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My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre
Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to blame the Newtown massacre at least partly on the secularization of schools.
December 18th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:

1. “It was God’s will.”

There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.

2. “Jesus called the children home.”

I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.

3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”

In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.

4. “This was God’s judgment.”

After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).

5. “This happened because America is too secular.”

Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.

“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.

Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.

6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.

The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?

If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime • Evangelical • God • Huckabee • Mike Huckabee • My Take • United States • Violence

soundoff (5,447 Responses)
  1. Barry from Wisconsin

    Amazing…the comments posted here who trash the author of the article because he does dare challenge the mindless, idiotic dogma that generates trite phrases rather than assume that people can think and…ready…disagree.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • JR

      Praise you brother. I agree 100%. The only issue is you can't debate a religious nut because they'll just default to some ideological nonsense.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  2. Steve Billiter

    At the risk of sounding cavalier and giving a "pat" answer–those precious children will arise in the first resurrection (1 Thess.4:15-17) and grow up as "calves in the stall" with Holy Angels and the saints to converse with. The wages of unforgiven sin is eternal death, and 6-7 year old kids have no such wages to keep them out of God's Kingdom.

    Yes, it's still a horrible, terrible tragedy to contemplate, and shows just how sin-sick this world is becoming in these last days before Jesus comes to rescue His people and take them to heaven for a 1000 years–then, the earth is made new and will be the home of the Father, Jesus, and all the saved for eternity to come.

    2Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
    2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
    2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, **fierce,** despisers of those that are good,
    2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
    2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
    Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
    Rev 22:20 He which testifies these things said, "Surely I come quickly." Amen. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

    December 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • john

      Are you joking?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      What about the children of non christians, (athiests, muslims, etc.)?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jesus is coming? I didn't even know he was breathing hard.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  3. Chris

    Wow, I couldn't agree with anyone more and on every point you made. Great job.

    Just wish the whackos on here would take their hate speech back to westboro baptist church

    December 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  4. blogo

    Children shouldn't even be exposed to anything religious until they are at least 18 years old. Religion is worse than heroin

    December 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  5. Ponchos raincoat

    Voyager 1 is now just beyond 11 billion miles from our sun after 35 years in space. Not once has it sent back data of finding a deity in the sky. We are on our own and we are the only ones to blame. Get off of your knees, unclasp your hands, and take control.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Steve Billiter

      Perhaps Voyager is going the wrong way–God's throne may be in Orion. The idea that puny, man with his little satellite can find God is the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard of! But hey, thanks for the laugh!

      Amos_5:8 "Seek him that makes the seven stars and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night: that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the face of the earth: The LORD is his name."

      Job 11:7 Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
      Job 11:8 It is as high as heaven; what can you do? deeper than hell; what can you know?
      Job 11:9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
      Job 11:10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Athy

      You're the laugh, Steve.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  6. Nietodarwin

    Where was "god" in Aurora? Oregon? Connecticut ? That's enough from the "god" crowd. There is no god, just delusion (which does comfort people.) There is no great benevolent being who loves us, any more than there is a satan who caused this. Belief in one goes with the other, and is just a waste of time.
    Bad gun practices, raging mental illness, and plenty of "good christians" who send their membership dues to the NRA are the causes. Enough from the "god" crowd.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • blogo

      Religion should be targeted as the greatest fraud ever created by man.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Smack Dab

      People can't prove there is a God, and atheists can't prove that there isn't. If people want to believe in a God, they aren't bothering you, so leave them alone. The smug atheists have managed to ruin the Christmas celebration because of the darkness in their hearts and what they would like to call logic in their brains, what else do they want? I remember that the old Soviet Union outlawed religion, as you were supposed to worship the state. Maybe that is what the atheists want.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please. "Ruined the Christmas celebration?" How? Did you stop overspending on gifts? Stop overeating on Christmas cookies? Did you forgo watching "Charlie Brown's Christmas"?

      You're just silly.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Steve Billiter

      Hhmmnnn...
      Rom_14:11 "For it is written, As I live, said the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God."

      That means you, and Darwin. I look forward to worshiping God face-to-face!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Steve

      Your concept of god is a really vain prick. Have fun with that particular abusive relationship.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • defender007

      @blogo

      I agree, religion is man made. However, God is not mad made. Religion and God are completely different.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  7. blogo

    God is nothing but a psychological drug that turns people into zombies.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • ohjeezzus

      Kool aid. security blanket. make-believe. etc. etc. etc.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • ogre12

      HE offers even you salvation..please reach out to HIM. HE truly does not want you to perish.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • sbp

      If he didn't want us to perish, he wouldn't condition salvation on believing in him. What possible difference could that make other than stroking his ego? Gandhi is in hell because he didn't accept Jesus? Bull.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • john

      During the Stone Age, people had to come up with some reason why it rained, or snowed, or what the stars were. They invented a "god" as a way to attach an reason for these various phenomenon. fearful of the unknown, they turned to what was at the time, the only logic their simple minds could fathom. It is now 2012, anybody that thinks there is a man in the sky that "calls all the shots" for every living soul (and animals too) is out of their mind. Plain and simple. Politicians like "Huckabee" pander to these nuts the same want they do people from the NRA.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Smack Dab

      Some people see "God" as a metaphor for life itself. Atheists can't explain life, what makes you alive, be an individual. They think we are just animated pieces of meat, with no soul, with electrical impulses the only thing keeping you walking around. You don't have to worship "God", but you just might want to be aware of it. I wonder who the mindless "zombies" are that the atheists keep referring to. That said, does "God" control your life? I doubt it. I don't think he likes to micro-manage.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Smack

      I think you need to learn some definitions. What you posted was pretty much completely non-sensical.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense. Is it necessary for you to lie about atheists to make some point, Smack? Because that's what your post is. A lie.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  8. Chips

    Cheesemaker, look up rights granted by "creator".

    December 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's not what is written, Chips. Look it up.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      "Creator" is that the same as "Nature's God"?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chips,

      That reference is in the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration is not a law or a set of laws, it is not the basis for our laws, the Const.itution is. The Const.itution says nothing about our rights coming from a god or creator.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  9. blogo

    The concept of god is so ridiculous it hurts. It's like seeing drug addicts doing their drugs, and reality escapes them.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • john

      I remember as a kid they had us state, repeatedly, "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, hear or prayers" Who, or what is the "Lamb of God" Insanity.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  10. steve

    this guy is a total joke
    so funny

    December 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  11. kissy

    God allowed it. It was not his will. Ask why. If after you read your bible and get to.heaven and you still dont know the answer then ask Jesus then. God is allowing evil for just a moment when compared to eternity. May the god of all peace consume your hearts.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • sbp

      How do you KNOW the Bible isn't actually the work of Satan specifically written to deceive you, and the real god Vishnu allows you to believe it is the word of god to test you?

      You don't know. As a matter of pure logic, you have no basis for saying the Bible is the word of god. So you should be a lot more humble in believing something without a sound basis, rather than acting holier than thou...

      December 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Myassy

      God eats hearts?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • WASP

      @kissy: if your god is allowing this kind of pain to come to "his creations" then he is one sick f______k.
      as a parent i couldn't imagine permitting my child to suffer like this and say "it's to teach them to love me."
      lmfao please seek medical help for your psychosis.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • sbp

      Funny, Myassy, I once saw a sign on a church "Jesus wants your hearts." All I could think of was "sounds like an episode of Buffy"

      December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Anyone who worships such a god worships evil, and is evil.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • kissy

      Wasp, I don't understand it either but am confident that one day I will. Really? Laughin your ass off? Did I miss the humor?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @kissy

      When you don't start off with your conclusion, then yes it is somewhat humorous due to how ridiculous it is. God's whole shtick is
      "LOVE ME OR BURN FOREVER
      btw I'm the embodiment of perfect love"

      December 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • kissy

      Hawaii, I'm still searching with no luck to find this elusive humor. I like to laugh but I'm not getting there? Maybe anotherday.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @krissy

      Of course you don't, because that shtick is what you've bought into. You don't see how ridiculous it is.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • kissy

      Hawaii, I understand it takes a ridiculous amount of faith to know the true god while living here in this rotten to the core world. I understand that. I have bought in to it and can't help butwonder what one has without that faith? Without that hope? I pray that I will remain ridiculously faithful.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @krissy

      How about a hope that people won't view this life as a place to wipe your feet? How about hope that as many people as possible will work together to improve this world, and not buy into a worldview that devalues the only life we know we get? How about the hope that mankind can continue our march toward social, and scientific progress? You look around, and don't care as long as you think you're saved. I look around, and see the world as it is, and how I hope it to be, and wonder what small part can I play in that.
      Do you really think you need your god to hope? Bull. Any god that requires belief and worship of him to avoid eternal torment isn't a god worth worshipping. Not to mention the utter lack of evidence for said god even existing.
      Pray all you want kissy, I'll continue trying to actually improve things any way I can.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • jimmf

      Hawaii,

      I believe you have bigger faith than Kissy. Are you a Mutationist (Evolutionist?) If you think random mutations can create organs in existing organisms, you have been taken for a ride.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jim

      When you don't know what evolution is, then don't talk about it. You just show yourself for the fool you are.

      December 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  12. Serge Crespy

    GOD does not murder; GOD does not destroy; GOD does not interfere with nature's pulse. Mankind, as all of Nature, formulates the creative and destructive cycles of change..... GOD is an individually chosen spirit that dwells within a soul to assist and strengthen the reconstruction process.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • sbp

      Says who? Who made you all knowing?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Believers in god DO MURDER Believers in god DO DESTROY (and mess with "nature's pulse" by teaching creationism.) It is not a "spirit" it is just a delusion, (and something was delusional about the shooter too.) This is just another "horrible tragedy" to the "believers", just give them an excuse to start spouting "belief" and "faith" and maybe throw in some chapter and verse.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • DN3

      Well between you being all knowing and the other guy being all knowing, I pick the other guy.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • moo

      How do you distinguish a god that does not manifest in our world from a god that does not exist?

      December 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • john

      So he is not up in the Clouds? OMG, years of religious education down the drain.........

      December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      All well and for the most part right Serge Crespy,

      We are all God's buildings and in God's husbandry ways are we ever built in a woman's womb to be born into this world's ways. God, physically is of such great smallness in a place of extreme smallness, God and god's families look from within our insides and all they see are super small stars!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  13. Amy

    I like how Mr. Scott who's daughter died at Columbine and who's son witnessed several deaths that day said it....To paraphrase he said " No child faced with death that day was not praying....in a school that allows no prayer!" Hmmmm. What is missing? We have free will and it is how we are taught and raised that will directly effect how we instill this right in our lives. Be there for your children as your number one priority, not for others to raise them but to sacrifice your own time and self to instill in your child what is right, be there to know their friends and surroundings, and be there to know if that are in trouble and accept when you need help.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "WHOSE," Amy, and you are repeating a falsehood. Prayer has never been prohibited in schools or anywhere else.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • blogo

      People need to grow up. Children shouldn't even be exposed to anything religious until they are at least 18 years old. Religion is worse than heroin.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Amy, prayer has never been denied in any public school, that is an argument dishonest christians use to claim their religious freedom is being infringed. Gov't lead prayer is not allowed.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      There is no such thing as a school that "allows no prayer."

      December 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Athy

      Amy, you've said that twice now, and it's still bullshit. See my response below. Read it several times and try to memorize it.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Steve Billiter

      Tom Tom the Pipers son,
      Prayer and the Bible was banned from public schools by the Supreme Court back in the 60's by more than 1 decision.
      http://www.free2pray.info/2schoolprayerrulings.html
      After that, things went steadily downhill. Amy DOES know whereof she speaks!

      December 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  14. Chips

    Cheesemaker...I know and you know that man gives man rights..but the laws are not written that way, are they?

    December 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The laws are written that way. Where in our laws does it say our rights come from somewhere else?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  15. lionlylamb

    The Sower of Seeds

    The sower does sow all like manner in seeds of mankind and of sowing these seeds sown being of mankind does the sower await to reap the sown harvest of mankind's laments. As the sower does reap the laments harvests of mankind's seeded covetousness, the sower makes well the goodly many of the seeds yet to be sown. The sower can only plant the seeds of mankind and in the sower's planting of mankind's seed will the sowers ever be reaping that which the harvests declare from the seeds once and ever to be so sown.

    Who else can the sowers be but of the family of God who all do live deeply inside our bodies which are but godly buildings sown and grown by all of God's families? We who do know are the harbingers of the seeds yet to be sown and in one's knowing of things to be coming does the sown seeds make ready the harbingers soon to be harvested seeds of tried laments. God being the first sower of all sowers does ever await all tested harbingers coming from many sown harvests.

    Lettuce Love
    Let Us Love.
    G.O.D.
    God's Oldest Dreamer

    December 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  16. defender007

    Maybe you should try reading and studying the Bible, then you would understand what Huckabee was saying. You took it way out of context. God did not cause this to happen, satan caused this to happen. God allowed it to happen, for a reason that none of us can or will ever understand.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • JM

      We allowed this to happen by not caring enough to ban guns, lock up the criminally insane and protect our children.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • JJ

      Perhaps you should put down the crack pipe (aka the bible) and grow a brain.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • sbp

      And how do you KNOW this. Maybe God DID cause this to happen, and Satan tried to stop him. You have no basis to presume to know.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • WASP

      @007: so your god is less powerful....................or less loving than his "holy book" claims?
      less powerful means he can't stop lucifer from commiting horrible actions on his loving creations.
      less loving is willing to sit back and watch his creations suffer.
      so which is it because as a parent i can't stand the idea of my children suffering or allowing harm to come to them............but maybe that's just me.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • sbp

      The Bible is a collection of words and sentences, isn't it? So it is at the very least POSSIBLE that it was just written down by a bunch of guys as a piece of fiction (or, gee, I don't know, political propaganda to keep the masses in line....). Fact is, you have NO way of knowing if it's a fiction novel or the word of god. You simply choose to believe the latter.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      defender007,

      Is it not written that God wants all our weapons to be turned into farming implements? Although man is never going to do it, we must suffer the consequences for allowing weapons to be had.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Quasi

      Were there a real supernatural God, and if God even allowed it, it sure is a crappy way to be a God. I do not want to be in the presence of any being who would allow this. :(

      December 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Mark

      That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Read the bible yourself. God killed millions of people in the bible. Just because some people wrote of a God 2,000 years ago does not mean there is actually a God. The people who told you there is a God had no knowledge of science, thought the earth was flat, thought the earth was 8,000 years old, said the earth was populated by Adam, Eve and their son Cain...he killed Able (their other son). Incest was a brewing. Oh after Noah's alleged flood, the bible says everything other than what was on the arc was killed. How do you explain the different races? Two white people don't normally have a black or asain baby. If I had a Bic lighter 2,000 years ago...I would have been a God.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • defender007

      It's not that God couldn't stop this from happening, like I said, he allowed it to happen. Oh and btw, it's called Faith. Again, try reading the Bible and understanding it before you attempt to diss it or talk bad about it.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      COP-OUT, defender. If you allowed someone to come into your house and shoot your child, you would be criminal and evil, as must be your god. To refer to such a god as anything other than evil is to corrupt the english language.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • defender007

      @Mark

      Yes, God did kill many people in the Bible. That was also during Old Testament times, before Jesus came, died, and rose again. Thus starting the New Covenant. Oh, and just because the Holy Spirit wrote it through man 2,000 years ago doesn't mean there isn't a God. And for other races, that's a completely different and separate topic.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • WASP

      @007: grew up southern baptist, read the bible from front to back and found it to have way too many contradictions and edited material to be trusted. logical conclusion if the material stating something to be true (aka factual) is questionible then the whole thing is no trust worthy.
      faith : no proof required to believe it.
      yeah faith in zues and odin must be great as well seeing you have no proof they don't exsist either.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • defender007

      @sqeptiq

      What does that have to do with it. No, I would not let someone come into my house and shoot my child, or my family, or friends for that matter. That's called self-defense and has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. Again, read the Bible, self-defense and protecting your family is in there too ;)

      December 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • defender007

      @WASP

      So you're saying if there is no proof or you can't see it, then you don't believe it? How does electricity and magnetism work? Or even quantum mechanics for that matter? We can't see either one, yet we believe it's there. We can detect electricity and magnetism using sensors, yet we still can't see it. But we believe it's there.

      Just look around you outside one day, look at the birds in the air, the sky, the earth, all the little creatures in the world. And how all of them interact with each other, and how they all need each other to live. Feelings, thoughts, senses, everything. But I guess that's just random chance that it happened like that. Not. It's called intelligent design aka God.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Steve Billiter

      John_8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

      Yes, Satan, who was once Lucifer the Light-Bearer in heaven is the instigator and originator of all sin. He claimed that a government under his rule would allow great freedom for heavenly beings–who needed no laws from God–that their own Holy conscience is a sufficient guide. How wrong he was!

      God has had to let this controversy between Christ and Satan go on for the last 6000 years, so that Satan's methods and actions are fully revealed to the entire universe. Had God destroyed Satan after he rebelled to "prevent" the floodgates of evil to overwhelm and curse man–the angels and other unfallen created beings would not have understood, and would have served God out of fear, instead of the love that God deserves.

      For insights on this Great Controversy, read that book by Ellen White and study Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Steve

      Yup, serve or burn is such a loving thing, and no one worships out of fear I'm sure.
      /sarcasm

      December 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • defender007

      God CREATED us, that's our job. To serve him and do his will. And yet even though he made us, we still rebel and sin against him. And all we have to do is ask him for forgiveness and he will undoubtedly forgive us and save us if we believe and trust in him and his Son. Sounds pretty loving to me.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  17. Smack Dab

    Go ahead, dis the Christians, because they don't riot, they just turn the other cheek. The only thing idiotic about "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is the idiots that don't get the gist of the slogan. Swap out "guns" for knives, bombs, poison, physical assault, tasers, clubs, etc. and maybe they would "get it". Only a fool would think that "God" wanted these people dead. The gunman killed himself, so I guess "God" wanted that too. Sure saved us the bother of a trial.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • JM

      Did Jesus own guns? He didn't own a pillow... He said turn the other cheek so why do people who claim to be Christians stockpiling guns? Can one actually be a Christian if one stockpiles killing machines?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Chips

      Faith is irrelevant, but empowerment of the little people is real.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  18. Amy

    This is not God's will but the lack of God in our lives and in our actions. We have the free will to make our choices and if we are taught to honor and respect and treat others in like then the world would and could be better. I like how Mr. Scott said it....his daughter was killed at Columbine and his son witnessed several deaths around him.......to paraphrase...." No child that day faced with death was not praying!" They were praying in a school that did not allow prayer!!!! Who wouldn't allow them that right? Our government!

    December 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lying again, Amy? Prayer is not and never has been prohibited in school.

      If you have to lie to make a point, you don't have an argument worth defending.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • sbp

      This is not God's will but the lack of God in our lives and in our actions.

      You don't KNOW this. You are awfully presumptuous professing to know what is God's will and what isn't. He's probably not happy with you.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • JM

      You should actually try reading the Bible for a change.

      You sound just like the Pharisees Jesus warned his followers to be on their guard against.

      American Christians are so busy condemning everyone else that they don't bother emulating Christ and loving anyone (but themselves).

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Athy

      That's bullshit, Amy. There's no law prohibiting children from praying in school. The law you're confused with is one preventing the teaching of religion in school, including formal prayer periods. Why can't you religies get that straight?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • ogre12

      how true!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Amy

      I know that too many parents have children when they can't afford and or care for them due to jobs or social lives. I know that too many parents try but the lack of support and benefits needed to raise a child. I know that anyone that is argument right now that all that has happened this week believes it is due to Gods will and or guns is out of their minds. If you have children you are committed to raise and guide them beyond all expectations.... This is not being done if we have sooo many scenarios where the parent didn't even acknowledge and address to the greatest agree the problem they were having.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your posts don't even make sense, Amy.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • JM

      So, what are you as a so-called Christian, doing to help these people who can't afford to take care of their children, Amy?

      Jesus taught his followers to serve others and not to judge anyone.

      Who are you following?

      December 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  19. Ed

    You religiotards are obnoxious. You proudly proclaim that this "god" of yours intervenes in your lives in the most menial of ways. He helps you find your lost car keys, he helps you find a parking spot close to the mall, he helps Tim Tebow throw another touchdown pass. He loves YOU sooooo much he helped you afford that new iPad for your kid for Christmas. When it came time to help the families of 20 innocent children and 6 teachers avoid the unthinkable murder of their loved ones, he sat it out so that the sick shooter could exercise free will. You claim that this "god" of yours is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and all benevalent. However, if any human being were in the position to know what was about to happen to those children and chose not to act, we would rightfully consider them to be a jerk. Your "god" either A: Is a jerk. Or B: Doesn't exist. Pick one.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Love

      Nice straw man, Ed.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Bill B

      Amen, Ed!

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • blogo

      It's useless – they are addicted to their god. It's like telling a heroin addict that heroin is not good for him.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • ogre12

      you have no clue about God so dont put the blame on HIM that you dont even know. it truly makes you look foolish.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Zachary

      Everyone will be judged.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Sarah

      Why do so many atheists attack those who do believe in a "God"? I was raised Catholic but I have my beliefs and you have yours. I have not and will not beat down those who choose not to believe, that is your choice. I have never proclaimed go helps me find my keys etc. That's so trivial. After the recent unspeakable tragedy, I would think people would try to come together and come up with a solution that would benefit our country for the future, not bash each other over our religious/non-religious beliefs. Maybe we need to come together and do what's best for our country not only-what's -best-for-me -and -only -me -agenda.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Ed

      So I am attacking believers, but every religious nut who threatens judgement and everlasting torment to athiests are only offering friendly advice. You may not claim god helps you in trivial ways, but MILLIONS do. Daily. Your right to not be offended does not curtail my right to free speech.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      I'm waiting for the first football player to point his finger skyward after dropping a sure touchdown pass.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  20. Mike

    I could teach Prothero some lessons in basic understanding of faith and spirituality - but I would rather not cast my pearls before a swine like Prothero ... this filty low class b@st@rd - who never lets go of any opportunity of using every single tragedy like this to mock people's faith and beliefs. Shame on you Prothero. And shame on you CNN for giving a platform for this atheist to pretend to be a "religious scholar".

    From most of his articles, it is clear that his agenda is to emphasize external differences between different faiths in an attempt to weaken them by pitting them against each other - while totally ignoring the underlying common basic fundamentals between all religions - eternal nature of the self and a concept of life after death.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *Yawn* Another religious nut-job conspiracy theorist.

      Watch out for the black helicopters, Mikey.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • mama k

      I don't want to see you cast your pearls here, either. This isn't some sleezy hotel.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Yeah, shame on Prothero for actual exhibiting rationality. That's truly insulting to fundies of whatever religious insanity.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:09 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.