My Take: Why some people hate God
March 8th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

My Take: Why some people hate God

Editor's Note: Bernard Schweizer is an associate professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn. He specializes in the study of iconoclasts and rebels, including the controversial writer and public intellectual Rebecca West. His third book is “Hating God.”

By Bernard Schweizer, Special to CNN

There’s a lost tribe of religious believers who have suffered a lasting identity crisis. I am referring to the category-defying species of believers who accept the existence of the creator God and yet refuse to worship him. In fact they may go so far as to say that they hate God.
No, I’m not talking about atheists. Non-believers may say contemptuous things about God, but when they do so, they are simply giving the thumbs-down to a fictional character. They may as well express dislike about Shakespeare’s devious Iago, Dickens’ scheming Uriah Heep or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas.
For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins - spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.
But someone who truly believes in God’s existence and yet hates or scorns him is in a state of religious rebellion so perplexing as to strain our common understanding of faith to the breaking point.
Although these radical dissenters could steal the thunder from the New Atheists, they have remained almost unknown to date.
When it comes to God-hatred, a collective blindness seems to settle on us. First, we lack a generally agreed-upon name to refer to this religious rebellion. And anything that doesn’t have a word associated with it doesn’t exist, right?
Well, in the case of God-hatred, this principle doesn’t hold because the phenomenon does exist whether or not there’s a name for it. And in any case, I’ve ended the semantic impasse by naming these rebels and their stance once for all. My chosen term is misotheism, a word composed of the Greek root “misos” (hatred) and “theos” (deity).
Why do I care so much about them? They strike me as brave, visionary, intelligent people who reject God from a sense of moral outrage and despair because of the amount of injustice and suffering that they witness in this world.
At the same time, they are exercising self-censorship because they dare not voice their opinion openly. After all, publicly insulting God can have consequences ranging from ostracism to imprisonment, fines and even death, depending on where the blasphemy takes place (Ireland, for instance, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 Euros for blasphemy) and what God is the target of attacks (under sharia law, being found an enemy of God, or “mohareb” is a capital offense).
But I also care about these rebels because they chose literature as their principal medium for dealing with their God-hatred. I am a professor of literature, and the misotheists’ choice of literature as their first line of defense and preferred medium endears them to me.
Literature offered them the only outlet to vent their rage against God. And it was a pretty safe haven for doing so. Indeed, hardly anybody seems to notice when God-hatred is expressed in literature. Such writers cleverly “package” their blasphemous thoughts in works of literature without seeming to give offense in any overt way.
At the same time, these writers count on the reader’s cooperation to keep their “secret” safe. It’s like a pact between writer and reader.
Zora Neale Hurston could write that “all gods who receive homage are cruel” without anybody objecting that “all gods” must necessarily include the persons of the Christian Trinity.
Or Rebecca West could write that “something has happened which can only be explained by supposing that God hates you with merciless hatred, and nobody will admit it,” counting on the fact that, since nobody will admit it, nobody will rat her out for blasphemy.
There lies, in a sense, the awesome, subversive power of literary writing, something that had worried Plato 2,400 years ago when he required that all poets be removed from his ideal “Republic.” Interestingly, though, while guardians of propriety have put Huckleberry Finn on the list of proscribed texts because of its liberal use of the N-word, few people have declared Hurston’s "Their Eyes Were Watching God" or Shelley’s "Prometheus Unbound" or West’s "The Return of the Soldier" as forbidden texts because of the underlying misotheism of these works.
And even where the misotheism is overtly expressed, as in Elie Wiesel’s "The Trial of God" or in James Morrow’s "Godhead Trilogy," literature offers an enclave of religious freedom that is vital to the human spirit and its impulse to free itself of any shackles, even the commands of God.
I refer to the story of misotheism as “untold” partly because misotheism tends not to be noticed even when it hides in plain sight. Another reason why the story of misotheism is “untold” is that nobody has bothered yet to draw the larger lines of development over time, beginning with the Book of Job and ending up with utilitarianism, philosophical anarchism and feminism. That story in itself is quite engrossing, but again it is not a story that has really ever been presented.
So I am doing quite a bit of connecting the dots, unearthing overlooked connections and making distinctions such as proposing a system of three different types of misotheism - agonistic (conflicted), absolute and political. Misotheism in its various manifestations is a dark, disturbing and perplexing strand of religious dissent. But at the same time, it is an attitude toward the divine that shows just how compelling belief can be.
If people continue to believe in a God they find to be contemptible, then belief is such a powerful force that it cannot be simply switched off on the basis of empirical data. Thus, in the last consequence, the study of misotheism is a testament to the power of belief, albeit a twisted, unconventional form.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bernard Schweizer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Books • God • Opinion

soundoff (1,730 Responses)
  1. CP

    "God-Fearing", "Vengeful God", a god who tells his follower to sacrifice his son, a god who practices mass murder on a global scale only allowing a handful of core believers to survive, destroys entire cities of non-believers, and to top it off, babies are sent to purgatory if they're not baptized, and anyone who survives all that and still doesn't believe gets to spend eternity in hell, no chance or hope for salvation beyond that, no second chance, done! And you wonder why someone might believe in him, and yet choose not to worship him?I would much rather go to hell than go to a place that newborn babies aren't welcome, I would much rather perform good deeds here on Earth for the simple joy of helping others than as a down-payment on 'heaven'.

    I do what I do because of who I am, not because some god told me to or because I'm afraid of hell. I'd much rather meet god as an equal. Yes, he's more powerful than I am, yes, he knows more than I do, but then why is he so afraid of me?

    March 9, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • CW

      @ CP,

      All the items you touched upon that are in the Bible...YOUR MISSING THE POINT. I'm not cath-'olic so I don't believe in purgatory...but anyway...you say you do what you do b/c of who you are. Simple fact is your a sinner...will always be a sinner....only one way to be...unreconciled sinner or a reconciled sinner to God. Also doing good deeds doesn't get you to heaven...living, believing, worshiping God will.

      You'll never be equal to God...period...Nor does God fear little ol' you. You say you would rather go to H-'ell? That is no laughing matter....since you have never been...you'll never know if that is where you want to go until its too late.
      wouldn't be a shame for you to be such a good person on earth and go to H-'ell b/c you refused to give control of your life to God and believe, love, and worship God? My question is: Where do you WANT to spend eternity? Its an easy choice...in heaven....but you have to make the choice to follow him.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  2. Goldenmarble

    "New Atheists". You've got to love it when adults revert to name-calling when they disagree with another's point of view. Here's a clue, atheism isn't new (it doesn't even warrant a capital letter). Dawkins and Hitchens may have written some books, but they're nothing more than that. I realize the basis of your beliefs requires that you base all of your knowledge on the writings in a book - but no atheist I've ever met views the opinions of some philosophers as the end-all to their complex thoughts and ponderings in regards to spirituality.

    March 9, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  3. Reality


    You noted:

    "God can take care of enforcing His Own policies."

    Is this part of his enforcement: http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u

    The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

    o The Muslim Conquest of India
    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    Rank Death Toll Cause Centuries Religions/Groups involved

    1 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

    2 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

    40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

    4 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

    5 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

    6 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

    20 million Joseph Stalin 20C

    8 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

    9 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

    10 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)
    11 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)
    15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians)
    13 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C
    14 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
    10 million Xin Dynasty 1C
    16 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)
    17 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans)
    8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)
    19 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)
    7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

    March 9, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Stunned

      Oh...religion isn't the culprit here. That is a small group that just happened to be about during these wars.

      The real trouble is with the majority....the human male. I bet if you study on who caused these deaths it will be 99% men...by far a higher % than any religion presented.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  4. GonzoG

    I do NOT hate God. I worry about a small but vocal (and occasionally violent) bunch of His followers–of every religion.

    NO ONE should feel obligated to KILL in the Name of The Almighty. God can take care of enforcing His Own policies.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Justina

      With religions, fractions are weird. With atheism, majority become murderers.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  5. steve

    People hate God because all human beings want to be in full control of their lives for their own gain. To acknowledge God, would force us to be accountable for our own actions. Because of this we reject his existence and his ways by distancing ourselves from anything concerning him.

    So this is exactly what God has now done. He has distanced himself from us. He is making us witness firsthand the enormous calamity and destruction that human beings are capable of, as we bring this planet to the verge of self destruction.

    For those that listen, look around this world, heed the warnings. Put your life in order now. It is not too late, but this world is on a knife edge.

    March 9, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • CW

      @ Steve,

      Amen.....This world will come to an end due to human beings wanting full control and not putting God first. Putting God first is the hardest thing....but the also most easy thing to do at the same time. Imagine putting your life in Almighty God's hands...where no matter what storm your going through he is right there beside you.

      Surely those that are non-believers and atheists will point out all their so called books they've read about peoples opinions of the Bible and how somethings like in Reveliation seem impossible. Well one day with the way we are headed...God will show that all these things are possible. My question is Where do you want to spend enternity?

      March 9, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • jim

      The sky is falling, the sky is falling !!!!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  6. Justina

    Misotheism? Nothing new. It's enlisted in Romans chapter 1, especially verse 30, in the New Testament Bible.

    March 9, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • Face

      @Justina troll
      Can you even think outside the bible box you're in?
      I'd be willing to bet you were raised in the religion you happened to "choose" as the one TRUE one over the others....

      Question: How do other religions get "miracles" or results like your religion? (Ex: How are cancer patients being cured if they are Muslim or Hindu?)

      March 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Justina

      @Face, miracle-like incidents can happen randomly, but the greatest miracles of Christianity is obtaining the absolute Truth by knowing one true God, freedom of soul through the divine forgiveness, and permanently changed lives with godliness and supernatural love. Any spirits or coincidents can cause seeming miracles, but Christian miracles alone bring people to the Truth. A foundational, total difference!

      March 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  7. I'm a Misotheist

    cnn, please post my comment it contains nothing worth censoring and much, I believe, to add to the conversation.

    March 9, 2011 at 5:06 am |
    • I'm a Misotheist

      I get it...too long, right? Four paragraphs, half a screen of text, is apparently over the limit. Regardless of content.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:16 am |


    March 9, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • myklds

      Yeah..you will lost your chance to womanize,get drunk,gamble, lie, mock, bear false witness, steal, or even kill.

      March 9, 2011 at 6:01 am |
  9. Tanaka

    The media keep riling up our hate and fear because it distracts us and helps them to control us.
    Our country can point to the hate- and fear-mongering as a form of military potential. It would take very little to turn the USA into a wild-eyed country out to annihilate our enemies.
    An obscure form of "saber-rattling", but effective. Potential enemies see how crazy we are and how intolerant we can be and add that information to our advanced weaponry and force projection and come up with a very dangerous answer.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:56 am |
  10. storyteller

    Haha, the bible is just the bestselling fiction book ever to be written. Some people can't fathom someone being Atheist because they need their god. Without something to believe, they fear there is nothing to live for. When they do something wrong, they believe talking to a figment of their imagination fixes everything. Few example, i got some here somewhere, lets see. Got one, how about "Oh no, I cant believe John is gone. At least he is with God now". Wrong he is not with god, he is either one of two places at this time, one being a wooden box at a funeral home and two being six feet or so give or take a few inches. The human race will be a lot better off when religion is no more. Unfortunately that's going to take at least another 100 years or so and by then religious wars will have killed everyone. How about you go ahead and thank your god for that one. I think we need an Atheist President. I think we need to remove anything to do with religion from the government i.e. Currency, School, Politics because in the end it has helped nothing.

    March 9, 2011 at 4:47 am |
  11. TruthSquid

    You know quite well what most atheists believe but fearing the logic, science, and historical accuracy of those you choose to deliberately LIE in the belittling interpretations ("just another fictional character") and attempts at marginalization you present at the opening of your piece. You are just one more self-serving religious profiteer and fraud. Tax churches to recover some portion of the burden they place on community zoning, traffic, and emergency services infrastructure with their massive ornate structures and public assemblages and of course crime rates far higher than other businesses (and you bet your adz they are a business) for embezzlement, vandalism, arson, and, lest we forget, pederasty.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • BubbaJo

      heybrotheryouneedtowaveyertentaclesintheairliekyoujustdontcare. leik this. ///...\\\

      March 9, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  12. ric

    schmuck, simply put, there is no such thing as god or intelligent design. get over it.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • schmuck

      Over it. Thanks. You are correct. But how did you know I was reading this blog?

      March 9, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Justina

      Ric's is one unintelligent opinion against all evidences in the world.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • TruthSquid

      Oh Justina, you're so CUTE and busy and your programming is so complete. Just because something is mentioned in the bibble doesn't mean it really happened. And if you believe the bibble is the word of your imaginary friend in the sky, bad news: the whole damn thing is plagiarized. Every coherent thought and most every recounted event are adapted or wholly plagiarized from thousands of years of philosophy, psychology, sociology, criminal law, folklore, primitive medicine, etc – most recently of greek and roman origin – some ancient babylonian – but even the ten commandments were lifted whole from the egyptian test for THEIR imaginary afterlife called the Tale of the Thirteen Fables (testing worthiness of one's life for admission beyond). Honey, I bet you're one of those fundamentalist loons who doesn't even "believe" in DNA? I know you're one who claims your fables and fantasies are fact – without a single piece of physical evidence.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  13. Frenchie

    Now go away or we will taunt you a second time!

    March 9, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  14. myklds

    Hatred is far worst than unbelief.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Pantheist

      I have to respectively disagree: Elie Wiesel once said that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. It's taken me a long few years to understand that, but I'm starting to see what he meant. Gods thrive on belief – love them or hate them. Indifference is what kills (tips hat to Terry Pratchett, who first proposed that theory).

      March 9, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • myklds

      @Pantheist...Have you watch the latest installment of the movie Dracula?

      Allow me to give you a sort of summary of the story, just in case you didn't see it.

      It was a story of (well of course) Dracula, a brave soldier fighting and winning in the name of God and (catholicicsm)religion. But when the woman he loves (role played by Winnona Ryder) commited suicide and died after hearing the news fabricated by the hierarchy of priests that Dracula perished in the battle.

      There came the turn of events. He (Dracula) HATED God soo much that he struck the cross to its center with the sword he has been using to win every battle, that a blood flowed from (the cross) it. He drank the blood that made him an immortal blood sucking beast.

      When you don't believe in a certain thing or individual, the worst thing that you can do is to mock or nullify its/his existence. On the other hand if hated, you tend to do things against him or that thing.

      In case of Atheist of and Mesotheist, I think the worst thing that the former can do is to regard God as fictional character and shove it down to believers throath. While the Mesotheist has the tendency to do worst depending the level of HATE he has, and that's would include the cutting of somebody's throat.

      Hate like love, knows no boudaries.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  15. Jackie789

    no, i'm not angry at god. that's absurd, it's like saying you're angry at the tooth fairy or santa claus.

    we get angry when idiots who think they're imaginary friend in the sky allows them to tell women what to do with their reproductive systems, what to teach in high school biology classes, tell people who can marry etc. these people exist (not god), and that's what is extremely irritating.

    got that distinction, people?

    March 9, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Void

      He specifically excluded Atheists very early on in the article. Your reading and comprehension skills are woefully inadequate, and as an Atheist I'm particularly embarrassed that you felt the need to make this comment at all.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:32 am |
    • TruthSquid

      I think Jackie789 (or Pelham123 or whatever the tag) had a great comment. The author marginalized and BELITTLED atheists at the outset or didn't YOUR inadequate reading skills discern that? You should have quit while you were ahead – at the Batman riposte. With friends like you...

      March 9, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • oktoshark

      Atheist must be included in every topics, otherwise they'll feel "marginalized and BELITTLED".

      What an insecure creatures (ATHEISTS) they are.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:39 am |
    • Void

      I actually found his impression of Atheistic contempt toward deity characters to be accurate, at least in my opinion. I dismiss deities as easily as I would fictional characters, and it does in fact anger me when people try to take up an authoritative mantle based solely on these characters.

      This article excluded atheists for the fact that this article is about theists debating other theists, namely those that either love or hate the Christian god. By all means, interject your opinion all you wish, but the author, nor any other author, is required to include a lengthy tribute to atheists in every article discussing matters of faith. And to go so far as to describe this fact as "marginalization and belittlement" is a clear indication of hypersensitivity, the kind of which that will certainly impede most people from taking you seriously.

      Toughen up, Squid.

      March 9, 2011 at 5:56 am |
    • Void

      *For the sake of clarity, "the author, nor any other author" should read "NEITHER the author nor any other author"

      March 9, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  16. Colin

    "humans" not "huns" typo.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • myklds

      Never mind the typo.."HUNS" are "CRATED" anywayz..LOL!

      March 9, 2011 at 5:53 am |
  17. KeithTexas

    Well after reading these post there are some things that are certain. Justina is the kind of Christian that makes people hate God. I have no problem with God, Jesus or any of the heavenly host but Fundamentalist Christians have nothing to do with God, salvation, or forgiveness. They are here for the devils work, divisiveness, hatred and judgment. A person of God would not do those things.

    With any luck the one true god will touch Justina's life and make her less miserable so she can one day see the light of redemption.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Colin

      KeithTexas, taking your view that there is a god, how could the behaviour of one of the 100,000,000,000 huns he has supposedly crated possibly cause people to "hate him?

      March 9, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • Dorothy

      Trolls trolls and more trolls! Oh my!

      March 9, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • Toto


      March 9, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  18. morgan painter

    As it were in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the son of man.

    I am fairly certain the people of Noahs time spent a good many Saturday nights camped out close to the ark. They probably partied and cooked their food, and danced and taunted Noah.

    "Hey Noah, you missed a spot up there, better give it another coat of that tree sap."
    "Hey Ham, that log looks a bit heavy. You want a hand with that?" Followed by clapping of hands.

    I doubt today's scoffers have anything on the ones of Noah's day. But when it started to rain they became instant believers and wanted on that ark. The entrance to the ark was sealed by God because God knew Noah would most likely have given in to the cries of mercy from the crowd, and then the very same evil that God was needing to be rid of would have been safe aboard the ark to spread itself amongst the occupants. And so it shall be at the end of the days of man's rule of this world. God has to have a cut off point to prevent evil from tainting the new perfect world just as it did our world in the beginning.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Colin

      Where did the fresh water come from and where did it go?

      March 9, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Datum

      The fresh water was used in a gigantic enema. You don't want to know what happened after that.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Void

      You might as well replace "Noah" with "Batman" and "Ark" with "Batmobile". They're all on the same relative plane of historic validity.

      And as a side note, regarding all that icky evil God needed to wash away, was the evil not a result of the "free will" he endowed in Man? That's a rather foolish decision to come from a "perfect" being. But, then again, he's all-knowing, so he knew free will would breed evil, allowed us free will anyway, then decided to drown us once we did exactly what he knew we would do.
      That sure is a just, loving, merciful, wise God you've got there.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Crepusculus Lux

      Morgan...so you're saying that your perfect god, created imperfect people, and them dammned by locking the door , because his servant Noah, apparently a kind hearted person, would have let them in and they would have been saved, and even perhaps, rehabilitated?

      This is a really nice guy you beleive in, made a mess of the people and blamed THEM for it..ouch!

      March 9, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Face

      @morgan the fail painter
      You do realize that you don't know what you're talking about right?
      Please gather evidence that a flood actually happened, a man in a poorly made, non sea going boat existed, and that a certain deity is responsible for the flood that has countless flaws both in logic and design....

      Sigh....the thoughts of the shallow religious...

      March 9, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  19. bsxton1

    I found this article to be very intriguing and compelling, but what I thought was more insightful were readers comments. The theological debating of whether God exists and if he does- why does he allow bad things to happen- is one that has been going on since the beginning of organized faith. It is my belief that it is not just a debate that goes on in 'christian' circles, but one that plagues all faiths.
    It is my personal belief that God does exist, and that he does allow bad things to happen, but he does so for a reason. Bad things happen everyday, to every person whether they have faith or do not. It is my belief that these things happen for a reason. It is not my place to say why these things happen- that is the business of God- but I believe that it is how we as humans look at and deal with these 'bad' situations that really matter. It is my understanding that God presents us with tragedies and trials in order to give us opportunities to flourish not only in faith but in life. In every trial there is the opportunity to overcome, grow, live, and then help and serve others. It is how we humans (no matter what you believe in) perceive and deal with what happens in our world that really matters. Yes evil, no matter what its form, does exist. God allows it to exist- so how are we going to deal with it? Do we get angry and just complain about how bad things are happening to so many good people? Or do we fight back, endure, and be the change in this world?
    I would like all people (no matter what you believe in) to examine your life- has there ever been a time that you have been mad at God? I know that I have been, I may have even been described as a mesotheist. I have thought him to be unfair to put me through what felt like hell at times. I have been angry at the injustice that runs rampant in our world, angry when bad things continue to happen to good people. Through my anger I came to realize that God is mad too! It is my belief that God does not want his people to suffer- but he allows it because in the end it will better his people. In the midsts of tragedy it may not seem like any good will come of it, and it may not for years, but in the end good always comes out or tragedy. I believe this because I am living proof. I believe this because I have seen it happen many times in our society. We have all been given the tools and the ability to better our situations- to better the worlds situations. It is up to us in how we use these tools. Will we continue to be angry at God for allowing tragedy to strike us and by doing so let these tragedies destroy us? Or will we accept what is happening, deal with it, and use it as an opportunity to better the ourselves and the world?

    March 9, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Brian

      I don't agree with you in the religious sense, but you sound like a person that is willing to work with others, regardless of their religious beliefs, to make the world a better, more livable place. I am all for that.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Q

      With all due respect, in dismissing the problem of evil by invoking a "divine plan", you're effectively extinguishing free will by reducing human behavior to at worst, following a pre-ordained script or at best, the subjects in a capricious blinded-experiment. Would you dismiss the actions of a serial killer simply because you weren't privy to their "true" intentions? Is collateral damage morally acceptable if it could absolutely be prevented?

      While I don't believe you've really addressed the problem of evil, that's not the only problem. It's the biblical deity being the direct cause of evil in the killing and/or demanding the killing of children and infants who were never capable of making conscious moral choices. If you argue that He knew they would eventually commit evil and that this somehow justifies their killing, then, again you remove free will for one and all (i.e. in perfectly knowing they would in fact commit evil, those children really had no choice but to eventually comply with the biblical deity's foreknowledge).

      March 9, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • bsxton1

      @Q- I think you may have misunderstood my message, or maybe I just did not explain myself too clearly. When I say that I believe that everything happens for a reason I am not condoning the actions of a serial murderer and saying 'oh well- I guess it is all as God planned.' I do not believe that God would ever desire or want a person to commit murder. I believe that every person has control of their own actions. God is not a puppeteer pulling the strings. I do believe that God has given humans free will to choose what to do. That being said- I believe that God is an all-knowing, all seeing being. Meaning that he sees all scenarios and knows how they will all turn out. I think of it like this: Our lives are one continuous movie film strip. When we are faced with a decision (for arguments sake lets say it is choice to do good or bad) there are multiple paths we can take. So there are multiple 'splices' of film that can be interjected into the movie strip that is our life depending on what we choose to do in that situation. God sees and knows of those different scenarios, and knows the outcomes and how they will effect our lives. I do believe we are in control of our own destinies- but God has the ability to shape and mold us into what he wants. The point I was attempting to make was that it is how we react to situations that dictates the outcome of our lives.
      It is not my personal belief that God would cause someone to murder a child because that child would then grow up to murder someone else. We are in charge of our actions and whether or not we choose to do evil. I would like to think that God gives us all many opportunities to do good, and to be good people. I believe this is why he often presents us with adversity- to test us to see whether or not we will make a good and just decision that will inevitably benefit our lives and the lives of others. If a child is killed at the hands of another individual than it is the result of that one individuals poor decision making and actions. I cannot speak for God as to why a child might die due to natural causes or environmental disasters- but I will stand by my previous argument that if it happened- it happened for a reason so that we as humans can turn a tragedy into a triumph.

      March 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  20. Brian

    I wish that I could say that you were a nice Christian. But, I would be a liar if I did. That's not how I roll. There are many nice Christians in the world though, who actually find enjoyment and fulfillment in their faith though and don't feel the need to publicly pray for me (against the bible). Fortunately, your prayers will fall on deaf ears. Because, get this -- I am soulless--just a bunch of molecules arranged in the correct order to allow me to do the things that I do. Once I'm gone those molecules will be recycled by the cosmos. Its pretty amazing to think about.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Brian, Detroit, MI

      I don't hate the fictional charecter called "god". I hate the stupid who say that since I don't believe in "god", then I must worship the devil. If one of these fictional charecters doesn't exist, how in the "hell" does the other exist? I get that every single time I tell someone that I don't believe in "god". If they don't like the answer that they get, why ask the question?

      March 9, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Justina

      Brian, I pray to God and prayers in Jesus never go in vain. You are not a plant, so you never returns to cosmos but faces judgment after death whether you like it or not. You are a human and has a soul and has moral responsibility before your Creator God. Your only defense against your sins is faith in God's Son Jesus, your Creator and Savior – He came for you. Believing in Him is the only way for you to be saved from the eternal bad consequences you deserve. By the way, I wrote you back more in the previous page. Look them up if you will.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Void (Also from MI)

      A friend of mine was telling me that I had come up in conversation. Someone had brought up atheism and she had mentioned me, said some nice things about me, and that I was the first atheist she'd ever met. The people she was conversing with apparently thought because I was an atheist it meant I worshiped Satan, then another in the group piped up and said, "No no, he doesn't. He's the same thing as a Scientologist". Luckily, she was there to correct them so I didn't go from being the town atheist to the town scientologist, but it's deeply troubling that people simply can't fathom what it means to not believe in any kind of spiritual deity.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • Justina

      Brian, your molecules are correctly arranged by God, and because you have a soul, you are morally responsible before your Creator God, whether you like the idea or not.

      March 9, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • 8O

      Justina, I thought of you while sitting on the can. God must have wanted it that way! OMG! 😯

      March 9, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • TruthSquid

      Justina, your language skills indicate you are not smart enough to have made up that hilarious cosmology of virgin birth, resurrection, original sin, death, and damnation you so dutifully regurgitate but instead had it pumped into you from birth by men wishing to keep you subjugated (which they clearly have done well enough) and shamans wanting your vote, money, and perhaps even body. This would be merely sad and entertaining if you didn't
      1. take it a step further intopersonalized hate ("Brian you deserve to burn in hell")
      2. use it to destroy this once diverse and progressive Nation with your tribal jealousies and anti-science agenda
      3. use it to dodge paying taxes on "religious" real estate holdings and massive ornate edifices, transferring the burden for supporting those to non-believing homeowners
      4. fail to recognize and seek help for your grandiosity and control freak nature as bipolar mental illness, undoubtredly complicated by hearing voices

      March 9, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • Justina (Christian)

      TruthSquid, I see you have some writing ability but on comprehension, no. Come out of your own world you had made up for yourself.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:09 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.