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


    June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  2. Lookingforhope

    One day when you stand before the real Jesus it will be an interesting conversation. How do we say, do you like being fried or boiled?

    June 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Aamanee

    "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
    This is too Funny!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • TenSai

      Well said. I don't know if this was a concious,direct, deliberate act of God or not. But that verse should at least get someone int that congregation to thinking about "What if" and should it be rebuilt, or should the money go to more human practicle needs.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  4. Pooh

    God and the Devil were one day walking along side a river, when God looked down and spotted something very bright and sparkly. God picked it up and looked at it, "Ah! Truth!" The Devil then said "Give it to me and I'll organize it."

    June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  5. Phillip

    God is letting satan do its things because man has decided to do it without God believing in satan the devil who is an "opposer" who disguised as the snake. God it letting you, for the moment, do it on man power while the satan rules on this earth. As you can see, while the technology progresses to improve our lives, human conditions are actually getting worse day by day.

    Other terms identified with Satan include "the prince of this world" in the Book of John 12:31

    And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 2:2

    I long for the day of true Armageddon, not as in the movie.
    ...the Messiah, the "Lamb", Jesus Christ, will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (the "beast") in the battle of Armageddon.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Tom

      You long for Armageddon? You're one sick f***

      June 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Abraham Lincoln

      I read a book that claims dinosaurs are still alive. Do you believe that too? I mean, it's in a book and everything that was ever written is fact, right?

      June 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • Dirk

      Only the FSM can save you my friend.


      June 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Rich

      Isn't God a great guy? I mean, sure, we go through lots of anguish he could eradicate with a furrow of his mighty brow, but he chooses to let us suffer and let Satan run rampant on the world he created. I mean, it's kind of letting a wild dog run wild in a room of your house while it kills all your innocent, cute kittens. Who wouldn't do that too, if they were God? I mean besides people with sympathy or a conscience, of course.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • CM

      That sounds freakin sweet! Will it be on pay-per-view? I mean, UFC is cool and all but JC vs the Anti-Christ??

      June 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Kalel

    Church has way too much money if you ask me. When did it ever become about how big a statue you could build? I say go back to the beginning, and bring your pastor/priest food, water, and assist him in building his home together as a church, not spend all this money on a monstrosity of a building...... stop all the spending on needless things and help your community, not line the pockets of the church.

    just sayin

    June 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  7. Dave

    Everyone can just relax. It'll be back in three days.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • D


      June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • LMAO

      I have been laughing uncontrollably at all of this (I was attracted by all the cool church signs on the side of the page), but Dave's comment was the best, most understated, and damn funniest thing there!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Nick


      June 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • JG

      Hilarious. This story made my day, and your comment was the cherry on top.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
    • seaswept

      Dave... I love you.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • nkl

      Stop Stop I'm dying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! roflmfao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

      June 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • j.d.

      Dave, Dave, Dave . . . I'm stopping right here! Your's takes the trophy, I love it and won't read on cause nothing will top this! Thanks to everone for the great laughts, this is good medicine! (also, was good fireworks)

      June 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • jgtl

      Thanks, Dave!
      I can't stop laughing, tears are streaming down my face and I can't breathe. Perfect, absolutely perfect comment.

      Praise Jesus!

      June 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  8. Smalls

    And people like Righteous-in-christ always told me that I'd be the one burning in a lake of fire.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • James

      I hope that is not the case for you, the offer of salvation through the finished work of Christ is FREELY available to you this very moment.

      That being said, if you strike a hammer on your finger – its going to hurt. No good blaming the hammer for it. Christ said HE is the ONLY way to GOD – if you reject HIM, there is no hope for you. I don't enjoy saying this to you and I pray that this will never happen. May the Lord speak to your heart today.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Abraham Lincoln

      If you reject the flying spaghetti monster, here is no hope for you, for He has said the only true path to heaven is through Meatballs and Marinara. I pray that one day the Ragu enters your heart and sets you free from your sins.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Dirk

      Ramen my brother Ramen!..

      June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Rich

      Yep, FREELY available. Don't mind us passing this collection plate around all the time, it's just for those who care more about their salvation than you do. Christ Lite is still free if you don't want to subscribe to Christ Premium, but there's all kinds of perks we'd love to share with you.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • James

      LOL you guys are funny...

      @RICH: Collection plates abuses are the abuse of human enterprise and what they have turned Christianity into.
      The Lord Jesus would say – freely have you received, freely give OR not, there is NEVER a compulsion.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Smalls

      James, it's a good thing it's all make believe. I mean, really, lake of fire for all eternity? Because it was written in a book written by nomadic goat herders 2000-some years ago that's been translated several hundred or more times over? Nobody really believes that, do they?

      June 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • James


      Funny, but you know, similar kind of guys also invented the wheel. I hear that technology is also very very OLD and invented by guys who did not go to MIT or heavens forbid the UCLA. I would be very careful about that car of yours if you drive one.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Jaybone

      @ righteous-n-christ Considering the second half of your statment, when you quoted Corintians is grammatically correct, and the 1st half...which, as you read on, has been altereted grammatically several times and still looks like it was written by an autistic 5 year old, you either A: are just on here to get a rise out of people and dont believe a word you've stated considering that the Corintians was copied and pasted, and you sound like a complete lunatic or B: you're ARE an illiterate lunatic...well...A or B...you're still an idiot.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  9. righteous-in-Christ

    Keep mocking God, keep being stiff-necked, keep being stubborn, keep being fools, keep being disobedient, keep sinning, keep seeking other non-existent 'god', AND keep creating idols made with human hands in the eyes of the Lord your God, & destruction, corruption, death, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, and every negative thing that you see before your very eyes, will become your closest friend! GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED....PERIOD!!


    June 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Is that you Phelps?

      June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      The TRUTH (JESUS CHRIST) is cutting deep down to the very soul, hear, and thougts of all ATHEISTS!

      Thank God your groups that is very, very small and weak!! One of the foolish comments I have heard from an Atheists was that Atheists can inhibit the earth, yeah right, just like “Pinky & the Brain” have been trying! After all, Pinky & the Brain exist because it was created by men and most importantly, they can see it! God will never allow it! Hmmmm, I really wonder how long they’ve been trying to inhibit God’s earth? Also, if this scholars & philosophers are so wise and intelligent, why haven’t they come up with something to keep people from dying or stop sickness & disease? With all of their science knowledge and technology, what’s taking them so long! I’m not against science, but when one puts their trust in science and lives God who has given mankind the wisdom for science and technology, it’s worthless because they take the Glory from God and pats themselves on the back as if they have done this own their own.


      (1 Corinthians 1)

      18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
      19 – For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      The intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[c]
      20 – Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
      21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
      22 – Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
      23 -but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
      24 – but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
      25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
      27 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
      28 – He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ


      !I’m not against science, but when one puts their trust in science and leaves God out, who has given mankind the wisdom for science and technology, it’s worthless because they take the Glory from God and pats themselves on the back as if they have done this own their own.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • NickB5

      Lions and tigers and bears oh my.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Tom

      ...."and when the christians and muslims finish killing each other off over ridiculous mythology, the enlightened atheists will inherit the earth and peace and discovery will rule the day.....Amen."

      Billy Bob 3: 5-8

      June 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Abraham Lincoln

      My holy book says your holy book is wrong. And mine has color pictures, which makes it far superior.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Me

      "Atheists can inhibit the earth"?? really...inhibit what exactly?? the moronic things posted on here are fully entertaining

      June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Rich

      righteous-in-Christ: You are one special brand of stupid.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • thedosai

      of course god has a sense of humor, just read what you wrote

      June 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  10. Ray H.

    Well said Eric!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  11. CincyATrain

    The thing was an eye sore and tacky period, it was a decandent engraven image from an even tackier congregation, go down south and construct your Styro Jesus where those sorts of eye sores will fit right into the landscape amid all the trailers and tin shacks.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  12. jenn

    No!!!!! Not Big Butter Jesus!!!!!!


    June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • James

      Trust me God in heaven likes a good laugh too.

      Just make sure that He won't be laughing AT you in the end.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • vengence

      Trust you?? Why?

      June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Tom

      James – there's no afterlife. Grow up.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • James

      @ Tom:

      Yeah sure, I should trust you – coz you've been there and come back to know for sure.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Tom

      James – I don't have to have been there. I'm not the one making outrageous claims. You are. Can you prove there is a place in the sky filled with cotton candy clouds where we all sit around roasting marshmallows while watching the tortures of the damned below in a searing hot underworld filled with smoke and fumes? Are you nuts? I also have never been to any of Saturn's moons. But that doesn't mean I know for a fact that each moon is currently being orbited by invisible pink unicorns. Face it. You're afraid of death and the unknown and religion gives you comfort. That's fine. Just keep it to yourself.

      June 16, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • sherrylou

      Seriously, folks, is this the best way a church can find to spend their money? All of the malnourished and mistreated children in the world and they spend their money on this monstrosity? I will be glad to not have to see this eyesore for a while! I would think devout people would be ashamed of this monstrous waste of money that could be spent helping others! Geesh!

      June 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  13. Russ


    June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  14. Ray H.

    This story is going to bring all the crazies out. There is going to be long winded retorts from both sides of the "GOD" issue. Enjoy!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  15. Tyronio

    Proof that God hates being misrepresented

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • James


      June 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  16. Eric

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions and says this was an act of God, remember that this thing was effectively a giant lightning rod sticking out of a lake.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Another Eric

      Yup, lightning strikes should have been expected. I'd even have done each of his fingers as a separate attractor. Now that would be a heck of a picture with lighting darting from his fingertips.

      I'm guessing that they did have lighting rods, but seemingly not at the right spots, or enough of them.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  17. Timmy

    Can you just smell the irony ??

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Katie Did

      No, but I smell burnt Jesus.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • NewWicca

      I'll bet the styrofoam wrapped in fiberglass smelled bad, too! 🙂

      June 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      The Rock says....

      June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • MK03

      I can. It smells like burnt styrofoam.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  18. TheRadicalLiberal

    Thor? Thor is a false god. Thor does not exist.

    This is obviously the work of the one true god – Zeus.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • pg

      Sorry...all other gods are false. There is only one true and eternal god: FSM. Repent y'all and accept his noodly lord. Y'all be glad ya did. rAmen.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • ZEUS

      Thanks, Rad,
      But, Thor does exist – just busy in Europe yesterday. Then he's off to the World Cup with Eostre
      (just don't tell Sif!).

      My next assignment is to zap some of these
      before getting back to Olympus:

      June 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  19. James

    That was a statue of Jesus? Who says? AFAIK, its a statue of some Caucasian model. The Lord of Glory and the King of Kings needs no statue – HE desires disciples to love and obey HIM and follow HIS path. All this statue business is just crazy. Good that it was struck down. I hope this group utilizes their monies better – in furthering HIS Kingdom, in equipping the saints to abide in HIM, by becoming poor, misunderstood....where do I start. Its sad to see the state of Christianity today, no wonder it is despised – all the Apostles died as martyrs or suffered terribly for the name of Christ. Note the words of Apostle Paul to the Corintians:

    "Already ye are filled; already ye have been enriched; ye have reigned without us; and I would that ye reigned, that *we* also might reign with you. For I think that God has set us the apostles for the last, as appointed to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. *We* are fools for Christ's sake, but *ye* prudent in Christ: *we* weak, but *ye* strong: *ye* glorious, but *we* in dishonour. To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are in nakedness, and buffeted, and wander without a home, and labour, working with our own hands. Railed at, we bless; persecuted, we suffer it ; insulted, we entreat: we are become as the offscouring of the world, the refuse of all, until now."

    I mourn for the mockery that is Christianity in America today!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Memme

      And that's a logical "Christian" response... unlike so many others in here. You are right. If you other people were Christian at all, this is what you'd be saying too.

      You can be a real Christian, and get some respect from me... but the 'Christian America Incorporated' brand "Christian" will get nothing but ridicule from the intelligent agnostics who know what Christians are actually SUPPOSED TO BE...

      The rest of you are all FRAUDS... and you really had better hope the real Atheists are right about God, and you fake Christians are wrong! Because if not, you're going to have a real bad time in the after-life! It's the people James speaks of that are the laodecian... the luke-warm... you will not make it into heaven... assuming there is one... which I doubt (agnostic, look it up).

      June 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • James

      @ Memme

      I'm sure you've heard of Pascal’s Wager – if not, do look it up.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Bryan

      @James Pascal's wager? Has that not already been thoroughly defeated? It really only works if the God is the one the Christians believe in. What if the real God is nothing like the Christian conception of God? Then the Christian believer and the Atheist are both equal in their wrongness. We could go into the idea that belief is not a choice, but I'll assume that you already knew that. Finally, if God is perfect and created us all, then he must have wanted us to have different beliefs (or no beliefs) about his nature. I hope that I have addressed Pascal's wager to your satisfaction. Now, here's one for you to look up, David Hume. You might find him enlightening.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • James


      Aah...not so fast my friend. We were discussing God or no God scenario – (at this point it is a moot point if this is a Christian God or some other imaginary god). This is the point where Pascal's wager comes in.

      From this point you move forward, and if you sanely said – yes to God, then we come to the conundrum of WHICH God...the Christian God or other gods. Then you compare the truth claims of these systems. The uniqueness of Christianity as compared to all other religions is that while others stress on do this and do that for your salvation – Christ says its is all DONE. Christian (myself included) have done a very poor job of portraying true Christianity. In true Christinity, Christ is ALL. Pride will not agree to such a message, and that is the other reason why you have so many detractors against Christianity...

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

      Sorry – my last response was @Bryan, not Memme. Apologies.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Cason

      Agnostic refers to the knowledge of something. As in not having the knowledge that God doesn't exist. A/theist refers to the (lack of) belief in a divine being. It is 99.99% of Atheists will follow the definition of Agnostic Atheists. Both parties, Theists and Atheists, should refer to themselves as Agnostic despite their belief. Otherwise it is a lie. It is a common misconception that Agnostic is the "in between" of Atheism and Theism, but its only used to describe your personal knowledge on the subject.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  20. Sharon

    What god giveth, Mother Nature taketh away.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 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.