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. naturechaplain

    "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."
    What is unbelievable is your naivete. So, God saved the statues and killed the people? You highlight almost everything that is destructive in the storm of religion. This was a natural disaster made worse by those who turn it into a super-natural disaster called "miracle" and "blessing." The book Life After Faith may be a good start on the path to rationality.

    August 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  2. gg

    this article is misleading. CNN is know your all about discussing religion that's why you keep posting religious articles. The people of New Orleans encountered Katrina and most probably worshipped some sort of god. When the prayers weren't answered the worshipers became angry....If i were religious, first i'd think, why would such a lovely god bring such wrath to "his people" after hearing no answer, that'd be enough to say well there is no god. To see all the kind humans in the world volunteer to help rebuild the city but give god more credit than the actual people helping is illogical. So for those still thanking god for the aftermath of Katrina, I'd like to say A BIG THANKS TO THE VOLUNTEERS that made it possible. They deserve all the credit, and no other holy being should deserve an ounce of the thanks.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  3. SkegeAce

    But aside from that, you're equating what God does to what Glenn Beck and the Tea Partiers do. I missed the banner in the sky that said God endorses Glenn Beck...

    Again, the essential problem isn't about politics or perceived oppression. It's about the basic understanding of whether or not there is a God. No one seemed to be able to answer where the atom comes from? Or why they would come on this page if they really don't believe in God?

    August 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mikey Robusta

      SkegeAce said, "Again, the essential problem isn't about politics or perceived oppression. It's about the basic understanding of whether or not there is a God. No one seemed to be able to answer where the atom comes from? Or why they would come on this page if they really don't believe in God?"

      We are getting a little ahead of ourselves here with our assumptions, aren't we? Is it really just about whether there is a god or not? "Why?" is a relative question you know–not an absolute one–because causation is always relative to an effect and vice versa. It is part of the definition of the word and concept. But perhaps reality itself is not caught in the crossfire of cause and effect. Perhaps, the absolute foundation of reality is not relative at all. Reality could very well be infinite, timeless, never beginning and never ending....just like you assume your personal god to be. In fact, people seem to just "personify" what is intuitable about reality: these things I just mentioned a moment ago. People are just putting natural phenomena in terms of what they know most intimately: people, or human-like entities. These attributes of what seems to constitute reality do not need a word to describe them. The word "god" elicits too much of a connotation that conjurs images of man to be useful for considering the absolute truth of reality. "What is" is better terminology for exactly what is. It needs no other explanation. This is the reason why "Why" is a meaningless question when it comes to absolute terms of existence. In other words, our human shortcoming is needing to know "why" when purpose and meaning are actually human inventions ascribed by us to reality.

      As for the atoms, they are actually composed of sub-atomic particles. What are these particles composed of? Even smaller particles. Does it ever end? Who knows...but asking why it is the way it is is not a useful question. Our best educated guess at the moment to where all this matter and energy comes from is the Big Bang. What preceeded the Big Bang is a mystery at this point but many hypothesize it was a collapsing universe. Again, science does not try to forward the idea that these theories are exactly the way things happened. It is just to the best of the science community's current collective knowledge and understanding. There is no claiming of knowing an absolute truth here.

      People like me who don't believe in a traditional or personal "god" have come to this page to state their disgust with a news organizaton appealing to base emotions of those who do instead of just reporting objective facts and news. Like I said before, the integrity and impetus of unbiased, objective journalism is now officially dead, In this way, it is exactly about politics and what you call "perceived" oppression. Corporations taking advantage of people like you doesn't help me, especially if I don't agree with what the corporation espouses politically.

      August 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • CatholicMom


      Sometimes I think they come here just to mock the Church. Did you have anything to say? It doesn't matter because I will no listen to the blandishments of "reasonable" people. My Church tells me all I need to know.
      Were you abused as a child, too? Don't blame God. He works in mysterious ways but child abuse is not one of them, even when done by a Holy Father. These are the truths within Holy Scripture that would become clear if you read it with an open mind. God bless you!

      August 31, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • joe agnost

      CatholicMom wrote: "Sometimes I think they come here just to mock the Church."

      I see no church mocking here... people's belief in god is being questioned – but you're wrong about the 'church mocking'. I think you're a little too sensitive about your faith.

      And CatholicMom con't: "My Church tells me all I need to know."

      And that sounds about right – and is also a large part of what's wrong with religion. Blindly listen to your church, don't bother getting ANY outside information (it might make you question your faith). It's truly sad to allow yourself to be manipulated in this way... but you have every right to live this way. It ~is~ sad though.

      August 31, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  4. Mikey Robusta

    @ SkegeAce
    Ah, you assume people are atheists. Perhaps they are just agnostic to organized religion and traditional views of a "greater power" than themselves. Whenever you assume or declare, the burden of proof sits with you. No one hear said that there is nothing like a god or some permutation of a higher power of some sort. In fact, what we perceive as Nature very likely is that greater power, as we are contained within Nature. Many, however, have a problem with the human assumption of what constitutes the greater power than ourselves is. The major religions assume in their faith all these attributes of their "personal" god. What this really is is a selfish laundry list of things they want to be true about the assumed greater power. It is a mirror of man's fear and lust for power and control and his narcism. This is childish, petty, and selfish. It is irrational and leads to violence. A hard declaration that there is no higher power is just as dumb as a hard declaration of exactly what constitutes a higher power.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Edward

    Well, the question of God/No God has been around for a very long time. Philosophers over the past 4,000 years have struggled with this question and have wrestled with the various paradoxes that are generated by the very question. Saying there is no God/Greater Being also implies that humans are finite physical beings. Those that do not believe in God, also refuse to believe in the afterlife. If there is no afterlife, then whatever we do in this life is all we need to worry about. The minute we close our eyes, it's done. No regrets, no judgement, no Big God to answer to. If you don't believe in God, you most likely also believe that we have evolved from simple organisms to the complex organisms we are today. One of the driving forces behind evolution is survival of the fittest and self preservation at all costs.

    This is where the paradoxes begin to emerge. Much like the belief in God, the belief in some overreaching humanistic code of behavior or moral/ethical standards is just as dependent on faith of some kind. Faith in our Constitution, faith in the founding fathers, faith in the Magna Carta, faith in Democracy, faith in the goodness of people, faith in Obama, etc...

    In reality, why should we care about any of these things. If we are here for a very short time (in cosmic terms), why not make the very best of our short lives and live an ego-centric life. Why not focus on spreading your genes and your preferences as far and wide as you can. There is very little scientific or even philosophical reasoning not to do so. If people get killed by Katrina, then is that really something that I need to worry about? Does it really impact me? Does it reduce my chances of living my life as i please? Not really...unless I am one of the effected. In a world of 6 billion people, the chances that Katrina affects me are slim to zero.

    If you think this is an extreme concept then look at the massacres and genocides that have been going on since the dawn of man. From the very beginning of recorded history to more recent events in Germany, Russia, Cambodia, Rawanda, the Middle East. Look at our Mexican neighbors and their drug war today. Thousands killed and beheaded...for what? Power, money, bragging rights? There is a very fine line that separates ego driven brutality from societal stability. However, if you do not believe in God and you look at humanity simply from a scientific/evolutionary perspective, why condemn people like Hitler? What did he do wrong. He believed his gene pool and the gene pool of his people were superior to those of all other races and ethnicities...and he acted on it. He eliminated as many competitive genes/people as he could and planned to purify his gene pool further through world domination. From an atheistic perspective, one would have a hard time proving that he acted in a way that was evolutionarily irresponsible (for him). Now I'm no Nazi, but can we really ever blame, from a detached scientific perspective, any human behavior? Does it ever really matter? We are one species among millions/billions. We are on an insignificant planet in a small galaxy. If I am born and know that I will only have 80 years, then why not make it awesome for me regardless of the effects it might have on someone else. It just doesn't matter...especially if when I close my eyes, it's done.

    Now you may throw reality show philosophy at me, or even quote me some George Carlin (see above), and we can all grin and chuckle...but the questiions of God/No God or even "why God let's bad things happen" have been around for a very long time and have been argued and meditated upon for millennia. At the end of the day, it is very difficult to separate, God, the afterlife, and human misery, charity and love.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Reality

    In his book, Church: The Human Story of God, Father Edward Schillebeeckx, 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 assumed that there is a god, something he could never prove!!!!!

    August 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • elrio

      18Forthe wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
      19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
      20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
      21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
      22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
      23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [b]crawling creatures.
      24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
      25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
      26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
      27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
      28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
      29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
      30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
      31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
      32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
      Romans 1:18-32

      August 31, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  7. SkegeAce

    The atheist says, "Prove there is a God." The believer responds, "Prove there isn't one." The atheist says, "You can't prove there is or isn't a God." The believer responds, "Ah, then you have *faith* that there is no God. Interesting..."

    August 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      That's basically my position. I can't PROVE that there's not a god because He might be hiding a million lightyears away inside a nebula or something, but I'm pretty sure I'm right. I can't prove that Care Bears are only a cartoon either, because there could be a planet full of the creepy little things somewhere, just waiting to be discovered(I'm not holding my breath though). But yes, I have FAITH that there's NO GOD, hallelujah!

      August 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Buster: Looks like we shall find out whether our faith was placed rightly or incorrectly. Be blessed!

      August 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
    • JT

      Does your mother know you're on the Internet machine again?

      August 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Nope- I've been an independent adult for a while now. But I'm sure she'd be proud. 😉 Isn't yours?

      August 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  8. hhm

    "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."

    August 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  9. Nonimus

    << @SkegeAce

    August 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  10. Nonimus

    You were claiming that God doesn't care about inanimate objects... apparently he does... but only his own.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Okay, so I clarified that I meant man-made. Does that change the argument? Also, "caring" in the subjective feel of the word is a bit of a stretch. Just because something is good or useful, that doesn't mean God "cares" about it. The Earth was declared "good", but He will one day destroy it. How does "goodness" relate to "caring" in that circumstance?

      Heck, my poor little 9 year old car is "good" for getting to work, but I wouldn't say I "cared" about it. 😉

      August 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  11. Mikey Robusta

    @ SkegeAce
    I understand that perhaps your whole foundation for existence is based on the Bible because you were brought up that way or some trauma in your life made you seek out its promised psychological and spiritual comforts. But if you really are to grow as a person, you should seek out the truth of reality...not some convenient mythos created by ignorant people who lived 2 to 3 millenia ago. It's important to keep moving in the direction of uncovering truth, but ultimately, we as people will never fully understand reality because of our sensoriperceptual and cognitive limitations, and that is okay. We don't need to in order to get along in the world. We need an inherent understanding of one another. Religious people can do many good things, but religion divides at the end of thet day, unfortunately. I know what you are going to say: what about all the wonderful things that religion does like charity for the poor, spiritual commnunities, etc. You know what? People are the one's doing those things, not religions. Religions are idealistic and fantastical, but the congregations of people that make them up are real. You don't need a mythical backstory to do good on this earth. You need empathy and perspective. You need to realize that the golden rule is inherent to human beings, the self-reflective creatures that we are. We want to be treated kindly...so, we treat others kindly as we'd like to be treated in hopes of reciprocation. This simple fact did not require divine intervention or revelation for people to become aware of. People have been aware of this since the advent of our species. As culture and knowledge accummulates, we are forced to become even more aware of this simple fact, as we share more and more resources amongst more and more people. Sharing, caring, cooperation, fair & friendly competition, and learning/education are the only benign and benevolent ways to coexist with so many other people competing for finite resources and livable space. Why do religious people not take the time to think about these things. Religion is a burden at the end of the day because it plays off of your fears. It is a 'site of abiding' (for clinging to) as the great Zen masters say. Let go. Be okay with 'what is', and you and everyone else will benefit from it. At the end of the day, there is no reason to try to define things that we don't yet understand or that we will never be able to undersand. Accepting that you cannot possibly know the unknowable is the greatest wisdom there is.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  12. Nonimus

    Perhaps you meant that God doesn't care about 'man-made' inanimate objects...

    "God saw that the light was good"
    "God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good."

    August 30, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • SkegeAce

      In context of the conversation, I was referring to the statues and houses, so yes. That is specifically "man-made" objects. What of the Lord's creation that was declared good by Him could ever be destroyed? Who can destroy the light or the ground, but God Himself? 🙂

      August 30, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • Nonimus

      Just clarifying. He doesn't care about stuff man creates, but stuff he created is 'good'. And technically when a house is 'destroyed' it is torn down and rearranged, not "destroyed", which is also possible with light and ground. Just seems one-sided is all.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • SkegeAce

      You lost me a little bit...a house is man-made, so I'm not sure how that fits in the context of "God-created". Also, what is "one-sided"?

      August 30, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  13. GnnColo

    Like any discussion about "God".. conclusions were drawn arbitrarily. People 'pulling together' and helping one another, is attributed to a 'loving God'. But the destruction, death of 'innocent' people, and hardship... "God" is or isn't responsible for that..?? Did "God" punish them..?? If so, why..??

    Apparently, every disaster can be explained as God acting to punish, teach, reward, or test mankind in some way. If the reason can not be explained, then it is covered under 'the mystery of faith'... one must simply believe that God 'has a plan' whether we understand it, like it, die from it.. or not. Some things are simply beyond man's ability to understand. Things like the earth being round versus flat. Once upon a time, God would instruct his 'priests' to burn you at the stake for THAT thought.

    It's amazing how far mankind has come, yet how far it hasn't come.... was the hurricane 'just the weather', or did God send it..??

    August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • SkegeAce

      No one can say but God why things do or don't happen. I wouldn't dare say it's a "judgement" on anyone. Could it be? Maybe, but we don't have the authority to say.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • Godless

      "No one can say but God why things do or don't happen." Actually, we can say why a lot of things happen. We can explain why hurricanes are caused. They certainly aren't a result of god getting mad and teaching people a lesson.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • SkegeAce

      But you can't prove that it isn't God's will any more than I can prove it is His will. Science to prove how a hurricane happens, but you can't prove that God isn't the originator of that exact physical science necessary for its creation; we also can't say "why" the hurricane happens.

      Ah, so we both hit walls in our arguments. Your science doesn't reach far enough and my argument doesn't get anyone any further either, without faith. Thus, faith is the only thing that can reach beyond where man-made reasoning stops.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      If Obama developed macular degeneration and began losing his sight, it would be God striking him down for being uppity. If Glen Beck developed macular degeneration, it would be just a medical condition. See?

      August 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Haha, I would never say that a condition like that is punishment. I pray that Obama and Beck both keep their sight. I understand your stance though; many pseudo-Christians like to point fingers and say that things like that are a sign of God's displeasure. But the Word says differently.

      Christ encountered a blind man on the road and His disciples asked what sin he had committed to be made blind. Jesus said it wasn't because he sinned or even that his parents sinned. It was so that God could show His glory by healing the man. And he did! He cured him of his blindness. So you can never say, "God is angry with this person so He struck him down." It's not for us to know "why" all the time. John 9:1-41

      August 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • GnnColo

      Well.. there ya go... God is behind all things, responsible for all that exists, knows all... but, for some ... is not 'vengeful' nor wrathful... and the only 'proof' of God is "faith". History show's us that mankind has been learning and explaining the his world and universe more and more as time goes on. At the same time, mankind used God, Religion, etc to explain what mankind could not. And as time went on, mankind began to explain more and more of what occurs in our existence.. things that were once attributed only to GOD's will is now explained by the sciences. So then "science" is God's will... until we prove otherwise, then THAT will be God's will... etc.

      Basically, mankind has shown itself to be easily mistaken, most often totally wrong before correct, and always in need of an explanation of all things especially those things not easily understood. By having a "God", nothing is not understood. All things, are explained by Him.

      But, seeing how undeniably incorrect, inconcistent , sinful, and unfailingly fallible mankind is... How can ANYONE really put so much 'faith' in the Bible..?? It was not written by God, nor Jesus, nor Mohhamad, nor Mary. It is a second, third, or fourth hand account of what someone else thought things meant, and it's been re-translated several times by people who had a vested interest in using what was 'said' to control their 'flock'. It doesn't even include ALL the 'gospels'..!! It includes the ones that someone a thousand odd years ago "decided" to include.

      The "other" gospels didn't (don't) seem what..?? To be 'God's word'..?? According to whom..?? And why do THEY get to chose..?? Wait... all things are predetermined by God, so it was God's will (and his PLAN) that these persons didn't include these other gospels(???)Aand for some reason God willed the Germans to Gas 10 million people to death, and the Russian Communists to starve 20 million to death, and the Rawandans to hack each other to death... etc. It's not for us to understand.

      Sadly, it's all I can do to stay quiet at a 'christening' these days... and I've been going to a LOT of them as I get older. Folks, believe what you will, but NO BABY... NONE... is born with sin. As in "original sin"... Somehow, God has willed that billions of christians believe otherwise. It is one of the bigger 'mysteries' to me is how people can accept such a notion... even on "faith".

      August 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  14. SkegeAce

    mfaphoto: God doesn't save objects. Houses and statues aren't of any consequence to him. The author suggested that- no where in the Bible does it say God cares about inanimate objects. He cares about being in your heart more than in your building.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • JT


      August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • SkegeAce

      Classic in that God doesn't change. 😉

      August 30, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • JT

      You are correct....he does not exist and still does not exist. You're getting it!

      August 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • SkegeAce

      Nope- it that He was, is, and always will be! 🙂

      August 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Hitch Fan

    You're a writer and believe there must be god because the statues survived? Preposterous. Tell that to the people that floated by those icons gasping their last breath. You describe people pulling together do to their innate solidarity and ascribe it to faith, absurd.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  16. mfaphoto

    Faith is when you believe something someone tells you and he has no facts or proof on his side to back him up. The only thing he can hand you are 2000 year old myths, that are unprovable, and stories about statues not being blown over. Did it every occur to anyone that the statues are very heavy and haven't enough surface area for the wind to knock them down?

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

      Faith is believing in something you know is not true.

      August 30, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • Frogist

      Faith is hoping to the nth degree there is something more.

      August 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  17. Nikky

    I can't believe the depth of ignorance, self-importance and close mindedness I see on forums sometimes.
    First off, people say why live in the delta? Okay? Why live in Seattle, where there is a danger of a volcano eruption anyday? As recent as 1980, Mt St. Helens erupted leading to loss of lives. Why live in much of the midwest plains with exposure to tornadoes etc. What about unprecedented floodings recently in Nashville? Danger exists everywhere, the only difference is preparedness levels. When Hawaii was at risk of a tsunami recently, their preparedness level was way better than Indonesia's. Damage at Bay St Louis etc was a direct effect of the hurricane, damage in New Orleans was a result of failed levees. For those who say why live on the beach, you probably eat seafood. Doesn't it make sense that fishermen and their families will settle near the source of their livelihoods?
    Re people not leaving New Orleans as the storm approached, several reasons for that. The city botched it at first with a late call for mandatory evacuation. Also, get it, not everyone has the resources to leave, especially with large families, no money for hotel, no family to camp with, you just cross your fingers and hope that things will be well. With poor health, you might decide to ride it out. Lots of people did ride it out and saw minimal damage in the 1st day after the storm. Than the levees broke, DO YOU GET IT? Then the government botched again the response. And nobody should say that it seems they were dependent on the government. Educate yourself, apart from those at the superdome, there were lots of other people stranded in the city. There were hospital patients for instance, did anyone read about the doctors charged to court for euthanasia? Get it, Katrina wasn't a yearly occurrence like California wildfires. It was an UNPRECEDENTED in its magnitude in recent times occurrence. Stop throwing blame around. Yes New Orleans is a city full of blights and ills and evils but still, people there are human and have to live with the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental situation.
    Then look at what happened in 2008, Hurricane Gustav reared and to avoid the criticism of people like you, the city was evacuated for a week leading to loss of income for ordinary people who live paycheck to paycheck. Unnecessarily it would seem. People then go on to talk about oh 5years after, do they still want handouts? Do you people understand that most people did not have flood insurance enough to rebuild their homes. You have a home you've built equity on and it;s gone in a puff with no insurance. Come on people, have some heart! Many schools are still closed in New Orleans, many industries that revolved around the ports gone. What do people do after that? How many people compete for the remaining jobs? How many people had before Katrina marketable skills? If you were a lawyer before the storm, then you might be able to get back on your feet. If you have a particular skill targeted at a particular industry, what do you do. Re-skill yourself while trying to put food on the table. IT IS A VERY COMPLEX SITUATION, NOT AS SIMPLE AS WE WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IT.
    All over the world, people struggle to live day to day, within their peculiar circumstances. The people of the Gulf Coast are no different.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  18. goandseek

    I dont need a god to feel worthy of life. I was raised in a very Christian family, was in church all the time growing up. As my brain grow and developed into an adult at some point I realized that religion was not for me. I could treat people just like I would want to be treated. I have never killed anyone or scamed anyone out of their life savings. I try be best to help my family and friends when ever or how ever I can. All this with out religion or a god. I love life and am having a great time doing what I do. I believe in equility and freedom and think it would be great if we all could marry who we love. There are alot of unhappy people in the world and sometimes they think that religion will bring them happness but it does not. Trust me if you just helped someone instead of hurting them it could bring you alot more than you think. If we spend the same about of time and money helping each other instead of going to church and then ripping each other off or beating each other Monday – Friday the world would be so much better off. You dont need god we need each other that is what would help us all in the most time of need.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  19. Aleksandr

    Another biased article with a notion that as if holding to the god-belief is something noble or good. There is no god, noone dives a damn about ur mind-numbing chants – deal with it.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  20. Belial

    this journalist should have been washed away by katrina. What a moron.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:03 am |
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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.