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August 30th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My take: Losing my faith after Hurricane Katrina

Editor's Note: Kathleen Koch is a Washington-based freelance journalist, author and speaker. Her new book, “Rising from Katrina,” traces her Mississippi hometown’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina and her experiences covering it. For 18 years, she was a CNN correspondent.

By Kathleen Koch, Special to CNN

Five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, I prayed. I prayed that the monster storm would veer east and spare the 1.3 million residents of the city and its surrounding parishes. I knew I was praying the hurricane right into my hometown, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Katrina’s eye roared onshore at the state line and then churned east over Mississippi. The sustained 125-mph winds and 30-plus-foot storm surge shredded the house where I’d grown up, my neighborhood, the town and most of the eighty-mile-long Mississippi Gulf Coast.

That first week, as I picked my way through the rubble and interviewed friends and neighbors, I was in shock. My brain wanted to reject what my eyes were seeing. But soon after, I got angry. Why did this happen? And why twice to such kind, hard-working people?

When I had moved to Bay St. Louis as a middle schooler, I’d been struck by the empty lots that dotted the beach. Hurricane Camille had flattened much of town in 1969, and many homes were still missing. Those who returned were confident that as long as they built above the 24-foot Camille surge line, they’d be safe.

But Katrina spared no one. And as I watched residents struggle first against the federal bureaucracy and then against many insurance companies, my anger and frustration grew. I couldn’t understand how a loving God could let all this happen.

So for a long time, I gave up on God. I told myself my crazy schedule that kept me working most Sundays was to blame for my absence from church. But deep down, I knew better. I couldn’t look at the suffering and destruction on the Gulf Coast and find anything to be thankful for.

Still, miraculously, people there were thankful. And I told their stories on CNN. Like Nikki and Patrick Cleveland who were swept out of a beachfront house yet survived by clinging to trees. Or Tommy Kidd. Twenty-seven feet of water surged through he and his wife’s home on the bayou. Yet he spent weeks collecting supplies for family, friends and neighbors before even venturing out to see what he had left.

Residents reached out, helped one another and believed they would get through because that was what they always did. They didn’t look too far ahead or back at what they’d lost. One day at a time. Just make it through one day.

And volunteers poured into the area by the thousands. Some came on their own, driving cars packed with donations. Others arrived by the busload, full of energy and determination to start setting things right.

It was inspiring, and it started to melt my anger. I began reflecting back on the religious statues throughout town that somehow survived the roaring winds and storm surge. One was just two hundred yards from a four-lane, two-mile-long bridge battered to bits by the hurricane. A small two-foot-tall cement statue of the Virgin Mary stood unbroken next to the crumbled remains of a brick rectory.

A friend who’d been in the debris removal business right after the hurricane said he and his workers saw that sort of thing every day. “It was pretty powerful. It shows you that there really is a God. There was no other explanation.”

Signs of hope. Signs that as dire as things looked, residents were not alone.

I took account of my life and how it had changed because of the hurricane. I had reconnected to my hometown and the people I’d grown up with. I had built new friendships with so many who had come to help the Gulf Coast. I was stronger, wiser and more keenly aware of what mattered in life. And it wasn’t the “stuff.”

“It’s just stuff” became a mantra in the region after the hurricane smashed homes and scattered belongings for miles.

People who lost everything found they still had plenty left to keep them going–family, friends, faith and community. They pulled together and in the process most found they had become better parents, better spouses, better citizens of their towns. They, as I, had been transformed by the monster hurricane.

Yes, at the fifth anniversary of Katrina things aren’t back to normal and won’t be for years. The oil spill not only dealt the fragile region an economic blow, but has created deep concern about when and if the waters and beaches will again be safe. But I have faith that those I know and love there will do what seems to be ingrained in their DNA–to overcome, persevere and always remember what matters.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith • Louisiana • Opinion • United States

soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Kate

    Yeeesh, guys – "signs" are what you make of them, where does it say anywhere that they have to be globally understood as a sign? Just because *you* don't see something as a sign doesn't mean someone else won't. If the author sees undamaged statues as a sign, who are any of us to say "Nah, that's just a coincidence"? It's her sign.

    God isn't Bill Engvall you know (at risk of offending his fans, of which I am one)

    August 30, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  2. William Lane Craig

    “It was pretty powerful. It shows you that there really is a God. There was no other explanation.”

    I wonder if her friends told her about the billions of other things that didn't break.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  3. J.A. Messenger

    I'm not sure if some completely read or understand the perspective of the writer. The writer (I think) was not stationed in the path of Katrina. She lives in Washington. Her old hometown was in the path of Katrina.

    She was praying for them. I have to believe that bad things happen. No one can completely explain the sovereignty of why things happen the way they do. But I believe in the way people responded. To my knowledge, people from all over the nation, from all over the world, volunteered and contributed to help in any way they could. The resounding response to this crisis was evident to me personally, and I wasn't covering this story first-hand. To my knowledge, some volunteers are still there helping out where and when they can, off and on.

    Devastating events are not completely easy to understand when it comes to faith. But one thing that we can readily hold onto is the compassion that follows. Look at how we (as a nation) responded to 9/11. Look at how we (as a nation) responded to Haiti (many are still there helping out). Not to sound too crass, but bad things happen. When they do, we find a way to recover. Eventually when we rebuild, we are stronger than we were before as a result. To me, this is because we do not choose to let go of hope, that beyond our understanding and reasoning, all things happen (eventually) for the good. Just gotta hold on when the storm comes.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  4. Loren

    Funny how people are always surprised at how nature can take away their lives in a matter of hours. We are all saddened by the loss of life from Katrina, but we would be fools not to remember the devastaton that it caused and plan accordingly. That means, if you choose to rebuild in hurricane areas, you are prepared to pay the price that nature will demand.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  5. Howard Dean

    “It was pretty powerful. It shows you that there really is a God. There was no other explanation.”

    Yeah, I bet her friends didn't say anything about the other stuff they found that didn't break. I'm 100% sure there were too.

    Religions and the belief of an afterlife are the epitome of human bias and desires.

    You see signs because YOU WANT SIGNS. How do I know?

    You would not say it was a sign if a person of another faith was claiming the same thing. Then it's "Oh, it was just a coincidence."

    August 30, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  6. EM

    New Orleans is not about the drunks, Mardi Gras, or the hurricane. There are real people down there with more problems than just the fact that they suffered through a hurricane. New Orleans and the South are struggling spiritually [but]…Every place has its struggles…New Orleans opens your eyes. It opened mine. It is when you pay it forward for no reward except the reward of helping someone else. I learned that I don't have enough faith. That I can't do things by myself, I need God. People need God. God does answer prayer.- dear writer – I wrote that for a TV episode that was aired months after the hurricane. I understand it challeneged your faith; it challenged my faith to with the things that I found in cleaning up the mess. You don't think that we feel it too? We know. We feel it. You've probably heard it a dozen times, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Well, we're human. Maybe this was God trying to teach you something? Maybe he was testing you and pulling a Job (if you don't believe me read the book of Job). I hope that somehow you can find forgiveness in all of this and realize that there was nothing anyone could do to control it. Think of it as a life lesson or a test. It doesn't make a lot of sense, I know. And I hope one day you can see that this was a test, and that you never really lost your faith, it just went on a temporary holiday.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  7. Kate

    OK, so building below sea level or on oceanfront property seems like a bad repeat of Monty Python's Swamp Castle, but come on guys, you're going to dismiss the deaths and suffering of people affected just because of location – what are you, realtors?

    August 30, 2010 at 10:09 am |
    • Myguys

      Not dimissing the deaths and suffering ... just not surprised at some of it. You had people who remained in the area regardless of several days of evacaution preparation. I truly can't feel sorry for someone were ignorant to remain regardless of their reasons. I also realize that natural disasters and storms of all kinds happen, devastating as they might be.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      "MyGuys" is seriously invested in dismissing what his guys did to New Orleans. By the time it was announced, there wasn't time enough and wide enough roads to get everyone out. Lots of people who live there have no cars and just ride the bus, and the bus left without them. You expect elderly poor folks to flap their arms and fly away?

      August 30, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  8. Myguys

    So you move to a hurricane prone area and you want to know how God let this happen? When is it your own responsbility and not God's or the government's?

    August 30, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Frogist

      Who "moved" there? They lived there. You're acting as if they are illegal immigrants or something. That was their home.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      When mudslides, avalanches, fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, or snowstorms wipe out your home people will say, "You moved there. You are on your own."

      August 30, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  9. Josh

    Luke, the difference is that taxpayers aren't on the hook when a house gets blown over by a tornado in Oklahoma. In the case of high-risk flood areas, the federal government has to step in to provide flood insurance. Private insurers aren't willing to write policies there because it's a losing proposition – the risks of loss are too high. So why should taxpayers have to bear this risk? If people want to live in such areas, they have to be willing to take the risks themselves, but it is unfair and unconstitutional for taxpayers to subsidize such a decision.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  10. Howard Dean

    LOL.

    SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T EVEN GET THE POINT OF THE ARTICLE.

    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

    AMERICANS ARE DUMB. THEY DON'T READ.

    EVEN THEIR SACRED HOLY BIBLES!!

    August 30, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • JT

      Only dumb people use all CAPS.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • Kate

      @JT

      Unless they're a concession stand at a baseball game

      August 30, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  11. Howard Dean

    Statues didn't break. Therefore, there is a god.

    FALLICIOUS REASONING.

    Imporoability does not mean it is a sign. The improbable happens all the time.

    Would you say a hurricane that hits India that leaves Ganesha statues unharmed a sign from Ganesha?

    Come on people. Can we say BIASNESS UP THE ASS?

    I have also heard I "saw a Bible not burning in a pile of books" (I tried burning a Bible. There is a good reason it doesn't. You will see what I mean if you tried), "The lights suddenly came off when I asked for a sign," and "It started to rain when I asked for a sign."

    Statues didn't break.

    Therefore, there was a man who lived over 900 years, and many people who lived over 200 years.
    Additionally, to become closer to his people, he wanted the makes to cut a piece of skin off their penises. etc, etc. In just about every book of Genesis, there is something REALLY ODD.

    Perhaps the statues didn't break because they are more DENSE than the bridges?

    Or perhaps the statues were just the right spot from it being destroyed?

    Come on people.

    THINK.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:03 am |
    • Frogist

      @Howard Dean. Honestly man, this isn't a treatise on the logical probability of god's existence. This is one woman's loss of faith through tragic circumstance and the revival of her faith through recognition that there is still good in the world. There's nothing wrong with that. And for you to claim "biasedness" misses the point of the article.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Frogist

      @Howard Dean. Honestly man, this isn't a treatise on the logical probability of god's -existence. This is one woman's loss of faith through tragic circ-umstance and the revival of her faith through recognition that there is still good in the world. There's nothing wrong with that. And for you to yell "biasedness" misses the point of the article.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  12. Fred Goepfert

    Humans fail, so she blames God.
    She is confused.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • Fred Phelps

      All religious are confused one way or another. How many times have you seen humans who succeed praise god? It's just as asinine as blaming god for human failures. Worst is athletes. Praising god for your success means that 1) you are saying your success was a fluke and you did not work hard enough 2) God does not like your comptetition as much as it does you, and/or your competition is evil 3) God would actually give a damn who won a selfish pissing contest, even if it existed

      August 30, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  13. richunix

    The false beilief that some "GOD" controls the weather and poeple is foolish. Come to think of it, since orgins of christianty (2000 years), this being has done nothing good or bad to help or hinder mankind.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • Aharown

      then shut your mouth and stop complaining.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • jesusfreak

      What are you saying, that he has done nothing? Jesus DIED, so that any wrong thing we've ever done would be forgiven! John 3:16, "For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." Not eternal life on earth, but to live forever in the presence of the one and only God. We have been saved by the grace and love of our Father. SO many lives have been changed! And I am so thankful for that. Without Jesus I would have no hope. No reason to live. I have a purpose. God has a purpose for you, me, and everyone else. He is my strength in the storm, and trust me, I have been through some pretty tough stuff. To say that God has done nothing is incorrect. Jesus loves you!

      August 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  14. Grondahl

    The tough-love aspect of Christianity is missing in all of this.

    "Why did God allow Katrina/Pakistan Floods/Indian Ocean Tsunami to happen?"

    The answer is simple, though potentially disheartening to somebody without a strong faith: We don't deserve any better.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  15. pgAngel

    When it is possible to prove to "a mathematical certainty" that religion is nothing more than fear, superstition and ignorance, why are we having these conversations?

    August 30, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  16. dontaskalice

    "loosing" is not "losing." You lose.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  17. Al Catraz

    Lose faith? It's YOUR choice to live in a place that's prone to hurricanes!!!! Why did God let this happen? PUHLEEZ!!!!!

    August 30, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  18. Angus McDugan

    Hopefully she only looses her faith in the local and state government and not her religion. How about loosing your faith in building homes for a large portion of the citizens of N.O. under sea level adjacent to the largest river on the continent, a ocean, and lake Pontchartrain? Smarten up and make better decisions.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Zebula

      "loses" "losing" Fixed.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  19. David Johnson

    The article said, "It was inspiring, and it started to melt my anger. I began reflecting back on the religious statues throughout town that somehow survived the roaring winds and storm surge. One was just two hundred yards from a four-lane, two-mile-long bridge battered to bits by the hurricane. A small two-foot-tall cement statue of the Virgin Mary stood unbroken next to the crumbled remains of a brick rectory.
    A friend who’d been in the debris removal business right after the hurricane said he and his workers saw that sort of thing every day. “It was pretty powerful. It shows you that there really is a God. There was no other explanation.”

    I once participated in a class project. A sheet of white paper was spread out on the floor. A small bucket of plastic balls, coated with blue chalk dust, was dumped onto the paper. The chalk dust left little blue "dots" and smears, all over the paper. Some of the paper, between the dots, was still perfect, not touched in any way by the chalk dust.

    Another paper was spread out and the experiment repeated. Again, the chalk dust caused dots and smears on the paper. Some of the paper remained clean. But the clean areas were different from the first paper.

    Now imagine that the dropped balls were a natural disaster. Imagine that death and destruction occurred wherever the chalk dust collected. Imagine that whatever was in the area, of where the paper was cleaned, survived untouched.

    You could perform the experiment a billion times. Each time, new areas of the paper would be colored and not colored.

    It is random chance. No god required.

    If you can show me all shrines, churches and religious statues survived untouched, you will have my attention.

    If you would have looked, I bet you would have found many structures survived.

    If you have a god who preserves statues and allows 1800+ humans to perish...

    August 30, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • lit

      In the experiment you participated in, chaos put the paper on the floor, and then chaos and chance dropped the balls on the paper? You may not like what your experiment says about God, but to ignore the role of the one who put the paper on the floor and then dumped the balls on the paper is to ignore a rather significant portion of the experiment.

      August 30, 2010 at 9:57 am |
    • Danielle Joyce

      I have to agree with David Johnson's comment:
      If you have a god who preserves statues and allows 1800+ humans to perish...

      For a professional journalist and former CNN correspondent this is a very weird, simplistic article. Anger melted because religious statues didn't break? That is tangible evidence that there is a god? This article is delusional.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Conguero

      I'm a christian. Jesus(God)saved me from my sin by being a once-for-all sacrifice. That was God's plan, not mine. If he never did another thing for me, that would be enough. But, being human, I've looked for signs along the way that he is working in my life. I would have to say it would take more than sparing a 2 ft statue to show me He is real. I could list many situations that prove His existance to me, but I'll just tell one in particular right now. My son had a growth in his neck, right under his chin which looked about like a golf ball. We took him to a specialist, who determined with X-Ray images that it was some type of cyst. She said that these things don't just go away. They were going to monitor it for a few weeks ...they might have to do surgery, etc., etc. depending on what they found. We prayed and had others pray for my son. The growth started to go away. We had faith. We went back 2 weeks later and the doctor could not find the growth! It dissappeared. Completely. And in 7 years, it has never come back. That, to me, is God. The doctor could not explain it. She seemed angry that it was gone. I'm not kidding. She seemed perturbed that she had previously told us that "these things don't just go away"... and then it did! She said "I can't explain it" and I think that frustrated her. I have numerous true stories like that have happened to me, personally.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Jennifer

      exactly. It's nothing more than that we see what we seek and we find what we seek. Inductive reasoning always has its biggest fans in the religious.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • David Johnson

      @lit

      "In the experiment you participated in, chaos put the paper on the floor, and then chaos and chance dropped the balls on the paper? You may not like what your experiment says about God, but to ignore the role of the one who put the paper on the floor and then dumped the balls on the paper is to ignore a rather significant portion of the experiment."

      Really?
      So, you are saying god is responsible for the disaster? God killed 1800+ people?

      Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, famine etc. have natural causes. They are not caused by god.

      How could you worship a god who you believe kills your fellow humans? It wasn't only evil atheists that died in Katrina. It was believers and children.

      What the experiment shows: If a tornado goes through a trailer park and kills 60 people, but 1 man survives...it's not a miracle. It is random chance. Rewind and put the tornado back through again. Someone else will survive and the original survivor will be toast. Cheers!

      August 30, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Grondahl

      @David Johnson

      So what if God was responsible? What's 1,800 people in the scope of 6 billion?

      August 30, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • Randy

      You've lost me, David Johnson. Either God exists or does not exist. If God doesn't exist, then how can God be responsible.

      The conclusion to your long post is, paradoxically, a sentence fragment. Your most makes me doubt the existence of God, because a loving god would give me those 5 minutes of my life back.

      Inductive reasoning has its faults, but deductive reasoning rooted in biased premises is no great shakes either.

      FAIL

      August 30, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      What can I say? God just loves statues better than people.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • Davey

      I have to agree, this article makes no sense. It would have been good if this Kathleen Koch would have been washed away. I guess God liked those statues better than human beings.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • lit

      My point was simply this: your experiment, at best, proves some form of Deism. You've got to have a ball dropper. At worst, your experiment proves God is rather careless with hurricanes. Just asking for intellectual honesty–if you're going to employ an analogy, at least make sure it supports your point of view.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Godless

      lit wrote: "My point was simply this: your experiment, at best, proves some form of Deism. You've got to have a ball dropper." Bull. By your same logic, any experiment proves a diety because a diety had to create humans before experiments existed. It's circular logic.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • NL

      Statistically speaking, I wonder if anyone has ever calculated whether abortion clinics are more likely to be hit by natural disaster than churches? If there was a significantly higher likelihood I'd take that into consideration that prayer might actually work.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Reality

      One more time:

      In his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian, noted:

      "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."

      Of course, Father Schillebeeckx, made the assumption that there is a god, something even he could not prove!!!

      August 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Bobbie

      @NL
      Well, Ive never heard of any abortion clinic destroyed by natural means. If one did surely would be Gods judgemnt. Churches lost to fire, tornado or what have you are jsut signs from God that he wasnt satisfied with the building and wants people to build something more fancy and bigger! Better give the pastor a raise too, just be sure.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Alpha 1

      Thx David. I really don't associate weather with god. And it irks me when people compare a tornado to the gates of hell or a hurricane as the devil himself. Mother nature is mother nature. it is a weather event plain and simple.

      August 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Reality

    Those who live below sea level or on or near ocean beaches know the risks. The USA taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab for the significant stupidity of beach/delta lovers.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:33 am |
    • Luke

      I honest can't decide if you are serious anymore. When this blog opened, you seemed reasonable, now you just don't make sense. Ok – your argument is that people should not live near the ocean and/or below sea level? Let's take your argument a step further. Shall no people live in the tornado ridden plains states? How about the entire state of Florida? All residents of California should leave earthquake ridden zones? The people of Indonesia need to flee? Let's get the people of India to leave home – there's a real threat of flooding with the upcoming monsoon season. Better get Americans off of the Hawaiian Islands; there be active volcanoes that could reemerge as killers. Better yet – the earth itself is under constant bombardment from asteroids and meteors. One day, a global event will happen. Frankly, we're due for another mass extinction. Shall we go now?

      August 30, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • Loophole

      Well Luke, maybe you're on to something with your counterpoint. It may come down to overpopulation. The people in these areas you mention need to have it in their minds that they live in a catastrophe-ready area. When catastrophe happens just dont be surprised because the odds are against you.

      August 30, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Zebula

      Bingo! These people asked for what they got. We should not feel sorry for them.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      That's callous and not entirely rational. Most people live within grasp of some sort of danger. People tend to ignore the dangers of their local after it does not harm them for a time. Same goes for floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, or snow storms. Saying that people should not get help because their local danger caught up with them is wrong.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • johnny orlando

      And people who live in houses shouldnt complain when a tornado comes and destroys it, or a fire comes. What kind of name is reality? a name for a moron who doesnt know what reality is.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • as1633

      Wow! The responses are all over the map. I was in Biloxi MS during Katrina and lost everything, but my family and I were just as resilient as the majority of the folks. Reality: it is not about US taxpayer responsibility, it is really about compassion. I was Canadian and NY firefighters helping, Red Cross giving and hundreds of Christian groups supporting the communities around us. It really is not about math or faith, yes, storms are more likely near any coasts, but look what happened to Haiti, Chile, and now Pakistan. These natural disasters happen to all, to include tornadoes in locations you would not expect.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Brian

      The point you missed is that people who live in disaster prone areas should buy the necessary insurance. Who cares if you live in a tornado hot spot, or hurricane areas like Florida. If you buy the necessary insurance, than live there. I'm tired of people complaining about living in New Orleans or on the Mississippi river, they get flooded and expect the everybody else to pick up the tab. If you can afford to buy the insurance than do it, otherwise live there at your own risk.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Lucas

      What about all those in Mississippi who lived above sea level and had everything taken from them by Katrina?

      August 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Grondahl

      I'm pretty sure Reality is just a firstie troll now. Stop feeding him and move along.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • GnnColo

      Agreed. And neither should those living next to rivers, streams, and in 'tornado alley' turn to the government for help when disaster strikes. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, people should accept the risks themselves for living where they CHOSE to live.

      Where do YOU live..??

      August 30, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Stoprunning

      You people are morons and a detriment to American progress.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • the true Reality

      29% of the US population lives in a coastal county or parish (Louisiana). Where do you suggest these people move to Reality. The Midwest has tornadoes so that is out too I suppose.
      You want to know why those people take the risk? It is so a-holes like yourself can eat seafood, have oil to power your car and electric appliances, purchase things that were not made in the USA and be defended from foreign invasion. Your life would suck without the industries that are dependent on living near the coast. That is probably why 5 of the 10 most populous cities in the US are coastal. Most notably are New York and Miami which are both at risk of being submerged by a large hurricane.
      In short... your welcome.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality

      A catastrophe, as defined by the insurance industry, is a natural disaster that causes a certain dollar amount, currently set at $25 million in insured damage. Individual insurance companies may declare a "catastrophe" based on the anticipated loss to their policyholders in the impacted area. In most cases, that means they will set up special claims processing centers, establish 24-hour emergency hotlines and send in additional, specially trained claims adjusters to the scene of the catastrophe. These "catastrophe teams" generally arrive as soon as possible and stay as long as they are needed.

      From 1988-2007, hurricanes and tropical storms accounted for 45.6% of insured catastrophic losses, tornadoes 26.5%, 7.9% for winter storms, 7.4% for terrorism, 6.3% for earthquakes, 3.2% for wind, hail and flood,* 2.6% for fire, 0.4% for civil disorders and 0.1% for water damage. (Source: ISO)

      August 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Chris

      You are just trying to absolve yourself of helping your fellow citizens, you are un-american, you should move to canada.

      August 30, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • Wiley Frazier

      I become extremely angry when I hear someone "lost" their faith because God didn't do what they wanted.What makes these people think they are more special than the rest of us 6 billion?These people do not read the bible in depth and fail to realize that, by the bible' God does not help us,God comforts us by knowledge of Gods existence.By the bible,when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge they ended any chance of God becoming directly involved in the affairs of Man,including natural disasters.Man made the universe a place of random chance and only intelligence can create true evil.The bible itself states that the words of Man must be separated from the word of God in the bible.To blame God for tragedy and disasters is to fail to understand that things will happen to the good as well as the bad and that God has nothing to do with it and will not intervene.We,Man, create good and evil and all else in this universe is random by the actions of Adam and Eve.We have been told many times in the bible that we tempt God when we ask for special consideration,that we live in a reality of random events and that our time with God,besides the quite voice in the dark, is to come.IT IS NOT NOW! Do not pray for what you will not receive,this is truly using Gods name in vain.The universe is a school without a leader,and that the teachers are ourselves using the word of God which we have gleaned from the words of men.BLAME NOT THE LORD THY GOD FOR THE ACTIONS OF MAN AND THE RANDOMNESS OF THE UNIVERSE FOR THIS IS A MORTAL SIN! We are on our own till the judging of our souls! Live with reality or continue to blame the one who is without blame! The choice is yours and the rewards can be great.Be the godlike being you were made to be and handle your problems with the power that God gave you when the choice to know good and evil was made and God no longer was a "hands on" creator.BY OUR CHOICE WE LIVE IN CHAOS BUT THE PAYOFF IS HUGE. TO BE A GOD ONESELF!

      September 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ichthus

      You are just as calloused and cruel as Ebenezer Scrooge. You never have anything nice or insightful to say. It seems you troll this blog to belittle people and bemoan the faiths you clearly don't understand. If you have this much discontent and bitterness toward the world and its people why don't you actually try to do something helpful rather than be haughty and belligerent?

      September 6, 2010 at 6:47 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.