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.
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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.
Like talking to a brick wall.
Once again there:
will ever be
a god or gods
Stop asking where god is when you already know the answer but just don't want to accept it...................morons.
What is the proof that you have that has made you so convinced there is no god?
Maybe this isn't really proof of no deities, but do me a favor if you don't mind: List a few ways that your supposed deity could have prevented this tragedy without resorting to flashy means. Thanking you in advance.
yes there is
Feel free to answer the question I posed to tau above. Thanks.
dom; do you really want to know? go to jw.org to learn what the bible really teaches and give them a serious, civil discussion when they stop by. it does not cost you anything and may be worth more than all the gold on earth
So, the argument is what could have beendone to prevent this tragedy and since nothing was done that prevented it from happening, there must not be a god?
My thanks to james and tau. I appreciate you taking the time to answer the question in the best way you two could.
No outside force is going to do anything to intervene. Your life and happiness is in your own hands as is the lives of all. It's called consciousness. It is an individual thing and a collective. Unfortunately we live in an extremely violent society where violence is the answer to all problems. We see it day after day with the police beating unarmed people senseless. We send our military all around the globe slaughtering innocent people for profit. We see it in the movies; in the video games; and in the news reports.
Sadly, this stuff is a huge payday for the media. As long as a society has a consciousness of violence as the answer to it's social problems, violence will continue. If we ever decide to adopt a consciousness of love and peace, perhaps we might stand a chance of turning things around.
Our hearts certainly are broken and not just by the sadness of this tragedy. Our hearts our "broken" until they are "fixed" – made new by the Holy Spirit of God through Christ the Savior. No amount of gun control will stop this type of senseless murder. In China the perpetrators of such crimes are using knives and if knives are banned people will use stones. When will people face the fact: we insisted God be left out of our lives and now we wonder why evil is so frequently manifesting itself in such horrific ways. It comes down to this: When you push God out Satan fills the void. Trying to deny this truth is just living in denial.
Where is God? He is waiting at the door of every sinner's heart -each one of us – waiting to be asked in. That is precisely why Jesus was born in Bethlehem – for our redemption. For those who are sincere in their search for truth please read the Gospel of John; wise men still seek him today.
Oh that's priceless! I think maybe the next time I hear some screaming from a house I'm going to do just like you say your deity would do. I'm going to run up to the door and just wait to be let in. When people ask why I didn't bust down the door and try to save the people from the fire/murderer/rap-ist, I'll just say 'well I was feeling the power of my deity flow through me and I decided to be just like him. I stood at that door and just waited for them to let me in so I could save them. That's all they had to do was let me in'. Then I'll shed a few tears and bask in the 'awwww's' as people sympathize with me.
There is no pain greater than watching your child be murderd. This suffering is simply beyond all other suffering. God will comfort the souls of these grieving parents. God bless the innocents who died.
If you are simply watching your child being murdered, you obviously are an abject failure as a parent. Don't even attempt to say that a deity was grieving over these senselss murders while doing nothing because 'people need to be taught a lesson'. Your hypocrisy when saying that would cause everyone's computer to implode.
Damocles. Go back to playing with your sword.
See, even you knew that was too much hypocrisy to overcome. Well done.
The fact is humans are evil. Always have been and always will be. It sucks but that's the facts of life. Sad, because life is so precious. We are all walking a tightrope every single day and most are not awake enough to even realize it.
Those poor families, wow. Just wow, my love goes out to the families.
For everyone else, today is all you have and this moment is all you have...make the most of your life while you have it
There is no God. You may as well pray to Bugs Bunny.
I was getting annoyed yesterday when everyone kept saying how they would pray for the families. Why would anyone pray to a supposed omnipotent being that allowed the slaughter of so many innocent kids? Where was your god exactly? Free choice? How could some great being allow that as free choice? Give me a break.
Well, off to celebrate the Solstice and worship the Sun of God as this time of the season was meant to be celebrated, until those Roman Legions came in and wiped out all the pagans who worshiped the Earth and changed the holiday to one worshiping a hipper middle eastern self hating jew.
It's busy not existing, same as it has been for the last eon.
And for those of you who DO believe in a skywizard, think on this:
Having the power to intercede in the commission of a wrongdoing, from tripping the guy who stole an old lady's purse to preventing a bloody war, is aiding the wrongdoing through inaction. A man who could have stopped a thief but didn't is either a coward or a criminal himself. How much more so for a "god"?
And to have been able to have prevented every injustice in history? Well... If your god exists, it's the single most reprehensible and morally foul creature ever to have existed. Mind = blown.
Truth is everything is God, simple as that. Governed by the qualties of Nature, tamas(ignorance) rajas(desie) sattwa(good conduct). There is no such thing as a man in the clouds watching us kill each other, we are watching ourselves kill each other. We are the product of Gods mind, in other words- we are God. As my beloved guru told me "You are a dream in the "mind of God." When you retrace this dream back to its source, you, the "dreamed" wake up from the dream as the "dreamer", who is God."I don't know about you but that blew my mind. lol
Wheres God, you threw him and the bible out of the schools, you have thrown him out oof the military, you spit in his face by embracing your vile sodomite immorality, you refuse to mention him on TV even though its his celebrated birthday, you have thrown his commandments out of your public place. Then you wonder where he is when tradgedy strikes, Fools he is right where you left him, out of your lives. PP
God has never been removed from any of these places. What was removed was the state indoctrinating children in school for one particular religion. Good bye and good riddance to that. People can still pray anywhere they want to. Noone has ever stopepd that.
On a personal note I never kicked your god out of my life.
Well, it's not the middle ages anymore, we don't need to pretend that the all-seeing eye of Saur- er, god, is watching us.
It's well past time "god's children" grew up.
So, god's all po'd because we're not paying attention to him. So he kills small children as revenge?
F uck your god. He's an as shole.
So he got his feelings hurt and refused to play? What kind of god is that? And if there is a god, this must be his will,so why is anyone sad?
As we can see by many of the other responses "the fool says in his heart 'there is no God'".
He was there.... Without him, as Woody Allen's character said in Love and Death, "it could have been worse. It could have rained".
God is exactly the same place He was when men nailed His Son to a cross and crucified Him. Jesus died for our sins, so that we may go to Heaven. If you do not believe in Heaven or Hell, you do not believe in Jesus or God, you are left with asking yourself, why do bad things happen in a sinful evil world? What happened at that school today can only be described as evil! I pray that all the children and adults killed today are in Heaven where they cannot suffer anymore.
bad things hapen because people do things. They do good things and they do bad things. No version of any god has anything to do with it. Belief or no-belief in any god has anything to do with it.
no but see, that was a totally different situation. First, it was arranged by God himself. He arranged it for his Son, knew what was going to happen. God knew that after "death" on the cross Jesus will be resurected and after a relatively bad weekend will be back in comfortably in heaven with his dad. No such comfort for the grieving relatives in this case.
It's true, guy. He died just for you... Knowinf that you would believe the stories afterword in order to come BACK to heaven, the source of your being, what can also be called the Hiranyagharba, aka Cosmic womb. Only to be sent back to hell, aka (your flip floppy mindset now). In this way God is able to experience either heaven or hell right here on the physical plane. Depends on your mind set, if you are evil-God is experienceing Hell. If you are a good person or a saint, he is experiencing heaven. If you believe you will be cast in a bottemless pit or something if you don't follow Jesus Christ, because you believe through the company of his energy and words of a preacher, or maybe even the good ol' man written bible with 20% Divine Truth, 80% to pass the time...You will be like many others who get to the top of the mountain via Faith in someone you can't possibly comprehend in your heaven or hell mindset. Then you are confused as to what is to be done up there, so you come right back down, and here we are. That is duality for you, its really hard to get back to your source with it. Jesus Christ did not die so you could get to heaven, sorry buddy but you don't know what He is or who he was. He died in the FLESH, since that is all that matters to you people, so you could see how unimportant it was. And many didn't, which he already knew. It is his Consciousness he wanted for you, he did not give you the right to say he is all there is and ever will be, or judge others if they don't follow, YOU! He gave you the right to tap into his source and become like HIM! TO LIVE AS HIM AND TO NO LONGER LIVE, what you call, EVIL! Don't be a pharisee
Hi all. It's been years since I've posted anything online. I felt compelled today. I've cried for so many reasons like so many others have. But the thought that gripped my heart the most is this: We have ears, but we don't HEAR; we have eyes, yet we fail to SEE. We look for solutions, but we are still our biggest problem. As a native Detroiter, Veteran, and a seeker of truth, I would exhaust this board if I told of the countless ways that the God Almighty has revealed Himself to me. I was raised by different people while being surrounded by drugs, alcohol, perversions, violence, indifference, and "religion". I have known abuse, neglect, rejection, and discrimination. The Lord God of mercy met me at the point of my need, and as I sought Him with all my heart. I became "born again", and my spiritual eyes & ears were opened. By God's grace, I have not been shackled by the aforementioned things. I love God, love life, love ALL people.
Being a parent causes me to understand some of the ways in which God deals–and refuses to deal– with us at times, especially during "trials". Like children, we THINK we know everything...think we have our lives figured out. But we don't see the big picture. Like a parent–God tries to reach us, teach us, warn us, and protect us. He hurts when we hurt, but we often cause His hands to be tied. God may allow -not cause- tragedies in hopes that we would turn our hearts back towards Him. Even if we don't, He does not take lightly the shedding of innocent blood.
As a nation we have been richly blessed, but we seemed to be bent on destruction. Our hearts are hardened and deceitfully wicked. The blood of so many souls is crying out from "sea to shining sea", and death is never satiated. This world is in a time of great darkness, yet we reject the light. We are full of selfishness, pride, violence, perversion, greed, vanity, self-righteousness, over-indulgence, strife–yet we don't consider that death and destruction are always waiting to consume us–like cancer. We have so many idols and the love of money is still the root of all evil.
When Christ walked the earth people wanted a "sign"–wanted him to jump through hoops and appease their notions of who they thought He was, or was not. They said if He had been where THEY thought He should be, Lazarus would not have died. Christ was wise. He knew that what many people requested of Him, often was not what they really wanted...or needed. He addressed them -and all of us- in His teachings: the unbeliever; the religious hypocrite; the rich, poor, widowed, rejected, servant/master, Jew/Gentile, afflicted/possessed. Christ tried to get people to see the "root" of their problems, while they were dealing with the "fruit". I believe that is the case now. When it comes to tragedy there's not much that any us really know for sure, except that it's really unfair when children are involved–it stirs all the emotion and dialouge we find expressed here. The days in which we live are unfolding exactly the way the scriptures said they would, especially with so much violence and corruption. Believers have to remain strong and remember that we are in this world, but not of it. Unbelievers...well, I would tell you that "the fool has said in his heart, there is no God", but that wouldn't mean much to you. My question to you is what do you say to others besides Christians? Do you have the same scripted insults and "enlightenment" for Muslims.... Hindus... Satanist? What reasoning would you offer scientists who are also bible believing Christians? I know Christians are blind and lacking cognitive reasoning according to some Atheist...I just wonder.
I also wonder what could happen if we all just really TRIED to humble ourselves... TRIED praying...TRIED turning from our wicked ways...TRIED to seek Gods face. (Not just for ourselves, but for the sake of innocent children everywhere who often suffer because of our "sins") The scriptures say that God would then hear from heaven and heal our land. Healing is what we need. God does love us, but He's not obligated to intervene on our behalf– especially when we decide to turn our backs on Him. Please, let's not continue to ignore the crucial signs right before our eyes. <3
It's all your imagination. There are no signs.
Well spoken! It's odd that today I was talking to someone over the same things you mention.
thank you for standing up for Christ. i came here only to see and encourage, and you have written faithfully, truthfully and with love in your heart. i cannot say with my tangled tongue anything better than you already have.
First off let me say that if you went through years of abuse and came out of it relatively ok, I give you all the props in the world and I mean that sincerely.
Now for the bad part.... why did your deity put you through years of agony, betrayal, drugs, possible violence and whatever else you suffered before he decided to make himself known to you? Love is not betrayal of trust, love is not violence, love is not willfully putting someone through misery.
Next, I and just about every atheist I know of, do not make the claim that we know everything. Making such a claim is folly and the only people that I see that come close to maing that statement are believers (we know a deity did everything so we know everything). I am all for learning, I've been learning since the day I was born and I expect that I will still be learning on the day of my death. The statement 'a fool has said in his heart that there is no god' is a copout, it's a guilt trip to try and goad others into believing as you do.
Saying bad things will happen in our time is not prophecy. Engaging others in conversation is not insulting, although I will admit that some people do and I myself have sunk to that level a time or two. Maybe three.... but you fail to mention that it happens on BOTH sides and do not try to say that it happens more from the atheists side. If anything, it's about equal.
I am humble, I am not wicked, do not put your guilt on me. If you think you are wicked and evil, that's your problem and there's nothing I can do for you, nor do I particulary want to try. The toughest chains to break are those we bind ourselves with. I live my life as best as I can, knowing that this is the only one that I'll have. That knowledge is not scary, it is not a reason to grasp at straws and hoping I'm going to live forever.
People are the reason that both good and bad things happen. It is how it has always been and how it will always be. When someone does good, acknowledge them. When they do bad, punish them as is fitting. The fact that your last paragraph boils down to 'kids are dying because people have turned away from my deity' is disturbing.
If a deity's only solution to any problem is to kill what is offending it at the time, it is not much of a deity. If it refuses to help those in need because people don't believe in it, it's a jerk at best.
I don't usually ramble on this much and I'm fairly sure that it's wasted effort, but there it is.
" As a native Detroiter, Veteran, and a seeker of truth,"
You have not found truth you have just rattled around your imagination and found something that makes you feel good.
to all pro and con just take a minute or 2 when Jehovah's Witnesses come by this A.M. and have a civil, serious conversation and let them show you from the scriptures the answers and they are there or just go to jw.org to learn what the Bible really teaches for free. j
Wonderful post! God is within, and our actions bind him and also hide him.
Also. we are God, that is the holy kicker. When you find the Truth, you realize there is no you to find it, therefore there is no you to preach it. You become content and mostly silent.
Enough with guns .think of our children god won't .
There never was a God. it is obvious to the rational.
No God have you lost your mind only the fool would say that the problem is we don't want nothing to do with him until something bad happens then we want to pray . My prayers go out to all the families that is hurting God bless you all .
Now go to those parents and tell them that their kids senseless murder is justified because it serves a higher purpose. Hell maybe it caused 1 person to become a believer in a deity.
Do you not think for a moment that while the gunman prowled that school that some in the school prayed to this god....and the answer was ....being shot dead...and your five year old son is dead ....and your god is a spectator.
There are blows in life so violent—I can't answer!
Blows as if from the hatred of God; as if before them,
the deep waters of everything lived through
were backed up in the soul . . . I can't answer!
Not many; but they exist . . . They open dark ravines
in the most ferocious face and in the most bull-like back.
Perhaps they are the horses of that heathen Atilla,
or the black riders sent to us by Death.
They are the slips backward made by the Christs of the soul,
away from some holy faith that is sneered at by Events.
These blows that are bloody are the crackling sounds
from some bread that burns at the oven door.
And man . . . poor man! . . . poor man!
He swings his eyes, as
when a man behind us calls us by clapping his hands;
Swings his crazy eyes, and everything alive
is backed up, like a pool of guilt, in that glance.
There are blows in life so violent . . . I can't answer!
Cesar Vallejo, The Black Heralds
Please jesus protect us from your followers....
AMEN TO THAT!
Where was god? Where he has always been...in your imagination. This is a tragedy. Grow-up and face like it an adult.
What an arrogant thing to say.
oh damn! don't anyone tell joe the truth about anything – that's arrogant!!
You are indeed arrogant, Murph! Why don't you be humble like me and say that the supermaster of the universe is your special personal friend,and he is going to do really nice things for you and really hurt the people you don't like?
Very humble. Very humble.
Sorry Joe Blows...I will whip myself, put on a sackcloth and humble myself....unto SATAN!
Truth is often arrogant
Let us lay our children's bodies on the altar of the gun, in rows, and live under the high stern statue of fear- that our government of democracy and people will not hold- and carry ever more guns against each other, to hold those dear children's lives, and all our own future of peaceful freedom and safety forfeit, to that arcane fear, forever
it is called free will. god observes. if no free will, then how can one be judged? this life is just a blimp on your lifetime radar.
You mean "blip" one presumes.....this life we have is not a blip it is the "whole" enchilada.....there is nothing beyond it.
Whatever happened to "crazy"? Aren't people allowed to just be crazy anymore? Or is that too 1970's?
No...instead we have the 'blame the guns!" crowd, the "blame the parents" nuts, the "blame the video games, metal music, movies" wienies....
Those scapegoats all existed in the 70s too.
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.