Where is God in Japan?
March 20th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Finding faith amid disaster

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Around the world, people are still struggling to come to terms with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which have left more than 8,000 dead, thousands more missing and hundreds of thousand others homeless. The threat of a nuclear crisis only adds to the uncertainty.

In times like these, many people find comfort in their faith. But disasters can also challenge long-held beliefs. The CNN Belief Blog asked some prominent voices with different views on religion how they make sense of such suffering, where they see inspiration amid destruction and how they respond to people who wonder, “How could God let this happen?”

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author whose books include “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”

Whenever a disaster like this occurs, I go back to the Bible, to the First Book of Kings. Elijah, in despair over the situation in Israel, runs to the desert, back to Mt. Sinai to find the God of the Revelation to Moses.

"And lo, the Lord God passed by. There was a mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. There was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake."

To me, that is the key: the Lord was not in the earthquake.

Natural disasters are acts of nature, not acts of God. God cares about the well-being of good people; Nature is blind, an equal-opportunity destroyer.

Where is God in Japan today? In the courage of people to carry on their lives after the tragedy. In the resilience of those whose lives have been destroyed, families swept away, homes lost, but they resolve to rebuild their lives. In the goodness and generosity of people all over the world to reach out and help strangers who live far from them, to contribute aid, to pray for them.

How can people do such things if God were not at work in them to lend a counterweight to a natural disaster?

The Rev. Tesshu Shaku, chief priest of Nyoraiji Temple, a Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land sect of Buddhism) temple in Ikeda City, Japan

Buddhism is called a religion with no god. So we don’t think God caused this, according to the Buddhist way of thinking. We think of the law of cause and effect, searching for a cause. It is the same approach as science. The cause of this earthquake is the friction between the North American plate and the Pacific plate.

The Japanese are more focused on relationships as opposed to faith, feeling the pain of others. I have witnessed this at the time of the Hanshin Awaji earthquake. [In 1995, the Great Hanshin earthquake on the island of Awaji killed about 6,500 people.] There were many people who came to the affected area to help and volunteer.

There is a word, “earthquake children,” for people whose perspectives were affected by the disaster. They became very active in community service or became Buddhist monks. So people will be more spiritual, feeling the pains and joys of others.

The Rev. James Martin, Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of “The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything”

For the believer, there is no satisfactory answer for why we suffer. Each person has to come to grips with that. It’s not as if some magic answer can be found. But the idea of God suffering along with us can be very helpful.

The Christian believes that God became human and that God underwent all the things we do. Jesus on the cross cried, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” Christians do not have an impersonal God, but a God who understands what it means to suffer. People can relate more easily to a God who understands them.

Where is God? God is right there with the people who are grieving and sorrowful. In my own life, when I have felt great sorrow I have trusted that God is with me in this and that I’m not facing my struggles alone.

Oftentimes people become more religious in times of sorrow. They find that they are able to meet God in new ways. Why? Because when our defenses are down and we’re more vulnerable, God can break into our lives more easily. It’s not that God is closer, it’s that we’re more open.

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances

These sort of natural disasters become the collective responsibility of all mankind to mobilize our compassion and resources to ease the pain of the people who have suffered.

This disaster is not the result of any sins of these people; we need to be clear that there is no belief that these victims “deserved” it for any of their actions. Rather, Muslims see these kinds of tragedies as a test from God. Muslims believe that God tests those he loves, and these tragedies also serve as a reminder to the rest of us to remain grateful to God for all our blessings and cognizant that we must support those in need.

These kinds of calamities should push us in positive ways. They should strengthen our faith in God and in his goodness. We attribute the things we don’t understand to his limitless wisdom and comfort ourselves that he is with us and he loves us, so there must be some meaning in what has happened, even if it is beyond our comprehension here at this time.

We are trained by our faith that every suffering, whether big or small, brings us closer to God’s mercy and forgiveness, to the extent that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said, if you are walking and feel a thorn pierce your foot, you should know that even this little bit of pain brings you divine blessing and God’s forgiveness. These times of suffering give us an opportunity to demonstrate patience and faith, and therefore, become closer to God.

Every natural phenomenon challenges us as God’s trustees on this Earth, showing us that we should continue to study and explore ways of safeguarding humankind and all creatures from being subjected to this kind of devastation. It is the collective duty of all humankind to put resources in this and advance our understanding of how to respond to these disasters in a scientific way.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, writer and activist who founded the Unified Buddhist Church in France, and Plum Village, a Buddhist community in exile

As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.

The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.

An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: We can live in such a way that they can feel they are continuing to live in us, more mindfully, more profoundly, more beautifully, tasting every minute of life available to us, for them.

Sam Harris, author of books including “The End of Faith,” and co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, dedicated to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion.

Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, “this might be all part of God’s plan,” or “there are no accidents in life,” or “everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves” - these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.

The Rev. Franklin Graham,  president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization

I don’t believe God does want this to happen. I don’t think it was ever God’s intention.

We know that there are going to be storms in life. No matter what happens we need to keep our faith and trust in almighty God.  And I want the people of Japan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them,  that God does care for them and that he loves them.

We care and God cares, and we’re standing by them.

CNN's Carol Costello contributed to this report

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Belief • God • Japan

soundoff (1,886 Responses)
  1. -DC-

    God loves us. God kills us. Who needs him?

    March 21, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  2. Bikash Bohara

    i don't believe in god but do understand it's concept. I have merely seen anyone thanking god very often upon their succession but want god to help them when in trouble. God, as everyone stated as protagonist in myth, is a belief in every man's thought when they can not believe themselves. As i now see human can't be superior creature, it was the only wise thing they did bringing concept of god above them...

    March 21, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • kit

      So, human can't be superior creature, so they made up this concept of God to make them superior? Mother Teresa didnt think so, she believed in God, and made herself lesser or inferior to the poor of Calcutta by serving them. You see, the concept of God is not about superiority, its about the greatest being the servant of all.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  3. pockets

    Your DNA is so close to that of a chimp, that you would be 'mortified'. But accept it, we are basically 'stardust', that arrived, and crawled out of a swamp and, that's right, evolved to what we are today, and that is not very long out of the cave either. Just look around at the 'human condition', that should provide you some insight.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Aldo Raines

      exactly right.

      Science is a never ending series of observation in an effort to find the truth. Whenever one tries to use science to seek the outcome they hope to find.. it ain't science anymore.... Only the Catholic church very recently has come to realize this and embrace science.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  4. JP

    Better to believe in God and find out He deosn't exist than not believe in God and find out He does.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      Jesus is coming. Look busy.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  5. authorharb

    All evolution (design + evolution) represents our journey from One or God to back to One. Suffering is one foot on which its moves. The most we can do is understand this evolution to which I call universe's evolutionary scheme of things and then surrender to it even while doing all we can to alleviate the suffering. In this connection my following post at some other place may be worth reading:

    "While I fully appreciate doing whatever man can do to save himself/earth from this crisis, at the same time considering the recent earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos in the light of my four basic interaction theory of evolution/all change I feel like warning that what has recently happened may only be a fractal of what is yet to come on the world scale. And that for that the best preparation, besides the above, may only be to understand the ways of Nature and surrendering to it. Here are a couple of posts which I recently wrote at my blog in this connection if anybody would like to read.



    March 21, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  6. Rep300

    As a Canadian, I am disgusted and embarrassed for all the sensible people in America, because they have to endure all this religious bull***t. It is CRAZY that CNN even has a "Belief Blog". The only way that America will join the 21st century is when the secular population will agree to treat religion with the distain it deserves. STOP respecting the opinions of these crazy Imams, clerics, priests, and rabbis. Their opinion doesn't matter because it's based on fairy tales NOT reality. Just reading these nut job's posts and opinions just solidifies that they have no idea how to think logically, and actually don't CARE about the truth. Their brains are infected with viral faith.........They are broken thinkers. They have the right to believe in fairy tales, but rational thinkers who care about the future of humanity, need to be vocal that they think it's stupid. Also, ANYBODY who cares about freedom and human rights needs to fight Islam with all of their might.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • averageperson

      if you are a rational person you wouldn't say to fight Islam... knowing that almost 1/5th of the world population believes in Islam... what a rational person should do is to be more accepting of religions and help those poor people not becoming religious extremists.... what many people in middle east need is more education and better, more rational and peaceful leaders, leaders who are educated and care of the people... and most of important of all getting out of poverty... The only truth that will help this world are peace and love...

      March 21, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  7. ArtInChicago

    If you won't acknowledge God during times of prosperity and peace, why seek Him when things go wrong?

    March 21, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  8. sri

    Why do god has to test people? why kill people to test them?

    March 21, 2011 at 12:21 am |

    The point of faith is the belief in something – better yet in this instance – SOMEONE, without that physical evidence that non-Christians seek. You want proof of Jesus / God existence, but even those in His time (after seeing his nail scarred hands) did not believe he had resurrected from the grave after the 3rd day. The point is... even if you had it, you still wouldn't believe it – this is why God will NEVER jump thru a hoop for you – He doesn't NEED to or have to! Besides, what have you done for HIM lately?? Criticize...mock and ridicule His name...doubt His very existence? You're no different than those that crucified Him on the cross. One more point for those that want PROOF. If you think God is behind all of the destruction on Earth – you've at least just admitted His very existence, but you're still wrong – He's not behind it yet He has the power to stop it. If you think He could stop it, but just choses not to... You know what? You're right – but He won't even CONSIDER IT if you don't ask Him to. This brings us full circle – "What have you done for Him lately?" "Nothing", you say, then at very least thats what you'll get in return. PROOF: While you're "mind" can't be seen, touched or felt we know it exists (the verdict is still out on some of you however). You're brain didn't just jump out of your skull and start typing now did it?

    March 21, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Magic


      "You want proof of Jesus / God existence, but even those in His time (after seeing his nail scarred hands) did not believe he had resurrected from the grave after the 3rd day."

      You don't have your legend correct. Supposedly Thomas *did* believe after his gross and disgusting examination. Are the rest of us less than this Thomas guy?

      March 21, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Pete

      "What have yo done for him lately?"

      If God does exist, is he so petty that he would REQUIRE anything from us. What can humans give an almighty god? An ego boost? come on man, please.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  10. Steven

    I'll start believing in God when God starts healing amputees. What's the deal with that? Why does God hate amputees?

    March 21, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • kit

      Please do, and start loving your parents, children,wife, family, friends only when they are able to give you money.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  11. Sanguine1

    Bottom line is religion and its assortment of dieties are responsible for more death on this planet than anything else. Every religious war, the Crusades, are all about my god is better than yours. It's really just an extension of tribal mentality, red team vs blue team...Raiders vs. the Packers. Someday, we will see the bible for what it is, the flat earth society manifesto. That and hats. It's also about hats. God hates to see the top of your head. Someday when we discover there is no god, the Hasidic Jews will feel mighty silly for their furry radial tires on their heads.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  12. peter

    I am not an atheist but I am not arrogant enough to actually say 100% there is a god considering there is very little evidence for one but I believe there is a chance there is one. I am anti religion because of all the nonsense that comes from it. The bible is so ridiculous it boggles my mind how smart people can actually believe in it. The stories in it are just so absurd and beyond anything possible that it is just in no way true. This is not just directed towards the bible or christianity, this goes for all religions that believe in nonsense which I believe is almost all of them. Blind faith is bad and brainwashing kids at young ages is bad. Religion is as believable as santa claus but for some reason adults still believe in religion

    March 21, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • kit

      Is not the vastness of the universe ridiculous? Just because something is ridiculous its not true? Amidst the incredible creation, do you not believe a flood happened? In the midst of billions of life, you did not expect Lazarus to rise from the dead? Which part of the bible do you find ridiculous, anyway?

      March 21, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • LetsThink123

      -> Is not the vastness of the universe ridiculous?
      No, its not ridiculous.
      -> Amidst the incredible creation, do you not believe a flood happened?
      The flood did not happen. If this flood did happen 2000 years ago and all the animals of the earth were drowned, WHY CANT WE FIND ANY FOSSILS from the big flood??????? Did god use special water that dissolved all the bones? If u believe in noahs mythical ark it shows that u have no logical thinking to ask important questions. Please answer the question that i have posed to u.
      -> Which part of the bible do you find ridiculous, anyway?
      Adam and eve is ridiculous and false. Evolution is how we came to be.
      All the miracles in the bible are ridiculous. No one rises from the dead. To say something extra-ordinary like rising from the dead is ridiculous and needs a lot of evidence.
      The book of revelation is ridiculous.

      March 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  13. God-Exists

    Sam Harris "The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people." I had no idea that Mr. Harris knew everyone that died individually to be able to state with confidence that those who died are "perfectly innocent people." NO ONE is perfect but Christ. You can continue to smash Christianity and not believe in God, it is not my place to judge, God will judge you. But I want to make one point, to believe in God you need FAITH. If God appeared to us all individually and told us that He existed then no one would have FAITH (faith is believing without seeing). You can only enter the Kingdom of Heaven if you have FAITH (God's existence is not such a clear cut on purpose, in case you haven't noticed yet). Think of a school exam at the end of the semester, can the professor pass you without taking the exam? Who gets the A and who gets the F? The only way to differentiate is by giving an exam to see who was well prepared and who was not. God will do the same, He will judge us based on our actions and beliefs and the only way to pass your exam is if you have Faith.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Pete

      Wow, that school exam analogy is terrible. It's that lack of logical reasoning that is the problem. When a teacher gives you an exam, he/she personally teaches you the subject material or at least tells you what subjects will be on the test, and then it's up to yourself to look it up and study it. With faith, we don't know what to study. Should it be the Bible? Maybe, but then a Jew will tell you the only one that counts is the Old Testament, and a Muslim will tell you it's the Quran, and so on, and on, and on. Unless God came to you and told you what's up, there's no way to know what to study, or even if there is anything to study at all.

      Also, can a professor pass you without taking an exam? Yes, of course. All it takes is a good excuse, a lot of sucking up, or a good track record.
      My excuse would be "God, I used the brain you gave me to think logically and rationally. It led me to understand that faith is not necessary to lead a happy life or to be a good person. I did the best I could." And voila, that 'A' would be totally mine..

      March 21, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Bob Bales

      If God exists and you made no effort to find Him or determine what He wants, how could you say you did the best you could?

      March 21, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  14. ryan

    god is imaginary. No one debates the existence of earth, the universe , some ants crawling on a stump, but the existence of god is clearly false.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • cocopuf2

      If all you can believe is what you can see and touch then you qualify as an Earth dweller. Most likely people are Earth dwellers.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  15. Patricia

    This comments section is proof that religion divides more people than it unites.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  16. cocopuf2

    God is NOT answering the way we would like Him to simply because we are constantly disobeying Him. He already has told you so about 2,000 years ago and you still don't believe Him. The next time, it will be by fire. Read your Bible ... and understand that God means what He says, and says what He means.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Steven

      2,000 yrs ago, Jesus said he will come back within the lifetime of his disciples. Well, it has been 2000yrs and I can assure you all his disciples are long dead. Don't you think it is about time that we free ourselves and move on with our lives?

      March 21, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Magic

      "Read your Bible ."

      It is not *my* Bible... it is *yours*.

      Read your Illiad
      Read your Norse Eddas
      Read your Hindu Vedas
      Read your Koran
      Read your "The God Delusion"

      March 21, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Pete

      God didn't write the Bible, people did.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Pete

      ...and people are dumb.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  17. skeptik

    Not a single attempt to answer Sam Harris's question. Which is it believers? A omnipotent god who causes horrible things to happen, an impotent god who can't save people or stop disaster, or no god at all?

    There aren't any other choices.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • cocopuf2

      Ignorance is NOT an excuse. So, get with it ...

      March 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      The answer in the one that Sam Harris did not include: there is a being called Satan. At the beginning, mankind was given the choice of doing things God's way or Satan's way. Some disasters are the results of man's actions. Other are the consequence of man's choice long ago. In Genesis, God says, "...cursed in the ground for you sake." By extension, I think that allows for earthquakes.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  18. Yonilfa

    The Bible speaks of an adversary known as Satan who also has the power to manipulate certain things in nature. Read Job chapters 1 and 2. God takes no pleasure at all in the suffering of mankind. This is why He sent Jesus to save us ...

    John 3:16-17
    (16) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    (17) For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.


    March 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  19. Jed

    I did NOT "evolve" from a monkey. Athiests are not very smart if they believe that!

    March 20, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • ryan

      we all share a common ancestor with monkeys, apes, orangutans, etc. If you are willing to accept DNA as evidence in a trial, you have to accept the fact that we are related to apes. Next time you're at a zoo, look at the fingerprints of an ape or monkey. Christians have a hard time looking at that, you know...being forced to look right at reality. Its hard for delusional people to accept reality.

      March 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Steven

      What is pretty stupid is the belief that creationists have that people who accept the fact of evolution think they have a grand father as a monkey. This is as stupid as.... believing that God sent his son to have him kill so that he could forgive our sins LOL!

      March 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      I did NOT "evolve" from a monkey. Athiests are not very smart if they believe that!"
      - You're right, Jed! God made the world for men, which is why he covered 3/4 of its surface with water and didn't give us gills!

      March 21, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Observer

      Nah, we didn't evolve from monkeys - God just ran out of ideas for something new when he created man and so used 95% of monkey DNA. Apparently uniqueness for life ran out for God after he created giraffes, elephants, etc.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Sanguine1

      Jed – you should ask Elly Mae how many fish were on Noahs Ark unless there were in the live well

      March 21, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Bob Bales

      "If you are willing to accept DNA as evidence in a trial, you have to accept the fact that we are related to apes." Not at all. DNA is accepted in trials, because we have scientifically studied human DNA and know how if varies with relationship. To make claims regarding ape/human DNA, you would need organisms known (by means independent OD DNA) to be related and not related. Only with sufficient study could we conclude what DNA tells about relationship.

      "Next time you're at a zoo, look at the fingerprints of an ape or monkey. Christians have a hard time looking at that, you know...being forced to look right at reality." I have no problem accepting that apes and humans have similar fingerprints. But how does that indicate we come from a common ancestor?

      March 21, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • NotEvenClose

      Hmmm...I'm not sure about that. You don't sound any more intelligent than the average monkey.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  20. Sandra

    I love how there are about 2 sentences at the very end of the article for Billy Graham's son to state his beliefs on the situation. Seems like everyone else gets their say but the Evangelical Christian. Seems to me that Christian relief groups like Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, as well as countless other, smaller organizations are some of the first ones to step out there and love their neighbor, regardless of what they believe or don't believe. Part of being a Christian is to love in your actions, but also to share the good news of the gospel of Christ. That he came and died for the sins of ALL men. He doesn't force us to believe. We get to CHOOSE to believe. And just as with every choice in life, there are consequences, good or bad. FOR ALL OF US. If a disaster happens or nothing happens, we all still have a choice to make. Do we submit our stubborn human wills to our Creator, or continue to worship ourselves and our manmade idols (science, technololgy, politics, etc.). If you look at history and the Bible, God has used big, attention grabbing situations to draw us to our knees and cry out for Him. He has also used things as gentle as a whisper to speak to the hearts and minds of mankind. Maybe God, the One who created the universe and everything in it, actually loves us enough to GET OUR ATTENTION.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Steven

      I used to believe that Jesus came and die for our sins. Then I realized that this was quite stupid and made no sense at all. After all, if God wanted us to believe in him, there are countless easiest ways for him to let us know of his existence. Last, to send his son, have him killed for our sins, make as little sense as.... Well, I can't find something more ridiculous than that in all sincerity...

      March 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      I am not Evangelical Christian, but Orthodox Christian, but I felt that he said more in those two sentences than those who took more space. Word counts don't mean anything, and the last word is, after all, the last word. Bottom line: God is love, not hate, and not destruction. God heals. I pray that they are healed of this, and protected from further harm.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • LOLA

      apanese are asking "why this happened," "where was god? but the real question is why god was testing us? i send my prayers to god; for those who lost their parents,sisters,and brothers. God help us! and don t lose your faith!

      March 21, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • OSEAS

      Know that the terrible events that shook the world in recent days are a result of God's wrath against this corrupt and bestial generation, as the generation of Sodom and Gomorrah.

      Through the prophet Micah left the Almighty clearly revealed that in the last days (Micah 4: v.1) would punish STRONG NATIONS (Micah 4: v.3) and now He is fulfilling the word in a given time. (v.1)

      Notice that He will punish STRONG NATIONS (plural). What’s next? Germany? that killed millions of Jews? or the United States? or several nations at once? We will know that particularly in the days ahead. That's just a matter of time.


      March 21, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Yonilfa

      Hi Stephen,

      Yes its true that it doesn't make sense that God would allow His Son to die to save us. In our world, a love as deep as this seems incomprehensible. Yet its true ... God does love us this much and even more.

      The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
      (Jeremiah 31:3)

      Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; ...
      (Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV)

      John 14:1-3
      (1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
      (2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
      (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Tim

      @ Steven – Not sure what it is your trying to make a point of, but, Jesus didn't tell his disciples that he would be back in their life time. It says in the Bible that no one will know the time at which Jesus will return.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • one of the humans

      First of all who is Billy Graham's son to speak for God? That is what he tried to do and is what Evangelical Christians and Conservative Muslims do in general. They are so similar to each other which is probably why they can't stand each other. Both are trying to control culture and impose their religion as the source of law and order. Most don't even realize that they is what they have been programmed to do. Evangelical Charity work is nothing more than vultures swooping in when they see a weakness so that they can convert the dis-advantaged.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • jheron

      Sorry Sandra, do the kids that get dragged to church by their parents each Sunday, who are told that Jesus is their Loard and such and such from the time they are born....do they have a choice? They are taught from the getgo that Jesus is the cornerstone of their world. Breaking away from that kind of indoctrination is very hard to do.
      I prefer groups that help others that don't also try and "sell" Jesus while they are helping. There are groups that do this...even christian groups...which I appreciate.
      I may not be a fan of Christianity or any religion, but I can still have a lot of respect for people who are Christian or belong to other religions because of the way they carry themselves...and in many cases that means just being respectful people.
      I hope I did not disrespect you with my comments...but I believe I had to point out that many christains did not choose to become christians compared to how many were simply being born into it.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Observer

      Not exactly.
      – Mark 9:1 And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power."

      March 21, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • NotEvenClose

      Where is god? Nowhere! Why would this omnipotent being choose to remain hidden and ineffectual? Or, is he/she/it having a good time tormenting his/her/its creations? We have wasted far too much time and treasure on these religious fantasies. There are armies of charlatans promoting them because they make their living from it. Live your lives as best you can because that's all you have. There is no sign of an "afterlife" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), a "soul" or any evidence whatsoever that each of us is not the result of our physical reality and its current functional state. We all are slightly different now than we were a minute ago and much different than years ago. There is no durability to our existence. Get used to it.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:11 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.