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December 17th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

My Take: Praying for questions about Newtown that go beyond ‘Why, God?’

Editor’s note: Margaret Feinberg is a popular speaker and author of numerous books, including “Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God,” which releases on Christmas Day. Follow her on Twitter @mafeinberg.

By Margaret Feinberg, Special to CNN

Why, God, why? Why do you allow the horror of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School?

Why do you allow the loss, pain, terror, heartache and death? Why do you allow evil to triumph and innocence to be stripped away? Is this kind of evil stoppable? And do we have some role to play?

In the wake of so many unanswered questions, what kinds of questions do we really need to be asking? Are you cajoling us to ask how we can prevent this from happening again? Is the answer found in gun regulations, better security or deeper changes in our own hearts and lives?

Does preventing these kinds of crimes actually begin with us? If we had more compassion on those on the margins - those who wrestle with the demons of mental illness and social exile, who may be pondering violent acts at this very moment - can we prevent this horror from happening again?

My Take: Obama's Newtown remarks show pastor-in-chief

Are you prompting us to search our own lives and hearts to identify who we need to recognize that we’ve overlooked? In our families? Neighborhoods? Schools? Workplaces? Communities? Retirement homes?

Who are the kids and adults being shoved to the sidelines of life on whom we need to extend compassion? Where have our arms been too short, our hearts too closed to embrace?

Is this a potent reminder that our call is to be more sensitive to those who feel unloved, marginalized, shunned from our society? Are you awakening us to the fact that we all play a role in these matters?

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Have we helped create troubled souls like Arizona gunman Jared Loughner, Colorado gunman James Holmes and now Connecticut gunman Adam Lanza through our failure to extend kindness to those who need it most?

What are the words we need to learn to say not just with our mouths but our actions? Are you challenging us to express, “I love you!”;  “You matter!”; “You’re good at that!”; “We’re glad you’re here!";  “Want to join us?” or something more?

Will you grace us with the courage to extend a love we do not have on our own?

Why does it seem that before we can change, we need to encounter you? Will you give us eyes to see those who feel invisible, ears to hear their cries for help and hearts broken for victims who prey on victims?

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

How can we reflect you and your love during this difficult time? Will you pour out your grace, strength and love on those who have lost so much? Will you wrap your arms around them? Will you be with them in a tangible way?

Will you give them unexplainable peace? Will you do something miraculous? Will you unleash your redemption and restoration in this situation? Will you take prayers we’ve offered this week and make them habits of our hearts?

Will you do what only you can do, and take our breaths away again? Will you astound us with the wonder of who you are in the midst of that which makes no sense? Will you draw us all closer to you and to each other through this time?

In the wake of your love, will you teach us what better questions we need to ask and how we need to respond? Will you help us, oh Lord? Will you let it be so? Amen.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Margaret Feinberg.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • My Take • Opinion • Prayer • Violence

soundoff (1,166 Responses)
  1. VinoBianco

    why? because a mentally ill kid got his hands on assault weapons. because horrible things happen every day. why? what a stupid question.stop asking your god, he isn't going to answer, and take action towards change instead.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  2. Kevin7Harris

    Atheists swarm any topic on this blog with what amounts to three assertions: 1) "There is no evidence for God", 2) "Evil disproves God", and 3) "Religious people do stupid things".

    If this is typical of the New Atheists, it sadly shows there is no intellectual muscle in the movement, only emotional resistance. Therefore, offering logic, reason, and evidence is rather futile. But I'll try anyway for those minds not yet closed.

    First, there is substantial evidence for God that philosophers have contemplated for centuries. There are various cosmological, teleological, moral, historical, ontological arguments, etc. with evidence supporting their premises. Big Bang cosmology has bolstered already respected arguments for God the last 50 years! Therefore, one cannot say "there is no evidence". One can only opine that the evidence is not personally convincing.

    Second, the Problem of Evil cannot disprove the existence of God. The most it can do is call into question internal considerations of why God gave free will, allows evil, and will destroy it via the only logically feasible way in a world of free creatures. There are good answers for all these.

    Third, I agree, religious people do stupid things. And it has nothing to do with whether God exists.

    Check out Reasonable Faith for more.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Thoth

      Do share....point us towards actual evidence – meaning tangible, repeatable, verifiable, provable, etc..... Philosophy and opine are not evidence.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Thoth, I pointed you to Reasonable Faith. The forum is limited here. BTW, to say that philosophy cannot offer evidence is self refuting. You are offering philosophical evidence that there is no such thing as philosophical evidence!

      December 18, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Primewonk

      " First, there is substantial evidence for God"

      There is zero scientific evidence for any of the 10,000 gods we have invented in the past 200,000 years. Sorry.
      _----------------

      " the Problem of Evil cannot disprove the existence of God."

      Your gos states in Isaiah that he creates evil.
      ---------------

      " religious people do stupid things"

      And you do it your god's name.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Huebert

      Kevin

      I should clarify when I say that there is no evidence for god. There is no empirical evidence for god. And I've been to the reasonable faith website, it's apologetic trash.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Kevin7Harris

      @Primewonk, I noticed you inserted "scientific" in your call for evidence. God is a metaphysical question and as such not determined by physical science (which you are implying). But one can derive implications and inferences that point to God from scientific discovery (e.g. the beginning of the universe, fine-tuning for intelligent life, etc.)

      The Hebrew word in Isaiah is best translated "calamity". God certainly can bring calamity in judgement and for his purposes. But God does not create moral evil. The context and language are clear on that in the passage.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Kevin7Harris

      @Huebert, the Empirical Verificationist Principle was thrown out decades ago in philosophy! The EMP ITSELF cannot be empirically verified so it fails its own tests.

      I challenge you to pick out one argument from Reasonable Faith and show why it's trash. Don't just assert, back it up!

      December 18, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Thoth

      @Kevin – no, evidence would be for example: Gravity, which is actually on a "theory" yet I can prove it by holding out an object in my hand and releasing it. When you have evidence of that nature to prove your god exists I'll be glad to listen. BTW, pointing me to a religious based reference is equivalent to saying "because the bible says so".....

      December 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Thoth, your gravity is example is good as to my point. We can infer from the action there is something we call "gravity" and then proceed from there. We can infer from things like the beginning of the universe that there is a cause of the universe. We can proceed from there, via a conceptual analysis, what attributes the cause would have (personal? impersonal? powerful?, etc).

      Reasonable Faith is considered the best site for dealing with the best arguments, and taking opposing views seriously. That's why I recommend it.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Thoth

      Kevin, gravity is a term to define an observable action. If you want to define god as some universal, ever-shrinking unkown then I suppose we could agree. As soon as you attribute unobservable characteristics to this term "god" then you are no longer using observable evidence, unlike gravity. All versions of god were born of human conjecture, not evidence.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Thoth, so you admit it is self-refuting to offer your opinion as evidence that "opine" is not evidence, and your philosophical evidence is that philosophy is not evidence? That's what your statements reduce to. Instead you've just ignored it and moved on.

      What evidence do you have that God is just "human conjecture"? Is not everything you are saying "human conjecture"? Why, yes it is! Conjecture is fine, and apparently you and I agree that it should be conjecture supported by evidence. Conjecture is to draw inferences from all disciplines (material science, philosophical insight) and determine conclusions. You are demanding empirical evidence for something not directly empirically verifiable! Keep in mind what I wrote in this thread: the Empirical Verificationist Principle ITSELF is not empirically verifiable so was thrown out of philosophy. We can however draw inferences from empirical verification.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Huebert

      Kevin

      Empiricism has no place in philosophy, but I'm not discussing a philosophical concept, I'm discussing an empirical one. God either exist or he doesn't. God either has a certain set of properties or he doesn't. He behaves in one way or another at a given time. These are mensurable testable concepts.

      As far as trash apologetic arguments, Craig's rebuttal of the fly spaghetti monster neglects the fact that both the FSM and Intelligent design have equal support.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Kevin

      So I'm a little confused here. Lets take the gravity analogy that was used. I dropped a ball and it fell to the ground, I then noticed that everything falls and nothing simply hovers in midair or flies away from the ground without some sort of thrust so we assigned that observable action a name called gravity. You on the other hand have assigned the word god to mean supreme ruler and master of everything and when the Big Bang Theory was introduced, you assigned that creation to god because he already existed and yet you think that is the same thing? In the former we assign a name to an action and in the latter you assign and action to a name, how is that the same?

      What many people say Kevin is not "god does not exist" they say, "your god does not exist". Who knows, there could have been an external agent to begin the huge expansion we call the big bang and that agent could even be sentient and unknowable, however, the bible states how god created the universe and it in no way meshes with the big bang, or even basic natural science.

      It's also a sad cop out to say that god is a metaphysical being and can't be proven with empiracle evidence considering god has intervened countless times, as shown in the bible, on a very physical level and could easily do so again. What any atheist will ask is simply for your god to show himself. Apparently he can not which leads us to some possibilities. 1) The bible is full of crap but your god exists, but everything he did in the bible was a lie. 2) God is some sort of petulant child that is stubbornly not showing himself just to be a di.ck. This isn't outside the realm of possibility as god has shown himself in the bible to be an as.shole at a lot of different points, so who knows, maybe he allowed 20 children to be gunned down and murdered in cold blood because he's a di.ck..... there's a problem with the question of evil there, but we can go back to that. 3) god does not exist.

      I choose #3

      December 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Thoth

      @Kevin – not sure Webster agrees with your definition of Conjecture – which is based on guesswork not provable evidence. What evidence is there that all gods are human conjecture? Well, basically ALL religious texts are human conjecture – I suppose you could argue they were divinely inspired but that's back to opinion. Speaking of opinions, it is mine that once you deviate from demonstrable evidence, you are in fact guessing – call it inference all you want.

      Back to Gravity – I could draw the inference that some "god" is pulling things back to the earth. Can you prove otherwise? There is no evidence for any god, period. You can argue inferences from evidence all you want, but that's not the same thing as actual tangible evidence. Philosophy is unbridled speculation. It can certainly lead to invention, but can also lead to absurdities....as history has long proven.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Kevin7Harris

      "Empiricism has no place in philosophy," <<<< Yes it does. One can draw philosophical inferences from empirically verifiable things. ("Does observable brain chemistry mean there is an immaterial mind distinct from the brain or are mind and brain the same thing?").

      " but I'm not discussing a philosophical concept, I'm discussing an empirical one. God either exist or he doesn't. God either has a certain set of properties or he doesn't. He behaves in one way or another at a given time. These are mensurable testable concepts."

      KH> When discussing God you are discussing a philosophical concept of something which transcends the material/physical world. If a being brought matter, energy, time and space into existence, then those things did not exist prior to that, and therefore the being is not itself material, and is timeless, spaceless, etc. We can do a conceptual analysis based on a given state of affairs. BTW, numbers cannot be empirically verified either. Yet are used in the measurements you're calling for!

      "As far as trash apologetic arguments, Craig's rebuttal of the fly spaghetti monster neglects the fact that both the FSM and Intelligent design have equal support".

      KH> As Craig points out, the FSM would be finite, contingent, located in space, made of pasta, etc. The discussion of God is the consideration (via conceptual analysis) of an infinite, non-contingent, timeless, spaceless being. The FSM fails as an ontologically ultimate candidate and is just silly! While certain cosmological and design arguments can point to a more "generic" God, again the FSM is a lousy candidate. Atheist philosophers themselves label the FSM as the worst of "village atheism".

      December 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Huebert

      Kevin

      So you are saying that it is impossible to find any empirical evidence of god. Then why should I as.sume one exists? Why should I not take the honest stance and simply say "I don't know". Or better yet why should I not follow Occam's Razor and not multiply ent.ities unnecessarily?

      December 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • the AnViL

      there is precisely zero verifiable, substantiated evidence of gods.

      you can keep your faith – but it isn't based on anything concrete or useful.

      also – you can fight as hard as you want – but you're never going to convince anyone that you're anything less than delusional.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Huebert,
      God would not be *directly* detected empirically. But that would not rule out inferences to the best explanation, probable cause, etc.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kevin

      You got nothing. None of those philosophical arguments prove a single thing, let alone your version of a god.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      Kevin

      With out any empirical evidence why would you as.sume that the cause of the universe is a conscious ent.ity, much less the Christian God? Would not, the existence of an unconscious hyper-dimensional structure that spawns universes be equally plausible?

      December 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Chuckles,

      One does not have to argue for God a priori (or God of the Gaps). One can uncover the existence and attributes of God via a conceptual analysis of, say, the beginning of the universe.

      You're correct that Natural Theology (what I've been discussing) can lead to a broader concept of God. Whether the God of Christian Theism exists would require additional arguments. Yet, The Bible certainly is congruent with Big Bang cosmology in certain features (a "beginning", an eternal God vs. a contingent universe, etc). BTW, the language of Genesis does not demand a "young earth". In fact, I reject that on both scientific and biblical basis.

      God is not directly empirically verifiable. But God's empirical effects can certainly be ascertained (did something of the order of matter or of the order of mind bring about the universe, etc,?).

      The atheist is often asked how God ought to reveal himself. While I would argue that God reveals himself via Natural Revelation and Special Revelation (in Jesus, etc.), I hold firmly that any "revelation" of God is incoherent unless it meets these criteria, 1) it cannot be faked or plausibly attributed to natural causes, 2) it has a strong, almost irresistible moral component, and 3) it promotes a filial, loving relationship with God (not just mere knowledge of God's existence).

      December 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Kevin

      Well you certainly can type a lot yet say absolutely nothing relevant.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Hubert, ("Would not, the existence of an unconscious hyper-dimensional structure that spawns universes be equally plausible?")

      I don't this so because this "structure" would allegedly take up space and time, be subject to physical laws, be material, etc. PRIOR to the very existence of those things! If instead one says the "structure" is immaterial, spaceless, timeless, hyper-dimensional, and has the power to create universes, one is moving into the Theism column! "A rose by any other name..."!

      December 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Kevin7Harris

      Thoth,

      Any conjecture, guess-work, speculation, or belief should be made on good grounds, right? But if you want to critique my view or arguments, then you would need to show why my view is nothing but conjecture (given the definition you accept).

      December 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Richard

      Kevin

      I don't move to the theism column. A God is as.sumed to be a conscious ent.ity. The metaphysical structure I am postulating is something like an eternal wellspring of universes. It can not make decisions, it can not intervene in any of the universes it created, beyond creating universes it can not act in any way. It simply is and always has been. Why is this structure not equally, or more plausible than the christian God?

      Also you are making a false as.sumption. You have no way of knowing if time, and the physical laws, behaves the same way in every universe, and dimension. Therefore if something is hyper-dimensional you can't logically apply any of the laws of our universe to said structure.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Huebert

      The above post by Richard is mine.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  3. benji

    I don't know why God allowed this and I am not going to question Him. All I know is that He exists and He is a good God and all things, even this will work out in the end. I keep my faith in Him.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Huebert

      So your solution to cognitive dissonance is to simply not ask questions? People that see willful ignorance as a virtue scare me.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "I don't know why God allowed this".... "All I know is that He exists and He is a good God."

      How can you know he is a good god if you dont know why he does things. That makes absolutely no sense.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Thoth

      "it will work out in the end"....how comforting to parents whose 5 & 6 yr olds were shredded with multiple rounds from a high powered rifle. No just and loving god would allow such horrific tragedy.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      The choice of trust is not ignorance. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that you don't understand and you choose to trust a superior being instead.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      @toth - The argument in your statement is an invalid argument because it is based on your judgement of what love is. It is opinion not fact, as you attempted to present it.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Huebert

      If you don't question this beings reasons and motives, how do you know he is superior?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • craniumthedumb

      I have and I do. Your argument is an argument of opinion. Essentially you can't understand His actions therefore they are cognitively dissonant to you.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  4. Thoth

    I can answer all of the author's questions in the last paragraph with one word: No. No your version of god will not provide you with answers, or better questions to ask because he/she/it does not exist. All gods were born of human conjecture and looking to them for solutions is like burying your head in the sand.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  5. clubschadenfreude

    Prayer does nothing except make someone think that they are doing something constructive when they are not. A prayer of "why, God?" will not be answered by anything magical. It will be answered by what the believer's opinions are. Someone who is like Mike Huckabee will be sure that God responds with "I'm god that has no problem with killing children in order to teach adults some "lesson". Someone else will come up with "God is mysterious and needed this to happen" and another will claim "God gave us free will (ignoring their bible) and was impotent to do anything about this". This all shows that prayers are nothing but talking to one's self.

    I'm sure that prayers were said by the teachers who died and who survived. They weren't answered. Prayers were said on 9/11 and weren't answered (unless you want to believe that Allah answered them for the terrorists). Prayers for healing aren't answered as can be attested to by the graves of so many. To waste time and effort on prayers is ridiculous. Don't pray, DO SOMETHING.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  6. Luis Wu

    Spouting ritual mumbo jumbo to an imaginary, invisible Santa Claus in the sky accomplishes nothing at all except to make you look really stupid. Religion is holding America back, it's keeping people ignorant. People wallow in their fantasy world instead of trying to take responsibility and move forward with their lives. It breeds ignorance and stupidity and hatred and intolerance for those that don't accept your beliefs as fact. All religions are nothing but ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of primitive tribes. When the majority of people finally realize that, the world will be a LOT better place.

    December 18, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Agree

      Fact !!!
      Trace our planet's geological and biological ages
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33184839/ns/technology_and_science/

      December 18, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  7. myweightinwords

    The answers aren't going to come from the sky. They aren't going to come from worry and hand wringing and clinging to our guns. I'm a big believer in personal responsibility, I believe the answers are not going to come from outside, but from us.

    Like so many other things, this is a symptom of what is wrong in our country, and the wounds run very deep, the causes are complicated. The solution is not going to be simple either. But make no mistake, if we don't try, if we don't start to address the very real problems in this country, we will continue to see more of this.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The 2nd amendment is valid I think, but it's implementation is flawed. It would seem to me that fulfilling all the requirements to let's say protect your home or hunting for food,etc can be accomplished with a shotgun. A simple rifle with just a couple rounds. Not a concealable hand gun or military assault weapon with massive magazines. If everyone with a gun had to stop to reload after a couple shots then mowing down dozens of people would be nigh impossible.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:15 am |
      • myweightinwords

        We need more logical gun control, I agree. I'm not sure where the lines are, but certainly we need to look at the laws, make logical and effective changes and implement them in ways that make sense.

        But that is only a part of the problem. It doesn't solve the other issues. A person determined to kill large numbers of people will find a way to do so.

        December 18, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Sure...if I wanted to injure a large number of people I might try to derail a train. Also with over 250 million guns already in circulation the cat is already out of the bag. Control would be difficult if not impossible. Still if the deadliest of these weapons was only available for use at gun ranges then a situation like the one at Newtown would not have occured. Gun lovers believe self protection and fighting against gun violence can be accomplished with more guns. It's an arms race and the only outcome is likely to be more of what we saw in Newtown.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  8. God

    Some of you may be asking where was I or how could I allow this to happen. To answer your question, I'm at the same place from when I saw my beautiful child die and suffer for All mankind. Did I allow this to happen you may ask......James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man". You will see me bring justice to ALL those saying I'm a lie and to those that cause harm to others. All those that die are my children too. I will bring justice and if you obey my commands you will see your loved one agian. Rev 21:4

    God

    December 18, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Luis Wu

      How utterly ignorant.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • canadian dude

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • clubschadenfreude

      Classic. The claims of a Christian who wants to pretend his god does something. Ooooh, justice promised but never actually done since well, guys there's no evidence of a heaven or a hell. There is no evidence of this god at all and certainly no evidence that anyone suffers because of it's actions.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • mama k

      Revelation?? Everyone knows John the Dopehead crashed his camel into a lake of bath salts or worse to come up with that mess.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Primewonk

      You ràped a little girl, impregnating her with yourself. So that you could grow up and sacrifice yourself to yourself to make up for creating flawed humans.

      You are one sick motherfucker.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • sam stone

      "I'm at the same place from when I saw my beautiful child die and suffer for All mankind."\

      Your child sufferred because of you. You could have forgiven without a blood sacrifice, but chose not to.

      You are a punk

      December 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  9. PASTOR RICH

    God is good
    . Nahum 1:7

    December 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Really? 2 Kings 2: 23-24 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Yep

      @ReigionIsBS: Pastor Rich is right. The kids were mocking a prophet of God and therefore God himself.. God reserves the right for revenge and judgement. Everyone that does not believe the Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior will have similar fate. Not necessarily being mulled by a bear, but ultimate punishment for mocking God himself.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Luis Wu

      God doesn't exist, only ignorant people believe in fairytale skygods. Grow a brain.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Yep

      @ Luis Wu: I am sorry you feel that way. i know if you softened your heart and truly allowed the Holy Spirit work in your life, you would see things differently. But in any event, i don't mind the ridicule. Jesus said it would happen.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Yep,
      What did slaves do to deserve gods wrath?
      If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

      December 18, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Yep

      ReligionIsBS,
      DId you actually read what you copied and pasted?? I can't answer the question about slaves, but God is writing a law to protect the slaves. Remember, is those days (and in many cultures) the slaves were captured enemies forced to work. There are other scriptures that tells masters to treat the slaves humanely. In fact in your passage, if the slaves wants to continue to work for his master, he basically becomes an employee. Why would a slave want to permanently work for a master? Because the master treated him well!

      Don't quote scripture out of context.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      So god gives directions on how to slave trade, then directions on how to beat your slave (a little later in the story), you cant explain it, and im wrong for questioning it? haha

      Maybe you can explain this one.

      Psalms 137:9 "Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks."

      December 18, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      "Dont take the bible out of context"? How about you stop making excuses for vile garbage

      December 18, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Just going to let this one speak for itself, so im not accused of thinking.

      Meanwhile, the LORD instructed one of the group of prophets to say to another man, "Strike me!" But the man refused to strike the prophet. Then the prophet told him, "Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me." And sure enough, when he had gone, a lion attacked and killed him. (1 Kings 20:35-36 NLT)

      December 18, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • JWT

      Thats what I so like about some (not all) of the christians is their threats to those that do not believe just as they do. Such a god is unworthy of existance let alone worship.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Yep

      Hey guys, I don't have all the answers. I don't expect to ever have all the answers. My expectation (also known as faith) is that one day I will know that I am right. And if i am right then you are gravely wrong. i know you will say you will take your chances, so i respond by saying i will take mine.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • sam stone

      Your god is a petty, vindictive pr!ck, and his prophets are sheep mounting perverts. Good enough for you?

      December 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Ian

    It couldn't be any more simple: He "allows it" because he doesn't exist.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  11. Pamela Dufresne

    to all that read this I am just making a suggestion, In my opinion to making our kids feel safer is by making the schools safer, one thing is make the door to enter the school better, special doors that can't be shot in, all the door to get in. Also make the class room door more enforced so that again unable to be shot in. Also I think that they set up a better system for the teachers to protect there kids in their class, better places to put the kids in such an event. I know people will say that's not practical well I feel it is and our children deserve to feel safe in their schools nothing is to much to protect them. Just a thought for people to think about, because the teachers of this school that did all they could to protect their kids could only do so much and it was beyond what they could do to protect them. So if anyone has a better idea, I would love to hear it.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  12. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    School shootings have been occurring since 1764 in the territory that was to become the USA:

    Some recent statistics and history:

    "According to the National School Safety Center, since the 1992-1993 U.S. school year there has been a significant decline in school-as-sociated violent deaths (deaths on private or p-ublic school property for kindergarten through grade 12 and resulting from schools functions or activities):[37]"

    1992–1993 (44 H-o-micides and 55 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1993–1994 (42 H-omicides and 51 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1994–1995 (17 H-omicides and 20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1995–1996 (29 H-omicides and 35 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1996–1997 (23 H-omicides and 25 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1997–1998 (35 H-omicides and 40 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1998–1999 (25 H-omicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1999–2000 (25 H-omicides from school shootings in the U.S.)

    According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 1998-1999 School Year, 3,523 students (57% High School, 33% Junior High, 10% Elementary) were expelled for bringing a firearm to school.[38]

    The late 1990s started to see a major reduction in gun related school violence, but was still plagued with multiple victim shootings including;

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United

    December 18, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  13. pbuotte

    Good article on looking within ; these are valid questions. There is no need to reach out to some 'external all-knowing ghost', the answers come from within. And if there is no answer, then that is the answer.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  14. Brad

    If God is all powerful in all things, theres only one possibility of who's responsible. Everyone thinks God is watching over them after the carnage, was God just ignoring the murder of 20 innocent children. Wake up everybody, God only exists in people's fantasies.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • God

      Brad,
      Do you believe that there is a creator?

      December 18, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      God,
      Do you beleive the creator had a creator? Sorry, I mean who created you (If there was a god, im pretty sure you're going to hell for impersonating him!)

      December 18, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  15. missileman

    It sounds to me that Ms. Feinberg is saying god allowed those kids to be killed just so Ms. Feinberg could feel better about herself by praying even harder than she's done before, thereby becoming even "closer" to god. Yippee!

    Personally, I'd feel closer to him if he simply used his "omnipotence" to prevent these killings in the first place. If he has to use massacres like this to bring people like Ms. Feinberg "closer" to him, I'll just as soon stay as far away from him as I can.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  16. JJ

    If your god is so pissed because you Christians are no longer allowed to create your theocracy in our public school system then killing a bunch of Christian and Jewish children is a terribly deranged way to take out his anger.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      Best post ever.

      "Non-christians wont let me in schools? Better kill some christians." – god

      December 18, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Live4Him

      An atheist nation's response to God? Kill Christian and Jewish children.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Akira

      Um, the shooter was Christian, Live.
      Your next sentence will probably be, "but he wasn't a true Christian.
      To which I say:
      The shooter was still Christian...whether you want to admit it or not.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • sam stone

      It wasn't an atheist who did the shooting, Live4Him

      December 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  17. God and Country

    Ok I love it when people ask this question "Why God" when something terrible happens. God put you on the earth to make your own choices rather to serve him or serve something else. All things happen for a reason rather you go in peace or in some other way. Its how you confront the situation before and after. Ray there is a "GOD", but its your choice to believe what you believe in, in the end you will be the one to suffer when you pass on, then you will be judged.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • JJ

      Get off the crack pipe.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Chris

      So we are born slaves? Yeah...I don't like that idea and won't follow you...

      December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • ReigionIsBS

      So if god put me here to make my own choices and not to serve him, please explain hell. Why would there be a hell if im not supposed to serve anyone and Im allowed to make my own choices. You make absolutely no sense.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  18. Anarchrist

    “There is not anything that happens without God’s knowledge.”
    “Everything is within God’s power.”
    “Everything is part of God’s plan.”
    “Everything happens for a reason.”

    Therefore, god knew what was going to happen, god allowed it, and by christian logic god wanted these children to be slaughtered and for their friends and families to be subjected to grief, anger, and pain that few people know.
    But don’t worry, people. When something good happens, god will get credit. When something bad happens, you’ll blame guns, people, gays, non-christians, atheists, minorities, Obama, Republicans, or anyone else you can possibly think of to take the blame off of your magic sky man who you assert knows when these things are going to happen, does nothing to prevent them, and in fact orchestrates the events.
    Your god is the most horrifying, sinister, petty tyrant ever conceived by man, and the only thing that makes me feel better than knowing it doesn’t exist, is the hope that one day people will stop believing in these fairy tales.

    “It’s time to stop praying for someone to save us and start saving ourselves.” ~ Nicole Blackman

    December 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Christ

      You are taking everything out of context. God lets us have free will. Everyone sins, and no human being is good, unlike your worldview. Christ is the only answer, and gave His life for everyone, including you. I pray that you find Christ and have a personal relationship with Him. You are going to meet Him either way, I just hope you meet Him soon.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Luis Wu

      All gods are just imaginary fairytale beings and exist only in the ignorant minds of followers.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Anarchrist

      Look, “Christ”...

      Convenient, isn’t it, how “things are taken out of context” only when a religious person disagrees with them?
      If I don’t have proper context, then neither do you, and the bible certainly doesn’t provide it. At no place in your book of fairy tales does it specify “This passage is metaphor” while another one is “Literal” and another one still is “Parable.”
      The people who claim to understand the difference are the ones who usually have the most to gain from their subjective interpretations.

      So tell me exactly what methods you use to determine context and what is literal?

      Sorry, but you fail miserably at critical thinking as well as following the laws of your religion. The least example of which is your screen name that is, according to your own religion, blasphemous and punishable by death. It’s right there in your fruity little book.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God lets us have free will"

      Free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

      December 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      Also, he didn't give his life. According to the religionists, he is alive up there with his virgin boinking daddy. The best that can be said is that he had a bad weekend for people's sins. But, that doesn't sell as well

      December 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  19. Open Mind !

    God in Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    December 18, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  20. Ray

    there is no god and if there was HE IS THE KILLER

    December 18, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Z

      so Ray, you searched through the Bible and existed since time began, and found there's no 'God'? God loved us so much that He gave us the freedom to choose and live our life in this broken world. If He does exist, does His character make Him a killer? The Bible, which I considered a historical book of broken lives who chose to disobey God as well as revival for lives who obey His recommended way for us to live a happy life is not right? He never promise that you will live a prosperous & healthy long life in this broken world. He promises each and everyone of us an eternal life with Him, when your temporary life in this world ends. Of course, you need to search for Him first and build this relationship that our Father in heaven is awaiting for us. He love us sooo much that He sent His only begotten Son to live a rejected life in this world and to be tortured and finally died on our behalf. And His resurrection is the hope He has given us. May the King of all Kings, pave a path for you and your family with love and patience.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Think Instead

      Z – that's your problem right there: you consider the bible a historical book.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Z

      Think Instead – have you done the research and compare btw historical materials and the Bible? From what I recalled, either they found evidence or the archaeologist are still searching. But none of the material in the Bible was found false. Can you find any false material? And share your research? Remember, they are numerous scientist who dont believe in Darwism, and there are some who still do. The reason why they keep the material in school, is budget, money invested, and other reason that I d=find that its false. You will find the same reason why the schools in US has no idea how to teach math.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • sam stone

      "God loved us so much that He gave us the freedom to choose"
      Really? How does this free will jibe with the concept of an omnicscient god?

      "The Bible, which I considered a historical book of broken lives who chose to disobey God as well as revival for lives who obey His recommended way for us to live a happy life is not right?"
      No, it is translated, edited hearsay.

      "He promises each and everyone of us an eternal life with Him"
      Do you really seek eternal life? Would it not get boring after a few millenia?

      "He love us sooo much that He sent His only begotten Son to live a rejected life in this world and to be tortured and finally died on our behalf."
      He could have done it without a blood sacrifice, but chose not to. If you believe that Jesus is alive, you cannot believe that he died. At worst, he had a bad weekend.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • craniumthedumb

      @Sam

      The idea of omniscience has nothing to do with willingness or choice of action. Omniscience only means He is all knowing which makes no statement on whether or not He is willing to act in any given situation.

      Your statement on the Bible is technically correct. The rest of your arguments are based in assumptions that are not provable, which makes them invalid as arguments.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.