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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. Apple Bush

    All religion is based on the procession of the equinoxes and most involve a virgin birth, a sacrifice for man’s sins, and the 12 constellations (or disciples).

    Jesus not only is the least original, it is by far the most boring.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • TheBob

      And resurrection and magic tricks ... er I mean "miracles".

      December 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Yup, that too. I find it so weird that Christians are unable to see how completely obvious it is that their religion is fake.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  2. Squonkk

    (John, watch this!)

    Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century. Like the Genesis based cosmology which it replaced, and like the creation myths of ancient man, it satisfies the same deep psychological need for an all embracing explanation for the origin of the world which has-motivated all the cosmogenic myth makers of the past, from the shamans of primitive peoples to the ideologues of the medieval church

    December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Modern cosmology applies the Theories of Relativity and quantum mechanics to the conclusion that genesis was a vacuum fluctuation, or something from nothing. This is because the big bang was proven false by Relativity in 1907.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Squonkk

      John – I'm trying to help you out here. Quit while you're ahead. Big Bang theory came 20 years AFTER TOR

      December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I agree with Squonkk except to say that "all-embracing" is a hyphenated adjective.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Darwinian theology of the evolved cellular cosmologies would dare deduce that an inner source of some intelligence to be holding the reigns deeply seeded in the inner cosmos of selective breeding stocks via the inner cosmos being habituated by "midichlorians" as Star Wars does so suggest there to so be.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  3. Bob

    There is no god or gods. Only delusion. We live in a rational world. Please behave accordingly.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Give rations all according to one's pleasures! Forget all the feeble peasants wants and needs and make treasure of riches all for one's gambled taking! Lead all people by their wants and desires for wealth of needed goods! Give to the merciful their fair portions of wealth's goods and in goodness be the nation's return vestiges!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • are122

      It would appear the world is in fact behaving accordingly.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  4. Squonkk

    John – just start quoting Carlin albums – they'll all join in. Don't bother referencing scientific findings or journals, or anything! These CNN trolls don't know a thing about them.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Squonkk,

      And just what do you know about Fractal Cosmology? Or are you just posting for one's delightedness sakes?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      There are others who read that are not these trolls here. Quoting the global geological record and Dr. Gould's 1400 pages make an unbrealkable case against slow change over time as ameans to species. If a slow change over time led to species we would have more species than in the past, instead of 1% of the species still existing from the last mass extinction barrier.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Modern cosmology holds that genesis was a vacuum fluctuation, that is to say, something from nothing. This relys on the fact that black box radiation is something from nothing, except on a much larger scale.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Squonkk

      John, I'm warning you! Stop quoting actual scientific finding or theories. No one here will know what the devil you're tailing about. They're just here to repeat angry tirades from their YouTube heroes

      December 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      Once again, I addressed that where you first posted it, and you have yet to respond.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Squonkk

      Are you just stupid? Phyletic gradualism isn't the end all be all when it comes to mechanisms of evolution, and if you have even a modicum of knowledge about evolution you would know that.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      John P. Tarver,
      There is a difference between modern cosmology and fractal cosmology. Although they both may well intertwine I find that the fractals of cosmological variances lay between the inner cosmos and the outer cosmos of ascended orders being the relative consistencies that the inner cosmos was first made and the outer cosmos came only after the inner cosmos was fully a fruition.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  5. Arun

    How can God let babies be killed this way? Here are some possible choices:
    1. God wanted this to happen (for some reason súch as taking prayer our of school – ala Huckaby's message)
    2. God is helpless to prevent this
    3. God doesn't care
    4. There is no God

    Take your pick!!

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

      I am with you, however 70 % of americans believe otherwise, and that for me is totaly a shock, every time I ask believers those some questions they look at me as I am an alien, in red color and with horns, if you know what I mean....

      December 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    Again I say God is of such a very small scale one could fit all of God's family upon a single atom which said atom is but a very tiny nebula much like our milky way nebula is. Fractal geometric cosmology tells such to be a Truth!

    December 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • TheBob

      Lay off the crack. Do something worthwhile with your life.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Martin

    Step 1: Stop looking to God for answers. There is no god. It's a futile waste of time.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Step 2. Arm up some teachers

      December 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I hate agreeing with trolls but yes, I believe there should be staff access to firearms in a situation like this.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  8. Squonkk

    We cannot know what God is, but only what He is not, we cannot consider how He is but only how He is not.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • sybaris

      Just like the unicorn in my closet

      December 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • TheBob

      And much like the green dragon in my garage that is invisible to everyone but me.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  9. John P. Tarver

    Now that Darwin's notional hypothesis that evolution is a means to species is falsed, it should only be taught in a comparative religion course.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You really are just a moron aren't you?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • boblevel

      Go away troll..

      December 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      I refuted your so-called "falsification" of evolution. Just because you're so selective in what you see doesn't mean you're right.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Hawaii- I posted facts from current science and you did not refute anything.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Squonkk

      John – you might as well be referencing the Kama Sutra, or the Yellow Pages. 99% of the trolls on this site have never read Darwin, or anything supposedly scientific since high school. All they do is watch Christopher Hitchens and R. Dawkins clips on YouTube to get their talking points. They do not know science, or philosophy, or religion. They only know YouTube. You're up against a wall of ignorance.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      Considering that you're arguing that here and didn't respond to that particular thread, It's likely you're just ignoring what I said and being a disingenuous zealot.

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

      @Squonkk

      I find it interesting that both of you are actually refusing to actually address what I said, and just throwing out unjustified assertions about what I know or don't know. I've never read anything Dawkins or Hitchens, but I've indeed done the research, given a rebuttal to a Red Herring claim by John, and have yet to be pointed to how I'm wrong in what I said.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  10. 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 year so He beats Jesus to it. It is documented in the holy Teotihuacan. This is a far more powerful God than Jesus.

    If I were a Christian, I would start praying to the right messiah before it is too late. The new age is upon us!

    December 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Four days until Earth aligns with the Galactic Center! Get beer and chips! Our Mother and her Cosmic womb welcome us into the 4th age. Happy Birthday!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Of course those right wing radical Hopi fundies say we are in the fourth world approaching the fifth world. Keep Hopi fundamentalism off the reservation!

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

      I am well prepared, a big bottle of tequila, lemons, 3 bags of cat food, 12 gallons of water and a bunch of alka-zeltzers for the huge hangover on the 22nd, once I wake up and nothing actually happened....
      All religions are big business, that is all..... you do not need to believe in any deity to be an honest, good, and ethical person, cheers!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      May the nine Gods of the underworld bless you and your party!

      December 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  11. Winston Smith_1984

    This is the best Atheists can do "There is no God" that isn't a solution. I can care less if they believe or not, but at least they should offer something positive instead of tearing other people down. Faith doesn't stop bad things from happening, it helps you get through the bad times, if Atheists have a problem with that, to bad.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Religion is the cause of and non-solution to all problems

      Demonstrating what the real world consists of isn't "tearing you down". It's preparing you to have success in it. You're welcome.

      PS: there is no God.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I can't take your ramblings seriously if you don't know the difference between to and too.

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

      If praying to Santa or the Easter bunny comforts you through bad times, good for you. Just stop trying to force it on the rest of us.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • sybaris

      "Faith doesn't stop bad things from happening, it helps you get through the bad times"

      You do realize that if you depend on invisible sky fairies to get you through whatever then you have larger issues.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • are122

      As written fairly recently by a physicist (Knowing the Mind of God) it is not logical to think a God does not exist. Let those who say there is no god explain like the physicists how the universe came about...and even more, how the laws that govern the universe came about. Were laws written by rocks circling a sun? A gob that suddenly appeared and became a controlling physicist? . It does not matter to me if God used matter 4 billion, gazillion years old to form the earth. It doesn't matter to me what if anything was here before people. I simply believe in God and I am happy I do.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes farted out the universe. That hypothesis is far more plausible and interesting than "God did it".

      December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Evansaurus Rex

      @boblevel – I don't know of many instances when people try to force their doctrine on others, at least not in rational religious circles. As a Christian, I'm fine with whatever you believe in, and I'm pretty sure that holds true for most people like me – Christian, Jew, Muslim... Sure, there are a few radicals, but they are the exception, not the rule. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Feel free to correct me if I am. However, I would never force my beliefs on someone else.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  12. Lou

    If it gives them comfort , fine. NIce thought of those innocent kids as angels now and that A$$ burning, I wouldn't think that it wouldn't make it any better though. I would feel kinda down about "god's plan" at this point if I was one of the "faithful". Isn't a part of the flock calling this god's will because we are letting gays marry?

    December 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Evansaurus Rex

      This was not God's will. A massacre is never God's will. God's will is what happens afterward – the repairs, the reform, the assistance to the grieving. That is God's will. This man with three guns, hundreds of bullets, and a broken mind is not. I don't know where people like this come from. I'm not sure I want to. But this event will not shake my faith.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Evansaurus Rex

      Oh, and f*** Westboro Baptist.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  13. boblevel

    Can we finally acknowledge that there is nothing, no deity of any sort, watching over us, helping us, comforting us, and answering prayers? That all there is, is the bonds we share with our fellow human beings? Not likely. People will keep asking WHY to a God that doesn't exist.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      You and the kid that doid this are on the same page bob.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  14. 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 know their investment's return. As the sower's seeds return to the sower the seeded wills of the sown shall be found and known by the sower. For the sower of mankind's seeds is of the families of God and through God's sowing nature the sower will make subtle changes of mankind's sown DNA's nurturing ways.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Religion is the cause of and non-solution to all problems

      Another meaningless statement by lionlylamb...

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

    "Relativity and Quantum Mechanics require a sentient beimng outside the universe to make the universe real", Albert Einstein 1927.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Alex

      And Einstein also said "It is always misleading to use anthropomorphical concepts in dealing with things outside the human sphere—childish analogies". He made it clear that he does not belive in biblical creature with human like emotions and actions.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • are122

      That's true. Einstein often referred to "God" but could never figure out what God really was...he just knew one way or another there had to be one.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  16. Follix

    Oh please stop with the free will argument, it doesn't even exist. If you were born Adam Lanza, you would have had his brain therefore you would have done what he did.

    Why God didn't intervene? Because he doesn't exist, it's that simple.

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

      A well reasoned reply.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  17. Squonkk

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

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

      “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

      - Stephen Hawkings

      December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Science without Leon Spinks is lame, Leon Spinks without religion is blind.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Science without Leon Spinks is lame, Leon Spinks without science is blind.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Oops. Mistake.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Follix-Hawkings is a Relativity denier with no reason to make any statements about science.

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

      Pretty sure he would beat everybody on the CNN website now in an IQ test tho.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Follix-Hawkings is a severly handicapped person used to sell outdated science to fools.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  18. Rational Libertarian

    Just a reminder not to feed the trolls.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  19. Bazoing

    We need mad-man control, not gun control. A severely confused schizophrenic lives next door to me. He sometimes chases an imaginary person around his apartment with a club. He gets into lots of drug mischief too and is rarely not high. But he is allowed a driver's license. "He has his rights." At least we should be providing well supervised halfway houses for these unfortunate people. Do not think he could not get guns even with gun control from the kind of people who sell drugs to him.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Why should my tax pay for some drugbag's psychological well being?

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

      @Rational Libertarian

      Because taking care of those who are sick is just a nice thing to do, even if you don't know who they are or anything about them.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  20. John P. Tarver

    As to the age of the Earth, radiological dating is based on the assumption that the big bang is true and therefore the Eath must be 4.5 billion years old, but a scale using the identical data can be created assumoing the Earth is 50,000 years old and would not be proof of how old the earth is either.

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

      You really do not understand the proven methods behind radiocarbon dating.

      Please, stay out of The Creation Museum. It's junk science and makes you look stupid and ignorant when you mime the delusions they promulgate.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Alex

      Radiocarbon dating is based on the fact that live trees capture some radioactive carbon from athmosphere and dead trees don't. How on earth is that related with big bang?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      As an Electrical Engineer with a post graduate degree I understand very well hoe carbon dating works and also I understand very well how a piecewise linerar model works; such as the one that is radiological dating.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Alex

      If you understand carbon dating then please answer my question ? What the h. has carbon dating to do with big bang ?

      December 17, 2012 at 8:10 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.