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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 • Opinion • Prayer • Violence

soundoff (1,166 Responses)
  1. Religion is the cause of and non-solution to all problems

    Being as how there IS no God, the better question is why we're asking questions of myths?

    December 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • DaveLake

      I think the problem of determining Christ as a myth is very difficult if you are brought up in a church. Some of my friends needed until they were in their 30's- after getting a Masters degree or Doctorate and using critical thinking-to realize what they thought was fact-was indeed myth.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Captain Onbious

      I accepted it without question as I was brainwashed by Catholic schools until both of my parents died and I searched for answers and REALLY read the Bible in full and discovered it was a bunch of hogwash.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • CGAW

      Being that you have zero proof there is no God, why would anyone listen to you?

      December 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  2. Squonkk

    A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.

    Seems to me that too many so-called "scientific man" on this site is VERY wedding to foregone conclusions

    December 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • DaveLake

      A scientific man could have wishes, wants, and needs just like everyone else. Cold heart-nonsense.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  3. Rudy1947

    CNN should ask for their money back. This article is a sham, mystical questions and nothing but questions. Then at the end asks for more questions. I'm so inspired I could just ?*&^.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  4. DaveLake

    First my sympathy to the entire community. Such sadness-such pain.

    Believers in Christ should research pagan religions. Before Christ different religions in the same area of the world had a son of god born on Dec. 24 and 25. Virgin mothers were a stable in many pagan religions trying to show their religion was real. Heaven and hell existed. A person was rewarded for being good. The term son of god often used. Lamb of god used. The list goes on and on. The story of Christ was simply taken from past religions with some new ideas to fit the times. A person needs to pull back and see the big picture of religions before Christ and ask themselves why are the other stories considered myths. An open mind is needed to look at history. It would be wonderful if we could work together to solve problems and comfort one another person to person without a middle man-god.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Perfrid

      The mythology of Mithras is what you are talking about. This has been proven incorrect over and over again. Here is a link to the evidence that shows that Mithras borrowed from Christianity, not the other way around. http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2012/is-jesus-simply-a-retelling-of-the-mithras-mythology/ Ya know, this would have taken less than five minutes to find out yourself if you bothered to know the truth.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • K Kim

      @DaveLake,

      The Bible tells us that all mankind once spoke the same language and worshipped God. Furthermore, the Bible reveals that there are evil spirits who can also tell the future or prohesy. In other words, God's people and His prophets were not necessarily the only ones who knew or should have known (since many of His people rejected then and still reject yeshua as the messiah) about God's plan for salvation through His son Yeshua.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • K Kim

      @DaveLake,

      One more thing: Yeshua was not born on 12/25 and many Christians reject Christmas as non-Biblical.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  5. Not Your Average White Guy

    Blame it on the Republicans, Red States, NRA, Huckabee, anyone named Bush, gun-toting southerners, religious zealots, second amendment whackjobs. I could go on forever. Didn't anybody listen to William Hamilton who died this year?

    Just in case you missed it in TIME MAGAZINE in April 1966. The question he posed was:
    IS GOD DEAD? The answer is unequivocally, YES,thank god.!!!

    Now can we just change the second amendment to define "militia" to be an elected US government controlled army, ban guns and get on with life.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No we can't.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  6. Snowdog

    Way to go Obamo for reading scripture at the funerals. Way to go.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  7. John P. Tarver

    The only science in Darwin's work is the ant study, the rest is just populist racism.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So you are a post and run troll. Good to know.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      Do you know anything about Darwin, or evolution? Do you know anything about your own holy book? You know, ignorance is not really a virtue.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Snowdog

      Darwin was a moran.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "moran" LOL!!!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  8. John P. Tarver

    The Democratic platform was almost unable to even acknowledge God, what did we expect?

    December 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • dwight

      Obama mocked god in 3 different books and the country still elects him

      December 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      how about some citations, dwight?

      December 18, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  9. The Eternal Satyr

    Margaret asks a bunch of questions. I wonder what the voice in her head will eventually say in response.

    Prayer has never done anything that could not have been done without it.

    Words are cheap. Prayer is nothing but words. Prayer without action is meaningless drivel, cosmic wishful thinking and nothing more.

    If I was an amputee and I prayed every day for my limb to grow back, it wouldn't. If, however, I went to the doctor and got a bionic arm, at least that would be something. Did God create a new flesh-and-blood arm for me? No. Did God create the bionic arm for me? No. Scientists did. Did God do anything for me? No.

    Stop praying, people. Get up off your knees and do something about this problem. If you don't, you're going to pray yourselves into oblivion.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Captain Onbious

      Been saying this forever – besides, IF God exists and He gave us free will, He would never intervene in prayers! (Scientist are happy about that as it ensures their experiments are repeatable and reproducible and not subject to the whim of a prayer). So people, get off your lazy 8ss and do something. And no – wearing colors does NOT accomplish much except to ease your "conscience" instead of donating blood, or to the families, or to the Red Cross, or to the State Police, etc.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • dwight

      Jehovah God created the earth and everything upon it. How can you look thru your eyes and see all the amazing things around you how the trees give us oxygen and in return we give them carbon dioxide... full circle perfectly designed by a grand creator indeed. I understand these days all the things that are grand to gaze upon are diluted by all the terrible things mankind has brought into it. Just remember before you deny our creator that, We as a whole, destroyed the earth and all things in it not him. And the morals that have slipped to almost none are allowed and accepted by mostly everyone on earth. It should be the thing you complain about. God gave us the ten commandments for a reason. man was given free will. Meaning thanks to adam and eve and satan we are all imperfect and capable of sin. Thou shalt not kill was one of them. Also 1 John 5; 19 We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one .20 But we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one. And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting. Personally the way I feel for people that deny god or blame him when this world still lies in the power of satan makes me feel sad for them. So as far as you... somewhere out there is a tree tirelessly working to produce oxygen for you...I think YOU owe it an appology!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  10. John P. Tarver

    The left wanted God out of the schools so badly they teach the falsed notion that species are an outcome of evolution as fact; even though we have known Darwin is wrong for nearly 40 years.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You are funny.

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

      @John

      Then refute all of evolution. Try to swipe the pilllar of modern medicine, developmental biology, and other sciences.
      Unless of course you're just a post and run troll.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      Your God faked all those fossils to test your faith, right? Priceless.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • @john

      What??? 40 yrs. But two people made from dirt and having in-cest is OK to believe. Sad.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      John, when you look out into the night sky and you see light coming from objects that are billions of light years away, does that make you think that maybe the "bible scholars" have at least one thing wrong about their beliefs about the age of the universe?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Satyr-Carbon dating is accurate to 16,000 years, so the Earth has been in a stable matrix for at least that long. Relativity is maxwell's equations with Time decoupled from Space into a 4th dimension and therefore the big bang is falsed, just like Darwin's notional hypothesis that species are an outcome of evolution.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Hawaii- The global geological record proves that species occur rapidly following a mass exticntion, the opposite of evolution. Dr. Gould proved in strict scientific terms that a slow change over time is not a means to species; in 1400 pages. Each geological era is seperated by a lauyer of Ir24.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      That is completely non-sensical. You have not falsified anything, and have not given a source for anything. You have thrown out nonsense with nothing to back it up.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      Ooooh is this Chad? Punctuated Equilibrium indeed falsified a single part of the mechanism of evolution that Darwin proposed, but what evolution is (change over time on the genetic level) is indisputable. Congrats, you have disproved a mechanism of evolution that was dropped decades ago, but have done nothing to disprove evolution.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Captain Onbious

      Hi Apple and love your comments and share your beliefs so do not take the following the wrong way!

      To put it into perspective, here is a parable told by St Nostrildamus – the prophet with the long nose:

      One day, torrential rains were coming down hard, and the damn was about to break. Rescue workers went from house to house to evacuate people. That is, until they came to a preacher/pastor/whatever. He stated, "God will save me – I have nothing to worry about!". The rescue workers left.

      Well, the damn broke, and he fled to the second story of the residence. A rescue patrol boat went up to his window and said, we can save you – just jump to our boat! He stated, "God will save me – I have nothing to worry about!". The rescue workers left.

      The waters were getting very high and a helicopter came by to help him off the roof. He motioned them to just leave hjim alone and he stated, "God will save me – I have nothing to worry about!". The rescue workers left.

      Well, he drowned.

      At the pearly gates, he asked God why he did not save him and God stated:

      "Dummy – I gave you three chances!!!!!!"

      December 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • dwight

      Believing in evolution is like saying you can take a watch completely disassembled and put it in a bag shake it up and find that it put itself together perfectly. smh

      December 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @dwight

      Congrats on a false analogy built from a completely flawed understanding of evolutionary theory.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  11. John P. Tarver

    When America voted anti-Christ in November, this kind of thing became a foregone conclusion.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Pete

      What an idiot.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      yeah, the mormon would have been soooooo much better

      December 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      John P. Tarver

      Racist pig.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      So Obama is the anti-Christ? Big surprise.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      John P. Troller is a fail.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • dwight

      John... so true. keep your faith to almighty god.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  12. Snowdog

    You peple are ridiculous. God is not evil, the shooter was. Give me a break. This is an awakening to bring God back into the schools. You people took him out so what do you expect. God allows choice between good and evil. This man decided to be evil. How can you blame someone you do not believe in.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If there is an omnipotent creator god, he is unquestionably evil.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Peter

      Keep your religion at home. It doesn't belong in the schools.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Pete

      GOD DOES NOT EXIST!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So, Snowdog, your argument is that if god was happy about the way he was acknowledged in certain buildings he'd save 26 people instead of letting some evil guy kill those 26 people? Sounds pretty petty, and whiny, don't you think?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Snowdog

      Tell him that when you die and meet him face to face. Then he will give you what you want. Seperation from him forever. I feel sorry for you.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      keep it out of public schools. if you wish to have your kid taught about god, you do so at home, or take the child to church. the public schools are not here to indoctrinate people on religious principle

      December 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      If we have free will, then your God is not all powerful.

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

      Although the sower sows many seeds, the sower cares not where the seeds do fall. For in sowing mankind's seeds does the sower await their return.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Name (required)

      God created us with the ability to make choices.

      He lets the consequences of our choices play out.

      These acts of evil don't come from God.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Religion is the cause of and non-solution to all problems

      Silly rabbit, Sky Gods are for kids!
      What, too soon?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  13. CGAW

    Lots of crazy explanations here but comes down to freewill.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I agree which means God is impossible.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • CGAW

      Impossible would require you to provide proof which you cannot, so not impossible

      December 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  14. Dave Harris

    According to Mike Hukabee, it's because the schoolchildren weren't praying to Him enough. If they had been forced by their teachers to pray to Him, He would've shown up and stopped the murderer. Or maybe He wouldn't have sent him in the first place. What kind of twisted theology is this?

    December 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Snowdog

      Ridiculous statement. I cannot even comment.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Dave, that makes perfect sense. God is a dick head.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Snowdog

      Wow Apple Bush. I feel sorry for you. When you die are you going to tell God that?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Snowdog, lol. That would be quite impossible since God does not exist. If God was real, I would be the shit out of him for being so stupid.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Snowdog

      I feel sorry for you Apple bush. He does exist and you will meet him face to face and you will tremble before him. Have fun in eternal punishment.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Snowdog, God has a face? lol

      December 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  15. John P. Tarver

    This shooting happened because this damaged young man had never been introduced to the notions of love, hope and faith; as the left has banned these delusions from schools. As America becomes increasingly impoverished spiritually, we will see more of the same.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you know why this man did what he did? Did you know him? His mother? Shut up, fool.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Angie

      I'm pretty sure you're speaking with absolutely no basis or justification because you don't know his family or his upbringing. Thank you for giving fodder to the masses of atheists who will jump all over you and the rest of us who believe for your callous and undignified commentary.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      Christians are hardly known these days for "love, hope, and faith". People who worship ignorance and hate everyone and everything don't raise healthy children.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      He was raised with religion. Religion was just as likely his problem as not.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • ok

      Remember that church leader who called himself Bind Torture Kill?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • hhh

      nor the rule: thou shall not murder.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  16. LJ

    I am probably a damaged specimen. I lost a child when she was 16 and that was many, many years ago. She was the kindest and most loving spirit I ever had the honor of knowing. She took what little good I have inside me and the good that was her mother and the sum was so much greater than the parts. So I am aware of the HORROR, and that is the only word that adequately describes what the parents of these murdered children are experiencing and will experience for years and years to come.
    And yet I do believe in God for only one reason. I have seen His love on this earth in the eyes and the actions of my daughter. In her gentle and caring ways. So I guess I am one the the demented believers. So what?

    PS: I used His in describing the One but I did not mean to imply any gender to God. I have a problem with the "penis" religions. The Hebrews and the Muslims and some Christian sects who seem to feel that the male has and elevated standing in God's eye and the female is secondary. I am a male and I know what an abomination, if not in God"s eye but my own, I am.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Dohn Joe

      Sorry to hear about your loss.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • MMann

      Bless you, LJ.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  17. lionlylamb

    God is a being of such smallness, He and His kind could all live upon but one single atom which really is in itself a micro-nebula of very small size! Geometric cosmologies dares relate such a thing to be possible You may think it foolish and unwise to think such a thought but why not?

    December 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  18. BECAUSE THERE IS NO GOD

    That's why.

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

      I feel very sad for you.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Angie

      Agreed. I feel very sad for you too.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  19. Santa

    If you believe in a "God" who had the power to stop this but chose not to, you are every bit as crazy as the shooter.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  20. Apple Bush

    The Mayan God Kukulcan was sacrificed, went to Hades and rose from the dead, and His second coming is prophesied to be this week so He beats Jesus to it. It is documented in the holy Teotihuacan so it is the truth.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Isn't Hades a Greek concept?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      RL, just another word for Hell. However, interestingly enough both the Mayans and Aztecs believed that there were 9 Gods (or nine different attributes of one God). 9 would correspond with the Roman Gods, hence the Greek Gods so who knows. I think the the Mayans were Mormon. Also, the Aztecs or the Mayans, I forget which, looked at the 9 prophecy as nine steps of hell. The underworld, which interestingly corresponds with Sauron's 9 ring wraiths from the underworld. Fantasy is fantasy and it is pretty darn consistent over 3000 years. Dante...etc.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • K Kim

      Actually, there are several terms that are often misapplied. I think Hades is in fact Greek and the word is only used in Revelation. There is the burning lake of sulfer which is what most people are referring to (i think) when they say hell. There is also the Abyss and death/grave from the hebrew word "sheol". Catholism often incorrroated local customs and traditions (even paagn worship) and made a real mess of certain concepts and beliefs.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:41 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.