6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution
Destroyed vehicles and rubble in Minamisanriku, Japan
March 16th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Age-old questions about divine punishment are back. Again.

On Tuesday, the governor of Tokyo apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Japanese were divine retribution for national egoism.

Television and media personality Glenn Beck, meanwhile, has sent mixed messages about whether he thinks God is behind Japan's natural disaster. “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” he said Monday, adding he's “not not saying that, either.”

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well,’” Beck said. “Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Blaming human sinfulness for natural and man-made disasters is nothing new. “This kind of thinking is actually typical rather than atypical in world history,” says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor.

Here’s a list of natural and man-made calamities that have been attributed to divine retribution for human transgression. Let us know what others should make the cut.

1. The Haiti earthquake

A day after Haiti’s devastating 2009 earthquake, U.S. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said the disaster was provoked by the Haitians' "pact to the devil."

The “700 Club” host said Haitians had entered that pact to gain independence from French rule in the early 1800s. “They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story,” Robertson said. “And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

“Ever since,” Robertson continued, "they have been cursed by one thing after the other." The magnitude 7.0 earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives.

2. Hurricane Katrina

A handful of politically conservative Christians blamed 2005’s Hurricane Katrina - which struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and left more than 1,800 dead - on the Crescent City’s embrace of gay pride events.

“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens,” John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelical pastor who leads the Christian Zionist movement in the United States, said after Katrina. “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are - were recipients of the judgment of God for that."

3. The September 11 attacks

Two days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said the attacks were, at least in part, God’s judgment on those who would secularize American public life.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'” Falwell said on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club" program.

"God will not be mocked,” said Falwell, who was made famous by leading the Moral Majority in the 1980s.

In a phone call to CNN later the same day, Falwell stepped back a bit, saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the attacks.

But Falwell reiterated that forces trying to secularize the U.S. “created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."

4. The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln entered the White House conceiving of God as a distant creator. But the presidency transformed that view into one of a God who acts in the universe. The turnaround was triggered largely by watching the Civil War’s casualty numbers rise into the hundreds of thousands.

In 1862, Lincoln scribbled down his thoughts about God and war. “I am almost ready to say this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet," he wrote. “He could give the final victory to either side any day - Yet the contest proceeds.”

Lincoln elaborated in his second inaugural address in 1865, framing the Civil War as divine punishment for slavery, which he considered a sin. It was his last speech to the American people before his assassination.

5. The Holocaust

During and after World War II, some Orthodox Jews attributed the murder of 6 million fellow believers to Jewish transgression. Many in that camp pointed a finger at Zionists, who they accused of trying to establish Israel too soon, before the Messiah’s return.

“There were groups that claimed this was divine punishment because there were no other theological options,” says Bernard M. Levinson, a Jewish studies professor at the University of Minnesota. “Their own piety made things difficult.”

More recently, one of Israel’s leading rabbis generated controversy for claiming that last year's devastating fire in the Jewish state - the worst in the country’s history - was divine retribution for Jews failing to observe the Sabbath.

6. The biblical flood

The God of the Hebrew Bible is frequently portrayed as a ruler who doles out major rewards - and some very harsh punishments. One of the most famous is the flood in Genesis, which God orchestrates in response to human wickedness. He allows the righteous Noah to build an ark to ride out 40 days' worth of rain.

Widely cited as the archetypal act of divine retribution, some biblical scholars say the story was intended less to warn of a vengeful God than to establish the role of human agency in world events. Levinson says the story is a counter-narrative to The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian tale that involves a massive flood but that depicts humans as powerless in the face of capricious gods.

“The author of the flood story is saying that God doesn’t act randomly, that God responds to human action,” Levinson says. He notes that the Noah story is set in prehistoric times, which he says shows the narrative is meant to be taken as metaphor, not as a practical explanation of natural disasters.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • God • Holocaust • Japan

soundoff (939 Responses)

    Another day closer to the zombie apocalypse. Although the day isn't over yet.

    March 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  2. PRISM1234

    The argument Gaunt gave is convincing from (and to) man's point of view. But it is a fearful thing to JUDGE GOD, whom man does not know, and on his own can not coprehend!
    It is an amazing thing for us who came to the knowledge of God through saving grace of Lord Jesus Christ His Son, to see such blindness in people who don't know Him. And I'm not saying this with disrespect to anyone!
    Don't never think that we who know the Lord, have not struggles with some things that we don't understand which in our human understanding are not fair..... But to those who seek God and honor Him, He gives the glimpse into things that are beyond human relm....
    One thing God requires from a man it is to walk humbly before His Maker, and to seek Him with all this heart. Pride is the most da'mn'ing thing to human soul, which originates from Lu-ci-fer, who co'nci'eved pride in his heart. And it is pride that blinds man's heart, and causes him to walk in darkness, not knowing where he's going, and not discernign what he is stu-mbling over. And when in his pride he even sits himself up, and judges God, he is taking part with and of nature of Lucifer who fell and was cast out because of the iniquity of pride, and self ex'alta'tion found in his heart.
    No, God does not mind questioning Him.... He wants us to question Him. He Himself said, "come let us reason together.... I will show you great and mighty things... I will lead you in my righteousness, and show you things you have not known.... ask of me, and it will be given to you..." And to thsoe who do that in humble, seeking atti"tude, HE will draw nigh to them, and He will reaveal Himself , and any things that have troubled his soul will be shown to him...
    One thing we humans must come to grip with:
    – God is God. We are His creation. He gave us life and put us in the earth that was a unimaginably beautiful garden full of life. Have you ever noticed how we, humans love gardens? That's where we were meant to live!
    God provided all things for us, perfect and beautiful.
    – We sinned, we chose to do our own thing, because we craved the misterious, the knowledge of good and evil. It did not sufice us to know only good, because the "other" was ap'ealing and enti'cing....(just like today's man, enti'ced by for'biden, goes to the depths of darkness to ex'perience ent'ice'ment...Tell me it isn' so, anyone!)
    So, that's why man is seperated from God and can't comprehend Him.
    But af all things said, one thing is most iportant and should be gr'as'ped, and held on too is: that if God did never do anything for our wr'e'tch'ed human race, and if He left us or'pha'ned to rot in our own misery after we re'bell'ed and sinned against him, He still would be just God. Becasue no one can com'pre'hend the de'pth of sin, and what it is in sight of holy God! But it is reflected in the pain and sorrow Jesus Christ , His son had to go through to re'de'em us. That's why hell is the des'tiny of those who reject Him. But, you see He did not leave us orphaned! He gave His son, that who ever coes tho Him, would not per'rish, but ahv everlasting life. If that's all He did after the fall of men, it would still the proof of His un'fa'thom'abale mercy.

    March 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Amen Prism1234, you have spoken wisely. The patience and mercy of God. When I look at creation I see his hand in it and I cannot help but marvel at his greatness!

      March 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Gaunt

      I accept your comment, but here is the problem. Imagine how what you said looks from the outside.

      The bullet point of your reply is:

      "Yes the actions of God seem evil to us, but we cannot hope to understand god, so trust that he is good no matter how evil he appears to act."

      Well, call me crazy, but if god acts evil, then he is evil. I am perfectly willing to accept that this might be just a limitation of my perception, but what else do I have to go on exactly?

      I mean Satan also appears to act evil. But no, he is bad and should be judged by his actions. Not god though, god may seem evil, may act evil, may do evil things, but honest, he's good! Trust me!

      Hardly a compelling argument. I believe the exact same thing was said by germans about Hitler. Turns out, they were wrong.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Sybaris

      You poor delusional person.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • SHRIKE

      @Prism – you need to ease up on the crack pipe

      March 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • SHRIKE

      "Crack is whack!" – Whitney Houston

      March 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Smite Me

      Tell me about the god that you worship and you tell me about yourself. Prism is a rigid, hate-filled individual (and, oddly, has the same foreign, apostrophic, hiccup accent as our old pal, hate-filled CW).

      March 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • PRISM1234

      you keep saying God does evil! HE does no evil! Evil was conceived in Lucifer's heart. He brought it into the world. but he did it through human beings who allowed hi to use them as his vessels... I already spoke of this..... The sickness, disease, disasters, and all other misery on this earth, was caused by man's sin. Even the whole Creation is under the curse, God said it is.... But in due time God sent His son, to redeem the fallen human race!. But now is the time of "sifting" if you will, between those who love the truth and will come to Him, and those who do not love the truth, and who will not come to Him...To those who come to Him, He did not promise life without pain and troubles, what He did promise is salvation of their souls, and life everlasting. But He also promised that in all they go through in this valley of tears and sorrow, He will be with them, and never forsake them.
      Is that so hard to understand?
      As for those you spoke of, who, even though lived horrible lives, if they come to Jesus Christ, they will be saved.... People really need to understand that there are so VERY FEW death bed conversions! They do happen, but it is such a rare thing, and it is because God knows the human heart. You see, God will not be cu'nn'ed into accepting false con'versions, nor does anyone holds him hostage on legali'ties they think they found in His Word. Some people think that they can, even some Christian groups do , with their dam'nable doct'rines... But no one departs out of this world, without God knowing the condition of their hearts and souls.
      So when a nan dies, being 50 years old, and he did not come to Christ, God knows his heart, and what he would do if he lived to age of 80. If he did repent on his death bed, he also knows what he would do if he lived another 80 years, would he really be faithful God or not.... You see, it's always according to what's in man's heart.... Most people who die without Christ, even if their lives were cut short, they would not have come to God if they lived full life. And if they knew that they would die, and made confession, but their heart was not right, they didn't pull one over God. He knows!
      Most evil-doers go to their grave hating God on the last day more then any day of their life. That's because God allowed the fullness of their ini'quity to ri'pen, because they rejected Him.
      Well, Gount, I wrote all this, because I see something in you that is not rep'ulsive like of those who just gather to mo'ck... Just remember, that God is Sovereign, and all knowing. We depend on Him in everything, even our very breath which comes fro Him. So it is also, that to knwo Him, we depend on His revelation of Himself to us. HE came in flesh to dwell among us, and He said these words to all mankind:
      "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.... who is man that he would strive with his Maker? ....For Heaven is My throne, and Earth is MY footstool. .....All things are Mine...
      But to this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a humble and of contrite spirit, who trembles at My Word! I believe that here, especially in the last sentence lies the answer why so many don't come to know God!

      March 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Q

      "HE does no evil! " In addition to drowning children and infants in a "global flood", the biblical God ordered the slaughter of children and infants. The latter case occurred after having commanded not to commit murder. That's both evil and schizophrenic...

      March 19, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • PRISM1234

      Okay, Q

      We'll see! You have your appointment in court comming. Then you can state your case, and God will state His. What the verdict will be, it will be out of your hands. Till then, the few-er words you spew around, the less you'll have to answer for!
      That should make sense to any one who has any sense at all!

      March 19, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Eric G.

      @PRISM1234: I am curious as to how you define "truth". Do you think that faith is a path to truth? How does evidence factor in to your world view?

      March 19, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Q

      @PRISM1234 – I see. No rebuttal, just more blind faith and a hope that your moral flexibility in condoning the slaughter of children and infants is the proper buttkiss to grant you immortality. I'll take my chances with empathy, honesty and integrity...

      March 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • PRISM1234

      Eric, I have written a lot in my posts, so I think you can ga'ther much about why do I say things that I say.... But I will try to answer, I say try, becuause my understanding of things is often beyond the ability to express them in words.
      How do I define truth? It is absolute, unchanging, unmatching, exists without com'pari'sment to anything else. Env'elo'pes the whole existence, nothing exists without te'stif'ying to it... IT IS REALITY!
      TRUTH in relation to us humans.... We are born into this world, with something given to us to knows it, to recognize it, to desire to posess knowledge of it.... But there is another part of us humans, which I spoke of in other posts, theat does NOT want to know it.....

      Do I think that faith is a path to truth?
      Faith is not necessarily path to truth. It de'pe'nds WHAT one has their faith in...
      That's where many people who don't know God stu'mble.... Faith in a Christian DOES NOT come as in a child's belief in a fairytale...
      It is the work of the Sp'irit of God whom the world does not know. Faith comes by hearing, but it is not the kind of hearing as with human ears. It is the work of God in our sp'irit, which makes alive the things God speaks to our sp'irit, AND the things we read in the Scriptures.... It is the REVELATION of God, Himself. To say plainly, our faith is in the revelation of God by His Sp'irit and by His Word to our sp'irit.
      Every human being is born with certain kno'wledge of God. He con'firms this by His Sp'irit, and He states this in His Word. It is given to us like a c'om'pass, something like a glimpse of Himself, which gives us abil'ity to know right from wrong, and gives us longing to lead us to Him. BUT...we humans have problem........ As I said , I wrote about those things in my other posts....
      As for evidence fac'tor.... Eric, I open my eyes and look around. I gaze into the stary sky, and see the breath-taking won'ders in the universe, far, and all around me. And then the things unseen to the eye, yet so co'mple'x'ed!.... The more we, people look at those findings which today's science allows us to see, and the deeper we go to find yet unknown secrets , the more we're amazed at com'ple'xi'ty of them. I see evidence of God in everything, and if science of man co'ntra'di'cts the ex'istence of God, will I say there is no God because man has proven it to me? What an ab's'urd!
      So, to sum it up, to me, to believe that all those things just so happended, and that we're product of some freak cos'mic accident, it would be so utterly silly that if I did believe it , I would be ashamed to admit it, for em'bar'esmant to be so shallow minded!!
      That's my take of the things, Eric, and I don't say it's my opinion. Opinions are cheep, they come "dime-a-dozen... I know that I know that the things I spoke here are true. Because it is not of myself I'm speaking, nor seeking anything for myself. I also don't have no hidden agenda! The truth that I know it IS THE TRUTH , because I know that the One who has led me into it, is the ALPHA & OM'EGA, the first and the last, the begining and the end. He came in the form of man, to de'cl'are and ex'plain God, our creator, to every hu(man)He also gave every hu(man) the ability to know the truth, and to hear His voice. But He will not for'ce Himself on anyone, and He said tha those who would seek Him must seek Him with their whole heart, and those who come to Him with humble and contrite spirit, to them the He will reveal Himself. That's how He sifts human hearts, what they are made out of. Sadly that's why so many don't never come to the knowledge of God, and are born, live their lives and die, never finding out why they were even here! I hope that you will understand the things I said, and not do like some, who strain people's words, tw'isting in'te'nts of them, so to make arg'ument for themselves, like cro'oked lawyers do (God has a lot to say about crooked lawyers, their condition, and their end).... I also am glad that your post wsas not like of some of the others. I have nothing to say to them, nor will I waste my time....
      It's late... Good night!

      March 21, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  3. b4bigbang

    Why atheism? Why hold to such an untenable, minority viewpoint?

    March 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  4. brad

    Jesus himself did not necessarily blame people's deaths on natural catastrophy: From Luke 13 Jesus was told that the blood of some Galileans was mixed for the Romans' sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

    This passage requires some thought.

    March 18, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Mischa

      Your brain is making a grinding noise, brad. Why don't you find something else to do? You know, something you know something about? It's loads of fun.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • brad

      Hi, Mischa

      Do you have a can of oil I can borrow? A little in the ear will silence that grinding. BUT – then the atheists will accuse me of not thinking. They need to have a little fun, too. "And a good time was had by all." Mischa, you have a good day, sincerely.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  5. Jenn

    @Gaunt – is there a reason you cannot debate people who believe differently than you do without being insulting?

    March 18, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Gaunt

      Jenn, I can and do, all the time. Only when no respect is deserved is none given, and that depends entirely on the actions of the person.

      I cannot suffer fools lightly, it is a character flaw of mine. If people are acting in a manner worthy of scorn, I have difficulty not being scornful. Its one of my sins. Not that sins matter in the slightest to your god, of course...

      March 18, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Gaunt

      Now if that was the end of your whining, perhaps we could return to the topic at hand, and your continued inability (or unwillingness) to actually defend the core principles of your beliefs?

      Oh and as an aside, while you are playng the martyr (irony?), you might want to go back and read over our correspondance and see exactly who it was who threw the first stone. I think you will find you are in the wrong in this, as well as in the actual debate.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Jenn

      @Gaunt – if I attacked you or was insulting in any way in our previous exchanges, I certainly apologize.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  6. Godless

    I'm not trying to reassure myself of anything, I'm trying to get people to think critically about their beliefs. If there is a god, why does there HAVE to be faith? Why can't there just be a god we all acknowledge? Why do we have to have faith in a god – wouldn't you rather KNOW? If we as humans stop wanting to know things and become complacent and just accept things on faith, we will never evolve beyond where we are now (which, looking at the state of affairs in the world, is not exactly a position to be bragging about).

    March 18, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Godless

      This was supposed to be in response to Glenn, not sure why it posted separately.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Glenn

      I appreciate your position. I too am trying to get people to think critically. However there is no simple answer. As to your question about faith I feel it has to do with free will. I believe we were created as individuals not robots. We are capable of thinking and reasoning. Something you do well and I appreciate. However consider the faith you have that God does not exist. You must step out on a huge leap of faith that all existence simply came from non existence. I would ask that you would critically think about that. There are many more instances of faith without God then that but in the end we all choose to believe one thing or another. Belief is faith.

      You know Jenn has a more eloquent approach to this then I do. I encourage you to read her posts. I tend to be a little more cynical and for that I apologize.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Godless

      Jenn and I have had several very cordial discussions over the last day or so, I truly respect her and her approach to this, even though we do not agree.

      To your point about belief, I don't have a "belief" that there is no god, I simply look at the available evidence and see where that takes me. Right now, with what we know, the data points to a scientific explanation for the universe. That said, I am open to new information. If god were to reveal himself, or somehow or another prove that he/she/it is real and that Christianity is the only correct religion (making all other religions wrong) and that the bible is, in fact, 100% correct (which as has been pointed out in these forums before is not possibly true) than yes, I would absolutely change my mind about it, no question. The question is, can believers say the same thing if the situation is reversed?

      March 18, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Glenn

      Godless, I would challenge you on the scientific data pointing to “how” the universe started. As to the physics of how galaxies, solar systems and planets are formed after the start of the universe you would not get an argument from me. The existence from non existence is the sticky point I am talking about not the physics afterwards.

      To your other point regarding situational reversal... For me I would rather go on believing in an all powerful and loving God then not. It makes me a better person and at the end of the day if there were no God as some suggest then it wouldn’t matter.

      Personally I do not think you will ever find the proof one way or the other.

      My only challenge to you is to keep critically thinking about what you belief and why you do. I do not think that is a big issue for you though.

      By the way thanks for taking the time to write back to me. I am a little new to this and it is fun


      March 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jenn

      @Godless – does it trouble you that there are well-read, well-researched scholars all over the world who hold to the truth of Christianity? You say that the Bible has been shown on these forums to be false (or at least not 100% correct). However, there are biblical scholars all over the world who say otherwise – are you comfortable saying they are definitely 100% wrong and the ones on the other end of the spectrum like Dawkins are right? Bart Ehrman loves to attack the Bible, but for every argument he puts forth there are valid counter arguments or explanations to his issues.

      I know I have already said this, but I really do think it is worth noting that all Christians are not backwoods dummies who are afraid of life so buy into a fable to make themselves feel better. Some are at least as intelligent, well-read and well-researched as the famous atheists and agnostics of our day.

      And thanks for your kind words on another post, I really do enjoy discussing with you.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Jenn

      Oops, I meant kind remarks in that same post, sorry 🙂

      March 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  7. Godless

    If natural occurrances are god's will, and we discover an asteroid hurtling towards earth that is going to wipe out everything on the planet, and we deflect/destroy the asteroid so that the planet is unharmed, did we just go against god's will? And if god is all powerful, how could that happen?

    March 18, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Glenn


      I have read a couple of your posts and you ask a lot of hypothetical questions about the nature of God or why one should choose to believe there is one. I am wondering if you are trying to reassure yourself that no God exists or if one does that it is evil and therefore should be dismissed. You sound like you are searching for a definitive answer and I would humbly say that there isn't one. If it were fact that God existed then no one would need faith. If it were a fact that God didn't exist then everyone would know and understand it. Quite simply at this time no one can say exactly way or another. Maybe for you and others the natural word is all you see. For me I know there is a God and he or she is good. However I will never be able to prove it to you and most certainly not by answering hypothetical no win questions.

      By the way my personal favorite no win question is:

      Can an all powerful God create a rock he cannot lift?

      March 18, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Mischa

      "If it were a fact that God didn't exist then everyone would know and understand it."
      What a crock of BS. It IS a fact that there is no god around, and many people DO know and understand it.

      And if there was a god, there would be no doubt at all for anyone, assuming that god had the attributes commonly put forth by foggy-brained religious folk.
      The problem is that so many people are not willing to admit that they have nothing but blind faith and little else.

      Show me your god. You can't. It's never been done before in the history of the human race.

      That's proof that there is no god. It's pretty solid proof, too.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • brad

      Carl Jung was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. Much smarter than me, and maybe even you. Jung observed that "God's existence does not depend on our proofs." A "proof" of God's existence would be worthless. After all, God would transcend any ability we have to contemplate Her/Him/IT. We have to find other criteria and tools by which to process "God". But don't ask me to do it. I don't have to win an argument to feel okay.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Gaunt

      Brad: so lack of evidence is considered evidence? Well, its not the silliest thing the religious folk believe...

      So tell me, even if that non-argument made any sense, does it not apply equally to Ra, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter, Zo, Shiva, Gloosecap and the tens of thousands of other gods and panteons that have passed before and all been abandoned as false?

      What makes your unevidenced version of divinity and more real than all those other unevidenced versions of divinity?

      March 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • brad

      @Gaunt "Brad: so lack of evidence is considered evidence?" I did not suggest that. You assumed that I did. You jumped to a conclusion. My point is this: it is nieve to think that the usual methods of proof apply to a Being who transcends proof. You atheists demand " proove the existence of God ! And use the tools I give you." If you were a surgeon, would you use a tiretool where a laser was required? But if you insist that God has to be prooved by the usual methods, I suggest you give up. Only God can proove His own existence.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Josh

      "What makes your unevidenced version of divinity and more real than all those other unevidenced versions of divinity?"

      Brad didn't say he had no evidence. He said he had no proof. The same goes for you. You have evidence there is no God, but you don't have proof.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • brad

      @ Josh
      Thanks for the help. I might also mention Blaise Pascal. While Pascal was a believer, he is quoted as saying "there is enough evidence in the universe to believe or disbelieve in God." He also said "It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason.” To percieve God, we have to consult our intuition more than reason.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Sybaris

    So if the faithful believe that natural disasters are divine retribution then what are natural occurances that happen out in the middle of nowhere and affect nobody, practice? poor aim?

    Think people!

    Ban religion.

    March 18, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • SHRIKE

      "what are natural occurances that happen out in the middle of nowhere and affect nobody, practice? poor aim?" LOL

      March 18, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Jenn

      I think several Christians here have argued effectively against the idea that natural occurances are divine retribution, but keep knocking down that straw man.

      March 18, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Sybaris

      Yeah Jenn you illustrate perfectly what is essentially wrong with religion, there's a myriad of interpretations. Regardless, you might brush up on the context of this article and why so many faithful view natural disasters as divine retribution........starting with the Noah flood myth.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Josh

      "Yeah Jenn you illustrate perfectly what is essentially wrong with religion, there's a myriad of interpretations. Regardless, you might brush up on the context of this article and why so many faithful view natural disasters as divine retribution........starting with the Noah flood myth."

      I would argue that there is a myriad of misinterpretations.

      Also, if you have ever studied floods, you would realize the evidence is insurmountable with marine life on mountain tops, the petrified forest of Yellowstone with trees standing vertically through several layers of the 'geologic column', the population growth rate of the earth (where was everyone 10,000 years ago?). Don't forget the coelecanth, which became extinct millions of years ago... save for the ones they still find today. Just because you learned it in high shcool doesn't make it true (ie Pangea, Lucy, dinosaurs).

      March 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  9. tgif

    naturally, human beings suck at life. there's no one that's perfect and undeserving of punishment – regardless of the severity of it. me, you, we're all the same. i personally don't think that God decided to suddenly bring disasters on people because he feels like it (unless it was back in the "OT" days or BC). might as well destroy the whole world if God really wanted retribution. why only bring retribution to certain areas? natural disasters happen. our planet isn't programmed to be perfect and always attentive to our liking.

    ii do think that our character does effect what we make of all the "bad" stuff that happens.
    may be annoying to some people but still going to throw it in. my point is – we need jesus.

    March 18, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  10. LeeCMH

    Moste religionists are hateful. They blame the people they hate for all sorts of reasons. Blaming people they hate for natural disasters is only "natural."

    March 18, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  11. Conundrum

    A plane crashes with 100 people on board and 99 people die.
    People thank god for the one who lived.
    But never condemn him for the 99 he killed.

    March 18, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • brad

      "But never condemn him for the 99 he killed." Conundrum, it's a powerful point you make. But suppose God exists. We think of someone as having been killed, and therefore lost to us. But they wouldn't be lost to God on either side of the grave. That's how it looks from my little window, anyway.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  12. ed Bailey

    GOD is great, look around and tell it aint so!

    March 18, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I looked around and didn't see a god. LIFE is great – no god(s) required, or wanted!

      March 18, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Sybaris

      Another fallacy oft touted by the faithful.

      Ed, the only evidence is the environment itself, nothing more and there's nothing you can offer to prove otherwise.

      March 18, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  13. ed Bailey

    Mankind is inherently ignorant, which is amazing for the incredible advances we have made over our 1st cousins, you know the cute organ monkey. O Mr. Pope and other incorrect individuals understand one thing, either they created us or we created them. Who do you trust!!!!

    March 18, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  14. Reality

    If there were a god, he/she/it and/or spirit would not tolerate the stupidity of Beck thereby proving there is no god. Ditto for all others who consider natural disasters as being the work of some god.

    Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.


    March 18, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  15. Ed

    @hotairrace the book of creation I refer to is not confined to the creation account found in Genesis. The book of creation is everything around us, the way the human body functions, the various cycles that sustain our planet, the order and preciseness of the universe, the beauty found in the animal kingdom. This is evidence of a wise and intelligent creator.The question you must find an answer to is: Why is there so much suffering on the earth and who is responsible for it? Once you find that answer things will become clear in fact it will be crystal clear.

    March 18, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Sybaris

      So Ed, if your god created everything then it created your hell too.

      Sorry Ed, the default answer to ignorance is not "goddidit".

      March 18, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Suffering on earth can be attributed to acts of nature (such as natural disasters) and acts of man (such as war). Acts of man may be causing some acts of nature (climate change). Many acts of man are driven by tribalism (religion). In any event no god is required.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • David Johnson


      You asked: "Why is there so much suffering on the earth and who is responsible for it? "

      Wouldn't you prefer that the evil came from bad people (moral evil) or from natural processes (natural evil) instead of positing a god who allows or causes so much evil?

      Curious in Arizona

      March 18, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Glenn


      Of course no God is required. I mean existance came from non existance and life came from non life. It is so obvious.

      March 18, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • SHRIKE

      @Ed – Why is there so much suffering on the earth and who is responsible for it? Once you find that answer things will become clear in fact it will be crystal clear. – The answer is clear, human beings are responsible for the suffering on earth. The suffering will only be alleviated by human beings.

      March 18, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Q

      An intelligent creator does not rationally explain ruptured appendices, male ni-pples, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, bad backs/necks/knees/wrists/etc, the fused 2nd human chromosome, phylogenetically concordant endogenous retroviruses, etc, etc, etc. Apophenia is not evidence.

      March 19, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  16. Gaunt

    Two people pass away.

    One was a monsterous murderer in life, who had a propensity to violate his victims and brutalise them before they died. He has lived his life on the principle of hurting others for fun, and particularily liked abusing children. On his deathbed, he realises the horrible futility of his life, and bursts into tears. He realises the damage he has done, begs for honest forgiveness, and accepts JC into his heart, repenting wholeheartedly of his vile ways.

    Person two was a good man, who lived his life to help others. He set up foundations for the desperate and disenfranchised, worked in third world countries helping the poor, gave away all his profits to the needy, tended the sick, never turned away from anyone in need, and never asked for a single thing in return or any aknowledgement. He lived a life of charity, peace, honesty, self-sacrifice and love. He was a Hindu.

    Which of these men does your 'all Good' god let into paradise, and which gets sent to burn down below?

    I posted this yesterday and recieved three answers. A cowardly one from jenn saying 'oh this wouldn't happen', and two well reasoned, genuine answers from ptrism and mark. I applaud the two of you for trying to tackle the issue which is the contradiction at the heart of faith, as opposed to jenn who just stuck her head in the sand and tried to pretend it wasn't there.

    The problem, both mark and Prism, is that both of your answers lead to the same conclusion: that your 'good' god doesnt care about the deeds of a man, the actions of a man or the good and evil of a man. All he cares about it that you praise him and no other. The good man who fails to praise him is punished, while the evil man who accepts JC at the end of his days is rewarded.

    This has nothing to do with good or evil, it is about arrogance and cruel self-indulgence. You keep CALLING your God good, but his actions and his means are consistently of evil again and again and again. Its not enough to say 'we dont understand God' as an explanation, because based on his actions we DO understand your version of God, a self-important arrogant bully who doesnt care what people do or how they live, doesnt care about 9 of his own 10 commandments, and only care that at the end of the day you scream his name, and not anybody elses.

    This is BY DEFINITION evil. This is by the definition of JC himself in the new testament, evil. There is no way around that fact.

    March 18, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Gaunt

      Its not about repentance or forgiveness either. Take a third man, as evil and depraved as the first, who also has a deathbed revalation of the evils of his life, and truly repents his actions, with heartfelt sorrow and humility. But he repents to the wrong God. Vishnu, or Odin perhaps.

      He burns.

      So the good man who lived his whole life in blessing, and obeyed 9 of the 10 commandments? burns.
      The bad man who broke every commandment but sought genuine repentance to the wrong god? burns.

      The bad man who broke every commandment, but at the end of his life sought repentance to the right god? Rewarded.

      I can keep going, but the pattern is the same. Acts, deeds, behaviour, and goodness dont matter. Repentance, doesnt matter. Only calling the right name.

      We cant know, but if Adolf Hitler sought repentance to JC in his final moments in the bunker, he is in heaven, while Mahatma Gandhi burns down below.

      And that is the actions of a 'good' god?

      March 18, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Jenn

      I gave the reply I did because your example is ridiculous and not worth debating. It is the favorite "gotcha" of the atheists which completely dismisses the beautiful complexity, and at the same time, simplicity of the Gospel.

      You seem really angry, and I suspect have had some bad things happen in your life. I am sorry for that and wish you well.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Godless

      Jenn, why is his example ridiculous? Why couldn't this happen? I don't understand why you so easily dismiss his question.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Jenn

      Ridiculous may have been a poorly chosen word. I just think debating hypotheical scenarios like this one is counter productive and does not help either point of view.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Godless

      Jenn, with all due respect, this is exactly why people have a hard time taking believers seriously – because when confronted with something that challenges their beliefs, the believer would rather not discuss it. I think having this conversation is actually really important (I don't mean we have to have it now, since we both have to work, but in general, it is a very important discussion).

      March 18, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Jenn

      I understand what you are saying, but I guess I get frustrated with this because the scenario paints extremes on both ends. Furthermore, this scenario always paints the Hindu/Buddhist/whoever as this perfect person. Does anyone here know a perfect person? I for one don't. I know a lot of great people. I know some amazing people. I see examples of really, really amazing people like in the link I posted earlier (www.amazima.org). But I see no perfect people. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God as the Bible might say.

      I think one of the other posters did a good job of examining works as a basis for salvation and how that mindset does not comprehend the complete holiness, purity and perfection of God. I believe the scenario put forth paints God as this evil being just waiting to zap someone, which I do not believe to be accurate. I believe that it completely discounts the fact that despite our sinfullness, disobedience, etc. that God has made a way, a pretty easy way in some aspects, for us to be reconciled back to Himself for eternity. We don't have to earn it, we don't have to work for it, we simply have to accpet it (yes, this does involve repentance, etc. so "accept" is possibly a simplified term). Instead of seeing that beauty, this scenario seeks to focus on the fact that some will, by their own choice, be separated from God for eternity. What does that mean exactly? I don't know. I don't think anyone really does, though many great theologians put forth possibilities.

      I prefer to focus on the truth of Gospel as it is presented rather than applying it to random hypothetical scenarios when there is no way for us to know the hearts of those in said scenarios.

      And lastly, I have heard it explained that God does not force anyone into relationship with Himself. If one does not want a relationship with God in this life, then he or she would certainly not find joy in being forced into one for eternity. Thus, the unbeliever is granted exactly what he or she has requested – separation from God for eternity. Again, what that actually looks like, I don't know.

      Good luck with your work today! This place is a little addicting, no? 🙂

      March 18, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Godless

      Jenn, of course the examples used are extremes, but does that mean we should never consider the extremes? I think the 9/11 hijackers were extremists, I think the Westboro bozos are extremists, but it doesn't mean we can dismiss them or ignore them and they'll conveniently go away.

      You wrote: "I believe the scenario put forth paints God as this evil being just waiting to zap someone, which I do not believe to be accurate. I believe that it completely discounts the fact that despite our sinfullness, disobedience, etc. that God has made a way, a pretty easy way in some aspects, for us to be reconciled back to Himself for eternity."

      But at the same time, Gaunt raises a very good point that it appears the only commandment that truly matters to god is to believe in him/her/it ahead of anything else. All other commandments can be broken as long as you ask for forgiveness at the end. That doesn't seem wrong to you?

      March 18, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Gaunt

      Jenn, I previously described your refusal to engage with this fundamental contradiction in doctrine as 'cowardice', now i see I may hve been understating it. You are either unable or simply refuse to see that the specifics of the example are irrelevant. the point, and it is an inescapable point despite all your squirming, is very simple.

      Your god doesnt care about good and bad. Your god only cares that you praise him and nobody else.

      Picking on the minutiae of the example as a way of hiding from the issue is a tactic most people abandon in grade school. The fundamental point of the isue is that, according to your doctrine, an evil person who repents and finds god at the last minute is saved, while a fundamentally good person who praises the wrong diety is condemned.

      A repentant Hitler is saved, while Handhi burns. Is this not the case?

      Now if you chose not to answer or address this dilemma, thats your choice, but please dont even try and pretend there is some problem with the question or the issue. It is probably the single most fundamental issue of catholic Dogma at debate here, and your making excuses as to why you cant address it does nothing but show the deficincies in your own character.

      March 18, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Jenn

      "But at the same time, Gaunt raises a very good point that it appears the only commandment that truly matters to god is to believe in him/her/it ahead of anything else. All other commandments can be broken as long as you ask for forgiveness at the end. That doesn't seem wrong to you?"

      It is not about "believing in" anything in terms of following rules. And asking forgiveness is really unrelated – that is something that is to be done daily (and genuine believers have a regular desire to do so), but doesn't result in salvation in and of itself. A person who is truly saved does not desire to go around "breaking all of the commandments" with a plan to ask forgiveness at the end. Mulitple times in scripture Jesus addresses this – calling people hypocrites. Noting that if they loved Him, they would follow His commands. That does not mean that this is done perfectly, but it does mean that when a command is broken, a genuine believer's spirit is grieved and they do have a desire to repent.

      At the core of the Gospel is this: God cannot reconcile sinful man back to himself, being fully holy, fully pure, fully perfect any more than we can fly. Sinfullness cannot be in the presence of pure holiness – the two must remain separate. But there is a way to be reconciled back to God, and that is through the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice for the sin of all man. In genuinely doing so, a person begins in the process of sanctification, becoming increasingly Christ-like throughout their time on earth, ending in glorification, when he/she is made righteous before God...not because of anything he/she has done, but because of what Christ has done. By accepting that sacrifice, the righteousness of Christ is thereby attributed to that person. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the person is empowered to become more like Christ over their life, and less like the world. When one does not see this happening, the development of the "fruits of the spirit", it is at least possible that the person is a Christian in name only.

      So, from scripture, what "truly matters to God" is reconciling His children back to Himself. He has made a way to do so, and it is available to every person...but the choice is each person's to make.

      Using human, finite measuring sticks to set rules for how God "should behave" when we lack an eternal, infinite perspective, seems futile. By our standards, the Hindu in this scenario seems "good enough" for heaven – despite the fact that he is still a sinful man. What about the Hindu who did most of the stuff this guy did, but not all of it – is he good enough? Or the regular American that gives a little money to stuff and volunteers once in a while, but otherwise does his own thing – he hasn't killed anyone though – is he good enough? What about the person who does nothing for others, but doesn't harm them either – is he good enough? Who decides?

      The fact is that the Creator sets the standard – and that standard is fully holy, fully pure and fully perfect. We can never be "good enough" on our own. Through the process of sanctification we can become increasing Christ-like, but we will never be perfect until we experience glorificaiton after death.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Gaunt

      Jenn, again, you do nothing but avoid the issue and hope nobody notices. We all notice.

      Firstly, you are completely wrong. Asking forgiveness daily is irrelevant. All that matters is true repentance before god, no matter if it happens daily or just once on your deathbed. Repentance and acceptance of JC, even in the last seconds, is enough to get you into paradise. Its kindof ironic that a non-believer has to terach you the core tenants of your own faith.

      Secondly, you are correct that there is a way to be reconciled back to God, and that is accepting JC. And that is the ONLY way, all else is irrelevant, and that is the entire point of the issue you keep squirming away from. Good man, bad man, average man, doesnt matter. All that matters is that at your lst moment you genuinely accept JC, and all is forgiven.

      A repentant Hitler goes to paradise, an unrepentant gandhi burns. Period.

      Thirdly, t address your irrelevancy:

      "What about the Hindu who did most of the stuff this guy did, but not all of it – is he good enough? Or the regular American that gives a little money to stuff and volunteers once in a while, but otherwise does his own thing – he hasn't killed anyone though – is he good enough? What about the person who does nothing for others, but doesn't harm them either – is he good enough? Who decides?"

      Clearly you dont get it yet, which is baffling as its pretty simple. NONE of that matters. 90% good, 100% good, 51% good, 45% good, 1% good, all are irrelevant. The best person on earth who has somehow managed to live their entire lives without a single sin still burns if they dont believe in the right god, while the darkest evilest person on earth is saved if they repent to the proper god on their deathbed. That is not the actions of a good god, it is by definition evil.

      Lastly, yes as you say, your creator has set the standard. Praise me and only me or burn, all else is irrelevant.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Josh

      "Which of these men does your 'all Good' god let into paradise, and which gets sent to burn down below?"

      This is under the as.sumption that you can 'work' your way into heaven, which is clearly against the teachings of the bible... See John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9. Regardless of how 'good' one thinks they are, the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, according to the bible.

      "The problem, both mark and Prism, is that both of your answers lead to the same conclusion: that your 'good' god doesnt care about the deeds of a man, the actions of a man or the good and evil of a man."

      This isn't entirely true, as in James 2:14-19

      March 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Jenn

      @Gaunt – I am sorry that you feel I am avoiding the issue, I felt that I addressed it pretty directly last time, explaining the message of the Gospel and why it is needed in the first place.

      I don’t need you to teach me the core tenets of Christianity. I fully understand what it means to be a Christian and it is a lot deeper than just saying “ok, I believe in you Jesus” while proceeding to continue living any way one chooses. Yes, one can repent and accept Christ’s sacrifice as payment for his/her sins so long as they draw breath. However, it is worth noting that scripture also teaches that the continual rejection of truth will eventually result in one not being able to accept it at all. So, while the monstrous murderer *could* genuinely repent on his deathbed and receive Christ’s righteousness in place of his own, I find it far more likely that his willful rejection of God and His law over the course of his life would have resulted in a hardened, proud heart incapable of seeing a need for a Savior.

      Second, I am not squirming away from any issue. I have agreed (now twice) that accepting Christ’s sacrifice is required to be reconciled back to God – and that is the only way. It is clear that you do not like this. How many ways would make you happen – 3? 10? 100?

      As already noted, I think a repentant Hitler requires a pretty significant stretch of the imagination given my previous remarks regarding continual, willful rejection of truth.

      As for Gandhi – you don’t know what happened to him on his deathbed and neither do I….yet you judge God based on your assumption, despite the fact that you don’t necessarily have all the information.

      Furthermore, my examples were not irrelevant, I think you just missed my point – which is: if there was works based righteousness, who would be able to stand before a fully holy, fully pure, fully sinless God? I fully understand that none of the examples I gave matter – that was the point. Without the righteousness of Christ, we are guilty before God, by His standard, like it or not. There is no one who lives there entire life without a single sin, so your example there is flawed from the beginning.

      And finally, you state that “that is not the actions of a good god, it is my definition evil”. I couldn’t disagree more. I feel that I have already dealt with your two examples of the perfect person (impossible) and the evil person (unlikely), so won’t rehash. God loves us enough that He made a way for us to be reconciled back to Himself – that is not evil, that is love, kindness, generosity. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to earn it. It is a free gift. One that can be rejected, yes, but a free gift nonetheless.

      As a true believer, I can tell you that when I am engaged in genuine praise and worship I feel a deep, deep joy in my heart that is unexplainable. As such, being made to worship God feels as natural to me as being made to breathe air. It is not a burden, it is a blessing and a joy – and I mean that with my whole heart. I fully realize that sounds like gibberish to a non-believer and that is ok. But I felt the need to share it anyway.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Jenn

      @Josh – I have heard it put "we are not saved by good works, but for good works". Genuine faith should be evident in the life of a believer through the fruits of the spirit and good works. Both should increase over the life of a believer (obviously this will look different for someone who comes to Christ at 80 than 20). If they are not, it is fair to question the genuineness of the person's faith.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jenn

      Please ignore all of those typos – sorry! Wow. Happen – happy, there = their, my = by. I fail proofreading and apologize.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  17. Stephen

    This fellow has a nice take on disasters and the divine.

    March 18, 2011 at 3:50 am |
  18. Carmela


    March 18, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • Magic


      Ok.... and don't credit divine intervention for the good stuff either.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Sybaris

      She writes in caps so it must be true.............or she's over 65 and hasn't figured out this new computer thingy.

      Your god is all about love? Read your bible, he's actually quite bloodthirsty........and what about those harlequin babies.......now that's a real token of love if I ever saw one.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Muneef

      God is the law of nature;

      Az-Zumar sura 39:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Allah is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things. (62) His are the keys of the heavens and the earth, and they who disbelieve the revelations of Allah – such are they who are the losers. (63).

      March 18, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Godless

      Muneef – so does that mean Christians who believe in Jesus are going to hell?

      March 18, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Muneef


      Well God has told that few will go to the gardens of God but many will go to hell for their disbelieve.
      Hell will host all Evil,Wrong doers and ill hearted ones from among all Religious or non religious ones what ever their belief was... The Garden of God will host those with good deeds,pure hearted among all religious or non religious ones what ever their belief was...God is most merciful and forgiving....
      Therefore let no body fools you as to who is going to Hell or to Gardens of God, as only God knows who and knows what is deep in their hearts.... But main thing is that before doing or proceeding in any thing consult your heart and senses as if it would please or annoy God..it is for that moments he will judge you for.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Baqara sura 02:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths. But He will take you to task for that which your hearts have garnered. Allah is Forgiving, Clement. (225).

      Al-Baqara sura 02:
      And they say: None entereth paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian. These are their own desires. Say: Bring your proof (of what ye state) if ye are truthful. (111) Nay, but whosoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah while doing good, his reward is with his Lord; and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (112).

      An-Nisa sura 04:
      But as for those who believe and do good works We shall bring them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. It is a promise from Allah in truth; and who can be more truthful than Allah in utterance? (122) It will not be in accordance with your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Scripture. He who doeth wrong will have the recompense thereof, and will not find against Allah any protecting friend or helper. (123) And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date-stone. (124) Who is better in religion than he who surrendereth his purpose to Allah while doing good (to men) and followeth the tradition of Abraham, the upright? Allah (Himself) chose Abraham for friend. (125) Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Allah ever surroundeth all things. (126).

      Ghafir sura 40:
      O my people! Lo! this life of the world is but a passing comfort, and lo! the Hereafter, that is the enduring home. (39) Whoso doeth an ill-deed, he will be repaid the like thereof, while whoso doeth right, whether male or female, and is a believer, (all) such will enter the Garden, where they will be nourished without stint. (40).

      March 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Godless

      Tubeless? Huh? Anyway, my only point was that Christians believe Muslims are going to hell, Muslims believe Christians are going to hell. You can't both be right, but you can both be wrong. How do you know? Have Christians studied the Muslim faith (or all other faiths) to ensure they've made the right choice? What about Muslims, same question?

      I think the biggest problem we non-believers have is not that you have the belief, it's that believers try to force those beliefs on others, either through laws or acts of war or acts of terrorism or acts of suppression. THAT's where we have a problem, and that's why so many non-believers are so vocal.

      March 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Jenn

      @Godless – there is debate as to whether or not Muslims believe all Christians are going to hell, but that is neither here nor there.

      Sorry to keep quoting this site, I am at work and just readily know it has many great resources – a virtual library of sorts. This particular article is by James White, and is worth a quick read regarding some of the questions you posted: http://www.equip.org/articles/examining-muslim-apologetics

      Lastly, agree completely that beliefs should not be forced on anyone. It is incredibly unfortunate that some (many, sadly) twist doctrine and use it to oppress, harm, etc. others. It’s important to remember that when this occurs with Christianity (can’t speak to other religions), they are not acting in accordance with the teachings of the faith.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  19. Ed

    Here we go again. If there is no intelligent creator, how did evrything come into existence?. That question none of the evolutionists/atheists/agnostics/non-believers on this blog are able to answer.The believe that everything came into existence out of nothing make no sence. Look at the evidence the book of creation provides, open your eyes and ears, look and listen and smell. Everything around just came into existence by chance, no way. Weird how the so called bright sparks are unable to explain their own theory. That is what it will remain – a theory

    March 18, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Bullish!it, on at least two counts:

      – the biblical account of creation is just one chapter in a book of poor fiction with absolutely no independent support odor its truth. In fact, so-called biblical scholars can't agree how to read this and many other parts of the bible, as the literal truth or some story trying make some obscure point.

      – there are numerous explanations for the creation of the universe. Have you read "The Grand Design"?

      The inability of current science to exactly explain the origin of the universe and life therein does not in any way mean that "it was a god" is true. All you are doing is clinging to childish tribal myths intended to explain the unknown and exert control by charlatans over the ignorant masses.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Gaunt

      Firstly friend, you make the mistake of many uneducated people: you assume that because YOU do not know a thing, therefore nobody knows a thing.

      In fact there is quite a compelling theory for the creation of existence, and unlike your fairy tales, it is based on the available evidence. I suggest you google the 'big bang'.

      Of course, thats not the main problem with your comment, as it is inherently self defeating. You say science has not explained how reality came into being. False, yet as a counterpoint you offer a mythical, unevidenced divinity which you also have no explanation for how it came into being. Ironic...

      March 18, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Stephen

      The wikipedia article on the big bang theory (which you suggested looking into) suggests that initial objections to the big bang theory included that it "imported religious concepts into physics" so arguably the resistance of some parties to religious thought or the possibility of religious individuals being right about some aspects of the origin of the universe has actually created resistance to the progress of science among some less enlightened anti-theists. Best to let all ideas go on their own merits and not a priori reject them simply because they are outside of one's own experience of life.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Gaunt

      Stephen: But thats the point isn't it? The Big bang is a theory which fits the available evidence, but it remains uncertain and with a lot of questions left to be answered. And science, by its very nature, will continue asking these questions, and refining its theories as the answers become known. It is the process of discovery using only facts and information.

      faith on the other hand insists on its fairy tale DESPITE evidence and facts. Those who bother spend their time opposing facts and evidence, refusing to consider any alternatives to what their 1700 year old self-contradictory holy book says. It is the process of enforced ignorance and struggle against facts and information.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • Stephen

      Some (people of faith) perhaps do spend their time opposing facts and evidence. I'm just saying that replacing faith with dogmatic unbelief doesn't lead to any improvements in the progress of scientific knowledge. I suggest that it can actually slow down its progress in many of the same ways that other forms of dogmatic ignorant belief can. I think you are caricaturizing an entire class of people using the patterns of thoughts and actions of a fairly specific subset.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • Gaunt

      Firstly, unbelief cannot be dogmatic.

      Secondly, actually unbelief can aid in science as it makes sure that you are actually open to the rigours of scientific method. It is not an accident that poll after poll has demonstrated that among advanced scientists the propertion of faithful to non-faithful is the inverse of the general population.

      Thirdly, I am not caricaturing an entire group based on the thoughts of a 'small subset' at all, in fact thats false for two reasons. Firstly, that group is not a 'small subset' in the United states (though it does represent a minute subset in the rest of the first world). Secondly, of course there are many faithful who reject creationism and ID and accept the scientific nature of things. Except by definition, these people have rejected an element of their faith in favor of pragmatic, scientific reality. This compromise is in itself a rejection of huge elements of the bible, and those people are mocked by the fanatics who believe themselves to be the truly faithful, rejecting anything scientific or evidence based if it contravenes their personal interpretation of their personal version of god.

      It is not a small subset, it is not an unreasonable subset to assail as they do it themselves, and it is certainly not a caricature.

      March 18, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • Evan

      Gee Ed, of course there is a god – how else do you explain everything being here! Small question though – how'd that god come about? Two choices Ed. Some other god, but that just begs the question of how that god came about, and it doesn't sit well with those whose god is supposed to be all powerful etc., because in that system there is no room for another layer of a more powerful being. Second choice Ed. God was always there. But wait, those that don't believe in god claim that something was always there anyway, and over time it changed and morphed into what we now have. But according to you that's just impossible to believe, so instead you come up with a god to explain it all, which of course really explains nothing.

      Although it really doesn't explain anything, it does illustrate that god is an invention – a tool – something to give believers that warm and fuzzy feeling of having an answer for everything.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Joe


      If Darwin were alive today he would probably come to my house and say that all of my electrical appliances have the same ancestor. That over a period of millions of years the plug has evolved and stretched out and grown into toasters, and vacuum cleaners, and TV sets and Computers. If he saw the cars on the street he may well conclude, that in the beginning was the BMW 3 Series, which then evolved into the 5 series, then the 7 Series and so on, there would be quite a few convincing pieces of evidence such as they all have four wheels, an engine, steering wheel etc. Just imagine how excited he would be if he saw a stretch-limousine version of a BMW. The BMW 4×4 Jeep could almost count as a bridge between species. It sounds absurd to deny the involvement of a designer or creator of man-made products, but I think it is equally absurd to deny the creation of God.

      March 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Q

      @Joe – In a sense, those man-made items did evolve by trial and error and adaptation. However, what distinguishes them from biological organisms is their mechanism of manufacture, i.e. we know humans fabricate items and have at least a cursory knowledge of how this happens. When we see "design" in human fabricated items, what we really see are the mechanisms of manufacturing and this is where the analogy breaks down. Biological ent-ities reproduce, they are not fabricated. Furthermore, we can witness the actual mechanisms that contribute to the biodiversity resulting from reproduction (i.e. evolution). But no one has ever witnessed a biological organism poof into existence ex nihilo. In other words, the distinction in your very flawed analogy is the absence of anything but a magical mechanism for ID/creationism whereas, evolution has observable, testable and predictable mechanisms.

      March 19, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  20. Joel

    Insanity. None of the Bronze Age gods exist, nor do any of the newer ones. Grow up, my species. We already know what causes things like earthquakes and tides.

    March 18, 2011 at 2:45 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.