of schools. The rest is welcome. What does that tell you?

    December 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      that you're an imbecile who cannot support a single one of your claims?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      where is the support for your claims? Language was better this time. People will take you more seriously if you lose the pot ty mouth. You're welcome.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • the AnViL

      the atheist hunter person is just trolling. posting any drivel to elicit a reaction.

      none of his claims are substantiated – and they're all just childish noise.

      ignore it and hurt it – it will go away.

      they always do

      December 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      the AnViL...in other words, "do as the anvil says, not as he does," he can't help but respond to childish noise apparently. Now he will go away.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • What IF

      "ignore it and hurt it [Atheist Hunter] – it will go away."

      Quite the opposite, I don't want him to go away. He's one of the best vilifiers of religion around here.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where's your evidence for this absurd claim, AH? Oh, don't bother. You won't answer. You're a troll.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • the AnViL

      what if – you have made a very valid point.

      the enemies of reason always manage – without fail... to reinforce the case against them.

      it requires very little help from the outside to happen.

      they roll around, thrashing in their own ignorance for the world to see on a national public forum.

      i'd be fibbing if i did not admit the amusement it provides.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • niknak

      Too bad we can't run xtianity out of our country.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH.....go fvck yourself. you're welcome

      December 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Please keep posting, AH. Your comments do more to promote atheism than those of most atheists. How can anyone read your drivel and not begin to doubt religion? Keep up the good work.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • skytag

      That you're dumb as a post and believe a lot of nonsense. Was that your point?

      December 18, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  13. the AnViL

    i can see the day coming when science uncovers the brain malady that leads to religious delusional thinking.
    i can see the point where that particular form of delusional thinking is strictly included under the header of "mental illness".

    when that day comes – and the enemies of reason are laughed out of all discourse – and restricted from affecting and infecting the rest of humanity... enlightenment and knowledge will flourish – and humanity will prosper.

    the enemies of reason are the forces of darkness – and the only light is the illumination of science.

    cha cha cha

    December 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • lol??

      Not much of a hymn for a seer, errr prophet.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • lol??

      Who'd a thunk an anvil would want a millstone for xmas?......"Mat 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

      December 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  14. Atheist Hunter

    He was in Heaven whiting out names, a lot of liberals, and anti-God supporters names. Why are liberals and atheists worried about where He was. You don't want Him, you don't believe in Him, but you want to blame Him. YOU PEOPLE NEED HELP!

    December 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @AH

      Do you miss the point on purpose, or are you really that stupid?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      the H guest has spoken...all bow.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      Still on your knees, begging your punk god for salvation, A**H****?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I got a buck that says he really is that stupid.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      sam stone..........still miserable and looking for an argument to justify your existence Sam I am???

      December 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Primewonk............get a job and you'll have more than a buck!

      December 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – by definition, atheists don't blame god for anything.

      There is no god.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      Still talking like a mouthy little b!tch, A**H***?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Watch out they're swarming now! I should change me name to Atheist Magnet.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Primewonk

      I don't think so. Hes smart enough to know he can't back anything he says so he doesn't really say or respond to anything in any kind of substantial way.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      SixDegrees.........then why do all of you thousands spend your days on this blog fighting Him. Is you lives really that empty? A whole nest of ya'll! Good Grief!

      December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @AtheistHunter

      If you had ever wanted an answer, and would actually listen, people would give you the answer. But you don't want that, you merely want to villify, and spout anything you want about those who don't agree with you.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • What IF

      Atheist Hunter,
      "why do all of you thousands spend your days on this blog fighting Him."

      We are not fighting any "Him". We are fighting YOU, and your quest to rule the country according to your fantasies and superst'itions.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • lol??

      AH, not a bad original post. These blogs are pressure relief valves for the A&A's. You've read about serial killers? How IT just builds up and then they go out and do their thing?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • fintastic

      A-Hunter = A$$ h0LE

      December 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • D

      What is an "anti-God supporter?" If one is an atheist, it simply means one does not believe in any God. I means nothing else. Atheist, like theist, can be moral or immoral. They can be kind or un-kind, they can be clear thinking on some issues and not clear thinking on others.They can be conservative or liberal on particular issues. Your post makes no sense.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bet

      If he's omnipotent and omniscient, why does he need white-out?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  15. JJ

    To Christians who say this atrocity was perpetrated because the law forbids you to indoctrinate, into your cult, other people's children in the public school system.....you have full control in your churches but yet your priests rape thousands of you own children within the walls of the rectory as your god looks on and you defend your pedophile infested cult and the child rapists as well. You're disgusting.

    December 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      JJ........and you sit behind a keyboard and judge others who you don't know, how disgusting! All have sinned, including you, of your free will. The question is did they repent. Only God knows!

      December 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      "and you sit behind a keyboard and judge others who you don't know"

      you do the same A**H***

      December 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      sam stone.........nah, just speak truth and atheists can't take truth. It blurs their illusion of themselves. By the way, you have a potty mouth! Just truth!

      December 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      sam stone.........nah, just speak truth and atheists can't take truth. It blurs their illusion of themselves. By the way, you have a pot ty mouth! Just truth!

      December 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      A**H***: And you are a pompous diseased gash. Jeebus is waiting on your mouth lovin'.....time to kneel in front of the savior

      December 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      sam stone........do you kiss your moma with that mouth???

      December 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH: If she hadn't died 30 years ago, i might. You are a punk. YOur god is a punk. Go fvck yourself

      December 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  16. Blog Police

    Go Get a JOB people!!!

    December 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  17. Trinka

    This is what I dont understand is why they keep asking where God was when they said he dont belong in the public school system. ?????

    December 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • What IF

      Trinka,

      Is "God" in the private religious school system?

      Where was 'he' when:
      - 92 students and 3 nuns died in Our Lady of Angels school fire in 1958
      - 7 people were shot and killed at Oikos Christian University in 2012
      - The principal of an Episcopalian School was shot and killed by a teacher in 2012

      ... you want more?

      December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • JWT

      Who is asking ? Certainly not me for I have never asked that question.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      Trinka: The school systems cannot offer organized prayer. If a individual student wants to pray, that is fine. Why is this distinction so hard for you to understand?

      December 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • JJ

      I don't know why you Christians ask where your god was when he allowed the slaughter of 20 innocent children. We athesits have the answer but you can't handle it.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @sam

      Because it kills the rhetoric of the entire religious right. They want mandated prayer back, but they can't readily admit it.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Saraswati

      No one's really asking that question who wasn't before...it's horrible, but hardly the first tragedy. This is just something thought up by the CNN folks to raise traffic.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii, you know me. I'm as religious and as right as they come. I do not want mandated prayer in school and I firmly believe int he separation clause. That doesn't mean are nation hasn't suffered a decline. Perhaps the answer lies in the quote I heard once that "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."

      December 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Those of you talking decline might want to look a little more closely at the numbers. Students as a whole are actually doing better on standardized tests than their parents, with scores per achievement level (degree) lower only because a higher number of students actually achieve those degrees. With the exception of murder, crime has dropped in most areas, and deaths from accidents, smoking, driving etc. have all plummeted. There are some sectors where things like unwed motherhood have gone out of control, but even the age at first birth has actually climbed (it’s just that the age at first marriage has too). Our rivers are cleaner than 50 years ago, as is the air in most cities. Overpopulation, our biggest threat, is under control in many areas and conditions once fatal, like MS, are now merely treatable chronic illnesses. Looking on the dark side is just a choice and will not lead to happiness. Yes, see what’s there, but don’t blow it out of proportion.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Oh, look! Another mindless Mike Huckabee parrot! I'd add it to my life list, but they're so common here lately it just isn't worth it.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  18. Eduardo

    It was twenty years ago today
    That the coaches said we couldn't play
    Our classmates called us nerdy geeks
    Our pastors told us to be meek
    You wonder why we're full of rage?
    We need this electronic stage.

    RICHARD DAWKINS' LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND!

    We're Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band
    We've got no bloddy place to go
    We're Richard Dawkins' one and only Lonely Hearts Club Band
    The girls in high school told us "no"

    Richard Dawkins', Lonely, RIchard Dawkins' Lonely
    Richard Dawkins' Lonely (Harmony) Hearts Club Band

    I don't really want to spoil the show
    But I thought you'd all like to know
    My daddy was a fall-down drunk
    His uncle was pedophile monk
    I don't know how to handle pain
    My childhood prayers were in vain

    Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band!

    Billy Shears!

    What would you think if I called God a jerk, would you stand up and walk out on me.
    Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song of why your faith bothers me

    Oh I get by with a little hate in my heart
    Ooh, and I cry with a little hate in my heart,
    Yeah, I'm going to die with a little hate in my heart.
    Mmm, I'm going die with a little hate in my heart, with a little hate in my heart, with a little hate in my (Harmony!) Heart!

    December 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bet

      A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird
      Bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, well, the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, well, the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, well, the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, don't you know about the bird
      Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a

      A-well-a, everybody's heard about the bird
      Bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, don't you know about the bird
      Well, everybody's talking about the bird
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
      A-well-a, bird

      Surfin' bird
      Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb, aaah

      Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa

      Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Oom-oom-oom-oom-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-oom-oom-oom
      Oom-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-a-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-oom-oom-oom-oom-ooma-mow-mow
      Oom-oom-oom-oom-ooma-mow-mow
      Ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, ooma-mow-mow

      Well, don't you know about the bird
      Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word
      A-well-a, bird, bird, b-bird's the word

      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow
      Papa-ooma-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow...

      December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Eduardo

      lame!

      December 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bet

      Prove that the bird isn't the word.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Which word?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Oh, wait, I get it! "In the beginning was the Bird, and the Bird was with God, and the Bird was God." John 1:1 (alt.)

      December 18, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Bet

      @ UncleBenny

      And the "Holy Ghost" is always portrayed as a bird!

      Case closed!

      December 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tweety,

      Bet,

      Yeah, the Holy Parakeet!

      December 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • What IF

      Bet,

      I went to "Holy Spirit" elementary school as a kid. Our sports teams were called the "Paracletes". It was pretty awkward doing those cheers, "Hooray for Paracletes" (which, of course all the 'infidels' thought was "Pair of Cleats"!).

      December 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  19. Lorena

    Thank you, Skytag, for posting. I used to believe in a god, but not any longer. My 'prayer'/hope now is that many more people will realize that religion does have its dark side. It would be very uplifting if the good side always outweighed the dark side. The negatives far outweight the positives. Belief in God is used to control, to justify the most repugnant acts of inhumanity, and engage in the duality of soothing or torturing the human conscience. I find myself a much better human being since leaving fundamentalism behind.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • JK

      Lorena and the rest of you that are having their faith tested. I really hope you reconsider. It is hard to understand "why God let this happen". the fact of the matter is God is everywhere and he gave people free will. That is the key. Freewill to do go and bad. Unfortunately because this is not heaven bad things are going to happen. this is when you need to lean on God more to help through this pain. I'm personally praying for the families of these victims. I cannot imagine the pain they are going through. God did not do this. An evil, heartless person did. Try to stay focused on that fact. Finally, religion is what tries to control. if you are spiritual and believe in God there is nothing about that trying to control your life or scare you. It may not be totally obvious, but God will help those that ask for it. He's helped me get through a very tough time in my life when my daughter almost died at birth and all I can do is pray for these families that were affected.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @JK

      While I am an atheist, I would like to say thank you for being one of the very few theists I've seen here that isn't blaming taking school sponsored prayer out.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • JJ

      @JK, why does your god give this "free will" only to the rapist or murderer and not to the victim? As I understand it your god didn't invite everyone who doesn't want to be killed can leave. You are suffering from a delusion.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • the AnViL

      delusional religiosity is the primary force of darkness on this earth.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Decency costs Nothing

      How infantile!

      December 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • skytag

      I agree. It would be great if we could get the good religion offers without having to deal with the dark sides, but that's unrealistic because there is no divine influence guiding those who embrace it. For the most part people religious people have an innate desire to do good and be good people. That's one of the things that attracts them to religion. But there's no divine power helping them overcome their carnal or selfish instincts. This is why their "success rate" is so mediocre. It's why they can be led astray so easily and be convinced to commit horrible acts to other human beings.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • skytag

      JK, no one is being tested, There is no god, so the question "why did God let this happen?" is meaningless. It's like asking why Santa Claus let it happen. Christians invest a lot of energy rationalizing why the real world doesn't reflect what their beliefs teach them. In that sense religion is like a conspiracy theory. I'm sure you have explanations for every apparent inconsistency, explanations that like everything else you believe about God, have no basis in fact. So much work to answer so many questions that can be answered with one obvious answer: There is no god.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  20. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Prayer is nothing more than self delusion. It does nothing, just like your god.

    School should be for learning, not delusional behaviour.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • JJ

      True. It's no different than if you had all the children every morning stand up and cast a magic spell. The public school system should teach critical thinking and reality and not for Christians to indoctrinate other people's children into their cult.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • JK

      Honey Badger. We are all in a lot of pain. Why not give this a shot: in the privacy where you are alone, talk to God and ask him the hard questions. See if you don't get some answers or at least clarity. The worst that can happen is nothing but the upside can be very comforting and clarifying.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Dave Goldberg

      JK – That's called being alone with your thoughts. Your own thoughts answer you the way you want them to. You believe so you think you hear God's voice. I don't believe, so I know that voice in my head is my own. Let's all try this while sitting at your computer, close your eyes and ask God for a sign......I'll do it now......a dog just barked. There you go.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • lol??

      Exactly, honeybad, but they just keep making up more and more degrees of it.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • skytag

      JK, as Dave Goldberg points out, prayer is just being alone with your thoughts. It provides an opportunity to reflect on things without the distractions of daily life. There is no evidence anything supernatural happens when you pray.

      People can gain insight into a problem simply by talking to a friend who just listens. There is often something about hearing our thoughts spoken aloud that causes us to view them differently. This works with friends who are real people as well as with your imaginary friend.

      Believers have an impressive ability to look at ordinary events and interpret them as evidence that God exists or has acted to influence the outcome of some event.

      December 18, 2012 at 5:58 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.