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.
Good question If you read the old testament you will find your answer. When a country or nation turns its back on God then in turn God will turn his back on it. Our nation has clearly stated in its policies that we think we do not need God we have kicked his name and references to him from our public places including schools. We have established laws that are clearly contrary to his will and commandments all in the name of choice and fairness. We continue to head in a secular direction all in the face of continued discourse in our country rather it be natural disasters or man made ones. Our moral compass might as well be non existant at this point in our no limits everything is OK country. I think God is where God has always been it is us who have abandoned him not the other way around. Things in this country will continue to get worse as long as we as a nation continue in the direction we are going thinking we do not need him or we can do things on our own without him. He has given us rules to live by and guidelines to follow but we choose to think we have a better plan than him that is why we continually recently ask the question where is God. He is waiting for us to turn back to him and repent if we refuse he will leave us to our own devices. If you choose to agree or disagree it does not really matter we will all stand before him some day and give a defence for our lives we will either be justified or condemed simple as that. Please read your bible front to back everone can make time for God he is waiting.
We don't need God because we ARE A FREE NATION FOR ALL. Get that through your head.
This happens in churches, temples, and shopping malls too.
What is wrong with you?
Grow up and stop making excuses for your absentee Sky Daddy.
God or what ever it is, because we don't know what God or the creator is!, do not reside in man made structures it only resides in the living hearts and minds of living beings! if we open to it obviously!
Maybe if the Body of Christ was on its knees yesterday in deep, contemplative prayer, instead of being on a po rn ographic website, this and many other horrendous events taking place daily could have been avoided....
Blaming the "nation" for not obeying god when the Body of Christ is more interested in gay marriage and abortion while they hide in their own sin...such cowardice.
It is widely known that por no graphy is a prevalent issue in today’s society, but its po tential of addiction is not isolated to the secular world. Charles Swindoll calls it “the no. 1 secret problem in your church.
According to a ChristiaNet survey, 50 percent of Christian men are addicted to por no graphy. And it’s not just a “guy-thing;” 20 percent of Christian women are addicted to por no graphy, and 60 percent of Christian women admitted to significantly struggling with lust.
And yes, por no graphy is in the pulpit, too. Christianity Today found that 37 percent of pastors admit that they struggle with Internet por no graphy, and 51 percent say it’s a source of temptation. And more than half the pastors surveyed (57 percent) said that addiction to por no graphy is the most se x ually damaging issue in their church.
NOT only can your god prevent the slaughter of 20 innocent children...he can't even transform the lives and lusts of his own believers....
I Am God "We don't need God because we ARE A FREE NATION FOR ALL. Get that through your head."
No you live in a Nation that accommodates all types, including your, get that through your head, goon
Wheres God: Your empty proxy warnings are laughable
Safety in the North what does that have to do with anything I posted.
Sam Stone Why give a reason instead of an insult
I Am God that is the whole point of my post you uphold it very well.
God in my post I stated public places that includes places of worship also.
So, God is pretty spiteful....not very evolved, I'd say. And to "allow" the killing of babies...oh, are they the ones who turned their backs on God?.....makes no sense in any context. Maybe some gun control laws are in order here...maybe God would agree with that?
If this doesn't prove that God doesn't exist, and that religious people are bad, and conservatives are moronic and racist, nothing does!
Many other events in human history far worse than this have long since proven that God doesn't exist. But what truly proves God doesn't exist is taking the time to think for oneself. Something many can't do or choose not to.
You're right on the money, Rosie....short and to the point.
Anon the Atheist writes "Screw your imaginary god."
just another phony baloney atheist, these are the same people afraid to sleep in dark, have you ever asked why goon?
Sleeping in the dark gives me peace of mind. :D
Afraid to sleep in the dark? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is the dumbest comment I've ever heard.
and you are just another phoney baloney christian because ww.godIsImaginary.com
Have you been peeking through bedroom windows again?
sleep in the dark gives you peace of mind! you mean temporary death gives you a peace of mind, so death is your definition of peace!
THE REALIST, get REAL, stop spamming, goon
Nah, my brain goes into standby mode (dreaming).
Listening to symphonic video game music also gives me peace of mind.
The funny thing is atheist claiming with such conviction that Science proves a creator dos not exist when they lack the ability to understand something so important as the wave function of a particle.
Have you atheist ever realized that all we are is a whole bunch pf electrons and protons eating and pooing another bunch of electrons and protons to extract their energy? HAVE YOU?
I am still waiting for a atheist who is willing to debate this issue with me? and please don't refer me to science web sites or you friends and family who know so much about QM
You have no clue what you are talking about.
I can see you are to afraid to talk to a real scientist.
"...Science proves a creator dos not exist..."
I don't know who told you this but it's not true. Science has found no evidence at all that a creator exists, but that does not "prove" it. Science generally doesn't deal in "proof" anyway.
Also, electrons and protons do not consume each other, nor do they 'eat' or 'pooh'.
really? I have no clue, so why dont you explain me why i have no clue?
ME II, LOL, i never said that Science proves that a creator do not exist, in fact I do believe that all that there is is consciousness. Now I never said we are just particles consuming more particles, what i meant is that we consume energy or dont we? and for that we need to eat things made of particles? or are they not made of particles that carried a quanta of energy?
So, Elena, how does this food get converted to energy for untilization by our body? Can you enlighten the audience on the metabolic processes in our body? Maybe something about Kreb's cycle, and ketone body production, or glycogenolysis, or gluconeogenesis.....
who cares about the process to extract energy from mater inside the body, all i care in this discussion is that everything including us is made of matter, or not? and matter is made of particles, and those particles carry a bucket of energy? am i saying a lie?
My point was that it is a stawman tactic to ask someone to defend a 'scientific proof that God doesn't exist.'
Also, I misread the electron proton bit, sorry. Although, I guess I don't understand your point. Of course we are a bunch of particles and/or packets of energy.
You confuse the Law of conservation of energy with fundamentals of human biology and metabolism. One is a law of physics and the other an understanding of metabolism. Now if you do understand the processes I wrote about, you will be in a position to understand how electron transfer in Kreb's cycle helps in ATP generation in our system. And how it sets forth various processes in our body.
Sorry, not an atheist but no atheist claims that science can prove god one way or another...
I'm going to guess (from your posts) that English is not your primary tongue, so you may not get the nuances of using various kinds of speech in order to argue and challenge and, yes, entertain oneself when calling believer's to account for their failure to live by faith instead of "evidence" for their god's existence and "manipulation" of the material world.
Now, your challenge of QM theory...
When the ones who are the experts in the field are stumped and excited and daily overwhelmed by the implications of what they are "seeing," I'm not sure why you are on this blog trying to debate something except for the goal of making yourself feel better about your amateur knowledge.
I am intrigued by the possibility that the universe is pure consciousness and enjoy reading those in the field who theorize such things...but your challenge to atheists makes me wonder if you are unable to separate "God" from the concept that the universe is pure consciousness....
"God" is a tired, damages word and really has no place in the exploration of questions QM poses.
Perhaps Adam Lanza learned to MURDER innocent children from reading of god's acts in the Bible?
YES, – if you are a christian, ... you WORSHIP an EVIL MASS MURDERER! _ SHAME SHAME SHAME !!!!!
The Christian God does NOT care about human life, adult or child.
How many has God killed? How many people did God kill in the Bible?
More than 25,000,000 people! ........................ adults and CHILDREN !!!
It is better to acknowledge the TRUTH, ... that God is Imaginary ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com
The other alternative is believe the LIES ... that he exists, ... AND that he is EVIL and WICKED !!!
Clearly you don't understand. Lets start with one so called "mass murder" Noah's Ark. How many years did it take Noah to build the ark? ~100 years. During all that time he was telling people it was going to rain and to get into the ark. 100 years. If in that time anyone had listened they could have been saved. So look again at the other stories in the bible and see how many times God waited for someone to repent. Look at Sodom and Gamorrah. Lot asked god a few times to not destroy the cities so he could find more good people. God allowed him to look but he couldn't find even one person to save. How about the pharoh of egypt. How many plagues before god detroyed him? God could have ened it from the beginning but he allowed time for people to change but they wouldn't. God now is doing the same. Repent and turn to god before it's too late.
Only for the new members of this blog:
Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
Have you not seen the scrolls and archeology that confirms a lot of the stories in the bible? Come on. Even many "scholars" of that time confirm historic events and people in the bible. We have the evidence.
If there is sincerity in your search for true and satisfying answers as to why all this suffering, please go to jw.org and find out.
GOD IS A MYTH..THE WORST PART IS LYING TO LITTLE KIDS ABOUT YOUR IMAGINARY FRIENDS.
Where ever you find one thing, you will always find it's opposite.
I am holding the NRA responsible for this crime. THEY ARE TO BLAME! No one else
Since at this time this is still a free country and at this time we still have the freedom of speech (and the right to bear arms), I am going to add my two cents worth to the mix...
The NRA is not to blame, lack of parenting skills is probably not to blame entirely, guns are not to blame, GOD (yes He does exist and someday you will find that out for yourself) is not to blame, the blame lies solely on Adam Lanza. He picked up the gun, he pointed the gun and he pulled the trigger. If you want to blame someone then put the blame where it belongs. His mother may have had those guns locked up, who's to say now. At this time, no one knows what happened before the shooting, so just stop speculating and stop making up stories, just to have something to say.
GOD is omnipresent and I am sure that he was right there with each and every one of those children. GOD gives us all a free will to choose what path we take in life. We have sat back as a society and allowed extremists to take Him out of every facet of life. There is coming a day whether you want to believe it or not, that we all have to answer for the choices we have made in life. It is so easy to sit back and blame GOD, the NRA, the government, parents, just whoever, but the ones we really need to be blaming are ourselves. We have sat back and allowed our country to get where it is today. We can all take the blame for yet another senseless act of violence. And furthermore, if you really want to find a place to put your blame, then why don't we blame video games? Have you stood there and actually looked at the games our children are playing? Have you examined the violence and senseless murder taking place in these games? Has anyone taken the time to really think about what this is doing to our children's minds? Or is it just easier to sit them in front of the TV with a game and not have to think about them for hours on end? This is where these children turned adults have learned to kill. If you want to remove something from society that really will make a difference, then ban these games that are teaching how to kill.
I love God and do fear God’s potential wrath! I am but a lowly evolved sinner of the lessor kinds in God’s evolved pleasantries! My hatred upon the social masses abundant displeasures toward God and our godly kinds leaves me high and dry with little waters to quench my undying angers toward those even unleavened bitter fruits accosting God and our godly righteous! You who do vault your tempest denials for God and our godly ones are as bitter fruits to those whose loved ones lay in wasted deaths forsakenness! Such shamefulness acts and actions are deemed unwarranted and unbecoming rightfulness alimonies!
God so does love all things God did manifestly create and made Godly things to ever evolve into becoming that which time does honor in done measured deeds towards rightful means of and toward highly evolved creation-isms still yet, for God’s pleasures to be so had. We cannot rightly live without life’s pains nor can we know of God and godliness without life’s pleasing measurability’s commonly held holdings of our nurturing godliness ideals ever fomenting onwards toward life’s unknowable futures.
God is the maker and taker of all things created and many things evolved. God creates and mankind takes their leads for or against God who forever lives inside our bodies! God is our beings’ husbandries and in rightfulness wants are we conceptualized into being in and for hopes of becoming better lots of the churnings upon masses of the mobbed generalists un-righteously denying God and the godly!
God is the master of all creations and of many things manifested to be evolved in being and for to be made by God’s husbandries handiworks of God’s pleasured abundances. For without creation being a manifestation, could there be any personages or could there be a world within a solar system arising in a galaxy whose clusters did establish our universe?
The Holy Spirit of Godly Almightiness is the grand seas of Nothingness. In submissions of leavened faiths there are many adorned declarations of Godly physicality’s bemusements for the commoner’s better welfares in ever aging trials to be so tested! We all do yearn to know God and be of godliness principles but our faiths declare to most a dying tribulation of ever unfolded generalities made against God of the One to be as the Only; made out of sheer Nothingness!
Even of mankind's lost and forlorn are their compromises for God to be ever had. God wants no one to burn in a hellish fire made for the first evil doer and all said evil doer’s family! As our souls depart us come death's passing along ways, we are all taken up by God's almightiness seas of absolute Nothingness, then we are washed clean of our bitter memories here and given a new body in places deeply inside our ongoing generations' bodies!
The wills of all people is in their souls' nothingness that wraps up all embodied material matter known and made knowable to mankind. We are as seeds to Godliness virtues and death is but a gateway to the abundances of ever-lasting life in a plain and realm deeply inside all measuring of each and every manifestation of all things created and also evolved!
Captain the kool aid levels are off the chart.
God thinks you are nuts.
Is it hard to type with your hands in a strait-jacket?
GOD IS IMAGINARY !!! ... and YOU ARE SCARY !!!
So let me get this straight... this all loving god would turn his back on 20 innocent children to spite the adults who have "taken him out of schools?" That's crap. This was the act of one sick person. One sick individual who had an axe to grind. One sick person who suffered from a mental illness. Most rational people cannot begin to process how a mind like that works. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with a deity. This has everything to with human nature, society, mental illness, people not getting the treatment they need, etc. This needs to be a wake up call that we cannot fix anything by prayer. People need to take action and work together to help those who need help. Obviously this man needed help and he wasn't getting it. It seems like the mentally ill are not getting the care they need, so they are free to make these awful choices when they feel like they are out of options. Bad things happen everywhere and it has nothing to do with Americans taking God out of schools. It was one man with several guns and an axe to grind. The children were caught up in the middle of it.
People of like intellect as yours must have missed bible study classes where they taught that "Our world is not God's kingdom domains"!
Yeah, this happened because there hasn't been prayer in school since 1962. That's it. Gotta be.
Because nobody's ever been killed in the name of God. Nobody's ever used God's existence as an excuse to persecute or murder others.
I am very tired of people who insist that God exists but deny the evidence of things before their eyes. England has a population of 62 million, as ethnically and economically diverse as our own. They have strict gun laws–laws strengthened after a horrific 1996 school shooting in Scotland. They had 9 handgun murders last year. We had over 10,000.
God didn't do that. Shut up about God.
Delusional Christians are delusional Christians, what you gonna expect? It's typical from them.
Stop trying to blame public schools for poor parenting skills.
School shootings are not new:
Some early history: (from Wikipedia)
The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac's Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764, where four Lena-pe American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only three children survived.
What to do?
Background checks not only for the teachers but also their relatives.
Added security for all schools, to inlcude metal detectors, ID badges, guards, video cameras and motion detectors, fences, guarded gates.
More at-home/internet education.
Gated parking lots.
No toleration of bullying or bullies.
And instill in all global citizens, three words: DO NO HARM!!!
Hey Morons, your god doesn't exist!!! KEEP YOUR !@#$%^ RELIGION TO YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!
When are you going to grow up and stop making excuses for your absentee Sky Daddy?
Maybe we ought to work on solving this one ourselves instead of waiting around for this God some of you are always going on about. In my view, he's got a lousy track record. Honestly, I don't think he's coming to fix things anytime soon.
The shooter had a "Don't Tread On Me" flag in his bedroom. Right next to the Sarah Palin 'crosshairs' poster.
You liberals have been wanting God out of the classroom for decades now, and now that you have it, you cant use the "Wheres God when this happens" theory. You forced him out, so don't expect him to be there when evil comes in the door. This is the result of a ungodly nation, and its soon to be the norm if God doesn't get put back into our schools, work places, movies, and all the other areas of life we live.
Love me or die?
That doesn't sound very loving.
Did we force God out of shopping malls, temples and churches too?
This happens everywhere.
Dan, I thought god was omnipresent?
Keep your god away from my children – it's believe in me or persish bs is unworthy of anything.
your comment is small minded.. If the god in your head is so selfish that it would justify the slaying of children to appease its vanity and pride then we don't need it. If the god in your head is all powerful and perfect it cannot be force out of anything. How do you address the pedophiles and child abusers in the churches and boy scouts? By your logic those should be the safest places for the children and yet they are not. You want to make a blanket statement and blame the liberals of this horrible deed... your rant is of a foolish angry simpleton...and it sure doesn't seem like you have much of a god in your heart either
Wimpy God can't go where you think he should be? Trying to ignore poor parenting skills? Hmmm????
We are not a theocracy, therefore mandated prayer and Bible readings are not allowed in public schools where there is currently a ~23% non-Christian population. That is the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment in action (ruled in 1962 & 1963). Go live in another country if you can't live by the Constitution and its Amendments.
James Madison, 4th POTUS, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and several Amendments including the 1st:
Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.
Our most recent constitutional Amendment, number 27, adopted in 1992, was first introduced by James Madison in 1789.
Which god should we "allow" back in schools? Let me guess – the one you believe in?
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.