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June 15th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Jesus statue struck by lightning

If you've ever driven between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, on I-75 then you probably saw the six-story King of Kings statue featuring Jesus coming out of a lake with hands raised in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio.

Monday night the statue was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning.

CNN iReporters in the area are all over this story.

The gleaming white statue was unmissable, even speeding down the interstate.

Monroe fire chief Mark Neu told the CNN Belief Blog he's never seen anything like the fire in his 32 years as chief.

He said the 62-foot statue had a steel frame and was wrapped in Styrofoam and covered with a fiberglass coating to protect it. At 11:16 last night, the fire department got the call the statue had been hit by lighting and was on fire.

"It spread from the statue to the amphitheater," he said. "There was heavy damage to the amphitheater where the stature backed up to. It was a fast-moving fire. We’re looking at $700,000 worth of damage."

The chief has spoken with church officials, who have gotten calls about the statue today from as far away as China.

"I know the membership of the Solid Rock Church was devastated by the fire and have every intention of putting the statue and the amphitheater back as is was," Neu said. "They said they plan on rebuilding immediately and moving forward."

Neu said no one was injured in the blaze.

The statue made cameos in loads of Ohioans' snapshots and even made it into the documentary "Jesus Camp."

I once got a speeding ticket not far from it while on assignment. The Ohio state trooper would not give me a warning despite the fact my co-worker in the passenger seat asked if it counted if we had a "news emergency."

Check out Time.com and CNN affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati for more on the story.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture & Science

soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. NickB5

    I like the new look and think they should leave it like it is.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  2. Reality

    Once again, the famous contemporay theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, got it right when he said:

    Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history" .

    Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices. Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we
    and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings. For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    By the way, the "statue" was not Dow Chemical's Styrofoam, a polystyrene extrusion foam boards. It was cut from polystyrene bead foam which is molded into all kinds of shapes to include foam coffee cups. Maybe the church can go "green" and make the next sculpture from recycled coffee cups? They could call it Jesus Caffe with a Bit of Latte at least until the next thunder storm. 🙂

    June 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  3. Dre

    The Earth is going to hell in a hand basket while we sit and argue About Religion and Science not being compatible. I like both myself. Both are interesting and both take it a lil too far sometimes. lol@hell in a hand basket.....sooo, how about that oil spill? Pretty messed up eh? Wish everyone that knows everything could work on some issues that effect us all, and quickly, before we are all paying for air to breathe or trying to move to the moon because its so toxic here....if your religious get to praying and help some needy people for gods sake, if your a scientist, find the answers to why and fix this crap asap. thank you, and have a great day 😛

    June 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Stop This

    Stop This Stop This.
    Just blame It on the GAYS they are the cause of everything bad and evil . And the religious will be happy. After all they are the all powerful.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  5. unfazed

    my first thought when hearing of this story is the verse in 1 Peter that talks of judgment starting in the house of God. It may be a prophetic sign of sorts. I spent many years in the church and have recently walked away from all organized religion. People have been misrepresenting God for way too long. He's gotta be more fed up than any of us.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  6. Jim22

    Don't worry all, it will be back in around 3 days.....:)

    June 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Tara

    “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”

    June 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • asrael

      Ah, The Universal Crap Shoot. Often referred to as The Chicken Little Theory...

      June 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  8. JGB

    God did it for the insurance money.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  9. mathetes

    Ummm, in case nobody noticed, polystyrene (a.k.a.) STYROFOAM; is not exactly ozone friendly.......

    June 15, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  10. V

    They should have read the Second Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images

    June 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  11. mathetes

    It's RE-VEL-ATION people, NO S!

    June 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  12. johnny

    religion...what a joke

    June 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  13. The Scientific Cowboy

    Religious zealots should try reading a scientific journal instead of quoting things that they heard on the 700 Club. Repeating ignorant rhetoric only makes them look uninformed and angry. Religion erodes logical thought and stifles progress. Religion is responsible for more loss of life than every disease known to man. We do not need to live in the dark ages any more. We do not need to be afraid of the boogeyman because there simply isn’t one. People should do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because some invisible father figure is going to smite them if they screw around. Its time for religion to take a back seat so that childlike humanity can grow up and hold itself accountable.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  14. ArmyoftheRighteous

    Mathew 26:39 says"
    Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
    and how many christians have we seen pray like this? to God , not Jesus. and stop taking this nonsense that Jesus says im the only way to heaven. he did say that, but so did previous messengers said, Noah, Moses, Abraham, . . . .

    my point is that open your eyes. and see. also there's scriptures in the bible when Jesus says there will be another messenger coming after me. do u all forget that? should i prove it to you?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  15. truthywood

    They thought that God is not going to strike Jesus, but no God did not even spare Jesus, What are they gonna do now ?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  16. ArmyoftheRighteous

    Mathew 26:39 says"
    Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
    and how many christians have we seen pray like this? to God , not Jesus. and stop taking this nonsense that Jesus says im the only way to heaven. he did say that, but so did previous messengers said, Noah, Moses, Abraham, . . . .

    my point is that open your eyes. and see. also there's scriptures in the bible when Jesus says there will be another messenger coming after me. do u all forget that? should i prove it to you?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  17. panhead

    ok so i'm going to go out on a limb here... there's a lot of hate & prejudice over a statue. for those who know Christ do you not remember when you were a sinner? living in darkness? you may have been atheist, catholic, baptist, doesnt really matter does it? Until you chose to walk the path of God and gave your life to Him you lived in sin. We are not called to be the judge, nor does God need a defender. I know the God I'm talking about is a merciful and loving and He extends His grace to all who choose to believe in him. Throwing the Bible at people, Im sorry but that just wont work. It's Christ in us and His love, joy , peace that we are to be showing others.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  18. Dr. Lavoie

    Dear SRC,
    Please consider this a sign from God and don't rebuild. If you have another $700K, think about what Jesus would do with that money and help the needy.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Logic Man

    Religious zealots should try reading a scientific journal instead of quoting things they heard on the 700 Club. It just demonstrates how they thrive on ignorance. Religion erodes logical thought and stifles progress. It’s also responsible for more deaths than every disease known to mankind. Religion needs to go away. We do not need to be afraid of the dark any more. There simply is no boogeyman.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  20. A believer that has gone to school

    A basic law of science (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) reveals that in the long run, complex, ordered arrangements actually tend to become simpler and more disorderly with time. There is an irreversible downward trend ultimately at work throughout the universe. Evolution, with its ever increasing order and complexity, appears impossible in the natural world.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • MyEyesAreOpen

      That's because you must have been sleeping through 'school'...
      The 2nd law applies to a closed or isolated system. The Earth is an open system, it is constantly receiving energy from the Sun every second of every day. That additional energy easily overcomes the effect of entropy and allows for evolution.

      Please, please *know* what you are talking about before expressing your ignorance.

      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.– Mark Twain

      Or, if you need, from the book of myths:
      Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. - Bible, 'Proverbs' 17:28.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Whosis71

      I don't know where you went to school, but I'd be looking for my money back if I were you.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • StoneMason

      ... "in the long run" is the critical phrase, and the Universe has quite a bit of time to let Evolution run its course in compliance with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Just wait.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • asrael

      "in the long run, complex, ordered arrangements actually tend to become simpler and more disorderly with time."

      Yes, rather like the human brain trying to blot out evolutionary evidence.

      June 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.