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. Derek

    God and the Devil are backwards:


    March 31, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  2. LetsThink123

    You bring the IQ of christians down with your babble, it's just too funny to read your comments because i know that u take your comments literally, lol.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
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    March 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  4. somedude

    There was a man who was riding his horse and fell off and passed out cold. Two men were walking and the first said "I don't know this man but god would want me to help him". The man beside him said "What god? Who is this god you speak of? where is he or it or whatever? Why did he not catch the man before he hit the ground? Why did god let him fall in the first place?" Why they were there arguing with each other a third man came and saw the man passed out on the ground and the other two bickering with each other and said "What wrong with you two? There's a man here clinging to life. We SHOULD help him because it's what we would want if we fell and got hurt."

    Maybe it shouldn't matter if there's a god or not. Maybe we should just help anyway we can because it's how we would want to be treated if we were in a time of need like now.

    March 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  5. Robert Warren

    “Remember this and stand firm,
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
    9 remember the former things of old;
    for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
    10 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
    saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
    11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
    I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

    The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Is 46:8–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  6. clarity

    ever wondered why the US is an exception to the rule that the wealthier a nation becomes, and especially the more democratic it becomes, the less religious it becomes? You complain about the splinter of theocracies in other parts of the world when you don't see the log in your own.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  7. Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

    Dear Patriotic Global Citizens:

    Re: The Universal God and the Perilous Planet Earth and its inhabitants

    First and foremost the planet is tiny dot in the universe and in a highly vulnerable middle aged Solar Galaxy!

    Second the Universal God that is in charge of the Galaxies and planets of the universe does care about insignificant planet earth and its in habitants. This is good news, especially with the poor record in the responsibleness of the mortal nine billion and the living seven billion people, in looking after this tiny vulnerable planet they call home.

    Third, our first and foremost task is to understand the planet's vulnerability both from the internal and external electromagnetic forces that are designed to protect her as well as destroy her.

    We should continue to research or ask the Universal God to explain to us how the tectonic plates operate and how the universal gravitational and electro magnetic forces work and how to use them to our advantage.

    Behaving like little children who get upset each time their rather selfish and short sighted desire or perspective is not the reality will not take us any where.

    So, we have been given opportunities to explore the universe and planet earth each time there is a tectonic plate shift or the magma wants to shower us with it colourful explosions.

    The question we should ask is why did we survive in stead of why did the tectonic plates move and the resulting tsunamies. This is natural as Adam liked and knew Eve when he first saw her

    The question is what is the lesson for the rest of us and the future generation.

    Some how, I have very little respect for all these religious Semi-Gods who are not connected with the Universal God and get upset when their earthly gods are shattered in front of them.

    Take a leap of faith, there is a Universal God and has a great plan for Planet Earth and its inhabitants.

    with regard and seeking you creative alternative perspective

    I remain

    Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
    Global Connect

    March 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  8. timber

    Look inside yourself and the truth will be revealed.
    Remember John 3:16 For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    March 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  9. Middle C

    The human person, a rational being, is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection "in seeking and loving what is true and good."
    By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image."
    By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil." Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person. CCC

    March 23, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  10. Reality


    I agree. Once again a synopsis of Christianity:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (see below for an added comment about Jesus) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


    For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  11. NL

    And we can repeal bad laws, and laws that have outgrown their usefulness. Laws can change to match the times, religion not so easily.

    March 22, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  12. Kadalay

    Its the rigidity of the man made rituals within all religions that make them obsolete in this day and age

    March 22, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  13. Ramzeen

    What we're actually saying when we lament calamities is that everyone should always be happy. What does THAT connote: no death, no disease no sadness, no losers? Is that a possibility? Everything is relative. To be happy is to lack sadness, to win is to not lose, to be successful is not to fail. Life is full of relativities and as long as we live, we must bear its burdens. Death by whatever means is a reality and after death does reality begin.

    March 22, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Pastor

      Great answer Ramzeen, regardless of your belief. After all that vain talking, trash throwing from others, GOD will Still be GOD and when we all die we will have to face HIM for judgment.
      Galation chapter 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
      8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. In the Bible Job gave the the very same response to his three criticizing friends who accused him of secret sins because of his calamities saying, should I expect good from GOD and not evil? To all the Atheists, Agnostics, and Idolators, you should all consider the great mercies of GOD through HIS SON The Only LORD JESUS CHRIST, that you can say all those rediculous remarks and still breathe that breath that sience have yet to disqualify was invented by GOD, the ONE you trash or do not believe exist. I demand that you discontinue use of GOD's Breath you are Breathing. Who is holding the Sun Moon Stars Clouds in place while you are vain talking? Sciencist are mere humans like us, who made them? Good answer. Now who Made them? you are doing great, keep going in that same direction, it will lead you to the truth who is "GOD" Until any human can go and remove the Rainbow from the skies after the Rain, I am convinced that the GOD of the BIBLE who promised in the first book Genesis that after every Rain the Rainbow would appear is the ONLY GOD and every one on earth will be judged after this life, as we can see people are dying, going to jugdment. Before you think vain of your creator give HIM a chance, READ the BOOK from Genesis to Revelation you will find HIM to be real for your self. HE HIMSELF will make a believer out of you, do not take my word for it READ the BOOK The HOLY BIBLE KJV

      March 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  14. Christopher

    Strange how many often have no use, no place in there lives for God. When something like this happens God gets the blame, as usual, because He is seen by many as the enemy. At difficult times we seek user friendly or politically correct answers from our 'religious leaders' that won't exceed our comfort zones, (and
    they deliver). Many never really ask the real questions of faith because were to afraid to be honest with ourselves. If men do not know the answers, it is because they most often are not intellectual but moral in nature. One of the writers said that God could not stop the events, really? As far a I know there destructive effects have limits, who assigns those limits? You Mr. Know it All? Ya right, tell us more of your 'unlimited' wisdom. Thank you God for limiting and halting the destructive
    nature of these events! Teach us from them that we might be truly wise.

    March 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  15. Christopher

    Strange how many often have no use, no place in there lives for God. When something like this happens God gets the blame, as usual, because He is seen by many as the enemy. At difficult times we seek user friendly or politically correct answers from our 'religious leaders' that won't exceed our comfort zones, (and
    they deliver). Many never really aski the real questions of faith because were to afraid to be honest with ourselves. If men do not know the answers, it is because they most often are not intellectual but moral in nature. One of the writers said that God could not stop the events, really? As far a I know there destructive effects have limits, who assigns those limits? You Mr. Know it All? Ya right, tell us more of your 'unlimited' wisdom. Thank you God for limiting and halting the destructive
    nature of these events! Teach us from them that we might be truly wise.

    March 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  16. M.

    " Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able, and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God. "

    March 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Christopher

      Is God in these events the sum of the whole question? Are there other factors like mankind, nature, natural laws and the
      like? Or is Almighty God on the seat of your examination?

      God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou art judged.

      March 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Hud sura 11:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    And he said: Embark therein! In the name of Allah be its course and its mooring. Lo! my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. (41) And it sailed with them amid waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son – and he was standing aloof – O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers. (42) He said: I shall betake me to some mountain that will save me from the water. (Noah) said: This day there is none that saveth from the commandment of Allah save him on whom He hath had mercy. And the wave came in between them, so he was among the drowned. (43) And it was said: O earth! Swallow thy water and, O sky! be cleared of clouds! And the water was made to subside. And the commandment was fulfilled. And it (the ship) came to rest upon (the mount) Al-Judi and it was said: A far removal for wrongdoing folk! (44).

    March 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  18. Dmoney

    why did God make us flawed? wouldnt be easier to just make everyone perfect, or at least not killers, rapists, and such. maybe that would have been too boring for him. i guess having babies born with diseases, children having cancer makes things more interseting for him, that way we can pray to him to help us from these terrible things. he seems like a jerk of a God to keep punishing innocent children and babies becasue Adam and Eve screwed up. I though he forgave us when Jesus died for us? he has a funny way of showing his love...

    March 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Dmoney, try and follow His truth. Jesus' truth about Life and the Hereafter (the Bible) explains that while we are here on earth, we are just visiting. When we die, our bodies are no longer useful to us, our spirits go back to God, who created ALL. It is being with Him in Heaven for eternity that is truth. Not being here on earth. Earth is just a test from God. Love and follow Jesus (truth) and our spirits live while here on earth, as it is in Heaven for eternity with Him. Or, our other choice is to love and follow satan (liar and deceiver to pull all of God's children with him) and our spirits dies on earth, as it is in Paradise, Day of the Lord, no eternity for the person that follows satan's lies. Cancer, children dying young, etc. are all back with God who created them. For those that still have said diseases, His grace brings you spiritually closer to His truth to fear not what can kill us here on earth but to spiritual live with Him for eternity. He told us not to pay attention to the ways of the world but to focus on Him, who love us.


      March 26, 2011 at 2:41 am |
  19. Observer

    "Science is supposed to displace religion. Yet science displaces itself all the time."
    Perhaps you don't understand that the underlying premise of science is to find the truth and therefore there is a willingness to modify previous ideas when better evidence comes forward. This is the opposite of religion that insists that 2,000-year-old thoughts should not be revised due to better evidence.

    Did you miss my earlier question?

    March 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • brad

      Observer, I didn't miss you earlier question. I spent some time attempting to answer and got CENSORED.

      March 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • brad

      Obviously, much of the bible is myth. But, as Carl Jung defined it, myth is man's earliest attempt at science – to explain himself and his place in the world. Yes, God seemed awfully vengeful . That's because vengeful people can misuse religion as well as science. I think of the bible as a chronicle of humanity's emerging understanding and relationship with God.

      March 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Observer

      "Yes, God seemed awfully vengeful . That's because vengeful people can misuse religion as well as science."

      But God isn't a person. God is supposed to be perfect. Slaughtering babies and pregnant women (yes!) for vengeance doesn't seem fair, rational, or indicating any degree of perfection.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • NL

      "myth is man's earliest attempt at science"
      To the same extent that astrology was an early attempt at astronomy, right?

      March 22, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Myth, LOL, who projects Jesus as a myth (LOL)...

      John 18:36-38

      36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
      37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
      38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.


      March 26, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  20. PraiseTheLard

    Religion is a FRAUD.

    Many people, especially in the Western World and the Middle East have either been victims or perpetrators of this fraud.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Tom

      RELIGION is a fraud, but having a REAL RELATIONSHIP with our Creator is anything but fraudulent. Creation itself, with its limitless complexity, cries out, "I am not an accident!"

      March 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Quag

      @ Tom, Prove it. You sound like you are agnostic....come to the dark side my friend. Atheist only deny god claims. We don't bite.

      March 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Observer

      While atheists have science and logic on their side, they still can't prove that they are right. It is possible that both atheists and believers are wrong. There may be a God who is far more like Jesus in the Bible than the often arrogant, vain, mass-killer God portrayed in the Bible.

      March 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • laurie

      I believe most persons who do not believe they have a soul or that there is a Creator must have been hurt deeply in childhood or adulthood (most likely childhood)....they cannot fathom nor will produce any fruits of the Spirit...love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness....as characterized by most of the nasty, spiteful comments I continually seem to find on any articles pertaining to'religion' or faith....

      March 22, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • NL

      "I believe most persons who do not believe they have a soul or that there is a Creator must have been hurt deeply in childhood or adulthood (most likely childhood)"

      Not at all. Most of us simply realized that belief is actually built upon a foundation of sand, as the saying goes.

      I understand that you believe that "love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness" can only come from this Spirit that you believe in, but to those of us who have given up on the God idea, or never had it to begin with, they are just as real for us as they are for you believers. What's more, they are not limited by illogical definitions of 'sinfulness' that prevents many believers from accepting scientific truth and the equality of all, things that actually work against things like "love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness". When you really look at it, we non-believers are able to express these qualities in a far more pure way than you believers who are compelled not to extend them to certain people that you consider sinners.

      Hope that helps clear up your misunderstanding.


      March 22, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • laurie

      @NL....'who are compelled not to extend them to certain people that you consider sinners'.

      no one is perfect..our very physical nature is imperfect...I cannot imagine anyone having the audacity to claim perfection of mind or body....
      my belief (or indoctrination if you wish) is to be able to reflect the fruits of the Spirit....to whomever I come into contact with...so we will continue to live in our own definitions of what is true...I appreciate that your response was not mean-spirited 🙂

      March 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • JonathanL

      Exactly, it is a fraud when it comes down to it and in the end they always ask for the money. I am an Atheist but that doesn't define me as a person. Why should I let something which someone else insists I must believe, and don't, define what I am. I am a person first. Let's start there. And if someone wants me to believe something, he has to have a pretty convincing pile of evidence such as we have with the theory/fact of Evolution, or absolute proof will do too. People like to believe in the bosky dells and days of yore when a peasant could just make up a wild story and everyone would believe him. Dragons, Angels, Gods, Serpents of the underworld, talking trees and bushes, 100 foot tall giants, etc.. etc.. etc.. They are that sappy. But I notice that miracle believers are not likely to believe any wild stories if they happen today, though they try very very hard to convince themselves and others that miracles still occur (crying statues, personal visions, alleged inexplicable healings which are all based on hearsay and which either can be explained or are frauds etc.). Everyone and thing obeys the physical laws of the Universe and that is that. You may be a believer in miracles, but if someone today, in this day and age, came up to you and insisted that a guy named Samuel MOses parted the Hudson river so a bus of Jews could drive across more quickly to get to their Synagogue in New Jersey you would believe it? Writing something in gilded or large red letters does not make it more true than otherwise. If I can't see (as in fathoming) it happening today, I can't see it happening 2000 or 50000 years ago either. And in case you haven't figured this out yet, no one can make me believe something I don't believe. PS Glad you got the first word in!

      March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • JonathanL

      Laurie – Most Atheists I know are very nice and intelligent, and are as least as spiritual as any religious person I know. I have a definition of spirituality for myself despite being an Atheist. It has to do with the real awareness that comes with making a few simple observations about the vastness of Universe of which we are a apart, learning how and what makes things tick, the planet we live on, that individuals comprise a community and that we depend on each other to survive. I have a practical common sense, reality based morality which is actually similar (in terms of values) to that of a Christian. It is wrong to demonize Atheists. We are people first and now you might realize that makes me a humanist moreso than an Atheist, but whatever I am classified as for my beliefs, I am above that, a person. I treat religious people as people even if I think they are missing the big picture. It is important to talk and think about these things, but we should all be open to that everyone can evolve and develop along different paths, and each person has a right to live his or her life as he or she chooses. If we were all the same and agreed on everything, it would be pretty boring.

      March 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • laurie

      @jonathan...I respect your right to voice your opinions and beliefs and you do it so very well...so we can agree to disagree..at least about faith.....it would be interesting to discuss with you other (not so touchy) subjects...I do appreciate articulate people....they seem to be getting harder to find

      March 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.