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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. Boisepoet

    Maybe it was Zeus' will, or Jupiter's will...How can any fictional character have any 'will'?

    December 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  2. codemanx

    Things like this are sickening, and are evidence of how the more and more we drift from God's way of life, the more and more this happens. If it were as it was in the beginning, and do simple things like the 10 commandments....love God and love neighbor....this wouldn't happen would it? Thou shall not kill. If that simply was followed, we wouldn't be suffering right now with this evil.

    I've struggled with this, and I think we struggle because we make it much more diffiuclt than it really is. It's quite simple, we just think we know better and ignore simple rules to live by.

    It doesn't make it any easier to cope with when this stuff happens. It's sickening and very upsetting.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • mk

      This doesn't happen "more and more", you are just hearing about it more thanks to the media. This incidence is extremely rare and violent crime is at an all-time low.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • marcybelle

      God's way of life huh? Well by your logic we should wipe out humanity with plagues, floods, fire, etc. Yea your God is so great.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • codemanx

      I'll lead by example in response to some of the replies I'm getting. Love thy neighbor. And even love and pray for your enemy.
      Not that the replies I've gotten are THAT extreme to call them enemy, but I'll demonstrate loving they neighbor. You can not understand what I'm saying or have contempt for what I'm saying. That is fine, all I can do is try. I understand how it can be confusing to some. Especially in the heat of the moment, because it's very upsetting. I won't give back in return what some of you are so quick to give.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  3. John the Atheist

    I cannot believe all this nonsense and debating about something that just does NOT exist. Merry Jehovallah Christmas!

    December 19, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  4. Scott C.

    I do not profess to have the academic credentials that Dr. Prothero possesses, in fact few of us can. He is a Harvard graduate and a notable author and speaker, to say nothing of his position at Boston College. So, I only wish to pose a few questions that came up as I read his article above. 'Jesus called the children home' is a phrase that offends Dr. Prothero, but perhaps I struggle with his reason. If we say 'Jesus called the children home', why must we conclude, then, that Jesus 'needs' something? Why must we conclude that Jesus needs anything at all? The focus on God's will from a scriptural standpoint seems to be about what He wants. It is not unreasonable to conclude that we (living people) are here (on Earth), at least in part, in preparation for the life beyond. So, if that is true, who determines when we are prepared, if not God? I will grant that these are assumptions based on scripture, but it hardly an assumption so vile as to offend a renowned religion professor. Perhaps Dr. Prothero feels that the only 'caring' response to a tragedy such as the loss of life in Newtown is one of ignorance. I genuinely do not know, because all I can read into his comments are disdain and finger shaking. Maybe the question at hand here is how does God's plan mesh with an act of brutality and evil? Then, I am willing to stand with Dr. Prothero and say that some answers should not be delivered so brazenly. Literature such as the Great Divorce may not provide concrete answers about such things, but they do at least stir the heart and mind to ponder something as difficult as tragedy and eternity.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  5. Jedrick

    Why don't we go ask the Egyptians about God's judgement and innocent children?

    December 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  6. Ezra David

    "Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it."

    "Support the troops" is far more idiotic.

    Now the answers to your 3rd grade level questions:

    Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded?

    Yes, in fact you do so everyday.

    Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap?

    Yes to both questions.

    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?

    Is this a question or a statement that you are making? In any case, the 2nd amendment merely acknowledges that I, as a free human being, have every right to buy whatever I want to defend myself and no one, especially not you, has any authority to take that away. The 2nd amendment doesn't "give" me a right. I already have that right because I exist.

    Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade?

    If you can afford them, then why not? Our government gives arms to terrorists to Syria and Libya to overthrow secular dictators who protect the Christians of the Middle East. If terrorists get weapons and money from our government via my tax dollars, then why can't I buy an AK-47?

    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?

    No need to bring God into your little sanctimonious rant. If a US civilian can afford the rifle, he has every right to purchase it in the free market. Like all of us, you are no one, nobody, insignificant, and irrelevant, carbon based star dust formation, on a blue planet which is rotating in a solar system in a galaxy in a universe of a hundred billion galaxies. You are nothing and have no right to infringe upon my natural rights of self-defense.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      Freedom to do what you want is not an absolute right when it impedes the rights of others. Owning an assault rifle is subordinate to the safety of school children.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • EM

      You are just plain nuts.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  7. Anne

    I'm very impressed with this article. As a Christian, I recognize the first 3 points made as ones that come from well-meaning people who feel the need to "make things better". We're raised to avoid hurt and pain. We feel the need to make it go away so we can be happy and enjoy our lives. However, we need to experience this pain, individually as well as a nation. We need to let it change us, hopefully in a good way. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel, but we need to walk and not run through it. We need to give ourselves time to change.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Dennis

      Nice sentiments, Anne, but your last line is a common falsehood. The pace of action needs to be a fast one; there is urgency to act on gun control now, while public sentiment support it more than usual and while public interest is high.Politicians act more swiftly when there is support and pressure from the electorate and when they face deadlines. This is readily apparent on other high profile issues right now.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Beth

      Christianity is a set of common falsehoods.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Anne

      Dennis, I agree and think it is important that we take advantage of the motivation of the majority for a change in gun laws. However, I feel we can do this while still experiencing our grief. Some, like the lawmakers, can grieve and work on these changes. Others, the parents of the victims, need to take more time and work through their grief. We don't get through this time without all of us taking care of each other.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  8. MStewart

    God allows men freewill. The evil in this world is men's doing. God grieves with us. It is NOT the time to shake a fist at GOD. It is a time to shake a fist at man'sinfulness and call out to GOD. How ironic that you doubt the existance of GOD in good times and in bad you shake your fist at Him. Responsibily by men and women is all that causes and all that will stop the evil, not God. He waits for us to do the right thing. He loves us and gives us Freedom.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Damon

      You are on the mark, M.Stewart. Free will is in our hands and we only have ourselves to blame for our decisions.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • marcybelle

      You can't have a God that knows everything and sees everything and have Free will! It's a paradox. If you have a God that knows everything and sees everything before it happens that you can't have Free will. Because if you have free will then God wouldn't know what decision you would make, which would mean that he doesn't know everything or see everything before it will happen. And if God does know and see everything before it is going to happen, then you don't really have free will do you?! So one of two things is going on, either your God really isn't "all mighty and powerful" or your God set you up for failure by knowing the sins you commit in your life before you make them, then damns you for it!!

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Canadian

      Very well said!

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      Great points! However, like you, I was initially taken aback at the author wanting to shake his fists at God. Upon relfection, Jesus prayed to the Father and aske why he had forsaken him. To me, this was a sign of Jesus's humanity. Therefore, the author might have intended to convey it is ok to demonstate humanity and be angry at God for letting this tragedy happen, even though deep inside we all know it is not God's fault.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Primewonk

      " God allows men freewill. "

      Then it really isn't free so it? You cannot have an omnipotent omniscient god and free will. You can one or the other, but not both.

      By the way, your god says right in your bible that he created evil.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  9. Brandon

    To the author: Are you that selfish? Who cares what you do or do not want to hear? Stop making this about you. Yesterday, one of the parents stated that "Jesus just added another angel to His choir." This is what you don't want them to say, right? That Jesus "called his children home"? I could give a rats what you want to hear. This isn't about you. Next time we speak of this are we all supposed to stop and think, "Hmm, I wonder if Stephen would want me to say this or not." Nope.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • sam stone

      hi job is to express an opinion. if you don't like it, don't read it

      December 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  10. juan pedro gonzalez

    yes keep telling your opinions here to make this guy proud of what he wrote and amazed of the result in people responses

    December 19, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  11. Ron

    The issue here isn't what you or I do or do not want to hear. Part of the wonder that is the USA is that in our country all are to be invited, encouraged and welcomed to speak as they will ... and to listen attentively to what others want to say. Indeed, it is frequently what you and I do not want to hear that in hearing challenges us, helping us move together to a better place.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  12. Critical Thinker

    God's will is to give people freedom of choice, not to control them like marionettes on strings. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. It does not mean that God does not care, it means that God set the laws of nature into place and chooses not to interfere. We do not understand why, only God does.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      You cannot have a response like that and have the name "Critical Thinker".

      December 19, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • mk

      "We do not understand why, only God does."

      That should be #7 on Prothero's list.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      Typical nonsensical responses I expected...and you guys delivered.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Huebert

      CT

      An omniscient god knows what each and every person will do in each and every situation. He knew, before Adam Lanza was born, that he would kill twenty children. So why didn't god send Adam's mother a miscarriage early in her pregnancy? Or why didn't he make Adam's gun jam? neither of these would have interfered with free will, and could have saved the lives of twenty children.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Boisepoet

      As if believing in fictional mythological characters and stories are "sensical"?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • marcybelle

      God doesn't interfere? Then why have a God at all?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • WhichGod

      You must remember, God in a Judeo-Christian sense is also omniscient, or all-knowing. For every person whom he gives "free will", he already knows in advance everything that they're going to use that free will for. So just how free is it? Knowing full and well what this killer was going to use his free will for, and the massacre he was going to commit, God made a conscious choice to create him anyway and give him life. In other words, he enabled this to happen willingly. You can't tout one Christian talking point and ignore another because it inconveniently contradicts it. Then again, that's what the religious right has done for generations. It shouldn't come as a surprise. God himself slaughtered millions of women and children in the old testament, and when he wasn't doing it himself, he was ordering the Israelites to. Free will??? More like "Free will, except I already know what you're going to use it for, and by giving you life, I approve."

      December 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • MStewart

      God CAN control us but chooses to let us perform as we wish. He allows sin just as he did in the Garden of Eden. Of course he COULD stop it. Why doesn't He? His ways are above ours. We wouldn't need the hope of heaven if Earth were free of pain and heartache. It is not His will....it is man's evil. God mourns with us. Maybe God intervened and saved 100 other children that day.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Mpg_dc2001

      Please stop the “God gave us free will" argument. If you believe God created everything, then he created this mentally ill young man who took the life of 20 young children. How does a loving God create a person with faulty brain chemistry that is capable of doing such a thing? And please don’t blame modern secular society; if it was responsible events like this would happen on a daily basis.

      I have been on the fence for a long time regarding the existence of God. Friday was confirmation for me that he does not exist.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      My response was warranted and was quite serious. There is nothing rational about faith in god.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • MStewart

      Marcybel. God is not there to be our little handyman and fix everything. He is there because he is there. He loves us and desires us to Glorify HIM. Everything in the Bible is about glorifying Him. We are to glorify Him., not demand that he fix us. It IS all about Him. Selfish? Well, He is GOD, the creator of all things. He has that right. It is our choice to make our lives about US or about Him. Freedom of choice. The Christians who lost children will be ok and glorify God in days to come. The others will never recover.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • midwest rail

      " The others will never recover." Good grief, could you be more arrogant and condescending ? You know this how, exactly ?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • MStewart

      I've seen it and experienced it

      December 19, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • midwest rail

      So a parent who loses a child, but follows a religion different from yours, will find no solace in their belief ? Yep, arrogant and condescending.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  13. Cathy

    We were given FREE will. God will not cross that out. Why do people always blame God? It was a person who did this to innocent children and adults. The mere fact that we KNOW this was evil to kill people, shows the moral law. Where does this feeling of right and wrong come from? God has given this to everyone.People yell at God, and maybe thats the first time in a long time they have even talked to him.Thats okay too , he still listens.Are we on a break from God ? When do we talk to him?Only when things are bad?A religion scholar may have studied the bible, but obviously it is not written in your heart. Faith is believing in God when the evidence is stacked against him.Job in the bible knew this. Read 1 Corinthians ch.2 vs.10-15.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • bright

      Exodus 9:12 "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses."

      What free will?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • MStewart

      In response to Bright "What free will" God did what it took to "free' His chosen people in the Bible. That meant death to many pagan nations. In the New Testament, God returned as Christ to provide the same freedom through salvation to all nations as He had formerly reserved for the Jews. All have freedom of will now.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Bright,
      Generally speaking we do have freewill, but God has overruled to accomplish his plans, as your example shows. You would think he could have taken his people out of Egypt without causing them so much grief. It appears he not only wanted to convince his own people of his power, but also to judge the Egyptian little g gods in the process.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • marcybelle

      You can't have a God that knows everything and sees everything and have Free will! It's a paradox. If you have a God that knows everything and sees everything before it happens that you can't have Free will. Because if you have free will then God wouldn't know what decision you would make, which would mean that he doesn't know everything or see everything before it will happen. And if God does know and see everything before it is going to happen, then you don't really have free will do you?! So one of two things is going on, either your God really isn't "all mighty and powerful" or your God set you up for failure by knowing the sins you commit in your life before you make them, then damns you for it!!

      December 19, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • MStewart

      marcybell, 'knowing" does not mean He "makes" you do it. "Knowing" means He is God. He allows you to choose and he know the choices before its done. We can't understand this. To believe in God, you have to believe that He is wiser than us. It has to be about Him. He has received glory from all of this as the Christian parents declared their unfailing love for Him even in this. He is a jealous God. He give us freewill to worship and love him and to serve others. Even if He didn't exist that belief alone during ones life makes one have a better life. Love Him and Love others and everything will turn out ok in the future. It is a peaceful belief that makes life, even hard time life this, better.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • marcybelle

      MStewart,
      So your God "knew" that Adam Lanza was going to slaughter 26 innocent people?! Well that is so comforting to know. Let us all glorify the slaughter of innocents!! 0_o *that was sarcasm btw

      December 19, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • idiophobia

      i hate to break it to you but Adam and Eve didn't know right from wrong until they at the fruit from the tree so...we gained that knowledge from disobeying god.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  14. F Shuler

    being ex-law enforcement. i look at things a little differently. stiffening gun laws and banning weapons is not the answer. better back ground checks on gun buyers and include medical and mental checks along with criminal checks is a no brainer. and make it easier for rertailers to gain access to the buyers back ground. and put GOD back in our schools and government. this country was founded on christianity, the belief in one GOD and the bible. we've tried it washingtons way. now try it GOD'S way,

    December 19, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Critical Thinker

      Being ex-law enforcement, I favor banning all handguns and assault rifes with extremely tough sentences for banned weapons in possesion. When is the last time lots of people were murdered at the same time when no firearm was involved? Furthermore, more people are killed by handguns than are defended by them according to FBI statistics. Also, far more people are shot to death in domestic disputes than are stabbed to death. The empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports banning assault rifles and handguns. Plus, it makes it easier for an officer to determine who the bad guy if the perp is brandishing a banned firearm.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • lol??

      I know how cops think, the us against them mentality. Everyone is a suspect til proven innocent, (not guilty) heh heh. No sir, Ex-Officer, you need to be debriefed, err rehabilitated.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Huebert

      CT

      On this we agree, ban hand guns, ban as.sault rifles.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Mr.T

      How would a "better" background check have worked in this particular situation? How could a background check know that a law abiding woman had a mentally unstable son? He certainly had access to her weapons. Background checks don't know if people lock up their weapons, leave them lying around, show them off in a glass case, or keep them in a safe. There is no way a background check, better or not, can predict any of that. Ban assault rifles – they do no good except to kill. Period.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • infidelbob

      We don't all believe in the same God. That is why our forefathers rightly stated there should be separation of church and state.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jugger

      CT asked, "When is the last time lots of people were murdered at the same time when no firearm was involved?" Two events instantly came to mind. 9/11 (the highjackers used box cutters) and the Oklahoma City bombing (Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer in his bomb). Neither of these used firearms, killed alot of people, and you can still buy box cutters and ferilizer.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  15. marcybelle

    If this was "Gods Will" then God surely is a malevolent force that I refuse to worship.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  16. JustMe

    For all of us that call ourselves CHRISTians...I wonder what bible Mike Huckabee and his likes are reading! I believe that CHRISTianity is far from what they are "getting" by reading the bible. IF they are even reading a the bible.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Sidb1980

      That is not what Mike H said. He was using the reference where people were asking, "Where was God? Why did he let this happen?" Mike's response was the rhetorical, sort of, "You kicked me out of this place." But Mike went on and said things like God was there in the police who charged into the school without waiting to see if the gunman was still there or not putting their life in danger. He was there in the medical people who arrived quickly to try to help as they could. He was there with our President who spoke as a father and as a leader. We don't know why people do these things, but perhaps we need to put God back in our schools and that may help" Granted, I don't have the verbatim, but you need to watch the clip in its entirely and not let this blog take the words out of context.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  17. reuven

    if guns do not kill, but people kill people,

    Than DO NOT MIX GUNS WITH PEOPLE,

    December 19, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • dr greg

      Well put Reuven.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Sidb1980

      3000 die each day in car accidents. Laws against speeding, running red lights, driving drunk, etc., but people still do it. Gun laws do background checks who can or can't own a weapon, but even those who lawfully get a driver's license or in this case obtain a gun they still disobey the laws on how not to use them.

      This isn't about banning an item in hopes it will stop further crimes. This is about behavior. A choice to do the unthinkable. Banning a rifle won't stop behavior just like banning driving drunk doesn't stop people from using their car that does kill other people.

      People have used their car to drive into crowds while at a street market. People use shotguns and pistols (no assault rifle) in schools like COlumbine and Paduka. People used bombs in OK and elsewhere.

      It is behavior and choice that needs to be addressed.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  18. Hess

    I think some of the things you are tired of hearing are selfish. Everyone deals with death in different ways, if the families left behind wish to think god needed more children or it was gods will or whatever then they can say whatever they want. We will never know the reasons for events like this but I do believe things happen for a reason. So who are you to say you are tired of hearing such things. If it makes them sleep a little better to hear that god needed their children in heaven then there is nothing wrong with that. You sir are an A hole and I hope no one comes to you for comfort in times of death.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • mk

      "You sir are an A hole and I hope no one comes to you for comfort in times of death."

      It's evident that you are a christian.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • EM

      Hess your Christianity is one of convenience. "You sir are an A hole and I hope no one comes to you for comfort in times of death." That doesn't sound very much like Christ to me. You are the kind of person that is keeping churches empty – pious, self-righteous, hypocritical. You say this to someone because they disagree with you? What happened to Christian mercy, Grace, tolerance, compassion?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  19. Dana

    Hi Stephen:

    I do see your points in this article, I am a Christian who does not want to hear that God had any part in this horrific and appalling tragedy . I think it's about time that we stop blaming God for all of the mistakes society makes, and start stepping up to the plate and making ourselves accountable for the things that we have allowed to happen while we stood idly by and watched. It is very easy to blame God and "shake our fists to Heaven" as you put it. However if we are going to blame God, where was the Devil in all of this? After all he does have control of this earth. Why not blame the master of destruction. After all he is called the master of destruction for a reason right? It is normal to be mad at God in a time like this. Everyone is asking why this happened to those children and brave adults. But let me ask you this... wasn't there some form of God in those people who stepped in front of bullets and showed tremendous courage in sacrificing their own lives for the lives of many? If I recall I believe there was 1 person about 2012 years ago that did the same for mankind..... We can never know the horrific ens that may have happened if God did not work in the hearts of the ones who saved many innocent lives that day, and sacrificed their own in the process.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Mannix

      If you want to blame society for all and any actions, then you don't a god...do you? We all are accountable for our actions, we all make decisions, all of those decisions aren't going to be alike, that's why we don't need to think there is some ( unseeable thing ) to make happy, other than human kind...kids are exploited with anger, and hatred nowadays...who's to blame? We all are..time to wake up, and do things that matter instead of giving money to some sort of trickery.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • marcybelle

      I'm so tired of the whole "It was the Devil" crap! If this Devil that Christians believe in then why doesn't your so-called God start standing up and protecting his "Children" from the Devil doing these evil deeds?! Face some facts Christians either your God doesn't exist or your God doesn't care and just let's the Devil run amok on his "Children". Stop with all the prayers and instead actually do something! Instead of "praying for the families" physically help, if you can't help those far away start with your own community. Actions speak louder than "prayers" just sayin'

      December 19, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • WorldPeace

      I had to stop on the first line you wrote. So what happens? you tell us. God is only present and has to do with the "Good" things that happen to you or anyone?. God has to do with anything and ALL that happens in this life. None will go without his will. IT IS his REASON that me, you, jim joe, john doe, papa doe, mama doe, that will never understand. God gave you Life, it is his right to take it. if you want to rebel against that, why dont you rebel against him giving you life.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  20. willard43

    But if you do believe in a God and he created the world and all that is in it, then surely it is God's will that these, and many other attrocities, slaughter and horrible calamities are the will of God. You can't have it both ways. If you are a Christian, read your bible; God demanded the wholesale slaughter of all those in Canaan, the first born of every child in Egypt (sans those who took necessary precaution), destroyed the world with a flood, and has stood by silently while countless wars (both in his name and not) have taken place. This is your God's will, if you believe. Face up to that fact.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • james pfeiffer

      Absolutely right on!

      December 19, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • afellowcatholic

      The Lord's Prayer, taught to us by Jesus himself, instructs to pray that "God's will be done on earth." We pray for that which we want to be so, but currently isn't so. Thus Jesus acknowledges that God's will is *not* currently being done on earth. This is central to Christian belief.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • mk

      Second that.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Huebert

      @afellowcatholic

      If God is incapable of exercising his will on just one little planet in the universe then he is not much of a god is he?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • lol??

      Perchance are you a weatherman?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • God

      You haven't read the book have you? All that God destroyed was evil in nature. God's will is not that this or any other tragedy should happen. These things are brought on by human will. Why?, because this world choose daily to have nothing to do with Gods will. We live in a world of exponential moral decay. Why?, because our society's think it best not to live with in a standard of rules which should govern actions of right and wrong that is higher than our own self-righteous opinion of what each of us thinks is right and wrong. In this world view there is no right and there is no wrong. This is the problem. You cannot blame any of this on a God which you choose not to follow. If you believe in the Bible and understand it you would know that everything God created was given to be under the authority of mankind. Gods only mistake was hoping that mankind would choose to live a righteous life. But no we choose and continue to choose a life of rebellion and we all reap the outcome of all our choices and others choices. Because each choice we make in some way has an effect on others. I don't care if you believe in God or not. But if people would start living for others instead of themselves things in the world would be so much better off. Also I don't really care about anyone’s view of whether guns should be controlled or not because this argument or debate is plain stupid at the core. If there were no weapons on the entire planet people would still kill each other because we have lost a sacred respect for life. Anyone who thinks life was an accident of evolution is deceiving themselves. Life is something more than this carbon based material we find our existence in. We have a consciousness that come from somewhere that simply cannot be explained. Our society continues to lose the belief that life is something to be treasured for the precious gift it is. This is pretty easy to explain after all just look at the teachings of this generation. Your opinion is just as right as mine and if that works for you great just don't interfere with what works for me. You’re nothing special you just live and you die. I mean after all you evolved from space junk that crashed together and formed this planet somehow and life just sprang into action and now exist. The “religion of evolution” is so full of holes you could drive a universe through it. Practically speaking there is more factual proof to support the truth of the Bible. I am talking about the truths of the Bible and not someone’s opinion of what they think is means. The fact of creation is all around us and the lack of science to explain any of it is the biggest proof. We have had centuries of theories and yet the proof is still missing. We still cannot explain gravity. You may not agree with me so let me put it this way. Just because we are aware of something is not an explanation. Science has never actually explained anything it has only allowed us to understand that certain things exist. In science you will never run out of the question WHY?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
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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.