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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. D

    If there is a God, he doesn't seem to be a very nice guy.

    December 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • freethinkr

      There really are only two choices when it comes to the problem of evil; either God cannot stop the evil, and is thus impotent to do so, or he can but chooses not too and therefore is a monster. Either way God is not only "Not nice" but irrelevant.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  2. Pol Pot

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnd8AvhMs3I&w=640&h=390]
    Christopher "Gollum" Hitchens, touting his pseudo-intellectualism.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      ....which is likely far greater than yours

      December 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • someone

      Which isn't saying much.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • D

      I think Mr. Hitchens acted very intellectually. He blamed himself for his actions, that probably caused his cancer, and death.

      December 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  3. SusanStoHelit

    Those who blame Satan – you realize that when you say that Satan can do things God doesn't want him to, you're saying Satan is God's equal. If he weren't, then God could simply get rid of him, or not let him kill children. So, either your god is indifferent, or has less power than Satan.

    I don't think you can escape the truth so easily here – blaming Satan is the nice easy way out, but you have to consider the implications.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jason

      Is this really the time and place to be tearing down the faith of others? Whether we are believers or non-believers, this was a tragic and horrible event that gives us all pause and pain. These precious little children were torn from their parents, their communities and this world brutally and senselessly. At moments like this, many of us can only drop to our knees and pray. What good will it do? We can only HOPE...surely even the most "rational" and "intelligent" atheist can allow us that...surely you can allow us hope.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • the AnViL

      jason – what good is false hope?

      while everyone is pointing their fingers at everything BUT the actual culprit (mental illness) – the sound voice of reason is squelched by all the noise injected into discourse...

      it's not helping anyone at all.

      if any of the parents of the slain little ones from newtown are here – all our best hopes go with them,

      but i digress – this is an opinion blog – and if you've got a problem with people "voicing" their opinions – and atheists injecting a heaping wallop of truth into things – then absolutely you are the one who needs to make an adjustment.

      cha cha cha

      December 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Robert

      Jason I think people would be better off getting involved in their communities more so these tragedies will stop. We've isolated ourselves behind our TV's, computers and cell phones. The solution is get involved more but sadly too many Americans are just to lazy to do that.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • SusanStoHelit

      Jason – I'm not trying to tear down the faith of others – I'm pointing out a problem in blaming Satan, acting like this is all about that. We need to look for real solutions to the real issues here, not just blame Satan, as others here are doing.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jason

      AnVil..false hope...so you say.

      Robert and Susan...you are absolutely correct, I did not intend to imply that prayer was all we could do, merely that at moments like these people are driven to their knees and they pray a hopeful prayer, that these families will be strengthened, that they will be supported, that they will find peace, that our society will wake up and lock up the damn guns. Will our prayers make any of this so? I acknowledge not likely, but we hope that is does and maybe this hope emboldens us to DO more.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • someone

      There is free will of man. If man did not have free will then God would dictate man's every move. satan was an angel of God until he was cast from Heaven. Satan rules the planet until the second coming of Christ which is why it's so messed up. God created satan and God can destroy him as well. Since we are not of His knowledge or stature it is difficult to imagine or comprehend His (God) mindset or thoughts. Just my opinion for what little it's worth.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • the AnViL

      Jason cried aloud to the masses: "What good will it do? We can only HOPE...surely even the most "rational" and "intelligent" atheist can allow us that...surely you can allow us hope."

      and from the expanse of the heavens an exceedingly heavy anvil fell upon jasons head – and written upon that anvil were the words:

      the prayers you offer up will not help the victims of this terrible atrocity.

      prayer may help you feel better – it may help you to feel like you've actually done something – when you have not.

      it's good that you want to do something... so i am awarding you one smiley face :)

      there! now you have a reward! now you can feel better and get about your holiday season knowing you've done something! you helped! good for you!!!!! yay jason!!!

      also –
      if your testimony is so weak – and your faith is so frail – that the words of others can extinguish your hope in the usefulness of prayers and the existence of an imaginary man in the sky who hears them... it is because there still exists a root/core set of critical thinking skills at the base of your brain which knows the truth on a subconscious level – that there are no gods and your prayers can't help.

      when more of you evolve and shed these bronze aged delusional constructs – and STOP retarding humanity – we may solve the problem of these psychotic breaks faster – to prevent further terrible sorrows like newtown from happening sooner.

      finally –

      i am subtracting the smiley face you were awarded because – i lied... you don't really deserve it.

      so i say – and it is so.

      ~

      December 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • freethinkr

      Satan kicks god's a** everyday. Every time evil triumphs, when 20 little children are slaughtered Satan laughs in the impotent god's face. "Ha Ha I win! You cannot stop me God, or maybe you just don't want to. " Why did God create Satan anyway? Surely Satan could not have been a surprise to an omniscient God? Curious this God is.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  4. wow.....

    http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31STEP.html

    Havard study showing prayer changes nothing. We as humans have to use our own brains and abilities to fix issues.

    Prayer does NOT do anything – PROVEN

    December 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jason

      Is this really the time and place to be tearing down the faith of others? Whether we are believers or non-believers, this was a tragic and horrible event that gives us all pause and pain. These precious little children were torn from their parents, their communities and this world brutally and senselessly. At moments like this, many of us can only drop to our knees and pray. What good will it do? We can only HOPE...surely even the most "rational" and "intelligent" atheist can allow us that...surely you can allow us hope.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • wow.....

      These parents and kids need counseling and money. You know things that actually help.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • What IF

      Jason,

      I understand - and sometimes I do feel like an ogre by contesting these fallacies; but when we have people like Huckabee, and Chad, @december, craniumdumb and others, who INSIST that it is the ONLY truth, Truth, TRUTH and that all who don't buy into it are horrid and are even the cause of the world's ills, and who would like to run the government, yea, the world according to their fantasies and superst'itions, I just must speak up.

      Peace to you.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Jason

      …at least you hope they will...but I agree with you, these will help. What I said was that sometimes people feel helpless and powerless and they pray...to what end? We can only HOPE. If our hopeful prayer offends you...to bad...Nietzsche would be offended by your sense of universal equality, that doesn’t mean you are wrong to believe it.

      btw, that study you mention doesnt PROVE anything, though I am inclined to agree with their conclusions ...that's not how science works. Merck had lots of studies showing that Vioxx was great...oops.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • someone

      They have proven nothing. Nobody can prove OR disprove it's power. Theirs is simply an opinionated statement based on zero fact.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  5. Chad

    Before the first murder was committed, the Lord said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” To gain mastery over sin there is only one way. Just as Victoria Soto put herself in the way so that the children in her class might live, Jesus Christ put himself in the way that we all might live. That is the beginning of the cure for us as individuals and as a nation. All the laws in the world will never change the heart. Only God is big enough for that. - Ravi Zacharias

    December 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • wow.....

      right so essentially do not use logic, common sense, and actual effort to fix the problem, instead go pray about it which is proven to do absolutely nothing.

      http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31STEP.html

      December 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  6. Chad

    If the God of Israel wasnt real, no one would be asking "Why".

    December 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      That's just fucking moronic. Are you just trying to be stupid now?

      December 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "hawaiiguest", but "Chad" is, in fact, trying to be stupid now.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Chad

      Point being that, if in fact the anti-theist is correct and the universe just by random chance "happened", and life on earth just randomly, spontaneously "happened" and the current complexity of life has been achieved by purely random genetic changes being preserved in the gene pool by natural selection.

      Then, it is utterly irrational to think that this notion of a supernatural god could have arisen among humans. There is no benefit conferred on the host by a random genetic mutation causing the host to hallucinate the existence of a "god".

      December 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Study some anthropology, psychology, and developmental psychology. Then you might realize how fucking stupid your last post is.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Lot's of people used to ask why Aeus brought hardship on them; did that make him real?

      December 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Lot's of people used to ask why Aeus brought hardship on them; did that make him real?"
      =>no
      but
      it does bring up the question, why are humans wired to think that a supernatural entity exists?

      December 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      People's brains are hardwired to think what will help them survive in the evolutionary process. That's like asking why we are hardwired to like things that are salty, sweet and fattening.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Chad

      What advantage does hallucinating the existence of "god" confer on the host?

      December 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      i think it just comes naturally for chard

      December 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "What advantage does hallucinating the existence of "god" confer on the host?"

      Perhaps it provides them comfort. What does it do for you?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Chad

      How can a hallucination possibly provide a real comfort?

      when faced with any environmental stimulus, there are 4 possible outcomes:
      1. The stimulus represents a threat, you treat it as a threat
      2. The stimulus does not represent a threat, you treat it as a threat
      3. The stimulus represents a threat, you do not treat it as a threat
      4. The stimulus does not represent a threat, you to not treat it as a threat

      now, it is nearly impossible for any genetic mutation to survive natural selection when it confers on the host the ability to hallucinate away a real threat (#3 above). Any organism that ignores real threats would obviously be at a disadvantage.

      right?

      so, how did the ability to believe in a supernatural entity enter the gene pool?

      December 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      If something does not present a bad enough negative, then there would be no selection against it. If you're hunting, and you hear a large rustling or see a bear, are you going to immediately think "Hmm, what would my concept of god say about this", or are you going to run the fuck away? If there's a hunting party, and one person gets killed because instead of paying attention, he relied on praying to a certain god, then do you not think the others would notice and take a more practical approach?

      December 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  7. Alba

    It was Adam Lanza along with Satan who killed those children. Hate, greed, jealousy, anger, Plain EVIL thats SATAN not God. We push God out of our schools and as a nation refuse to obey him so why is it when tragedy hits home people are so quick to question God and blame him for everything. God did not want this and we cant expect God to jump in and save us when things go wrong if when things are going great for us and we have everything we dont even acknowledge him.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      A typically christian response, filled with hatred and blaming the victims.

      There is no god and there is no satan. Deal with it. And try imagining yourself telling the parents of those children "It's your fault 'cause you ticked god off!" if you can stop parroting that idiot Mike Huckabee long enough and form a thought of your own.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Alba

      Im not blaming the parents you obviousy misunderstood my comment just like you probaby misunderstood the bible. Im not blaming the parents im blaming the murderer along with Satan.

      December 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • fintastic

      God does the good stuff, satan does the bad stuff..... how convenient.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sassysticks53

      Alba, how would you explain shootings and bombings that took place inside a church? Thousands of people have been killed while attending church services, funerals and Sunday School (4 little girls killed by a bomb in Alabama while at Sunday School in 1963). Sorry, but I have a difficult time believing in a God that is supposed to be just and seems to have no qualms about 20 young, innocent children being slaughtered. And not only those 20 children, but all the children who are murdered at the hands of maniacs or even their own parents everyday. Yes, where is this God you have so much faith and belief in?

      December 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jeff

      SixDegrees quote":A typically christian response, filled with hatred and blaming the victims."

      This is an example of a generalization, a false statement and defamation of a specific religious group. It is not appropriate. To say "all Christians" is as correct as saying "all atheists" or to say "typically" any group in particular is stereotyping.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Alba

      God never promised a life without suffering.

      1 PETER 5:8
      8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

      10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

      .... I can tell you all one thing that through my troubles I have been through I would have never been able to get through them if I didnt have God. I know the parents of these children are suffering but i believe that the parents who believe in GOD are getting through it alot better than the ones who dont have faith in GOD.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • SusanStoHelit

      Those who blame Satan – you realize that when you say that Satan can do things God doesn't want him to, you're saying Satan is God's equal. If he weren't, then God could simply get rid of him, or not let him kill children. So, either your god is indifferent, or has less power than Satan.

      I don't think you can escape the truth so easily here – blaming Satan is the nice easy way out, but you have to consider the implications.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Alba – your god created Satan. And since your god claims omnipotence and omniscience, your god knew Satan would become evil. Your god knew this before he created Satan. Your god knew this before he created the universe. Yet your god went ahead and created him anyway. In retrospect, this seems like a really stupid idea.

      December 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Face

      Alba, this is the biggest bunch of CRAP I've ever read. What a brain-dead idiot you are.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  8. Robert E. Maxwell

    These were 6 and 7 year old children who were murdered. They were not old enough to have sinned.They probably didn`t even know what sin is. So where was this god who is supposed to be a good god? And please don`t say god only knows.I have heard some people who have proclaimed after a tragic event that god saved me. Why you and not the people who were killed. Are you that special.And there answer would be ( god only knows). If you truly believe in a god you all should have a better answer than that.

    December 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  9. Julius DeBerry

    My pastor made a very profound comment this past Sunday...he said people were asking where God was when all this happened...his answer "God was in the same place when they brutally beat his only Son and nailed him to the cross".... My interpretation ....Gods will is Gods will. We don't always like it and sometimes it hurts us. But we must believe Romans 8:28....

    December 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • sam stone

      No, we don't

      December 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God was in the same place when they brutally beat his only Son and nailed him to the cross"

      Watching with a big smile on his face?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • wow.....

      So you pastor made something up so you would keep paying his paycheck everyweek....

      December 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Julius DeBerry

      Nobody said he was watching with a smile on his face this time. It does say however that it pleased him when they bruised his son...but it was only because of the bigger picture. No one knows why this happened for sure...but it's not at all fair to blame God. The devil is busy ..... That's obvious.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      What a shocker, God's will is cruel and capricious

      December 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • fintastic

      You are absolutely correct Julius, it is not fair to blame something that does not exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • What IF

      Julius DeBerry
      "...we must believe Romans 8:28...."

      What makes you think that Paul of Tarsus knew anything special?

      December 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • What IF

      Russell's Teapot

      " God's will is cruel and capricious"

      Who would ever trust that being? With his alleged MO, he could come up with a New, New Covenant at any time.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Julius

      LOL Of course you need to hold onto that passage, because it's the only way to square your god with what happens. If you didn't just blindly accept it, you would have to admit that your concept of god is a complete asshat.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • sassysticks53

      Tell that to the parents of those 20 innocent little kids. Come to my homestate of Connecticut and tell those it's "God's will" to their grief stricken faces. That's as bad as "It was their time to go." I'm not buying it. What kind of God let's little innocent kids get murdered every day and every hour? Those children didn't ask to be born. They didn't ask to be here. So why should they suffer because it's "Gods will?" Sorry, but I don't get the logic in this.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • jennymay

      Its funny how when something good happens, it's god's will. When something bad happens, its because god works in mysterious ways. If he works in mysterious ways, how can you claim to know ANYTHING about god?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Julius DeBerry

      One of the parents of the victims actually said that though....that "God made us free moral agents and this is what that guy chose to do with his time." The real question is this, what will you do with your time. !?!?!?!!!?!?!?

      December 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  10. Rob237

    God,why is it when bad things happen you all expect GOD to save your bacon.I recall being told as a child that GOD made a deal with the devil,that he could have the soul of anyone that he could persuade todenounce GOD,and the devils' argument was,no one will denounce you because you give them everything that they want,and GOD agreed to allow Satan to do whatever he needed to turn people away from GOD,doesn't sound familiar,no?? Satan hates you!!

    December 19, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Huebert

      Why would God make a deal with Satan? Is God so insecure that he must prove himself to the devil?

      December 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow....what an imagination

      December 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • jim

      So the devil outsmarted god? lol Ok.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  11. jim king

    the idea of god is irrelevant and simply destructive. all that matters is: treating others as you'd like to be treated. the rest is no more, than politics. gotohell, huck.

    December 19, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    As most of these crimes are committed by the mentally ill, it is the continuing job of atheists to try and help the mentally ill. As the delusions of religion are a classic example of a mental illness, i will keep up my good work on blogs like this.

    There is no God.

    December 19, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  13. Faith or no faith

    We pride ourselves on our ability to be aggressive and yet human aggression is primitive and unsightly. It raises cortisol levels. It makes us breathe shallow breaths depriving the body of oxygen. A mentality of aggression fuels humans to violence. So please, be kind to one another. Love one another. It is necessary for all of our survival.

    December 19, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  14. skytag

    Santa Claus is real. If you are good all year and have enough faith in him he will bring you presents on Christmas Eve. Yes, it's true I don't know anyone who has ever gotten a present from him, but that's not because he doesn't exist, that's because human beings are imperfect so we just haven't been able to be as good as we need to be to get our presents.

    Don't let this discourage you. I promise you Santa Claus is real, and his promise to bring you presents is real. You just need to have faith in him and be a better person. Trust me.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • wow.....

      The book of Moore: Verse 1 Line 3

      "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,"

      This is something from the book of Truth that one should not forget if one wants presents from the Santa Clause.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • derp

      Prove to me that Santa Claus does not exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • wow.....

      @derp

      google "burden of proof logical fallacy"

      December 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • sassysticks53

      Years ago an old boss's son was visiting the office. His name was Jimmy and he was five years old at the time. It was around Christmas time and I remember teasing the child about being naughty or nice. I told the kid Santa wouldn't come bring him any Christmas presents if he wasn't good. The child said, "That's impossible – Santa's too fat to get down my chimney. He would smother and die and reindeer can't fly because they have no wings." I howled in laughter at the truth the kid spoke. I told him to be good just the same. This kid was just five years old and he understood the flawed logic of Santa Clause and flying reindeer.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Columbus

      Oh Christopher, you are stupid for believing the world is round. That's impossible, you will die and fall off the edge of the earth, we have proof! Well, you want proof of god? I guess it will be something proven only once you die.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  15. cpettay

    Yep, parents used to busy themselves involving both themselves and their children in their community and part of this for many was formalized worship. Having been raised this way, I spent about 35 years of my life assuming everyone did more or less the same. Truth is that wasn't the case back then and it is much more often not the case today....socially ackward folks ( those raised in the late '80s/'90s with tv as their realities) are today's parents and wow ...what a recipe for social disaster! The tv generation along the way became gamers and heck the big F they forgot they needed to raise their children ....remember, proppin' 'em up with a bottle while mama/daddy plays their game really isn't parenting ...heck farmers give their milk cows more attention. So, limit those guns, continue to neuter our educational system where teachers can't officially report their weakest performing "real/earned" scores and dispite a student earning a failing grade, parents can simply insist their child is passed along, etc etc. Truth is, the rearing of the next generation assumes parents know/want best ...but the reality is something very different. Those poor children in CT were victims of a federal state govt that has completely failed in their eagerness for fairness for all, and representation for all ....perhaps the USA's democratic society was meant truely meant to do what appears to be the right thing for the masses ...not masses after the outlier's best interests ...that's where we are now ....we're a nation outlier's when this basically means a very different country go forward, no longer would hard work, towing the line, etc etc means nothing in this reality

    December 19, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • wow.....

      thats right! technology bad! there were no crazies before tv and games! bad things never happened!

      and do not say well yea but its happening a lot more now! now we have instant news via internet and tv so everytime a crazy loses it we all hear about it right away unlike back in the day.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  16. freethinkr

    "Where's God?" Why he was right there watching the bullets explode into screaming 6 year old children as they screamed in terror. He was right there watching their little bodies jerk from the impact of high velocity .223 caliber rifle rounds that are known to rip apart flesh. He was right there when children tried to run for cover and cry for their mother as their 6 year classmates were shot between 3 and 11 times each. He was there when precious children were taken from their families forever. God was right there. Watching. Doing nothing to stop it. If you believe in such a god.

    December 19, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • Concerned Agnostic

      Yeah well my invisible green monster didn't do a thing to stop it either. Why don't you throw some of your anger my way too while your at it?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • someone

      To argue with an Atheist is pointless.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • freethinkr

      "someone
      To argue with an Atheist is pointless."

      Especially if you don't want to lose the argument.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • skytag

      @someone: And there's a point to arguing with people who believe fairytales are real?

      December 20, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  17. Voice of reason

    I know you left and right both have a large difference of opinion but you are all human. Please, research the effects of anger and conflict on the human circulatory system.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  18. Ordinary Average American

    There is nothing that we can say to adequately answer this question. There are no really good pat answers. There are still evil people in the World doing evil things. On the other hand, there are many good people doing good things in the name of God and comforting those who suffer. I believe that God is there to help us pick up the pieces. There is no doubt that young Adam needed God in his life. I think it would have made a huge difference. The Bible offers a lot that helps us understand and to be comforted, but this whole thing will remain a very painful event for a long, long time.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I would wager that psychiatric treatment and rigid gun control laws would have been more effective than god. God's been around to "help" all kinds of killers throughout history, some of whom were even ordered by god to kill women and children. Just read the bible.

      December 19, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • skytag

      Wrong. Here's the complete answer: There is no god. Sometimes the simple, obvious answer is the correct one.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  19. Gerri

    Because atheists believe they have the corner on reason and logic, they develop an inflated sense of their own intelligence. They gather for “Reason Rallies” as though reason was a wholly owned subsidiary of Atheism Inc., rather than something inherited from the centrality of Aristotelianism to Catholic theology, and thus to Western civilization

    December 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Believer

      Well said! They think they are smarter and it cracks me up. They have a fundamental flaw in their reasoning. That being "unable to prove = does not exist". Problem is how many times has that been completely shot down by discovery of new species an other advances in science. I guess sub atomic particles don't exist because at one time there was no proof. Now compare that to those who believe in god who have yet to be proven wrong.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Puzzled and concerned

      I was not raised in any religious house hold. I do not think man needs religion but I am deeply saddened to see people being so callous and insensitive to religious persons. I have always felt that my absence of religion was a movement towards combating religious based conflict. I thought that was the point of ending religions. As a non believer you have my sympathies. Rudeness is not what I was after, personally.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • the AnViL

      those of you who believe in imaginary men in the sky are delusional. you are, by definition – the enemies of reason.

      those who do not suffer from delusional thinking are superior to those who do. flat fact.

      the enemies of reason are the true force of darkness on this planet.

      science is our only illumination.

      boop!

      December 19, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • moi

      Believer.... that is the best argument for god that I have ever heard, and I've been an atheist for at least 12 years.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • moi

      I'm an atheist, but don't condone the self-righteous behavior of militant atheists. I don't mind religious people believing whatever they want to believe. Truly, the only time I have a problem with it, is when they push their own religious beliefs into my life through policy, laws, politics. Along the spectrum of religiosity, there is a fundamental/extremist group displaying extreme ignorance, and those people are who I resent. You know who they are.... We all do.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • the AnViL

      actually, moi – believer is positing what's called an argument from ignorance.

      there's no evidence of gods. there's nothing in the standard model which points to gods.

      there aren't any testable hypothoses. i'd love to see some – but there's never been any – and that's a problem.

      it is said absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence... however – in relation to gods – there is evidence of absence – and a complete absence of evidence. this isn't modus tollens – it's just pure ignorance.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • sam stone

      "They have a fundamental flaw in their reasoning. That being 'unable to prove = does not exist'".

      As opposed to the "unable to prove = does exist"?

      December 19, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • sam stone

      believer: how does one prove that something does not exist? those who believe in the flying spaghetti monster are yet to be "proven" wrong, as well, as the existance of zeus, ra, etc.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:51 am |
    • Believer

      Sam- im not saying there is a proof. Only that as history and scientific discoveries have shown time and time again, you have to at least admit there is a possibility. When something is possible but not proven, people can choose to believe either side and nobody can say either is wrong

      December 19, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • skytag

      Attacking atheists for using logic and reason makes you look desperate.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "They have a fundamental flaw in their reasoning. That being "unable to prove = does not exist"."

      If there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest something exists it's more reasonable to conclude it does not exist than to insist it does.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "Problem is how many times has that been completely shot down by discovery of new species an other advances in science."

      No one is telling me I need to believe in an undiscovered specie, or that I need to change the way I live my life for it, or that I need to worship it, or that people who believe in one undiscovered specie have the truth while people who believe in a different undiscovered specie are wrong. No war has ever been fought by people because they believed in different undiscovered species. No one has ever been killed, tortured or persecuted for believing in or not believing in an undiscovered specie. No one claims an undiscovered specie is omniscient or omnipotent or created the universe. You don't just believe God exists, you believe people should base their entire lives around what you believe about said god.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "Sam- im not saying there is a proof. Only that as history and scientific discoveries have shown time and time again, you have to at least admit there is a possibility."

      The list of things for which there is no evidence they exist is limited only by our imagination. I'm not going to spend my life worshipping a god I have no reason to believe exists anymore than I'm going to spend my life trying to find leprechauns so I can get a pot of gold.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Believer

      Skytag- where did I say anything about how you should believe? My exact statement was nobody can say either is right or wrong. You don't want to believe...fine. You stated with lack of proof it's more reasonable to conclude something doesn't exist than it does. Well, again...how many times has that been disproven (earth is flat, subatomic particles, take your pick). Is it more reasonable to conclude then that in this vast universe there is no life on other planets? The best scientists in the world find it more reasonable that there is life rather than not an there is not a shred of proof.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "Skytag- where did I say anything about how you should believe?"

      In my experience believers want others to embrace their beliefs. This is why Christians do missionary work, for example.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "You don't want to believe...fine."

      It's not a matter of what I want to believe, it's a matter of what I have reason to believe. Reality does not depend on what I do or don't want to believe.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • skytag

      One of the issues I have with religion is that teaches people it's okay to pick and choose which aspects of reality they want to accept. Facts, evidence, reason and logic can all be dismissed out of hand any time they don't support something you want to believe. It starts with religion, but spills over into other areas such politics and even science at times. I see this all the time in politics, people choosing to believe something about our president despite the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that what they believe is true.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • skytag

      @Believer: "You stated with lack of proof it's more reasonable to conclude something doesn't exist than it does."

      This is not something one "proves." This is common sense. The list of things one could claim exist or have happened if no evidence is required is limited only by your imagination. When you come home from work and everything is exactly as you left it, is it more reasonable to conclude someone broke in while you were gone or that no one broke in?

      If you are exhibiting no symptoms of a disease and the best medical technology can't find any evidence of it in you, it is more reasonable to conclude you have the disease or that you do not?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • jennymay

      I sure don't think I'm smarter than anyone, but that is why I do not subscribe to religion. How can anyone say we learned everything we needed to learn on the subject of the universe and energy and love and enlightenment 2000 years ago? I know that I do not know everything, and for that reason, I cannot belong to an organization that believes it knows everything and demands one lives their life in the fashion they have decided. I just keep an open mind and heart and am willing to listen to all theories and ideas. To me, this IS indeed the most reasonable approach.

      December 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  20. Gerri

    “For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.”

    December 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • the AnViL

      “For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.” = false dichotomy based on a flawed presupposition...

      100% ignorance

      rejected.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • fintastic

      Who is "we" ??... not me.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:53 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.