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Where was God in the Philippines?
A flood survivor is surrounded by debris on the Philippine island of Leyte.
November 11th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

Where was God in the Philippines?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - The disasters are always different and often devastating. But the questions they raise are hauntingly familiar.

In the days since Super Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines on Thursday, survivors are frantically searching for lost family members and international aid groups are springing into action.

Officials say the death toll may rise to 10,000 in the heavily Catholic country. Meanwhile, many people are asking: How should we make sense of such senseless death and destruction? Was God in the whirlwind itself, as the Bible hints, or present only in the aftermath, as people mobilize to provide food, water and shelter?

These questions may not be new, but we keep asking them, perhaps because the answers remain so elusive.

For many Americans, a paradox sits at the heart of their thinking about natural disasters. According to a survey taken after 2011's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most Americans (56%) believe that God is control of everything.

But more Americans blame hurricanes, earthquakes and other storms on global warming (58%) than on an angry and punishing deity (38%), according to a 2011 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.

“These kind of questions about God being in control and there simultaneously being suffering are the kind of things that keep seminarians up at night," institute CEO Robert P. Jones said in 2011.

"They’re thorny theological issues."

READ: Typhoon Haiyan: Survivors in Philippines face grim struggle as death toll rises

The Bible's Psalm 107 says that “For (God) commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves thereof. ... He turns rivers into a wilderness, and the water springs into dry ground."

But, as the poll shows, most Americans have moved past the idea that God causes natural disasters, wrote Stephen Prothero, a frequent CNN contributor, in a 2011 column.

"When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, our authorities are geologists and meteorologists," Prothero said as he rode out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. "Most of us interpret these events not through the rumblings of the biblical prophet Jeremiah or the poetry of the Book of Revelation but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates."

For atheists, storms like Haiyan are proof that God doesn't exist, author and activist Sam Harris said.

"Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary," Harris said after Japan's tsunami. "Take your pick, and choose wisely."

God may or may not be in withering storms, but many religious leaders say they sense a divine presence in the aftermath, as people across the world mobilize to lend a hand.

Rabbi Harold Kushner is one of the most famous names in the realm of theodicy, a branch of theology that tries to explain the unexplainable: why a good God would allow bad things to happen.

After Japan's tsunami, Kushner called nature "an equal-opportunity destroyer," making no distinctions between sinners and saints.

But Kushner, author of the bestselling book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," said he sees God's hand in the resilience of people whose lives have been destroyed and in the "goodness and generosity" of strangers who donate and pray for the survivors.

READ: How to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan 

That still leaves a tricky question, though: Why do humans suffer, sometimes terribly, in the first place?

There's no good answer, says the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and best-selling author.

"Each person has to come to grips with that," Martin said. "It’s not as if some magic answer can be found. But the idea of God suffering along with us can be very helpful."

Muslims, on the other hand, see stormy trials as tests from God, said Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.

"Muslims believe that God tests those he loves, and these tragedies also serve as a reminder to the rest of us to remain grateful to God for all our blessings and cognizant that we must support those in need," Syeed said.

Vietnamese Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, whose native country remains in Haiyan's path, said such storms remind us that our lives are impermanent and the importance of treasuring each moment.

"This is the best that we can do for those who have died: We can live in such a way that they can feel they are continuing to live in us, more mindfully, more profoundly, more beautifully, tasting every minute of life available to us, for them," Hanh said.

Stephen Prothero, Jessica Ravitz and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Asia • Atheism • Belief • Bible • Buddhism • Christianity • Death • Ethics • Faith • God • Islam • Judaism • natural disasters • Philippines • Prayer

soundoff (3,827 Responses)
  1. William Beach

    Where was God ! He was in the same place He was when His Son Died on the Cross for you and I.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Colin

      I thought he ordered his son crucified, the sick digusting fvck?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Troll Spotter

        Here is another one.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Joey

          Oh, you finally looked in a mirror did you?

          November 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it's utter mind-numbing nonsense that someone could die and somehow absorb every bad thought and bad deed that everyone had ever done or would ever do. Believing in a daddy figure in the sky is crazy enough but believing that this crucified bronze age zealot died for your sins just because a bunch of his followers took his body and claimed a miracle ... well, it's utter mind-numbing nonsense.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Bob

      William, that's nonsense, and your entire Christian fairy tale is founded on absurd and false premises. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Melissa

      lol. I thought god died for himself on that cross. Remember? Oh wait.. you religion nuts like to pick and choose what you believe. See... there's also the fact that jesus was never considered the christian gods only child until it was decided at the council of naecia. But you like to ignore that fact too. And that jesus said that everyone is the child of the god. Oh, but you like to ignore that too. Frankly, nowhere did jesus say "Let people suffer and die because they won't pay me money" but repuglicans love to think he did so they don't feel guilty that they're robbing people blind. Your god is as imaginary as unicorns.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      hiding behind someone else's sacrifice is a cowardly act, willy

      if you had a scrap of morality, you would challenge "god" to punish you

      but you won't

      you are a snivelling sycophant, like all who hide behind the supposed sacrifice of the sainted pincushion

      November 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Troll Spotter

        Here is a rude smartass big one.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • marine1

          LMAO I have noticed that as well. Sam's opinion is the only opinion.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • sam stone

          unless = unlike

          November 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • sam stone

        i can only speak my own opinion

        i do not claim it is fact

        unless the jeebus suckers who claim to KNOW rather than believe

        fvck off

        November 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • sam stone

          unless = unlike

          November 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Sue

    The answer is in the Bible, man brought sin into the world and now it permeates everything. The mistake is believing that sinful man deserves better than this. We all deserve judgment, but God, who is grace filled has offered us a way out through His son.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Nodack

      There were other men on crosses that day Jesus died. Did they die for my sins. We killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq. Did they die for my sins too. If we put you up on a cross and killed you would you have died for some poor guys sins a thousand tears from now? Jesus was some guy that was killed like millions of other people that have been killed since. This whole "He died for your sins" stuff doesn't fly with me.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Colin

      But, it was God's will that Jesus be executed, right? Why did he demand such an act? Why not just forgive us, after all, he makes the rules.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind

      November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Bob

      Sue, your post is complete nonsense. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      November 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • mk

      "Man brought sin into the world."

      Where was I when this decision was being made?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      Sue: Sin is a man made concept, as are god, and satan, and heaven and hell.

      Pull the crucifix out from between your legs

      November 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Lionly Lamb

    Sanctimonies mesmerizing practicalities of the permissive social varieties are vacationing mental summations rooted within individualistic curative sentimentalities ever to be lying around many vicarious and broad spectral based subsidies of sired humanisms...

    All things believed will ever be as social rationalisms within the quagmires of the mentally apprehensive and even the morally obscured... I love sometimes more and sometimes less... I see and sometimes am not seen... I hear and sometimes I am not heard... I feel and am seldom felt... Like you, I am giving rise to we are even though sometimes we are not raised up rightly... Real eyes realize real lies...

    November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Chris

    Same place as Thor, Aslan, Harry Potter and all the other mythical creatures. The bible says you can't test God and God won't interfere in earthly matters, which is a handy get out when people want to question why God doesn't help.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Troll Spotter

      Here's one.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  5. Marco

    "God" was the same place "god" has always been...in the minds of humans who can't seem to understand that there is no such thing as god. Nature does whatever the heck it is nature wants to do, and just because you don't understand what is going on that causes a typhoon (for instance) that calling it "god" or "god's will" is the cop-out explanation for everything.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • James McC 88

      CNN basically agrees with you. There are countless articles published by media outlets like CNN stating that we "have gotten past" the idea of God. One thing you should reflect on is the idea of the Water of Life and the continuing drought in the United States. If you are comfortable with the belief that there is no such thing as God and that you are dependent on nothing but yourself, then go ahead and create Water.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Denny

        James, that isn't valid evidence of a god, and is akin to a vanilla argument from ignorance, so you get a big fail on your post.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • derp

        The US had record rainfall this summer.

        Oh, and it is remarkably easy to create water. Combine two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atoms and you have created water. Do christards study chemistry?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        is 88 your IQ?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Troll Spotter

          Derps,Denny's or yours?

          November 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  6. Charm Quark

    Just to be clear, Pat Robertson has unequivocally stated that hurricanes are caused by abortion so why not typhoons? I guess a few gals had abortions and god went all vengeful yet again.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • niknak

      That can be the only explanation.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Bad girls = death to all.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      aaahhhh, thanks Pat. That explains it.

      don't believe the dibble and his meteorological science.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • ml

      You nailed it! Thank goodness for the scientific method!

      November 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  7. niknak

    where god always is;

    On the football field helping guys score touchdowns.
    In the food stores helping people win the lottery.
    In the churches getting the people to give to the scammers.
    Getting injected into our government so we can become the xtian version of Saudi Arabia.
    Helping us drone strike people over in the ME.
    Curing people from cancer and diseases thru doctors and modern medicine (because of course it is god that is doing the healing, not our modern tech).

    You know, important stuff like that.
    How could you ever expect it to intervene is something so mundane as a hurricane?

    Plus, god is only responsible for the good things that happen, not the bad.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      well said.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  8. Plexus

    Why are the atheists always looking for God in tragedies???

    November 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • niknak

      Why are believers always looking for god in the lottery?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      because it proves that your god either does not exist, is not in control, or is an evil, sadistic, malicious freak of a creature. Either way, why the HECK do you worship him?!

      November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • niknak

        And why is it even a "him?"

        If it was always there, did not have a mother or father, does not have s ex, then why does it have a gender?
        Does it have a sch long?
        If so, what does it use it for?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • ml

      I think upon further reflection.. what we really want to know is "who created God?" Maybe "God prime?" clearly thats who we should trust in, if he/she could create such a powerful being.. must be able to kick gods butt. oh wait..but who created God prime? hmmm.. Geeee. something tells me this simple conundrum, ignored by the moronic drones of a population of blind believers who can't think for themselves, is beyond their ability to even consider. I'll say this. The power of brainwashing is truly remarkable.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Why are the atheists always looking for God in tragedies???'

      they are looking for this supposed loving deity that believers claim exists.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    I saw a sunset and it was perfect.
    Why do you ask me to see another?
    For in waiting for the next sunset, I will endure much suffering!

    Perfection exists in the suffering too.
    Be thankful for the pain.

    Did I not thank you by loving you?

    November 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  10. Hasoan

    Where was man?

    November 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • niknak

      Where man has always been, trying to survive, then trying to rebuild.
      All without help from some imaginary creature(s).

      November 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  11. mbane

    God was in the same place he is every day as 300,000 people die of starvation on a daily basis!

    November 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Joey

      The strip club?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  12. DougNJ

    If I treated my pets the way god treats true believers I would be in jail. Those people are VERY Catholic. I guess the Pope will have to make a visit there. I wonder if the Vatican will sell off a few tid-bits to help with the relief?

    November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Yes, but how else is one supposed to make a kitty piano...

      Meow meow meow meow...
      Meow meow meow meow...

      HeII is just God's people piano, press those keys and hear them scream in a different pitch for eternity...

      November 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  13. I AM

    I can't be everywhere. Do you think you are the only planet with life....

    November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Topher

      Heresy.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Baalzabarber

        Christianity was heresy at one time.
        Now its mythology. No more valid than Santeria or the Norse Myths

        November 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Akira

        Do you think God may not have created life on other planets?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • lol??

          Not any worth saving.

          "Rom 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."

          once

          November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Akira, if it is not in the bible Topher does not believe it.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Topher

          That's not true. The Bible doesn't really say one way or the other about life elsewhere. Fact is, I have no reason to believe there's life anywhere else. We haven't found any yet. And even if we did, it wouldn't disprove the Bible.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • brainwashed christians

          The bible has already been proven to be mythology.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • I AM

        It isn't....listen to my words.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      If there were a god, that would make sense.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Baalzabarber

      BRILLIANT post.
      I always wonder what the thumpers are going to think if an new life form makes itself known.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • niknak

        They will explain it away just like they have for the past 2000 years when science has proved all their drivel wrong (like solar eclipses).
        Hell, we could get visited by an advanced civilization that would show us how everything in the universe works and how it and life started, but if it did not involve "their" god, they would just go right along following the fairy tale.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  14. komododr

    God only exist in the imagination carried on from generation to generation.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Topher

      Then how do you explain those of us who did not grow up in the church but are now Christian ... and whose parents still reject God?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • ml

        weakminded-ness and an unwillingness to think on your own?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        A desire for community and the comfort of easy answers?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • George70

          Easy answers? Explain.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Easy answers? Explain.'

          no need to question, just accept that god it, and he moves in mysterious ways.

          ...those things.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • George70

          You can always question, it's part of finding out more about Him. The "mysterious ways" thing is too cliche for me, we just don't always understand certain things that happen, at least not right away. There's nothing easy about following God.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Peer pressure and a strong desire to fit in and be more special than you already are because you are unable to see what an amazing organism your body is as an evolved species, no creator needed.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Joey

        a claw hammer to the skull?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Topher
        If you had died before you epiphany, conversion, being born again and were not SAVED by jjeessuus you would have been sent to your delusional hell, Yes or No question?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • George70

          Yes

          November 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  15. Matthew

    The earth that was created by God had no bad weather. The entire creation fell when man fell. The bad weather that we see and experience is because of the fall. These disasters should not be a reason to blame God but yet another reason to look to Him for the redemption that is to come. (Romans 8:18-25)

    November 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind

      November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Noelle

      There is no "God" as people call "the all powerful creator". Let's talk about global warming instead and not ask "where was god", but "what can we do to help these people?"

      November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      LOL

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      When was that exactly?
      All the geological, radiological, dendrochronological, stratigraphic, ice core analytical etc. data that we have gathered that reveals tens of millions of years of environmental information tells us that bad weather has always been present – even worse weather in the distant past!
      Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • George70

        That is what you believe?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          It matters not one whit what I believe.
          The data is there for you to examine yourself, should you take an interest.
          Facts are sterile, neither vulgar nor sublime.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • George70

          It does, in fact, matter what you believe. You assume that I haven't studied the data, but you would be incorrect. However, you equate data with facts, meaning you believe it to be factual, with a lot of assumption thrown in to come to a conclusion.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          DATA:
          Facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something
          (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

          November 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • George70

          And?

          GOD :
          the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe.
          (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

          November 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @George
          You tried to assert that data is not factual.
          I showed you that, by definition, it is.

          If you have examined the data pertaining to ice core samples, what natural disaster is evidenced in the DYE3 and GRIP core data from the layer dating back to 1644 BCE?

          November 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hey Matthew, regarding the fall of man and the subsequent fall of nature. Did the fall of nature propagate at light speed from Eden after the fall of man? So a bit over 6000 light years or so away from here the Universe is entirely cool and groovy, right?

      November 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  16. Apple Bush

    The joyful myth and eager messenger;

    Stained glass soars to the rafters;

    Surely God is here, and yet this house is empty;

    No salesman can close;

    Lovely building full of lies, heard less prayers than cries;

    Sacred this and sacred that;

    Babies raped and priests zipping up their pants;

    No leads to follow;

    This is what Jesus witnesses from His lofty perch in that glass;

    Abuse the sheep and pay the tithe;

    Fill the tray and please don’t stay;

    Such a lovely cathedral, such a vile torture chamber.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  17. Dandy Dizmore

    IF GOD EXISTS .... HE SUCKS!

    November 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • George70

      Why?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  18. Truth

    God is always with us. After Christ died on the cross for our sins He gave us the Holy Spirit...so yes God was there during the storm. As a human, I cant explain why God let all those people die or why he let some die and some live etc...but I offer you this perspective:

    No man can understand the ways of God...there is no way for us to completely understand his ways that's why he is God and we are not. Consider this. Maybe it was an ACT OF MERCY that God allowed those 10,000 to die. Maybe some of those were children...maybe some of those were about to do great evil but now are gone. Maybe some would not have accepted Jesus as savior and not gone to Heaven but God spared them and now they are with Him forever. Death...suffering...a small price to pay to be with God for eternity.

    And for the Christian that went through that...well God will mold his people to be like Him...and maybe that test id just what they needed.

    Prayers to all the victims

    November 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind!

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Truth

        I feel rather free 🙂 To each His own 😉

        November 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      battered wife......he love me, he really does. It hurts him to punish me but I deserve punishment for what I do, he does it for my good.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Truth

        You cant compare a sinful human husband to the one and only infallible living God.

        buuuuut...you can try I suppose 🙂

        November 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Joey

          Actually he can and did.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Truth

          Yes he did! But that doesn't make it a good comparison 🙂

          November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Joey

          I think it is a perfect comparison.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Joey

          besides it is more comparing you to the wife, than god to the husband.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • Truth

          Except for the fact that since God is perfect any "punishment" he doles out to His people is perfectly Justified and proper.

          The Husband doesn't have the advantage of being perfect therefore any punishment rendered to his wife is suspect.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Truth

          Of course since (I am guessing) you don't believe there exists a perfect God...there will be no convincing you.

          The cornerstone of my argument assumes a perfect God exists...which is my belief...obviously not yours 🙂

          November 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Except for the fact that since God is perfect any "punishment" he doles out to His people is perfectly Justified and proper.'

          yeah, like i said.......he loves me and i deserve the punishment he gives me, its my fault. He knows exactly what he is doing and he knows what is best for me and i keep letting him down.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Joey

          A perfect being wouldn't have created something that could be tricked by a talking snake, especially since humans were created in god's image, and thus would have been perfect. So god as described in the bible is not perfect.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Truth

          Hmm...where in the bible does it say "God wanted to create a perfect being"?

          I think the plan has gone exactly the way God wanted:

          People sin and fall away from God...People NEED God and are lost without Him...God Provides the PERFECT savior to reunite Him with His people.

          I know the bible is true...there are many reasons why...but this one is one of the most compelling:

          "The bible is true because no man could have ever written it."

          Think about that statement. If man had written the bible don't you think it would have emphasized man more? Don't you think man would have been the hero? Don't you think God would have been nicer and more loving?

          That's right...the Bible can only be the inspired word of God by its content alone...read it sometime...read it all...its utterly amazing.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Check

          @Truth,

          YOU read it all - including these gems:

          – You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.–Leviticus 14

          – You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water. – Numbers 5

          – Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects. –Genesis 30

          – You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis) –Leviticus 25

          - “If two men are fighting, and the wife of one man tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the other man’s private parts, you must cut off her hand. Don’t have any mercy." Deuteronomy 25

          There are several other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" "spoke", along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from a real smart divine being is ludicrous.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • Truth

          Ah, you quote the old testament.

          Yes, there were some pretty insane things people were required to do back then to make atonement with God. You see, before Christ a blood sacrifice was required to atone for sin. But that has all been abolished now...since Jesus paid it all...once and for all, we no longer need to do all them crazy things!

          And no...I don't know why and I cant answer all your questions...back to the fact that God's mind is not understandable to men. For instance in our finite ability to reason...there is no way free will and predestination can exist at the same time...but that is possible in God's dimension. Read Romans Ch 7 and 8 to get an idea of this.

          Again...Gods mind is WAY beyond anything we can conceive. Do you find it difficult to believe there is a God out there who knows infinitely more than you? I find it comforting not threatning. To know that its not all about me...and I don't need all the answers every time...its a great...and free way to live in my opinion.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Check

          @Truth,

          Moses (or whoever wrote that stuff) said that the "LORD" TOLD them these blatantly incorrect and/or supersti.tious things. Jesus, whoever he was, as a Jew, would have believed them too (or in your case he even SPOKE them himself). Magic water NEVER unmasked unfaithful wives (other than perhaps some fessed up under the superst.ition). Dove's blood NEVER cured leprosy. Slavery continued after Jesus.

          If you want NT weirdnesses - look at the claim that dead people rose from their graves on crucifixion day and roamed the streets of Jerusalem. Not a single report of this actually happening, outside of your storybook. Read the book of Revelation if you want to see true insanity.

          November 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          '"The bible is true because no man could have ever written it."

          Think about that statement.'

          ......yeah think just how silly a statement that is. There is nothing in the bible that could not have been written by man, absolutely nothing.

          November 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Truth

          I cant deny, the bible is incredible...and no...I cant explain it all. It does say this:

          John 6:44 "No one can come to Me, unless the father who sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up on the last day"

          Furthermore:

          1 Corinthians 2:14 "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

          Two things:

          1. I cant convince you the bible is truth...God has to do that. Maybe He can use me to communicate to you...but that's not my concern. All I can do is share what I know...and my experience.

          2. Since you don't know God (have the Spirit) you wont understand or even begin to understand the ways of God...or the mind of God.

          You need to accept the free gift of Christ on the cross...then your mind will open...and God will reveal himself to you.

          This is my experience...this did not happen to me until I was around 25 years old and before that I sinned with the best of em...and still do. But now...I have a savior who bought me with a great price...He covered all my sins past present and future. Pretty nice retirement plan if you ask me.

          I hope some of you get to have the fullness of life that is life in Christ. But that's not up to me 🙂

          November 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • Truth

          You are doing EXACTLY what the bible says you will do...consider the Bible and the ways of God foolishness.

          When you accept Christ genuinely...you get the Spirit...then and only then is it possible for man to be right with God...and even begin to understand Him.

          And I meant I hope ALL of you discover God...

          2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

          November 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Truth,
          ".He covered all my sins past present and future. Pretty nice retirement plan if you ask me."

          Yep - a pretty sweet and slick fantasy all right, but a fantasy nonetheless, since the verified evidence for it actually being true is lacking. Dream on. Enjoy.

          November 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • Truth

          Ah, Fan2C you want proof...and physical proof at that!

          Well...God does require us to have faith...without faith it is impossible to please God. He also gives us hope!

          You see...if Jesus came down to your house right now, stood in front of you and showed you his wounds you would still not believe. There is evidence of that all through the bible. I mean...I don't get Pharoh...how could he not believe after all those plagues and a pillar of fire coming from Heaven right in front of him!!!

          Its called..."hardened hearts" Although God wants all people to be saved...its just the facts...some wont be.

          I hope your eyes are opened like mine are! Again...its not up to me 🙂

          November 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Truth,
          ".if Jesus came down to your house right now, stood in front of you and showed you his wounds you would still not believe."

          A real god, an omniscient and powerful one, would know precisely what it would take for each and every one of us to believe in it - if it cared.

          How do you know for sure that the real god doesn't generously reward those who are not easy marks for ancient Middle Eastern myths, legends and superst.itions?

          November 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • Truth

          Ah, now you are getting into subject matter where I have little insight.

          I have no idea why God chooses some and not others...or why he presents Himself in certain ways to some people but in different ways to others.

          I think God could do what you say...reveal Himself to each person based on their own personality/makeup etc. Why doesn't He? I guess I will ask him that when I meet him face to face.

          All we have to go on is what God says about Himself in the Bible...its like mission impossible..."on a need to know basis" lol.

          Anyway...good questions, sorry I don't have all the answers. I can only hope God decides to open your eyes so you can see the truth.

          November 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • I AM

      If we are his children, why would a father kill his children ? I see no good in this.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Truth

        Hard to explain but consider this...

        God let HIS OWN SON die the most horrible death imaginable because He loves us...

        So I think God understands your sentiment.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'God let HIS OWN SON die the most horrible death imaginable because He loves us..'

          ...for a couple of days and then he was back up and about. And what do you mean his own son? doesnt the trinity basically claim jesus was just god's avatar?

          November 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Truth

        So by saying "why should I have to suffer...or why should that person have to die"?

        You are saying "As humans we deserve to live a comfortable life without trouble...we deserve better than Jesus got"

        What's amazing...is we all get better than Jesus got...last I checked God hasn't asked a whole ton of people to die the death He died.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Get Real

          @Truth
          "God hasn't asked a whole ton of people to die the death He died."

          Millions of people throughout history have died just as gruesomely, if not more so. Don't make me list examples... they are numerous and horrendous.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Truth

          If you study the way Jesus Died you would see that He was in a league of His own. Human beings could not have suffered as long as he did while having the stamina to carry a wooden cross up a hill. Jesus was beaten beyond recognition before he carried the cross up the hill. Also...after hanging on the cross for hours, just be fore He died He was able to SHOUT "It is finished".

          This is inhumanly possible. Christ was able to stay alive where mere mortals would have passed out and died...in other words Christ suffered more.

          You are correct there have been countless sufferings of men over the centuries...brutal, terrible etc etc...there is no denying that. But Christ suffered more.

          Also, in the garden before Christ was handed over to the guard he prayed "God take this cup from me". Most people think the "cup" is the suffering and physical pain associated with the death he would have to endure...but no.

          That "cup" was the fact that in order for Christ to pay the price for us he would have to become sin...and be separated from God for a short time...and God would actually turn His back on His own son. This is the worst imaginable thing!!

          So ask yourself this: If Jesus sweat blood and begged the Father to let him out of being separated from His father(which had never been done until that time)...how much more horrible will it be for us if we end up in Hell...separated from our creator for ETERNITY??

          Jesus wasn't worried about the worst most painful death in history...he was worried about separation from the father.

          Consider it...my mind was blown when I finally understood.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth

          "If you study the way Jesus Died you would see that He was in a league of His own. Human beings could not have suffered as long as he did while having the stamina to carry a wooden cross up a hill"

          Pure opinion. No facts.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • Truth

          I suppose...but no other (human) man in history has gone through even close to what Jesus went through...at least I haven't heard of one.

          Feel free to educate us on the numerous men that have been beaten beyond recognition...pierced by a crown of thorns...carried a heavy wooden cross up a hill...nailed to that cross...hung on it for hours...then shouted "it is finished"

          I don't know any...

          I wasn't there so I guess its all speculation...but that's what the bible records.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth,

          Read up on some horrific, long-lasting tortures of people so you'll know better.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • Truth

          I know there are many...the question is "do any stack up to the torture of Christ"

          I don't believe there are any. This type of thing would be very hard to prove either way though...in the sense that we could agree on it. I do believe the bible makes it clear that what Christ endured would be impossible for any man to endure.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth,

          You need to read more than one 2,000-year-old book. Do some research on the incredibly inhuman torture devices that men have used on others.

          Did they wire Jesus genitals up to a battery and repeated shock him? Did they put his arms and legs in devices that slowly broke them?

          Get serious. Do some research to replace fantasy.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Truth

          I am not saying any of the things you mention don't hurt lol...I am not saying that men in history have not gone through torture...horrendous torture at that.

          But you cant tell me that being put on "the rack" for days...or getting disemboweled...or getting burned by battery acid or waterboarded is worse than what Christ endured.

          Again...no matter what research you or I do...there is no way for us to prove the point.

          And that 2000 year old book is a dandy...I hope you will read it some. I know you think I am foolish but I believe the bible is the single most important book ever written.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth,

          If you are going to use a name like "Truth", don't you think you should do FAR more research? It doesn't seem at all "fair" to the name.

          People have been incredibly tortured for many days using devices that Jesus never heard of. NONE of those were used to kill him. Get real.

          By the way, I have read the Bible. That's why I'm an agnostic.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Truth

          Well I pray God comes to you somehow then.

          As an agnostic, what hope do you have after this life? I would find that difficult and unsettling to come to grips with. That's just me though.

          Also, I never claimed to have all the answers or have done all the research (who can)...but I do believe I know the truth. Again I am not going to convince you...all I can share are my experiences and point of view, you will do with it what you wish (and I have an idea what that is LOL)

          November 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
        • Observer

          Truth

          "As an agnostic, what hope do you have after this life? I would find that difficult and unsettling to come to grips with."

          This seems to be a common theme with believers. If all we have is the world and life on earth that God supposedly gave us, then how incredibly miserable and depressing it is.

          I find the world to be fascinating and constantly find amazing things. I don't spend my time wishing that I can go to a "much better place" since this one stinks so much.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
        • Truth

          Interesting...

          I see this world in the same way you do...and I am loving life here. I guess for me its not the 80 or so years (or whatever) I have on this earth...its the eternity after that which makes me ponder. It says in the bible that this life is like a vapor...here today...gone tomorrow. In the grand scheme of eternity I can see 80 years or so being a small spec on the radar.

          Can you imagine sometime in the great distant future remembering your infinitely short time on earth? I guess to me this short time is not as important as where I will be forever. That's my perspective anyway.

          November 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
      • Truth

        While I will never understand fully the trinity...in simple terms each of the trinity is God...none is greater than the other. However the Jesus part of the trinity was fully God and Fully man.

        So yeah he had an advantage knowing the future...and that he would be back...but he suffered greatly and felt the pain and died like a man would.

        Jesus did something no man could have done for himself...be the PERFECT sacrifice for all sins. Jesus is the only man that lived a completely sinless life.

        November 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    If I were going to worship something, it wouldn't the Christian God. What a failure. Every single minute of everyday, failure after failure after failure. Talk about low expectations!

    November 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Topher

      What has God failed at?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Topher, we don't talk about God anymore, remember? How is work?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • Topher

          I'm off until Saturday. So at least for this week ... work is good. 😉

          November 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Nice!

          November 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • sam stone

        existing

        November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Observer

        Topher,

        After hundreds or thousands of years, God took a look at all the people he had produced in the entire world. He only found 8 worth saving. He basically had to start all over again.

        Trump would have fired him.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Todd

      "If I were going to worship something, it wouldn't the Christian God."

      –If you aren't worshipping God, you are worshipping satan.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        infantile slave logic

        November 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  20. RJS

    If you read the Bible – Old Testament through New Testament – the earth has been full of strife and hardship for God's people forever. Follow God's people from Genesis to Revelation and see that it had not been an "easy road" by any stretch of the imagination so suffering among God's children is not new. The answer, to me, is that once sin entered the world God gave man a choice of whether to follow him or reject him – totally free choice. But, along with that choice evil entered the world and that includes the sometimes destructive power of nature. The natural world was no longer made peaceful as it was in the Garden of Eden before man chose to reject God's way. We are never promised that, until we die or the end of the world, that it will be an easy road. Bad things happen – they always have and always will until the the world is over. Yes, we have the choice to believe that there is no such thing as God – and maybe there is not – but...that leaves me with the impossible choice of believing that all of this amazing creation – both beautiful and horrifying – is all here by some cosmic accident and that I am here by shear chance and that, truly, my life here has no real meaning or purpose because I am just part of a bunch of unimaginable coincidences – THAT, for me is much harder to understand and believe than trying to understand why a loving God allows such suffering on earth – He "allows" it because free choice came into the world in the Garden of Eden and ever since then, things on this earth have not been "right" and never will be until He makes it right in the end. Our task as Christians here on earth in the meantime when it comes to things like these tragedies is to love others, be the first on the scene when tragedy strikes and to show people that there is indeed a God that cares for all of us amongst the suffering in the world – and don’t forget, most of the suffering of the world other than natural disasters (hunger, war, poverty, etc.) is often man’s fault ultimately – its called choice.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

      November 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • craig

        Why not? that is why God is God , he knows the future, he knows the past, he knows who will choose him, but it is our choice, and yes he knows that. We still have the choice.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Joey

          You have just described the illusion of free will. If god knows what we are going to do and he can't be wrong then there is no free will.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dandy Dizmore

      >>that there is indeed a God that cares for all of us amongst the suffering in the world
      You speak many words to justify your own beliefs... however Occams Razor speaks louder. You however, fail to listen.
      And that is YOUR downfall..

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      If you read the Lord of the Rings – Hobbit through Silmarillion – middle earth has been full of strife and hardship for Ainurs people forever. Follow his people from ancient times to the new age and see that it had not been an "easy road" by any stretch of the imagination so suffering among the Illuvatar is not new. The answer, to me, is that once Melkor entered the world Eru gave man and elves a choice of whether to follow him or reject him – totally free choice. But, along with that choice evil entered middle earth and that includes the sometimes destructive power of Melkor and his followers.

      I love sharing fantasy. Tell us more about your imaginary deity and why it isn't helping the women and children that are being discarded by humanity daily, i'm sure you can come up with some inventive excuses to keep us entertained and distracted while you pilfer the poor.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • RJS

        ...So that means you believe we are all here by some cosmic accident then? That there is no real purpose for all this and that we are just a bunch of cells that came together over billions of years and that nature – as perfectly systematic as it is – is all by ACCIDENT?? There is NO CREATOR at all? And you call MY beliefs fantasy??? Hmmmm....

        November 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Yes, i'm calling your beliefs fantasy. Just because you have a hard time understanding reality doesn't mean you get to just make up a better sounding version that puts you in the center of the universe.

          November 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      If God is powerful enough to create the universe, don't you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his exact message across to future generations than this endlessly translated, edited, confused, modified, twisted, corrupted book of stories that is changed by religious power brokers to suit each generation?

      Wouldn't god's word be carved on the moon, unchangeable and for all to see? Wouldn't it be spoken unchanged by a species of animal? Wouldn't it be written microscopically on every stone or every tree? Wouldn't there be some space age material that had god's voice recorded, uncorrupted over the centuries and there for everyone to hear.

      Wouldn't there be parts of God's word that reflect computers or artificial intelligence or DNA or modern medicine or future medicine or electricity or space travel to other parts of this amazing universe he created? Wouldn't there be talk of gender and race equality? Wouldn't there be talk of Asia and Australia and the Americas and Europe and Africa?

      Instead the bible is limited to horses and carts and herbs and grain and swords and shields and misogyny and racism and slavery all set in the deserts of the middle east. The Bible is so obviously a product of bronze age man, you must be in denial to even argue that it is the word of god. There may or may not be a god or gods, but this book of bronze age voodoo and oppression has nothing to do with him, her or them.

      And stop it with this "not the word of god but words inspired by god" cop out. That just means it was written by greedy, evil men who got their way by claiming that god told them to do something. That's a self serving scam that should be scorned, especially by anyone claiming to love an omnipotent god. That scam is an abomination and an insult to your god ... as is the bible!

      November 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Noelle

      I've read that fairy-tale book called the bible more than once (required reading in a college class called Integrated Studies). If you believe in "God", then you must also believe in Santa Claus, the easter bunny, and the tooth fairy! We're in the 21st century. If these people who constantly have their nose in a bible would read about evolution, they would have a better idea about who we are as a people and where we came from.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • George70

        Evolution? Seriously?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'that leaves me with the impossible choice of believing that all of this amazing creation – both beautiful and horrifying – is all here by some cosmic accident and that I am here by shear chance and that, truly, my life here has no real meaning or purpose because I am just part of a bunch of unimaginable coincidences – THAT, for me is much harder to understand and believe than trying to understand why a loving God allows such suffering on earth'

      Why? Does your ego not allow the possibility that your existence actually has no purpose?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.